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Part 43

Uusual disclaimers in Part 1. Meanwhile back with Buffy.....

Part 43

September 28, 1879

        Buffy again awoke to the sounds of giggling girls outside her door. They were getting to be better than an alarm clock. So it was morning already. She really had crashed out once she had undressed, and gotten ready for bed last night. She had taken her bath last night since she had the bathroom to herself due to the late hour. She had wanted to give her way longer hair time to dry without the benefit of a hair dryer. The bath also helped her to relax from the tension of the past days, and helped her to figure out what she could do in her situation. Which she had to admit wasn´t much except go along with it for the time being.

        Letting her wet hair dry a little, she had stayed up just long enough to write some more in her journal about seeing William last night, and how the Council was knowingly manipulating both of them, and seriously changing the future for their purposes. If she had thought the Watchers Council in her time to be slimy bastards, the group here topped it bunches in her opinion. It was downright criminal what they were doing in forcing this alternate past to be happening.

        She felt that the only thing that might solve this mess was the crystal chunk which William had said he was going to try to relieve from the jewelers. Somehow it, and the ring were connected she was sure, but since as far as she knew no spell had been involved she wasn´t sure how she could trigger whatever had happened into happening again, and reversing the process. But in her time there had been no ring. It was hard telling what had happened to it over the years. There hadn´t been an mention of it in Elizabeth´s journal. Buffy wondered if the gang had even connected the crystal with her disappearance, and if they hadn´t that´s why she was still stuck here maybe? Buffy shook her head before she got a headache even thinking about all the what ifs that this time traveling had made her think about.

        Her other worry now was William—what was she going to do with him? When she had thought him outside of this mess, and maybe somehow still following the original timeline, which included his running into Dru eventually it had been one set of worries, now she was faced with new ones as he was going to be actively in her life. Between the interference from the Watchers Council, and his own interest in her as Buffy, not Elizabeth, it was changing things. She had tried so hard to not get involved with him by letting him think she was Elizabeth. Now he knew the truth, well almost all of it, and he was handling it better than she thought he would. What was unnerving was he was just as attracted to her as Buffy as she was to him as William, rather than the Spike she knew. Especially after they had kissed and he had told her that he knew she was his Lizzy by that alone and that was what had convinced him that her tale was true more than anything else.

        It bothered her that she was having feelings for him. It felt like she was cheating on Spike by even having what if thoughts about his past human self. This was so wrong—yet they were there. Was he, or wasn´t he the same man? Parts of William, she was finding out just watching him move, and talk, were still present in her Spike, but the hardness and other things she loved about Spike weren´t there because the experiences hadn´t happened to him yet to create the persona, and mindset he had in the future. William was the base upon which Spike would be eventually built, not vice versa. He was all very much mortal too, with no super powers, ability to heal quick, or years of fighting skills to call on. This was a gentleman in more ways than one, whom she knew was ethical, moral, and got embarrassed easily at the drop of word almost. But that strange knack of being to see through her, and to tell her what she needed to hear, not wanted to hear was present as was his ability to love. His mind was as sharp as ever, but there was so much innocence in him. He hadn´t yet gotten hardened to the nastiness of life, but he did have the ability to accept sudden changes, and try to figure out what to do. The Council may not have an idea of what he was capable when push came to shove, but she did, and it was there in his determined eyes.

        Underneath all his British upper class stiffness, and social restraints was the same fiery passion that Spike had tinged with his pure humanness. Touching warm lips instead of cold ones had been a real shock along with feeling a hot body, beating heart, and flesh that was totally alive when she was used to the opposite. Yet in some ways the feel of them were the same, and very familiar. It had been very confusing for her. She could tell that it had been equally confusing for him too because even though she wore Elizabeth´s body her mind, and the way she moved, and talked let him know she wasn´t the same.

        At least he did believe her, and knew the truth, but he was going to let the Council believe that he was going along with the story that she was flipped out from her assault. And he was going to become a Watcher which almost sent her into giggles at the thought of her Spike´s reaction to such a turn of events. Buffy still hadn´t grasped fully ‘why´ he was doing this outside of being around her in case she, and Elizabeth did manage to switch places. He really didn´t know what he was getting into. She doubted that MacAlastair had been that up front with him on the very unpleasant, dangerous aspects of the job. Now she going to have another Xander to worry about unless somehow the fighting ability she associated with her Spike came out. Unfortunately, she didn´t think that would be the case, and the noble idiot would end up getting himself killed, she was afraid. ‘God, this was a really big mess, and getting messier all the time,´ she groaned to herself wishing it would all go back to the way it had been for everyone.

        Finally awake enough to face the day Buffy threw off her covers to get up, found her bathrobe, and made her way to the bathroom. She said ‘hi´ to all the girls she passed. Most of them were the younger slayers in training, and she hadn´t seen any of the older ones yet. One of the mid sized ones told her when she asked that the older girls were all confined to their rooms because of what had happened yesterday, and was surprised she wasn´t too. She told the sandy blond, freckled faced, ten year old girl whose name she found was Penelope that she unfortunately had to go talk to Miss Penrose, and some others as punishment. The girl giggled, and agreed having to see her was indeed punishment as she didn´t like the older woman either, and had her as one of her teachers.

        Buffy felt bad that the girls she had started making friends with were grounded. She just hoped they weren´t going to hate her because she wasn´t grounded like them. She was really getting to like Becky and the others. She was going to miss their company, and their filling her in on the Council here.

        After finishing in the bathroom she went back, and got dressed putting on a blue plaid shirtwaist dress with white collar, and cuffs. She braided her hair into one thick plait, and rolled it in a bun pinning it down with the combs, and hairpins. She still wasn´t wild about her new looks, but she was gradually getting used to looking, and dressing like the other women of this period. Last night she had been checking out the other women at the dinner, and thought she was starting to get a handle on what was okay behavior-wise, but she wasn´t sure. She was still far from being at ease in these very formal stuffy times. All she could do was grit her teeth, go with it, and hope she didn´t do too badly fitting in.

        She made her bed, and was about ready to leave to got hunt up breakfast when there was a knock on door. Hoping it was Becky, or one of the other girls Buffy yelled, "Come in."

        It was Mrs. Bennett who looked pleased that she was dressed appropriately, and ready for the day. "Good, I see you´re up, and about, Miss Summers. I was sent to remind you by Mr. Foxworth that you are to meet with Mr. MacAlastair after you eat. He wishes to discuss some things pertaining to your getting acclimatized to your present surroundings. He also wanted to remind you that you still have a session to go with Miss Penrose, and Mr. Davis, and that you do need to attend. Mr. Swanson and Mr. Abby won´t be attending," she told her pleasantly.

        "I take it Foxworth is busy this morning?" Buffy asked..

        "He has some errands to do in town was all that I was told. He should be back later in the day," she answered carefully,

        "Town? As in London you mean? I thought we were in London?" Buffy asked confused.

        "We are an area called Holborn which is one of the better areas, and right outside the city proper. Part of your classes Mr. MacAlastair is setting up for you will be local geography. We do that for some of the foreign born slayers in training along with classes in decorum, proper manners, and social customs since slayers might have to go into different surroundings in search of their prey, but the girls must be able to blend in so that they do not arouse suspicions," the woman explained with a slight smile.

        "So they´re not just going to turn me loose to go slay vampires quite yet? I had wondered," Buffy replied a little relieved, but not too happy either. The idea of classes in manners ,and behavior made her uneasy.

        "London is a very large city, my dear. I understand you live in a smaller size town, but are familiar with a larger city. London will be unlike anything you might have experienced, and vampires aren´t the only monsters that you might have to deal with when you go out on the streets," she told Buffy gently seeing that the girl did, and didn´t have an idea of what she was talking about. "Since this is ‘your past´ how much do you know about this period?" she asked.

        "A little, not much. History was not one of my strong subjects in school," Buffy admitted.

        "Mr. MacAlastair thought so. He isn´t so worried about your slaying abilities as he is about you being caught unawares by just everyday things, and situations. You are too valuable to him to just be sent out to slay. You must be able to understand the normal dangers you might have to face. So far you have survived because you have been in protected environments since your arrival. That will not be the case outside these gates," she warned her.

        "Yeah, I kind of figured that, mam. I wasn´t too thrilled about the idea of going out, and not having a clue where I was. So far I have only seen William´s house, Elizabeth´s, Mr. Hyde´s, and this place. Most of what I have seen of the city was only at night, so I really didn´t get a good look at anything," Buffy explained, fidgeting a little at the idea of being so dependent on this group for everything.

        "That will be taken care of. You will get tours of the city both by day, and by night. Even though the vampires are still active on the streets, it has been felt you are not ready to face them yet. And the Council also wants to know more about them from you since you do know them personally, have fought them, and survived. Mr. MacAlastair is hoping you can see a pattern to their attacks, so that their moves can be anticipated," Mrs. Bennett told her.

        "Maybe, I don´t know. Angelus, and Darla are both very adaptable to wherever they are. Though I do know they liked hanging around people with money," Buffy said remembering some conversations with Angel, and Spike.

        "Good, that´s the type of information that the Council needs. But I best be letting you go so you can go eat. Before you go I was told to give you this," she said handing Buffy a slim book.

        "´Mixing In Society: A Complete Manual of Manners´?" Buffy laughed at the title. "What is this?" she asked looking it over.

        "A book for young ladies of society. It´s almost a standard thing nowadays to help one understand the dos, and don´ts of what young ladies must do. All the older girls have copies too, so you won´t be the only one. It is quite good," Mrs. Bennett reassured her with a gentle smile.

        Buffy grinned amused, "Okay, I´ll take your word for it. Maybe it will help me understand people around here," she added as they left her room. "See you later," Buffy told her, and then made her way downstairs to the dining room.

        There was still food aplenty when Buffy arrived. None of the older girls were there, so Buffy got a tray, and sat over by the window overlooking the forbidden gardens where she had sat the afternoon before. The younger girls seemed to be sitting at long table close to the door with an older woman whom Buffy hadn´t met before. Since she was alone Buffy got the little book out of her skirt pocket, and read it while she was eating. Though it was difficult not to laugh every other sentence at what was deemed proper for young ladies behavior in different situations. Being used to a fairly equal society, and very much looser behavior between the sexes, Buffy was wondering whether she could put up with all the rules that women had to follow. She decided that she would to a point, but only to a point. If they didn´t like her brash way of acting—tough. She was not going to bend completely to everyone. She hadn´t for Giles back home, and she sure wasn´t going to do it for this bunch.

        When she saw the younger girls leave she felt it was her clue to leave too since there were no clocks, and no Foxworth showing up to remind her of when to leave. ‘Okay, Grand Hall first´, Buffy thought to herself and hoped she had the way there memorized. After a couple of wrong turns she did finally find it. Mr. MacAlastair was waiting along with some other people at the big round table. They seemed to some portable chalk boards, and maps set up too that they were looking at.

        "Miss Summers, I see you found your way. I was about ready to send someone to find you," the older man said indicating that she should take a seat with them. "Did Mrs. Bennett talk you this morning?" he inquired.

        "Yeah, something about classes for me before I get to go out, and slay," Buffy replied, trying not to appear too nervous.

        "Yes, exactly. It has been pointed out that since you are from another time, and place you do not have a working knowledge of the world you are now in. We are going adapt what we normally teach our foreign slayers to be, without the addition of having to teach you English as we do for them," he told her, and saw her grimace. He frowned and went on, "I see you aren´t too pleased with that idea, but I assure you that it is for your safety. It is clear you are very good at your job. One does not last as long as you have without being so, however, this town, and this time period do have many dangers which you will not be aware of. An experienced slayer of your caliber is rare, and we do not wish to lose you immediately when you do go into the field, nor do you, I imagine," he added.

        "Okay, I get the point. I remember all the Jack the Ripper, and Sherlock Holmes stuff from the movies, so I know it´s kind of dangerous out there," she replied, and everyone looked confused at her.

        "Who?" MacAlastair asked puzzled as he had never heard of either persons.

        "You don´t know Jack the Ripper ,or about Sherlock Holmes? I thought everyone did. That´s what I remember about this time," Buffy told him. "Jack the Ripper is like this big serial killer, that even in my day no one knows who he really was, that went around killing girls with a razor, I think. And Sherlock Holmes was this detective that helped Scotland Yard solve crimes. They had a whole TV series on him on PBS that my Watcher liked to watch," she explained to still blank looks all around.

        "I´m afraid we have never heard of either of these persons. So crime type ‘movies´, and ‘shows´ are popular to watch in your time?" he asked.

        "Could say that, either cop shows, or lawyers, or detective ones set either in my time, or different times, sometimes even the future which they have to make up. That´s one thing I am missing no TV, no radios, no music—that I like, bunches of stuff," Buffy sighed, feeling like an idiot because she knew she had been babbling again. The quiet everywhere was getting to her, and the music she had heard so far put her teeth on edge.

        "Unfortunately, you will have to make do with our entertainments such as reading, concerts, and plays. But back to the matter at hand. We will begin you with local geography, landmarks, places of interest, and try to give you a grounding in the types of people you might encounter in these places. Are you familiar with the term ‘social classes´?" he asked.

        Buffy frowned, thinking, "sort of. I know it was a big deal over here, and people were judged by what class they came from. The higher the rank the better people treated them, and the lower the worse they were, am I getting this part right?" she asked, trying to remember some of the stuff she had read over the years, except she found herself blanking out more than remembering to her dismay.

        The distinguished looking man looked relieved that she wasn´t as dim as he feared she was. It was very hard to tell by her speech, and ways of looking at things. What did they teach young people in the future? He was almost afraid to find out. Carefully he explained what they had in mind for her. "Yes, you are. As a slayer you will need to be able to blend into any type situation as needed. We have noted that Angelus, and his group tend to be for the most part selective in whom they chose for victims. They seem to prefer those of the moneyed classes, am I correct in that?" he asked her.

        "I´m still not liking the idea of killing Angel—Angelus," she said stubbornly, sitting back in her chair, and crossing her arms.

        MacAlastair looked upwards for strength before he answered the stubborn slayer. "Miss Summers, you cannot go home. This is your home now, and for however long you live, and that too depends solely on you as to how long that will be. You are the Chosen One, and have dealt personally with these monsters. You have a clear duty by the fact of your very presence in this time to stop them. Already they have been through five slayers in the past six months. You have met your replacements—do you think any of those children are up to stopping Angelus? It has been like putting gasoline on a raging fire. You are our only hope unless you no longer feel like carrying on your duties?" he questioned, leaving the meaning of his last statement hang in the air.

        "Sir, I have no problem of carrying out my ‘duties´. I already have had to send Angel to Hell by running a sword through him to stop him from destroying the world. I have fought the Master, and the Mayor, and a Frankenstein monster bent on taking over the world, so don´t tell me about duty, and doing it. What I question is this changing of time that you are insisting on. You have seen my future, and William´s, and still you want to change everything for everyone. That is what I am having a hard time with. Now you have dragged him into this further messing things up. You´re also forgetting Elizabeth, the girl whose body I have—what about her? What about her life now? She´s stuck in time too," she said angrily.

        "I do understand, my dear. But as we showed you things are already altered for both of you. You get her life, and she gets yours. How you live these lives is up to you. The timeline here is already altered, and even if you returned now, Mr. Giles has been informed of the dangers to himself, and will avoid them. Your returning Elizabeth to this time would only lead to her early death, and the timeline would still be altered because the vampire Spike would not exist. It would be best that you accept the hand that fate has dealt you, and deal with it. You can make your own future, which is something very few people can. Think of the countless lives you will also be saving too," he told her.

        "Yeah, right. So Elizabeth gets Riley, and I get William is that what you are telling me if I go along with this?" Buffy asked still angry, glaring at him.

        "Yes, that seems to be the case. And you both get long lives as compared to the short, unfulfilled ones you would have had if neither of you have been switched. But that is only if you eliminate the menace of Angelus," he added.

        "I just can´t somehow convince him to leave town? I mean I really don´t have a problem with killing Darla, or Drusilla. I really hate both of them. But do I have to kill Angelus?" Buffy questioned, her stomach in knots from the idea of it.
 
        "They ‘all´ have to be killed. No exceptions! I do understand why this is a problem for you? But this Angelus is not the same as the one you knew, and will not know you. Most likely you wouldn´t be able to get near him enough to even talk, or reason to him if you think you might try to. He is a vicious animal, and must be treated as such," MacAlastair emphasized, looking at her. "You cannot have sympathy for this mad beast. If you let him go there is no guarantee that he will ever get a soul because events will have been altered so that there will not be the same family group existing when your Angelus meets the gypsies. Now do you understand?" he asked her.

        "I hate this. I really, really hate this," Buffy said both angry, and ready to cry at the same time. Her small fist coming down on the heavy table shaking everything on it to the shock of all.

        Not fazed by her demonstration the white haired man went on, "I know, but can we now proceed, Miss Summers? Mr. Winthrop, and Mr. Standish will be your instructors in local geography," he said introducing two older men sitting at the table who nodded to her. "The Countess Rothchild will instruct you in matters of social skills and culture," he said indicating a well dressed, regal looking blond woman in her mid thirties who smiled warmed at her. He then pointed to a heavy set balding man with a thick, gray mustache, "Mr. Bollin will instruct you in current history, and affairs since you seem not to have a grasp of it," he told her ignoring her dirty look at his comment. "You have already met Philip, our weapons master. You will continue to train two hours a day in the gym to keep your skills sharp. Have you done any horseback riding, my dear?" he asked her.

        Buffy shrugged, "just a couple of times when I was younger. There isn´t much call for that in Sunnydale," she replied, looking at him a bit confused.

        "There is here. And there might be times when you might have to handle a horse, rather than take a carriage, or walk. I do thank the Countess for bringing that suggestion to my attention. Mr. Haygen will be your riding instructor, and will contact you. Miss Penrose, and Mr. Davis will continue as your tactics and strategy team along with chronicling your slaying career to date," he told her.

        "And of this is for how long?" Buffy asked wondering how long it was going to be until she did have to deal with Angelus.

        "Until we feel you are sufficiently prepared to go out into the field. Until you are ready we have Watchers keeping track of the vampires, and dealing with their minions as they can. Though we have noted that Angelus does not seem to have a large group of them unlike other Masters we have dealt with," he inquired hoping she might have an answer.

        Buffy looked thoughtful. "He wasn´t ever big on it unless he had plans where he needed to distract me, and my friends. Most of the minions I dealt with were leftovers from the Master, or ones Spike, and Dru had created when they took over for a while—I think. Have you been able to figure out where their base of operations are? If he does have minions they´ll be hanging around guarding the place most of the time. Angel once said that Darla had a thing for big places with a view, and they always traveled in style with the best of everything. Wherever they are, the place will be nice, and they will try to blend into the neighborhood as humans to not arouse suspicions," she told him and saw one of the people writing down everything she was saying on a stack of papers they had.

        The Council head looked thoughtful at her information. "No, we haven´t been able to locate where they are hiding during the day. Our people have tried to follow them, and they have either been killed, or they give them the slip. They do appear to be well dressed whenever they are seen, sometimes taking carriages to where they go. Part of the reason they have been so difficult to track as they appear to use a number of aliases. But they have been managing to get themselves invited into very select social circles to mingle with the guests so that they can get invites to other gatherings. Generally, their victims are ones that people will not immediately notice the absence of. Many are from out of town, their estates are either in the countryside, or in another country sometimes. Sometimes the vampires are invited to their homes for the weekend. In that case entire households down to the smallest infant have been found murdered, and all valuables and moneys stolen as well. In some cases even the estates have been signed over to another party, then quickly sold for cash," MacAlastair explained, and saw that Buffy was shocked. "You did not know this, Miss Summers?"

        "No, I didn´t, honest. I just thought they grabbed, and ate. But they are doing this to whole families? They´re also stealing too, taking these people´s money, and everything too?" she asked shocked at the boldness that the vampires were displaying.

        He nodded grimly, pleased to have finally gotten her attention as to the seriousness of the problem. "Yes, that appears to be the case. We have checked carefully. Some vampires do rob their victims of their cash, and belongings to survive short term, but Angelus, and his group have it down to a dangerous artform because it is not merely lives which they are after. People that we have interviewed that have attended gatherings with these monsters report that all three are charming, well behaved, well educated, and do not appear in the least strange except for Drusilla, and even she controls her insanity to within acceptable limits when they are in proper society. It is only when they get their victims alone does their true nature emerge, and by that time it is too late," he told her, and she nodded.

        "It took awhile for me to realize that Angel was a vampire, and Darla too. They seemed so normal, and I didn´t get warning tinges with them, or Spike either. Dru I did because she was in game face with Spike the first time I saw her so it was real obvious what she was. But I´m the slayer, and I should have known. These other people really didn´t have a chance, did they?" she said sadly, disgusted, and heart broken that it wasn´t just adults these monsters were killing, but innocent children as well.

        She hadn´t caught on when she knew Angel that he had been a child killer in the past. God, she had been in love with this beast? Had Spike killed children too? Even if he hadn´t, he had been a full willing party to such accesses. It was all making her very ill now that she had let both men touch her. The blood of their innocent victims was now on her hands because she had accepted them knowing what they were, and hadn´t said no. Their victims weren´t an abstract thing anymore, the horror of their deeds were now very real.

        "No, they didn´t and they are preying on the cream of society. The latest victim was one of the Queen´s personal advisors along with his family at their estate in Devonshire. It has the entire court in an uproar, and I have been asked by the Queen to deal with this matter personally as quickly as possible. The police, and general public think a band of wandering brigands broke into the house, and did the deed. So you begin to see the urgency of all of this, Miss Summers," MacAlastair told her gravely looking down at her.

        "I didn´t realize it was that bad. I thought they were just going around town, and picking up random people—not picking whole families out as some sort of sick game, but that would be his style. The sick games that is. I saw him play those with my own family, and friends. And when he killed Miss Callender, and left her in Giles bed…okay, you´ve convinced me," Buffy sighed defeated remembering that terrible time, and how Giles never really did recover from Jenny´s loss and how Angelus had rubbed his deed in her face. Then like a fool she had forgiven him, and turned blind eyes to the fact that despite his soul he was still responsible for his acts as Angelus because she had convinced herself he was two different people. She had even forced her friends into forgiving him too--how sick was she?

        Could she really bear to have this happen all over again knowing that she could have stopped it? Maybe she was meant to change history after all, and stop the monster Angel really was soul or no soul? Maybe there would be other warriors to step in and take Angel, Spike, and her places in this huge big battle they were supposed to fight in? She was going to have to believe that if she went along with this. Now knowing what Angelus was doing she knew she had to stop him, and she was the only one that might be able to.

        MacAlastair looked relieved as did the other Council members. "Good, I´m glad you are finally with us on this, Miss Summers. So to get you started I want you to go with Countess Rothchild, Mr. Standish, and Mr. Bollin so that they can determine your needs, and your courses of studies. After lunch you will meet with Miss Penrose, and Mr. Davis, and then you will go to Philip at the gym , and also meet with Mr. Haygen, who will work out a schedule for you. Any questions?" he asked.

        "So it sounds like I am in school again?" Buffy gave a slight smile, still shaken and digesting this morning´s revelations about her former lover.

        "Correct. We do want you fully prepared. Within the next few days as part of your local history, and geography lessons you will be taken around town to familiarize yourself with the city. The Countess will also be taking you out as well, so that you may put your lessons to practical use," he told her.

        "Field trips—goody. And William? What is going to be happening with him?" she asked, pointedly letting him know she knew about their plans for him.

        "He will be undergoing his own intensive training. Most of his will be concentrating on physical development, and weapons, but he will learning about what he will be facing in the field, and how to deal with situations that will arise as a watcher. You both will have very heavy schedules, and may not see that much of one another for awhile," he informed her, and saw her disappointment.

        "I understand," she said, thinking that it might be better for them not to get too close especially if they were both in training and had to concentrate on what they needed to learn. Stiffly Buffy got up from her chair, straightening her annoying long skirts, she looked up at him with an resigned expression, and told him, "Let´s go do this." Then she went to go with the group waiting for her by one of the doors to the hall.

End part 43

 

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