By Estepheia and Marcee
Part 5 - Tea for Two
*What kind of horror have I unleashed upon this world. And what happened to Maeve's immortal soul?*
He tried to collect his thoughts. He had to prevent the creature from leaving the house and he had to capture it somehow, and then he would have to ask the Council for their help. This was not the time to consider his own future or the way the Council would frown upon his unsanctioned use of magic.
He watched the possessed girl, mentally going through spells and other means of subduing her, when she turned around to look at him.
Placing her hands on her hips she glared at him.
"Okay, I take it this isn't a fancy bit of plastic surgery but more in the line of soul transplant, right? Did you do this?"
She gestured at herself, scowling.
*Half of what the girl is saying doesn't make any sense. And what kind of accent is that?* He was aware that whoever was behind those angry eyes was stuck in a body way stronger than his. A Slayer's body. It might be better not to provoke the dangerous creature unnecessarily.
"I'm sorry, it was not my intention to summon you here against your will. If you wish I will endeavour to send you back to whatever hell or dimension you came from."
"Not to hell, just the Hellmouth. As in Sunnydale, California? It's not hell, but sometimes it sure feels that way. And make it quick, a friend was just about to ask me to dance with him."
"You're not a demon, you're American!" he exclaimed. Now that explains a lot. Americans were a rude and uncivilized bunch. But Willoughby was surprised that they allowed their women to talk and behave like that. Then it struck him. *How did she know I'm a Watcher?*
"My name is Edward Willoughby, at your service," he said, relying - in times of crisis - on that which held civilization together: good manners. He gave her a crisp bow. "I am, indeed, a Watcher. How did you know?"
"I'm Buffy. I guess you heard about me."
"Buffy?" *Is that a name?* He cleared his throat. "I am awfully sorry, but I am afraid I am not familiar with that name. Perhaps a surname..."
"Summers. Buffy Summers. Does `the Slayer' ring a bell?" She sighed at his obvious confusion. "I only saved the world from apocalypse, um.." she counted on her fingers, "6 or 7 times."
"When was that?" he asked. *Oh my God, she's a ghost, or a spirit! I summoned a dead Slayer from the grave!*
"Gee, let's see, I killed the Master in 1997, one year later there was the Judge, then Acathla, after that I stopped an Ascension and in 2001 I fought a hellgod."
"1997? 2001?" he interrupted. "That's impossible!" He was about to say some more, when a door opened and Louisa Willoughby rushed into the hallway, her skirts rustling.
"I thought I heard voices... Maeve! you're up. Oh, I am so glad. We had already given up hope. But you can't walk around like that, you'll catch a cold. Edward, where are her morning gown and her slippers?"
With a radiant smile she floated elegantly towards Buffy and embraced and kissed her without ruffling a single crease of her expensive dress, lightly touching her cheeks to the girl's, barely making contact. There was a surprised look on Maeve's face - well, it was her face, even if someone else was currently residing behind it - but the girl didn't move. She just gave him a questioning look.
*2001! Did she really say 2001? Oh dear.*
"Louisa, my dear, I was just about to tell you about Maeve's recovery. But you mustn't expect too much of her, she is quite frail from her long coma, and a bit... disoriented."
He caught the furious look of the girl but then she caught on and gave him an almost imperceptible nod. "Maeve, my dear, please come back inside. Louisa is right, you must be careful."
"I will send for the doctor," Mrs. Willoughby said. "And I will have Mary bring some tea and biscuits." She swept out majestically.
Willoughby gestured to the girl to come back into the office, and reluctantly, she complied.
"This house, your clothes," she wrinkled her nose, "MY clothes, and these lamps and horse-drawn carriages? It all feels so wrong... Where am I? No, more importantly, WHEN am I?"
"It is the 5th June 1880." Willoughby replied, holding up a burgundy red gown for her to slip into. The girl mechanically allowed herself to be dressed. "And you are in my house, in London, near Kensington."
"Wow, I won't be born for another...um... ninety-eight, no wait...a hundred and um... for a really long time." She grimaced very un-ladylike and Willoughby flinched. "Oh no... that means Giles isn't even born yet...I think."
"My Watcher. A great guy, I mean, really. In a very English sort of way, but great." She gestured at his crammed bookshelves. "I'm sure you two would get along really well, you know, like a house on fire."
He motioned for her to sit down in his armchair and put a blanket over her. The girl looked relieved to be able to sit down.
"Listen, Buffy Summers," he said to her earnestly, "the lady you just saw is Mrs. Willoughby, my wife. Whatever you do or say, don't mention the Council or the fact that you are a Slayer. Or, for that matter, the year 2001."
The girl looked at him, eyes widened in surprise. "You mean, she doesn't know you're a Watcher?" She shook her head. "Jeez, you Watchers really are a breed apart. What does she think you do all day? And, oh God, what could she possibly think your relationship with ME is? Ew!"
Willoughby flinched indignantly. "I am your, well Maeve's, legal guardian. I am also her private tutor. A private foundation is paying towards your... her education."
They both remained silent while the maid arrived with a silver tray. Mary curtsied. "Good morning, Miss McKenna, cook sends you some scones," she stammered shyly, "and everybody told me to tell you that we're happy to have you back, Miss."
"Thank you Mary. That'll be all," he dismissed her.
She curtsied again and hurried from the room.
The Watcher poured the tea and handed the Slayer a delicate cup.
She took a tentative sip. "So, Willoughby, what do I call you?"
"Okay then, Mister Willoughby," she said. "When are you going to start sending me back?"
Continued in Part 6 - Brave New World