By Estepheia and Marcee
Part 14 - Keep in Touch
Giles was clutching the envelope in his hand as if his life depended on his ability to emboss his fingerprints to its surface. Every so often, there were the sounds of grunts, bangs and connecting right hooks emanating from the training room in back - but that did not interrupt the penetrating silence that hung like a cloud over the group near the door.
Finally, the visitor spoke again. He smiled self-consciously. "This is a bit of a family mystery for me, and I hope you'll be able to enlighten me. For, you see, this letter is part of a legacy that has been passed down through five generations of the Willoughby family name. In every Will, our responsibilities have been clearly outlined. This letter is over 100 years old and the duty to deliver it has come to rest upon me. I'm very pleased to be able to bestow it upon you, Mr. Giles," he stated solemnly.
Giles could only nod. He looked down at the letter he was clutching. His hands were shaking slightly.
"Well, aren't-cha gonna open it?" Anya finally asked.
"Um, yes, of course." But Giles made no move to open the letter. He looked at Xander, Anya, Willow and Tara. "If this is from the 1800's..." he began.
"1880, actually," Charlie interrupted.
"Right, then, 1880," Giles continued. "Wouldn't that mean that by now Buffy would be, how shall I put this?"
"Already dead?" Xander asked quietly.
"Again," Anya amended. She was frowning. They were all frowning.
Just then, a sweaty Slayer and grinning vampire appeared. "Boy, that was fun. Nothing like a spot of violence to brighten your evening. What's with all the gloomy faces, then?" Spike asked. "And who's the new chap?"
"My name is Charlie Willoughby. I came to make a very important delivery," the new guy answered, extending his hand. Spike only glanced at it. "Name's Spike," he replied.
"Charles Willoughby?" Maeve asked.
The gang turned to her, all with the same surprised expression, not accustomed to hearing Buffy's voice lately.
"Yes," he answered, "and you are?"
"M-Maeve," she stuttered, uncertain whether this man would recognize her name.
"Pleasure to meet you Maeve. And you, Mr. Spike."
Maeve sighed inwardly, positively relieved.
"Well, I suppose my work here is done and I should be leaving now," Charlie continued. "But I must say, the curiosity is overwhelming."
"As is mine," Giles said nervously.
"Well," Willow said. "Open it."
Giles carefully broke the ornate wax seal and opened the envelope. He pulled the delicate paper gently from its sheath and unfolded it slowly.
"Get on with it," Anya urged.
Giles scanned the writing silently as the others held their breaths (Except Spike, of course, he simply held his tongue.) There was a hint of a smile playing on the Watcher's lips as he read.
"Charlie, while I appreciate your circumstance and curiosity," Giles said, "and although we owe you greatly for your loyalty to your family honor..."
"I understand," the visitor interrupted respectfully. "This is a personal matter."
"I'm sorry," Giles said. "Maybe I'll be able to shed some light on this matter for you at later time. Do you maybe have a...a card or something?"
Charlie smiled and produced a business card from his inside jacket pocket.
"Thank you, Mr. Giles," he said. "I will be in town for quite some time, if you care to contact me at the hotel. The number is on the back."
"Staying around to take in the sights and sounds of our little piece of Hell called Sunnydale?" Xander asked the stranger.
"No, actually, my business here is yet unfinished," he replied. "Pleased to meet you all." He nodded formally toward the group before he turned to leave.
The bell chimed as the door closed behind him.
"Well?" Anya prodded the Watcher again.
"Maeve," Giles looked at the girl in Buffy's body. "I think it would be nice if, perhaps, you would read this aloud for the others."
She nodded her assent.
She began quietly...
Guess who's stuck in the land and time of plumpudding (dunno if I spelled that right - oh and: bleagh!!!) and Jack the Ripper? It's 1880 (June 7th) and I am in London, in the body of another Slayer named Maeve McKenna. Why? There was some kind of spell Maeve's Watcher cast to get her back from the "realm between life and death" (I am enclosing a copy of the spell, Giles, so you and Willow can study it for a way to undo or reverse it or whatever). It seems she was in some kind of coma, after being injured during her Cruciamentum. Surprise, surprise. So, she wouldn't come out of the catatonia...Can't say I blame her. Anyway, her Watcher went all Warlock-y and tried to do this spell, only he didn't bring HER back, he dragged me into her body instead. Yay me! Don't know where she is or what happened to my body. Guess maybe I'm the one in a coma now. If you're thinking of turning off the switches, DON'T.
Concentrate on getting me back into my own time and body. And make it quick, because the olden days are so overrated. Nothing romantic about it. You should see the toilets! And what I'd give for a shower! Or a Frappacino. I've already got tea coming out of my ears!
I had to tell Willoughby (that's Maeve's Watcher and he looks just like Sherlock Holmes except he doesn't wear the stupid hat) who I am, but the other Watchers don't know. I wouldn't tell them the time of day. And I so don't want to answer any questions they might have about the future.
Do I trust this Willoughby? Not much. But he still wants his Slayer back, the real Maeve (poor thing, if I were her I wouldn't want to go back to slaying in these ridiculous corsets and this many layers of underwear). And he so doesn't want his chums to find out about the spell he screwed up. Duh!
Anyway, I'm not going to sit here twiddling my thumbs and slaying vampires that are probably already dust in your time and wait till you guys figure out where and when I am, so I decided to give this letter to a friend who will have to promise that his kids and their kids after him and so on make sure it gets delivered to you just as you are wondering what the hell happened to me.
Do I write a few words of goodbye in case you don't manage to get me back? No. Because you have to. If I have to stay here much longer I will create the most outrageous time paradox I can think of. What do you think would happen if I symbolically burned a pile of corsets on Trafalgar Square? Yes, Giles, I did have to ask someone how to spell that.
Okay guys, I am sure you'll manage somehow. The Hellmouth has thrown all kinds of things at us and we've always come out on top.
Dawn, just because I'm not there doesn't mean you can stay out longer. And don't break anything. Giles, don't forget to pay the telephone bill. Oh, and the plumber. Tara, look after Dawn until I'm back to annoy her in person. Willow, Xander, Anya, can you fill in for me like last time I was "gone"? Spike, don't do anything I wouldn't do or I'll stake you next time I see you!
PS: I wasn't going to mention it, but you'd probably find out anyway: Angelus is here. And I am supposed to kill him. Do I need to say 'hurry'?
Another PS: I just reread what I wrote. Okay Spike, you know I probably won't stake you. But I might hit you a little bit. Anyway, keep Dawn safe for me.
"Well?" Cordelia pestered Angel. Her hands were planted firmly on her hips and she was tapping her foot.
"It's ringing," he told her.
"Magic Box," Giles answered.
"It's Angel," he said hurriedly, then: "Buffy's in trouble...I think."
"Yes, Angel. We know. We're trying to handle the situation. It's Angel," he mentioned to someone standing near him. Then, to Angel: "What do you know?"
"She's sometime in the past. In the body of another Slayer," Angel answered.
"We've gathered that much," Giles said. "As a matter of fact, we have Maeve, the other Slayer, here in Buffy's body right now. It seems they've just traded places..." Then: "Yes, Anya, I know. Yes, yes, you were right...Sorry, Angel. We've actually, well, we've just..." he stuttered, "We've actually just received correspondence from Buffy, herself."
"What? How? How is that possible?"
"A letter. Buffy sent us a letter telling us where and, more importantly, WHEN she is," Giles explained.
"Oh," Angel said, obviously at a loss.
"How did you know?"
"Cordy. She had a vision."
"Interesting that the Powers chose to get involved," Giles murmured. "Well, we're already in the process of trying to figure out a way to reverse this...uh...spell. Buffy gave us some details in her letter. We're researching the leads she provided. If you...or Cordelia... piece together anything more, please call immediately." Giles was about to hang up the phone when...
"Wait! There's something else," Angel said.
"I think I know why the Powers may have gotten involved," Angel answered. His face was a mask of worry. Cordelia touched his arm lightly.
"I..." Angel began, "I think I..." his voice cracked slightly. "Giles, I think I killed her."
Continued in Part 15 - The Streets of London