Things Present – Things Past
By Estepheia and Marcee
Part 28 - Under Scrutiny
"How is that! We're out of town for
just a few days and look what happens," Warren said, as the monitor lit up
to show an interior shot of a rather trashed magic shop. "Looks like we
missed all the fun."
Andrew and Jonathan clambered into the surveillance van, arguing about the fact
that Jonathan had thrown up during his fifth Space Mountain ride. Andrew was
holding on to two bags full of souvenirs while Jonathan carried three paper
bags containing the entire McDonalds breakfast selection. They hopped into their chairs to get a better
look at the screen and dug into their food.
Warren thumbed a few switches and more
monitors came to life. He flipped through the different cameras they had
installed in strategic places. When the screen showed the Summers' living room
he whistled. "Doing spells? Andrew, what are they doing?"
The blonde boy sipped his
orange juice and studied the image in front of him, comparing the look of the
circle and the way the ex-librarian, the witch and the shopkeeper were sitting,
with the summoning spells he knew. "I don't think they're summoning
something, but maybe trying to open some kind of portal," he paused. "I think."
"Jeez, then what are those?"
Jonathan said, pointing at three hovering humanoids that suddenly appeared.
"I... I don't know," Andrew
admitted. "If they're demons, I've never read about them. But I can check
"Yeah, do that. Anyone know who that
guy is?" Warren asked and pointed at the screen.
"The one with the hair? That's Angel.
He used to be Buffy's boyfriend," Jonathan said. "From what I've
heard, he lives in L.A. now."
"Angel? What kind of name is that?
Sounds like lavender soap and mint tulips. You're sure he used to be with the
Slayer?" Warren asked. "And isn't that Spike? What's he doing in
those stupid clothes?"
"That looks so uncool," Jonathan
"Yeah. The leather coat looks a lot
hotter... um... I mean a lot cooler," Andrew agreed.
Warren turned up the sound and the three
of them listened to the chanting. They watched as a silvery portal appeared and
Spike stepped through. Then, in a flash, the vampire was gone.
"Wow, I wonder what that was all
about," Jonathan exclaimed, when the portal had disappeared again.
"Let's find out," Warren said
thoughtfully. "I'll watch from here, you check the recordings. I want to
know what the Slayer and her friends are up to. And take those stupid things
He smacked off Jonathan's Mickey Mouse
"Hey!" Jonathan exclaimed,
trying to duck.
"What's wrong with you guys?"
Warren mocked his henchgeeks. "Mouse ears? That's not evil. We're villains,
"I know, and it's like, cool and
stuff," Andrew whined, "but we just bought them, and they're black... I
mean, black equals cool and evil, right?"
Warren just shook his head. Blocking out
the inane chatter of his idiot sidekicks he concentrated on the conversation
that took place in the Summers' living room.
"Good Lord!" - "What are we
going to do?" - "It looks so small." - "Can I see it?"
No one but Maeve took notice when the
Chronoths faded away. Everybody's attention was focused on the piece of
micro-circuitry in Dawn's hand.
"Quick! You have to open the portal
again!" Angel's voice cut through the agitated chatter. "Send me
"We will do no such thing,"
Giles answered, calmer than he actually felt. He rose wearily to his feet and
stepped out of the circle. "The spell was quite taxing, in fact, even more
than I anticipated. I believe the very fabric of time may have resisted our
attempt to send someone into the past who is already there. Even if we wanted
to send another person back, we'd need to rest first. At least 24 hours."
Anya and Tara nodded even though that tiny
gesture of agreement took most of their remaining energy.
"Besides," Giles cut the vampire
off. "I am not convinced it is wise to complicate matters further by
sending even more people back in time."
"But we have to do something! Spike's
a killer. And he's unleashed. There's no telling what he'll do!" Angel
shouted. Surely, Giles, of all people, had to realize that without the chip
Spike would revert to being what he'd always been: A killer of Slayers!
Maeve looked as if she were about to say
something, but changed her mind. Instead she tucked her stake away and sheathed
the silver dagger.
"Spike's not-- I mean, ... he might not
even notice that the chip's gone," Tara suggested timidly, but loud enough
to be heard. "And... and even if he finds out it's gone, we know he loves
Buffy. I mean, the chip stops him from harming people but it doesn't make him
do or feel things, right?"
"Right," Dawn said, folding her
arms in front of her chest. "He'd never hurt Buffy," she said with
Giles looked at the teenager. He realized
that even with the vampire's electronic "leash" in her hand she never
doubted that Spike would bring her sister back. Giles decided that this wasn't
the right time to argue or shatter that trust. Displaying a confidence he
didn't really feel, he said: "I concur. While his past behavior has been
far from exemplary, I am nevertheless prepared give Spike the benefit of the doubt.
His feelings for Buffy seem genuine." The Watcher held out his hand and
Dawn dropped the chip in his palm. He pocketed it without a glance.
Angel worriedly shook his head. "What
makes you sure he won't forget his love for Buffy and go back to Drusilla. Compared
to the century he spent at Dru's side, this chip-induced obsession with Buffy
is a...It's a crush!" He caught sight of Cordelia. She was shaking her head
almost imperceptibly and glanced in Dawn's direction, causing Angel to swallow
the rest of his reservations.
"You know, Angel's like Mr. prophet
of doom," Cordelia cut in. "All negative, always expecting the worst,
yadda yadda, it really gets you down, you know." She waved her hands
dismissively. "Fortunately, his gloomy predictions rarely come true."
"Speaking of gloomy things,"
Tara said, "Dawn, shouldn't you be getting ready for school?"
"No! Can't someone write me a note? I
mean, come on, you can't expect me to, like, study, at a time like this!"
the teenager whined. She looked around but met no sympathy, only resolved
"If you get your things, I will drive
you to school," the Watcher volunteered after glancing at his watch.
"Anya, I'm going to the Magic Box to wait for the new window to be
delivered. Are you coming?"
"Of course," she replied. There
were bags under her eyes and she looked pale from the strain the spell had put
on her, but the thought of tidying up the shop actually seemed to revive her.
"I would like to come along, if I
may," Maeve said quietly. "I could help."
"Certainly. Your help is
appreciated," Giles replied. He absentmindedly polished his glasses.
"Angel, were you planning on driving back to L.A. tonight?"
"In that case, you should get some
rest. We'll need you to patrol tonight."
in time?' They sent Spike into the past? Time travel? Now that's an interesting
twist.* Warren whistled. His mind immediately pondered the practical
applications. The possibilities were staggering.
"What?" Jonathan said, looking
up from his monitor. He was fast forwarding through the Magic Box recordings of
"Gentlemen," Warren spoke up,
"this is the moment we've all been waiting for. The Slayer's friends have
just shown us how to take over not just Sunnydale but the whole country! The
"Really? How?" Jonathan asked.
"You mean like in `Back to the
Future'? Cool!" Andrew said admiringly.
"If we can get our hands on that
spell they've been using there's no limit to what we can do. We don't like
something? We go into the past and fix it, change things to our liking!"
"The past? You mean we could go back,
like, to before `The Return of the Jedi' and do something to the guy who played
Darth Vader? Cause when he took off that helmet, he so didn't look the
part!" Andrew suggested enthusiastically.
Warren and Jonathan stared at him.
"What?" Andrew said defensively. "You said we could fix
"I was thinking more in terms of
money, power..." *Microsoft shares!* Warren grinned. With the right kind of
knowledge he could become stinking rich just by investing a bit of money in the
past. Much easier than summoning demon bank robbers...
"We could make sure Star Trek classic
never gets cancelled..." Jonathan said, warming to the subject.
"Or we could buy the first issue of
Superman the day it came out. Superman #1 in mint condition for just a few
cents!" Andrew interrupted excitedly, as more and more wonderful uses of
time travel popped up in his head. "Or we could go back a few million
years and pick up some dinosaur eggs. Except those would be real not some
stupid clones with frog DNA..."
"Whatever," Warren said,
absentmindedly, thinking of all those slights and insults he'd suffered in the
hell called high school...
Mrs. Green. His English teacher in 6th
grade, she'd humiliated him in front of class. Jody. The arrogant bitch he had
based the design for April on. Jody's boyfriend. Idiot with a brain the size of
a pea but all the girls fawned on him cause he happened to be Captain of the
high school swim team. There was a long list of people who needed to be taught
With time and an unlimited supply of money
at his fingertips payback was finally his. He smiled. With that kind of money
he could make sure that Mrs. Green lost her job. As for Jody, he could bankrupt
her snotty family, make sure they lost everything. That should teach her a
lesson, make her grovel. With that kind of money the chicks would line up not
just to go out with him but to go down on him.
Speaking of bitches. Katrina! Now that was
a situation that needed some fixing! Warren winced as he thought of the
arguments they'd had. She'd called him a loser, a pervert, told him he was
beneath her. She'd even threatened him with a restraining order when he hung
around her place hoping to get a glimpse of her, to get an opportunity to talk
to her, to explain...
He'd considered using hypnosis to make her
forget that thing with April or putting a love spell on her, but maybe it was
easier to just make sure that Katrina never met that stupid robot? If Trina
never found out about April she had no reason to leave him, did she? All he had
to do was go back to the time and turn the bot off before it could follow him
and Trina to Sunnydale. Just a tiny correction.
Warren smiled. Sometimes tiny things could
make a hell of a difference.
Giles looked at the little piece of
plastic and wire that was lying on the round research table. It was quite
remarkable that such a tiny product of scientific ingenuity should have been
able to keep a vampire of Spike's caliber from acting out his nature.
Giles tossed his glasses on the table and
rubbed his nose where the frames had left visible indentations. He had only
himself to blame. He'd been so concerned with researching and organizing
Buffy's rescue that he'd completely overlooked the fact that Spike's chip might
get left behind like Xander's sneakers and car keys. *Could Spike have known this would happen?*
He would have liked to drink a whiskey or
two. There was always a bottle in the shop. For emergencies. For a moment he
was tempted. But he knew a drink now would easily lead to more. Drinking that
cooking sherry last night had been enough of a slip. Maybe it was time to turn
tea-total all together.
Giles's open vote of confidence had been
less than heartfelt. The knowledge that William the Bloody was free to kill and
maim again was disconcerting. But not half as unsettling as the considerable
damage the unfettered vampire could cause to the timeline if he felt so
Would they ever notice it if Spike chose
to change the past? Would the universe adjust the way it had when the monks had
given the key human form? Would their memories change - again? Would the
journals rewrite themselves? Would Buffy and her friends cease to exist because
Spike decided to murder their ancestors? What about alternate universes? Was it
possible that there were worlds where none of this ever happened? A world where
Buffy had never been dragged into the nineteenth century? The ramifications
were truly mind-boggling.
"Maeve, what can I do for you?"
"Mr. Giles. There is something you
should know. About... Spike," she hesitated.
"Please, sit down. Shall I make us a
cup of tea?"
"No, thank you. As you know, I had
two opportunities to talk with him. We talked about that strange little
contraption," she pointed at the chip.
"He told you?" Giles was
surprised. "I would have thought he'd go through great lengths to keep his
... um ...handicap a secret."
"He told me."
"What else did Spike tell you?"
Giles looked at the drawing Maeve had
given him. Anya was busy cleaning the new shop window while Maeve was sweeping
the floor. He checked his watch and picked up the phone to dial the number of
an old friend. A few minutes later he had scribbled down a number in London. He
let it ring for a long time. Finally, a female voice answered.
"Miss Catrall, my name is Rupert
Giles. We met last year during the Glory crisis, when you were part of the
Council delegation who evaluated the Slayer."
"Mr. Giles! Yes, of course I remember
you and Miss Summers. How are you? What can I do for you?"
"You mentioned, in passing, that you
wrote your thesis on Spike. In fact, as I recall you even visited him in his
"William the Bloody, yes, that is
correct. A remarkable case. How I envy you the opportunity to study him up
close. Are you having problems with him?"
Giles hesitated, momentarily unsure where
his loyalties lay. In the end it was the drawing of Spike's long dead sister
that prompted his decision. "Not at all. On the contrary, he's still more
than helpful," he lied smoothly. "But he seems rather reluctant to
disclose any details about his identity when he was alive and the circumstances
of his turning. And I feel I should know these things."
"I'm not surprised that William the
Bloody is reluctant to talk about his rather mundane origins," Miss
Catrall said in a smug tone. "They're certainly not very flattering - for
"Mundane?" Giles echoed, unable
to hide his surprise.
"I shouldn't really be talking about
this. The information is classified," the young scholar informed him.
Giles thought she sounded very eager to share her exclusive knowledge.
"Classified? I should think that the
Watcher of the acting Slayer should have access to all relevant information
pertaining his duties. Miss Catrall, keeping an eye on William the Bloody, the
only vampire we know of who is equipped with a behavior modification chip, is
part of my duties. I would therefore appreciate anything you can tell me about
"Of course, Mr. Giles. I'd be glad
to. Besides, I can't see any harm in telling you. William the Bloody, or
William Crawford, as he was called then, was a librarian. Ironically, he was in
the employ of the Council when he was turned. If you're interested I can fax
you a copy of my thesis and some of my notes. I even have a photograph of him
and his family."
"Yes please," Giles said. He
supplied her with the shop's fax number. "One more question, Miss Catrall,
if I may?"
"If the Council has so much
background information on him, why isn't it mentioned in the handbooks and
"Why Mr. Giles, it's a well-known
fact that the personality of the human host is completely destroyed when the
body is taken over and animated by the vampire demon. Knowledge of a vampire's
background is irrelevant. It can only get in the way of slaying," she
answered assuredly. Then, "Good day, Mr. Giles."
"Good day, Miss Catrall."
Giles sat for almost five minutes without
moving, deep in thought.
He was interrupted by the sounds of the
fax machine as it spewed forth a slowly growing pile of printed paper.
He debated if he should involve Willow and
the others. But if William the Bloody's past was, indeed, an embarrassment to
the vampire, exposing it would be an unforgivable indiscretion. At least, it
would be, as long as there was a remote chance that Spike was able and willing
to get Xander and Buffy back into their own time.
Giles made himself a pot of tea and
settled down to research the life and death of William Crawford a.k.a. William
the Bloody a.k.a. Spike, hoping that between naked facts and four years of
first-hand experience he'd find enough truth about that contradictory... man, to
be able to predict his behavior.
After several hours of research, tape
viewing and thinking Warren was ready to involve Andrew and Jonathan in the
planning. "Gentlemen, we have a new agenda." He turned the board
round to reveal a new list of objectives:
1. Neutralize Chronoths
2. Stop the Slayer's friends from getting
3. Get Spellbook
4. Take hostage
5. Get witches to do spell
6. Change time!!!
Andrew raised his hand. "Does that
mean we're going to buy a DeLorean?"
Continued in Part 29 - Crossroads