Things Present – Things Past
By Estepheia and Marcee
Part 37 - The Walls Come Tumbling Down
*Buffy! I need to find Buffy!*
Xander bolted from the space
behind Hartford’s study and began pushing and pounding on bookshelves as he
made his way through the dark passageway.
Because he’d left his candle behind, Xander was blind and in a state of
near panic. “Let me out of here,” he began to chant. “Let me out!” He pounded.
He rushed through the corridor, tripped over something, and smashed,
headfirst into a bookshelf. He found
himself falling, in a rain of literature, through the wall and landed with a
crash on the other side. When he looked
down at himself to inventory his injuries, his heart jumped at the sight of a
bright red stain spreading across his previously clean and starched white
shirt. *Oh no!*
Xander scrambled to his feet and brushed himself off. Shards of glass
clinked as they fell. *Inventory!* He felt his chest, stomach. *No
pain. Not hurt.* Then he glanced down at the mess he’d created. He was standing on what was left of a
severely busted wooden table. Combined with piles of books and random torn
papers, there were splinters of china and glassware scattered everywhere.
Xander noticed the white linen tablecloth under the rubbish had a growing red
stain that matched his shirt. *Wine. Nice. Way to crash a party, Superman.*
He looked up into the faces of the dinner guests with a mixture of fear
and sheepishness. “Uh. Hi. Sorry ‘bout the mess.” He started edging his way
through the gathering crowd. “Gotta run, though.” And he took off through the
dining room, down a hallway, and then thundered up the stairs.
He barged into the Watcher’s room without knocking, startling everyone
inside. The Watcher and his family stared at him in consternation. Sounds of
the commotion Xander had caused downstairs clearly traveled through the open
“Get your Watcher gear. We’re leaving,” he said in the
don’t-mess-with-me voice he normally only used on the construction site.
“Oh good heavens,” Willoughby rose to his feet. “Are you hurt?”
“No, it’s wine.”
“You were drinking?” he asked astonished.
Xander shook his head. “Come on, we gotta go!”
“What happened?” Willoughby asked.
“Your host happened. That Hartford guy. He knows. I just listened to him
while he was on the phone,” Xander explained. “You never said he was a Watcher!
Anyway, something’s happened and now Buffy’s on the run. We gotta help her.
Before anyone else gets to her.”
“You are quite right, Mr. Harris. We will help her. But first we will
have to find her.”
Buffy quickly shielded her face with her
hand, watching through spread fingers as the trio swept past her. *Well, at least I’ve found something I
recognize.* When Angelus and his
women were finally across the street, Buffy stood up slowly. She carefully picked her way through the passing
public. She could still hear echoes of Drusilla’s voice; they sent chills up
Buffy followed, as close as she could
manage. She skittered from shadow to shadow trying to eavesdrop on the vampire
lonely, why don’t you make yourself a playmate, Dru?” Angel suggested.
gasped, then quickly covered her mouth and lowered her cap.
Just then, a man carrying a stack of
papers rushed past and shoved his way through the vampire family. “Bloody…watch
where you’re going,” he muttered.
recognized William’s voice even though his head was down. *Oh god, no!*
Dru turned at the sound of the man’s
voice. *My prince,* she thought as he
brushed past. She swayed slightly and gracefully moved away from her mummy and
daddy and followed the lovely yellow, lemon scented trail her playmate left in
moment she heard William’s voice, Buffy’s mind hadn’t stopped racing.
It’s happening tonight. What should I do? It’s my job. It’s William. It’s Spike.
What about the future?*
Drusilla through the city streets, trying to make up her mind. Trying not to
could save all the people Spike is going to kill. I could save two Slayers. But
then maybe I’ll never get called. Hey, maybe that’s not a bad thing. Okay, I
sooo don’t have time to decide whether or not I want to be a Slayer. And Dawn?
Oh my god! What about Dawn? I’ll lose her!* Tears
pricked the Slayer’s eyes.
Drusilla hovered at the edge of the
alley and watched her young prince rip his tear-soaked papers to shreds. She
closed her eyes and inhaled his scent; she could see wisps of his future,
glistening. But something wasn’t right.
He was overlaid. *He is special…twice,*
she thought. She also sensed the same hooded figures watching her that had
danced around her last night, when she’d almost turned the other one.
supposed to save people, right? It’s my job. But if I save him, and those
Slayers never die, and I’m never called, then really it’s not my job anymore,
is it? Besides, what about Spike?*
“Charles, quickly, run downstairs and find Harper. Tell him to get the
carriage ready and tell him to make haste.”
“Yes, father,” the boy obeyed without hesitation.
“Mr. Harris, please open that trunk over there. You will find a black
leather bag in there. We will be needing that. There are also two books. Take
those as well.”
Xander did as he was told. There were stakes, vials of holy water and
other weapons in the chest, including a well-oiled gun. He wordlessly pocketed
everything that looked useful, put the gun in his waistband and tucked the
heavy spell-books under his arms.
Meanwhile, Willoughby continued to give everybody instructions. “George,
take your aunt and look after her. Go to this address.” He clumsily scribbled
something on a piece of paper, wincing at the pain in his hand, and handed it
to the boy. George looked scared but resolved.
“Make sure no one follows you,” his father added and handed him money.
“Edward? What is happening?” Willoughby’s sister, a plump, matronly
woman demanded to know.
“I am sorry, Catherine, there is no time to explain.”
When Willoughby awkwardly tried to shrug into his coat, his sister
stepped closer and helped him. “You don’t have to tell me,” she said seriously.
“I have not forgotten our father and his strange work. Just be careful, Edward. Don’t do anything
rash. I don’t want to lose you as well.”
“I will be careful. I promise.” He bent down and kissed her cheek. She
put on her own coat then put an arm around the younger boy’s shoulder and gave
him a comforting squeeze.
They hurried downstairs, ignoring indignant stares, shoved the butler
out of the way before he could stop them and filed out of the house.
Harper and the carriage had not yet arrived. Willoughby waved at a
passing hansom and it stopped. George and his aunt climbed inside. Willoughby
paid the coachman and gave him instructions, and with a crack of the coachman’s
whip, the two-wheeler hurtled away at breakneck speed.
Moments later the clatter of hooves announced the arrival of Harper and
the Willoughby carriage. “That was quick,” the Watcher observed with an
“Thank you, sir,” the coachman replied. “Young Master Willoughby gave me
a hand, sir.”
Willoughby ushered Xander inside, where Charles was already waiting, his
eyes bright with excitement.
When the butler and a handful of other strong servants hurried out of
the house to stop them, the carriage was already on its way.
Dru?” Darla wondered aloud. “She’ll miss the ballet.”
“Don’t worry, my love,” Angelus murmured
as he slipped his arm through hers and they entered the glorious theater.
“She’s like a cat, she’ll find her way home.”
can always hope she won’t,” Darla answered offhandedly.
darling, don’t be jealous,” Angel chided.
we could punish her for her tardiness.” Darla smiled cruelly.
have to learn her lesson.”
up toward the dark man and brushed her lips across his ear. “Are you hungry?”
wisest and bravest knight…* Dru appraised her prize
from the shadows.
Buffy was afraid to peer into the
alleyway. She watched as Dru followed the same course that William had just
taken. She could see an outline of the vampire standing in the shadows,
just that William’s such a nice guy,* she told
herself. *And Spike? Well, I kind of like
him too,* she replied. *No you
don’t,* she argued. *He’s evil.*
She sighed. *Okay, maybe not so much.*
moved. Buffy tensed. *Do something!*
she prodded herself.
“And I wonder... what possible catastrophe
came crashing down from heaven and brought this dashing stranger to tears?”
Drusilla asked smoothly.
Buffy edged closer to the passageway and carefully
peeked around the corner. William was sitting on a bale of hay. She could see
his face glittering with tears. He had ripped up his paperwork. Dru was
standing calmly before him.
“Nothing. I wish
to be alone,” he answered.
*I could do it
now. I could stop her. Dust her. Save so many people.*
“Oh, I see you. A man
surrounded by fools who cannot see his strength, his vision, his glory.”
*Hey!* Buffy thought
The Slayer watched as William
backed away from the vampire.
*Good instincts, Will. Now
run!* she willed him. *Who are you
kidding, Buffy? You know he’s not going to run. If you want him to live, you’ll
have to go save him.*
“That’s quite close enough,”
William told her.
*Maybe I don’t
want him to live,* she told herself. *Maybe I want Spike.* Buffy closed her eyes. *Oh god, what for?*
“…Your wealth lies here,” Drusilla said, as she
pointed to his heart. “…and here,” his head.
*He’s good. Well,
no he isn’t. Not really. But… but he tries. And for a vamp that’s saying
something, right? He helps. He loves Dawn.*
“You walk in
worlds the others can’t begin to imagine.”
*He hasn’t said
it in a while, not since… but I know he loves me.*
“Oh, yes! I mean,
no. I mean... mother's expecting me,” he stuttered.
*If you’re going
to do something, Buffy, now would be the time,* she pressured
“I see what you
want. Something glowing and glistening. Something... effulgent.”
*You’re going to
let this happen, aren’t you?* she asked herself.
*Yes, yes I am.*
“Do you want it?”
the vampire asked seductively.
selfish,* she chastised.
God, yes,” William answered.
intend on watching this part, but she couldn’t bring herself to turn away.
William,” she mouthed into the darkness.
Spike stopped the carriage several hundred yards short of Hartford House
and got out. He leaned against a street lantern and got out his tobacco pouch,
contemplating his next move. As he struck a match to light his smoke he noticed
On the other side of the road, about 50 yards ahead, there was a boy in
a good but slightly torn suit, looking ruffled and lost. The reason why Spike
took notice of him at all was the way the boy moved. Not with the weasel-y
sneakiness of a common street urchin but with surprising grace. Like a dancer.
That’s when Spike noticed a strand of long red hair escaping from underneath
the boy’s cap.
He dropped his match and began to run, dodging loitering couples and
speeding carriages. Somewhere along the line he lost his hat. He didn’t even
notice when it fell off and got trampled under hoof.
The commotion and the swearing of the coachmen caused the boy to turn
and look his way.
A pretty face, as pale as porcelain. It was her!
“We have to keep our eyes open. She might be
“Why?” Xander shrugged. “Why should she go back
to a place where she knows Hartford is waiting for her?”
“I believe she would try to contact me,”
Willoughby explained. “Without money and papers she would not get far and at
this juncture she does not have many people in this time and place who she can
“Charles, can you open my bag for me? Get out
the little wooden casket, good. Open it. Do you see that needle? Take it out.
Careful. Don’t drop it.”
The boy followed his father’s instruction and
looked at him questioningly.
“That needle is enchanted,” Willoughby
explained. “It is used for certain locator spells. It will turn towards the
named person, much like the needle of a compass. Mr. Harris, Charles, I have to
ask you to help me with that spell, as I still have only very limited use of my
The two young men nodded.
“Now we must hurry. I am certain Hartford has
already sent people after us. In fact, they may have already found your friend,
“Spike?” The look on her face
was one of utter disbelief. “But…”
He leapt up the curb and for a *horrifying?
exhilarating?* second it looked like he was about to sweep her off her feet
and pull her into an embrace, but he stopped right in front of her, arms
She stared at him. Spike? Not William. Because, right now William was in
that alley over there, less then 200 yards away, and was having his life
drained out of him by Drusilla. No, this was Spike. With a big ‘Ta-daa’ on his
face, looking smug and proud and sappy and almost bashful not to mention
annoyingly gorgeous *Handsome? Sexy?
Irresistable?* what with those damn cheekbones and those blue eyes and all
and -- Her reverie came to a screeching
“Spike? What... what are YOU...”
She stammered. “I mean, how come you’re here? How did you get here? Is
everyone okay? What happened?”
“What? You mean he didn’t tell you?” Spike asked with an incredulous
shake of his head. Sappy Spike was rapidly turning into pissed off Spike. “The soddin’ bastard! You’d think he’d
tell you how I got him…”
“Who? What?” Buffy interrupted, still waiting to understand how Spike
came to stand before her in 1880 London. “Who didn’t tell me what?”
“Harris, who else would I be
talking about?” he snapped.
“Xander’s here?” Buffy asked,
wondering if the Council had put her on drugs and whether she was
hallucinating. At least that would explain some of the tinglies she was
“Well duh!” Spike said.
“Here, as in London 1880?”
“Where else would he be? You
mean you haven’t seen him? Don’t tell me he’s gone missing again.”
“No, I…” Her eyes narrowed. She
turned around to look back the way she’d come, back at that alley, then studied
his face. “Would you mind telling me what you’re doing here?”
But the vampire wasn’t listening. He was looking past her. A familiar
street. A familiar alley. A place he wouldn’t forget in a thousand years: The
place where he’d died, no, where he’d been re-born to a life in the dark. But
what was Buffy doing here?
He suddenly felt a chill.
“Maybe I should ask you the very same question,” he said slowly. He
searched her face, looking for the real Buffy underneath the pale freckled skin
and the unfamiliar features. She looked like she’d been caught red-handed.
Wide-eyed like a deer caught in the headlights.
“Spike, no…” Buffy stammered.
“You came here to stop it,
didn’t you?” he asked accusingly and nodded at the alley. His growing anger was
Something inside her
automatically changed gears.
“What if I did?” she
“The one good thing that ever happened to me, the thing that made me
what I am, and you’re here to stop it. Now that… ” ‘hurts’ he’d been about to
say but he stopped himself.
“Why shouldn’t I?” she snapped, annoyed at him and annoyed at herself. *Why am I arguing with him?* “Drusilla’s
a vampire and she’s killing a decent, innocent man and turning him into an
evil, soulless thing. Why shouldn’t I stop this?”
As her words sank in she
could see all of his usual swagger drain away.
‘Evil soulless thing’ - Buffy saw his lips form the words, but no sound
came out of his mouth. He stared at her as if seeing her for the first time.
Buffy felt a painful knot in
her stomach. “I’m the Slayer. It’s what I do.” Even to her it sounded feeble.
“What? You’re gonna tell me it’s your sacred duty? To mess with time
like that?” Spike spat, suddenly running on fury. “Yeah right. Tell me another
one, Slayer. What about your precious Angel then? He’s got almost two decades
of murder and mayhem ahead of him. You’re gonna kill him too? Whatever you say,
this is not about saving lives.”
Several well-dressed men and women were certain to cross the street to
avoid the increasingly loud altercation.
What right did he have to bring up Angel? Buffy had been about to tell
him not to worry, that she had no intention of changing the course of history,
but his words called for an answer.
“Then what is this about? Tell me, cause I’d really like to know. Come
on, Spike, dazzle me with your great insight and your deductive abilities. What
does Slopen-what’s-his-name have to say?”
“Slopen-someone, you know,
“It’s Schopenhauer. And yeah, I’ll tell you what this is all about.
You’re just scared. You don’t know what to feel and what to do and you wish
you’d never been called. And if you prevent this,” he said slowly, “maybe you
won’t ever, ‘cause Spike the killer of Slayers won’t be around to do those
other two girls in, and fate might just pass you by and you’d finally get to be
an ordinary girl. How am I doing so far?”
“Oh yeah, like you know me inside out. Well, I know you, too. You say
you’ve changed just because lately you haven’t killed people and because you’ve
helped us out? Who do you think you’re fooling? You kill demons because you
can. You. Like. Killing. Things.” She held up her hands to forestall an
interruption. “I know. You’re a vampire. It’s what you do.”
“No. Let me finish. It’s not like I don’t appreciate your help and
everything, but don’t expect me to forget that the only other reason why you’re
in good guy mode is because you think you love me.”
“I don’t think I love you, Summers.” He stated coldly. “I know I do.”
The declaration was as unsettling as ever, bringing with it the urge to
run away and never stop running. Because hearing it felt good in a scary
never-let-me-go sort of way.
“Maybe,” she conceded, “Maybe it’s true. Maybe you really do love me.
But I can’t be the one thing that stands between you and all those yummy people
out there. Can’t you see?”
She turned around to walk
Spike grabbed her shoulder. His fingers dug painfully into her flesh.
“I’m not going to let you do this,” he said, misinterpreting her move.
She brushed his hand aside but turned to face him. “What? You think you
could stop me? Get real, Spikey, you can’t even hit me without a big ouchie.”
“Oh yeah?” His eyes narrowed and he measured her with a predator’s
smile. “Well, I’ll have you know I can hold my own now. No more ouchies.”
She paled. Suddenly the cold of the grave was back. The smell of decay
assaulted her, making her nauseous. She knew it was only in her head. Maybe
none of this was real… And to think that when she’d first set eyes on him she’d
been glad to see him. Had felt safe. How could she have let her guard down like
He tilted his hand and gave
her a practiced smirk. “That’s right, luv. Chip’s not working.”
Images of blood-drained corpses assaulted her, bodies in straitjackets,
faces contorted in terror. Some of the surviving patients at the asylum had
said there’d been a fourth vampire, a blond man.
*’I’ve changed, Buffy!’*
Why did it come like a shock to find that in spite of all of his
assurances, his declarations of love and his attempts at friendship he’d
gone and killed innocent people?
*’Is there anything I can
Why did she feel betrayed
when she’d always known it was just the chip that was holding him back?
*‘Every night I save you’*
Why did it hurt so much?
“Oh god.” Was all Buffy could
“What have you done?” she
She grabbed the lapels of his coat and pulled him towards her, then spun
him around and slammed him against the nearest wall, unaware of the shocked
Victorian onlookers. “You killed again, didn’t you.” Her eyes were brimming
with unshed tears.
Was that shame she saw in his
“Look, it was an accident,” he blurted out. “How was I to know the chip
wasn’t working? Thought the guy was a demon!”
“There were demons in the asylum?” she asked, determined to get to the
bottom of this. Detached. Professional. *You
“What’s the asylum got to do with it?” he asked. “Oh, I get it, you
think I had myself a bit of a slaughter, seeing that Angelus was gonna get
She looked uncertain.
“Well I didn’t, but you don’t
believe me, do you?”
She paused. She did believe
him. But was she ready to tell him that?
Her grip loosened and he tore free. “Doesn’t really matter what you
think – you still don’t have the right to change the past. This already
happened, Buffy – and whether you think I’d be better off dust or not, it’s not
for you to decide.”
“Did you ever think that maybe this is why I ended up here? To fix
something? To change something?” she asked him as much as she questioned
“What makes you think all this is about YOU, Summers. What about the
other girl? How do you know all this didn’t happen just so she could have a
peek at the future?”
Spike took advantage of her
hesitation and swiftly stepped around the small girl to block her path to the
“No matter Slayer. Point is,
I CAN stop you,” Spike said.
“You can try,” she said automatically, instinctively snapping into a
He matched her move and stood
before here, almost bouncing with anticipation.
“So now you’re back to trying
to kill me?” Buffy asked, incredulously.
“What? No!” Spike frowned. “’Course not. But if you’re plannin’ on going
through with this I’ll definitely beat the snot outa ya, Summers!”
“Yeah, and then I’ll drag you back to where you belong. Kicking and
screaming, if I have to. Promised the little trinket I’d get you and Harris
back in one piece and I will, even though you’re the most stubborn, stuckup and
self-righteous girl in three centuries!”
“And you, you’re the most annoying, foul-mouthed and…and annoying guy
that ever had fangs. I so don’t know why I put up with you!”
“You put up with me? I really don’t know what I see in
you, Slayer, you’re whiney and self-centered …” She grabbed him and yanked him
towards her, but he kept talking, “…and half the time you don’t know what you
want…” – she slammed him against he wall again, but with less force, “…and
you’ve got stupid hair…” then pressed herself against him. His eyes widened
“What’s it take to make you… Shut. Up?” Buffy asked. Suddenly her mouth
was on his, frantic and demanding, causing him to gasp in surprise. Buffy would
have smiled at the stunned look on his face, but after just a moment Spike slid
his hand through her hair and returned the kiss with matching hunger.
If the earth had opened up to swallow them, neither of them would have
noticed. They certainly did not notice the commotion they were causing, the
shocked faces and scandalized exclamations of the other people that were out on
Between pinning his hard frame against the wall and attacking his mouth
with abandon, Buffy felt something inside her melting.
*So good,* she thought, when
she finally pulled back to catch her breath. In fact, it felt like coming home.
Which answered a question that had popped up in her brain with frightening
regularity: namely whether it had been Willow’ spell that had made his kisses
so good, back when she and Spike had gotten engaged… *Obviously not.*
“Was that a goodbye kiss?” he
asked warily, trying to read her face.
“No. No goodbye. I don’t like goodbyes. And Dru, well, she kinda got to
him… you… already. Um, whatever. It’s done.”
He stilled. Blinked.
“It happened,” she elaborated nervously. “Like in, you’re… um, William
is dead and Drusilla already left. No changing of history.”
“You’re telling me you got
there too late?”
“I’m telling you I didn’t
He held her hands, feeling her pulse race under his fingertips and gazed
at her in wonder. She was flushed, embarrassed, breathless but also glowing.
“Why didn’t you?” he finally asked.
“Lots of reasons,” she said evasively, but when he didn’t let go she
continued. “Just being here. Changed things.”
Spike nodded, even though he
didn’t understand any of this.
It was hard to say who made the first move but a moment later they were
kissing again. One of her hands cupped his face then found its way into his
hair, the other was still gripping his coat. Time slowed to a crawl as passion
warmed them both.
Then he pulled back and
“What?” Buffy asked with a
“I hate to break it to you,
Summers, but I think you’ve forgotten something.”
He hesitated, then reached
for her hand, half expecting her to snatch it back. But she didn’t. Instead her
fingers closed on his. He smiled and walked her a few steps down the road to a
“What?” Buffy asked.
“Hats. Lots of them. Plus you have no reflection. What else is
“No, look.” He gestured at
her reflection. Pale skin, green eyes, red hair. *Red?*
She touched Maeve’s lips and
“Somehow I don’t think she’d mind,” Spike said, very much aware of the
fact that Buffy still hadn’t snatched back her hand.
“As long as we don’t take any
Buffy smiled, very much aware
that Spike was still holding on to her hand.
Suddenly there was a clatter of hooves when a large carriage noisily
pulled up right beside them.
“Spike?” – “Buffy?” two familiar voices spoke up. And then: “What is
this? You could have mentioned that your friend is a vampire!”
Continued in Part 38 - Back to Business