Access All Areas

Dedicated to Nan Dibble, respected author of both published SF novels and of fanfic stories, who passed away on 7th March 2006. Nan reviewed ‘Ten Years After’ favourably but concluded by saying If (as I hope) you continue this tale, please give some thought to throwing some powerful opposition into the mix to avoid blandness. I thought hard about this, before finally getting ‘Access All Areas’ together, and recruited Speaker-to-Customers to provide the opposition. I believe that she would feel that I have taken her advice; the opposition in this story is both extremely powerful and totally ruthless. Curious Wombat.

Summary: Sequel to ‘Ten Years After’. A trip to Prague, combining research into the nature of the Key with a light-hearted romantic holiday, plunges Dawn and Spike into unsuspected deadly peril. Enemies old and new are on their trail and willing to kill without mercy to achieve their objectives. Spike and Dawn face evil magicians, brutal gangsters, and the staggeringly lethal assassin known as the Sword of God. Warning; although this story features plenty of the romantic elements (and hot sex) seen in ‘Ten Years After’ it also contains levels of violence far beyond anything ever featured in the TV show. Rating NC-17 for violence and sexual content.

The story so far:

In the spring of 2013 Dawn had finally had confirmed for her what she had suspected for a little while – she was still The Key and she was not ageing normally. In fact she seemed to have stopped at twenty. It made sense, she realised; if the monks had been guarding The Key for centuries putting it into a semi-disposable shell that would only last a century at most was pretty bad planning. But they had, after all, been more efficient than anyone had thought.

The idea of being ‘left behind’ by everyone she knew frightened Dawn, and she decided to track down the only person she knew who would understand – Spike. As a researcher for the new Council of Watchers Dawn had a pretty good idea where to start looking to track him down, and eventually succeeded.

After an interlude in Paris their old relationship has matured into a romantic, adult one. Buffy, although happily married with two sons, had tried to split them up; but Giles, Dawn’s surrogate father and employer, had surprised Dawn by accepting her relationship with Spike.

Willow, and current partner Mhairi, have been working with Giles to enable him to research into Dawn’s Keyness which they realise is protected by layer upon layer of cloaking spells.

A number of prophecies in records belonging to the Watchers’ Council imply that Spike is indeed destined to remain at Dawn’s side as she outlives everyone who knows her.

It is now autumn 2013.

Prologue

Ethan lowered the glass and wiped froth from his mouth with the back of his hand. “This is all very nice,” he said, “but I can’t imagine that you’ve brought me here out of the goodness of your heart. Why don’t we get down to business?”

The Ferret lowered his own glass. “Of course. I have a remarkably intractable spell to deal with. I need magical assistance.”

Ethan’s eyebrows climbed. “The word is that you possess a fair bit of ability along those lines yourself. This must be something rather special.”

“Special indeed. A cloaking spell. I can penetrate it, of course,” The Ferret said, “but only if I exert all my power. And those I tell of what I find forget it within seconds.”

“And what would that be?” Ethan asked.

“The Key to everything. Riches beyond the dreams of avarice. Fort Knox, the vaults of De Beers, the coffers of the Sultan of Brunei, all would lie open. And the defences of all leaders would be helpless against assassins. Power beyond imagining. All through one device in the custody of the Council of Watchers.”

As The Ferret spoke Ethan turned away and gazed at a pole dancer. He drank from his beer and smiled. “Sorry, did you say something?”

Chapter One

Dawn was bored. She sat in an armchair in Giles’ study, gazing blankly at a map of Prague, whilst her boss and her boyfriend discussed the relevant merits of bands that had had their heyday in the nineteen seventies and eighties.

There was something a little surreal, she thought, about having a boyfriend who looked about four or five years older than you did and spoke of those bands as if he had been at the concerts personally, when you looked as if you hadn’t been born until the early nineteen nineties. And the only piece of truth in it at all was that he really had been at the concerts; although not necessarily exactly the same ones as Giles, who looked to be, and was, well into his fifties.

‘Life is just a series of illusions,’ Dawn thought, ‘I’m an illusion – I look like a girl of twenty, I feel like a woman in her mid twenties, and I am actually an infinitely old energy source. Spike looks like a twenty-five year old, feels almost any age, depending on his mood, and is actually an infinitely old demon co-existing with a Victorian gentleman in the Victorian gentleman’s one hundred and something year old body.

‘It’s amazing that I can cope with all that without getting dizzy – especially as I didn’t study either philosophy or theoretical physics at university.

‘Still, at least Giles really is a middle-aged English gentleman. And I guess it could have been a lot worse – Spike’s musical tastes might have peaked in the nineteen twenties, or even the eighteen nineties. Guess I should be happy for him that he can discuss the merits of various Clash concerts in the last century with someone who has no trouble believing that he was there. S’pose the time will come when there won’t be anyone left that he can discuss punk music with – perhaps I should listen more carefully, ready for the time when the only person who’s ever heard of some of these bands will be me.’

But she didn’t. Her mind wandered off again, over the events of the summer.

Going ‘skinny-dipping’ in the moonlight at mid-summer had been fun, even if it had been a little less private than Spike had hoped for – but they had had the pool to themselves for the first few minutes. Although unlike the other people there they had left as the first streaks of sunrise appeared in the sky.

Visiting Spike in Paris in the summer and meeting up with Giles and Olivia so that Dawn could take their daughter Thea to Disneyland had been good.

Her own birthday party in September had been really good. Held at the riverside pub not far from Council HQ, on an evening that had been warm enough to sit outside by lantern light, but had got dusk early enough to let Spike arrive without the aid of either umbrella or blanket.

Buffy hadn’t come over for it – but then her boys were back at kindergarten, and it was hardly a big formal do, so no-one had expressed any surprise.

Rona and Vi were both around at the right time to attend and might have been sorry that Buffy wasn’t there; only that, along with the rest of the Sunnydale Survivors Society who were present, they were too curious about another of their number to give her a second thought.

Xander had been in the UK at the right time to come to the party along with Willow and Mhairi. Xander and his fiancée. Now a paid project leader for a leading aid charity, Xander had arrived three days before the party with Kirsten – the Swedish nurse he had met whilst building a hospital around the Médecins sans Frontières team of which she was a part.

Dawn was really happy to see Xander; especially to see him looking very, very, happy, not to mention smug, as he introduced everyone to his rather beautiful fiancée. She was pleasantly surprised that he didn’t make an enormous fuss about Spike being around, especially about Spike being around her. When she had had a few minutes to talk to Xander without anyone else around, at Willow’s the evening before, he had told her that Willow had explained ‘the Highlander thing’ and that Spike was still being ‘good’ and, now that Xander thought about it, Spike’d not been all that bad in the end at Sunnydale - and wasn’t Kirsten wonderful?

Xander was looking at the world through love-tinted spectacles and he wanted everyone else to be happy as well. It struck Dawn that she would probably not see a lot of Xander any more. He was not doing anything about explaining vampires, Slayers and Watchers to Kirsten, and so ‘the Highlander thing’ was not likely to get a mention either. Xander was continuing to strike out on the path he had chosen for himself in Africa, all those years ago, and a none-changing Dawn would not fit.

Already Kirsten had commented that Dawn must have only been quite young when Xander had been her occasional baby-sitter back in Sunnydale, and Xander had started to say “no” then stopped, and shrugged.

He had skimmed over the fact that he had known Spike in Sunnydale, seemingly anxious to give Kirsten the impression that Dawn must have met Spike since she moved to Europe – which would have made sense if Dawn and Spike were exactly what they appeared to be.

Dawn giggled slightly, remembering her conversation with Spike on the subject. She had threatened him with all manner of dire consequences if he rocked Xander’s boat, including threatening to arrange a night out with Andrew for him, not mentioning that Andrew was currently pursuing one of the male Watchers, with some degree of success. Spike had agreed to draw a veil over having been Xander’s lodger etc., but had amused Dawn in private with conjectures associating Swedish nurses with Anya’s remarks all those years ago about dressing up, role playing in the bedroom and so on.

Dawn’s giggles attracted Spike’s attention and he moved across the room to sit on the arm of her chair. He looked down at the map of Prague, and then raised an eyebrow questioningly. “Found somewhere with an amusing name, pet?” he asked.

“No, my mind was miles away,” Dawn admitted.

“Prague is hardly close to home,” Spike pointed out with a grin.

“So, you found our hotel, or our monastery, depending on how you look at it?” he continued.

When Dawn had started planning this trip it had been fairly obvious that one of the first places she would need to visit, if she was to uncover any information about The Key previously unrecorded by the Watchers, was the monastery where it had been held safe for so many years. She had been amazed, and somewhat amused, to discover that it had been turned into a hotel. As, indeed, it seemed many of the older buildings in Prague had been in the last fifteen years or so as it became a major tourist destination.

Unable to resist the possibility of such a ‘homecoming’ and appreciating the easy start to her research, Dawn had immediately booked herself and Spike into it as a base for their stay.

“Yes – I’ve marked it, and the three most likely museums to have relevant documents, along with the university to go and meet the Professor.” Dawn replied, bringing her mind back to the subject of their forthcoming trip.

“And what’s this blue circle for?” Spike asked, one eye-brow lifted and the corners of his mouth twitching.

“Shopping,” Dawn answered, knowing that he already knew the answer.

“Typical bloody Summers,” Spike laughed, causing Giles to look at him with a slightly quizzical expression.

Dawn thought that Giles worried a little that Spike still hankered after Buffy and any signs of nonchalance about her were noted and catalogued away in the Watcher’s memory banks as ‘A Good Thing’. It amused Dawn once she realised that this was no longer about safeguarding his Slayer from a corrupt relationship, but more about protecting Dawn from any heartache.

“Jarmila and her Watcher, Milan, know that you are coming. There are a couple of files that I want you to drop off for him as they have my hand-written notes in the margins and so e-mail would not be effective. Perhaps you could give them a ring and arrange to meet,” Giles said.

“Did he want to know what I am researching?” Dawn asked.

“I just told him you were following up some old documents for me. He is not as interested in history as he is in demonology, so the files on Pravjec Demons are more than enough reason for your trip in his eyes,” Giles answered.

His phone rang. He looked at the caller display, and said “Olivia. Have a good flight, both of you, and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, Dawn,” before picking the phone up.

“Pussy-whipped!” Spike mouthed to Dawn, as they left the room, causing her to stifle a giggle.


***


  • Chapter 2

  • The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.