Ten Years After

Chapter 4

It was a couple of days before Dawn made contact with Angel – she couldn’t quite make her mind up – phone or e-mail – or what to say. She decided to wait until the lab results on her tissue samples were ready. The morning came when Giles called her into his inner sanctum and told her that the best brains in demonic physiology and related sciences had concluded that the samples came from a being that was either immortal or very slow ageing – so slow it would be almost imperceptible.

It was the result Dawn had expected, but it still upset her. At least Giles could understand why, and did not try and tell her how wonderful it was. To watch your friends all grow old and die; to know, even with new young ones, it would be the same. Not only friends, but lovers – and how could a relationship continue as one became old enough to be the other one’s grandparent?

Never able put down roots and stay in one place because after a while people would start to comment. Even in this century surgery could only hold back the years for a finite time, to really defy age would still be suspicious. Dawn almost understood why The Great Wanker, his Immortalness, could be so unlikeable, and perhaps why he led the life he did, never being very serious about anything. But there was no way she was going to seek him out for advice.

She rang Angel Investigations in the end. She had wondered whether it would be best to ring during LA’s daytime or night time, with Angel being a vampire, and had gone for about 8.00am LA time. The phone was answered by a female voice, who explained that Angel was ‘out’ and identified herself as Nina – could she help?

“I hope so,” Dawn answered. “I’m ringing from the UK, from The Watchers’ Council – you know? I’m trying to find contact details for someone called Spike.”

“Well yes,” Nina came back, “I have heard of your organisation, but I don’t think I can help you on this.”

‘Don’t think you can, or don’t think you will?’ Dawn thought. Out loud she said “You do know who I mean though, don’t you? He’s a vampire, and like he used to work with Angel a few years back, um, and he’s known Angel for years. You see this is more of a personal thing than a Council thing – it’s just that I knew him really well when I was a kid – in Sunnydale. You heard about Sunnydale? Well Spike was like a sort of big brother figure for me, and there’s something kinda major going on in my life right now, and I’d just really, really like Spike to know about it.”

“Yes, I do know who Spike is, only I don’t actually know where he is, Miss, em, Miss who?” Nina asked.

“Dawn, my name is Dawn,” Dawn replied, thinking it better not to mention Summers in case Nina thought she was trying to contact Spike, or even Angel, on Buffy’s behalf. “Angel might remember me, although I was only a kid when he was around. I could wait and call back later when he’s around if you like, if he might know where I can contact Spike.”

“He won’t know any more than I do”, said Nina, “Spike doesn’t exactly keep in regular touch with Angel.”

“Oh gee,” Dawn said, emphasising her Californian accent, which was somewhat faded after her time in the UK, ‘I so wanted him around for my big … I mean I so wanted to give him my news, and you were my only chance, it won’t be the same ...”

“You got a big day coming up, honey?” Nina queried, jumping to the conclusion Dawn had hoped she would. “And you really want to let Spike know? I am so sorry – I really don’t have any idea where he is, or I would at least pass on a message.” She paused, and sensing that Nina was trying to decide about something, Dawn waited without saying anything.

“I do have an e-mail address,” Nina said eventually, “although I don’t know whether he ever picks messages up from it – but he has sent us the odd post over the last few years, so it might help.”

“Oh please! You can’t imagine how much it would mean to me! I’m sure he wouldn’t mind!” Dawn enthused, doing her best to sound like a giddy bride-to-be rather than a Watchers’ Council Researcher.

“No, I guess you’re right”, said Nina, sounding reassured. “In fact he may well be in Europe – Angel got a postcard from Paris a couple of weeks ago – no signature, but a message saying it should remind him of very old times. It made him laugh, a bit, and he said it was from Spike, if that’s any help?”

“Oh wow! That’s really great! Thanks so much Nina, give my love to Angel!” and Dawn finished the call grinning all over her face! Paris a couple of weeks ago, and an e-mail address – now things were looking up!


***


Giles was quite happy for Dawn to take some time off to ‘think things through’, and thought a trip to France for a while would ‘do her good’. She wasn’t sure, even yet, how Giles would feel about her hunting down Spike, and so decided not to mention him for now; except to Andrew, who already knew, and to Willow.

She asked Andrew not to mention Spike to Giles just yet, and although she hadn’t discussed the Highlander Syndrome with him, she thought he may well have his own idea about it since he’d found her all her old pictures, because he just said “That’s a pretty cool idea, it might be good for you to talk to Spike – say ‘Hi’ from me.”

She talked a bit about why she wanted to find Spike to Willow, who agreed he would be a much better person to talk to about being the eternal twenty-something than The Immortal, or Angel for that matter. All Willow asked was that Dawn stay in touch with her by phone or e-mail, and remember that Spike might not want to be reminded about The Sunnydale Years, and so he might not want to see Dawn at all. Willow even recommended a hotel for Dawn – L’Hotel du Vieux Saule, Dawn’s French was good enough to understand why Willow might have gone there in the first place – and thought it might just bring her luck. Vieux Saule – The Old Willow! It was in the Marais, a fairly old bit of Paris, which somehow seemed more Spike.

Organising a trip to Paris was the easy bit; working out what to say in an e-mail was a lot harder. ‘Hi Spike – guess who? Give me a ring sometime so we can discuss longevity!’ How about ‘Dear William, I would consider it an honour if you would deign to contact me’? Maybe not!

In the end she decided on ‘Spike this is Dawn, I’m really sorry I’ve not been in touch with you, I didn’t know where to start, and I didn’t think you could want to hear from me, although I know that’s a silly excuse, as you wouldn’t have known where to find me either. There is something really strange happening to me right now, and I would so like to be able to meet you and talk about it. You were my best friend that summer in Sunnydale, and I am sorry if I never said sorry properly to you for being horrid to you. Please, please get in touch, so that we can meet – anywhere you like, your Nibblet.’

‘OK, not the most grammatically correct, but written from the heart,’ Dawn thought, and hit ‘send’ before she thought better of it.


***


Thirty six hours later, as Dawn boarded the Eurostar for Paris, she had not had an answer to her e-mail. She knew that Spike might well no longer be in Paris, and she knew that even if he was she could just wait for a reply before travelling, but she was restless, itchy for action. She thought to herself that she probably felt very like Buffy used to when she was too wound up to stand still, and would prowl around, or shift from foot to foot whilst waiting to go and DO something – must be a genetic thing.

The hotel was fine – an old building but with modern and very comfortable furnishings. Dawn wondered just which of Willow’s girlfriends or boyfriends had shared one of these beds with her, and looked with her out of the window at Paris. Dawn had been amused when she had realised from the in-room tourist information that the Gay Quarter was just around the corner, so more likely it had been a girlfriend than a boyfriend. Still, no distractions like that for Dawn.

But there were all sorts of shops and boutiques, nearby, also museums and Notre Dame within walking distance, not to mention a famous cemetery – always useful if looking for vampires! She set out to explore.

By dinner Dawn was quite a few Euros poorer, with a number of interesting store bags on the second bed in her room, and had decided it would be a good place for a bit of sisterly bonding sometime when Buffy was in Europe. The area had lots of small streets, as well as some broader ones, and a couple of parks, as well as Pere Lachaise – Paris’s number one historical cemetery – she definitely thought it was a good area for vampire hunting.

There was a Parisian Slayer – Sylvie-Louise – but Dawn hadn’t arranged to meet her. Neither Sylvie-Louise nor her Watcher had mentioned encountering Spike, and so were not likely to be much help to her at present. But somehow an area other vampires might frequent made Dawn feel closer to finding Spike, either because it might be an area he knew well (shame she hadn’t asked Nina exactly what bit of Paris might remind Angel of ‘old times’), or because he might still be a ‘White Hat’ out there to save the unwary.

If there was no answer to her e-mail by the time she’d eaten, she thought she might go out and wander the night-time streets – after all if this was fiction instead of real-life, she should get jumped by a vampire down a narrow dark street, and Spike would appear to rescue her, and they did say life was stranger than fiction!

In the end of course it didn’t quite work that way. Dawn wandered the streets, passing the gates to Pere Lachaise a couple of times, and finally made her way back towards L’Hotel du Vieux Saule by detouring through the Gay Quarter, described in the hotel’s tourist literature as ‘the safest place for a woman to walk alone’. That’s where she was jumped by a pair of male vampires.

Although she had not inherited the ‘vampire awareness’ of a Slayer from Buffy, she did get a tiny tingle, and she knew what they were a couple of steps before they reached her. Hoping that life was indeed going to follow the perfect storyline, she struggled with them, making smallish panic sounds, so as not to attract too many passers-by, but loud enough that someone with vampire hearing would notice if anywhere in the vicinity.

After a couple of minutes struggling just enough to keep herself out of fang reach, Dawn decided that enough was enough and, when the first vampire went totally into game face to scare her, she twisted out of his grasp saying “Pleeease – that is just sooo predictable! But this isn’t!” and used the official Watcher’s Council stake that she had had in her hand since that first tiny tingle. He turned into dust. His companion turned into a rapidly retreating figure, that she decided not to chase after, and no blond vampire had appeared on the horizon to save her at all.

Dawn returned to her hotel room, shook any remaining dust off her jacket, and found herself wondering if it would blow the mind of French room service if she asked for hot chocolate with marshmallows. Dusting vampires made her feel vaguely homesick – for Sunnydale.


***


  • Chapter 5

  • 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.