Ten Years After

Chapter 19

Before Spike left the hotel, Dawn borrowed his phone and sent Willow a text; B is here. We are OK but B not happy! Dawn “That’ll stop her worrying about us”, she said, “because Will is all in favour of you and me.”

Spike told Dawn to have a bit of bonding time with Buffy; he’d ring the next evening, but stay away and catch up on his money-making contacts, they could decide when to meet again after that. “Know I told her shagging each other senseless is up to us, but doing it with her in the other bed is too much of a kink even for this particular vampire; still we’ve all the time in the world, as they say, so I’ll just be a good boy, use my time sensibly, and wait.” He said with a grin.

“You might want to be a good boy, and wait but I’m gonna be Miss Frustration – I’m just getting into the habit!” Dawn pouted at him, and then laughed as well. “Guess I’ll just cope with a goodnight kiss though”, she added, and did.

Back in the room, Buffy was waiting, and just as Dawn had expected she started back on the subject of Spike. Was Dawn sure she understood what she was doing? Even with his soul he is still a vampire. He will get bored and move on anyway.

“Hang on Buffy,” Dawn eventually interrupted, having let Buffy’s conversation drift over her head for a few minutes. “He might get bored and move on – but so far his track record is the exact opposite – Dru walked out on him, and you replaced him pretty quickly, if we are being totally honest here.

“By the time he’d recovered and got over what had happened to him, like being dead, and being a ghost, and things, he comes to Rome and finds you having it away with The Great Wanker – it wasn’t exactly Spike getting bored with you!

“And if he gets bored with me – so what? I might get bored with him first!” she continued. ‘Although probably not!’ she thought to herself.

“Spike has promised me that he’ll be around for me, when no-one else can be, and I am so glad about that you can’t even begin to imagine. Just like he was there for you in Sunnydale! And you have no right …”

Buffy opened her mouth to object.

“Let me finish,” Dawn said, with a hint of her best ‘Watcher’s Voice’, “You have no right to complain about him promising to be around for me – because he made a promise to you in the first place that he would take care of me – guard me with his life, if I remember it right. You can’t complain when he is going to do just that!”

“Ha!” said Buffy, “but I never said anything about having any sort of affair with you!”

“Yeah! Right! But there again you never made him promise not to!” Dawn concluded gleefully.

The sisters stared at each other for a few seconds, and then both spluttered with laughter at the same time.

In the end they talked into the night about ‘Highlander Syndrome’. Dawn described to Buffy all the research that had been done so far and Buffy asked questions, until she had to accept that all the signs showed that Dawn was still The Key, The Key was still magical, and Dawn was not ageing at all. They avoided any further discussion of Spike.

Next morning the sisters went down to breakfast and Dawn wished that she had Spike’s hearing to know what the staff made of her change of companion. She would have loved to share Spike’s earlier eavesdropping with Buffy, but knew that this was an area better left untouched; at least at the present, and possibly for a very long time.

Shopping was something the two Summers had in common that they could share without acrimony, and so a trip to some of the places Dawn had already discovered was the plan for the day. Just before they were due to leave their room, however, Buffy’s phone rang.

It was a call from Willow. As far as Dawn could hear it was mostly ‘Wow – you’re in Paris – how cool!’ from Willow, and then Buffy starting to tell Willow that she felt she had to see Dawn when she had got a hint about the research into The Key. ‘That’s putting a lot of spin on it, to say the least,’ Dawn thought. ‘Any more spin and it would be right out of Earth orbit!’ and she tried not to giggle as she imagined Willow’s face.

About a couple of minutes into Buffy’s conversation Dawn’s own phone rang – “Giles,” she mouthed to Buffy, and then retired to the bathroom so that they did not distract each other.

“And how is Buffy?” Giles asked after his opening greeting, “and can she overhear us, or has Willow suitably distracted her?”

“You pair of schemers!” Dawn said with a smile. “I guess Willow told you what I’d done, and that Buffy had turned up?”

“Willow did mention something of the sort, yes,” Giles replied, “in fact she said Buffy had turned up with all guns blazing, but that you had stood up to the onslaught and both yourself and Spike had survived.”

“That’s a lot of information from a one line text!” said Dawn.

“Ah, I gather she had a late night conversation with Spike. She said that he did not appear to be ... too discomforted by Buffy’s arrival, and so, em, I think we can conclude that the torch he held for her no longer burns brightly. And yes, I have just realised that that was not the most fortunate turn of phrase, before you say anything!” Giles said ruefully.

“No – perhaps not. I wonder how - oh, of course – I used his phone to text, so they’d have each other’s numbers. Wonder who rang who?” Dawn queried.

“Willow rang Spike, but she says that he was quite happy to chat for a while, just as she is keeping Buffy chatting now, from my outer office, while I get a chance to talk to you in private!” Giles replied.

“I wanted to be sure that you are all right, and that you were able to explain the ‘Highlander Syndrome’ to Buffy. Also, to be honest, to say that Willow has shown me the picture of you with Spike, and it is clear from it that you are very fond of each other. I know that he was very helpful to you in the period where you were without Buffy, as well as having just lost your mother, and I want to say that if you become close again, either in the same way, or em, in a more romantic way, I will make no objection.”

He continued “If Spike is to become an important part of your life, rather than someone with whom you just ‘stay in touch’, I will support you if Buffy makes things difficult for you. Whilst I was never happy about his relationship with Buffy, and I still believe that she is better with the life she now has, there are good reasons to believe that any relationship between you and Spike would be more successful. Including, dare I mention it, a prophecy.”

“Oh no! Not a prophecy!” Dawn laughed. “We aren’t totally sure where this relationship is going,” she said. ‘Or at least we aren’t going to go around announcing it to everybody till we’ve had time to get used to it,’ she thought. “But”, she continued out loud, “I would love to know about any prophecy, as long as you don’t mention that you’ve found it to Spike!”

“May I ask why not?” Giles said, in an amused tone.

“Because he told me that he had made a decision for himself, that he would be around for me for as long as I wanted, but he wants to tell you that himself, and he wants you to know that it is his own decision, not because of some old prophecy. So please don’t tell him it’s been written in the stars, or on some old scroll, or whatever, at least not until after he’s told you his decision.” Dawn replied.

“Not a very old prophecy – it’s in the writings of a Council Seer from the mid twentieth century. But of course much of the writings of such people have no obvious meaning at the time, and it requires either diligent cross referencing, someone with an eidetic memory, or regular re-readings to make sense of them at the correct time.” Giles began.

“This one suggests that the sun rises perpetually, and is tended and partnered by a moonchild. Very bland, very second rate hippy prose. Until you realise that this particular seer also foretold that business out in Australia a couple of years ago, and that somewhere else she described ‘the child of the moon’ as ‘a creature of the night, who has chosen an inner lighted soul where others of his kind have hearts of darkness’,” he finished.

“Cool!” said Dawn. “That’s ‘me’ me, rather than Key me, and Spike for sure; Angel didn’t exactly choose, and also – me and Angel – no way. Who found that one anyway?”

“Andrew.” Giles answered, and then continued “Although he was not really aware of your being The Key, he was aware that you had been researching Spike of course, and recognised you as ‘sunrise’. He remembered the passage, because, he said, he liked the language Frances Brown used.”

“Why am I not surprised by that?” Dawn asked. “Frances Brown – not exactly a very prophetic type of name is it?”

“No,” Giles agreed, “Andrew feels we should at least call her Brown Frances, but having seen her around when I was younger, I felt that this would be unnecessary and inaccurate – she was a rather well-rounded late middle-aged lady when I met her, with greying hair dyed a pale blonde, and a tendency to wear primary colours.

“She was an excellent seer though, and her use of English as a medium for prophecy, rather than any ancient tongue, makes her easier to read than some, if you can cope with the rather flowery phraseology! She could pinpoint a new Slayer to within two miles from the other side of the globe as well. Very useful woman.”

“Talking of very useful women,” he continued, “I think it is possible that you may turn out to be a very useful young woman yourself. Even more useful than I have known you to be for some time. Willow, Mhairi (who we have included in our discussions) and I think that you may be able to open portals with little damage to yourself.

“Of course we will need to do some experiments when you come home, starting in a very small way, and we do not yet know how we can decide where it is a portal to … but with more research I am sure that the four of us will crack it. There are times when being able to open a portal easily would be very useful.”

“Wow. I guess that’s good. I’ll have to think about it.” Dawn answered. “Would I be able to close them as well? I should think that might be very useful.”

“Well, as I said, there is still a lot or research to be done. But as a key that can open a door can also be used to keep it shut, closing, and/or permanently locking portals seems very likely.” Giles answered. “Although we can, of course, only do research that you are happy with, but it could be very interesting.”

“Actually,” Dawn answered, “I think that you are right. I want my last few days in Paris, although they will be a bit different to what I’d planned now that Buffy is here, but then I really am looking forward to the research!”

Dawn told Giles that while Buffy had been adamant that The Key was old news, she had eventually been convinced, and actually she could at least remember most of the conversation from the night before; Giles admitted that this was another Key related area he was hoping to research more thoroughly.

He finished his conversation with Dawn, saying that Willow was just saying goodbye to Buffy, and could Dawn let him have a few words with her – perhaps without listening, only so that Buffy would be happier when Giles gave her what he said would be ‘a very gentle talking to’ about landing on Dawn when Dawn had clearly requested time away from her family and friends.

Dawn was happy to oblige, and passed out her phone and then ran the taps.

A few minutes later Dawn had trouble holding back an enormous grin and going “Yay! Willow!” when Buffy told her that Willow had suggested that it would be lovely to meet up, and had asked Buffy to come and stay for a couple of days, starting tomorrow. Shopping in Paris with Buffy suddenly looked as if it would be genuine fun, if there was only going to be one day of it!

Much trying on of clothes and footwear later, they collapsed onto the beds in Dawn’s hotel room, sisterly relations restored. At least on the surface. Spike was still there like the spectre at the feast, but an unspoken agreement meant that he had not been mentioned all day. Dawn thought that this might be how it was going to have to be for some time, possibly for years, or forever, but at least at the moment it was a lot better than arguing, so she would settle for it.

Buffy showered before they went for dinner, and Dawn took the opportunity to send a quick thank you! to Willow, and ring Spike.

“Red was probably more friendly than I ever remember,” Spike told her.

“She’s a romantic, but she’s also pretty practical – I think she just sees that you and me has a chance of working, while you and Buffy didn’t, and she thinks we look cute together! Yeah, yeah, Big Bad, doesn’t do cute – heard it before, save you saying it!” Dawn continued, laughing.

“She said it was mean of Buffy to just turn up like that – totally in character – but mean, and she asked whether it would be better for you if she invited Buffy to stay. Really nice of her.” Spike went on.

“She said she’d persuade Buffy by offering her the low-down on all the Key research, give the impression Buffy’d end up knowing more than you, make her feel good! Not that there’s anything they haven’t told you, she said, just would be a good way to get Big Sis out of your hair. Told me to make sure you know that, in case she doesn’t get a chance to talk to you herself.

“Told her we’d owe her one. She said you and me could take her and her new bird out for a meal sometime. Made me feel good – fact that she was all friendly like,” Spike finished.

“Willow has grown up too;” Dawn answered, “she’d already begun to think that not all vampires are identical, just as not all people are, even before the end of Sunnydale. She was really pissed at Giles at one time when she realised that he had simply told Angel ‘No!’ about something when Angel had asked for Willow’s help, without even asking her, just because it was when Angel was at Wolfram and Hart. I wasn’t around at the time, but I do know that she mentioned it a few times in the first couple of years that I stayed with Giles.”

“Fred.” Spike said, flatly. “Angel thought she could help stop Fred being destroyed by Illyria, but he got no help at all. Bloody stupid thing is that if Giles had passed the message on, and Willow had sent Illyria’s spirit back to where it came from, we’d all have died in that alley. Now how fucking perverse is that?”

“Oh. I didn’t know it was about your friend Fred, neither of them has ever mentioned it that clearly, but I think Giles learnt something from it. Willow hasn’t mentioned it for years that I know of – they just seem to understand that anything using Big Magic has to be discussed by both Watchers and Wiccans to be sure that the decision is right these days. Well, as long as there’s time, anyway!” Dawn answered.

“Don’t you ever tell Giles that his bad decision saved me and Angel – at least not unless he’s really annoyed at one or the other of us at the time!” Spike said. “Wouldn’t want him to think it was pre-ordained or anything – or that he was right, ‘cos it sounds as if the new way is better.”

Their conversation continued for a few minutes more, and they made arrangements for meeting the next evening, before Buffy emerged from the bathroom and Dawn rang off. Buffy regarded her rather sadly. “You don’t have to ring off just for me,” she said. “I really wouldn’t have grabbed the phone and jumped on it just because it was Spike.”

“Good,” said Dawn, “but after all the money I’ve spent today I just didn’t want to run the risk!”


***


  • Chapter 20

  • 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.