"Heliophobia..."



PG-13...



Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html

Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...



Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...



With apologies to Alfred...

***

Play theme

Part I



LA...Eight months after the defeat of the Senior Partners...New offices of Angel, Burkle, Gunn, and Walthrop in the old Wolfram-Hart Tower...Just after noon...

"You're not really serious, Will?..." Illyria eyes the seated William Soames Walthrop who regards her, standing, in her favored Fred form and favorite dress, and Angel, seated behind his desk...

"You're needed here..." she continues...Angel?...She looks at him...

"William's made his decision, Illyria...We have to respect that..."

"William..." she shakes her head... "Being human does not make you..." she paused... "My Wesley was human...Gunn...Even Angel is human again..."

"I can't continue here, girl..." he shrugs... "A man working with me is dead because I couldn't bring myself to help him...I'm not much shakes as to fighting now and with my new little 'problem'...I'm a liability and a danger to you people and anyone else I work in the field with..."

I've made my decision as His Poofness said...he grinned at Angel... "But I will stay in touch...And I will keep an eye on you...So..."

Friends...He grinned at the grinning Angel... "As unbelievable as that once may have seemed..."

"Will you be going to London, Will?..." Illyria asked him quietly...He shrugged... "There was nothing for me in Rome...There's less for me in London now that she's..." he paused...

"They're not married yet..." she noted... "It's done girl...Buffy made her choice a long time ago...I was never in the running...I've always known that...As Spike and as William..."

Good-bye...But not forever...he smiled... "I know I'll never get rid of you that easy, Will..." Angel smiled, rising...And startled them both by hugging his retiring partner...

"If she ever loved anyone, it was you, William..." he whispered to him... "And saying that...Is just about the hardest thing I've had to do in my existence..."



***

LA...Drusilla's high-rise apartment...Early evening...Classical music playing softly...Drusilla engaged in sketching at an easel...William sitting at length on her sofa, sipping a drink...

"So..." Dru looked over to her guest... "You've actually gone and quit...?" she eyed him carefully...

"I had to..." Will shook his head... Why?...she asked carefully...

"You know why..." he sighed... "Spike..." she sighed... "Angel's doctors explained it all to you...It wasn't your fault..."

"I know, I know...I was a killer vampire, sun and Slayers were my only real foes...I loved one and lost her...And now I can't bear the sun...Heliophobia they called it...Fear of the sun...Fear of my past I suppose..."

All of us...Dru paused...All restored humans who were once...As we were...Before you and Angel forced the Prophecy to be expanded to us all...

"We all have our secret guilts and fears...Will, I still can't enter a church without trembling from fear and shame...There's no getting over it..."

"But when that happens, Dru love...You can just leave...I let one of our operatives fall to his death because I couldn't face...I dream of it all the time...I try to reach out to him from that awning and that sun glaring in my face..."

I can't fight that way...

"Then why not stay on as a researcher...You'd be invaluable...Angel's asked you, he told me..."

"You mean sit at a desk all day...Chair-bound...Practically a Watcher..." he made a face...

Not a bad profession...she eyed him...And it's where you belong...

"Yeah?...Well suppose I'm pouring over Malefactor Malioreum or some other vast tome...And the window shade in my office pops up...Bang...I'm hiding under my chair for the day...And the world goes poof for lack of vital data..."

Spike...she rolled her eyes, setting down her pencil... "Well, what then...What are you going to do?..."

"Don't hafta to do anything for a while...Angel's retirement package wasn't shabby...And I have the Walthrop trust, my inheritance as last descendant of the family, thanks to Giles and his Council's phony documents, much a surprise as it was...Fortunately for me, my brother didn't make out too badly in the armaments industry...Good ole Philip..."

"You could go back to writing?...Why not travel a bit and see what you come up with..." her voice was light but mildly urgent...

"Travel, eh?...You mean to forget...Dru...Don't be so motherly..." he paused...She blinking at him... "No offense, darling..." No...she nodded...Never...She looked out the window... "You could never offend me, Will...And I am anxious to see you happy..."

What've you got...he came up to see her sketch...

Whoa...He smiled at the graphic novel cover sketch...An excellent rendition of a shrieking woman, somewhat disheveled running from something unseen but obviously hideous...Nothing like putting your old nightmares or your old nightmarish existence to profitable use, he thought...

"Well...Anyway...How's your love life, Ms. Waverly?..."

"Now that's following a train of thought..." Well?...he eyed her...

"Normal..." she smiled... Oh?...

"Well, William you know there's really only one man in this world for me..." Meaning...Me...he smiled wanly at her... "Well, a part of us were lovers a very long time..."



One whole century...she eyed him quietly... "But those were two very different...Personalities...I suppose..." she sighed... "Though I'll never forget the kindness, Will...The forgiveness I always knew was there..."

"Hey, I did ask you to marry me when you were restored..." Indeed you did...she smiled at him...A slight wan look in her eyes... "And you turned me down a week later..." So I did...she nodded...

But I'm still available...he sighed... "Available Walthrop, that's me..."

He looked at the wall...Dru...he began...

"Do you remember a certain Henri Faucomb d'Vestigy...Count d'..."

Of course...she interrupted him...I remember the Immortal, William...she frowned...

"So...You are going to travel, aren't you?...To London?..."

He looked away...A somewhat sheepish expression on his face..."He...He sent me a note...Called the other day...Said it was important that he meet me, if I could come..."

About Buffy, of course?...Dru eyed him...

"I got that impression...But, it's not what you think...It's just...If she is having a spot of trouble..." he paused... "Well, who'd pass up a free trip to London and a chance to check out old haunts..."

If you'd like to come?...he stared at her... "Sorry...Ole boy..." affected accent... "Work..." she indicated her sketch... "Not the carefree days of yore, I'm afraid..." she smiled... "Sorry to have sentenced you to such a fate, girl..." he grinned... I'll bear up...she nodded... "And there are no regrets, William...Never...I am content...truly..."

Always nice to know one did the right thing with these Prophecy things...he nodded...

They were silent a moment..."Will...?" she finally spoke... "I'm sure she'd never intentionally hurt you...But...Somehow when you meet...You always wind up hurt..."

Pre-human, mostly pre-soul...he shrugged... "And I have let go of that dream..."

"You never went to see her..." "Oh, I did, once...Though not really to see her, see her...Thought the Immortal might have something up his sleeve, Angel and I did...So while on our usual world-saving mission, we swung by her place and ole Andrew...Tucker's brother...Told us about the Immortal and how happy she was..."

I see...Dru nodded gently...

"I never expected anything, Dru...I got my soul back, a crack at Heaven and seeing the family again...A rather nice piece of change and a hero's title...Plus some damned nice..." he paused...Well...Some very nice times...

"Naturally, I hoped...But when I materialized at Angel's there was no Willow chanting and no Buffy waitin' breathlessly...When I went solid...It was a trick by an enemy to bring Angel down...Though I benefitted nicely...And I knew...What I'd always known..."

"But you still went to Rome...And you're going now..."

"I just want to know that she's all right...That's all...That's enough..."

"He..." she brushed her face slightly with a hand as if to brush the memories away... "He's not souled, is he?..."

"Not exactly...Sort of demon and soul bound together as I understand it...But even ole Giles is willing to vouch for his worthy character and hefty moral sense...His career of noble service speaks for itself..."



"He's never battled anything major...Never saved the world..." she noted... "He's done his share of good deeds on the lesser scale...And Buffy seems content with that..."

"I don't understand her..." Dru shook her head... "I could see her refusing a vampire, even a souled one...But..."

Love's a strange thing...he smiled... "Nice to see it finally came for her...I hope it comes for you, pet...The real thing, I mean..."

It did...she smiled wanly... "But I wasn't available...Just my body..."

Well...he looked away, a brief pause... "How's about a movie, I don't leave till tomorrow afternoon..."

"Work..." she tapped the sketch... "But call me, please Will...When you get to London...And after..."

"I doubt that I'll be seeing her...Or that this will amount to anything..."

"Yet you haven't told Angel or Illyria that you're going...They hadn't a clue when I talked to them..."

I only decided a short time ago...he noted, a bit lamely...

"Wait...Is this by any chance related to...?...You have heard about Chairman Giles?...The deposition?..." a worried look in her eyes...

"I've heard..." he nodded... "Angel and I were both startled by that one..."

"It would never have passed...Or even come up, Illyria said...Unless Buffy had raised the motion in Council...Why would she do that?...I don't remember Mr. Giles that well, but what I do, she loved him, didn't she?..."

"Like a father..." he nodded...Which indeed he was...Especially when trying to drive off an unwanted and dangerous influence like me...he smiled...Then frowned...

"But that and the matter with Willow are two reasons why I think I should go..."

Not that I think anything is wrong, just...

"You're a good man, Will...But be careful...And don't trust the Immortal too far for all his reputation...Remember..." she grinned... "You're now only human..."

Thanks for reminding me...he grinned back...Hmmn... "Dru?...What did you mean when you said... 'There's no getting over it'...?"

She shrugged... "Just that...The doctors told you, this is the ingraining of over 100 years of life out of the sun, fearing it...It took..." she looked away... "A maniac and death to make you fear the sun...And it might take almost as much to reverse it..."

"Not your fault, pet...Never, Dru..." he went to her, gently patting her arm...She smiled a broken smile at him, trembling slightly...

"See..." she noted her shaking hands... "We all have our guilt and shame...Yours is just a little more troublesome..." she sighed... "In any case, you are not facing any more maniacs, vampiral or otherwise to see if it can be broken..." she eyed him sternly...

"Well, you know...I think I can lick it...Look..." he pointed at the blinds-drawn window and went to it... "The sun's only started setting...I bet if I expose myself a bit...Just a little at a time...I can beat this...

He turned the blinds rod, opening the blinds just a tiny sliver...See, he beamed...

C'mon...Dru shook her head, chuckling...Ok, a little more...he nodded...turning the rod again...A few shafts of golden light slid through...

"There...Here I am...Feeling the good ole sun once more...Say, I think I'll be reserving a cottage by the ocean next week..."

"Ok...Just take it easy..." she came over to him... "Next turn..." He turned the rod...The slits opened wider...



"See...I..." he paused...The sunlight on his hands...Feeling the warmth...His eyes locked on the golden, white...Harsh, burning...Flesh-searing flame...He trembled...Oh...Clenching hands as if in agony...

"Spike?!!..William!!!..." she grabbed at him as he collapsed...

"William...Oh, William..." she rocked him in her arms... "William..."

***

London...Offices of the Royal Council of Antiquarians and Library Sciences...Midmorning two days later...

William removed his dark glasses, gloves, and heavy coat...A few in the hallway eyeing him carefully...He offered his stamped pass... "Welcome to do a test on me, mate..." he smiled at one...Then turning back to the door he'd stopped at...Office of the Vice-Chairman...Knocked and was welcomed in...

"Spike...Er, sorry...William?..." the distinguished-looking 'man' rose from his desk, hand extended...

"Spike does just fine..." "And Henri for me, if you would..." the Immortal smiled... "Thanks for coming to London on such short notice...I do appreciate it..." He waved him to a chair...Tea, coffee...A drink perhaps...?...Maybe later, Will nodded...

"I...And Buffy...Were sorry to hear about the battle...The loss of Mr. Wyndham-Price was a tragedy..."

Will nodded...

"She wanted to go...See you all...But matters here prevented her..."

"I understand..."

"And we were sorry to read about your accident...That man..." Henri eyed him... "A permanent disability?..."

No...Will shook his head... "It just means I have to pretty much take it as easy as I did in the old days...Avoid strong sun...Wear eye and body protection...Try to keep away from windows on a bright day..."

Oh...Sorry...Henri turned to the open window... "No, it's tinted, I'm fine..." Will shook his head...

"I myself acquired daylight protections some time ago...Though apart from that, I never use magics..."

"So...You've joined Buffy in the Council...Vice-Chairman?...Very nice..."

"Yes..." Henri nodded... "Here am I...Practically married into the Slayer business..." he smiled... "A strange world, eh...Mon ami?..."

"You like it...Keeps you and Buffy close, I imagine..."

"No, actually I find it rather dull...Administrative details fill most of my time as it increasingly did hers until recently...Now to give her some chance to rest these last weeks, I've taken over much of her work here...I rarely see her during the day now..."

"You surely don't have to..."

"Well, one accepts certain responsibilities...Buffy is Slayer Counselor General...If I am to be with her...I must accept my role in her work...So, I persuaded her...If we had to work at it, we'd do well to come back here...I've always liked it here..." he gave a nostalgic smile... "And she seemed agreeable...Even eager..."



Will eyed the prints on the office wall...16th , 17th century London?...Indeed, Henri nodded..."I've always loved this city...Only Constantinople in its glory could ever rival it in my heart..."

"You and Buffy...You're happy to be back, then..."

Well...The Immortal hesitated... "Buffy...Found it fresh and new...Until recently...But for me...London has changed...The things that once spelled London to me have disappeared or are going fast..."

"Like these..." Will nodded at the prints...

"Yes, I loved living here then...Days were filled with excitement then...Power, color...Freedom.."

"And of course one's moral sense being somewhat less developed..."

"Yes..." Henri chuckled a bit... "But those were different times...I don't doubt there are moments when you yourself, William...Even with that soul watching over your conscience...Have a brief sense of regret..."

"Not at the current sparsity of my multiple murders...But, if you're referring to freedom, I suppose I understand...Being a creature of total instinct does have its appeal sometimes when buried in responsibility and paperwork..."

He paused, eyeing his host...

"Well...Henri...You called me...What's on your mind...?"

"Spike..." The Immortal rose and began slowly pacing the room...Pausing to eye him carefully... "Do you believe that someone out of the past...Someone dead?...Can enter and take possession of a living being?..."

Well, Henri...Considering we've both been dead...And were in the grip of our demons for quite a while, if you're not still...

"And..." the Immortal continued on, sitting and leaning back in his chair... "If I told you that I believe that this has happened to Buffy...What would you say...?"

"Buffy Summers?...The Slayer?...mumphf...ha, ha, ha..." he burst into laughter...A slight, sour frown appearing on the Immortal's noble features..."Well Henri, mate...I'd say...Tell the Slayer to shake herself together and whatever's crawled in, out...Or call in some of your magics folks...I don't see a major problem here, mate..."

Unless of course dear ole Joyce...he pondered...

"Well..." The Immortal sighed and smiled coolly... "Then you're of no use to me...Sorry I wasted your time..."

William rose..."Fine..." "Any message for Buffy?..." Henri eyed him carefully...He sighed...And stared at his host...

"I don't mean to be rude, friend...If she is really having trouble..."

"Oh, it sounds idiotic, I know...Buffy Summers, Greatest of the Slayers, World-Savior...And you're still the hard-headed, practical ole Spike...Well...Do you think I'm making it up?..."

Well...I suppose based on my own experiences, your rep, and Buffy's elevating you to fiancee status...Will eyed him...

"I would have to say...Probably not..."

"I'm not making it up...I wouldn't know how..." Henri shook his divinely handsome head...And began pacing again...

"She'll be talking to me...The happy Buffy I've known...Whom you must've known in your time with her...Then, a cloud comes into her eyes...She's somewhere away, away from me...Away from any of us...I call to her, she doesn't answer...Then, with a long sigh, she's back...Looks at me, frightened...Can't tell me or whomever she's with where she's been or how long...And she wanders...God, knows where she wanders..."

"I followed her one day...She came out of her apartment, someone I didn't know...Even walked a different way...Got into a cab and rode up and down the length of London...Stopping at the strangest places for a tourist...Old buildings but most now private firms or homes...At empty yards, abandoned places...Standing and looking out at them for long periods as if she was seeing something else...A different City..."

I had to leave, come back here...he paused... "That night at her place I asked her where she'd been off to all day..."

"And...?"



"She said she'd felt like a day off and gone to sightsee..."

Well?...William shrugged...

"I checked with the company her cab came from...After I left tailing her, she went back to one place, a townhouse, and left the cab with instructions to return in four hours...What was she doing there for four hours...?"

"Then...There are the recent events with her friends...I'm sure you've heard about Chairman Giles...But...Most of the details of Miss Rosenberg's affair has been kept secret for her sake..."

Willow?...William stared..."I'd heard she and Buffy had had a falling-out..."

"This was no mere argument between old friends..."

***

Cut to scene in London...Two weeks before...

"Are you Miss Willow Rosenberg?..." one of two policemen eyed Willow in the main conference room of the new Council of Antiquarians and Library Researchers...As a stunned Giles, Kennedy, and quiet Buffy watched...

"You'll have to come with us, ma'am..." "Huh?..."

"There's been an extradition order filed by the State of California in the US for your arrest...Suspicion of murder..."

Huh?... "Giles?..."

"Officers, there must be some mistake...If I might speak with your superiors immediately..." Giles began...Buffy remaining still and solemn...

"No mistake, sir...Miss Rosenberg is wanted on a charge of murder in the States...The murder of one Warren Alonzo Mears of Sunnydale, California..."

Warren?...Giles gasped...

"Lets go, ma'am..." "Willow, you'd better go..." Giles nodded... "We'll contact a lawyer and come right over..."

"Ms. Summers?..." the other officer eyed Buffy... "We'll need you downtown as well...To review your statement as to Miss Rosenberg...And answer a few more questions..."

Of course...Buffy nodded... "Buffy?!..." Willow stared in shock... "You?...You told them..."

Giles eyed her...Willow...

Uh-uh...Nothing...I'm sure you told them...Nothing...Cause there was nothing to tell, right, Buf?...Buf?..

"I'm sorry Wil...I felt I had to tell them...It was murder, you know...You can't just walk from that..." she folded her arms, not looking at her friend... "It was my duty to give evidence and I did that...Though I'll support you in every way I can..."

Justice must be done... "Buffy?..." Willow shook her head in disbelief...Kennedy's face aflame with rage... "Summers...You..." she hissed...

"We've got to go now, please...Ms. Summers you may come down when you can..." the officers took Willow out...Kennedy hurrying after them... "Let me come too...Willow!..." she urgently called to them, following them out...

Buffy?...Giles gasped...

"You were the one who said even with his soul, William would have to face the consequences of his actions, Giles...Remember how you told me that when I tried to get her, begged her, to resurrect him?... (Tried to?...William perked up...)...Though I didn't and don't agree that his soul is guilty...Every soul must face punishment and atone for its crimes you said...Well...Wil's certainly is guilty, it was right here up front when she murdered Warren...And she has to atone...For her own sake..."



"Buffy...You can't...Willow was only trying to help you by not...To give you the peace you needed...Reviving William, even if it were possible..."

"You didn't object when I told you about my sentencing Anya to death without a trial?...My judgment was good enough for you then..." a cold stare..."You were ready enough to murder my..." she paused... "To kill William before...You were full of moral justification and Duty when it suited your goals, why shouldn't I do the dutiful, Watcher, responsible Counselor General thing?...And help my friend cleanse herself of sin..."

"You were ready enough to murder him...You Watchers always are..." she eyed him narrowly as he stared at her...Buffy?...She was blankly staring now...

"Murdering without compassion...All for the good of Humanity..." she murmured... "I know you..."

... "And fifteen minutes later..." Henri paused... "She had no idea what she'd done...Asked what had happened, was horrified and refused to confirm the statement she'd made earlier to the police..."

Red in jail?...Will shook his head... "As I say I'd known she and Buffy...I can't believe that Buffy would've..."

"Bailed...But the trial comes up in four weeks...And naturally she is not exactly pleased with Buffy right now..."

Then...There was poor Mr. Harris...Two days later...

***

Cut to shot of Buffy, Dawn, Andrew, and Xander in the Summers' new London apartment...

"Buffy...?" Xander sighed at her... "I can't understand how you could've done this..."

Xander...Dawn frowned... "She doesn't remember doing it..."

Buffy staring at her, then him... Yeah, poor Willow...she nodded... "But then Xander, you oughta know about abandoning people you love..."

"I mean, Xander...We're both in the same boat, right?...Shamelessly abandoned the people who loved us?...When they most needed us..."

"I never tried to help William till I needed him to fight the First, was happy to leave him as Spike...You told Anya you had no probs with her past until after the last minute..."

I really don't think I've ever quite seen such a brutal dumping as yours...she smiled coldly...Then frowned...Except...Maybe one...

Buffy...The color draining from Xander's staring face...Buffy?...Dawn began...

"A long, long time ago..." she paused...Staring at nothing... "We're two of a kind, Mr. Harris...Betrayers, cowards, murderers..."

He got up quietly and went out, Dawn and Andrew trying to stop him...

"...Buffy tried to call him in Africa at the Council center in Nairobi, apologize...He's refused to take her calls..."

***

And finally, just a few days ago...

Chairman Giles...

"Giles?...That I did hear tell of..."

Deposed from the Chairmanship by a vote of no confidence...The Immortal eyed his guest...

"A vote of no confidence called for, and with the deciding vote cast by...One Buffy Summers..."



A vote she insists...She never made...Never intended to move for...

"Ok, then...She's possessed...Probably the First...So...Lets get her to Willow or to LA and get crackin' on an exorcism..."

"Mr. Walthrop...We have to proceed carefully...It may not be what you suggest...She may simply have succumbed to..."

William stared at Henri...Who hesitated...

"...the stresses of her position as Slayer Counselor General..."

"Well?...Have you had her examined?...Magically and psychiatrically..?"

"I've talked to experts in both fields...But carefully...I want to know more before consigning her to that kind of care..."

"I've got to know, Spike...Where she goes and when...Who she may be meeting with, even in her own mind..."

"All right, I'll speak to Angel...We'll get a couple of our best on it...Dependable boys who can keep their distance from the Slayer..."

"I want you..." "Please...Me?...If Buffy spotted me, your game would be over in a second...And I'm out of the business..."

No...Henri shook his head... "It would be perfectly reasonable for her to find you following and watching her while on a visit here to seek out your past...Trying to speak to her but unable to find the place or words..."

"The romantic idiot following his girl round London like a tongue-tied dog..." Will sighed...

Well, that's what I have been...Am, I suppose...

"Look, it's not my line...Even in the old days..." Well, exceptin' when I followed her everywhere at night...Just for a glimpse of her... "And as you noted, I can't follow her...Sunlight and I don't mix..."

"I can provide you with a special car...Anything else you need...You won't have to be out in the sun except when you can bear it..."

"Look, Will...We're going to the theater tonight...We'll be dining at seven, before the show...If you see her...As she is now...And you want to say, forget it...I understand...But...Please...I...Giles...All of us are in a panic about this...Talk to him, you'll see..."

"This isn't...I don't want to get mixed up in this business..."

***

That evening...

An elegant restaurant bordering on London's theater district...William concealed in the shadows by the bar, nursing a single drink...In the main dining room...Seated at a window table...The Immortal and Buffy Summers, looking elegant in a formal dress, hair tightly bunned...Talking to her companion quietly...

She got up and moved to a mirror near the bar...Adjusting her hair...

Strange...Will thought...The hair...Something about the hair...I've seen...Then he saw her face clearly in the light...The pleasant mask she'd worn at dinner disappeared...

A more careworn, woebegone, shattered, stunningly beautiful face he'd never seen since...The last days with the First...A momentary look of despair so deep as to take his breath away...He pulled back slightly to avoid her sad glance about the room...

The next morning found him waiting in the car Henri had provided, outside her apartment...

***

"Heliophobia..." Part II...



PG-13...

Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html

Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...



With apologies to Alfred...

***

Part II...

He carefully shadowed the cab picking its way through the London morning traffic...Fortunately his car windows blocked views from outside as well as screening out the worst of the sun...

First stop...St. Paul's...He watched her go in...Walking, as Henri had noted, with an entirely different gait...But somehow...

Familiar...

He managed to find a reasonably well-protected spot to park in an alleyway close to a side wall...Following it just to where it gave him a good view of the entrance...

St. Paul's...The thought struck him...Memories rushing down on him as he stood against the wall...All the times I came here as a young student after Mother got her 'inheritance' of sorts from whoever 'Mr. Walthrop' really was and we moved to London...

Her favorite place too...Seeing her there, or hoping to see her there, being no small part of why it became my favorite place...He brushed the thought from his mind and waited...

Even Spike couldn't resist dropping by...

Much as he tried to insist it was only defiance of a supposedly sacred spot...

Half an hour passed and he saw her emerge slowly, letting the other tourists swarm past her as she stood, scanning the area with a lost expression...As if a long-lost traveler returned home and found everything had changed, he thought...

Seeing her wave at a cab, he hurried to his car, got in, pulled to the alley entrance...Following out after the cab at a reasonable distance...

Odd that she would go there...

Never knew Summers to have much interest in architecture...Or organized religion...But perhaps the ole Joyce artistic genes are kickin' in at last...

***

Second stop...The National Portrait Gallery...

He slowly moved down the corridor, as far from her while keeping her in sight as possible, having decided the complex was too vast to simply await her departure...



Besides...Something told him there was a reason besides tourism that she was here...

Joyce genes or no, Buffy Summers was not that interested in art or history...

She'd halted and taken a seat in one of the galleries...Staring at something, a painting, he noted, on the wall...A portrait, he realized as he moved slowly closer...His breath catching...

He backed away...She remaining motionless, eyes transfixed on the portrait of a lovely young woman, brunette...In nineteenth century costume with a gaze at the world at once strong and bold, yet also somehow...Wistful...

A guide stood by in the hallway...He moved to him...

"Excuse me...That woman, the blonde seated...Who is the woman in the portrait she's looking at...?" Trying to maintain a calm, unruffled voice...

"Oh...That's our Cicely... 'The portrait of Cicely'...By John Singer Sargent..." the guide smiled... "Yes, the young lady's been here many times in the last weeks to see it...The only thing that interests her in the whole place, I think..."

Cicely...

"You can see it in our catalogue... 'Portrait of Cicely'...1879..."

I see...Will nodded, tapping the catalogue as he quietly stared at the picture the guide had flipped to... "May I keep this?..." "Certainly..."

He stared at Buffy...Who'd sat quietly, motionless for over twenty minutes...And realized suddenly...

The hair...She's piled her hair just as...

Buffy rose and he pulled back...Following her as she moved on and towards the exit...

***

Next stop...A place he'd long forgotten...Or deliberately buried in the deepest pit of his mind...But knew only too well...

She disappeared up the steps of the brownstone, now a law firm, as he watched from his car...Hidden from his view by the portico...

The portico of Cicely's family home...And across the street, the corner from where, over a century ago, he'd watched that home for hours on end, waiting for her to emerge so as to catch even the briefest glimpse...

***

"Heliophobia..." Part III...



PG-13...

Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html

Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

With apologies to Alfred...

***

He'd waited in the car by the building he remembered as Cicely's old home for nearly thirty minutes before impatience, anxiety, and a fortunate thickening of the cloud cover overhead led him to carefully slip out and hurry up the steps...Steps he remembered having climbed many an evening...

At the door he hesitated...It was almost those long-ago moments of panic back again...Those evenings...When he'd hang on the step, afraid to bang the knocker...Till either the next group of guests pulled him along inside with them, or Cicely's cousin, his good friend, Henry Foxcroft, would appear, looking for his shy friend and drag him in...

He peered inside...A receptionist at a front desk, in the old hallway entrance to the parlor, eyed him...No sign of Buffy...He sighed and grasping the door knob firmly, turned it and entered...

Apart from some necessary concessions to modern lighting, the hallway was as he remembered it, fine, heavy moldings and carving on the staircase railing...The wallpaper, a rather darling choice for its time by Cicely, either in excellent condition or a reproduction, more likely...He glanced round, not hearing the first "May I help you?..." from the receptionist...

She repeated her question, more a statement and efficient greeting...He turned to her, a youngish-dressed, reasonably attractive thirty-something brunette...She giving him a careful look with a slight smile...

"Sorry..." he smiled at her... "I knew this place...As a boy...Amazing job your people have done keeping it up..."

"Yes...So we get told...Is there anything I can help you with?...Are you here to see one of our solicitors?"

"Actually...I would like to see anyone who can tell me a little more about the building's redevelopment..."

"I see..." a slight frown... "I'll ask if anyone's available to speak with you...Have a seat..." she waved at a group of comfortable chairs and he took a seat...Glancing round again...Two doors leaving further into the building and the staircase...Not a sign of Buffy...

The receptionist spoke into her phone... "Your name, sir?..." she looked up at him...

"Walthrop, William Soames Walthrop..." he rose to look at some small pictures on the wall across from his seat...One, he recognized...A favorite of Cicely's...A lovely lake scene...He found a tear rolling down his cheek and wiped it away...

Thank God whatever rage or hatred I felt for her as Spike...Even he couldn't bring himself to hunt her down...

But why should Buffy be?...Did she, or Giles, look back into my...?

"Mr. Knowles will be out in a bit..." the young woman told him, putting down her phone a moment...

"Thanks..." he nodded...Ummn... "Did someone come to speak as well with the young lady who just came in a few minutes ago?...I believe she was interested in the building too?..."



"The blonde girl?..." the receptionist looked at him... "Are you and she both descendants of old owners or something?..."

"Something like that..." he smiled...

"She's been here every day for the past week...Looking the place over top to bottom...I thought she was trying to buy the place..."

"Doubt either of us could afford that...Is she in with someone now?..."

Now?...the receptionist gave a puzzled look... "She hasn't been here today..."

He blinked... "I saw her come out of her cab and go in here just half-an-hour ago...She must've used another entrance..."

"There's been nobody here in that time...And I'm right here...There's no other way in..."

"Well, could you check..." he began...A door opened and a distinguished-looking gray-haired man stepped out, hand extended... "Mr....Walthrop?..."

"Yes...Mr. Knowles..." William took the offered hand... "I appreciate your seeing me on such short notice...Sorry to have barged in like this..."

"Not at all..." the man eyed him... "When I heard another one of the family had stopped by I had to come and see...I am indirectly related to them, you see...The one member of the Walthrop-Addams family in the firm, though we use the name..."

Family?...Will stared...

"Mrs. Walthrop has been by frequently since coming to London...Your wife, I assume?..." Knowles smiled...

Mrs...?

"Second cousin..." William smiled brightly... "Sorry if we've been a bother..."

"Not at all, as I said I'm a descendant and rather pleased to see that some direct branches of the family have lasted out...Though Mrs. Walthrop's knowledge of the place astounded me...She found rooms I never knew existed, though I'd visited the place many times before my partners agreed to purchase..." Knowles was quiet, even solemn a moment...

A very charming young lady...he nodded... "American, but she still had the traces of an accent...You were both born here?..."

Accent?...

"Yes, I was...In Brusset...As for her..."

"London, yes...I caught the tone in her accent immediately..."

"Hmmn...Well...We're both in town and I guess we independently were drawn to the old place...I'm actually trying to catch up with her as she didn't know I'd arrived...Tell me, did she come by today?..."

"Rose?...Did Mrs. Walthrop...Cicely Walthrop, the young blonde woman come by today?..." Knowles turned to the receptionist who gave a slightly sour look... "I've just been telling Mr. Walthrop, she hasn't been by..."

Cicely...? Walthrop...? Mrs. Cicely Walthrop...?

"Are you absolutely sure?...Her cab is still..." he parted window curtains to look out on the street where the cab had vanished...And a slight burst of sunshine forced him to hastily drop back...

"What cab?..." Rose stared at him...Looking out as well...

***



"Mind the steps a bit...They're slick with damp..." Knowles called, beaming his flashlight about...

William followed, staring about...

Hadn't quite expected to find myself poking about in something approaching my old crypt for climate today...

"It's over here, Mr. Walthrop...Just past this storage room..." Knowles pointed his flashlight straight ahead, shining it on the long brick wall opposite them and the small hallway leading through...

"I'm anxious to have your opinion, quite frankly...We're a bit at a loss as to what to do...After Mrs. Walthrop led me here the other day..."

As a member of the family, naturally I'd like to see the proper thing done...But what that would be...he paused...

They moved into the narrow hallway...He shone his light into the second side room and they entered...

"There was, I vaguely remember some scandal regarding one of the family's daughters in that day..." Knowles paused as he looked round, searching with the flashlight...

"There was only one daughter...Cicely..." William replied... "But I've never heard of any 'scandal' associated with her..."

"Something to do with a unfortunate pregnancy, I think..." Knowles sighed... "But why the family would've caused this to be done...Even then it was quite unusual for such things...Even in the family yard, let alone the family home..."

Are you all right?...he stared at William...Trembling now as he stared at the large plaque Knowles' light had revealed...

"Fine...Fine..." Will croaked out, kneeling before the wall on which the plaque was mounted...Reading... "Cicely Addams-Walthrop 1857-1880...Amelia Walthrop, 1880..."

"It must have been a childbirth death..." Knowles noted quietly... "But I cannot understand why..."

"Neither can I..." William shook his head where he knelt...And burst into tears...

***

Having giving Knowles a promise that he and his 'cousin' would advise as to the proper disposal of the remains...William had managed to get back to his car and drive to where he could view Buffy's apartment...He pulled up a cell phone and dialed the number Henri had given him...

"Henri?...William here..."

"William?...Is everything...?"

"It's alright...Are you still at the Council?...I've lost track of Buffy and..."

"She just called me from the apartment...She's home..."

"Is she?...Well, afraid tailing a Slayer isn't quite as easy for me as I remember it...Must be the new human me...Anyway can we catch up tonight somewhere?...I have a few things and I need to go over them with you..."

"My club, eight...Would that suit?..."

"You're not heading for her place?..."

"We had no plans and I have business to attend to...Unless you think I should...?"

"No, nothing to be concerned about just yet..."



"Then I'll see you at eight..." he gave a few directions and hung up...

William staring at the apartment building door, then the window of the third floor...Buffy and Dawn's place...

If she comes to the window in the next ten...Sees me...We'll bump into each other eventually...Best to just go up, ring... "Hi, I'm in London for a few days...Thought I'd drop by..."

That's the way...Finishing with a nice sit and chat about her wedding plans...

And a question or two as to her interest in things Cicely...Including her uncovering of the tomb of...

"It can't be..." he whispered... "There's no possible way...All these years..."

No one appeared at the window as the ten minutes he'd allotted slipped by...

Right...he sighed and leaning back, drove off...

***

"And that's the portrait...Cicely Addams in 1879..." William tapped the catalog picture he'd brought out...Henri in his large chair, scotch in glass at his side, pipe in hand, nodded...

"And the law firm over by Hyde Park that she's been going to is the old Addams home..." "Yes..." Henri nodded... "I'd gotten confirmation on that just today..."

"Notice the way she does her hair..." he pointed to the portrait... "Buffy started doing her hair that way a few days after we came..."

"There are things you didn't tell me, Henri..." Will eyed him... "I didn't know where she'd lead you, my friend..." the Immortal sighed...

"Did you know the grave of Cicely Addams?...Including that of her daughter...Was in that house?..."

"In the house...?" the Immortal stared at him... "Concealed in the basement behind a wall...They opened the space up during the renovations but still managed to miss it...Buffy found it for them just the other day, the day you followed her..." Will looked again at the portrait...Cicely smiling a bit wearily back at him...

"But the name on the tombstone was 'Cicely Addams-Walthrop'...Daughter Amelia...Which was my sister's and mother's name by the way..." he watched the Immortal carefully...

"I know the story of you and Cicely..." Henri nodded at him... "Though I did not know this macabre detail...The family must have been desperate to conceal it after she died...And she found it...?" Will nodded...

The Immortal hesitated, then gave him a direct look... "Did you ever tell Buffy of Cicely?..."

"Only very vaguely...But it might explain all this...If she wanted to find out about...The past...My past...It might even be that she was afraid of upsetting you...Has been keeping her little sleuthing through London secret..."

"I don't think so...I learned of Cicely through her...And later, more from Giles...As for your and her history, she'd told me everything..." his eyes grew thoughtful...

"She mentioned Cicely?...I never even told her the girl's name...Just that she'd been someone involved in the night I was killed..."

Henri eyed him... "She described the whole night to me once...The party, Cicely's rejection of you, your fleeing the place...She knew every detail..."

Will shook his head... "Not from me...I only gave her fragments...I don't understand..."

"There is a possible, logical explanation...Logical from the point of view of we who know the other world well...Giles told me after we'd both become concerned about Buffy's behavior...She'd asked him for permission to view the Council archives..."



Will looked puzzled... "William, Cicely Addams was a Slayer, the greatest up to her time...And as a Slayer, Buffy has had some of her memories passed on to her..."

***

"Heliophobia..." Part IV...



PG-13...



Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html



Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...



Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant

Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...



With apologies to Alfred...

***



The Immortal's London club...Late evening...

William, sipping his Scotch and soda, sat quietly...Trying to digest what the Immortal had told him...

Cicely was a Slayer...A Slayer...

At last, after one hundred and twenty-five years, the pieces were falling into place...

"William...Henri..." A voice brought him out of his reverie...He looked up to see the additional guest they'd been awaiting...

"Giles..." he stood, nodding to the Watcher Chairman, well...ex-Chairman, he thought, who moved to him, offering a hand...

"I'm grateful you were willing to be involved here, William..." Giles said, hesitating... "I know it must not be easy..." Will waved a hand...

"I'm glad to do it, if I can help at all...But you two..." he eyed them both... "Have to start telling me everything you know..." Giles nodded, taking a seat...A waiter moving in quickly to take his order...

"What little we do know..." the Watcher looked at Henri... "What have you told him?..."

"Until tonight...Nearly everything except what you asked me to reserve...And he has today learned something...Startling...From his watch on her..."

Giles eyed William...Thanking the waiter as the man set his drink down...

"I'm not sure what it may mean..." Will began... "But she's been poking around an old...Friend of mine's...Cicely's...Miss Cicely Addams' old place...The family townhouse, now a law firm..."

Yes?...Giles nodded, waiting...



"She...Found something there...The day she spent hours there...When Henri followed her..." he stared at the Watcher... "She's been going back almost every day since to see it..."

"Cicely's grave...Hidden behind a false wall in the basement that was opened during the renovations..."

I see...Giles sighed...

"William..." he paused... "If Henri has told you about Cicely...Her being a Slayer...And about Buffy's recent behavior...Then you can see that whatever is really going on here, we may be dealing with something potentially very dangerous to Buffy...Spiritually, mentally, even physically..."

It's important that we know more about your own relationship with Cicely Addams...

"My relationship with Cicely?..." Will shrugged... "The memories are so fragmented now Giles, I can't tell you everything...I loved her, that much I know...And thought, for a little while, that she...But to the best of my knowledge, then at least, was proved wrong in emphatic terms..."

Still, he thought...Impossible to believe that Buffy...Even as bearer of the memories of a predecessor Slayer...

Henri eyed him but said nothing...

"She took your name...We know that much from the Council archives...Will, were you actually married?..."

"For a day...Maybe two...I can't remember clearly now, Rupert..." he tried to think... "Then she decided I was not...That she'd made a mistake...And let me know the night I thought would be the night we'd leave London...Together..."

He waved a hand... "But a lot of it could be my own fantasy...After all these years...I don't know any more..."

"On that tombstone she bears your name...As does the child..." Henri spoke quietly... "That is hardly a fantasy..."

"Child?..." Giles' hand froze in lifting his drink...He giving William a steady look despite the slight paling of his face...

"Your child?..."

"I...Suppose so...Maybe..." William glanced over to one of the large club windows looking out on the busy London street below...When was the last time I'd...Spike...Had seen London at night...?

We'd kept away from here as much as we could back then...Even Dru could barely drag us back for short visits...he sighed softly, watching the cars and pedestrians...

"So the child was yours..." Giles shook his head... "My dear God..."

"Could it...If Cicely was a Slayer?...Could it be the memories, pressing in on her?...I mean, we having a history together and all?..."

Giles nodded... "That was Henri's and my own assumption, after we'd come to suspect whom she seemed obsessed with...But this goes so far beyond the vague impressions and guidance a Slayer normally receives..."

"You two..." William looked at them... "You actually believe Cicely is...Or has...Taken her?..."

And because of me?...Because Buffy and I...

"That is one explanation..." Giles eyed him... "And if Henri didn't speak of Cicely immediately, it was because I asked him not to...I felt it was best that you follow her with an open mind, if you did agree..."

"And not immediately refuse this one, on hearing that particular name..." Will gave a faint smile which Giles returned... "Cicely rejected me, Giles...She'd have no reason..."

That predecessor Slayer...Who must've...Yes...She was...She was trying to save me...



And so I...Yes, William Walthrop was beloved...

Once, long ago...He knotted his fingers...

I must get out of here...Walk, run...Anything to block this...But he eyed Giles and remained seated...

"Perhaps you don't have all the facts...In any case, guilt and remorse are powerful motives, William...And if she was buried with your name, with your child beside her...I think we have to consider she felt at least both before her death...But there are other factors here...And other possible explanations..."

"Meaning?..."

"Buffy was deeply and profoundly upset by your destruction, Will...She blamed herself, Angel, and I'm quite sure now, all of us...But herself most of all...Above all the fact that you died not believing her...What she told you that day..." the Watcher paused...

Trying to save me, believing she'd killed and condemned me forever...That I'd believed her useless lie...And hated her...

Bore my poor child...And...Cicely...My poor, poor Cicely...

"We were concerned to the point of being afraid for her...Her life as well as her sanity...Those were terrible days, Will...We soon found we could not let her go out alone, she was far too unstable and depressed...Dawn was terrified... "

And now, Buffy...Believing I...Did not believe...

"You saw and helped to save her that year she came back to us...I wasn't there most of that time, much to my regret...But Willow and Dawn can testify that she was far worse this time...As in that year, it was largely the work...The need to help the thousands of new Slayers pouring in on us, desperate for instruction and guidance, that saved her...Until finally someone appeared who helped her find her way back to us...For a time, at least..."

"Sterling as Henri here's record is..." the Watcher smiled at the Immortal... "We were rather more willing to accept anyone who could lift her spirits back then...Though we kept a strict eye on them for some time..."

And we thought, hoped...She'd regained some of her old joy of life...And her balance...Until she came to London...And things began taking their present course with her...

"And this all started after she came here?...I mean after she'd recovered from...Me..." William gave a wan smile... "What does Dawn say...?"

"After she'd come here, to the best of our knowledge, yes...Dawn unfortunately has been at school the past year...She was accepted for early admission at the University in Milan...Art studies...But it's the timing of Buffy's...Interest in Ms. Addams, er...Mrs. Walthrop..."

"Timing...?"

"It was just after she'd learned you were alive, in your fashion...Had been alive for months, and that as a result of your group's victory over the Partners, you and Angel had regained your humanity and restored it to all members of the Angelus pride...You, Angel, Drusilla, and all of the victims since of that notorious clan..."

"She didn't know...Before?..."

"It was only that Andrew came to me after the Council meeting where we'd agreed to send what help we could to Angel in LA...When we'd realized he'd been playing the Partners to ferret out their tools, the Black Thorn, and sent all the local Slayers we could contact...In my office, just afterwards, he told me...With Buffy there..."

He looked at William... "She was...I'd thought she'd recovered almost completely...And saw in an instant what a fool I'd been to think so..."

It was too late for her to go to LA...Though for the first time in our relationship, she threatened me...And poor Andrew...If we didn't find some way to send her...The battle was already engaged...

"And won, thanks to your group's courage and skill...I do owe Angel an apology, I know..." he sighed...



"The Partners were a lot of bloody cowards, Giles...It was desperation that brought them out...On your Slayers' arrival they couldn't run back for their escape portal fast enough..."

"Well...In short, we quickly learned...In part through my vice-Chairman's contacts..." he eyed Henri... "That the fight was won and you and Angel had briefly disappeared and just as quickly, returned, human..."

She then took Andrew back to her apartment...And as best as I can tell from what he told me later...Nearly terrorized the life out of the poor boy until he told her everything he knew...

"Then she locked herself in her room...I...Dawn...And Henri all tried to speak to her...She simply refused...I tried suggesting she call you, offered to call you myself...She told me...Though the door..." he paused...

That it was my fault...And the Council's...We...Cynics, liars, murderers...Had made her a murderer...Had done this to her...And you...

"And she'd have vengeance on us...Oddly enough, it was the way she said it...Calmly, unemotionally...Perfectly rational..."

And with a slight British accent...he shook his head...

A day later, she came out...Seeming perfectly normal and unperturbed...Apologizing for having being so childishly upset over your sensible behavior in not trying to rake up the past, begging everyone's indulgence...Though she'd seemed to have forgotten what she'd said to me, her threat...Only mentioning briefly to me that it was a shame you hadn't come to visit...How nice it was you and Angel had finally been properly rewarded...In my fool's eagerness to see her make a rapid recovery, I did not press the matter...

"It was only later I learned she'd ordered surveillance on you...Assigned four local Slayers to seek work at your new place..."

Really?...Will stared...Those four, eh?...

Thought those new girls seemed rather agile...

"They were quite eager about it, apparently...A chance to meet the famed William, whom of course all of them had vague memories of...And thought I must have approved the orders, which is why one reported to me by phone one day when Buffy was out..."

And asked me how Buffy was taking the news about you and Drusilla...

Henri stared at Will...Who frowned and shifted a bit now in his chair...

"Apparently...She'd taken news of your engagement rather well...At least she gave no sign...Hadn't even mentioned it to anyone...When I did confront her about the surveillance orders, she apologized for being foolish...Just had wanted to be sure all was well in LA and I was welcome to pull them out...Which I did, as discreetly as possible..."

Actually, Clem and Marie are still workin' for us...Will chose not to mention...

"But when I told her a week later that I'd talked with Angel and you and Dru were not to be married...I could tell somehow she'd already known...Though she put on a pretense of surprise..."

Odd...Giles smiled thinly... "I'm afraid the thing that bothered me most was that for the first time, in situations outside of confrontations with deadly creatures, she'd taken to concealing things, even to the point of lying to me..."

"But, after that, we'd hoped things would settle...She seemed to be happy and enjoying her new city...Then Dawn told us, before returning to school in Milan, that she'd been acting a bit...Oddly, at times...Nothing serious, she thought...Or hoped might be the better word...Just winking off at times, a bit hard to pull out of the fog, and heading off at random times...We noticed as well...Did what we could to observe her..."

She'd begun her current series of behaviors...Which grew worse, rapidly...The fugues and blankings out at odd moments, the wandering about London, the sporadic changes in dress and walk and manner...And the incidents with us...Willow, Xander, myself...

"Well...Have you tried...?" William lowered his voice as a club member passed near... "Have Willow or your people on the Council?..."



"Only from a distance...Carefully...Without success, I'm afraid, possibly owing to her altered aura since her resurrection...And we were lucky to manage that...Even when she was so upset over what'd happened to Willow, Buffy bridled at the vaguest suggestion of an examination ...Occultly or..." Giles paused... "We have talked to doctors as well...With equal care..."

"So Henri has told me..."

"She won't seek help on her own....And we can't force her to seek any kind of treatment without more to go on..."

"Which is where I come in..." Will sighed...

"It's to help, not hurt her, Will..." Giles eyed him...Then turned to the Immortal...

"Henri, if I may speak to William alone..."

By all means...the Immortal waved a hand... "I must place a few calls to my own staff in Rome and Brussels..."

William...he offered a hand as he rose... "I know this affair has been difficult for you...And is for us all...But I appreciate all you've done and will do...I'll be in touch..."

"Nice chap...For the semi-souled..." Will noted, watching the Immortal's exit...

"We are as confident of him as we can be...His work with the Council has been diligent and fruitful...Besides that and his long record of past service to Humanity, his affection and concern for Buffy over the past months has seemed real..."

"As was Spike's..." William eyed the Watcher...

"I haven't dropped my guard with him completely, William...If that's what you mean...As with Angel, for a time, I've accepted that Buffy's needed him and I trust in her judgment...To a point..."

That never included me...Will smiled... "But I understand, Giles..." he put up a hand... "Buffy was in the fight of her life and Spike was not one to drop one's guard with..."

"If the situation had been different then, Will...If I'd had more time to understand what you'd managed to do in winning back your soul..."

I am sorry that I failed to see then... "Buffy was...Is...Lucky to have you still keeping watch, Rupert..But you...And Willow...Are sure no magics are in play?..."

"Nothing we can detect...And we have screened for everything we know of..."

"Then...When Buffy...When she goes to these places...Acts as she has..."

"For whatever cause...She is no longer Buffy..."

William stared at the solemn face...And rubbed his forehead briefly...Taking up his drink...

"I think I need this..." he gave a wry smile...

***

"Heliophobia..." Part V...



PG-13...



Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html

Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

With apologies to Alfred...



***



The next day, morning...On the street level, an old, somewhat Dickensian bookstore in downtown London...

In the depths, the secret repository of some of the Council of Watchers' more valuable archives...Thus spared the disaster of Caleb's bombing...

Run as a legitimate business by a retired former Chairman...Hans Axton...A iron-grey haired man in his mid seventies, lean and spare but clearly strong in body and character...

Now the Council's chief historian...Who greeted his fellow Councilor and former protege...And his young Watcher candidate who'd manifested great curiosity in the tragic career of a certain famed past Slayer...

"Yes..." Axton nodded to fellow ex-Chairman Giles who, at Will's insistence on more information on the events surrounding Cicely's fate, had led the two of them here...



"I remember the story...Cicely...The beautiful, glorious Cicely...

The sad, lost Cicely...

It is not an unusual story among Slayers..." he sighed...Offering cigarettes from a handsome case which were refused, he lit one...

"Though she was the greatest of them all..." he was silent a moment, moving slowly among his books...Ah...he smiled, pulling out a small volume...

"And here she is..." he opened it to a page about one-third inside of the book...William peering to see the same portrait he'd seen at the National Gallery... "There are not many pictures of our poor, too-often-young ladies available before 1900...But she was the daughter of Sir Richard Addams, a prominent politician and businessman of the day...And in her brief time, a queen of London society..."

"It was indeed with considerable trepidation that the Council had accepted her in 1870, at thirteen, as the new Slayer...Her family being so prominent...They much preferred a girl of no name, connections, or fortune..."

Perhaps...He smiled briefly at Chairman Giles...We still do...

"Though then as now there was of course little choice in the matter..."

"Little...But some?..." Will eyed the man...Who gave another cool smile...Slightly cynical, but weary...Even, perhaps...A slight touch of shame...

"Some...Yes, my young friend...There is always something we Watchers can do to influence events..."

Not always to our credit...he sighed...But looked steadily at the slight blonde man, then to Giles...

"Sorry to interrupt..." Will waved a hand... "You were saying..."

"Yes..." Axton closed the book with some reverence and returned it... "The Council of her day feared her ties to the world might well distract her from her duty...Meaning of course that she might, as Slayers sometimes do, choose not to blindly follow the path we would set for her..."

We honor our Slayers when they fit the mold of our choosing, he smiled...But when they stray...Seek their own way...Or openly defy us...

"And she did all three...?" Will asked quietly...

"In time, yes..." Axton nodded... "She sought freedom...A normal life-span...Love and human ties...All the things denied these heroic women in the name of Duty and Humanity..."

And, in the end...All was denied her...

"And we, who should have been her strength and support...Betrayed her to the very foes we claimed to hate...All in the name of Humanity's safekeeping..."

He eyed William carefully... "After her activation...Though she continued her developing, superficial life as a prominent member of Society...She was placed in the care of one of our greatest Watchers...Simon Farris...A great scholar, a sorcerer and magics practitioner of quite considerable power...Though officially such things were claimed to be frowned on by the Council..."

As they are today...he smiled, a bit more warmly now, at Giles...

"A man well versed by years of experience in the field in handling... 'troublesome'...Slayers and the most ambitious and duplicitous of men...Though he concealed his drive for power quite well for many years..."

He saw in her the potential to create the greatest Slayer of them all...Sensed latent power in her that could not only save the world...But conquer it...

"And he planned to make himself master of that power...In due course..."

A man as patient as he was ruthless and powerful...

"And when the time came that she rebelled against her fate...As in fact he'd hoped she would...But sought to reject him as well...He destroyed her and threw her away..."

It could be done in those days, you know, in the dark corners of that age...Axton smiled sadly...

"Even with a Cicely Addams, strong as she was, for all her Slayer power...We of the Council held the real power...The dominance of Society and Government, the well-placed connections, the confidential agents in every nook and cranny ...Yes, we had the power...And the freedom to do as we pleased..."

Poor, poor child...She never really had a chance...

"But what exactly...?"

"She met a young man...Not much older than you...A poet, a student, a gentle fellow who won her heart without, they say, even fully realizing he had..."

I can not tell you how much time passed...Or how much happiness there was...

"But in the end...Farris learned of her beloved...And her plans to leave with him...And passed what he'd learned onto the Council...Which collectively sanctioned him to take all measures he deemed necessary..."

Within reason and moral constraint, of course...he smiled coldly...

"To return Miss Addams to her proper path...Or, if absolutely necessary..."

See that a new Slayer was brought in to do her duty...Will finished...

"Within moral constraint, sir...Of course, Humanity's protection being the highest of moral purposes..."

"And this Farris...Killed her..."

"Oh, far worse, my friend...God knows, far, far worse...And bringing everlasting shame on us all...For you see, Simon Farris, man of steel and ice that he believed himself to be, had only one flaw...To his way of thinking...He loved her, his creation as he took her to be...And when she rejected him for this man, this younger man...An insignificant poet and the son of a servant raised only by the modest legacy of whoever his father had been...He took the most brutal revenge he could conceive..."

Taking advantage of her own fears for her lover and the guilt she felt in leaving our control...Those feelings in her he knew so well...Using them to make her an instrument in the poor fellow's, her beloved's, destruction...Condemning this innocent man to the darkness...While she believed all the time until he met his hideous fate as one of the Undead, that she'd been working to save him...And was to blame for his condemnation...

Axton paused, thinking... "And then...There was a child, I think...Yes, a child..."

I believe...Though I cannot confirm...That the two lovers had secretly married before poor Cicely took counsel of her fears and went to her Watcher for aid...

"After the poor boy had been made to believe that his lover had rejected him, and met his terrible fate at the hands of the insane, pathetic Drusilla...Another poor innocent we failed, God forgive us...She realized she carried his child...And so, could not, though she did attempt it, find her lover's foully demon-possessed body and free his soul..."

A soul she learned, in trying to contact it by every means available, had not fled this world to Limbo or Heaven as most do on transformation...But had stayed on, tied to its demon...Seeking...

"Her..." Will eyed him...

"Or at least some explanation...an answer to why he'd been abandoned and hurled into the void..." Axton nodded...He paused to drag on his cigarette, looking out the large shop window to the street...William carefully keeping back from the streaming sun...Giles quietly, intently listening from where he stood...

"Naturally, still trusting in Farris, her Watcher...And second father...She sought his aid...And revealed her final secret..."

"The child she carried...Her lover's...Her husband's child..."

Yes...

"Of course..." Axton pondered... "Farris may still have cherished hopes of winning her back, now that the young man had been made a loathsome monster...But with this news, he knew he'd lost her forever...He acted with deliberation...Reported this interesting development to the Council, noting that Cicely had told him...And was quite capable of doing so...That she would spend her life if need be in tracking down the monster she'd created..."

And freeing him...One way...Or another...But she would not settle for simply destroying him...She was determined to try and find a way back for him...If any could be found...

"She was therefore...No longer of use to our Council of Watchers...And Humanity's protection demanded that steps be taken..."

She was abandoned...Though carefully tracked for a time...Even we had to take our time in such matters with such a prominent, even if disgraced, young lady...

"Most of her family had turned from her after her condition became obvious...She was practically alone but for a cousin who stood by her to the end..."

"And so...She became the sad, tragic Cicely...Disdained by the world she'd known, abandoned by those who best knew what she'd done for Humankind...Searching endlessly, even as her body began to fail her, for him...Vowing never to give up that search until the day came she found she could not keep that pledge..."

In this life...

"So...They killed her..."

"We killed her..." Axton said simply, nodding... "And the child she carried as well..."



"I see..." William looked away a long moment...Giles watching him...Then turned back to the bookseller/historian... "Thank you..."

"There are many such stories, my friend..." Axton sighed...

"Yes..." Giles spoke up after a brief throat clearing... "Well, Hans...I thank you..."

"Of course, Rupert..." Axton smiled...Then stared at William who'd moved for the stairs back down to the basement exit...He and Giles having carefully placed Henri's sunlight-proof car in the covered alley behind there...

"It is you, isn't it...Mr. Walthrop?..." he asked quietly...

Yes...Will nodded...

"I thought so...I've heard the stories of your recent years..." he hesitated...

You were worthy of her, sir...he bowed slightly...

***

"Heliophobia..." Part VI...

PG-13...

Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html

Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

With apologies to Alfred...

***

That evening...

"So let me see if I understand this..." the voice on the line paused...William looking from the hotel phone in one hand to the portrait catalogue open in his other...Cicely smiling gently and wearily out at him from the page...

My God, I'd forgotten how beautiful she was...He carefully traced the face staring at him...

"The idea is that this dead Slayer...This Cicely Addams...Has returned from the grave and is looking to set up shop in the body of Buffy Summers...?"

"Dru..." Will sighed at the phone... "It's not that far-fetched, given Cicely was a Slayer...And I'm not telling you what I think but what Giles and the Immortal think..."

"Well, what do you think...?"

"Well..." he hesitated...

"I see..." Dru's voice was a bit cool for a fraction of a second then brittlely humorous... "Will, come on...You can see Buffy Summers surrendering to some past Slayer's ghost?...She's been dead herself before...."

Silence...

"Is she still...Is she as beautiful?..."

"Cicely?..."

"No...Not Cicely...C'mon Will...Are you still finding her...?"

"Buffy never changes...But the issue here isn't..."

"The hell it's not..." the voice had warmed...Even a trace of anger... "You are the biggest fool on Earth, William Walthrop..."

"I'm concerned about her...Sue me...She's an old..."

"If you say 'friend'..." Dru was curt...

"Lover..." he replied... "And I care about my ex-s...All of them..."

Just wish I'd done a bit more to help poor Harmony...he sighed... "Dru?..." The line was still...

"I suppose I deserved that..." a wan voice...



"I don't mean anything but that I do care..." he told the phone... "And you have to accept that I have to be sure she's all right..."

Dru?...

"Yes..." a stilted reply...

"You must know, love it's not an impossibility...And Summers was always vulnerable to love's supernatural forms...She may be the greatest Slayer but she's fallen before to spells and the like...Angel told me she and he were even possessed once while Angelus was running his show for a bit the year we ...Our counterparts...Came to Sunnydale..."

"Meaning the Immortal or someone else could have had something to do with it..." she noted firmly...

"I doubt it...Though we're keeping track of him...And any potential enemies we know of..."

"You ought to forget the whole thing...Come home...If it's psychological, her friends and family can deal...If it's occult, you no longer can..."

"I'm human again but not totally ineffectual...And I know them both...Besides, even Giles seems to want me involved..."

"He would...Will, Rupert Giles cares about Buffy Summers and his council and very little else...Least of all you..."

"I'm well aware of that, love...But we're working for the same goal..."

I see...Dru's voice, defeated, hung for a moment while she pondered...

"William?...You knew this Cicely?...Was she the girl...? "

"Yes...The girl Spike told your counterpart about..."

"Do you love her?..."

"Buffy?..."

"Will...You know I mean Cicely..." Dru corrected, slight exasperation in her voice... "Do you love her?..." A pause...

"Do you want her back?..."

"I..."

"Are you glad that she's back, Will?...If she is..."

"Not if Buffy suffers as a result..."

"But as far as I remember of the little I or my counterpart knew on the subject...The possessed...If they don't struggle..." Dru's voice was careful...

May welcome the spirit seeking them...

"Buffy wouldn't...Not voluntarily..."

"If she loved you?...Knowing about Cicely....?"

"She didn't...At least not from me or her friends and family here...And they've said she seems to have no idea what's happening to her...Is afraid herself..."

"Will, you're dragging yourself and your poor heart right back to the abyss..."

"Not helpin' love...Though I know you mean well...I'll be fine...I am fine..."



"All right..." the voice on the line whispered... "Shall I come?...I think I could get away for a few days now..."

"Perhaps later, girl...I've got my hands full right now..."

"I mean, to help Will...I can follow her anywhere in daylight, you know..."

"I think it's best I remain the sole watchdog for now...Henri's right...She might suspect something if others were following her, but if she catches me or I pay a call, it's just annoying pest William bothering her about that little casual remark she made one..."

"Don't joke about it!..." the voice on the line was harsh and cold... "However little it may mean to her, it meant everything to you...And she was thoughtless at the very least to say it and not mean it, you dying or no..."

Unless...Dru hesitated... "It did mean something to her...I know you're still hoping..."

"No...I am not...But it's enough that I love her...She doesn't have to love me...And yeah, I am a fool...Always was..."

"How serious was it?...You and that Cicely?...You always joked about her, I vaguely remember...But I also remember you'd always brush me off, even try to distract me...It...With gifts and things...When It tried to encourage you to go after her..."

"Maybe Spike sensed she'd be too much for us...Guessed she was the Slayer..."

"And maybe some shred of you still loved her too much...I know It was sure Spike still thought of her...It wasn't until we found out she'd died that she stopped worrying..."

"You..." he paused... "Your counterpart tried to hunt her down?..."

"My demon was not inclined to share Will...Not even with memories...But...The day you found that notice in the Times..."

"I didn't exactly run out and try to raise her from the dead, girl..."

"But you did cry for her...I remember now...That one tear on your cheek...It hated you for that...Wanted to punish you and did...For days...But somewhere...Something still...Felt so sad for you..."

"And I do remember that, love..." he replied...

"How serious was it, William?...She didn't despise you as you...Spike...Claimed...That's obvious...Did she love you?..."

"I think so...Yes..." he gripped the phone a bit... "Yes, I know she did..."

"I'm sorry...Will...I'm so sorry...Please, can't I come?...I'll make no trouble for you or her...I just want to see that you're all right..." her voice turned a bit wanly ironic in tone...

That's enough for me...

"Dru..." he sighed at the phone...

"All right...Though I don't promise not to keep an eye on you...In fact, I think I may have a look at that Sargeant portrait if I can find it on the Net...Take care, Will..."

"Girl..."

"Bye..."

He took one more look at the portrait and putting the book away, sat by the window, watching the London night traffic slip by on the streets below...

***



The next morning...Outside Buffy's apartment...

William sipped from his coffee, reading a paper as he sat in his car...Nice to see our stock's up again...Smiling at the passing policewoman who eyed him sternly a moment...

Three mornings in a row parked in a spot on the same street was getting to be a bit much...Best to consider a new tracking spot, or have Henri find him a place in the neighborhood, he realized...But she moved on...

Buffy emerged suddenly from the front door of her building, startling him with her black outfit...

Not just black, but a black dress, complete with veiled hat...Not exactly widow's weeds but damned near close enough...

A bouquet of flowers in her hand...

A slight cold cloud crossed over his heart...Just the barest touch of fear...As she headed for the first cab parked on the street...Not waiting for the attentive building doorman to rush out for her...She climbed in and the cab pulled off...

He hurriedly pulled out...Trying to seem as casual as possible and maintaining a few cars between him and the cab...Hmmn...Not making for Cicely's old townhouse or any of her other London haunts...

Euston station...He suddenly realized...They're making for Euston station...

The trains for the Lake District...

She's going...No...She could be going anywhere...Sightseeing...

In mourning dress?...Well, so...Black suits her...He headed for the parking garage...With little fear now of losing her as she got out of her cab...

No fear at all...I know exactly where she's going...

Penrith...Lake Ullswater...

Henry's cottage...

***

"Heliophobia..." Part VII...

PG-13...

Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html

Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

With apologies to Alfred...

***

The train to Penrith Station, Lake District...

His window curtain firmly drawn, despite an occasional frown from his neighbor...Sorry, light bothers my eyes, was here first, mate...William Soames Walthrop, man of three centuries...Sat contemplating the fate that was bringing him back almost to the very place where destiny had taken such a unique turn for him 125 years ago.



The woman forming a large, likely the major portion of his ruminations, seated one car ahead...Taking little notice of her companions, the train, or the scenery passing, from what careful peering from the door window at the rear of her car for several minutes had told him...She'd remained in almost a daze, clutching her bouquet of flowers tightly, her neighbor clearly taking her absent attitude for grief, careful to let the poor...mourner?...have her moment's grief in peace...

Heading for Penrith...And Henry's cottage...Where it all began...Well, at least, where it took its irrevocable turn...

She bore my child...he thought...Looking at his hands...All these long, terrible years I thought...And she died bearing my child...

And yet, something of me...In me...Stayed on for her sake, all these years clinging to Spike...Sure she'd come...Explain it all...

"And she did, at last..." he whispered...

But...Is she really here, back again...Now...?

For me?...

Well, she's never been much good at offering detailed explanations for her behavior...

But Cicely did love me, in the end at least...Bore my poor little girl, took my name and left it for the world to know...

Hmmn...She was twenty-four then, like Buffy...He froze a moment...

Like Buffy now...

***

She left from the station by cab almost immediately on arrival...He decided, sure he knew her destination, that it might be best to try and avoid as much of the old sun problem as possible by reaching the cottage...Or at least the site if it should no longer exist...Via a shorter route and higher speed...

If nothing else he might have enough time to break in and wait inside...The place had had a cellar if he remembered correctly...

"Two hundred quid if you can make it in ten minutes, lad..." he told the driver after giving the best directions his battered memory could come up with...

He barely had time to don his sunglasses before he was rammed against the back seat by the acceleration...

Well, at least the street it's on must still exist...

"Mate, you know the place?..." he addressed the driver...

"Sure, sure..." the young, dark man nodded... "Hunsworth Cottage, the Foxcroft place...Nice place, I take you...Warp speed..." he grinned to the mirror...

"So, it's still in the Foxcroft family?..." Will looked him back in the mirror...Hello there, you fellow member of Humanity, you...he thought, smiling...

Not that it ever bothered even ole Spike, he not being as bloody stupid as some vamps to convince himself non-reflectable by believing in such old wives' tales...

"Foxcroft, yeah..." the driver nodded... "We get there in nine..."

They made it in just over eight...Will calling for his own 'Speed Racer' to halt just before the driveway entrance...

They waited...No sign of another cab...

And highly unlikely another driver would've been as...He caught sight of her on foot...Dazedly walking, stumbling, up the road from wherever she'd had her driver drop her...He pulled back a little as she briefly glanced at the cab without interest and started up the driveway, flowers clutched in hand...

"Your lady?..." the driver shrewdly asked, a broad grin...Then a more solemn look as the black outfit and flowers registered... "She lost somebody..." he noted flatly, watching her go up the driveway... "Husband?..." another shrewd look...



"Someone pretty close, mate...She's an old friend, I'm watching out for her..." Will nodded... "Can you get me up that driveway without letting her get a good look at me?...I don't want to pester her right now, just be around if she needs me..."

The driver turned back to eye him...

"I wouldn't be telling you, lad if I were planning trouble...I just want to get to the cottage before she does and without her seeing me..."

"Ok...But any funny business?...I got emergency button on my radio..." the young man noted...

"I'm glad to have it at hand..." Will nodded... "But lets move..." He pulled back and down as the cab headed up the road quickly...

"Let me know when you pass her...And for God's sake, lad, don't hit her..."

They stopped abruptly... "Cottage..." the young man announced... "She wasn't on road.... She must've gone through the woods..."

"To the lake..." Will mused...Handing over a wad of cash...

"Can you stick a bit?...I might need a ride back quick...I can double this if..."

"Sure, sure...You got personal driver, mister...Hope your lady be okay..."

"So do I, lad...And stand by that emergency button, ok?"

He sighed, adjusting his sunglasses...Wrapping a scarf carefully round his face...Pulling gloves tight...

The driver eyeing him...

"I'm a former vampire, still can't take the sun..." Will smiled at the puzzled face...The man breaking into a chuckling smile...

"Skin trouble, right?...My brother got the same thing..."

"About that..." he opened the cab door and raced for what protection the woods offered...Not entirely sure of his way but fairly certain he could find the lake shore...It was only a few hundred yards from the cottage's rear, that much he was sure of...

He couldn't have dragged poor Cicely from the lake after their accident in their little rowboat that morning much further than that...

Cottage looked good, what he'd seen of it passing...Ole Henry would be pleased to know someone'd kept it up...

***

"Hello Miss Summers..." a familiar voice called, a slight British accent...

The young woman halted, looking back across the plaza at a fellow brunette...Quite a bit more fashionably dressed than the last time she seen her...

And considerably less of that waifish, yet somehow menacing look...Though perhaps a touch of the waif remained...

"Drusilla?..." Dawn looked at the quiet young woman now standing still as if wishing to give her a full chance to view her peaceable intentions...Standing still in the open sunlight of the main plaza of the University of Milan...

"Indeed..." Dru nodded, a shy smile on her face...She stepped forward slowly...Dawn unable to resist a glance about...Several students scattered round, enjoying the morning sun...

"I didn't mean to startle you...You have heard...?" Dru had halted again...Speaking in low voice...

"About your having that 'thing' removed?...Sure..." Dawn nodded, glancing again at a few fellow students nearby... "And congrats...What are you doing here?..."



"I'm on my way to England...But I needed to talk to you, first...About your sister...And William..."

***

He broke through the woods to where the lakefront could be seen, waves gently rocking the few boats tied up at various cottage docks...Pulling back to a more shaded area as the bright sun struck the fabric of his coat and warmed it...Even that faint touch enough to make him wince...

No trace...Ah...There by the little boathouse?...Headed up the stairs to the porch running around to the front dock...Hmmn...It could almost be the very same one....The one where she and...Where Cicely and I picked up our rowboat...Excepting the speedboats now moored by the side...

No way to get near...Wait...He spied a covered ramp for wheelchairs running up to what looked like a covered porch...If he could make it across the open stretch, say twenty, twenty-five feet...

He moved out from the shade of several trees and brush...No, don't think so...He staggered back...Shielding his face where he'd felt the warm sun through his tightly wrapped scarf...

No, he never make it...And if she was planning to head out on the lake in a boat?...

Definitely not the best choice for this assignment, boys...he mentally chided Giles and the Immortal...

Well, first things first...Reach that covered area and then worry about what she's up to here...

Hmmn...A trash can...With metal lid...

In days of old, when knights were bold...he thought, grabbing the lid...Aiming it to block the sun like a umbrella...And racing across to where the wheelchair ramp began...

And happily embarked on hopeless quests without a prayer of a chance of...He staggered onto the ramp, under the cover now of a metal roof...Pausing to catch his breath...

Don't think I can use the same tactic if she makes for a boat...He headed up the ramp, one fellow in bathing suit on the dock porch facing him, staring at the odd fellow in heavy coat, hat, scarf, and gloves making his way to him...

***



Outdoor café at the campus of the University of Milan...

"It's true that Buffy's being acting, well...Weird...Since just before I left...I thought about staying, in fact...Putting things off here one semester...But I didn't think she was getting worse...Henri seemed to be taking good care of her..." Dawn paused, looking into her cappuccino as she uncrossed her legs...Showing nicely but not excessively in her tres chic Milanese outfit...Geesh one'd think in Italy they'd do as good a job on cappuccino as Starbucks if not better... "Giles and Henri...And Willow...All thought it was ok for me to go..."

You think I need to go to London?...she stared directly at Dru now...Dru giving a thoughtful look back as she continued a small sketch on a napkin she'd started after they'd sat...Sorry, have to keep my hands busy when I'm nervous, she'd apologized...A rather well done view of the plaza...

"I'd think they'd call you if they felt you were needed...Or could help..."

"But if they called Spike...er William...?" she corrected hastily at Dru's sharp stare...

"It's probably as William told me...They think if she spots him he could convince her he'd been watching her to find the opportunity to speak to her again...Perhaps it's a good idea..."

"He should've come months ago...Why didn't he?..." Dawn's voice took on an accusing tone... "She told me she'd heard...After we'd heard about you and Angel and Will..."

"That William had asked me to marry him?...After I'd recovered from the shock and everything and didn't have a clue as to what to do next in this strange world of yours? ..." Dru nodded... "Yes...He was very kind to me...As he always was..." she eyed Dawn carefully...

"You turned him down...?"

"Had you heard it differently...?"

"No..." Dawn shook her head... "But I was...All of us were...Surprised..."

"Ah... 'Spike and Dru: Together Forever'? ...I've visited the websites..." Dru smiled wanly... "But, rather like some other couples we weren't quite as 'forever' as we'd thought when we set out..."

Then again...she shrugged... "Perhaps, in Hell...Spike and my counterpart are experiencing what little semblance of eternal bliss two demons can...Though I rather think even Spike opts for your sister's counterpart...Not surprising, really, if any of this story is true...Demons are surprisingly steadfast family creatures..."

"You don't believe...About Cicely?..." Dawn asked...

"I know there was a Cicely...I know William...Human William...Loved her with all his heart as my counterpart hated her very name...Despite the fact that she drove him into my...Its...Arms... 125 years ago...On March 13th to be precise..."

"And she had his child?...And was a Slayer?..."

"That's what seems to be the case..." Dru nodded...

"And now she's taken my sister..."

"That we don't know...Miss Summers...I know you've no particular reason to trust me...But as Will's refused my help, I need yours...And it may be that together we can help your sister and William...Dawn?..."

Dawn looked at her...Still trying to contemplate the idea of a selfless, self-sacrificing, human Dru...

Have we been doing a terrible thing all these years...?

"Dawn?...Did your sister ever mention Cicely in her 'strange moods'...?"

"Not...That I know of..." Dawn began... "She just...She'd been a wreck after Sunnydale...And while she calmed down a little when the new Slayers came pourin' in and we had to help them...She got terrible after that...At Willow and Giles, especially..."

"Willow?...Miss Rosenberg, your witch?..."

"Goddess, now..." Dawn grinned... "Yeah...She was furious with Willow and Giles...They wouldn't help her when she wanted to try and reach Sp...William..."

"Reach?...By...Seance?..." "Seance, resurrection, whatever...After she got things a little settled...Had new Slayers on a training schedule as they came in...And we figured out Angel wasn't leading the Partners against us...She was on a crash course to find a way...But they wouldn't help her...She didn't say much to them, but at home, she was ragin'...I don't think even Giles guessed how mad she was..."

"Why wouldn't they help her?...He'd saved all your lives...What was the harm?..."

"I think they thought, well...Better Spike...Ummn...William...Safely outta the way, all things considered...And that if she found out he wasn't safe in Heaven...If he'd been sent to Hell..."

"But I remember...When Angel..."

"For William, she woulda gone to Hell and brought him back...Or stayed..." Dawn said quietly... "I don't doubt it now, after the way she was after he died for her..."



"So..." she relaxed a bit...Smiling faintly... "That two-timin' Will was married all the time...Jesus, if Buffy's...I guess he's my..." she shook her head... "Well, I guess not...Unless Cicely takes up permanent..."

"Dawn, it's not a laughing matter if your sister is possessed...Especially if she's not resisting it...Or resisting it and losing..."

Dawn blinked...Dru waved slightly to indicate the waitress coming to them...

"Cicely's just a ghost..." Dawn insisted after the girl had left to bring them fresh cups...

This being...Definitely...A two cappuccino morning...

"My sis can handle a ghost..."

"If she wanted to 'handle' her..." Dru was thoughtful again...

"Buffy wouldn't give her body to some dead girl...Even Will's ex-...Well, whatever she is...Even if she were a Slayer, once...She'd fight...And beat her ass..." Dawn paused...Eyes a bit narrowing, involuntarily...

"Why are you going to England?...Are you trying to stop...?"

"I should think you'd be a little more concerned about Buffy losing herself, Dawn...But in any case, I want to know that William isn't being hurt again, made to suffer needlessly...I know he'd do anything for your sister...As would you and all of your friends...But someone who cares about him more than your sister has to be involved in this, Miss Summers...I want to look out for him...And to be sure..."

"You love him...Why didn't...."

"He doesn't love me, Dawn...Not the way I need and he needs to...I couldn't condemn him to a life like that...Happy as I might have been...I've used him and made him suffer enough..."

I mean that...she stared at her companion... "Even I, the soul, felt him...Urged the demon to hold onto him..." A wry smile at Dawn's stare... "Believe me, Dawn, Drusilla the demon was not all that faithful a lover on her own...I played a part in keeping him with us for so long, limited as it was...To my shame..."

"But if Cicely is...Was...His wife...And shoved him off to protect him..."

"She may be have been his wife...She may have been the mother of his child... Maybe she 'shoved' him away to save him...And it may be she's back to take back what she feels belongs to her..."

"But why now?...Why my...Well, I guess I can guess as to Buf...But Buffy was going to marry Henri..."

"Does she love him?..."

"No..." Dawn shook her head... "I don't think so, anyway...She said once she didn't...But he was nice and she needed someone and she knew Will didn't..."

"He felt the same way..." Dru shook her head... "He was sure his coming would only be an embarrassment to her..."

"My sister never says she loves someone and doesn't mean it..." Dawn replied coolly... "He shoulda known that...Spike woulda...She always said he'd changed after..."

"After he recovered his soul?..."

"He told her right off, much as he loved her, he knew she'd never be with him...And then the bastard went and died for her, not believing in her..." Dawn's voice shook a bit...

"Funny..." her voice now apologetic... "I thought I'd never forgive his demon for trying to rape her...Now I can't forgive his soul for not coming to her..."

Anyway, as to Henri, well, he's not some nice, human guy who'd get killed easy and break her heart...



"Will is human now...As he was in 1880...When Cicely, if she did, drove him away to protect him..."

"With preeety bad aim, seein what happened..." Dawn froze at Dru's pained look... "Sorry..."

"It's fine...It's just hard for me to separate myself from It on things like that..." Dru sighed...

"Maybe it's Henri...The marriage I mean..." Dawn suggested...Tapping her cup with spoon...Hey, need my refill here...

"If Cicely's been hiding out, waiting to see how Buf makes out with William...And now Buffy's about to marry someone else..."

"Take the reins and change course?...Perhaps...But why not sooner...?"

"Maybe she did...Maybe the whole thing with Spike...And William...Was Cicely...Pushin' Buf...But now, she's not happy with the way things are goin'...And so she's..."

"You could be right...But if that's true, then Cicely's had a tight grip on your sister for some time now...I don't understand why she wouldn't have pushed her to come to LA long ago..."

And the thing with your friends...Miss Rosenberg...Mr. Giles and Mr. Harris...

"Why would Cicely want to hurt them?...They'd be no threat to her unless she drew attention to herself...And had them actively seeking to drive her out...It was more dangerous to risk exposure as she did..."

"Maybe it's her way...Some way of letting William know she isn't my sister...And maybe she's not able to work her mojo so well in LA...England being her home turf..." Dawn rubbed her hands... "I don't know if I like this Cicely...I know I don't like her taking Buffy, if she is...I think I better go to London with you, Dru...If you don't mind...?"

"You'd be quite welcome Miss Summers...Waverly's the name by the way...Very nice to finally make your acquaintance..."

"Charmed..." Dawn grinned...

***

"Heliophobia..." Part VIII...

PG-13...

Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html

Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

With apologies to Alfred...

***



The boathouse on Lake Ullsmere…Mid afternoon…

Nearly two hours of trying to smile cheerily at the stares of those passing by his chair while trying to keep firmly in the shadows of the dock porch was beginning to wear…William looked out cautiously to where Buffy, attracting nearly as many stares in her rather formal black dress, was standing by the edge of the dock near a stretch of rocky lakeshore, staring out over the lake…The flowers she'd carried so carefully now being slowly but steadily dropped one by one into the lake…

Fortunately no police guard in attendance and the young fellow apparently in charge of the dock rental station not inclined to trouble the sad young lady…Clearly engaged in performing some kind of last mourning rite…

For whom?...Will wondered…

Me?…Our daughter?…Cicely?...

Or maybe even…

"Mister?..." A voice penetrated…He looked up to see his patient cabbie…Who'd come by several times already, quite content to keep his post considering he was making at least three times what he'd normally take in a working day…Now, having suggested a short time earlier that there was no need to forego the necessities of life even while engaged in so fine an activity…Assuming as he wished to believe, that his customer's tale of unselfish devotion was true…As watching over the troubled young widow of a dear brother…Bearing a couple of wrap sandwiches and sodas…

"She still there?..."

"Yep…Thanks, mate…" Will took the proffered sandwich…

Rather nice to need it again, the thought crossed his mind as he bit in…

"Maybe you should speak to her…The lady, she'll get sunstroke out there so long…"

"I was beginning to think that myself…" he nodded… "Just a little bit of a problem my going out to her…" he noted…

"I can go and tell her you're here…"

"I don't she'd be quite ready for that…Ah, she's moving back..."

Buffy'd backed up slowly till she was just under the porch awning of the dock where the lake acquired a bit more depth…Still looking out in the distance…The remnants of her bouquet limp now in her hand…

"Well, I guess she'll be…" Will stiffened suddenly as she tossed what remained of the bouquet into the lake and with a sudden turning movement, went, quite quietly, even serenely, off the dock and into the water…Without even an audible splash…

***

"And when did your sister start having her blackouts?..." Drusilla asked Dawn quietly as they stood patiently at the security entrance for their flight to London out of Milan airport…Dawn having quickly cleared a couple of days with her advisor and critical professors…Family emergency in London…And informed Giles by phone that she was coming for a brief visit…

Informed him, Dru had noticed, listening beside her, in a tone that suggested, as she shortly had confirmed, that the ex-Chairman was not enthusiastic about her coming…Just at this time…Though he'd reluctantly accepted what he could not persuade against…

"Just a month before I left for Milan…But they weren't "blackouts"…She'd just drift off a little…I didn't think it was serious, maybe just nerves…I figured she might be getting cold feet about the wedding and all…Knowing Will was back..."

Buf's always been one to get a little lost at times of emotional stress, she smiled faintly… "When she thought she'd lost me to Glory, she closed down completely for a while...And then when she came back from the dead, she was like a zombie at times till…"

…Till Spike brought her back…she finished, a bit uncertain…

"She must be pretty bad if Giles doesn't want me to see her…Dru?...What are we going to do in London?...What are you planning?..."

"I don't really know…To see that William and your sister aren't hurt, unnecessarily at least…"

"We should call Willow…Maybe from the plane…" Dawn suggested… "She'd probably be the best one to help…"



"It might be wise…But William told me Mr. Giles said that Ms. Rosenberg has been helping to monitor Buffy…Even with their falling-out…And had helped him rule out any obvious magics…"

"Then...It's not a ghost?...They think sis has lost her mind?...And didn't say a word to me?..."

"I couldn't say Dawn…But I think they'd seek the correct sort of help if they believed that was the case…But I understood William to say that it could be that Cicely's…" Dru paused to smile at the female security guard in front of now listening rather intently…

"Sorry…My id…" she handed her passport over from a large purse with a smile…Dawn likewise, glaring a bit at the guard…Don't mind the extra security regulations and the extra wait, but geesh…She doesn't have to intrude on our personal stuff on top of it…The guard waved them along…Staring after them...

"…Making very little use of paranormal energy…Her infiltration, if carried out slowly enough, could have been almost undetectable, even to your friend…At least it's possible…" Dru finished, barely skipping a beat…

"She's been trying to conceal herself?…Fool us, deliberately?…" Dawn looked at her companion…

"Not with great success…If Cicely were inclined to deception she'd surely try to control Buffy's behavior more carefully…But Ms. Rosenberg's finding no obvious signs doesn't entirely rule out magic…Or some kind of effort on someone's, even the Immortal's, part…"

"Henri wouldn't do that…" Dawn interjected hastily…

Well…I hope not…she added sheepishly…Staring at Dru as they waited to load their bags on to the x-ray machine's ramp and pass through a metal detector…

"You knew him, didn't you?…He mentioned you once…I mean…Your…Other…"

"I met him…Once…" Dru nodded…

"And you think he's evil?…That he fooled us all…?"

Sorry…Dawn apologized to the attendant as a buzzer went off as she started to enter the detector… "Forgot my change and buckle…" she dumped change and a large belt into a container to pass through…Then went though without incident, Dru following a moment later…

"Is he evil…?" Dawn continued…As they gathered their items and made for an elevator to their gate…

"Dawn…I don't know…But he is not a souled being, at least not as we understand it…He deliberately sought to become a vampire for the Immortality ages ago and his soul voluntarily merged with his demon…It may be true that he's found a kind of redemption over time and is again capable of choosing good over evil, and he may truly love your sister…But…"

"Why would he do something like that to Buffy?...Destroy her mind?..."

"He might be clever enough to realize he could never defeat her in open battle…He has a reputation for being quite subtle…But it may not only be Buffy he's after..."

Using Cicely's story...William's past...To destroy your sister would hurt William as well...

"But Giles said Henri's record with the Council was good, proven…He'd helped Slayers for centuries…Even refused to harm them when they came for him before the Council accepted his offers of help…"

"An Immortal thinks differently about time, Dawn…He might have bided his time for a purpose we know nothing about…"

Or it may be some other enemy...Dru noted...Perhaps not even one of your sister's...

"Spike's?..." Dawn put her bag down on the escalator stair now in front of her and stepped on, Dru following quickly...

"I've no idea, Dawn...But there are many possibilities...Even that the whole story is true and Cicely is taking her, perhaps with her permission..."



"Or maybe...That she's just plain crazy...?"

"I don't know your sister except for what I vaguely got from...It...But I don't think she's the type to simply 'go crazy'..."

"She was pretty near it back that summer after he died..."

Dawn smiled faintly…Cocking her head at Dru as they stepped off the escalator… "You know...I never thought of all people, I'd be glad to have your help…"

"I know my other self must have been terr…" Dru began quietly as they moved toward the tunnel to all departure gates…

"No…Well, yeah, some…But I mean in terms of Will…" a hard stare… "I gotta say I wasn't too charitable when Buffy found out he'd made it through the big LA fight and got you human again…I think I kinda hated it that you were with him there and my sis wasn't…"

It's hard enough he chose Buffy in the end…But at least she's family…she smiled wanly again… "To have you get him over her…"

"I'm sorry..." Dru shook her head slowly, looking at the girl's sad face... "I didn't..."

"Just a teen crush...Anyway that's what sis would say if she knew...It's funny..." Dawn paused...There's our gate, she nodded toward a waiting area and sign... "She thought...They all thought...I ignored him when he came back with the soul because he'd ...Spike had...Tried to rape her...That I was still furious with him..."

But I couldn't...Knowing he'd won that soul back for Buffy...I couldn't bear getting close to him again...The way it was that summer...The summer he was all mine...

No...she shook her head to Dru's stare... "Spike was trying to impress Buf's soul...He wasn't about to blow things putting moves on me...Besides, the guys woulda killed him...But it meant a lot to me, that summer when he took care of me...Even if it was only for her sake..." she smiled again...

"Not that my trying to be noble and get outta their way when he came back did them any good...And I guess I knew Buffy would've just laughed at me...Still...I wanted to do what I could for them...Give Buf her chance..."

Oh, God...she sobbed suddenly... "I wish he'd've come...Home, to us...We both needed him so bad that year...Thinking he died not knowing how much we both..."

Dru took her hand..."He's still in love with her, Dawn...He always will be..."

Dawn nodded... Then, as they stopped by the gate waiting area, eyed Dru firmly...

"But which of her is he still in love with?..."

***

"Heliophobia..." Part IX...



PG-13...



Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html

Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...



With apologies to Alfred...

***



The fire was now burning well...Will shoved one last block of wood from the small grill box near the fireplace into the flames...He looked round the room...

Repainted...Possibly enlarged, yes there had been a closet over there...And the phonograph, Henry's wax cylinder phonograph that they'd played that day, was long gone as was most of his furniture...But it was very much the same...

Just fortunate he'd managed to find the current owner in her own cottage across the way at home after he managed to dive in at the shaded end of the porch and with the help of his new-found best-naturalized-English buddy and "personal driver" got her quickly out and over to a storage shack by the cottage without attracting too much attention...

Though on his return after hurrying off to fetch a local doctor, his new friend... "Just 'Hal'..The full name makes the folks nervous these days, you know?"...Had raised an eyebrow on learning Walthrop had arranged to rent the cottage for the night for himself and his 'wife'...Stranded unexpectedly by a flat tire...From the elderly owner...And had managed, thanks to some midday cloud cover, to get Buffy inside and settled in the one bedroom on his own...

Thought she was your sister-in-law or something...This sounds a little like funny business...

But after the doctor had pronounced 'Mrs. Walthrop' not seriously injured by her little accident on the dock and left, he'd reluctantly accepted William's explanation of the need to spare 'sis-in-law' from needless embarrassment over a foolish act...The clear result of her grief-stricken state...

Though he'd be back to check on them later that evening if possible and definitely to pick them up tomorrow...

"Above and beyond the call, Hal...Thanks..." Will offered a hand as the cabbie headed out...

"Just you take good care of her..." 'Hal' nodded sternly, pausing to look over to the bedroom door... "She seems like a nice lady...Don't let her be going round alone like that no more...Whether she like it or no..."

"No, I think you're right...Whether she wants me round or no...I think it's time I made my presence known..." Will smiled...

***

Faint murmurings were now coming from the open bedroom door... "No...No...Not my...Baby...No...William...William!..." He hurried over...She was stirring but still asleep...

The cottage phone in the bedroom rang with a violent clang in the stillness...She sat up with a shocked expression, staring at him with amazed eyes... "William?!"...

He grabbed the phone...Waving a hand at her...It's all right...

"Hello?...Yes?...Yes, just a mo..." he turned back to the bed...Where Buffy had just come to the realization she was not only in bed in a strange house with the lover she'd last seen about to burn to death...

She was stark-naked in said bed but for the sheet and blanket...

"It's all right, Buffy...I'll be right outside the room...Here..." he offered her one of several robes the owner kept on hand for guests... "You'll want this..." he took the phone out into the living room/parlor and closed the bedroom door...

"Henri..." he spoke into the phone, quietly as he could manage... "Yeah...She's all right..." The bedroom door began opening...

"Look I'll have to call you back in a little while..."

The door stood open, Buffy in robe staring at him...

She emerged slowly, looking briefly round the room, taking everything in, one or two things catching her attention a second...Watching, he recognized her move to a limited defensive stance...

Her survey of the room complete, her eyes finally settled on him...

"So?...It's you?..." she asked quietly...

" 'Fraid so, Slayer..." he smiled gently...

She moved to where he stood...Taking his hand without a word...

"It's warm..." she murmured... "It's so warm..." she looked at him... "It's really true...You're human again...?"

"Guilty as charged, ma'am...Buffy, you should come over to the fire where it's warm..." She continued to hold the hand...Turning it over and finally, gently kissing it...

She released him and stared round the room again...While he stared a moment at where she'd kissed...

"What's happened...How did I get here?...Are you all right?...Was there some trouble?..." she looked him over slowly now, staring intently, almost as if expecting to see wounds...

"William?...What happened...?"

"Well, Buffy...It was pretty tame for once...You fell into Lake Ullsmere and thanks to your usual luck at having friends nearby when you get into trouble..." he grinned...

She looked down, away from him...Apparently trying to collect thoughts...

"I just fell?... into Lake...Whatever?...And you fished me out?..."

" 'Bout the size of it, girl...And no beasties involved, so far as I could tell...Though I did have some help getting you out...Buffy, please...Come over by the fire..."

He put out a hand and she took it, letting him lead him over...Sitting on a pillow he'd pushed off the sofa at his gentle tug down...

"Some coffee?... I'll bet you could use some...Or a drink, maybe?...Assuming my landlady's left something..."

No...She shook her head...Staring at the flames...Rubbing her face gently after a moment...



"Thanks, I guess..." she looked up at where he stood...Eyes narrowing a bit...

"So you came to Europe at last...But not straight to me?..."

"I didn't want to..."

"Intrude?...Nice of you..." she cut him off coldly... "I heard you'd had some kind of accident and stopped workin' with Angel..."

"Nothing serious...More I needed a chance to go and look up my past, really..."

"Just wandering round England, searching the ole roots, huh?...You might have found time to pick up a phone and call me..."

"But hey...I never did get round to LA, did I?..." she looked back at the flames... "Even when..." she waved a hand...

"Lucky for me you were wandering round here...This is your place?..."

"I'm renting for a little while...It belonged to a friend of mine a long time ago...Name of Henry Foxcroft..."

"I guess I should be relieved it wasn't Henrietta..." she smiled faintly...Then gave him a long and narrow look...

"Why'd you bring me here?...You coulda just dumped me into the local hospital..."

"None very local here...I figured you'd rather I didn't call your friends and make a lot of fuss about it..."

"No, I wouldn't've...But not very complimentary, William..." she smiled again, a bit more warmly now... "You coulda said you couldn't pass up another crack at me..." She turned serious...

"I guess you know I'm engaged to the Immortal..."

"It was in all the papers..." he grinned... "Well, maybe not all..."

"Oooh...Henri will be shocked..." she looked into the flames again... "Anyway, I'm glad you brought me here..." she stretched her hands to the fire... "Thanks for the fire..."

"Let me get you some coffee..." he rose...

"Could you get me my purse?...I did have one on me, right?..."

"Sure, it's right here in the kitchen with your dress...I've been trying to dry it and the...Other stuff..."

"God help you if Xander or Giles heard that last one!..." she called...Just a touch of merriment now...

He returned, bearing a tray with small coffeepot, two cups, sugar, cream and her black purse...

"Thanks..." she reached for the bag...Looking up at him with a wry grin... "I know, me with a purse...But I finally have stuff to put in one..." she opened it...And pulled out...

Hair pins...And brush and mirror...Which she began using, carefully...Rearranging her hair back into the same style, the piled high style he'd seen in Cicely's portrait...

"Thanks for drying my hair, too...Something else we better not mention to the guys..." she teased...

"Buffy?...Will you tell me something?..."

"Sure...I love you...Oops, already told you, right?..." she eyed him carefully...He staring back...



"Sorry, bad joke...Don't get nervous, I won't beat you up for turnin' me down...If you do...You're human and I can't now..."

"Buffy...Look, has this ever happened to you before?..."

"Ummn...Well..." she pondered... "I tossed one lover into Hell and when he came back I never tried to make it possible for him to stay with me..."

He sighed...

"Then there was this other guy who I couldn't tell I loved him...You remember Riley Finn, tall guy in black?...Yeah..."

"Buffy...I mean..."

"You mean did I ever fall into an English lake before?...Fully dressed?..." she looked at her...His robe... "Which I presume I was...?" she grinned again...

"No..." she put up a hand at his frown...Ok, Sorry... "No, I've never fallen into a lake here or in the US before..."

I think I did fall into the Pacific once when I was three with Mom and Dad at the coast...she pondered...

"But that's about it...How's bout you?...You ever fall into this lake before?..."

"As a matter of fact I did...One hundred and twenty five years ago..."

She stared at him...Quite serious, he smiled...

"Though I had company...A young lady..."

"Lovely...Dru by any chance?..."

"A girl named Cicely Addams..."

"Oh?..." she looked at him... "Safe in her grave I hope?..."

Ummn... I mean...she was immediately apologetic at his stare... "I don't mean anything by that, Will..."

"It's ok...Long dead...Though not forgotten..."

"Now I am jealous...Who was the little...?" she stopped short..."Cicely?...Was that the girl?...The one you told me about that night, in the bar?..."

The girl who drove you to Drusilla?...

"Not intentionally, love...And there was more going on behind the scenes than I told you..."

"Now I'm really jealous..." her smile a bit forced...

"Odd, though..." he eyed her carefully... "I don't remember telling you her name..."

She shrugged... "You musta...Maybe you're getting forgetful too...From the shock...I do remember now that the water was cold..." she smiled...

"It was at that..." he nodded, smiling back as he took a seat on the sofa...His own cup in hand...

"And you were just wandering round, getting back in touch with the ole limey roots?..." she took a slight pull at the coffee...

You've learned a few new skills...This is great...she nodded at the cup...

"That was Henri on the phone, wasn't it?..." she spoke without looking at him... "And he's the one who put you up to this...?"



"He asked me to keep an eye out for you...I'd contacted Giles and said I'd be in England, up here for a while...I guess they must've known you were heading this way..."

"You never lied to me before, Will...Not even when Spike was running the show before the chip...Please don't start now, I couldn't take it...He asked you to come to England and watch over poor lil' me, didn't he?..."

"Yeah..." he nodded... "Seems you've had him and a few of your friends worried...He's a decent sort..."

"I'm not in love with him..." she eyed the flames... "But you're right, he's a decent sort...A nice guy who's pretty damned good at survival, given his history...He won't break easy, I seriously doubt he hopes to turn me, and he's a bit too respectful of his Immortal gift to throw it away for nothing..."

All-in-all, throwing in his rather good fortune over the centuries...I could do worse...

"I'm glad if you're happy, Buffy...But I would still like to know..."

"I know I should have stayed..." she shook her head at the fire... "I know I should've stayed and tried to get you out, died with you if I couldn't..."

"That is not...Ever...What I want or wanted..." he moved to her, standing by her...

"No, you never want anything...Spike wanted everything he could get me to give, but William is content to be a memory...You bastard..." she glared up at him as he stood looking down at her angry face...

"You haunt me day and night, you know...You have since Sunnydale...I sleep with you, I wake up with you...I eat and walk with you...And you never want anything...Just that I'll let you stay..."

"I didn't want that, either..."

"Bullshit, of course you did...You loved it, dying like that...My own Michael Furey..." she smiled coldly at his look... "Yeah, I do read a little, Mr. Walthrop..."

I even manage to do a little research these days...she smiled a bit more warmly now... "Which is how at last I found out my lover's name...My Champion, poor poet, and moronically suicidal lover...William Soames Walthrop...Who died just as he would most have wished, in the exact way sure to make me remember and mourn him, always..."

Buffy...He tried to interrupt...She waved him off...

"Only there was a comic epilogue...He missed his exit and stumbled back into the play...And went to absurd trouble to try and make sure I never found out...Even..." she looked at her hands... "Even to try and die again, for sure this time...Just so he wouldn't muck up my worthless..."

"Buffy...I did what I did because I thought..."

"The bitch didn't really give a damn and you'd look silly waltzing in...Hell, she never tried to help you why should you think anything different..."

He put up a hand...Enough... "Buffy, what I want to know now is what you were doing at the lake here...I wasn't lying when I said I'd been here a century before...What brought you out here, today?..."

She glanced at him...A nervous look...Then a smile... "Wandering, same as you..."

"Long way to wander..." he noted...

"It's all new to me, I'm curious...Look if Henri is so worried about my wanting to goof off and take a day or two without asking permission..."

"He's just concerned...They all are..."

"Willow and Xander too?..." she eyed him... "They were pretty pissed at me, last I tried to talk to them...Gave them good reason I guess..."

"Haven't asked them...But you know they are, pissed or no..."



"Maybe we oughta head back...Oh, right this is your place...Well, I should get back...Me being a full-fledged fiancee and all..." she started to rise...

"Buffy, it's late and you're not up to another three hour train ride..."

"Three hours...?" she stared at him...

"To London, probably a little more, especially this late, if there's still another train, yeah..."

"But...I took a cab here...I...Remember leaving my place in a cab..." she stared at him...Her poise crumbling...

"Buffy?...Do you know where you are?..."

"Lake Whatever...You said so..."

"In the Lake District, far north of London...You take a train to get here...You took one this morning..."

"Yeah?...Yeah, ok...I guess I just forgot...The shock with our dunk and all...Seeing you..."

"Why did you come out here, today, Buffy?..."

"I had to..." she looked at him a long moment...

"Read a lot about the place, ya know?...The Lake District?...Isn't it where Sherlock Holmes got bumped off?..."

The phone rang...

"Here, you have some more coffee...I'll take care of this and we can talk..."

He lifted the phone receiver from its hook and cradling the phone in an arm, carried it into the bedroom...

As she watched him, carefully......

"Will, she's not back at her place yet...What's happened?..." the voice at the other end sounded a bit tense...

"We're up at Lake Ullsmere...She decided to take a little longer trip today..."

"Lake Ullsmere?..."

"Another place Cicely knew...Her cousin Henry had a cottage out here...We're there now..."

"You...?"

"Yes..." he lowered his voice... "Look, we'll be here a little while...Maybe the night...I'm afraid I had to reveal my presence...She went into the lake..."

Henri?...he tapped the phone after a long pause...

"Did she hurt herself?..."

"No...But I don't think she knows...Understand me?...She doesn't know...Couldn't seem to remember even coming out this way..."

Henri?...

"Will...Buffy is twenty-four...Cicely Addams died at twenty-four..." Henri's voice was strained...

A door slammed...Will dropped the phone and raced for it, throwing it open...She was gone...



He ran out in the darkness, faintly lit at a few points by neighbors' lights and lanterns, calling...

It was a full ten minutes, just as he decided to return to the cottage and try and reach his cabbie comrade, before he realized he'd been calling Cicely's name...

***

Though 'Hal' was unavailable, he managed to locate a cabbie still operating and head for the train station in Penrith...There the lone guard well remembered the young blonde in black who'd raced in from her cab for the last train...She'd seemed pretty distracted and anxious...

"Noel was her cabbie...Ole friend of mine...He said she'd nearly jumped in front of him on the road and told him she had to make the train...Or he'd have to drive her to London...He was sure she was trying to reach a dying relative, the black and all..."

Or flee a dead one, William thought...

***

"Heliophobia..." Part X...

PG-13...

Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html...

Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

With apologies to Alfred...

***

7:15am...

William opened the inner cottage door carefully at the knock of what he assumed was either his landlady or a stern 'Hal' anxious to resume chaperone duty...Standing a bit off to the side to avoid the morning sun's greeting...

There she was, blonde as life on Henry's old cottage porch...In rather chic white coat and again a black dress...Though a little less funereal in style...A somewhat nervous smile...

Hey...she grinned... "Can your idiot guest come in?...I know you have some sun trouble..."

"The porch is ok...I don't burn, just sometimes feel like I am..." he stepped out, keeping carefully under the porch awning...

At that the sun was shining a bit his way...He blinked hastily... "Maybe we'd best come inside..."

She followed him...

"Look, I'm really sorry for last night..."

"You had me worried, girl..."

"Sorry...It was just, you know...Leetle embarrassing...You very pissed?..."

"Somewhat..."

"Great..." she grinned... "Then we're on the way to bein' even for you're putting me through Hell these past months..."



She maintained the grin as he stared at her...

"It's ok...I found out you'd made it to the station, but I couldn't get a ride to London or a car quick enough at that hour or I've followed you...Henri told me you'd called him..."

"I'd've called, Will...I didn't have your number here or know the address...I was just lucky to have my cab's number from last night to call when I found my way back up here...Plus I remembered what the place looked like..."

"In the dark, last night?..."

"Well..." she blinked... "I musta got a look at it before I took my little dive...Besides, you outta know I do well navigatin' at night..."

He sighed..."I wanted to make sure you were ok...I'd've brought you home last night if you'd asked..."

"I just suddenly felt like a idiot...If I say everyone...Well, Henri, Giles, Dawn...She's in from Milan last night, by the way, so it's a good thing I went home...Was pissed at me...?"

"It's ok..." he waved a hand... "And it wasn't necessary to come all the way back here...You must have taken the first train..."

"Rented a car at the train station last night...I felt even more stupid when I got to London but when I called Henri and he told me he'd just dropped Dawn at the place, I had to go home...I wanted to catch you and apologize personally, Will...I know I acted pretty weird yesterday...Not to mention a little rude..." a sheepish smile... "Not the way I wanted our reunion to go, believe me..."

"Dawn can't be too happy you took off this am..."

"She didn't warn me she was comin' by...And I didn't plan to miss seeing you again..."

Now we've broke the ice, last night, so to speak...she grinned shyly...

"And after all, you've been assigned as my watchdog, right?..." she eyed him... "Sorry, I mean, you're wandering round England, searching things out...Just stumbling into lil' ole me every now and then..." an innocent stare...

"But I mean, maybe it would be easier...More fun...If we wandered around together for a while...?"

I got tinted windows, they don't let much sun in...she noted...

"You could show me around?..." she went on...Then pouted a bit... "Don't make this easy for me, by all means..."

He chuckled..."My guide book's a century out of date..But, if you'd really like to..."

"Get your coat..." she grinned...

"And a few other things..." he noted wryly... "I'm afraid you'll be sightseeing with the invisible man today, judging by that sky..."

"I'll deal..."

***



He found her on cell when he emerged, well swathed in scarf, coat, gloves, bearing umbrella...A quick call to Dawn, to let her know sis hadn't gone wandering off alone, Buffy explained with a grin...

"She wants to get together for lunch...But I told her we'd be puttering about all day...We'll have dinner with her, is that ok?..."

"Your fiancee might not love the idea of me coming to dinner..." he eyed her...

"Dawn wants to see you, you can be her date tonight..." Buffy shrugged... "As for Henri, he's off to Brussels for two days...Still has his own organization to keep running...'Sides he called you in, didn't he?...Say hi before I hang up so she knows I'm not alone..." she held the phone to him...

"Hello, Dawn..." he called...

A burst of chatter from the speaker...He tried to answer as much as he managed to make out...Buffy finally pulling the phone back...

"We'll see you tonight, Dawnie...Bye..." Buffy told the phone...

"Well..." she beamed at him... "Now they can all feel secure knowing my Champ's watchin' over me..." she chuckled a little... "Hard to believe one day they'd find that a relief, huh?..."

"Just let me leave the key..." he bent down and slipped the key under the welcome mat as the landlady had requested....

"The car's right over here..." she pointed at a small white compact... "There should be enough cover from here for you..."

"I think so..." he put on sunglasses and hat...She grinning at him...

"Now you do look like a rising young star of a prominent global corporation..."

"Prematurely retired young star..."

"I'm sorry..." she patted at his arm... "It's a lousy shame, this sun thing..."

Terrible when you can't have what you've longed and suffered so much for...she noted quietly...

"But the day will come..." she smiled again...He looking at her bland face carefully...

"Where are we headed?..."

She shrugged... "Just thought we'd wander...But if we need a destination, how's about showing me where it all began..."

"You mean in London...?"

"I mean where it all began for William Soames Walthrop..." she replied, a little curtly... "I've seen where it ended..."

Show me something new about you, Will...she put a hand out to him...

"Show me your house if it's still there...The paths...The traces...All the little hideaways you had as a boy...I wanna see it all...It's not far..."

He looked at her...

"Brusset, right?...I tole ya I looked you up..." she smiled...

***

"Heliophobia..." Part XI...

PG-13...

Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html

Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...



With apologies to Alfred...

***

The things that remain in one's mind regarding home...Where- or whatever home may be...

They'd been on the road an hour when he began to recognize the landscape with something more than vague familiarity...He was even a little startled by the intensity of the emotion that gripped him...

In some ways, worse shame than he ever felt even in the first days after he come back to himself, when Spike had finally accepted and let go...

For utter and unselfish love, he reflected...Knowing full well what it meant to recall William to the forefront...

And yet, Spike is me...And gave it all up, hoping yet to win, in a way...My romantic demon, whatever else he was...

Odd that it was William who threw in the towel...He glanced over where Buffy was driving, her eyes firmly fixed on the road, awaiting his next direction...No hint of last night's...The whole past week's vagueness now...

She caught his look out of the corner of her eye and her left hand patted his right a brief second...

"I've missed you so..." she said quietly, then took the hand back... "Sorry, gotta use both hands...Not used to driving on this side quite yet..."

"Slow down a bit, I think we're coming to..." he scanned the road...

This road...A memory of strolling in the bright, unhurtful, unangry light of day...He was in shortsleeves and trying to read as he walked...A young girl chattering beside him...Brown-haired...

Amelia...Amelia...Stop it...He frowned as she pulled at his book...Snatching it finally...

"So tell me what it is, Will..." his sister grinned at him, eyeing the book... "More poetry?...Mum says you'll be a great writer one day...When you go to college...So tell me?..."

Amelia?...My sister...And my daughter...Lying forgotten in a sealed room in Cicely's home...Not even mourned by me...Till now...

Hmmn...He blinked...Realizing Buffy had spoken the same words he'd heard in his mind...

"So?...Tell me, which way?..."

"Turn here, left..." he pointed at the left side of the intersection , Buffy turned the wheel and the car headed onto a small road...Sign ahead..."Brusset..."

"So..." Buffy looked at him... "This is it?..." Yeah, he nodded...As they passed some open field and scrubby forest...The scarred land of his past somewhat healed after a century's neglect...

The land had healed some...Some nice homes built even into the seamier sections of town...But in the old industrial section, largely abandoned, the ghastly, grim buildings remained....Even now sending a shudder...

The life he'd dreaded even more perhaps than the living death he'd been cursed with by...

No, not by Dru...Never Dru...Blame myself, blame poor Cics if I must...Above all blame God...But never, never poor Drusilla Waverly...Helpless victim of God's charming sense of humor...

"You wanted to see...Here it is...Welcome to where it all began...My home town..."

She pulled over and stopped the car...Looking out the window a moment, then at him...He likewise glancing carefully, sunglasses adding what protection they could over the tinted glass...



"Brusset...You weren't happy here..." she said quietly...

"No..." he nodded... "They've prettied it up a bit but even now you can see..." he tried...Emotion suddenly cutting him off...

"It was a rough life..." he resumed, after a long moment... "Especially for my mum...But she did what she could for us till 'Mr. Walthrop'...Whoever he was...Finally stepped in and did the right thing...Which may have been death or a spontaneous burst of generosity, I don't know..."

"Then you came to London..." she looked at him... "You came to be a student..."

"What every poor boy did if he was a little clever and could manage a scholarship, pay his way somehow, or suddenly came upon a bequest...I just had the good luck to hit on all three..."

"Show me the places..."

"I can't get to all of them...And there aren't many of them left standing these days, I'm sure..."

"Show me where you were born...Even if the house isn't there...Please..." she looked at him...Then smiled a little...

"I mean, you know all about me and mine...It's not fair..." an attempt at a coy grin...A little of the vagueness back now, he realized...

"Do I?..." he asked quietly...

***

He couldn't make it into the old house, not only still standing, much to his surprise, but still a boarding house of sorts...After three attempts to get out of the car, he gave up and after a solemn promise to be careful and return in ten minutes, Buffy'd gone inside...

He looked as long as he could bear after her...Her walk, changing again...Slower, more...

Cicely's walk...A demure nineteenth century lady's careful gait...Very necessary with those long skirts and that tight corset cutting the air off...

She climbed the stairs and rang a bell...After a moment, a look round and a grin back to him, she pushed the door open...No doubt breaking the lock...And went inside...

And yet, she'd seemed so...Buffy...These past hours...Though perhaps unusually quiet, more like in those last days with the First when she'd feared she'd made the wrong choices...

He eyed the fence a moment...Too much sun getting through, he had to look away...The fence where his younger brother Phil had walked on the points barefoot on a bet...

Oh, Phil...Amelia...God help you, my poor little family...Forgive me for abandoning you, forgetting you...

And yet Philip had made out rather well...Even to his older brother's long deferred benefit...Always a practical lad, my Phil, thank God for small mercies...He must taken good care of poor Melia...God bless you, lad...Forgive your fool brother and his damned romantic notions...

Why did she want to come?...And make me go through this?...Hell, if she wanted me, she knew I wasn't in an ash heap somewhere...

Hell, she said I put her through...Well, seems she made her way through with the Immortal's kindly...

But she's here now...Though why and what is moving her, God...And perhaps my poor...Wife...Know...

Too long, she's taking too long...Lord, there can't be that much to see...And somebody's bound to come by...

She came out, blinking in the sun...Must have been dark in there, he noted...She looked at the car...The vague look back, no doubt about it...But she saw him and smiled...Hurrying down the steps...



Poor Henri...The thought crossed his mind...What would he say if he saw that wan smile for me...

Or does he already know...He turned to me, after all...

She opened the door...And sat...Staring at the dashboard...

"Well, was it everything you'd...?"

"William, William...I tried so hard, so hard...My darling..." she whispered, staring at him, eyes wide but... "Forgive me, forgive..."

"Buffy..."

"No...I can't go..." she whispered... "I have to find them...I have to get them home...Please..."

"Cicely?...Who are you now?..." he took her hand...

"Can't say...No..."

"Where are you?..."

"With you..." her eyes widened... "William?...I'm here...With you...With you..." she repeated...

"What else, can you tell me anything more?...Who else is with you, Buffy?"

"No, no..." she twisted away... "You won't understand, you don't know...I wanted to save you, but you won't believe..." He grabbed her now, holding tight...She calmed a bit...

"Who else is in there?...Is it Cicely? Tell me..."

"I can't...Can't..."

"Buffy, why did you jump yesterday?!...What was it that made you jump?!...Who?..."

She blinked and stared at him... "You said...You said I fell...You told me I fell..."

"Why did you jump?...Why?...You didn't even know where you were then, you only guessed later, didn't you?..." he paused...She trembling now...

"Cicely, tell me...Why did you want Buffy to jump?..." he shook her a bit...

"No...No!..." she broke loose and fumbled for the door... "Alright!...I won't...I won't ask again!..." he hastily told her... "Just stay with me!...Please..."

She paused...Turned back to him... "You promise?...You won't ask me?..."

"Not till you're ready to tell me..." he nodded... "Please, Buffy...I can't help you if you go out there...Stay with me..."

"I want to..." she looked at him...

"But she..."

***

"Heliophobia..." Part XII...



PG-13...



Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca

verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html



Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...



Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...



With apologies to Alfred...



***

"Heliophobia..." Part XII...

PG-13...

Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html

Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

With apologies to Alfred...

***

She'd been silent since her last anxious plea for him not to question her further...Merely indicating that she'd seen enough of the rooming house where he'd been born so long ago, she'd pulled the car out into what little traffic there was on the Brusset main street and driven at moderate pace on into what passed for the modern downtown section...And suddenly pulled into a church parking lot, surprising him...

"I know this place..." she murmured, nodding to him..."We were here..."

He stared round...Not recognizing at first, thanks to the modern parking lot and the newer surrounding buildings...Then...

"St. Stephens...My parish church..." he stared at the old, hand-carved wooden doors...

How many times was I dragged through those doors by dear old unc...?

"What do you mean, we were here...?" he looked at Buffy who was already starting out...Wait!...he called to her...

"I can't get out here...Wait, Buffy!..."

She was out and heading for the steps...He tried opening the passenger door...And fell back toward the middle of the car, the sun's fierce, burning gaze on him...Managing to grab and pull the door closed, he struggled to catch his breath...Feeling as if his very lungs had been seared...

Another way, there had to be another way to get in...He looked over at her...She was at the door...Which, fortunately seemed locked...She paused, seemed to be contemplating something...

She wouldn't...he thought...Not a church...Especially in England...

Who am I kidding, this is Buffy Summers...he sighed...Looking for the car key...There, still in the ignition...Slide over, try to get the car in back and get as close as possible to a back...

A middle-aged man in priest's garb suddenly stepped out of the church, pausing by a somewhat startled-looking Buffy who spoke to him briefly, nodded, and came back down the steps, looking towards William and the car...The priest watching a moment, then heading back inside...

Well, at least she didn't break in...he noted with relief...She came up to the car...

"The reverend will let us in from the rear...The church is closed for repairs but we can look around..." she got in...

"I recognize the place...It was my church when I was a boy here...But why did you stop here, Buffy?..." he asked quietly as she started the car...

"I had to..." she replied... "Please don't ask me any more..."

***

Buffy's apartment near Hyde Park...Midmorning...

"So they're out for the day?...Together?..." Drusilla, newly arrived from her hotel, now seated with teacup, eyed Dawn, currently offering sugar which she accepted...The offer of cream or lemon politely refused...

"Yeah...Buffy said last night they "ran into each other" when she was sightseeing up at the Lake District and they decided to go tooling round a bit...You think she's lying...?" Dawn frowned at her guest's equivocal look, resuming her own seat...

"I think I doubt she'd've bought Will's story about just being in England to search his roots...But what could possibly have interested her in the Lake District?..."

"My sis isn't a vapid idiot, Dru...She's probably read about the place...Is it nice?...Maybe she really did just wanna see it..."

Though I think you're right about her not being fooled by Will's story...Dawn looked at her cup a moment, rubbing thumb and forefinger nervously... "So she knows we've got Will in to keep an eye on her...Maybe that's not the worst thing...Especially if she's glad to see him...And I know she is..."

"There must be something up there of interest to her...Or to Cicely...Though, yes..." Dru faintly smiled... "Of what I remember of it, the District is a very nice place...I'm sure they'll have a nice time touring round there, if that's any consolation..."

"William..." Dawn said... "It's William that's of interest to her...Them...He has some haunts up there...Had, anyway...It was in the Council records...They were up there together before he died...He and that Cicely… "

"Oh?..." Dru asked, noncommittally...

"Before I left, I helped Buffy in the archives...The Watchers had him under pretty detailed surveillance just before he died...They were interested in him even before Spike showed his blonde head...He'd gone and gotten involved with one of their Slayers..." Dawn explained...

I wanted to know more about Will too...she sheepishly smiled...

"So you were there when she was researching about Cicely?...You never mentioned that before..."

"Not when she found the stuff…Anyway, it wasn't Cicely she went to look for...See..."

"What did she tell you?..."

"Only that the Slayer the Watchers back then were so upset about must be the girl...The one Will told her about once...I remember Buffy made a joke about her, something about her being 'beneath' Will...But it was William we went to research, not Cicely...I doubt Buffy knew her name until we started looking...It's just that there were records about him that mentioned him in context with a Slayer..."

"Nothing unusual for Spike…" Dru noted…

"But these weren't about Spike…Buffy showed me a note, some kind of field report, signed by a Watcher…Cicely's I guess…It called him a young man, William Soames Walthrop…"

I don't think sis appreciated the competition...Dawn grinned...

"But how could she have known this Slayer was the same girl?..."

"I don't know…" Dawn paused… "I guess I thought at the time she'd just made a good guess from the info in the records…"

"So she learned the Council had become interested in human Will before his death?..." Dru looked at her... "She knew he had loved a Slayer...And she viewed Cicely as 'competition'?..."

"She didn't say much about her at all...Except, I don't think she liked her...For what she did to Will...I guess she..."

"I know what Cicely did..." Dru cut her off... "But it wasn't how she really felt...At least not from what Mr. Giles and his Watcher friend told Will and from that grave..."

"Grave?...What grave?..."

What grave?...Dawn repeated rather sternly as Dru looked embarrassed...

Whoops...I think Will would've preferred I not spill that particular bean from the hill...

"Dru...If you're gonna start holding out on me..."

"Cicely's grave...Buffy found it a few days ago...In Cicely's old house in London...She led Will there when he started trailing after her..."

"Cicely's buried in her house?..." a rapid blink, nervous setting down of teacup... "And Buffy found it...?"

"The grave was hidden there, behind a false wall...Poor William, he..." Dru began...Tears beginning to run...

"One of the solicitors there showed him when he was following her...God, why did he have to go through that?..." she burst into tears...

"Buffy found her...Cicely's...Grave sealed up in a house?...How?..." Dawn rose up from her seat...

"Dawn, I...I don't know...Maybe the archives...Maybe..."

"Cicely...It's true..." Dawn whispered... "And he...He still went on, following Buffy?..."

"He's always be there for her, Dawn...Long as he lives...Whether she is his wife or..."

"But why was she buried in the house?...Was she?...Did Spike?..."

"No..." Dru shook her head firmly... "Not even Spike would hunt her down...William was that strong in him, reaching out through him..."

"There's gotta be a reason...You're still not telling me something..."

"I told you before that Will had reason to believe that Cicely might have been the mother of his child...Families in those days...Especially prominent ones..." Dru sighed...

Viewed pregnancies out-of-wedlock...Or at least the suspicion of such...As the ultimate disgrace for a young woman...If she died during childbirth, they'd naturally do what they could to cover up what they saw as a great scandal...

"No..." Dawn stared... "Oh...Jesus...The baby?...She led Will to the grave of his baby?..."

"Cicely died in childbirth, Dawn...The little girl is buried wi..."

"A girl...?"

"Dawn..."

"A girl..." Dawn repeated...Closing her eyes... "A daughter...God, sure ...What a fool I was..."

Buffy?...Oh...Mother, how could you keep this from me?...

"Dawn?..."

"Dru..." Dawn sighed, taking the other young woman's hand... "I gotta tell you something..."

***

Brusset, St. Stephen's Church...

Thanks to the indulgence of the priest, Buffy and William stood in the front of the church, facing the altar...

"What's up?..." she eyed him coolly... "You came in here after me like you thought I was gonna..." she looked over to the side at the entrance to the steeple over them...He shrugged...

"We've saved each other Summers, that means, according to the Chinese anyway, that we're obligated to each other...Buffy, I have to know..."

"So do I..." she looked at him... "But I'll be sexist and call 'ladies first'...Why?..."

He smiled faintly... "What, a romantic like me blow an exit like Sunnydale?...You might've actually cared..." She slapped him, hard...He fell back...

"I'm not sorry for that one..." she said quietly as he picked himself up... "You have any conception of what I've been through?..."

"Yeah, I think I do..." he replied... "I spent a hundred years condemned as a result of rejection...But I didn't reject you..."

"I would've..." she began...Then shrugged, a resigned, sad look... "What's the use?...I can promise the moon but I can't explain why I didn't stay or why I wasn't there when you came back...Why it wasn't me who brought you back..."

"Things worked out in ways neither of us may have liked, Buffy...But you're..."

"Set?...Yeah, you bet...I threw that vale of gloom off in a few months and found myself a great new Undead guy...And when Andy tole me you...You..." her hands clenched...He looked at her furious face...But she calmed and took his hands, pulling them, then sliding back the sleeves...

"Angel's boys did a fine job..." she nodded... "But it's what you get for tryin' to help a Slayer, right?...Thank God you didn't love her...She'd've really finished you off..."

"I thought about coming..." he tried...But she was staring round the church...Wan again...

"We were here..." she repeated... "So long ago..." she stared at him...

You sang to me...she smiled...

"From there..." she pointed behind her, up to the old choir box...He looked up after her finger...

"You wouldn't take the basket..." she murmured... "It made Papa so...He spoke to that man, the man who took you out...And then..."

"And then my uncle gave me the hiding of my life for speaking back to the 'gentry'...I remember..." he nodded... "How did you know that, Buffy?..."

"Then you came back in and sang up there, looked at me and sang to me and my heart broke...I cried for you, I cried..." she said quietly, a few tears running... "But I didn't quite remember when you came the first time, in London, later...With Henry..."

"What is your name...Tell me...What is your name?" he demanded...

She put up a hand...Looking pained...

Then stared at him...A frightened look he'd seen only in faintest flashes before...The night with her on the porch after her mum had taken ill...The last terrible days before they'd taken the First on...

Buffy?...He put out a hand...

She got hold of herself, nodding...Fine...She shook her head... Just fine...

"So...Then you nearly took the noose with Dru, eh?..." she smiled thinly... "After you fellas proved good ole Giles wrong...About Angel's deal with the Partners, I mean..."

"Almost...But human Dru's got too many brains..." he smiled back...

"Yeah?...But you must've been preeety shocked...Know I was..."

"I had to offer, Buf...She was alone...And so was I..."

She stared at him...An unfathomable look on her face...Anger yes, but something else...Despair, resignation, but something even deeper...She trembled a moment...

"Can we get out of here?...Is the car close enough for you?..."

"Just outside the door...I can make it..." he nodded...

"Get me out of here...Now…"

"Shall I take you home?..."

"Home?..." She stared...

"London, Buffy...Your place there..."

"No..." she put up a hand... "Just out of here...Anywhere, anywhere in the light..." she grabbed at him...

***

They sat in the car...He having barely managed to stumble to it as the sun had slid enough to filter the thin edge of its rays in between the back door and car...

"Are you all right?..." she stared at him as he sat, trying to catch his breath…

"Just…not an outdoor person…I'm okay now…Well?...You feeling like telling me...?" he asked quietly...

"There's little enough to tell..." she sighed...Brushing a few stray hairs back to the tight bun... "It's more dream than...Sometimes, it's like I'm walking, strolling down a corridor that was once hung with mirrors...Huge, tall mirrors that held answers...But now are all smashed and only fragments remain...And I know if I reach the end of that corridor, in the dark, someone will be waiting for me...And then...I'll die..." she finished calmly...As if stating a matter of obvious fact...

"It was the worst when..." she paused... "With Willow in London, then Xander, and Giles...I didn't know I'd said or done what I did...It was only the corridor I remember...Empty except for the mirrors...But I've never gone all the way...I always stopped and found myself..."

"Until yesterday..."

"Yeah..." she nodded…

"But the small scenes, the fragments...? You remember those?..."

"A little...There's a house, in London somewhere, I think...I wander there, all through it...And always wind up in a room, alone...A dark, cold room, that I don't want to stay in , but I must...But I'm not totally alone...I hear a child crying...My child...Trapped in there with me..." she twisted anxiously...

"What else...Buffy?..."

"The church, here...I've seen the inside...But it's full of people, children...Boys in the choir loft singing...And I see..." she smiled at him...

"You were a cute little boy..." she suddenly tensed... "But then someone takes you, hurts you and before I do anything to stop them, it's gone..."

"Do you see a museum?...A portrait?..."

"No..." she shook her head...

"Anything else?..."

"Yes..." she nodded... "I see a grave...In that dark, cold room I told you about...There's an open grave...It's my grave..."

"But how do you know?..."

"I know..."

"Is there a stone...A low, thick gray stone?..." She shook her head... "There's a stone, but white…A white slab…"

"Any kind of plaque...?" Will tried...

"No…The slab's new…Clean and smooth…And waiting…"

"There's a chain here…" he said, trying to think… "If I could just find all the links and put them together…I know there's an answer…"

"Ghosts?...Magic?...Some big bad trying to drive me off my rocker?..." she stared at him… "Giles has had Willow check me out you know…I know that's why she came to London earlier…"

"She couldn't completely rule out anything…" he replied…

"But there might be an easy explanation, don't you see?... One Giles and Henri already think is possible…If I'm going mad…That would be explain it, right?..." she smiled a broken little smile at him…He staring at her…

"It was nice of you to come and try to help me…" she was trembling now…

"Cicely…" he whispered…

"I know that name…" she noted quietly… "I've seen it in the Watchers' archives…And somewhere…"

"Are you Cicely?...Tell me…"

"Can't…No…" she shook her head…Her whole body tensed… "Don't…Please…"

"I won't…I won't ask again…" he hurriedly told her…She relaxing almost immediately…

"Will, please…I'm not mad…I'm not…But there's something, someone within and she wants me dead…Says I must die…"

Help me…Please…she grabbed at him…

"It's all right…I'm here…" he embraced her… "I'll help you…"

"Don't let me go…Never let me go…" she whispered…

"Never…Never…I'm here…I've got you…"

***

Early evening, just after sunset…Outside Buffy's apartment in London…

She brought the car to a stop against the curb…He unbuckled his belt and got out on the sidewalk…She following shortly…

"Well..." he smiled at her as they neared the gate entrance to her building's grounds... "I think it might be best if..."

"Aren't you coming in?..." she stared at him, stopping, then a dark look...

"You don't believe in me..." she said quietly...But her voice had an oddly menacing tone... "Nothing I do..." she looked away…

"You said you'd help me..." she looked at him intently, startling him a little...

"I will...I'm not running out on you, Buffy...But...Lots to think about, eh?..." he took her hand... "I just think you need a quiet night with your sister...Tell her I had business but I will be by tomorrow..."

She nodded but her face remained shadowed...

"I need some time to think things over myself..." he noted...

"Ok, right..." she nodded again, curtly and began to turn toward the door...

"Damn..." she frowned as an unbuttoned upper coat button which had been loosening all day finally fell to the ground...

Here...He bent to pick it up...She reached for it...

"Just a mo..." he felt his hair and pulled a lock loose... "Old trick of me mum's...We being rather short for needles and thread before 'Mr. Walthrop's' kind benefice..."

He reached for her coat and pulled the pin loose from his tie clip...Pressing it into the coat where the button had come loose...Then carefully using the pin to shove the hair through, all the action of a moment as she watched, startled...

He threaded the hair through the button several times, pushed it through the hole again, and securely tied it at the button...Voila...

"Oughta hold till you find some thread or get to your tailor's...Wouldn't want people getting the wrong idea how you lost it..."

She stared at where he sewed the button on with his hair...Touching it gently...Then looking up at him, as he patted her and stepped back...

"I will be back tomorrow, Slayer..."

"When?..." she gasped out, still touching the button...

"You'll see me whenever you come out...Like the old days, I'm afraid you're stuck with me and my pestering…" he turned and walked off...

She stared after him, then sat on the stairs...Staring at the button, then finally putting her head in her hands...

Above, in the apartment, Dawn and Drusilla stared down at her...

"So they finally met again..." Dru noted after a long pause...

"Yeah..." Dawn continued to look down at her sis...

"I should go before she comes in, while I can still slip out...I don't it's quite time for me to..."

Yeah...Dawn looked at her...Then shook something off... "Yeah, you're probably right...I'll speak to her and call you tomorrow and let you know what they're up to..."

Thanks, Dru...she put out a hand... "I know this is hard for you..."

"Never hard for me to try and help William..." Dru replied, shaking the hand...She moved hurriedly for the door, scooping her things on the way, and stopped...

"Dawn...I'm doing this for your…for William...I'll keep mum about what you've told only as long as I think it's ok for his sake..."

Dawn smiled...Not a girl's smile, Dru noted...A woman's...

"That's just what I told her...Though I didn't fully understand just who I was doing it for myself then…Thanks…"

Dru nodded and headed out quickly...

Dawn returned to the window...Buffy still sitting below on the stairs, head in hands...Her body shaking...

"Well, sis..." Dawn whispered... "Was it a ghost?...Was it fun?..."

***

"Heliophobia..." Part XIII...



PG-13...



Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.html..

Summary: Sidetracked once again, but I finally came up with a way to do another of my favorite films, so...

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

With apologies to Alfred...



***

Who? (Jerome Kern)

"When a girl's in love with someone,

He must be indeed a dumb one,

If her secret he cannot assess...

As that girl in love with someone

I must wait until that dumb one

Offer answers to the questions I can ask..



Who? Stole my heart away,

Who? Makes me dream all day

Dreams I know will never come true,

Seems as tho' I'll ever be blue.

Who?

Means my happiness,

Who?

Would I answer yes to,

Well you oughta guess,

who, no one but you. "



Back in his hotel room, Will sighed, turning off the CD player on which Josephine Baker had sung her question in wistful, yearning voice...

Was the situation so very bad?...True she seemed to be frightened, even terrified, by whatever, whoever was trying to get a hold on her...But surely nothing unusual...They'd handled worse often in the past...She'd always had her brief moment of uncertainty before rallying for the finale...

If it were Cicely seeking to rejoin the living through another great Slayer, however briefly, perhaps sensing his regained soul and humanity, seeking him, at last?...Trying to explain why?...It needn't be that hard to accept...Though the idea that she sought more, even Buffy's death, which Buffy seemed so sure of?...No...Not Cicely...Not if she were the woman whose missing pieces he'd finally managed to fit together...A great Slayer, who'd loved him and tried to save him, dying in giving birth to his stillborn child...

I cannot believe Cicely is, was evil...But if she had little understanding of what her actions were doing to Buffy?...

Yet, a woman who could do all that she had apparently done?...Could she contemplate possession and what amounted, in all extents and purposes, to murder to prevent her host from turning to another?...

"It might not be Cicely..." he told himself... "Even if Willow's ruled out magics as best she can here...It doesn't mean another force isn't involved...I just need to bring it out into the open...Find the key..."

Buffy's anxious face before him...And then the face he'd just left, an angry, resigned one...

Suspicious of him, perhaps?...And this time round, in this struggle, perhaps he had to ask himself the question...

Whose side was he truly on?...

A knock at his door...Tentative, then increasingly insistent...

"Buffy?..." She looked at him in the doorway, wide-eyed, frightened... Frightened, terrified, in a way he'd seen only once before with her...The night of her resurrection..."It came back..." she murmured, stepping inside... "I couldn't go into my building...The vision came back..." she stood trembling in the center of the room...

He came to her, taking her hands...As he had before, when she'd just clawed her way from her grave...She staring at her hands in his...

"I...Couldn't go in...I had to come...I..."

"It's all right, Buffy...You're fine, you're safe here now..." he clasped her hands gently, rubbing them with his fingertips...She still not looking at his face, watching his hands stroking hers...He sensed her calming a bit...

"I ran...The corridor was coming to the end...I knew it...I had to run...Find you, be with you..."

He hugged her gently, then looked at her trembling face... "Here, let me get you a drink..." He went over to the counter by his kitchenette...

"I should call Dawn...She may be worried if she saw me coming and then taking off like this...It was crazy..." she paused to take the glass of whiskey he'd offered her...

"Take it right down, Slayer...Like medicine..."

She nodded and swallowed...Coughing a bit...He took the glass from her... "Another?..."

She shook her head...Then smiled faintly... "Your solution to all my life problems...I remember..."

"I had to pay a pretty price for those scampered kittens that night..." he grinned back...



"I'm sorry to come here like this after keeping you all day...You did say I could call anytime..." another faint smile... "I suppose you meant phone call, call..."

"It's fine, Buffy...Have a seat..." He helped her over to the couch... "I'm glad you came straight over..."

"Whole what? Fifteen minutes since you left me?...Was she this forward?..." she took a seat on the couch...He taking a seat beside her...

"She?..."

"Your girl, Miss Victorian Princess..."

"When it suited her..." he smiled... "As to whether she was 'my girl'...I think I tole you the outcome of that fateful, one-sided romance..."

"Was it one-sided?..." she eyed him...

"I'm not sure, now, to be honest..." he replied... "What happened back at your place, Buffy?..."

"You asked me if I was...Cicely?...You shouldn't have..." she was beginning to drift...Then came back to focus... "Was that her?..."

"Yeah, it was...So?...What happened?..."

"She'll never let you go...If she has to kill me..." she said flatly, then blinked at him...

"Buffy?..."

She sighed... "It came back...The corridor, the different visions, all so clear and real, so real for the first time..."

"Why?...Why would Cicely want you dead, if she wants to be with me?..."

"Cicely?..." she stared at him...Blinking now... "No..." she whispered... "I told you not to ask..."

"Buffy...Why would Cicely want you dead?..." he put his hands on her shoulders...

"I failed...I lost you..." she whispered... "She's lost you...I saw it...You ran from the house...Dru was waiting...They had her waiting...I told you...Over and over but you wouldn't believe me...I left you and you burned while the First laughed...Hell was reaching for you...I saw..." she closed her eyes... "I love you...I didn't want you to die...William!"

"You didn't fail me, Buffy...You saved me..." he told her gently... "And I don't believe that Cicely doesn't know that...There's something else at work here...There has to be..."

She pulled back from him, staring... "You love her..." she said quietly... "You don't love me...It's her...You still don't believe me, cause you don't want to...You won't help me..." she started to rise...He hastily rising as well, trying to hold her back...

"I believe you, Buffy...I do...Please...Tell me what else you saw...Please, darling..."

She eyed him, breathing hard.... "Just what I've told you...I saw the house again...All the other visions in the broken mirrors...The church we stopped at today...All of it...Pulling me along to the end...For real, this time...Nothing holding me back...I was in the house and I saw the grave, waiting..."

The house again...We keep coming back to the house...Where it all happened...

"But you didn't reach the end this time, either..." he noted... "Buffy, I think you've given us something to work with...The house...Cicely's house here in town...That's the focal point..."

She stared at him... "The house...?"

"Everything between Cicely and me started and ended in that house, Buffy...I think we should go there, together...And I think when we do, we can finish this, end your dream, destroy it completely..."



"You want her gone?..." a careful look...

"I want you safe and at peace..." he replied... "As for Cicely...If it is Cicely involved here...I'll deal with her...Somehow..."

"Safe and at peace..." she repeated softly... "Sounds like a place I know..."

"You're not going there for a long time, girl..." he smiled... "And after tomorrow, you'll be free of this, I'm sure...

"And where will you be, after tomorrow?..."

"Here, long as you need me to be...But I'm making no demands, Buffy..."

She eyed him, saying nothing a while...Finally a wan smile...

"Not very complimentary...Didn't Dru ever tell you a girl likes a few demands made now and then?..."

"I'm here to help...Not complicate your life, love...Maybe, if you want to...When this is over...We can talk..."

"Thanks..." she said quietly...The faintest note of bitterness...

"I appreciate it, Buffy..." he eyed her... "But you may think very differently after tomorrow and I don't deserve to be hurt that way again..."

"May I will..." she said coldly... "I guess that's wise of you..."

"Well...Now..." he sighed... "We'll have to wait until tomorrow, I don't think we should risk breaking into the place tonight...Shall I take you home?..."

"No...No, I'll be all right...Just let me call Dawn and tell her...Something..."

He nodded and reached for the phone...She calmer now, took it and paused...

"What time tomorrow?..."

"I'd imagine they'd be open by nine...I'll call ahead and schedule with the gent who showed me around before...He wanted our advice on what to do..."

She looked at him quizzically...

"I'd best explain there...But we'll have a valid excuse for going over...Cousin Cicely..." he smiled...

"I'll explain..." he repeated to her ever more puzzled and slightly frowning look...

"All right...You can pick me up at nine at my place..." she started to dial and he stopped her...

"Just one thing..."

She eyed him...?

"Why are you so afraid of her?...Or who- or whatever this is?...Buffy, you've never met one you couldn't..."

"Because I might not want to win this one..." she said simply, staring into his eyes..."I'm not sure if I do and that scares me...Not that I might lose and die...It's the not knowing what I might lose if I lose...Or win...."

***

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