"The Secret Diaries of Samuel B. Pepys..."



Prologue and Part the First



Summary: In another past life of Buffy and William...A desperate-to-keep-the-case Anyanka tries to redirect their curse using a unique strategem...With interesting results suggesting that a certain famed 17th century diarist and his lady had more going on than even his famed daily diary let us know...

Note: The best way to know Mr. Pepys is through his magnificent nine year daily Diary...Which is now available on-line on a day-to-day basis at http://pepysdiary.com/ courtesy of the wonderful Phil Gyford.

I would also recommend "The Unequaled Self", a new biography by Claire Tomlin...Just terrific and fills in the gaps the diary leaves...

Hmmn...Amazingly energetic, loving (many as well as one in particular) beyond fault, warm-hearted but hard-headed in crisis and on the job, courageous enough yet willing to accept help in battling enemies, very family-centered and parent protective, interested in everything and brilliant at his work though not quite on the top levels of science or scholarly achievement despite his respect for both ...

This sound like anyone you know?...

Did I mention he loved good clothes?...

Hey, no one said Buffy always had to be the Slayer in her past lives with William...

Or a her...

(It might help if you read my tale "Original Sin"...A sort of prequel...And my Cicelyverse page notes)

Special disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction and does not purport to be in any way a biography of the historical Samuel Pepys...(Though dammit, I love the philandering, charming, intrepid, self-centered, loyal, hard-headed, romantic, money-grubbing, loving and lovable, scheming, dutiful lil' 17th century Clerk of the Acts and Secretary of the Admiralty...One of history's greatest writer-chroniclers...)

Prologue:

The misty reaches of the bleak realm of the Lord of Vengeance, D'Hoffryn...

"Two hundred years?!..." the Lord of all things vengeful glared from his throne at the lovely, if rather anxious-looking, human face of his likely to soon be less than chief demon, Anyanka...Who scrunched down a bit under his wrathful glare...

Various imps and demons hurriedly seeking other places to be on suddenly important business...

Ummn...D-H...

"I'm to wait for my Slayer-vengeance demon for two hundred years?!..."

Gee...A blink in Eternity's eye...Anyanka, in 17th century dress and Anya human form...Thought...What's he so upset for...?

"And with no guarantee the Slayer and her mate will be destroyed in 1880!...Correct?!..."

Oh...Right...The lack of a sure thing...Well, hey...In life...she thought...

"Well?!..."

"No...Sir...I can't guarantee it...But there's a very good chance...If all goes well..."

"If...?!!" All the vengeance lord's famed congeniality of manner had, for the moment, flown the coop...

"Well, D-H..." A hard glare...Ummn... "My Lord D'Hoffryn...It's gonna be voluntary...She's gotta ask for it...Those are the rules and you did make them..."

Under duress when the PTBs were gonna kick your butt unless you cooperated...she did not say...

"After all, D-H..." she began... Don't, Anyanka...he glared...

Don't try and dodge by claiming it was the wisher, Mr. Jonson's fault...Your job is supposed to be to wrest our victories out of the foolish little nasty wishes our idiot clients make...

"I did my best, D-H...Sir..." And as a fan of Mr. WS' work, you yourself didn't want the wish to go into effect during Mr. and Mrs. Shakespeare's lifetimes...she again did not say...

"Well...Obviously it was not 'best' enough..." the vengeance lord groused...

"Couldn't you have found a faster mechanism?..." he shook his nobly horned head...Sighed... "Anyanka...Giving these two, the Slayer and her mate two hundred years to prepare for us in Heaven..."

"They won't be in Heaven for long, D-H..." A silky voice now is heard...D'Hoffryn looking out over the ranks...Haly?...

"Halfreck...?"

"Yes, sir.."Haly beams... "Right here, sir..."

Hey, Anyanka...she waves...Haly...Anyanka nods a bit...A slight suspicion forming in her heart...

"What's this about the Slayer and her significant other?..." D-H interrupts...

"Oh...They're about to return to Earth..."

"What!?...Anyanka?!..."

Ummn...Was just about to mention that...Sir...she nodded feebly...

"They're about to be reborn?!...Find each other again?!!..."

What's the big deal...she thought, rather peeved...

They've been reborn nearly a dozen times already...And they always hook up eventually...

"They're soulmates, D-H...It's unavoidable that they'll find each other once reborn..." she quietly noted... "Besides...I have a plan to turn this rebirth to our advantage..."



One I just came up with this very second...she did not say...Eyeing Halfreck carefully...Who gave a serene glance back...

"Anyanka..." D-H frowned..."Anyanka...This better be good...Cause if you screw this up...I may just decide it's time to hand things over to Halfreck on this one..."

Haly beaming serenely off to D-H's side...

"She is after all...A distant relative of our target..."

Anyanka glared...

"I won't fail...I'll have her soul in our camp within...Oh, say...Twenty, twenty-five years..."

Hmmn...A cold glance from the Vengeance Lord...

"D-H, they gotta grow up, find each other, get married..."

True enough, he sighed...

"And with the wrench I'm gonna throw in their works..." Anyanka beamed... "The Slayer's soul will be banging on our door two centuries ahead of schedule...Demanding justice for what Fate and certain Evil ones have done..."

Hmmn...D-H frowned...I dunno...

"Very well...But if you fail, Anyanka..."

An eagerly hopeful Haly fading back slightly...But alls not lost...

And she has faith in true love...

Heh, heh, heh...

***


  
        Samuel                 and Elisabeth Pepys...

Part I...

Restoration London...1667....

"Where is he?!..." a fuming voice with slight French accent...The two maids tending dinner in the family kitchen of the home of Samuel B. and Elisabeth Pepys eye each other...

"At it again, is he?..." one hisses...Shh...As a furious and ravishingly beautiful Elisabeth bursts into the room...Nearly as young as the two young maids...

"Where is Mr. Pepys?!...He promised to be home for dinner!!...He specifically asked for...Jane?..." she turned to the older of the two maids... "Did Mr. Pepys send a note from his office?...Did anyone come...?"

No, mum...Jane shook her head... "Nobody's come...The master must out and about his..." she eyes the younger maid... "Business..."

"I understand things is very busy round Whitehall these days..." she added innocently...

Elisabeth gives a cold stare...Yes...?

"What was the navy hearin's and all..." Jane notes...More kindly... "I'm sure he just got too busy to come...The King himself and the Duke relying on him so much these days, ma'am..."



Hmmn...Elisabeth torn between a sudden half-beam and a grimly jealous glare...

"Well, Monsieur might have the gentlemanly kindness to inform us when he can't come home at dinner...One he specifically ordered..."

Yes, miss...Jane nodded...Curtsying slightly as did the other girl, rather more badly...

"Nell!..." Elisabeth stamps, striking her on the arm... "You silly girl!...You must learn to behave properly in this house!...This is the proper way..." she curtsies... "See the girl learns how to act in this house, Jane!..." she stalks off...Pausing, she turns back to them...

Oh...Since Mr. Pepys has denied us his company...I shall be going out...Briefly...

"Jane...You shall accompany me...Make yourself ready...And you, girl..." a glare at Nell... "Be minding your manners or by the Mass and God above!...I swear!..."

"Miss...?" Jane eyes her mistress... "The master don't like when you swear, miss...He said I was to remind yous of it..."

"By the Lord's Goddamn Mass!!...Mon Dieu!!!..." Elisabeth whirls round, marches out of the kitchen, slamming a door behind her...Something hard clattering to the floor from her apron pocket as she does so...Jane nervously glancing at the stake dropped...Quickly but unobtrusively moving to conceal and shove it away from view by her clueless coworker...

Not that Nell ain't a good sort and all...Just some things about the Pepys...Mistress and Master...Are best left secret...

"Well..." Nell rubs her chin... "Don't think I much mind missing this trip...Say?..." her voice drops to a conspiratorial whisper... "You think she'll be leaving you alone again while she goes off...?"

"To see her parents...That Frenchie dad and mum of hers...And that Balty, her brother...She don't like to have me come and see em...Guess she don't like anyone knowing how poor they is..."

She says she visits em...Nell gives a solemnly suscipious look... "But if you never see who she goes in to...Who's to say...?"

I hear she's a Papist...Goes to see a priest...the girl notes solemnly...Or some feller...

Jane slaps her comrade...Reasonably hard enough to suggest it is not an act of friendly restraint...

"Here now, girl...Mind your own place and leave the Mistress to hers...Ask no questions and no lies'll be told ya, I says...She's a good lady, the Mistress...Just a bit unhappy these days...So let her be and keep your mouth shut...Or as I am no Papist, you'll be out on the street with a good hiding..."

Hmphf...Nell waves a hand... "I still think it's wrong of her to give poor Mr. Pepys such a hard time when she's going galavanting off as she feels like it...A wife should know to keep her place by the house my mum always says...Anything else...The ways of Satan..."

"Be quiet!..." a sharp slap... "Look sharp and mind your tongue, you good-for-nought!...Or the Mistress and Master might just find out who left the Master's shoes out on the front porch all the other night..." Jane turns and heads off to prepare for the afternoon's journey...

"Still say it's a crime the way she lays into poor Mr. Pepys...And him so nice and all..." Nell whispers to the empty room... "Poor soul...He was so sweet the other night when I combed his hair..."

Uh-huh...Jane, hearing from the doorway, eyes her...

Cut to shot of a back room of the King's Flagon Pub...Near Whitehall...But definitely not a place in use for business purposes...



At least...Not business purposes befitting the esteemed Clerk of the Acts of the Royal Navy...

***

(Music begins...Opening bars of "L-O-V-E")


Play

"Now Frank, my dear..."

"Mr. Pepys..." Young Frances the barmaid...Wife to the pub owner...Looks up at the eminent Clerk of the Acts of the Royal Navy, Mr. Samuel B. Pepys... "I mustn't...Stay...If me husband..."

The door bursts open...Michaels...The owner...And husband...A short and dark but tough-looking Bob Hoskinsish type...Grimly eyes his wife...Then, on top of her, his favorite client...

Favorite and most generous client...

Favorite, generous, and somewhat dishelved client...

Favorite, generous, somewhat dishelved client with hand well down said owner's wife, Frances' ample cleveage...

Pepys looks at Michaels' grimly staring face...

Frances, half-bent over a chair likewise looks up at her husband's face...Trying a sweet smile...Lo, Michaels...

"Michaels...Ah..."

"Mr. Pepys..." A curt nod...

"I..."

"I take it...Sir...That my request to be given the remainder of the Navy's unused ration of bread for this year stored at Deptford...At the price I offered...Is to be accepted?.." Michaels eyes Pepys coolly...

Pepys blinks...Then, rather ludicrously, stiffens a bit...Clearly annoyed by the hint that he is a man potentially subject to blackmail...

The very idea...

"Michaels...I have told you that the matter is in the hands of the Admiralty board...I can do no..."

Michaels eloquently eyes Frances...Now pulling her clothes back up into a more respectable state...

"Oh, do put in a good word for us...Mr. Pepys..." Frances eagerly adds her bit for the family business... "It would make us...And Mr. Michaels and I would be ever so grateful...Ready to do you any kindness we could in return...Right, Maxwell?..."

Aye...Michaels nods coolly...Arms folded...

Hmmn?...Any...Kindness...? Pepys eyes him, then Frances...

("L is for the way you...Look at me...")

Frances makes cows eyes at Pepys...Michaels simply stares...

("O is for the only...One I see...")



***

Pepys is seen leaving the tavern, looking...Rather content...

("V is very, very...Extraordinary...)

Such a nice man and so learned...Ah, me...Frances sighs to Michaels...Who stares at her as she dresses...

"Miserable little stuck-up tailor's son that what he is..." Michaels grouses...

"And if it weren't for his cousin, Lord Sandwich..."

Now, Maxwell...Frances gives him a fondly chiding look...

(E is even more than any one that you adore...And...")

Pepys pausing by several stalls to cheerfully greet the sellers and pick up a bit of gossip and news as he stolls happily alone...His pausing at some extended by the fact that the sellers are...Mostly ladies...

("Love is all that I can...Give to you...

Love is more than just a...Game for two...

Two in love can make it...Take my heart and please don't break it...

Love was made for you and me...")

***

"The Secret Diaries of Samuel B. Pepys..."



Summary: In another past life of Buffy and William...A desperate-to-keep-the-case Anyanka tries to redirect their curse using a unique stratagem...With interesting results suggesting that a certain famed 17th century diarist and his lady had more going on than even his main diary let us know...

Note: The best way to know Mr. Pepys is through his magnificent nine year daily Diary...Which is now available on-line on a day-to-day basis at http://pepysdiary.com/ courtesy of the wonderful Phil Gyford.

I would also recommend "The Unequaled Self", a new biography by Claire Tomlin...Just terrific and fills in the gaps the diary leaves...

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

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

***

Part the Second...

Later that afternoon...

"April 21st...1667...." Pepys looked up from the sheet on which he'd been scribbling a few notes to retain for this evening's diary entry...Shaking fingers aching from his rather strenuous earlier activities with dear Frank...His riverboat, currently being directed down the Thames by his waterman, likewise Samuel...Having banged rather loudly against the wall of London Bridge, just before the rather steep fall...

No matter, Mr. Pepys, all well in hand, waterman Samuel noted...

A coincidence of names that had struck both their fancies, usually leading to a series of exchanges which frequently startled those who knew Pepys solely in his official capacity...

"How ye do, Samuel?...Very well, Samuel...And you, Samuel?...Well, well Samuel...Mind your head there, Samuel...Aye, Samuel..." Generally followed by a long and serious discussion of politics and the state of the realm's affairs in general...Samuel the Waterman, one Burrows by name, offering his opinions...And the insights of his fellow watermen...In considerable detail, carefully heeded by his distinguished passenger...

Though sometimes superceded by discussions of music, literature, or if after nightfall, the latest astronomical phenomena...

Seeing the waterman push the boat off from the ancient wall with a hard shove and reassuring nod, Pepys ignored the looming drop...Well known to have led no small number of London's waterborne citizenry to early graves...And concentrated on his notes...

His personal journals, now kept into their seventh year, requiring careful attention, being among his most cherished accomplishments...

After all, a life of such varied fortunes and achievements as his must be fully explained and understood for posterity's sake...

Though of course carefully transcribed in shorthand code, so as to allow for maximum veracity and detail without causing undue embarrassment...At least until one Samuel Pepys was safely consigned to his grave and beyond reach of such concerns...

The boat tippled over the drop, its bow almost but not quite sinking into the river, and righted itself with a jarring thud... "Alright there, Mr. Pepys?..." "Quite, Samuel...Minimal water..." "Excellent then, sir..." Burrows maintaining a more respectful tone what with the crowds on the bridge within earshot...

"And the good Mrs. Pepys?..." the waterman inquired as the two relaxed from their usual brush with death...Twice or more daily for Pepys, hourly for Burrows...The boat pushed steadily into the center of the gently flowing Thames, Burrows keeping a sharp eye on the numerous sister craft...Nodding to several of his colleagues as they passed, plying their trade...

Hmmn...Oops...Pepys hesitated...Was I supposed to?...Yes, damn my eyes...Dinner at home...And after specifying the course...Oh, Lord... "Well, very well Samuel..." "Excellent, Samuel..." The waterman smoothly resuming their normal conversation as they pulled away from easy earshot of other boats and shore...

Ah, well...Elisabeth will unders...Oh, please...He sighed... "Missed dinner again, Samuel?..." Burrows eyed him... "Aye, Samuel..." Pepys nodded sheepishly...

"Well...The good lady will understand..." Burrows kindly nodded...Oh, please...he thought...Mrs. Pepys?...

Poor fellow will catch hell for it this time...Though God knows if she ever got wind of some of his doings about town...

"Pressures of business, Samuel..." Pepys noted... "Naturally, Samuel..." a nod... "Busy times indeed..." "Aye..."

"King and Duke well, sir?..." "Quite..." "No moneys for the navy office, though?..." "No..." Pepys sighed... "Pity..." Burrows shook his head... "Haul off, bastard!!..." he waved his long pole at a boat moving too close...Just missing his colleague...

Williams...he frowned to Pepys...An arse and a half if there ever was one...If you'll pardon my English, Samuel...

"My brother on the Charles will be sad to hear it..." Burrows resumed... "He was hoping for some of his pay to come through this month..."

"Sadly...No..." Pepys shook his head... "However, I would be glad to speak to the Duke...Perhaps some more tickets can be issued..."

"Thank you, sir...Better than nothing..." Burrows nodded... "Though the rates is worse than ever...I wish you'd inform his Highness the Duke...A genuine crime the way the moneylenders take the sailors, sir...Not one but gets half what his pay ticket is worth..."

Aye...Pepys sighed... "We hear of it, Samuel..."

There is quite a lot of discontents among the sailors and their people over it, my brother says... "Aye..." Pepys nodded... "We're besieged by them every day morn to night...The women especially..."

"Still, better than going beggin' in the street...Or robbing on the roads..." the waterman reflected... "Here we are, sir..." The boat pulled up to a dock...Pepys rising...

"Me best to the Missus, Samuel..." Aye, Samuel...

***

The Seething Lane offices of the Admiralty, administrative heart of the Royal Navy...Later that afternoon...

A small team of diligent young clerks scrape their quills to parchment, pausing occasionally to review the scrolls, papers, and the large scrapbook-like ledgers open before them...

Samuel B. Pepys, distinguished Clerk of the Acts of the Royal Navy...Trusted servant of both the restored King, Charles II, and his gracious Highness and Lord High Admiral of England, James the Duke of York...Hailed by many in and out of the government both as the one indispensable man actually capable of both understanding and reforming the entire archaic machinery of the Royal Navy administration...And the sole member of the navy office truly useful as an administrator...The obvious lord of the roost...Walks among them, observing their work, stopping by one every so often to make comments, suggestions, the occasional friendly pat of support...and the occasional hard stare of disapproval...And after two turns among them, returning to his own spot at the rear...

Across the large office, visible at his bench, just through a rather new doorway...Still under construction at Sam's insistence...To allow his clerks and self to perform their duties with less disturbance from the comings-and-goings of the busy Navy office by his claim...To keep his fellow members of the Navy board out of his hair and affairs, they and privately, he, would say...His fellow office member, the distinguished veteran of the English Civil War (if on what the current royalist government might have considered the 'wrong' side before casting his lot, along with so many other former Cromwellian leaders, with the new government of the restored Charles II...) And conqueror of Jamaica, Admiral Sir William Penn, Sr.

Better known to Sam as 'that treacherously vile and mean hypocrite...'...Sam pausing to respond to his most hated enemy's friendly wave... "A busy time, Pepys...I trust we'll still be able to make the Duke's House this afternoon..." Penn calls from his seat...Directing his own clerks to look sharp about...Whatever it was the fellows did...

Annoying this matter of petty paperwork...Necessary as the old sea dog admiral might under duress admit it was...For preparing the ships and men and all that...And useful as it might be in offering one the chance to turn a fair profit or two...Or three...From those merchant and victualers showing proper gratitude and respect to those navy board members willing to assist them in establishing their fitness for the various choice supply and maintenance contracts associated with the maintenance and outfitting of the Royal Navy, now despite the chronic lack of funding, facing great demands placed on it by a long-drawn out war with the Dutch republic...

He eyed the jaunty Pepys...Now back on his own bench, happily immersed in paperwork, clerks rushing to and fro from him seeking advice on some matter, the occasional signature , or a review of their efforts...Conceited, vain little prancing puppy...A pusher of papers of no desserts who felt his scratchings and assemblings of documents were the equal of the blood sacrifices which he, Penn of the Navy, and his veteran colleagues on the board had made for...And regrettably of course, in the not so distant past, against...the King...

Still, a useful man to have on one's side...If one required endless realms of documents to throw at the annoying, but increasingly dangerous Parliamentary committees attempting as best they could, to gain some knowledge and oversight of the naval war currently somewhat less than raging...

Not to mention...Elisabeth...

For the excuse to drop by and sit or chat a moment or two with that dear, wondrous lady...One could bear even dear vain little Mr Pepys...Or Miss Pepys as some would call him behind his back, in light of his fussy, womanly devotion to his tiresome system of records and contract documentation...

And the fellow was not without some measure of charm...Particularly in his energetically clear love of life and enthusiastic interest he took in everything, especially the new...Like a charming, utterly thoughtless boy at times...

A thoughtlessness...Especially in regards to the divine Elisabeth which the Admiral had noted away carefully...Even if the dear lady'd shown not the slightest inclination towards seeing what might lie beyond the boundaries of home and hearth...Refusing, he'd heard it said, even the attentions offered at some length by Lord Sandwich himself...

Being Pepys' immediate neighbor in the large building that housed several of the board members...There was after all...Opportunity...A thing an experienced military man learns to prize...And, in God's good time, should dear Mr. Pepys continue on his neglectful, selfish marital course...

A foolish boy...he beamed benevolently over at the Clerk of the Acts, nodding to him as he returned to the bothersome task of trying to determine what the damned papers in front of him had to do with running a navy...Hmmn...Penn frowned...Boy...

Rather unhappily moving on to thoughts of his own son and namesake...Will Jr...That idiot fop...Who'd just published yet another of his unintelligible, interminable pamphlets on religion in general and the merits of Quakerism...Quakerism, the admiral rolled his weary eyes...specifically just the other day...Once again making him...And his distinguished parent...The talk...And laughingstock...Of London...

A Quaker...Penn sighed to himself...Of all the damned things in all of God's damned Creation...And even a few years education in France, cleverly calculated to appeal to the boy's frivolous side...Hell, his whole nature, Penn groused...Had failed to win him away from such radical, deluded nonsense...

For the love of Blessed God and Jesu...I am Penn, conqueror of Jamaica, hero of the Civil and First Dutch War, returned to the allegiance of the King solely for the good of my country...Well...Perhaps my good as well...But...

And to have a son who wanders the streets with his equally daft friends, telling all and sundry that war...Violence, period...With anyone...Is contrary to God's Will...He shook his head...And with a careful glance about him, surreptitiously pulled out his son's latest, which the eager young fool had hand delivered to the house the previous evening, determined to rescue his beloved father from Hell's fires...He looked it over again quickly, and with equal haste, carefully put it back in his locked desk box...

At least the kid could try to be a little more coherent in his arguments in support of his cause...After the best education England and Europe could offer...

In the other room Pepys scratched away...All around him immersed in their final tasks of the morning...Or, as he noted with frown as he looked over through the half-finished wall across to the rooms of his other board colleagues, Sir John Mennes... "Old Fuddlehead...", Comptroller of the Royal Navy, Sir William Batten, their fellow counselor, distinguished for his remarkable agility at changing sides during the late Civil War, and their senior member, the distinguished, at times somewhat capable...Lord Brunckner...Either happily engaged in telling stories, anticipating the coming dinner break and, baring any sudden war crises, free afternoon...Or, in Mennes' case...Sound asleep...

On the other hand, to have Mennes' actually trying to do his job?...No, he was rendering his best service for King, Navy, and Nation just as he was...

***

The clerks' afternoon break for dinner brought the welcome visit of one Sir William Coventry, Naval Commissioner and highly esteemed Secretary to the Lord High Admiral, His Highness the Duke of York...In Pepys' estimation, the finest man, bar none...In all of England...And one of the few at the king's ear determined to offer true service and fidelity to his king and nation...

Lord Sandwich, Edward Montagu, his distant cousin and original patron having developed a slight case of clay feet in the past few years as he took on the somewhat corrupt and dissolute ways of the Restoration court, Sir William had replaced him as Pepys' ideal...An ideal Pepys had struggled with some success to live up to...

At least in some matters of public affairs pertaining to the navy...

At Sir William's approach the office took on a somewhat more intense air...All the clerks, including the more relaxed servants of Penn and Mennes, anxious to display diligence in the presence of the fearless pursuer of fault and corruption Coventry had in the past six years shown himself to be...

"Well, Mr. Pepys..." Sir William greeted his young friend jovially... "Hard at it, I see...And you, Sir William..." he nodded to Penn who gave a pleasant nod back...Suppressing his desire to glare at the fellow who'd done his best to make the office a dull chore rather than the pleasant place to collect a few hundred pounds per annum it had been at the start...

"Though I suppose to shamefully little effect on the course of this dratted war..." Coventry sighed...Pepys looking a bit uncertain... "No, my friend...Not a criticism...We're doing all we can, I know...And the Duke is aware of it...Just very difficult to bear the sight of our fleet forced to lie in harbor for want of funds and provisions while our enemies roam the seas..."

Mennes, now awake, blinked at the words...Rising stiffly... "As Comptroller of the Navy...I shall go down to the fleet at once, Sir William...And see that all is put right...At once, sir..."

Yes, Sir John...By all means...Coventry pleasantly nodded...Eyeing Pepys with faint smile...

"But in fact Pepys and I are headed down to Deptford to make some inquiries...Perhaps your investigation should follow later...Keep them on their toes, not knowing when we'll appear, eh?..."

Yes...Very...Good...Sir William...Mennes nodded with a shrewd look....And resumed his seat...Attempting to look as if he were examining the pile of documents in front of him with attention...

"Pepys...I took the liberty of calling briefly on Mrs. Pepys to tender my best wishes..." Coventry turned back to Pepys who was now hastily gathering a few small books and waving to his chief clerk, William Hewer, to join him...

"Yes?...Many thanks, Sir William...Mrs. Pepys is keenly aware of the honor I'm sure...Allow me to tender our heartiest thanks for your courtesies..."

Coventry with Elisabeth, eh?...Penn looked over, listening...Must see if my lady or her maids heard or saw anything of interest while he was there...

But then, Coventry...Hardly likely the fellow would allow himself...Interesting though...And my lady did say she'd seen him there once or twice before...

And given our dear Pepys' tendency towards sudden ridiculous fits of jealously...Potentially useful...he smiled to himself as Pepys, Hewer, and Coventry, deep in conversation moved towards the door...

Hmmn...I do wonder though about that incident Meg told me about this morning...

Elisabeth stumbling around the roof leads at three of the clock, apparently in pain...And Pepys following shortly after from outside our complex...Arguing with her and then carrying her into the house when she collapsed or fainted...

Of course the way young Pepys parties sometimes...Though unusual for him on a work night when he's required to face Coventry the next day...

And Meg said she was sure Pepys was waving some kind of stick about as he argued with her... "No more of this, no more..." what was it the dear girl said he said...Yes...

"No more traffic with the Undead..."

Hmmn...My daughter must have dreaming...

***



"The Secret Diaries of Samuel B. Pepys..."



Summary: In another past life of Buffy and William...A desperate-to-keep-the-case Anyanka tries to redirect their curse using a unique stratagem...With interesting results suggesting that a certain famed 17th century diarist and his lady had more going on than even his main diary let us know...

Note: The best way to know Mr. Pepys is through his magnificent nine year daily Diary...Which is now available on-line on a day-to-day basis at http://pepysdiary.com/ courtesy of the wonderful Phil Gyford.

I would also recommend "The Unequaled Self", a new biography by Claire Tomlin...Just terrific and fills in the gaps the diary leaves...

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

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

***

Part the Third...

The attentive Jane eyed her mistress sympathetically as their hired hackney rolled down toward her parents' current, somewhat considerably less than fashionable, neighborhood...Elisabeth looking wan, drawn, and rather downcast...

Men...Jane sighed within...For all milady's hot temper and spirit, she lives for every moment theys together...He may have married her in a wild heat that befuddled that clever brain of his and still does when he's not in a fool's way, but it was no less with her...

And knowing what she is...And what she does...Even that little he has found out...Jesu, lord!...What more could a man want in a woman?...And theres many men who'd agree with that...'Ave tried to show her...Well, a man is but an arse on two legs, covered in cloth...

My God, be it not so for my dear Tommy...Well, I means to keep mine in line...And will...No 'business''ll ever keep him from my dinner table unless I be with him...In useful way to him, naturally...

A brief, slight, repressed groan from Elisabeth...

"Are you sore again, Mrs. P...?" Jane eyed her... "Nothing...Just twinges, thank you Jane..." Elisabeth looked out the glassless window of the coach...We should have one of our own now, dammit...He said we'd get one when his savings hit 2000 pounds if the office continued at that time...He's got to have us well above 4000 now...Still, not like he's throwing it away, it's our security for age and trouble...And he and I have known what poverty is...

No, he'll do it when the time's right...But it grieves me some to see the others make him wait on them when he must have a couch... 'Need the loan of my coach, do we, Mr. Pepys?...' that worthless old clown Mennes looking down on him, treating him like...A man who's the only reason he's not in the Tower for all his folly and laziness in the King's business...And lose so much time waiting...So dangerous by night too with...Them about...

Why didn't he come?...Was he angry about last night?...My God, I've told him what I could...He's seen enough to make a sensible man like him aware what must be done, must be done?...

But the look on him when he saw I was hurt...Like to when I was so weak on our trip to Ware that time after my night's work had gone hard and I fainted...Though I was determined to go with him when he asked...

Asked me so charming... "And will we travel together no more...?"...No, I couldn't stay behind...And it was damn well time he'd got permission to bring me...

Yes, it was the same look...Though thank God I stopped him from raising the alarum this time...One thing to run about an inn crying out for help for me when I could say I just fainted from the heat and all...Quite another to awaken all within hearing...At least four blocks when he's in good voice...And me with bloody wounds...Lovely tryin' to explain that to our dear fine Lady Batten...Mmmn....she winced as another shift of the couch brought rather deep pain...



Maybe I should've told him how bad it went and got him to stay today?...He was anxious over it last night...But if I'd showed him the true wounds...

He who couldn't bear to let me be cut, even for the sake of the child he wants so badly...He would've tended me, as he does...No man better there when it comes to that...But it would have been a row...Him never letting me go again, which he's sworn now anyway, even not knowing how bad it went this time...But I can get round that, so long as he doesn't know what a close thing it was...He'd make it a choice if he knew, or God forbid, he'd follow me each time and not give up in frustration as he'd done on the times he's tried to date...He'd wind up alone somewheres in the midst of Them...Me too far away, havin' lost him...And...

No, never...No...It was my sin to take him...I will bear the burden...As well as the joy...The burden alone...The joy...Shared...My Gift to me beloved...Lil' pricklouse tailor's boy, she grinned...And groaned again...

Mmmn...Bit of trouble this side, a deep cut...But Father Fogarty and Mama will have something for it...And Balty will be there, God bless 'im to raise me spirits...

Hope Papa hasn't tried promoting his new invention again...All their months' pension money and what I managed for them last month thrown away again on the first nobody he has to approach to get a hearing...But Mama can't refuse him and break his noble heart...Even if it means they starve a month...

But why didn't he come?...Well, I'll be giving him me mind on it tonight...No soft words about my work tonight...Might be for the best at that...He'll be glad to consent to my going then...

Hope the good Father will have some better news for me...Last night was a bit of one, definitely...

***

Deptford, Royal Navy shipyard...Early afternoon...

"Gentlemen..." the proud voice boomed out..."The Kings Yard and the Royal Dock, founded by his Most Gracious Majesty Henry VIII and charged to the care of my dear father, Phineas, (and you, and your brothers, nephews, cousins, ad infinitum...Thank God for the King's business' sake you all hate and despise one another so...Pepys sighed, eyeing the speaker, one Peter Pett, Commissioner of the Royal Navy and current leading member of England's greatest shipbuilding monopoly, the Pett family...)..."...covers some 30 acres...Contains two wet docks; three slips for naval vessels, workshops for our various artisans in wood and iron, two mast ponds for pickling our masts; mast houses, timber sheds, quarters for our officers, and machinery for spinning hemp. And I be proud to say, Sir William that our Deptford Dockyard continues, in spite of current fiscular difficulties, to have no serious rival anywhere in Europe..." Coventry, beside Pepys nods benignly...Not the first time he's been treated to the tour lecture...

"Among the many ships built in Deptford were our own most noble flagship, the Royal Charles and the Pelican which was later renamed the Golden Hind - Drake's ship, of everlasting fame..."

The group of gentlemen nodded appreciatively...A number on their first tour, pried by Coventry at last out of their various secure offices to see the current shameful condition of the Navy, laid up almost entire, due to want of money and provisions, almost no ships of mention at sea to challenge the Dutch and their French allies...Who were becoming bolder and more impudent daily...

With the assistance, it was said, to the Nation's shame, of a number of England's own seamen, who desperate and disgruntled had taken service with the enemy...Whose cause it must be said, Pepys thought, was not entirely without merit...England having made war on them for no particularly good reason except her merchants desired more control over global trade...And that an easy victory, beneficial to the regime's somewhat tarnished prestige, had been expected...

***



"I must say, mon petit..." Alexandre St. Michel addressed his daughter Elisabeth as she sat dutifully in the guest chair her mamma had pulled out for her...With no inconsiderable pride, it being the one fine thing she'd managed to retain through all the family's turmoils and travails in France, Ireland, and finally England...

"I am puzzled by my son-in-law's failure to show duty to us, his second parents...I mean not to say..." he quickly moved to prevent the words clearly forming in his daughter's angry face from emerging to the general embarrassment... "In terms of financial assistance...But in what one owes one's in-laws...One's second family..."

"Pepys keeps the Frenchies in his closet well hidden..." Balthazar, Alexander's young son noted with a grin at his sister from his stool by the fire...

"Papa..." Elisabeth was curt and cold, not responding to her brother's teasing look... "You know very well it is my decision not to have Sam'l visit here...I would not see you and Mamma so embarrassed, living under such circumstances for a brief time...And he has been as generous as his business matters allow..."

Though that may stop if he ever catches on to my fancy footwork with the housekeeping budget...she sighed to herself...

"Tell me..." she moved to change the subject... "Is the good Father coming?..." Alexander, staunch Protestant that he was, frowned...Though Fogarty was a good enough sort as a man, not pleasant to have a Papist in one's home, clearly eager to corrupt the weaker-minded around him with fair words and so on...A Jesuit, he was sure, owing to his learning...

Trouble in any case...Though one might say the climate was a tad more favorable in regard to religious tolerance than under the previous Presbyterian regime, even the King was still forced to keep his more liberal views in check with regards to Catholics and Quakers...

"I merely wish to discuss my condition with him and mother, father...He being an old friend and a learned man in Physick and Medicine...Especially in the diseases and conditions of women..."

That again, Balty rolled his eyes...Old Sam'l pressing on the subject once more?...Thought he'd about given it up these last two years...Not that ma belle jeune fille wasn't young yet...But clearly something was wrong somewhere in one of their works...Unless Bessy was covering despite her rare hints that all was quite well as regards the arts de la coeur between them...

And given the rumors he'd heard in town about dear brother-in-law's...Manifold activities...?...Wasn't hard to imagine a possible cause for any physical problem...Though dearest sis...Who was indeed a dear...Was looking rather wan and worn just now...And did have, poor lamb...Her own fair share of troubles in the matters physical...

***

A loud crash brought Pepys, midway in his inspection of one of the smaller ships with Coventry and the ship's captain, up short...A huge crate had fallen, just to the side of the captain who looked up in rage...Seamen jumping about, a quick apology from the lead man on deck tending the crates with several others...

The captain went up on deck...Heavy shouting and threats with the sounds of men scampering about, bent on seeming at least to look as sharp as possible...The lead man now facing the captain's bellowed accusations of idiocy, incompetence, and neglect alone...

Hmmn...Pepys, who'd been making a study of the hemp rope used in the ships' rigging and for purposes such as securing similar crates, had gone to inspect the crate's hauling ropes...

"Sir William..." he turned to his superior... "Pon my soul, I believe the hemp rope here has been cut...Look here..." he raised the severed area to view...

"Indeed..." Coventry eyed the rope carefully... "Most likely by the fellow above on deck...Probably just before we came below for inspection..."

"Sir William?..." Pepys blinked... "You are saying this man was deliberately trying to kill his captain?..."

Coventry gave a thoughtful look... "I'm not quite sure...He may have been aiming for one of us..."

What?...



"We represent the Navy Board...Not currently very popular with the...Pepys?..." he looked at a Pepys dashing for the ladder to the deck...He heard a cry in Pepys' voice... "Sergeant of the Guard!!..."

Well, good to know the fellow hadn't run off the ship in panic...Still, Coventry sighed to himself...And headed up to the deck...Where at the ship's rail Pepys was frantically waving to several of their assigned guards below on the docks...The large sergeant hurrying over to the rope ladder nearest...The sailors on deck and several of the officers eyeing the rather agitated Clerk of the Acts...

"Pepys!..." Coventry moved to him...Pepys turned... "A word, my boy..." he leaned over the rail and signaled to the rather stout, heavily armored, now-climbing sergeant... "Just yourself, Banister...We're quite well here, just need a bit of assist in checking something..." He turned back to Pepys who was staring at him...Sir?...

"Come, my friend...We'll explain things to Banister when he reaches us...Which, considering his weight and armor will be some little time..." he led Pepys to a quiet area of the deck...The various sailors eyeing them from their work stations...

"Mr. Pepys...Please understand I am not rebuking you, merely explaining the situation..." Coventry sighed... "Sir William?...You just said this was attempted..." "Pepys...While it is true that some violence to Captain Beale or perhaps us was almost certainly intended...I think it's not to our profit...Or the King's...To make much of this incident..."

Sir?...

"We are all unharmed, Samuel...And the man will not attempt it again...Himself...For fear of being found out...And dealt with...Rather more gruesomely than the reprimand he'll receive today..."

But...Pepys eyed the sailors round the deck...Looking rather grimly at them...

"Pepys, you know as well as I how badly the sailors of his Majesty navy are treated...The impressment of free men, the brutality here and at sea, the lack of pay almost to starvation...Surely you can understand that the men hate everything representing the authorities that have brought them...And their families...To this hideous condition..."

And yet for all that, they remain, in my opinion, the best seamen in the world...And still display a touching feeling for their country...

"It is so very difficult to imagine that some of them wish to make an example of a particularly brutal or corrupt captain?...Or even of the innocent representatives of the Naval Board...?" Coventry eyed him...

Well...

The sergeant of the guard had reached the railing and was huffing as he climbed over...

"I think it's best that...No harm being done...We dismiss this incident as a mere accident...Simply ask Banister to inspect the cable works with you, and I would suggest, one sailor, who can explain...To the general satisfaction...What might have caused such an accident..."

***

Sir William having kindly brought him back from the waterfront by his own coach to the office, Pepys found Admiral Sir William Penn waiting for him at the door, a bit impatient to be off... "We should hurry, Pepys..." he nodded to him, indicating a secured hackney coach standing by...True, thought Pepys... 'The Siege of Rhodes, Part II...' was not likely to have an empty house...He climbed aboard the coach and they were off...

On whatever vital business two senior members of the Naval Board had been summoned...

The mutual unspoken agreement of two enemies, but devoted theatergoers to avoid any question being made of where the two naval officers had gone...Perhaps a tad early given wartime...Without their respective wives...Following the day's business...

Though at least, Pepys thought...Not without satisfaction...I will be returning to work and remaining there for some time afterwards...Whereas my companion...

"New suit?.." said companion asked with a smile...Pepys and his fondness for new clothes, must be the tailor in him...Pity he doesn't lay out near so much on his missus...Meg tells me she told her in the past year he'd spent fifty-five pounds on new clothes for himself and barely twelve given to her for her things...

"Yes...My old one was unsuitable for attending Sir William or the Duke..." "Naturally..." Penn smiled... "Not too much with the lace, you think...?" Pepys shook the wrist ruffs...Trimmed with gold thread, no less Penn noted... "Very fine indeed..."

For a shore-bound peacock who'd never set foot on a ship til his distant cousin put him on the Navy Board...he sneered within...

"Sir Will, it occurs to me that perhaps we should approach the coming Parliamentary inquiry by..."

"Eh...Parliament...My boy, Parliament will never be satisfied with us till they've turned us out of office and have a new set of poor fellows to set upon..."

"Yes...However...If we could better organize Sir John's records...So that we can uncover any deficiencies before the committee..."



"Excellent idea, lad...Capital...If you can persuade ole Mennes to let you have such records...If he's kept them about...By all means, go to it...I shall be happy to speak to Lord Brounkner about it or the Duke should you wish..."

Already have...Sam smiled slightly... "Being a full member of the Board, naturally I felt it would be appropriate..."

Rather than let you roll me over, claiming the credit of it while little secretary Pepys does the work...No, thank you...

"How enterprising you are, Pepys...Well...Done..." Penn smiled cheerily...Well, enjoy the extra load of paperwork, cleaning up Mennes' outhouse of a office, you smug little sack of horse...

"All well at Deptford?..." he inquired pleasantly... "Sir William and you put a bit of stick about?..."

"Sir William was pleased with the situation...But there was much to be done..." Pepys sighed...

"Always the case, Pepys..." Penn shook his head... "Money's the matter as we both know...Can't fight a war without ships or men or provisions for both...And can't get 'em without money..."

"Indeed, Sir William...And little prospect of getting any..." Pepys sighed...Considering carefully...No, best not to mention the incident...Penn would be off in an instant, seeking to play heroic pursuer of the truth...While secretly encouraging the man/men to try again....

"Sad times, my friend...Sad times...Parliament's a gaggle of fools and the King does not mind his own business...But, what's to be done, eh?..."

And your good lady...Penn eyed his companion across the coach... "She well?..."

"Quite, Sir William...And Lady Penn and Margaret?..." Well, well...Penn nodded... "Lady Penn wanted me to ask you and your lady to dine with us Tuesday next..."

Or she will desire it, if I have me mind...And I will...Penn thought...Though I must learn from my boys what happened today at the dockyard...The little fellow seems unusually jumpy even for him...

"That would be delightful, many thanks..." Pepys nodded...And I know just what kind of a stingy, awful meal we're likely to find, cheap bastard...he graciously smiled at Penn...

"Ah, here we are..." Penn waved at the sight of the Duke's Playhouse...Where an anxious crowd was jostling for admittance by the just-opened front doors... "Looks like we're to have a full house I see..."

"Hope it's Betterton in the lead as promised...I heard he was ill the other night..." Pepys looked over at the door, waving to a familiar face, one of the house attendants...Who cut his way through the crowd to their coach as he and Penn disembarked...Penn moving off to greet the man, Edgers...

Leaving an unsurprised but inwardly fuming Pepys to pay off the cabbie...

"Edgers?...Does Mr. Betterton perform today?..." Penn greeted the attendant heartily... "Indeed, Sir William, he does..." Edgers nodded...

"And Knipp and Nelly...?" Pepys asked eagerly... "Are they performing today?..."

"Certainly, sir...Both Mrs. Knipp and Miss Gwyn wished me to commend them to you should you come today..."

Nelly too?...Penn blinked...

Just what has this little bastard got?...

***

"The Secret Diaries of Samuel B. Pepys..."

Part the Fourth...



Summary: In another past life of Buffy and William...A desperate-to-keep-the-case Anyanka tries to redirect their curse using a unique stratagem...With interesting results suggesting that a certain famed 17th century diarist and his lady had more going on than even his main diary let us know...

Note: The best way to know Mr. Pepys is through his magnificent nine year daily Diary...Which is now available on-line on a day-to-day basis at http://pepysdiary.com/ courtesy of the wonderful Phil Gyford.

I would also recommend "The Unequaled Self", a new biography by Claire Tomlin...Just terrific and fills in the gaps the diary leaves...



PS: The following makes no claim to be a biography or history but is simply a work of fan-fiction with a number of historical events sandwiched into one year. (In other words...I know the Great Plague actually hit London in 1665-6, the Great Fire in September 1666...But I wanted the Medway attack to happen at the same time so you get it all in one action-packed year...)

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html



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

***

Part IV...

The St. Michel household...Late afternoon...

Balty held an arm out as his seated sister sewed up the open sleeve of his last reasonably decent coat ...A cast-off of Sam's at that...

"You look very well in that, Balthazar..." Mrs. St. Michel, middle-aged, slightly faded and worn from hard years of strife and trouble, though still blonde and yet a beauty proudly noted, beaming at her darkly Gallic, tall and handsome young son... "I hope you'll remember to wear it while meeting with your superiors..."

"Yes, son..." Alexander agreed, carefully maintaining his dignified bearing in the uncomfortable chair in which he sat ... "It may seem a trivial thing but a good presence is important in any worthy position...It may not perhaps be in keeping with the teachings of Our Lord, but in the sordid world we must live in...Sadly...The outward appearance matters..."

Aye, Father...Balty sighed...A smile to Elisabeth, fussing diligently at the sleeve...

"We really should have your father-in-law in to do this...Or perhaps Sam'l himself would do the honors..." he grinned...She giving a hard look... "Would you like this in your arm?..." she shook the needle as she pulled it through..."No offense intended, sister...Tailoring's a fine and worthy profession...Lord Sandwich himself didn't refuse the Mastery of the King's Wardrobe..."

"Balthazar..." his father frowned... "You, as an educated gentleman, should know that is not what the position entails..."

Yes, Father...Balty nodded, smiling faintly at his frowning...Balty...Sister... "To be appointed Master of the King's Wardrobe is both a great honor and a great trust...A noble office, of grave responsibility..." Alexander went on...

"Mmmn...Yes...I should've betrayed my principles and a few of our friends to the Stuarts...I might be sitting pretty myself right now..."

"Balty..." Elisabeth glared... "Lord Sandwich and especially Lady Jemina have been very kind to me and Sam'l...I won't hear them treated with such disrespect..."



Indeed?...And just how 'kind' has Sandwich been?...Her brother eyed her silently...She flushing a bit...A look of faint pleading in her eyes...Balty?...

"I apologize...Father...Elisabeth...Just my poor sense of humor...Bess...I honestly don't mean to insult your Sam'l...Hell, can't risk it these days if I want to keep my position with the Navy..."

"You might remember that once in a year...And treat my husband with a little respect...He's been very helpful to you these last years..."

"As long as he makes my sister happy and keeps her safe and well...I will..." he smiled... "Though I reserve the right to deflate that growing ego now and again..." Now, girl...he grinned at her... "You know I like Sam, truly...And I am grateful for his help, but he's been letting his position go to his head..."

"Not like you...A born...Gentleman..." she eyed him coolly... "Who sat round expecting some one to recognize his talents instinctively under my Sam'l took pity on you..."

A slight reddening flush...

"If your husband has any complaints regarding my efforts..." he glared... "Or if perhaps Lord Sandwich was annoyed at my suggesting he seek other fields to plow..." he stopped, seeing Elisabeth's stricken face...

Balty...Mrs. St. Michel stared at him...

Balthazar...Elisabeth...Alexander glared sternly... "I will not have such talk in my house..."

"I'm sorry, Balty...I..." Elisabeth stood up, moving back...Ready to flee the room if not the house...He hurried to her, taking her by the arm and pulling at her...

"Bess, truly...I am sorry...Forgive me..." he murmured hastily... "Father, Mother..." he turned to his parents... "My apologies to you and to my sister...I spoke only foolishness and out of turn..."

"It's he who's wronged you...And his poor Lady, sister..." he hissed to her, leading her back to her seat... "You've nothing to be ashamed of..." She giving a quick, grateful beam to him as she sat again...

A knock at the door brought all heads up...All four instinctively bearing the tense faces of refugees who knew what a sudden pound on door could bring...

"It's Father Fogarty, my friends..." a cheery, but considerate call from behind the door...



***



The Duke of York's Playhouse...Late afternoon...

The rounded, somewhat cherubic face of Admiral Sir William Penn beamed out from the box in which he and an eagerly-scanning-stage-and-house Pepys sat...Penn, for his part, all attention on the stage where the toast of London, Miss Nell Gwyn was engaged in a long speech of defiance to the foul Turk enemy...

A speech which, in its more passionate moments, though her costume was reasonably respectable, did allow for some interesting brief glimpses of those regions of leg and torso not normally on display...

Pepys though taking quite as much delight in Miss Gwyn's fervid appeal, generously dividing his attention among the many other attractive ladies all about...The chorus of lovely servants harking to the speech on stage...Including his dear Mrs. Knipp, his closest friend among the actresses, awaiting her cue to come forward for a song...And in the audience, the manifold beauties of London, among them the King's beloved and ravishing mistress, Lady Castlemaine...

"Ah...There is your good friend, Pepys..." Penn tapped him, pointing to where Knipp was looking their way...Not breaking character but definitely sending a smiling glance...Pepys gave a brief wave... "Poor thing..." he noted... "Her husband was most surly at our entertainment the other night...She's the most good-hearted and madcapped-humored woman I've ever known , but she has a hard life with such a jealous fellow, I fear..." "Yes, I've noticed the man myself, a pity..." Penn nodded... "But not an easy thing for an mere man to be married to such a woman...Take the case of poor Palmer, my Lord Castlemaine..."

"He's Lord Castlemaine out of it..." Pepys pointed out... Turning to dodge an orange thrown up from the benches below them... Hey, there you arse!!...he cried, chasing a fist at the thrower, a man in plain clothes who sneeringly thumbed his nose up at the toffs above... "Worthless piece of..." "Pepys...The Duke..." Penn hissed, indicating the Duke of York's box above them to their left front...Not an easy view of the two Naval Board members...Yet not an impossible one should they attract too much attention...

And while the Duke would have no complaint it being now late in the day...He might take it amiss to find two such eminent members of the administration engaged in exchanging insults with some vile rogue of a fellow...Pepys took the hint and sat back...Drawing out of range...Less willing to be spotted at an entertainment than his easygoing colleague...

"In any case..." Penn continued...Smiling inwardly at the thought of little Pepys' nervousness at being seen...Little clockwatching twit...Though perhaps not an unwise course...He leaning back into the shadows as well...

"To have a wife prominent on the stage and try to maintain one's composure as she is constantly solicited by the wealthy and powerful...Not an easy thing for any man..."

Especially for one as dementedly jealous as you, my little friend...he did not say...Remembering the months Pepys had spent running to and fro from the office to spy on his wife and her dancing master, Mr....What was his name?, ah yes...Pembleton...When Elisabeth had been assiduously attempting to learn to dance well enough to fit her role as a successful official man's wife...And perhaps to allow herself to keep a better eye on her successful official at the numerous entertainments to which he was now constantly invited to or giving himself...

Their colleague and neighbor Sir William Batten's wife, my Lady Batten had regaled the Penns and her husband for weeks after with her tales of viewing poor Pepys scampering about, trying to seem nonchalant when she'd asked if anything was wrong at home to bring him back so frequently at such hours...

Not to mention the night he, Penn had spent with Pepys in his home office while Pembleton gave Elisabeth a private lesson upstairs...Poor Pepys constantly halting the conversation to hear what was going upstairs, running up on the most trivial of excuses to interrupt them...

For a man of his many...Interests...He was startlingly anxious about the slightest sign of attention paid to the poor girl...

Though if such a beauty were my wife...And I were such a commonplace, little milksop of a fellow...Penn admitted to himself...

Guilt and quite understandable in his case...Dear Lady Batten, a rather experienced woman herself in all such things, had suggested in concluding her tales of Pepys and the dancing master...

A pity really there had been nothing to it...If that Pembleton had had more to him, one might have some hopes in the dear lady's direction, Penn sighed...

"I doubt I could bear it, to be honest..." Pepys admitted, continuing the conversation... "I suppose it must be a very hard thing, though Knipp is so good-hearted, I can't see her capable of any serious wrong to him...Unless he persists in his present course..."

"Hey!!..." a fiery shout from the stage... "Shall I go on or no?!!...This took some time to learn, you know!!!..."

The two quieted as did the crowd as the furious Miss Gywn sent a glare round the house...Rather annoyed by the growing chatter and the tossing of various items from the house roundabout the stage as her speech continued...

"Sorry, Nelly!!!..." a loud shout from round the theater...Followed by near absolute silence and an ending of the various tossings...

I think I heard the Duke himself join in that one...Pepys thought, blinking at the Duke's box...As with a generous smile, Miss Gywn continued...

The speech done, most prettily...Mrs. Knipp came forward and began her song...A most lovely one...

Ah, Knipp...Pepys beamed down on the actress, now in sheppardess' costume...

"We hope to have her over tomorrow night for musique and dancing..." he noted in a whisper to Penn... "I trust you and your dear lady will attend..."

You hope to have her, you mean...Penn thought, smilingly offering thanks aloud for the invitation...Which he and his lady would indeed be pleased to accept...

Whatever else little Pepys might be, he was the best host in London, for anyone who loved good food, good talk, and above all, good music and dance...



Though I wonder how much delight the dear Mrs. Pepys shall take in yet another evening of Sam flirting with Knipp and his other talented ladies...Merry a lady and tolerant of his foibles as she is...

***

"Peace to this dear house..." a kindly, hearty voice intoned...As a greying but vigorous-looking man of above average height and in large overcoat, entered at the front door...Opened by Elisabeth to his knock...

"Fogarty..." Alexander nodded, a bit curt in his greeting...Pointedly avoiding the use of 'Father'...

Elisabeth frowning quickly at her father's incivility...Her mother, however, stepping forward, hand outstretched in greeting... "Father Fogarty...Welcome..." Balty smiling a greeting with a brief wave from his stool perch...

Elisabeth helped him with his coat...Which, thanks to carefully upturned collar had well-concealed the priest's clerical garb...Including his none too popular in this city Roman collar...

At least the man had the good sense to keep a low profile in a land not exactly amenable to his kind...St. Michel thought...Attempting to make up for his lack of warmth with a quick offer of the best chair...An intelligent man of good and worthy conversation, and old friend to the family, especially Elisabeth, in times of dire straits, after all...

Though no doubt with some expectation of winning souls to his foul cause...For the AntiChrist in Rome...

Still a good sort aside from his lamentable choice of religious allegiance ...He eyed Balty, then the small cabinet where his tiny stock of wine for worthy guests resided...Balthazar rising with a polite smile... "A glass of wine, Father?..."

"Only to take the chill out of me bones, Balty...But for that, if your father will join me, yes..." Fogarty smiled...

Hmmn...Ought to just make it with the last of the Madeira Elisabeth brought us last time...he eyed the bottle in the cabinet...His mother giving a hasty glance over as well as she resumed her seat near the fire...Just enough for two...Phew...

He poured two glasses carefully and brought them over to the two men, Alexander now sitting next to Fogarty who'd taken the chair Elisabeth had vacated on rising to meet him...She now on a stool between her mother and Fogarty...

"Many thanks, Balty..." Fogarty took the glass with care...Well aware it represented a major offering on the part of his hosts... "Monsieur St. Michel..." he raised his glass...Alexander as well... "The King...May God grant him a peaceful and lengthy reign..."

Amen...Alexander and the rest nodded...

Elisabeth a bit impatient on her stool...Waiting for the pleasantries to finish...

"Ah...A wonderful wine, sir..." Fogarty beamed as he set the glass down following a careful sip... "Many thanks for your generosity to this humble cleric..." St. Michel giving a friendly wave of dismissal...Setting his down as well...

Mrs. St. Michel rather relieved to see something of the last of their guest wine available for return to its bottle...

Not that dear Beth wouldn't do her best to resupply them...But the poor child could only ask so much of her husband...And it was rather humiliating to be forced to ask yet again...

"And how goes your work?...Does the new invention look promising?..." Alexander perking up somewhat at the genuine curiosity in the question...

"Indeed, my friend...I must show it to you before you leave...I truly believe this will be a great success..."

Sadly...he sighed...It will take quite some effort and cost to bring it to the attention of the court here...

"A pity I could not introduce it at the next meeting of the Royal Society..." he eyed Elisabeth...Fogarty looking as well, but a sympathetic look...



"Papa...Sam'l is not yet a full member...And he cannot patronize your devices...It would not be proper for him to promote his own father-in-law at the Society..."

Indeed?...Alexander eyed his daughter coolly...Well aware of several contradictions of that rule...

"Hooke himself praised my perpetual motion device last year..." he noted...A tad annoyed with Elisabeth's clear lack of faith...

"Hooke himself, did he now?..." Fogarty cut in pleasantly, Elisabeth giving a grateful look...

"Yes..." St. Michel nodded... "Of course he was unable to back it...Not being a wealthy man...But he did promise to mention it to the Society..."

Sadly, they were apparently occupied with other business to discuss it or summon me to demonstrate it...

I can just imagine...Hooke, that old lecher...Elisabeth groaned inwardly...Over here on excuse just to leer at me and Maman...Poor papa, the bastard gentlemen of the Society probably had quite a chuckle over that one...Balty eyeing her with a mischievously disapproving look, easily guessing her thoughts...

Now, sister...

***

"I know some very wise women..." Fogarty had begun...Elisabeth having broached the subject of her and Samuel's continuing fertility problem...

Both Balty and Alexander amused in spite of themselves at the idea of a priest being consulted on such matters...But the man was trained in the medical airs as they'd learned from experience in darker days in France and Ireland...And did have an air of worldly experience and little pious nonsense about him...

Mrs. St. Michel having likewise quickly doffed her initial air of discomfort at such subjects being discussed...Her desire for healthy and prosperous grandchildren...Both sentimentally as a potential source of joy and comfort and practically as a potential source of security in her and sweet Alex's last days...Easily sweeping away any such fooleries...

"....and they would be happy to talk these matters over with you, dear child...There is new Physick available every day, especially from the New World, I hear...You mustn't leave any avenue closed in your endeavors..."

"Indeed, no, my Bess..." Mrs. St. Michel heartily echoed...

Always curious...Balty thought, eyeing the priest...The way he manages to appear just when we need help...First in France when Father had to flee and poor Bess had to be left behind at the convent...Then in Ireland when Father was wounded and dying of illness, Mother in a terrible state for fear of him, and Bess disappeared for days...And here in England when poor sister had had enough of Samuel's leaving her to sit alone in their room in the Montagus' garret and left him until he promised to reform...

Though I can't help believing...She did not welcome his appearance just before she married Pepys...Or when she left him that first year...And came back...With the dear Father making that suggestion she take up the clerical life...

At least I thought that was what he was saying to her when I overheard them the day she returned, poor thing...Looking as horrible and terrified as if she'd faced a thousand hobgoblins...

And she hurt as well...That was an awful thing, God knows where the poor dear had run to...Father up in arms about it for days, demanding to know who'd dared molest her...Even Sam, when he'd forced his way in to us and seen her, seemed determined to hunt the bastards down if she could just remember and identify them...Dragging me around with him, spending the whole week trying to locate the places she'd stayed and everyone she'd encountered...

I was willing to forgive him a lot after that week...As was she...he smiled to himself...Though, thank God she wasn't...Poor fool...Ah, God set me aflame if I ever forget my poor sister and mistreat some poor wretch of a girl that way...

A man may have his pleasure and a woman too, without causing harm or grief...If one can remember to always be a little kind...And thoughtful...

Could it have been Sandwich?...They did live at his home, then...If he'd eyed her even then and she got some fool notion in her head...Miserable and pissed with Sam then as she was...



"And you do practice timing your monthly cycle?..." Fogarty asked... "Sam'l keeps a very careful chart..." Elisabeth nodded...

No...She loathes him but not as one who hurt her that way...Merely the insult, both to her and poor Lady Jem...

Would be interesting to see Sam'l's reaction though... "Brother-in-law...Not only did your dear cousin, mentor, and founder of your fortune, proposition your innocent wife by proxy while she was away in the country near his Hinchinbroke estate...But he was the one who beat her almost to death and perhaps ruined any chances for you to have children when she left you that first year..."

Would he so much as turn a hair?...Our ever-cautious-to-protect-his-position Sam'l?...Defy my Lord Sandwich, the man who made, and can still break, him?...

And yet...Knowing the least of what my Lord did...As I do...What did I do except to make a few sharp remarks to him?...

And I do believe, if...That week anyway, seeing her bleeding from those wounds...He'd ever though it was Sandwich...

Sandwich would have killed him of course...Probably even both of us together...Famed fighter that he is...But I do believe he would have tried...

And while Montagu, Earl of Sandwich is a betrayer and a lecher...He's an honorable soldier not known for beating young women near to death...And such a rep would travel about fast in this God-forsaken Court of ours...

The impromptu gynecologic session was coming to an end...Fogarty having made careful notes to bring to medical friends about the City and having passed on the names and addresses of the "very wise women..."

Hmmn...Balty thought...Must get those addresses for my wife...Should we have need...

Though our problem would be somewhat the reverse...he sighed inwardly...

Not that I do not appreciate the blessing of my four girls, dear Lord...he noted hastily...

"Well, many thanks...I'll see you off, Father..." Elisabeth hurriedly dodged what she'd guessed would be her father's move to have Balty escort the guest out to a safe place from which to hail a cab...

***

The Duke's House...Intermission...A rather sporadic event, dependent on availability of costume, scenery and set, and the actors' need to recheck lines...Public theater having only been restored a few years previous with the Restoration of the King, deficiencies continued to plague many a performance...

Pepys a tad subdued, to Penn's surprise...Normally a terrific epic like "Rhodes II"...With music no less...Would have the kid running about the theater to meet, congratulate, and hug...Or whatever else he could get away with in the case of the ladies, every actor in the place...

Ah, yes...Thinking about that missed dinner...And the wrath of Bess awaiting him...

She was hurt...However much she tried to deny it...The image of Elisabeth struggling her way to the roof leads had crossed Sam's mind...Which it had faintly done all day...

I should have stayed home today...And found out what happened last night...

"Oranges!..." a cry went out...Several patrons in the boxes calling to the seller, a rather comely woman of reasonable youth...A part-time actress herself, but known primarily for her selling of oranges during breaks...A profession which supported both herself and family and, in slow times, her fellow actresses and so had earned her the title, "Orange Mary"... Which title those who could afford such luxuries as oranges were currently bellowing out...

"Hey, there!..." she called to Pepys, spying him in the box...Tactfully and kindly refraining from identifying him to the crowd...A tactfulness many of her patrons not actually supposed to be indulging themselves at the theater appreciated... "Oranges, sir?..." He gave a wave as did Penn... "Up in a bit, gentlemen...Hey!!..." she turned to glare at a fellow moving up behind her to grab at her box...At a wave two large fellows behind her moving to grab the sneak thief...

"Lookee what we got here, friends!...Tryin' to steal from your little May..." she called to the crowd... "Give 'im what for, Mary!..." a chorus, including some of the actors now returned to stage...And Admiral Penn and Pepys from their box... "Let us 'ave 'im, girl!..." several devoted fans called...



The poor, now sniveling would-be thief in his rough clothes looking round in panic...Whining faintly for consideration and mercy...Strange...Pepys thought...A rather familiar something about him...

"Now, lads..." Orange Mary smiled up at her would-be protectors... "You wouldn't want to keep Mr. Betterton from finishing his performance...?" a sly grin...As Thomas Betterton, widely acknowledged greatest actor of the current day and manager-director of the House, straightened, and with a broad grin tossed his grimy cap into the crowd...Several ladies of quality abandoning decorum to fight for it...

"Betterton!!! Betterton!!!..." a general shout through the playhouse...The audience on its feet...As he hopped to the stage, took a modest bow, and waved to indicate Mary who gave a gleeful curtsy and resumed her selling...

Ha-ha-hah!!...Penn howled, his face ruddier than ever, slapping Pepys on the back... "Noble Betterton!..." Pepys cried out, Penn and most of the theater joining in...

Hmmn...Sam was quiet a moment...I wish poor Beth were here...She'd've loved this...Well, I'll tell her...Yes...If I can tell it just right that might just possibly...Whoa...

Oh-oh...I vowed I wouldn't go again without her...Wrote that one out and showed it to her at the beginning of the month...

And on top of missing dinner...

"Mr. Pepys..." Orange Mary called to him from the box entrance... "And our noble Sir William...Whose son is so engaged in the saving of all human souls..."

Penn's beam turning to an embarrassed look... "Well..." Mary smiled kindly... "Your boy means very well..." Tossing him an orange...

"And you, sir..." she eyed Pepys... "The good ladies of the house would like their good friend to come down after the performance...We'd all like to shew our gratitude to that most generous servant of the King who planned our new subscription campaign and cried it up to His Highness the Duke..."

"Ah, a feeble matter, Mary...Especially compared to the joy you ladies have brought us all..." Pepys shrugged... Penn smiling benignly...Hmmn...Wonder how Elisabeth will take such...Kindness... "Not to us, sir..." Mary shook her head... "Enough money to keep the wolf from our doors this year is no small matter to the ladies of this theater...You'll come?..." You, too, Admiral?...As one of our subscribers we're in your debt too... "Indeed, I will...But as young Sam'l insists and more so in my case, it was nothing comparable to what you bestow on us..."

I really should have brought her...Pepys thought, a bit nervously...Or stayed home...

However, I can hardly refuse such a dear and innocent request...he smiled at the lovely light red-hair of the comely and so-appropriately nicknamed Mary...

***



"The Secret Diaries of Samuel B. Pepys..."

Part the Fifth

Summary: In another past life of Buffy and William...A desperate-to-keep-the-case Anyanka tries to redirect their curse using a unique stratagem...With interesting results suggesting that a certain famed 17th century diarist and his lady had more going on than even his main diary let us know...

Note: The best way to know Mr. Pepys is through his magnificent nine year daily Diary...Which is now available on-line on a day-to-day basis at http://pepysdiary.com/ courtesy of the wonderful Phil Gyford.

I would also recommend "The Unequaled Self", a new biography by Claire Tomlin...Just terrific and fills in the gaps the diary leaves...



PS: The following makes no claim to be a biography or history but is simply a work of fan-fiction with a number of historical events sandwiched into one year. (In other words...I know the Great Plague actually hit London in 1665-6, the Great Fire in September 1666...But I wanted the Medway attack to happen at the same time so you get it all in one action-packed year...)



Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

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

***



Part V...



"Father..." Elisabeth sighed at the face of her dear mentor as they walked down the crowded street...Devoted priest-confessor...Despite her continuing insistence on refusing to adhere to any strict faith...Secret Member of the equally secret and unusual for the day, international, Council of Watchers...

A membership as unlikely to sit well with his clerical superiors as with the current English government should it ever be exposed...

"Thank you for your advice...Sam'l and I do appreciate it..." They turned into a quiet alley...Several of the priest's agents nodding to them as they passed...All clear...Both as to enemies of Darkness and potential human gossips who might enjoy spreading tales about the Catholic priest and young, beautiful Mrs. Pepys...He nodding back as she eyed them and took in the alley carefully...

Not that she hadn't absolute faith in her Watcher and reasonable faith in her Council...Still...She'd learned the hard way to take notice at all times...They paused...

"There's nothing so important as seeing a strong and healthy child brought into this world, girl..." an Irish lilt entering Fogarty's voice... "And we're always glad for the chance to show you we mean to keep our agreement, Elisabeth..." He eyed her carefully...

"As I do mine..." she returned the stare...

He beamed...Ah...

"Do you have good news for us, child?...Our people about the City have been hearing rumors of the Gnaticus' pride's destruction..." he paused...

"I destroyed Gnaticus last night..." she nodded... "But it was rather a hard fight..."

And Sam'l...she began...

"He wasn't?...You did not involve him, did you?...My dear girl..." Fogarty sighed...

Certainly not...she frowned... "I would never..." ...Risk my Sam, if the world's existence depended on it...Let it all come to ruin and death so he be saved...she did not say...Though the experienced Watcher and priest had no trouble seeing those words in her staring grey eyes...

"He met me returning...Though he had no idea how much of a time I'd had...I'd managed to bind my wounds...But he's vowed I shall not go again, alone..."

And should he see my wounds...Before I heal...she eyed her mentor...No pleas or protests will shake him...At the very least he will try to follow me...

"And if I were to lose him...To Them..." a quiet, hard look... "You and the next Slayer would face a difficult situation indeed with me joining the Darkness voluntarily..."

They stared at each other...An old battle of wills long fought...And long conceded by both Watcher and Council...At least to their Slayer's face...

"I trust...God...And your own great courage and strength...Will not allow that to happen, child..." the priest smiled gently...

"As do I, Father..." she relaxing her stare a bit in turn..."So I must have some ointments and charms..."

"Certainly...I'll have them delivered, my dear...But you did destroy the pride entirely?..."

"Several escaped...None of the prime circle...They are destroyed..." she hastily noted... "But I was too badly hurt to run after those left safely...I barely managed to reach Seething Lane..."

"Forgive me, child..." Fogarty shook his head... "I have been callous...Are you alright?..." Much better today, she nodded...I see...he eyed her with a faint smile...Seeing her wince a bit as she walked with him... "I think you've missed your calling on the stage, lass...Sit down a bit..."

Sit...he commanded...She sitting carefully on a wooden bench...Yes...He eyed her carefully... "Any bones?..." She shook her head... He gave a hard stare... "Maybe a couple of ribs..." she conceded...

Though it did not stop me from enjoying me early morn's romp with my boy...she thought with a slightly wicked gleam...

No little tussle with the Undead will ever keep me from that...Heck, I made him an hour late today at that...

"I'll send Dr. Williams about your home shortly..."

"I am sorry I couldn't take them all last night...But I don't believe any of the survivors were of any great strength or ability..."

"That's quite all right, girl...We'll catch them eventually...Though remember, my dear Elisabeth...We need one or two alive...Something terrible is being prepared in this City, to be loosed on all humankind...And the Council must have knowledge of it..."

There's always something...And always a dire threat to Humanity...Elisabeth sighed...

Still, at least they're no longer demanding I give Sam'l up...And no more subtle threats after I panicked and left him that first year...Angry at his thoughtless selfishness, to be sure...But mainly fearing for his life, my poor love...And on my return, after defeating those whom foolish, mad agents of the late King had turned to in their bitter rage and sorrow at his defeat and execution, telling my dearest mentor and through him, the Council, that I would kill them and all the Slayers to follow me, if I had to return from the grave, should any harm befall my poor husband from their quarter...

As I will, without hesitation or mercy, should they break our truce on the subject...

"Is there any new information?...I have heard, from Sam'l as well as others that the plague has returned in rather unusually high numbers..."

If it is the plague?...she eyed Fogarty...And not like last time...The summer I spent at Sam'l's father's place in the country at Brampton...

When Lord Sandwich decided I was worthy of his attention...Bastard...Knowing what obligation I'd feel under...

At least when Sam's Uncle Wight tried to suggest we have a child together he made the damned proposal himself...Didn't send some jackass to hint at it, hoping I'd compromise myself with the lackey and be an easy prey for the master...

Poor ole fool...she chuckled inwardly at the image of fat ole Wight the merchant...Fussing about his shop, His shamefully treated, but admittedly rather difficult, wife pecking at him constantly...He resolutely trying to fit his girth into the role of Lothario...

What a howl she and Sam had had over that one...Though she could wish her dear hubs had rushed out to sock the old lech into the gutter, rather than laughed a bit and then awaited..."developments"...

Such as ole man Wight's choosing to leave them a little something when he croaked...

Still, one must be practical...And she'd been the one to hold him back when, after she'd first told him, he'd been livid...

Rather like the time she'd been assaulted by that man in the street while waiting for Sam'l in their carriage...And Sam had charged him, regardless of the sizable differences in height and weight, not to mention the three or four louts with him...

She'd been hard put to leave it to him that day...But one must let one's beloved have his chance to prove himself now and then...Good for the soul and all...

"We've seen no reason as yet to think it not the plague...Yet...There is the Prophecy made to dying Cromwell by his supposed murderer..."



"That Hell on Earth would be established in the very capital of the state he'd taken from the King...I know..." she nodded... "But there are as many tales that Cromwell was the very Devil himself...And everyone, including Sam'l says Oliver died of illness..."

"We've seen 'illness' used to describe many a death, lass..." Fogarty shook his head... "And the Council has always found Cromwell's death suspicious...Given that he was acting in concert with us, launching new campaigns against the Dark Ones here even as Death claimed him..."

"Surely you don't believe the tales that the late King himself?... " she eyed him... "I've never heard his piety questioned, whatever the doubts about the faith he followed...And Sam'l and so many others are sure his son means well, though weak and carried off by his indulgence in pleasure..."

"Charles Stuart was a pious, if weak, man who might well have restored the True Faith to this benighted land..." Fogarty paused at her frown...Well, perhaps best to forego the commercial for Catholicism... "But as you know so well, girl...In the last days, when his cause was lost...There were those among his followers...Godless men, knaves, even the truly evil who sought only their own ends...Who turned for aid to the Darkness..."

"But they've won...Charles II is back and sits again on his throne...Cromwell is long dead, many of his closest associates hanged, drawn, and quartered or fled, and the rest either support the restored Stuarts or live under watch in retirement, having begged pardon...There'd be no need..."

"The Dark Ones have no interest in such things...Only that their cause...The destruction of Humanity and degradation of all souls...Marches on...But they use foolish men as their tools and there are those who pledged themselves to Evil in those dark days...Besides...Whatever else Cromwell was, he was one who hunted the Evil down mercilessly...Whereas the new King..." a pause...

Well...the priest-Watcher sighed... "We must be vigilant and trust in God's mercy..."

"And..." he smiled at her fondly...His charge since he'd been sent to take measure of the new Slayer at her temporary lodgings at the convent of the Ursulines in France after her parents and Balty had had to flee both the persecutions of Protestants and the financial difficulties of her father... "You, my girl, must get about to your home, take care of these hurts, and begin praying for God to bestow upon you and your husband a brace of fine children..."

She wanly smiled and nodded, rising... "Elisabeth..." Fogarty gently took her hand in farewell... "Whatever your differences with the Council, I hope you know that I do pray for your happiness and for your husband, even as I do for our victory over the Darkness...."

***

Backstage at the Duke's House...Now empty of audience...A very content Penn, perched on a cushioned stool, smiling with the face of an elderly Cupid at the chorus of young actresses now facing a rather pleased if slightly blushing Pepys...

Knipp, Nelly, Orange Mary, others...

"Oh, our hearts belong to Sammy...So we simply couldn't be had...Yes, our hearts belong to our Sammy...

Saaah ah aah ah ah aaam...

So we'll tell you, pretty court laddies...That you might as well pack your bags...For our hearts belong to our Sammy...

Saaah ah aah ah ah aaam..." Knipp and Mary in particular giving him rather affectionate beams...

"Sir!..." an anxious-looking young man, blonde-haired rushed in...Stopping short at the sight of eight lovely actresses in costume gown beaming at his employer...

Hewer?...Penn eyed the young man...

"Mr. Pepys!..." Will, Pepys' devoted chief clerk and live-in...Devoted that is to both Pepys...Came somewhat more shyly over...Averting his gaze from the young ladies now grinning at him...

"Will?..."

"Sir William...Coventry...Returned to the office a short time ago...Wanted to know if you'd be available for a quick meeting with the Duke at Whitehall...I told him you'd gone nearby..."



On business...Hewer pointedly noted...

"Very good, lad..." Pepys nodded...Smiling at the ever-capable-and-tactful-enough-not-to-have- mentioned-exactly-where-his-employer-had-been Will...

"Well, ladies..." he turned to the group... "I must take my leave...I look forward to seeing you all again in the very near future..." Knipp broke from the group and came to him as he turned...

"You will be having your dinner tomorrow night, Mr. Pepys?...My husband and I are so looking forward to it..." "Yes, of course...Really must be going now..." she led him down the hall to where the various changing rooms lay...Penn and Hewer looking after him...As Miss Gwyn came to Penn...

"I read your son's latest pamphlet..." she began...Rather earnestly, to the admiral's surprise...

"I admire him immensely, Sir William..."...Penn blinking at London's most famed ...And notorious actress...As she continued in her praise of his idiot son...While poor Hewer tried not to stare too intensely at the ladies filing past him...Mary giving him an impish cheek squeeze...

"You won't fail me...I so wish to enjoy your company, Sam'l..." Knipp had pinned Sam against the hallway wall...

And your dear wife's of course...she politely added...Moving closer...He smiling back at her...Ummn...Face, he quickly raised his eyes...Hmmn...Coventry waiting...Ummn...

"Yes, indeed...Mrs. Pepys is so fond of you..." he lied, speaking hurriedly...My God, those breasts are something...he thought...She must be stuffing...Hands almost involuntarily rising...

Coventry, Coventry...he reminded himself...

"Must go...Sir William Coventry waiting on me at White..." "Oh, Mr. Pepys, my life is so desperate these days..." Knipp pressed against him... "Promise me you'll not deny me a little pleasure..."

"Certainly, certainly..." My, she is indeed lovely...Poor wretched thing...I...My God, they are all there...he noted...As she kissed him gently on the lips...

"Sir..." Hewer called...Saved from the attentions of the cast at last... "We should be..."

"Leaving, yes...Must go...Goodbye again, all!...A wonderful success today!..." he slide carefully out...Knipp hanging on to one of his hands to the last...Kept firmly pressed to her...Entirely whole...Left breast...

"Bye, Pepys!!..." a chorus of female voices...

I'm still here too...Penn thought, a tad miffed...

***

One of the darker corridor at Whitehall...Seat of power for the Restoration government...

"So you see, Sir William...The Council feels the situation is becoming critical...Unless we act soon..." the Irish-accented voice paused...

"Without evidence we cannot move against them...The King trusts Buckingham...As much as he trusts anyone...Even if the Duke does not..."

Coventry put up a hand at the sound of steps moving their way...Which sound fading, he resumed...

"If Mrs. Pepys has succeeded in destroying Gnaticus..."

"A decoy to draw her out...Merely a sacrifice to enable them to test her abilities...Buckingham is the real threat, we're sure of it..." "But the Duke has been seen in daylight...Surely he's not..."

"There are ways to hide from the light of day...And pursuit, Sir William..." Father Fogarty stepped out of the shadows in which he'd been concealed... "As a priest in England I should know..."



"Very well...But I don't see what the Duke can hope to achieve by destroying the government...His goal was our own...To return Charles to his rightful place..."

"No, Sir William...That was the goal...To whatever extent a man like Buckingham had commitment to any cause but his own...Of human Buckingham...For what the Duke has become...Its motivations are very different now..."

Though he no doubt still seeks vengeance on all enemies of his past life...

Coventry sighed...Still, as a member of the Council for many years standing...

"Cromwell, for all his ungodly faith...Might have stopped them with the Slayer and our aid...But even he with all his courage and skill could not protect himself from the Duke...As for young Stuart and his brother..." Fogarty sighed... "Clever as Charles is...Buckingham is cleverer..."

"Clever enough not to seize power...and go on masquerading as a loyal, if ambitious supporter of his King...Until he's ready..." Coventry pondered... "To do what..."

"What he told Oliver he would do when he killed him...Make London the seat of Hell on Earth..." Fogarty solemnly pronounced...

"Sir William?..." a messenger called to him...Fogarty disappearing into the shadows again...

"Mr. Pepys sends his compliments...He's awaiting you in the gallery..."

Yes...Coventry nodded, smiling... "Tell him I'll join him presently..."

Never misses a chance, that young fellow...Touring the King's gallery while waiting for me...

God, spare me the pain of causing my poor young friend terrible grief...

***

Two hours later...

"A most productive afternoon, Mr. Pepys..." Sir William Coventry smiled at his young colleague as their boat moved along the Thames...Their meeting with the Duke a success to the extent that the King's brother and Lord High Admiral had been pleased with their efforts... "If nothing else, we shook Mr. Pett and his men up a bit today and a few chair-bound idiots actually got to see what maintaining a navy is all about..."

"Indeed Sir William..." Pepys nodded... "Still...I doubt to see much benefit to our office or the navy...Even if the Duke was satisfied we'd done our best..."

"No...I must agree, my friend...But..." Sir William grinned... "Now they have been down there...And are as accountable as we for the poor condition of the fleet should things miscarry..."

"One must look to mind one's own backside in these troubled times, after all...And a room as full of targets as possible is sometimes the safest place to be...Eh, Burrows?..." Coventry turned to their boatman, who nodded... "Indeed, Sir William..."

He eyed the sheets Samuel had again been writing on for the past half-hour of the trip... "Hard at your journal, I see..."

"I like to get my impressions down as quickly as possible...So as not to lose any of the flavor..."

"That is the best way...Pepys..." Coventry paused... "Your good wife seemed a bit put out this afternoon when I stopped by...I hope I've not kept you so late as to annoy her further..."

"I dined elsewhere today...Forgot I'd promised to make dinner at home if they were ready a bit early this morning...She's aggrieved at me, with justice, I suppose..."

"Ah...Well, Samuel...Never forget that the small things in life matter...Especially to a woman...You're a fine and diligent servant to the King and He and the Duke...As do I...Value your services...But don't let them interfere with what belongs to her, my friend...Life is long but hurt lasts...And the hardest thing of all to mend is a broken heart...Don't ever let the work come between you, my friend...Or the viciousness that contaminates the Court..."



Would the King should mind such counsel...And his dear Queen...he faintly smiled...

***

Seething Lane, evening...

Elisabeth resting a bit in a chair in her kitchen noted the candlelight issuing from the Navy Offices across the way...

Sam'l, no doubt about it...She frowned a bit...Though fortunately for her mate, Dr. Williams' treatments had proven, in concert with her own recuperative abilities, quite effective...The least the little worm could do, after not showing at the early dinner he'd requested was to knock off early and come to her...Rehearsed apology ready...And perhaps some worthy gift or treat to dangle...

Still, she watched the occasionally flickering light as the dark grew about her...Jane and Nell puttering about in the upper rooms of the house...Condo in twentieth century terms, the building being shared with several other families...Still, it was a great comfort to her to see that light burning...Knowing him to be hard at his work, far ahead of the other officers in the performance of his daily duties...

Though in fairness to Admiral Sir William Penn's famed career at sea, one, even a deeply, madly, truly, devoted one must admit Sam had never seen a cannonball or bullet fired at him in anger...

Thank the Lord above she fervently noted...

Though the little bastard could show a little consideration and...A knock at her kitchen door...

"Beggin your pardons, miss...Mr. Sam'l Pepys wishes me to tender his complements to 'is beatooful lady and beg...Abjectly, 'E says to say..."

"Sam'l!...Get in with you!..." she dragged Pepys in...Knocking his perriwig off in the process...

"Mrs. Pepys, pon my soul you've killed me wiggie..." he hurried over to scoop up the lost wig...Shaking it...Yes, it seems quite dead...he noted... Though the damn thing's full enough of bugs and lice already, missie...he frowned...Put it in back on his close-cut head...There...

Mmmphf...she giggled... "What?...Don't tell me I've something large crawling out of it?...Or rather, do...Quickly..." he pulled at it... "You've put it on backwards, idiot..."

Here, leave to me, ma petit...she shook her head, reaching for it... "You're sure?...You won't accidently burn the dratted thing?...I know you hate it..."

"Not a dratted thing that cost thirty-five pounds I won't...Now sit and let me..." she pushed him into a chair...

Wait?...She stared at his grinning face, then up to the kitchen window... "Sam'l?...Did you leave the candles burning in your office?..."

"Will..." he smiled... "Poor lad foolishly volunteered to stay and finish up the odd bits so I could run along home and make my amends..."

Tell me my chief clerk's sacrifice was not in vain...he mock-pleaded...

"I should send you back and make you send poor Will home...But..." she sighed... "My will is weak...So you may stay...And make amends..."

So?... "Start making amends, prick-louse tailor's son who can't remember to come home for the dinner he ordered..."

"Dreadfully sorry, my beggar of a love..."

"Mon Dieu...Do better or I will carry you to poor Mr. Hewer myself and leave you in the office for this long and cold night..."

"Did I mention I was on the King's business?...My love?..."

"Given the King's business these days as I hear tell...That could mean just about anything...Including chasing down a pair of pretty eyes..."

"Elisabeth...As the Lord is my witness...Only the most solemn duty..." She rolls eyes...



"Anything for supper?..." he looks round, sensing a successful make-up... "Yes...Today's dinner..." a slight glare...

"Are you feeling better?..." a brilliant dodge...She smiled a bit...While thinking fast to tone down the response... "Yes, much...Such as it was, a few little bruises...Well on their way out..."

"I see...Well...There'll be no more of that..." he solemnly noted... "And if necessary..." his voice stern...

"We were discussing amends, my darling...Yours to me..."

"First things first...I want to see these few little bruises..." "Sam'l?...Nell and Jane?..."

"I don't wish to see their bruises just yours..."

"Sam'l!!..."

"Bruises...Then amends...My most solemn vow on it..."

"All right..." a sigh... "Lets go on up to my closet...Oh..." she paused... "The workmen just replastered the uneven spots...Lets go to yours..."

"By all means, Mrs. Pepys...Let us examine the details of these matters in detail...Leaving no stone unturned ..."

"And then, amends?..."

Most definitely...Pepys solemnly nodded...

"Good..." she grinned... "Then I choose...A diary session...Today's..."

Ah...ha, ha...Ummn...

Hmmn...Phew...Fortunately wrote today's bit about dear Frank in shorthand code...Pepys sighed...

"We can have supper up there...Go on..." she pointed...

***

Pepys' sanctum sanctorum...His home study...Books and papers piled about, though in neat order, excepting the overflowing of several bookcases, a microscope gathering some dust, various odd instruments carefully stacked by the walls, including a form of large slide rule, several music stands, a large viol propped against one wall...Pepys and Elisabeth sharing a chair by his writing desk...

Hmmn...Pepys frowned at his wife's back...While contentedly noting her ample lower region... "You've healed up well, but I see bruise markings over your whole back...Elisabeth..." he was serious now...

"Bess, what the hell happened to you last night?..." he began... "Nothing, nothing serious...I swear..." she put up a solemn hand...

Concealment being a prized trait among the members of the family Pepys...

"I'm fine Sam'l...Why were you absent at dinner?..." she shifted gears brilliantly...

"Had meetings, forgot...Apologies..."

Mmmnn... she frowned... "What was so important?..."

"The Duke commanded Coventry and me to review things at Deptford...Sir William wanted to pry a few ninnies out of their chairs in the Duke's office...Things were busy..."

"Sir William came to the house at noon...Where were you?..."



"Had to do the things that left him free to come to the house and chat with you at noon...Bess...?"

"About those wounds..."

"A diary session and perfect forgiveness..." she eyed him...

"Bess...The bruises!..." "Diary!..."

Diary...Sam'l...she grinned coyly... "You know you can't resist a captive and captivated audience..."

Afterwards we can review my bruises...In our room...

Jane rapped gently on the door of Pepys' study...The "closet" being her master's sanctuary...Never to be entered abruptly...

Especially when he was engaged with the Missus...Or any lady for that matter...

"Yes!..." "Jane, mum...Supper for you and the Mister..." "Bring it in..." "Aye, ma'am!..." Jane entered and faced her employers, tray in hand...Elisabeth having hastily recovered herself...

"Here, Jane..." Elisabeth took the tray... "That shall be all..." "Aye, Mrs...." Jane gave a good curtsy and left...

Girl's got that curtsy down well...Sam noted... "Wish Nell would learn..." Elisabeth sighed... "You're too hard on the child, my love..." "Sam'l..." a frown... "In your office, you make the decisions, in my house...Apart from what comes naturally to you as husband...I am Mistress..." He frowned in turn but nodded...

All right, then...she eyed him...He sighed and opened his writing desk, pulling out some sheets...Then pulled the more recent of his day's notes from his large scrapbook-like office book...

She resumed her seat...In his...Curling her legs round him and the chair as she sat in his lap, facing him...Eh-hum...Sam fumbled for the sheets on his writing table, behind her now...

"Up betimes..." he began... Very betimes...Elisabeth sighed audibly, grinning at him..."Four of the clock betimes...I wanted to kill you this morn, me love..."

"Not as betimes as the times when you came in last night, my girl..." he frowned at her...

"At least I was not up until 2 in the morning counting every penny I own..." she replied...Jane heard you fussing round...she noted to his unspoken question...She having left at midnight...

"I wanted to come with you...I always do..." he insisted... "I know..." she smiled gently... "But Sam'l, you can't keep up with me on a busy night...You know that..."

Indeed?...he glared... "You have come when I allowed it...And I know you would come every night, ma petite, if I let you..That's all that matters..." she patted him...

Well, go on...Give me the fascinating details of how you saved the King ten pounds today...she grinned...

"One thousand pounds..." he grinned back... "Samuel..." a pleased look...Oh... "You didn't...It wasn't anything..." "Elisabeth?...Perfectly legitimate business for the King and Navy...Though Sir William Warren was rather...Pleased...With the efficient way his excellent offer to furnish us with new masts was reviewed and accepted by the Board on the approval of the Clerk of the Acts..."

How...Pleased?... "Hmmn...Lets just say...He will show his appreciation in due course..." a sly grin...

Sam'l...she frowned...

"The King saved a thousand pounds and gets the best masts in Europe...And we get a small token of gratitude, a commission for my efforts..." he eyed her worried face... "It's expected, Bethie...Even the King takes his ten percent...And it's not like I ask Sir William to give me something...Penn or Mennes would demand thirty percent and give the job of pushing the contract through to me..."



Well... "How much...Appreciation?..."

"Still want that coach of ours?...It's now visibly closer..." he smiled...

Whoa...Some appreciation...Still...

"Sam, I worry...Lord Montagu was the right-hand man of the King since Restoration and look what happened over those East India prize ships the other year...He's still exiled to Spain to keep Parliament off his back..."

"Would you mind if the King sent me to be ambassador to France for a year or two over this?..."

"It would be the Tower, not France...And you know that...You said yourself Parliament is hunting for the Navy Board..."

"And if they learn of this they will commend me for taking so small a commission...Beth...Don't fret, girl...I would never do anything foolish..." he paused...

"Except of course...To marry a beautious girl with no dowry, no idea how to run a home, and a family in distress...Who spends a large part of most nights chasing Unpeople all about London and the environs with a pointed stick..."

"Prick-louse tailor's son..." she whacked him... "Beggar..." he replied... "As if you were the fine gentleman then..." she grinned... "If innocent moi had known then what I knew a month later..."

"I would have thanked God there was no reason for me to fear my loving Sam would discard me after a month or two of using me...And that he was willing to risk so much for love of me..."

Though with proper warning I might have blanched at the thought of having to clean those awful shirts of yours in that little bit of a tub at the Montagus...Well...she stroked his hair as he hugged her tight... "Go on..."

Certainly...Pepys grinned... "Later..." she took his hand off her breast... "I want to hear my daily tale first...Ummn, appropriately edited for posterity, I trust...?"

"Hate leaving out the best parts..." Sam grumbled...Though a sly grin within...So I don't...he thought...

"Sam'l...You know my work must be kept secret..." "No one will ever read my diary but us till we're both long gone, Bethie..."

"Sam'l...You promised..."

"Certainly, certainly..." But only in the main Diary, he grinned within again...Maintaining a slight fume and then disappointed, but resigned expression... "But your story deserves to be told, Elisabeth...And it might help..."

"Help produce panic and perhaps even get you...And me...Killed..." she frowned... "The Council has its records and someday, when the menace is over, they'll tell the story of the Slayers..."

Sure they will...Sam shook his head at her... "The story of how the Council of Watchers heroically bested the Forces of Evil...The Slayers perhaps getting a brief nod at one or two points..."

"Not like I'm not used to being ignored and neglected..." Elisabeth sighed, batting eyes...Uhhh...Sam rolled his...

"Fifty-five pounds was it on your clothes this year?...Or so, Meg Penn tells me..."

Love?...Expense of the Office, requirements of my position in attendance on Duke and King...

"Twelve pounds on mine..." she eyed him... "And I have the household accounts to prove it..."

Blast that snooping Meg...he sighed...Not to mention, blast me for telling her how much the new suit cost...

Well, at least the girl had the good sense not to mention what else I'd been doing with her that evening...



"Just trying to keep expenses down...Our security for age and incident, girl..."

Uh-huh..."Well...I realize you have to look well for the Office, Sam'l...Just don't leave me in rags and twice-turned clothes...I have to maintain my position too, you know..."

Of course now that Sir William Warren is so...Appreciative...And we're nearly ready to obtain our coach...I would expect a few pounds laid out on dress fabric and lace would not be too crippling a burden...A quiet smile...

"I see it's to be Unthankes the tailor tomorrow..." Pepys sighed... "Now that's my perceptive and brilliant husband..." she grinned, patting him...

So?...she eyed the sheets... "Ah..." Sam beamed, then a tad sheepishly...Ummn...Not a very exciting entry today...Or yesterday...

"Read, Monsieur...And I will judge..." she frowned...

***

"The Secret Diaries of Samuel B. Pepys..."



Summary: In another past life of Buffy and William...A desperate-to-keep-the-case Anyanka tries to redirect their curse using a unique stratagem...With interesting results suggesting that a certain famed 17th century diarist and his lady had more going on than even his published diary let us know...

Note: The best way to know Mr. Pepys is through his magnificent nine year daily Diary...Which is now available on-line on a day-to-day basis at http://pepysdiary.com/ courtesy of the wonderful Phil Gyford.

I would also recommend "The Unequaled Self", a new biography by Claire Tomlin...Just terrific and fills in the gaps the diary leaves...

PS: The following makes no claim to be a biography or history but is simply a work of fan-fiction with a number of historical events sandwiched into one year. (In other words...I know the Great Plague actually hit London in 1665-6, the Great Fire in September 1666, etc...But I wanted the Medway attack to happen at the same time so you get it all in one action-packed AU year...)

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

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

***

Part the Sixth...



The dark streets of Restoration London, early morning of the next day, near 3am...

Two lanterns, turned down, glowing faintly as their owners cautiously moved along...One light suddenly going out as the one behind, not looking, stumbled into his companion in front...

"Blast!..." the tall, rough-featured and tough-looking, slightly greyed, about middle-aged, man cried at the younger, rather slight and dark man now tossed back and fallen into the mire of the side of the road...Rather offensive mire...

"Watch where you're going, you..." the older man muttered, but swiftly regained control...Instinctive decorum of the age towards a social, if in no other way, superior kicking in...And repressing his urge to make a harsher comment... "We must not be seen by the watch, Mr....Levinson..." Speaking in a rather thick accent...One carefully coaxed over years to sound more Germanic than its true origin...

"Yes, yes..." the younger man rose... "I apologize, Demers...I was looking for anyone about..."

"It's fine, sir...Come...We only have a few minutes before the watch passes..." Demers pulled up a large, worn leather bag from under his arm, untied and opened its flap...And removing two folded letters, handed them to his companion...

"From Father?...Or..."

"The first from the admiral...In English and with no incriminating names or information...The other...From the fleet commander and our naval board..." Demers eyed his 'superior'...In fact his charge and frequently, his burden...But a vital source and actually well suited for his current place, as his father, the famed Admiral De Rutyer, hero of the Dutch fleet, had often noted to his trusted aide... "In cipher...Very incriminating and to be destroyed as soon as possible after your review...All the information the fleet needs for our offensive is laid out there..."

"Excellent..." the young man quickly scanned the first letter... "Father says he is well...Was all well at...Home...?" he desperately held back his intended 'the Hague'...at last...

"All well...With many of those at home waiting to hear of your...And our...Success..."



"They will...I now have complete access to the Admiralty's most confidential records...Including the current positions of the ships at Chatham and the fortifications at Shearness...I'll have all the information we require within a few days..."

"Excellent...Then I'll wait in the City till I see the candle in your window...But, Jonathan...You must be quick...Our battle fleet is ready to sail but cannot wait too much longer for fear of being attacked in harbor...We must have all information on its way to them within the next two weeks or they will have to proceed blindly..."

"We'll have it for them..." the younger man briefly switched to Dutch... "I assure you, mine heer, there is no danger...The Englanders are helpless owing thanks to their government's incompetence, their navy paralyzed by the fiscal crisis...And this year's plague season is upon us...Their fleet will not be able to move for weeks, perhaps months, from harbor..."

"Not here, Jonathan..." Demers frowned... "My accent is bad enough but at least I have papers to pass for German...One word of Dutch overheard in these times will land you in prison or worse...Our mission for the Republic a failure..."

"Sorry, but I assure you I have maintained my pose as a Englishman perfectly..." Jonathan hastily noted, returning to English... "All my fellow clerks, Mr. Pepys, Admiral Penn take me as one of their own..."

Yes...Demers thought, eyeing the slight little fellow by his lantern light...He's a perfect, hapless, young Englishman...Right down to the shyness and bumble...

No wonder at all the great De Rutyer, despairing of any other use for his boy, set him to train for such work...And sent him to England where he did, at least, learn the language and manner perfectly...

"All right...We must part now...Review that letter carefully and burn it, quickly...Not now, boy!..." he hissed as Jonathan began reading... "In your rooms, with the door closed...And make sure you burn it completely...In the fireplace, this time..." He relit Jonathan's lantern... "Take care...And remember, my dear young sir...This operation is vital...Not only your father's and all the brave men of our fleet's lives depend on it but the Nation itself...Negotiations with our foes are at a critical stage and if we and the fleet succeed, a victorious...And for our enemy, humiliating...Peace is won...I will expect to hear from you shortly...Good night..."

"Good night, Demers...And please give my father the Admiral my best..." he called cheerily as Demers carefully moved off...Demers sighing as he hurried round a corner...

Ummn...

Well...I could have been talking about an Englander admiral...Jonathan thought...

Hmmn...Lantern out again...he frowned...

And too late to find a link boy with torch or lantern in this area...Unless I'm eager to get my throat cut hunting about for one...

A torch glowed suddenly from down the street...He pulled back...Then relaxed...Ah, the watch or some passerby on his way home from a rather late tavern night...A thief or murderer would not be so open...And no reason for a fine young English clerk like me to skulk...Merely show myself carefully and request a light...He stepped out...Peering...Then stumbling into a sinkhole... "Mein...My God..." he desperately and successfully avoided a potentially disasterous slip of his cover... "Who's there?...Can you give me a light?"

"Careful, Sam'l..." Elisabeth hissed as Sam raised his torch a bit...

She, planning a light and hopefully, quiet night's Patrol during her recovery from her injuries...Had reluctantly, for the sake of marital peace and to watch over her determined-to-follow-husband, agreed to let him join her this one night...

"Human...It's fine..." she whispered... "Unless..." she kept a firm hand on the stake in the folds of her gown... "Some thief..."

"Hold there!...Who are you?!" Sam carefully drew his sword, a working if ceremonially intended version...The latest craze in gentlemanly fashion after years of Puritan restrictions on the wearing of such violent fopperies...

"Hello there, might I...Mr. Pepys?...Ma'am?..." Jonathan stared at the Pepys...Hat immediately off to the lady...



"Mr. Levinson..." Pepys blinked at him...Elisabeth carefully grabbing the tip of the rather poorly held sword...Careful with that silly thing, Sam'l... "Rather late hours, my boy..." Mr. Levinson...Elisabeth nodded at the young man as demurely as she could under the circumstances...Hmmn...Pepys frowned at his newest junior clerk...Hired on the recommendation of a prominent courier whose palm had no doubt been well greased, his ample references (easily secured by Dutch gold)...His facility in writing and arithmetic which had won Pepys' orderly heart...And the more than usual sizable fee paid to the Clerk of the Acts to secure the position...

Hope the lad isn't acquiring bad habits after only a month with us...A likely fellow with a bright future in the Naval Office if he remains diligent...And perhaps learns to be a tad less clumsy with people...

"We're just heading home...No coach to be had...And we've been a bit lost in the streets here for some time..." Elisabeth hurriedly cut in...

"The same in my case...I was over to visit my aunt who is ill..." Jonathan smiled...

Might I?...he raised his lantern...Pepys brought the torch over...Perhaps we'd do well to find our way home together.. he noted...A slyly triumphant look at his wife...Who gave the briefest of glares...

"Sorry to hear that, Mr. Levinson..." Elisabeth kindly replied, turning to him... "She is your only living relative, you said the other day at dinner in our home?..." Yes, in England...he sighed...

Ummn...

"I do have a uncle...In...Wales..." he hastily noted...As they began walking...

***

Mid-morning...

The Royal Council in session at Whitehall...

King Charles II, seated at the large table of the Council, with his brother, James, the Duke of York and Lord High Admiral of England at his right...His First Minister Edward Hyde, Lord Clarendon at left...Various ministers and their aides and servants, including Sir William Coventry; Admiral Sir William Penn; Sir William Batten of the Naval Office; Sir John Mennes; a rather tired Pepys, with Hewer, Levinson, and another clerk; the King's cousin, his father's famed civil war commander Prince Rupert and George Monck, Lord Abermarle, the battle fleet's current commanders and their aides; the King's friends and advisors George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington; and various others, some actually connected with the business before the Council, Pepys noted...Most not...Seated at the sides of the long table...A small dog in the King's lap...Charles engaged in teasing it with a morsel as several Council members morosely eyed each other, casting sidelong glances at their restored monarch who seemed anything but interested in the current sorry state of his regained kingdom's navy...

The Duke of York continued his report...Compiled by the Naval Office regarding the current actions...Or lack thereof...In the ongoing Dutch naval war...

"The condition of the fleet on return from its patrol was such that, given our current financial situation..."

Jamie...Charles sighed...Noting cousin Rupert's glower and allowing the dog its long-awaited treat...

"I must again petition your Majesty to allow me to exercise my authority as Lord High Admiral of the Navy and to remove those men recently appointed to sea commands who lack any experience or training in seamanship...And restore to the service the captains removed against my wishes on authority of... "

"Your Majesty..." Rupert rose to his feet... "As General of the last fleet sent out, I must protest at this insult to my appointed officers, gentlemen and veterans of the war for the late King all...As well as to my command...I say as I have always said...Never was a fleet returned in such good condition as was mine...And if we did fail to engage and destroy our enemy, well...I have already noted to this Council the failure of the Naval Board in providing us provisions and material for a proper cruising period..."

"Sire..." the Duke now rose... "The ships were handled poorly in contest with the enemy...Many of the new commanders had no conception of how to maneuver a vessel in a calm port in peacetime, let alone bring them into a proper line of battle...While our trained commanders sat without employment in England...Some so desperate for their daily bread, they might even be persuaded to follow some of our more disgruntled sailors...And seek service with the enemy..."



"So, let the traitorous dogs go and join with the damned Dutchmen!...Are our brave veterans of the war for our late king to be denied their proper places in the fleet, their chance to once again do the King service?...Gentlemen...I say no!!..." the Prince pounded the table...

Charles engaged in patting his dog, looked up...Frowning a bit...

Arlington, a young and handsome if a bit dissolute-looking man, eyed his ever-elegant and unruffled friend, Buckingham...Who waved the glove in his hand slightly...Leave them to it, Henry...

"Gentlemen..." the King eyed the general group... "If we're going to bring our soiled linen out, think I must request that the aides and non-members of the Council proper withdraw..."

Besides...We have a most confidential matter to discuss immediately after this...he noted quietly...

The majority of those at the table or scattered about the room, Pepys and his clerks among them, rose, bowing slightly to the King and his ministers and left the room...The Duke of York nodding to a number, including Pepys, as they left...The great doors of the chamber closed...

Coventry carefully eyeing Buckingham...Who gave a friendly smile back, then glanced to the open window not far from his seat... "A lovely day, eh, Sir William...?" Just the faintest touch of mockery...

"This...Your Majesty..." York eyed Charles...Holding his copy up... "Is a report by Mr. Pepys, our Clerk of the Acts at the Admiralty...In summary it notes the poor condition of many of our 'brave veterans' vessels and crews...And makes it clear that in general, apart from the want of money..."

Always money...Charles sighed to the table at large, gently urging his little dog to the floor... "We should rule the world were it not for a few thousand pounds...Or so I am frequently told..." A few chuckles...

"...That it is these commanders' lack of training and general unfitness for naval service that has caused the present situation in which there is not a single large ship fit to be sent out at present and we have been forced to pull back to our bases...Bottled up in our own harbors...While the Dutch and French roam our seas...The Channel itself..."

"... 'Mr. Pepys of the Admiralty'..." Rupert sneered... "What does some parchment-pushing, quill-and-ink fellow know of preparing a fleet for battle...?"

"Probably as much as you, Rupert..." York replied... "Seeing as you only joined the Navy on my dearest brother's restoration and had never been more than a passenger fleeing yet another of your defeats at Cromwell's hands until then..."

A hard, narrow stare from across the table... "Now, gentlemen..." Buckingham cut in gently, smiling benevolently at each of the cousins...

"Ah yes, Pepys..." Charles nodded, moving to quash the usual spat...Will Jamie and Rupert never give it a rest?... "Lord Sandwich's man at the Admiralty, right...Fine, energetic little fellow...You were speaking of him just yesterday, weren't you, Jamie?..." he turned to the Duke of York who still eyed Prince Rupert carefully...

"The best man I have, after Coventry..." the Duke nodded...

"Well..." Rupert chuckled coldly... "Perhaps, sire..." he turned to Charles... "You should put the fellow down for a knighthood...Or better yet a peerage...For valor in the pursuit of filing papers and keeping steadfastly to his desk..."

"Not a bad idea...Probably please the Parliament no end to see it...They seem to like him, at least after that speech he made on the payment of seamens' tickets..." Charles smiled warmly...His eye hard on Rupert a moment...The Prince clearly backing off a tad...

Lovely...he muttered quietly...Lets make every clerk and penman in England a peer...he fumed to Arlington beside him...

"Shall we, Jamie?...You think highly of the fellow?..."

"God knows apart from his lack of military service he deserves it, but I would frankly rather you did not, your Majesty..." James sighed... "He's excellent in his present condition but if he had to maintain a knighthood, apart from all the nonsense it entails...It was bad enough when Coventry here..." he smiled at Sir William...Who grinned back... "Was dubbed but it couldn't be deferred any longer without insult to the man and he had his own fortune...Give Pepys a title and render him useless for the office while he tries to find the money to keep it up properly..."



Later, certainly...But not at this time...I very much doubt he himself wants it right now, being a sensible and level-headed fellow...

"Ah, Jamie..." Charles grinned... "You just want to do it yourself when the time comes..."

Your Majesty...James frowned... "Jamie..." Charles teased, patting his brother's arm... "You know you're much too serious about things in general...That was Father's fault, they say...Mind you learn how to go easy, my good fellow...We should try to keep the Stuarts back where they belong after all the trouble we and our good friends have gone to..."

Well...He beamed round the table... "We'll table Mr. Pepys' knighthood for now...But we will accept his report...I think it best we have the most experienced captains in service if possible...Particularly with the military situation as it is..."

And that, gentlemen...Leads me to our confidential matter...

***

Outside the chamber...Pepys, Hewer, Jonathan, and the titled members of the Naval Office-Sir William Batten, Sir William Penn, Sir John Mennes, and others waited...Some fretting rather visibly, others glad for the chance to relax and appreciate not being called on the carpet...A number of discussions of the general situation and the possible matters being discussed inside now underway...

"Is it the peace, Mr. Pepys?..." Hewer eyed his chief...Jonathan as well... "You said you'd heard the king's envoys were still at Breda with the Dutch...?"

"I couldn't say, Will...I would hope..."

"Sir William's brother John Coventry is said to be handling the negotiations..." Jonathan noted pleasantly... "Has Sir William...?"

"Not a word to me except to confirm his brother's involvement..."

"With the Dutch allied to the French and our fleet laid up..." Will sighed... "Those damned Dutchmen have us by the throat unless we keep them off until we can move the ships out again..."

"Indeed..." Jonathan nodded... "But one must concede them their victories over us...And our poor sailors have been flocking to their colors...Starving men having little choice..." he hastily added at Hewer's frown... "If only Lord Montagu were back and in command...He'd have the fleet set to rights and out by now..."

Any chance of that happy occurrence soon, Mr. Pepys?...he eyed Sam with an innocent stare...

"I'm afraid the Earl remains in Spain for the presence...Much to the nation's as well as the family's distress...But perhaps we'll have some good news that way if the negotiations should fail..."

"Pray God they succeed...Commissioner Pett seemed quite nervous regards the defenses at Shearness and Chatham when he came by the office last week...And with the reports of this year's plague looking so serious already..."

"Work is underway to strengthen both places...And Mr. Pett's opinions on fleet port security, nervous or otherwise, should not be bandied about, Mr. Levinson...One never knows where such words will end up..."

Indeed, sir...Jonathan nodded... "I was thinking this place of all was safe to bring up such concerns...But I will be more careful...Still, one worries...If it's so, t'were pity should the enemy come upon us when the great ships were laid up in port and unprepared for battle..." he was solemn...

"A disaster that might shake this kingdom to its foundations, boy..." Sir William Batten cut in... "So look sharp about your place and have as little to do with such matters as you may...That's the way to survive in this bad old world..."

So saith the man who turned his coat how many times to betray both sides during the war?...Hewer thought, frowning...

"Your boys now settle the matters of high policy amongst them I see, Pepys..." Batten now turned to Pepys...

"They're concerned for the fleet, Sir William...As we all are, of course sir...Though I would all of us were equal to their diligence..."



"Yes..." Sir John Mennes now joined the group... "Diligence is the thing required now, gentlemen...In the King's service one must make... 'Diligence' the word of the day...Yes..."

Undoubtedly, Sir John...Sir William Batten rolled his eyes briefly as Mennes turned to offer his opinion to another group...

Sounds from the outer hallway...A few shouts...The various groups ceased talking and stared...

Given the current state of the nation and the course of the war it would not have surprised many to find a lynch mob had formed on hearing the Council was in session...

A guard, Old Benson, several including Pepys noted, rushed in from the hallway...Looking unusually flustered...

"Is Admiral Penn...?"

"Yes, my man?..." Penn eyed the servant who'd omitted the major portion of his title with a cold stare...This isn't Cromwell's Commonwealth, you old fool...

More shouts from the hallway...And something else...

"What is that?..." Hewer eyed Pepys...

"Sounds like..." Jonathan began...

"Pardon, Admiral Sir William...But...Can you come?...They're refusing to leave until they see the King or his emissary..." Benson pleaded...

"Back you rogues!...You traitors!!..." a stern call from the hallway... "Beat them out of here!!!..."

"Who the devil are you talking about, man...?" Penn glared... "Who's out...?"

Oh, no...he stared as a group of soberly dressed men and women appeared at the hallway entrance, quietly humming a hymn...

"Dad?...Thou art here?...Great..." William Penn, Jr beamed, stepping forward from the group, now surrounded by rather pissed-looking guards... "Think you could get this..." he waved a rolled-up paper in his hand... "To His Majesty?...It's a call for an end to the war...All war...And for the establishment of a perfect and brotherly society..."

Peace, brother...Put aside thy implement of the Devil's rage and embrace the brotherly love of Christ...he smiled at a guard brandishing a sword at the group...As did several others in the group...A young woman gently pushing the sword point to the side...

"Pray with us for universal peace and brotherhood, friends..." young Penn called to the group of courtiers, his followers gathering round him, heads bowed...The surrounding guards looking a bit perplexed as to their next move...

Though several less schooled in the ways of polite society were clearly ready to move on to a new and more forceful level in their relationship with the Quaker group...

Oh, Christ...Penn Sr. sighed...As the inner chamber doors opened and the King and Duke of York emerged, followed by the Inner Circle...And stopped to stare at the Quakers...

"Hello, thy Majesty..." Penn Jr. called...He and the other males of his group keeping their hats firmly on head as per Quaker strictures and remaining standing...While all others doffed and bended knee...

"Hello, young Penn..." Charles waved... "What, another petition against the war is it?..."

***

The King having amusedly agreed to view the petition and Penn Sr. having managed to persuade his son and his followers to quietly leave and pray for God to open the King's eyes and ears to the Truth...In some quiet place, as far away as possible...The Council meeting broke up...



Buckingham and Arlington stood by themselves in the outer hall as the group filed out, Arlington pulling his friend to a side corridor...

"It looks like peace is assured, George..." he hissed... "And if we have a peace now...Our plan is sure to fail..."

"Henry..." Buckingham smiled at Arlington... "Leave things to me...York will strangle himself in time, given enough rope...And incense..." a nonchalant look...

"You have something new?..." Arlington eyed his friend eagerly... "George?...Is there some solid proof at last?..."

"Now, Henry...Patience...One doesn't go accusing the heir to the throne, the son of our late, lamented King, brother of our beloved, joyously restored Charles, of selling his soul to the AntiChrist of Rome without firm and irrefutable evidence..."

"But we must act if we're to control the succession...There's always a chance Charles will favor one of his other bastards over Monmouth if we wait too long...Not too mention his Queen is still young enough to make an heir..."

Doubtfully after so many sad failures, Henry...Buckingham grinned coldly...

Arlington blinked...

For almost a moment he could have sworn...If tied down and forced to tell true for quite probably the first time in his life...That from that look Buckingham had given him...He must...Might, no, might was much better...Have just possibly...

No, ridiculous...And even if true, best not even conceived of...Should their action, like Charles' children...Miscarry...

Always the chance the employed tool, granting the insane idea for a moment ...A midwife, a lady-in-waiting...Hell, given the crazy rumors one heard about dear old Georgie, even a witch...Might be exposed and confess to a crime sure to raise even the mild Charles to a passion which would end, even for two of the most noble peers of the realm, on the gallows and between two drawing horses...

"No...Rest assured, my dear Henry..." Buckingham patted his ally on the shoulder... "Monmouth will be unquestioned heir after York is forced to step aside...And you and I will serve him as the two stout pillars of his reign, just as we serve his dear father..."

"But Monmouth is a bastard after all..." "The country and even Parliament want a stable succession, Henry...Monmouth will be the only choice after dear James is exposed for the traitor to our revered Church that he is..."

And I've no doubt the dear boy will show proper gratitude to those who worked to lift him to such heights...he smiled...Resting his hand on Arlington's shoulder...

Hmmn...Always hate it somehow when George gets in my personal space...Arlington suppressed an urge to shudder at his ally and partner's touch...

But then some do say he's of the persuasion...Perhaps my undoubted masculinity instinctively senses it...

***



"The Secret Diaries of Samuel B. Pepys..."



Summary: In another past life of Buffy and William...A desperate-to-keep-the-case Anyanka tries to redirect their curse using a unique stratagem...With interesting results suggesting that a certain famed 17th century diarist and his lady had more going on than even his published diary let us know...

Note: The best way to know Mr. Pepys is through his magnificent nine year daily Diary...Which is now available on-line on a day-to-day basis at http://pepysdiary.com/ courtesy of the wonderful Phil Gyford.

I would also recommend "The Unequaled Self", a new biography by Claire Tomlin...Just terrific and fills in the gaps the diary leaves...

PS: The following makes no claim to be a biography or history but is simply a work of fan-fiction with a number of historical events sandwiched into one year. (In other words...I know the Great Plague actually hit London in 1665-6, the Great Fire in September 1666, etc...But I wanted the Medway attack to happen at the same time so you get it all in one action-packed AU year...)

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

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

***

Part the Seventh...



The following day...The Pepys home...



"All day in bed with a cataplasm . . .This noon there came my cousin Dr. Tom and Mr. Snow to dinner, and by themselves were merry." Pepys frowned slightly, scratching with quill at his notes...Propping himself up in bed a bit...Carefully adjusting the cataplasm, a poultice tied round his private regions by an anxious, if somewhat arch, Elisabeth that morning...Having warned him during their joint Patrol the previous night, fortunately interrupted by the fortuitous appearance of young Mr. Levinson, that he was straining his old surgery too much...

He now straining to hear said merry doings below...

Below, in the Pepys' parlor...Elisabeth struggled to keep a conversation going with Dr. Thomas Pepys, Sam's cousin...A somewhat stolid-looking, middle-aged man of rather limited intellectual prowess for a doctor...And to avoid the clumsy attentions of Mr. Snow...Whose name did not fit his rather warm inclinations...At least in the presence of the beautious Mrs. Pepys and following a half bottle of wine...

Neither man any too disturbed by Sam's absence, both men in fact being rather gone on her...Not entirely to her dissatisfaction, though she much preferred Dr. Pepys' shy, lovestruck courtesies...

Amazing how idiotically a man who fancies himself attractive to women can behave with a little wine and an absent husband to embolden him, she thought, frowning at Snow's more aggressive hand grab...Jerking hers back with as much grace as possible...

Pity Sam'l couldn't be here to see this...Snow being just good-looking enough to light the green fires of jealously...At least I'd get a little attention out of this...

Well...Planning my closet's new decor ought to keep Sam busy till I can rid us of our guests, she thought, trying to smile at the doctor's feeble attempts at courtly wit...I swear never a man...Who is a man in every necessary and desirable way...with such a feel for designing a room...A little embarrassing he always having a better sense of these things...

A call from upstairs... "Lisabeth!!...Jane!!" "Jane!..." Elisabeth rose, relieved at least for the momentary chance to escape Mr. Snow's hand pats...Jane hurried up and returned a moment later...

"What does his Lordship want now, Jane?"

"Beggin' your pardon, mum, sirs. Mr. Pepys wants another of them catawhatevers and some hot water. And his accounts book, some of that cloth you wanted for your room, and his latest journal book."

"Well?"

"He specially asked that you bring em, mum."

Grrr...The first two times it was sweet, the sixth time...

"Let him wait, Mrs. Pepys...We men...hic...Are far too indulgent of our little aches..." Snow smiled... "Pray do not deprive us of your gentle...hic...company just yet..." he gave a leer...Another hand pat...

"Elisabeth!!!..."

"Pardon, gentlemen...I am a bit feared of Sam'l's old wound...Just a moment..." she removed Snow's hand and headed for the stairs...

"Shall I have a look at him?..." Dr. Tom offered, rising... Licking fingers a tad greasy from the delightful dinner...

Uh...She paused...That illiterate quack handle my Sam's stone wound?...The filthiest butcher of a surgeon in London and a 'doctor' who must have his boys write out his prescriptions?..."No, no..." she smiled brittlely... "Don't trouble yourself, Dr. Pepys...I just want to ease him...He gets rather fidgety, such a man of brisk activity as Sam'l...I'll be down in a moment, pray be seated, gentlemen..." she waved... "Jane, bring ale..." she called to the waiting maid...Aye, miss...Jane nodded and hurried out...Dr. Pepys settling back in chair, a tad disappointed...Snow likewise, for considerably different reasons...

"The old stone wound..." Dr. Tom nodded wisely to Snow... "Hollier operated you know...A good man in his way..." Many thanks, Jane...he nodded in accepting Jane's proffered mug of ale...

Pity it didn't kill him...Snow thought, eyeing the stairs Elisabeth had disappeared up... "Still bothers him at times, eh?...He's shown me..." And everyone who's ever been in this house... "The stone...Keeps it in a case...'Tis a hefty one..."

"One of the biggest I've ever seen..." Dr. Tom nodded... "Some thing to survive that cutting...Never tried it as yet myself...A fellow must be strong and quick, plenty of men to hold the patient down..."

"I've been made to understand...hic..." Snow paused as delicately as his growing drunkeness would allow... "That such operations for the stone may cause a man to lose...His capability..."

Ha..heh...Jane, awaiting the guests' requests as she discreetly sipped her lunch ale, stifled a laugh... Mr. Pepys?...Lost?...Would for the mistress' sake he'd've had two stone cuts...It might slow him down a little...

Still, they ain't made a child yet...And he and she do think, maybe...If it be not her own problems, poor lamb...She sighed...

"It may happen, I've heard say...But cousin Pepys has noted no...Troubles...To me..."

"Yet...hic, hic...He's not got her with child yet...After twelve years...And a wench that if I..."

Snow...Dr. Tom hissed, indicating Jane... "Enough..."

"Just a bit of curious gossip after dinner, Doctor...No offense towards our old Pepys or wife intended..." Snow was all dignity..."He certainly likes to talk about his surgery enough..."

"Jane!..." a call from Elisabeth above... "Send Nell up!..." Jane bowed to the guests and headed for the kitchen... "Nell, you're wanted!..." the call came back to the men as she went in...



"Is quite a thing the stone of the kidney..." Dr. Tom reflected... "All salts and solidified rheum, I'm told...Makes a very nice physick when ground up..."

"For what?..." Snow stared... "Oh, whatever ails..." the doctor Pepys waved a hand...

Both men turned as a knock at the door brought Jane scurrying back...Nell striding out of the kitchen towards the stairs, wiping hands with an aggrieved look... "Nell!..." Elisabeth's voice was sharp... "Cumin', cumin'...I be cumin'..." Nell called as she began trudging upstairs...

"Mr. Penn...?" Jane eyed the dark-haired, young William Penn in his sober dress as he stood smiling at the door...His father's best features on a considerably thinner frame...

"My good Jane...How do thee do this glorious day?..." he disconcerted her as she curtsied by offering a hand for a shake... Ummn...Jane took it hesitantly...He pumping enthusiastically...

"Is Mr. Pepys any better?...Father told me he was ill?..."

"A little, sir...Please..." the maid waved the young man in... "Have a seat...I'll tell the missus you're here..."

Ale's on the table...she smiled at him mischievously...He glanced reprovingly back as she left...Jane...

"Greetings, friends..." Penn smiled at the two... "Will Penn, a neighbor of Mr. Pepys..." he offered a hand to Dr. Pepys, then Snow...

William Penn?...Surely not the conquering admiral...Snow thought...Oh...

The crazed Quaker, right...

"Dr. Tom Pepys, a cousin of Samuel's..." Dr. Tom nodded at young Penn, waving at Snow... "And this is, Mr. John Snow, an old friend of Mr. Pepys..."

"So you...er thou..." Snow eyed Penn... "Are one of those Quaker radicals?...Peace on Earth, universal brotherhood, equality..." he chuckled... "...of women?..."

"Indeed, friend..." Penn smiled... "But we prefer 'Religious Society of Friends'... 'Quaker' is a name bestowed on us by those who little understand our worship or purpose... 'Friend' is our preferred form of address..."

"Quaker?..." Dr. Pepys blinked...Not perhaps the best company for a doctor dependent on clients' good opinion...Still, interesting bunch...And the King is said to rather like them...

"Aye..." the Friend nodded, sighing slightly...

Elisabeth appeared on the stairs, hurrying to their neighbor's rescue...Penn beamed at her as she moved to them...

"Sam'l is somewhat better...Just needed a few things to get him settled...He hates having nothing to do..."

"May our Lord send dear Brother Pepys good health..." Penn smiled... "But nothing seriously...?"

"Just strained himself a bit..." she shook her head...And smiled back... "And thou may see him about thy pamphlet...Please...He's dying for anything to divert him..."

"Merci, madame..." Penn grinned... "Pardonnez-moi..." he rose, pulling same pamphlet from a pouch... "Friends, excuse me whilst I see if Brother Pepys can spare a moment..."

The men eyed him as he headed upstairs...Dr. Tom looking at Elisabeth in confusion...And slight panic...

"Samuel hasn't joined those fellows?..."

"Sam'l?..." she gave a genuine giggle... "No, Lord bless you, Thomas...A firm son of the Church of England is my boy...Though, truth be told, Sam is of a decidedly practical faith...He prays, goes to church dutifully, keeps vows, and God bestows good fortune...So long as the Almighty continues to do his part, Sam will keep his..."



But he does have a sincere interest in other faiths...And, is not particularly inclined to feel that any one has the direct route to God...So long as he safely can do it, he's tolerant of all...Like our good King, if Parliament would allow it...

"And as for Will Penn, Sam likes him...And his earnestness...Besides, Sam's a born schoolmaster and loves to give advice..."

"Damned radicals, if you ask me...And I've heard their adoption of saintliness is but a mask for their true wickedness..." Snow shook his head... "They should join the Church like true Englishmen or be run out..." he waved a hand...

Indeed...Elisabeth eyed him coldly...

"Pepys is a fool to associate with such fellows..." he continued...Dr. Tom looking a bit distressed...

"He is the son of Admiral Sir William Penn..." Elisabeth noted quietly... "Sam's fellow officer and our neighbor...Not to mention a hero of England in this war and those previous..."

"Well and good for Sam to keep in with the father...But the son's a risk...Even if the Admiral should be the one to take the boy in hand...Mind you, the land will not stand for such to be spreading their heresies about much longer... "

"We were at a synagogue the other evening..." Elisabeth smiled coolly...Snow stared at her...

"A Jewish merchant friend of his invited us...Sam and I were curious...It was interesting, though they didn't let me go into the main temple...The women were very kind..."

A...Jewish...? Snow blinked at her...Dr. Tom looking nervous, if somewhat intrigued...

I don't think we'll be converting though...Sam said the service was quite difficult to follow...A bit too much dancing for his taste...And the language takes years to master...she grinned...

***

Whitehall...Office of the Duke of York, Lord High Admiral of England...

Sir William Coventry, along with Sir William Penn and Sir William Batten of the Navy Office and a few of their clerks, delivered a requested daily report on the current status of the laid-up English fleet...

A report which the Duke noted lacked a bit of the usual detail...

"I'm afraid...Your Highness...You are correct...We lacked Mr. Pepys' services today and no one, not even I, can make proper sense of all things of the Naval Office without him..." Coventry smiled...Batten and Penn glaring slightly...

"Nothing serious, I trust...?" the Duke eyed his devoted secretary...No, Coventry shook his head... "Laid up with a touch of his old stone problem, perhaps, but not too seriously...We expect him back in a day or so..."

"Glad to hear that...Though it will make no difference in our current financial situation...Gentlemen, I fear the King can do nothing at present to press Parliament for aid..."

Not too surprising...Penn Sr. thought...Seeing as we've never accounted for a million pounds of what they last voted us...

A rap at the door... Come, the Duke called...Rising with the rest as he saw his brother, the King, enter looking apologetic...

Please...he waved them all down to their seats... "Jamie, my apologies...I was wondering if you could have orders sent out to have my yacht made ready for this evening...Lady Castlemaine and a few friends are coming out on the Thames with me..." he turned to usher in the said lady...Who beamed at the seated men...Two dogs trotting in through the open door...

Be still my foolish, aching heart...Penn thought as he stared at what was generally acknowledged to be the greatest beauty in England...



Though some, including Pepys, did say Mrs. Frances Stuart was neck-and-neck with her...And one had to give little Pepys his due in such matters of judgement...

And if given his own chance to vote in such things...Penn thought...Mrs. Pepys might not be found much short of the two...

"It would be such a kindness...It promises to be a very fine evening..." Lady Castlemaine smiled gently at the Duke...Who frowned at his mortal enemy...

Hard to believe I once vied for this serpent with Charlie...he thought...

"It shall be done, sire..." he nodded to the King who was engaged in smiling at his companion...

Hmmn?... "Oh, yes...Many thanks, Jamie...Gentlemen?...The usual things I presume?...Sorry I can't accommodate on funds...I will try to speak to our friends in Parliament as soon as things settle down..." he gave a wave and was off, the lady on his arm...Pausing just a moment... "Let us hope things go well with our diplomatic efforts and perhaps our worries on that score may be solved..."

"Your Majesty..." all bowed to him...Lady Castlemaine giving a mischievous curtsy as well...The door closed...

"There, gentlemen...Goes the greatest threat to England of this day..." the Duke glared at the closed door...

"Your Highness...?" Lady Castlemaine suddenly opened the door to the group's shocked surprise...Eyeing the ambling dogs now frolicking under the table round which they sat...

"A thousand pardons..." she grinned, whistling to the dogs...Who came to her a bit hesitantly...And raced past her through the door...As if almost fearful of her nearness, Coventry noted...

Wish Charlie had as much sense to avoid her as his miserable pups seem to...the Duke thought, sighing...

***



"The Secret Diaries of Samuel B. Pepys..."



Summary: In another past life of Buffy and William...A desperate-to-keep-the-case Anyanka tries to redirect their curse using a unique stratagem...With interesting results suggesting that a certain famed 17th century diarist and his lady had more going on than even his published diary let us know...(More or less a Cicelyverse sequel to "Original Sin..."/prequel to "Romance Palace"...)

Note: The best way to know Mr. Pepys is through his magnificent nine year daily Diary...Which is now available on-line on a day-to-day basis at http://pepysdiary.com/ courtesy of the wonderful Phil Gyford.

I would also recommend "The Unequaled Self", a new biography by Claire Tomlin...Just terrific and fills in the gaps the diary leaves...

PS: The following makes no claim to be a biography or history but is simply a work of fan-fiction with a number of historical events sandwiched into one year. (In other words...I know the Great Plague actually hit London in 1665-6, the Great Fire in September 1666, etc...But I wanted the Medway attack to happen at the same time so you get it all in one action-packed AU year...)

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

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

***

Part the Eighth...



"Up, and this day being the day than: by a promise, a great while ago, made to my wife, I was to give her 20ls to lay out in clothes against Easter, she did, notwithstanding last night's falling out, come to peace with me and I with her, but did boggle mightily at the parting with my money, but at last did give it her, and then she abroad to buy her things, and I to my office, where busy all the morning..."

Samuel paused...For the son of a poor tailor no matter how far come up in the world rather was a bit hard to part with so much all at one go...

"Do you have to write that down?..." Elisabeth eyed him...Scanning the shorthand of the Diary journal...God, wish I'd learnt his shorthand...I would bet half my Easter clothing allowance here in my hot little hand that he's leaving something essential out...

"My dearest Mrs. Pepys...In the interests of History..." Sam began formally...

"Just so long as we're dead when someone else figures out how to read the thing..." she frowned...

Sam'l...she frowned at him... "You aren't mentioning my work?...You swear?...Your holiest oath?..."

"Elisabeth?..." a shocked tone... "I swear there's not a line nor a word of your...Occupation...In these pages..."

Not a lie, considering I'd left the most secret of the Diaries locked away in my office...

And it is all for love...Elisabeth's efforts for Humanity deserve proper recognition...One day when the knowledge won't likely leave us destitute and perhaps in the Tower or worse...

Ahem...he resumed...

"At noon I to dinner at Trinity House, and thence to Gresham College, where Mr. Hooke read a second very curious lecture about the late Comett; among other things proving very probably that this is the very same Comett that appeared before in the year 1618, and that in such a time probably it will appear again, which is a very new opinion; but all will be in print...

Then to the meeting, where Sir G. Carteret's two sons, his owne, and Sir N. Slaning, were admitted of the [Royal] Society: and this day I did pay my admission money, 40s. to the society. Here was very fine discourses and experiments, but I do lacke philosophy enough to understand them, and so cannot remember them. Among others, a very particular account of the making of the several sorts of bread in France, which is accounted the best place for bread in the world..."

"Damned straight..." the listening Elisabeth nodded..."But I still don't see why they can't let women attend...On a visiting basis at least..." she eyed his rolling eye expression... "I mean if all they do sometimes is bake French bread, as the half-French daughter of a brilliant inventor..." Oh, Lord...The eyes went towards the ceiling... "Ma belle chere...I bet I'd remember the experiments..." she noted archly...

"Where's our microscope?...Gathering dust in your study...I got more use out of it than you did...And you said I learned the multiplication table faster than you...So it seems to me..."

"I don't run the Society, Bethie...Perhaps when I've risen in the members' esteem..."

Uh-huh...she frowned...

"I'll bet you boys let that Lady Castlemaine...Not to mention that Mrs. Stuart...Attend..."

'All doors must open to the presence of beauty'...she eyed him...

"Elisabeth St. Michel Pepys...1667..."

"Very nice, Bethie..." he beamed at her... "Thank you, monsieur..." she smiled a bit shyly back... "It's from my new poem..."

Ah...

And a major improvement on that "my heart expands, tis grown a bulge in it..." he wisely did not say...

"Might your ardent one have the pleasure of setting it to music...?"

"Per...haps...One day...If I ever finish..." she was hesitant...But her pleased face betrayed her...

Wait a mo...Hey...

"As I was saying, ma petite...You gentlemen no doubt open your Society's doors to our King's beauteous mistress..."

"Elisabeth?...Not at all...Excepting of course the times the King has brought her himself..."

Hah!...

"Well...Beth...He's the King...And Founder of the Society...And he did not bring the Queen..."

"Poor Catherine..." she shook her head at the mention... "How can he treat the poor lady so?...A king so ungentlemanly...Even his father, God forgive his faults..."

Shhh...Sam raised a finger, eyeing the door to their bedroom and moving over hastily from the bed to close it... "Not when someone might hear, dear..."

"The girls wouldn't..." Elisabeth began...Hmmn...A vision of poor Jane and poor Nell facing a grim-voiced, hooded royal torturer bearing heated tongs in a dank, dark cell...

Hmmn...

Sam looked at her...Ah...He nodded wisely to her troubled look...

"All right, they might...But not voluntarily..." she sighed... "Anyway it was a compliment...The late King was a fine and devoted husband...It's just a shame his Majesty is not the same..."

"The King's done his duty and tried to produce an heir...One can't judge the man by our standards, Elisabeth...He and the Queen have had to make the best of what their duty forces on them and he is kind as can be to her...Apart from his little escapades..."

Not all of us mere men can be lucky enough to encounter wild and beautiful half-French refugees who make our hearts stop at first sight...he noted...

"And who have the kindness to entertain the pleas of the poor tailor's sons who come chasing after them..." she grinned... "But, love...Do you have to mention we quarreled over the Easter money?..." she sighed... "Sounds so sordid..."

Though it was good of you not to suggest I was being unfair...

"Our voice to the future must be pure, Bethie..." a solemn look...Followed by a twinkle... "Of course, you might look even better if I could write that you chose to voluntarily return some portion...OW!!!..."

A knock at the door...Elisabeth hastily pulling up her favorite dressing gown, Sam frowning at said door...

"Yes...!"

"Beggin your pardon, sir, Mr. Pepys...It's Jane, sir..."

"Yes, Jane...What is it?!"..."

"Sir...And ma'am...Nell and I was wanting to know regarding tonight's dinner, sir..."

"Oh, come in, Jane..." Elisabeth called...You can wait, sir...she grinned at the somewhat put-out Samuel... "Seein' as it's your dinner party..."

Bethie...Our morning chat...and sex...is the best part of the day...he groused internally...Glaring a bit at a shy Jane slipping in carefully...

One never knows with the Master and Missus...They sometimes get so carried away when they're at it...

"All right, Jane..." Elisabeth hastily buttoning her gown...Her favorite, "my kingdom"...The first half-decent item Sam, in a wild fit of deranged passion...Seeing as it had amounted to a quarter of his yearly salary at the time, had ever managed to buy her...Still fondly maintained after twelve years...And assumed her best 'Mrs. Pepys, one day likely to be Lady' lady of the manor manner...

As best she could lying in bed with hair down and half-buttoned dressing gown, still partially sprawled over Sam in half-opened nightshirt...Blanket sadly long kicked to the floor during a rather ecstatic moment...

"About the dinner tonight, ma'am...Sir...I was to send Nell out this morning after you gave me word as to..."

My...But Jane looks pretty in the morning...Sam's brief annoyance fading at the sight of indeed pretty young Jane in her day clothes and maid's cap...Black hair still rather loose about her shoulders...

And a pair of the finest... "...what the courses would be..."

"Well, I was thinking a joint of beef for the main course...Quail and oysters...Sam'l...?"

Yes, a very pretty girl...Though thoroughly honest...Sam reminded himself...

"Sam'l?..."

More's the pity...

"Samuel..." Elisabeth's annoyed tone breaking through...

Hmmn?... "What are you so distracted by, love?..." a cool tone... "Have you forgot some item of business?..."

Oh-oh...Full-blown sarcasm...He hastily forced his eyes from Jane's appealing figure...

"We were discussing the dinner party you insist on giving tonight...Which I am perfectly pleased to abandon if you no longer have any interest in entertaining...Mrs. Knipp..." An icy stare across the bed...

"...And the others..."

Ummn...

"Quail, oysters, joint of beef...All sounds just right..." he hastily noted...

Nice to see you were paying attention...a cool smile... "Thought your mind was on other things..."

"Did you remember to engage that man in Newton Street...The one who folds napkins and sets table so well, Jane?..." he forged on...

"Aye, sir...He's due at noon..." a nod... "And the Madeira is set to be delivered this morning..."

"That's my Jane..." he smiled kindly at her...Elisabeth thawing a bit as well...Our sensible, devoted Jane at least would never...

One hopes...

"Well then, sir...Mrs. Pepys...I'll see Nell off and set to the cleaning...Shall you be having breakfast downstairs or here?..."

Hmmn...Sam eyed Elisabeth...Who gave an appraising stare then relented... "Here, Jane...Just bring the toast, cheese, and ale..."

Hosanna in the highest...Sam gave a quick thanks to his Almighty benefactor...Who'd spared his oft-erring son from disaster yet again...

(He blinking...I could have sworn someone whispered..."You're welcome...Buffy"...Just now...)

"Aye, mum..." A quick curtsy...The door closed...

"This should be a wonderful evening..." he beamed contentedly...

"You don't have to work all day at it..." a grousing tone...

"Darling...If you want more help..." Whoops...Temporary mental aberration...Forgot she's been hankering after a new companion...Preferably a french-speaking...ie, expensive...One...

"For the day..." he made the save...

"All this expense to entertain your Mrs. Knipp...And the others..." a slight growl...

"The Sir Wills...my office partners; Cousin Jane Turner...Our best friend...Who helped save my life and our dear The; my cousins the Joyces; our Dr. Tom; Dr. Hooke from the Society; Sir Richard Ford...my current opponent in l'affair hemp; Sir William Warren...My friend and our long-time benefactor; Mr. Sibley...Your friend..." a quick return stare at her...

Indeed...she grinned back, a bit wickedly...

"Major Hobbes, Major Ferris...another old friend of yours..."

No friend of mine, sir...she glared a bit... "Just keep him away from me tonight if you don't want 'our friend' to wind up with a broken arm..."

That's my girl...he grinned...

Every now and then that 'Slayer' thing comes in handy...

"The Wights..." he mumbled hastily...

God, not that old lech...she sighed...

"My uncle...My...Wealthy uncle...Who might yet take it into his head to leave us something..."

"Let me see if I can solve that mystery tonight..." she frowned... "Beth...If you want me to...You've only to say the word..."

No, no...she shook her head... "He's just a sad old fool...I feel sorry for him at times...But don't let him alone with me...Or I may have to hurt him this time..."

"Mr Povey...Who may be the biggest fool in Christendom when it comes to business but is the fittest man in England to declare one's home and entertainment the most fine in England..."

"Mr. Povey is very sweet and good...The soul of an artist in his love of the fine...You're too judgmental sometimes, Sam'l..."

"An ass in affairs of importance is likely to be an ass in most things...And he is not so overly honest, judging by the way he left his accounts for me when I took his post as treasurer of the Tangier outpost..."

Good a man as he may be in some things...he conceded...

"Dr. Hooke?...The little man who leered at me last time he came?..."

"Many little men leer at you, darling...You must...OW!...Be more specific..."

"The ugly, twisted little rogue who they say like to torment his maids...?"

"A poor man in bad health, dearest... A brilliant natural philosopher, Bethie...And a fine Secretary of the Society...Can't say as to his home life...Though we should not be giving credence to rumors..."



"Did you hear what they say he did to his niece when she took service with him...?"

"And you heard that...Where?..."

"The Slayer has her ways, Mr. Pepys..." she rolled over to face him...

Indeed?...

"Jane heard it from one of her friends...She mentioned it to me after he was here..."

"Elisabeth..." "... 'We must not encourage the servants to bandy idle gossip about'...I know, Sam'l...But he has a very bad reputation, you know that...However brilliant he may be..."

Well...she eyed his frowning face... "Just keep him away too and I'll bear his presence for the evening..."

And Mrs. Knipp's...she added slyly...

"Bethie..."

"Sam'l...We have about one hour before you must be off...We can either agree to avoid those guests the other would prefer we do and move on to more pleasurable things..."

"Yes, by all means...No further discussion..."

"That's my boy...Ma petite...Ma chere..."

***

Later that day, just after noon...

The colossal dining room of the palatial London townhouse of the Duke of Buckingham...

A large group of various friends, associates, retainers, and various sycophants and creatures...Some looking rather more like 'creatures' than others...of the Duke seated or standing round the vast, rectangular table...A magnificent silver service set on snow white linen...

Ahem...The Duke made a loud, clearing sound in a bid for attention...All dinnertime conversation suddenly ceasing...He rose, wine glass...Though perhaps not wine in glass...In hand...

"My friends..." the Duke beamed, raising glass to Arlington, seated at his right, and several other near equals...At least in social rank... "Our fondest wishes have been realized...I have just been informed from a highly placed source...The negotiations at Breda have failed..."

"We are continuing our beloved war with the damned Dutch!....The war, and the opportunity it bring us to realize our fondest hopes, goes on!!..." he exulted...The group about him more or less enthusiastically joining in the cry... "War!!!"...

Wouldn't say it was my fondest wish...one Unhuman minion noted to himself, trying to maintain as dully human a form as possible in the presence of the Duke and his clueless, but necessary, mortal pets...

Dratted damned thing's already depressed the currency enough...

***

Later afternoon...



The Naval Office in Seething Lane...

Jonathan scribbling diligently with several other clerks under Will Hewer's careful gaze...Mr. Pepys and the other principal officers engaged in attending the Duke of York at Whitehall...

From the open window, the usual cries coming in from the large courtyard below...A mix of voices, mostly the wives of the suffering seamen of the Royal Navy, demanding relief from the poverty, indeed starvation, that the long-standing financial crisis of the government had brought them too...

A clerk nonchalantly tossing back through said window a rock which had just struck his writing table...

"Sir...?" Jonathan raised a hand while continuing his copying of a new naval contract...Allowing for the sale of surplus naval stores, mainly biscuit and rather stale biscuit at that, to one Maxwell Michaels...Pre approved by Mr. Pepys, Clerk of the Acts...

Hewer paused by Jonathan's seat...Frowning a bit...

Levinson's amiable and diligent enough but for some reason...

Perhaps the way he fawns over Elis...er, Mrs. Pepys...Like that fop of a Quaker, young Penn and his clever little French quotes...

Quakers may be required to dress plainly but Penn's made it an art...Doesn't take a tailor like the good Mr. John Pepys to see he wears the best material however unadorned it might be...

And this Jonathan...Always the first to run for the door when she comes...After me...Always the bright little remark to make her chuckle when we clerks are invited to dinner...

Used to be my bright little remarks...he sighed inwardly...

"What is it, Levinson...?"

"Might we close the window shutters, Mr. Hewer?...The noise is a bit disturbing today..."

Hmmn...Indeed it was...

However, a chance to put the little popinjay in his place...

"Mr. Levinson...We are about the King's business...And I do not think the King would be well- served at this critical time by our wasting candlelight in the midst of a fine, bright day..."

More and louder howls of rage from outside...

"No, sir..." Levinson sighed...Englander asswiping timeserver...he frowned at the tall, blonde Hewer...Who was carefully scanning a finished contact copy handed him by another clerk...

What the hell is the fool brooding about now?...It's a simple procurement contact...No need to fret like that...he eyed Hewer who was indeed taking considerable pains with the document...And seemed quite troubled about letting it pass...

Broods over the simplest contact, broods over wasting a few candles...Afraid of responsibility and commitment, that fellow...No wonder he's still unmarried...

Only sensible thing about him being his dogged devotion to both the rising Mr. Pepys, who certainly advanced many an 'opportunity' of making his fortune to his fair-haired assistant...And the divinely lovely Mrs. Pepys...Who must have some Dutch in her to bear such beauty with such quiet grace....

Well...No time to risk challenging the silly fellow now...A few more days and the mission will be complete and my information on its way to Father and the fleet...

"Levinson?..." Turner, a senior clerk nudged him... "Have you heard the latest?...A Dutchman and a Frenchman have to abandon ship in a raging fight with our fleet...The Frenchie strips and jumps off, shouting "Vive le Roi.."

His member at full attention to all the world...



"The Dutchman, fully clothed, clutching pipe in one hand and wooden shoes in the other..."

"Mr. Turner..." Hewer frowned...Turner, an older man, frowned back a bit but returned to his copying...

Amusing...Jonathan thought darkly...Well, give me one or two more good looks at the Chatham anchorage charts for their miserable, laid-up fleet...And a clear statement as to where the great chain protecting the harbor is laid...

And then these treacherous Englanders who sell out their own revolution to happily take back their royal chains and stab their best friends in the back will have no more Dutch jokes to make in their whiny little voices...

***



"The Secret Diaries of Samuel B. Pepys..."



Summary: In another past life of Buffy and William...A desperate-to-keep-the-case Anyanka tries to redirect their curse using a unique stratagem...With interesting results suggesting that a certain famed 17th century diarist and his lady had more going on than even his published diary let usknow...(More or less a Cicelyverse sequel to "Original Sin..."/prequel to "Romance Palace"...)



Note: The best way to know Mr. Pepys is through his magnificent nine year daily Diary...Which is now available on-line on a day-to-day basis at http://pepysdiary.com/ courtesy of the wonderful Phil Gyford.



I would also recommend "The Unequaled Self", a new biography by Claire Tomlin...Just terrific and fills in the gaps the diary leaves...



PS: The following makes no claim to be a biography or history but is simply a work of fan-fiction with a number of historical events sandwiched into one year. (In other words...I know the Great Plague actually hit London in 1665-6, the Great Fire in September 1666, etc...But I wanted the Medway attack to happen at the same time so you get it all in one action-packed AU year...)



Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

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



***

Part the Ninth...



Late afternoon...London, Whitehall Palace...

Pepys, Batten, Coventry, Mennes, and Penn strolling the main gallery outside the Council chamber...Awaiting the pleasure of his Highness the Duke of York, currently in session with the King and inner Council to discuss seriously grievous news from Holland...

Sam's attention somewhat divided however...

Things would have to be dragging on this day of all days...He groused slightly to himself, trying to maintain an eager and alert air...

I mean I know it's wartime, more or less...Still...There's so much to do yet before tonight...He eyed the great chamber doors...



After all...I have made an oath...Which goes into effect after today...Not to see one more play until Whitsuntide and to firmly set to my business till then...Surely I can be allowed one night of pleasure...

If we ever get the hell out of here...

Admiral Sir William Penn for his part looking a tad sour...Rather looking forward himself to tonight's festivities...Whatever his annoyances with little Pepys, one never went wrong seeking entertainment with him...The finest food and drink, the best music and dance...And the chance to enjoy the company of some rather dashingly lovely ladies...Including dear Mrs. Pepys and a couple of London's most attractive young actresses...

For a poor tailor's boy, that young man knows how to live...He eyed Pepys with a rather conspiratorial air...Pepys returning the look...Both staring at the doors...

Which, as if in answer to heartfelt prayer, now opened...The group within emerging hastily...Clarendon, the Chancellor, in deep conversation with the King...Who seemed a bit annoyed with the Earl's pressing him on some subject... The Duke of York, looking rather downcast, with Prince Rupert at his side, looking equally upbeat...

Hmmn...The Duke down and Rupert wagging his tail...I'd say it's war...Pepys sighed to himself...

Buckingham and Arlington following the main body...Buckingham bearing a noncommital look...Arlington rather smug...

Coventry frowning as Buckingham glanced at him, moving his way...

"I'm afraid the news is rather bad, Sir William..." Buckingham gave a Cheshire cat smile... "Things have not gone so well at Breda, I'm afraid...We must yet teach these Dutchmen a lesson or two more, I fear..."

"We will, we will..." Rupert broke in, chuckling contentedly... "Just see that we get a fleet to throw at the damned pipe-smoking burghers and we'll set them to rights shortly..."

"We've yet to do that, Rupert...After two years of war..." York joined the conversation...Rupert glaring at him...

"Hardly the fault of my men or myself, your Highness..." he frowned... "Let the paper shufflers of your Naval Office get my ships in order and leave the business to us..."

"I've no doubt of it, Prince..." Buckingham smiled thinly... "Well...I see the King and our dear Chancellor have slipped off...I must be off after them...Good evening, gentlemen...Your Highness...Sir William..." he gave a genteel bow...And with Arlington following, sauntered off...

"Damned insolent fellow..." Rupert looked after him...Turning to York... "Everyone knows he's out for your blood and the Chancellor, your father-in-law's...You ought to speak to Charles...His Majesty...And have him turned out of court..."

"Charles finds him amusing...A position dear George no doubt works at to cultivate...Besides he was loyal to Father to the end...Was his friend...

And is Lady Castlemaine's..."

"One might see that as a opportunity..." Rupert grinned...

"Charlie...His Majesty...Is not the jealous type...Can't stand it, actually...The one thing he and any of his ladies, including our dear Mrs. Palmer have ever argued about is that..."

It's one of our dear Queen's more fortunate noble qualities that she is like him in that...Much as she is hurt by...York paused, noting the presence of the Naval Office staff about them...

"Catherine's a fine woman in that respect..." Rupert nodded..Paying no heed to York's quick glance urging a change of subject...

"Though myself...Jamie..." he smiled... "I can see why both of you took on after our Castlemaine so..."

"Enough, Rupert..." the Duke frowned...



"Eh, you're a respectable married man now..." the Prince waved a hand... "And these boys here are men of the world...Eh, Penn?..." he grinned at Admiral Sir Will's cherubic face... "Sir John?..." old Mennes giving a rather comically roguish grin back...

"Suppose we move on to more important concerns..." York turned to Pepys... "Mr. Pepys, I hope you've come well supplied with records on the fleet's current situation..."

"Sir..." Pepys gave a slight affirmative bow... "As always..." the Duke smiled... "Well, gentlemen...Lets retire to my closet and see how we're going to try and deal with this disaster...Buckingham is quite right I'm afraid...Negotiations have fallen through...The Dutch will not accept our terms..."

"We'll handle 'em..." Rupert gave a firm look, brushing back a few of the remaining curls that in his youth during the Civil War had created the Cavalier look...... "One Englishman is worth ten damned Dutchmen..."

"Perhaps so..." York gave him a sour look... "But not so good for us considering the reports that our sailors are flocking to join their colors..."

Sir William Batten pulling at Penn as the group, a frowning Prince Rupert joining, marched for the Duke's office...The two dropping back a bit...

"Looks like you may be seeing salt water again, Penn..." Batten smiled... "Not soon enough, Will..." Penn sighed... "But not likely with things as they are..."

"Well, keep your nose in the wind and be ready to shift when the breeze changes...That's my motto..." Batten eyed the group pulling ahead of them...

"Looking forward to young Pepys' entertainment...?" he grinned slyly at Penn... "The boy knows how to throw a party...Must give him that..." Penn nodded, smiling...

"Well...I believe I may have managed to add a little additional entertainment...Following your suggestion...A little help with the 'dancing'..." a hearty chuckle...

"You secured him?...Pembleton...?" Penn smiled...An angelic look on his face...

"Oh, he was quite delighted...Remembers the Pepys fondly from his days of teaching there...Especially our dear Elisabeth...The lad was only too pleased to accept my invitation to join us..."

Hmmn...Penn pictured young Pembleton, the dancing master...Dark-haired, tall, lithe, handsome with sparkling eyes and charming manner...

And pictured the look on little Pepys' face when the eager and ingratiating young man, all smiles...Whose brief presence in the Pepys household had sent poor Sam into a fit of panicked, raging jealously so insane as to have him skulking about the outside of the house during office hours, desperate to see if anything more than dance lessons was on the agenda...Stepped back into his parlor...

Now that sounded like a perfect evening...he smilingly noted to the grinning Batten...Both picking up their pace to join the others...

Always good to have a professional, after all...

"What's that...?" Penn halted, hearing a cry from the street outside the open window they'd been passing on the gallery balcony...Batten, closer, looking down into the scene...A crowd gathering now as Penn joined him..Which suddenly to both men's surprise thinned, with many running from the place...Only a few soon left, a couple tending to the source of the excitement, a young woman on the ground...

"Looks like a woman's fainted...Hey, there!!..." Batten called down... "What's the matter there...?"

"Lady's dead, sir!..." a young boy in the remaining group called back... "Looks like the plague..."

"Here?...In Whitehall...?" Batten frowned a bit... "Aye, sir..." one man who'd bravely tried to help the stricken woman looked up to him... "The poor thing's dead...I think she was one of the Queen's ladies..."

"The devil you say...?" Batten looked over at Penn...

"We'd best get word to His Majesty..." Penn looked back down... "Boy...And you there, fellow...Call the guard...There's a sentry round the corner...Have them bring a wagon for the poor girl...And keep mum about this, all of you..."



"Little chance of that with that crowd of fools, of course..." he noted to Batten as the man below headed off, leaving the boy and the sole other member of the crowd, a woman in a shawl, apparently of exceptional compassion, standing by the dead girl...The woman leaving a moment later...

Hmmn...Odd...Penn thought as Batten went to summon a servant and alert the group of their comrades with the Duke...

Could've sworn I recognized something in that woman's walk...

***

Palatial townhouse of the Duke of Buckingham...The Duke's private study...Several hours later...

"Charles was quite upset to hear plague had reached Whitehall..."

"Young Charles is a model of compassion..." a sneering tone... "A weakness his father sometimes shared, to his disaster...One should make up one's mind to be firm and remain so...Any wavering is fatal...I often warned His Majesty of that in the old days..."

"He's planning to move the court out as soon as possible..."

"A wise move...There being little a king and his courtiers can do against the Lord's wrath...That it plays into my hands only enhances my satisfaction with our dear king..."

"He wants me with them..."

"Of course..." Buckingham smiled...Eyeing his beautious guest, Barbara Palmer, Lady Castlemaine...Wife of Lord Castlemaine and famed beauty...Favorite mistress of King Charles II..."As lady-in-waiting to her Majesty it is your duty, my dear..."

"I'll need more treatments...A few weeks' supply..."

"Which is part of the reason I asked you here, dear girl..." Buckingham raised a hand... "Fortunately our friend has been busy and is able to supply you with all you should need..."

"Fine..." Lady Castlemaine sighed...Taking a chair...Buckingham frowning, she disregarding his look...

He's not King of the Earth yet...Even if he is my sire...

"So...George..." she gave him a languid look...He, a smoldering one...Girl, you will go too far one day...

"What's the rest?..."

"I had the pleasure of observing the Slayer in action a few nights ago...During the course of our poor friend Gnaticus' destruction...She was, in a word...Superb...A worthy foe in every way..."

"Lovely...When does she kill us?..."

"My dear...Gnaticus was powerful but a fool...He played the game in the old way and died the same..."

"I see...Well then...Who is she and when do we kill her...?"

"As yet..." Buckingham gave a slightly depreciating smile... "I confess I still don't know her exact identity...But we do believe we've located the area where she lives...My people are all about, seeking her...We'll find her and her Watcher agents shortly...Though I have a far more useful fate for her in mind..."

"Dead is dead, George...Whether she's your Queen or no..."

"My dear..." Buckingham put on a hurt look... "While a Slayer would indeed be a worthy mate for any male, myself included...I seek in other grounds..."

So...The rumors were true, eh?...she thought...



"And my goals for her are far loftier than to be my bedmate...However grand an aspiration she may come to find that..."

"Really?..." a dry tone...

"She will destroy the Council of Watchers for us...Freeing us from any minor worries as we proceed to the culmination of all my years of work and plan...The fulfillment of the Prophecy I preached to our gallant, through currently unlamented, traitorous Mr. Cromwell when I killed him..."

"You have considered that they'll be prepared for her?...They must have dealt with turned Slayers in their time..."

"Did I say she would be turned?...My dear...Give me some credit..." he grinned...

"Haven't I been the one vampiral Prince to find a way to bring our people back into the light of day in all these centuries?...Mask our presence even from our most experienced enemies?...Surely you can grant that I am clever enough to come up with a better scheme than to simply throw a vampiress at the Council and have her standing like a fool blocked by a barrier outside their chamber door..."

"You've done well enough, George...With our friend's assistance...But how would you get the Slayer to destroy her own Council without turning her or her being recognized as in blood thrall?...At that they're said to be a bit more resistant to thrall than the usual...Or is that another wives' tale?"

"All in good time..." he smiled, raising a hand... "But now, we must discuss a more sensitive manner, dearest...Before you join the court in its move from London..."

"I think my sweet...That you may need a partner in dealing with our beloved Majesty..." She stared at him...A what?...

"Charles has been casting his eye on dear Mrs. Stewart for some time now..."

"Frances?...Ridiculous...She's a devoted ninny, devoted to her husband...Hell, she came to me for help..." a pause...

"In keeping the King from committing a wrongful assault upon her sacred chastity?..." Buckingham smiled...

"I will not...Share, my Lord...And if you do turn her...Apart from the fact that I will kill her, I should remind you that our friend's elixir does not work for all of our kind...She might well be of that misbegotten half of us..." she frowned back to his cold glare...Then hesitated...

"Has Charles said he was tiring of me?..."

"Certainly not, dear...What mortal man could?...But he is wary of any one person gaining too much influence over him...And he is besieged now...Constantly...By those who decry your influence as well as mine upon him..."

To have another voice in his ear and eye in his bedroom might calm his fears of being swayed by one...

"Though you are right, we cannot be sure she would be able to serve our work as one of us in the daylight...And she must needs be in the daylight if we are to remain secure...For that reason, it was never my intention to turn the poor wretch..."

Merely to enlist her in my service...

Oh...she eyed him...Should've guessed he'd want the silly thing for a compliant slave...Still, putting it that way, if she'll not be a true rival, merely a spy...

Still...To have her between me and Charlie...Having Catherine around is bad enough, but heck, she's Queen and I can still accept the sacred order of things to some extent...And at least she's kind to me and he simply feels friendship and pity for her...

***

"Mr. Pepys..." Will Hewer eyed Pepys just outside the entrance to the Seething Lane complex of offices and townhomes as he stood on the steps of his hired coach, two large parcels in hand...Several more in the coach behind him...

"Ah, Will...Grab a parcel, my boy...Time's awasting, lets hurry...Is everything...?"



"Sir..." Will gave a grim look...Pepys catching the tone...What?...

"Has Sir William sent in a special order on the fleet?...Parliament issued a summons for all our documents again?..."

"No, sir...Sir..."

"Will?...What the devil's..."

"Mr...." Hewer hesitated on the hated name... "Sir...Mr...."

"That dancing fellow, sir..."

Pepys' blood turned cold...Dread closing in over his heart...No...

And after I paid three times what I owed him to get rid of him when the first set of lessons were over?...

"Not...?"

"Mr. Pepys?..." A beaming Pembleton stepped out of the office door where he'd been patiently waiting with the clerks...Hand extended, an eager smile... "Sir William Batten very kindly asked me to come over and see if I could lend a hand with tonight's entertainments..."

May Batten burn in Hell forever...Pepys extended a very slightly trembling hand... "Mr. Pembleton..."

"I trust your good lady has kept up with her steps...She was very like to do well when I left her..."

"Indeed..." Pepys eyed his mortal foe...

***



"The Secret Diaries of Samuel B. Pepys..."



Summary: In another past life of Buffy and William...A desperate-to-keep-the-case Anyanka tries to redirect their curse using a unique stratagem...With interesting results suggesting that a certain famed 17th century diarist and his lady had more going on than even his published diary let us know...(More or less a Cicelyverse sequel to "Original Sin..."/prequel to "Romance Palace"...)

Note: The best way to know Mr. Pepys is through his magnificent nine year daily Diary...Which is now available on-line on a day-to-day basis at http://pepysdiary.com/ courtesy of the wonderful Phil Gyford.

I would also recommend "The Unequaled Self", a new biography by Claire Tomlin...Just terrific and fills in the gaps the diary leaves...

PS: The following makes no claim to be a biography or history but is simply a work of fan-fiction with a number of historical events sandwiched into one year. (In other words...I know the Great Plague actually hit London in 1665-6, the Great Fire in September 1666, etc...But I wanted the Medway attack to happen at the same time so you get it all in one action-packed AU year...)

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

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

***

Part the Tenth...

A somewhat harassed and nervous-looking...It takes a Slayer's strength to organize these things, she thought wearily, Elisabeth greeted Sam on his and Will's entry into the house bearing his last-minute purchases of fruit, cheese, wine, and...

"So?!...Where are the lobsters?!...Sam'l?!..."

Hmmn...He looked at Will who just put down a few of the parcels, wrapped in coarse paper...

"Will?...Did you bring the lobsters?..."

"Lobsters, sir?..."

Gadzooks, where be my lobsters?...he looked about...

"You forget the lobsters, Sam'l?..." Elisabeth hissed, looking over the items and setting them out... "I specifically sent Jane to your office at lunch to remind you..."

"Mr. Pepys?..." a hearty call from just outside... "Your coachman came by to drop these off...You forgot them..." Pembleton opened the door...Bearing lobsters...

"Ah..." Elisabeth beamed, moving to take them... "Why, Mr. Pembleton?..." she looked at the young man in some...Pleased, Pepys unhappily noted...Burn, Batten, burn...Surprise...

Why couldn't I have forgotten and left him in a coach?...

"Yes...Thanks, sir..." a tepid thanks from the host...

"Sam'l?...Mr. Pembleton is joining us?..."



"Sir Will Batten...So very kindly..." Pembleton nodding eagerly at Pepys cool statement... "Engaged Mr. Pembleton for tonight's work..."

"Oh, that's wonderful..." she smiled, extending a hand which the dancing master happily kissed...

"Yes...And having no lessons beforehand, I thought I might drop by early and see if we might go over a few steps and determine where the best place for the musicians might be...And if you may need an extra fiddler or two, I know just the ones...Mr. Pepys feared you'd be too busy just yet, but since I had to bring these over..." he smiled...

"Well..." she gave an exhausted wave as Jane hurried into the kitchen to grab a few plates... "We are a mite busy right now...But if you'd take a glass with Sam and give me a moment while you look over the parlor...Sam?...Wine's open on the sideboard...Jane!!..." she headed out, carrying the newly arrived cheese on a silver plate...

Didn't even kiss me hello...He eyed her darkly...Though she is busy on my behalf...he reluctantly noted...

"Let me bring this out for you..." Pembleton called to her, taking the parcel of fruit and following her...

Pepys blinking as the young man went on out into the parlor, leaving him with Will in the kitchen...

Hewer bearing the same sour look as his beloved employer/surrogate dad...

"Well..." Pepys eyed Will... "Lets go get some wine and see what our dancing master thinks of our musical arrangements...No doubt he's a world of ideas on the subject..."

"Sam'l?...Would you set the lobsters in the big pot, then check the parlor with Jane?..." Elisabeth stuck her head in the kitchen doorway, a flushed look... "I think I can manage a moment's absence so Mr. Pembleton's going to run through some of the old steps with me upstairs...I may surprise you tonight, love..." she grinned...

"Of course, my love..." he grimly nodded...And there Goddamn better not be a 'surprise' tonight...he thought...Catching that something in her smile...Heh, hee...

She giving a sad-faced Will an arch look and grin, heading off...

"Women...Will...Women..." Pepys grumbled, shaking his head...Looking for the big pot...Ah...He pulled it down from the overhead rack..."I sometimes think your vow never to marry is the best way...Jane!..." he called...

"I'll fetch water, sir...Then if I may, I'll go look in on Mrs. Pepys' practice?...I'd like to see the steps..." "Thanks, my boy..." Pepys nodded as Jane entered, looking a bit overwhelmed...

"Steady, my good Jane..." Sam smiled at the slight girl... "We'll pull this off and all London will sing its praise of our Jane's cooking and housekeeping...Come, lets take a look at the parlor and see that alls to rights...Will, tell Mrs. Pepys I'll meet her in the parlor as soon as she can manage...Jane?..."

Never so long as there is only one Elisabeth...And my good Mr. Pepys loves her...Hewer did not say...Grabbing a wooden bucket on the table to fill from the Seething Lane pump in the courtyard...

***

At Buckingham's, the Duke was now entertaining his usual mix of human and concealed, unhuman friends and followers, mostly the latter...Musicians playing, who though good...Were not the absolute best in town, they being currently occupied elsewhere...

"When will our friend be here?..." Lady Castlemaine, rather impatient to be off...

An evening with George and his lackeys, listening to his ranting boasts of coming victory, was sometimes mildly entertaining, but not exactly her idea of the best possible way to spend time...Besides, she had a pressing date...

"Charles is going to be put out if I'm late you know...He had the royal yacht set out for me especially tonight..."

"Our friend is due shortly...He's stopping on his way to a dinner..."



"Hope your plans for universal destruction and Hell on Earth aren't spoiling his evening..." she glared...

A small man...Well, not quite...In ordinary clothes entered the hall, catching the Duke's eye...Bearing a sheaf of papers...Ah, Buckingham beamed...Waving the unman over to a quiet corner...

"Well, Benedict?...Have you had my notices printed?...I want London plastered with them within the next few days, sowing panic and confusion...What?..."

"My gracious Lord...The printer I selected...Best in town, naturally..."

"Naturally..." Buckingham nodded, then frowned at the little Benedict...A former Benedictine monk, long turned...Selected for the job of having his bills printed based on his former career as a book illustrator in his monastery and his surviving exposure to the treatment that allowed daylight activity...

"...Is busy with a job for the next two to three days...I would seek another sir, but none other in town is fit to produce your work, sir..."

"Two to three days?...Well..." Buckingham frowned...

"His work is of the highest quality, sir...He's much in demand..."

"I suppose it's not too...What...Job?...Is so pressing?..." "This, sir..." the little fellow handed him a pamphlet...Will Penn Jr's latest...

"What the devil is this?..." Buckingham stared at the pamphlet... "Zounds! More Quaker nonsense about universal brother- and sisterhood?!..." He threw it aside...

"Damn that Gutenberg and his damned printing press!...Now every week, even with censorship back, every little idiot commoner in the land has his or her play or poem or pamphlet out there, saying whatever they want!...It's what brought our dear late King down, mark my words!..."

"And they all spell so badly too..." the turned former monk-illustrator sighed...

"Putting their idiotic drivel out there for the whole world to see...Never heeding the advice of their betters, bringing down all standards..." Buckingham ranted angrily on...

What's up with the Duke about that?...one hissed to his fellow minions...Castlemaine grinning at Buckingham's discomfiture while looking over one of the broadsheet proofs Benedict carried...

"Shakespeare wouldn't listen to his ideas about Hamlet...He's never gotten over it..."

"George, did you write this yourself...?" Lady Castlemaine waved the sheet, chuckling...

"Of course..." he paused in his pacing to eye her... "Sure to spread fear and panic, making my plans ever more sure..."

"'Fear ye God's fateful wrath ye sinners, ye rogues...The Great Plague is upon us to punish us all for our sins...Tis' too late to repent, citizens, abandon all hope...Fly or die...Surely Hell's fires shall come upon us next...Remember the Prophecy to Cromwell and flee!'...?"

"Well, it says what it means..." Buckingham eyed her... "And that's only one of four versions..."

"I've read better from Papist agents...Charles keeps a collection..." she grinned...Scanning the sheet a moment...

"You'd do well to remove your seal from the things..." she tapped the bottom of the sheet she held where a fancy B with small V superimposed and a brief motto beneath could be seen...

"Benedict!..." Buckingham turned to the ex-monk...Who stared...Hmmn...

Missed that in the proofread...



"Dr. Hooke..." the doorkeeper, a tall and cadaverous-looking, yet human fellow, long accustomed to accepting the tips of the Duke's varied clientele and keeping mum as to a number of rather unnatural, illegal, even unholy events...Not the least the sudden appearance of the former master's previously unknown 'nephew', an identical twin, if younger-looking, in manner as well as appearance, to the previous owner as well as bearing his name and a will leaving him all, very shortly after the mysterious death of said former master, announced in the hall entrance...

Castlemaine looked up...Buckingham frowning at Benedict but turning as well with a quick smile to greet their guest...A small, almost gnomish, ugly little man with a perpetual leer on his little, lean and hungry-looking face...A wolfish look in his eyes...Hat offered to the doorman, revealing a balding skull with a few anxiously combed hairs...

Not someone even I'd like to meet in a dark alley, Castlemaine thought as the little scientist smiled icily at her...And he's only human...

"My good Dr. Hooke..." Buckingham stepped forward, hand extended...

Not the word I'd use...Lady Castlemaine eyed Hooke...

That the Duke's personal physician?...A somewhat clueless human follower quizzed the pretty blonde vamp next to him, a distant cousin of the Duke whom he'd been flirting cautiously with since her arrival a short time before... "If he's the one keeping him looking so well, I'd not mind consulting him myself..."

Very personal...Exclusive...Physician...the vamp shook her head...A bit nervous...The Duke having informed her she would begin her own series of treatments that night...And with that 50% or more rather gruesome failure rate...

She eyed her infatuated table companion...Pity it's fangs-off without Cousin George's permission, I could use a quick meal to steady my nerves...

"My Lord Buckingham..." Hooke bowed slightly...Kissing the hand offered...

***

"The Secret Diaries of Samuel B. Pepys..."

Summary: In another past life of Buffy and William...A desperate-to-keep-the-case Anyanka tries to redirect their curse using a unique stratagem...With interesting results suggesting that a certain famed 17th century diarist and his lady had more going on than even his published diary let us know...(More or less a Cicelyverse sequel to "Original Sin..."/prequel to "Romance Palace"...)

Note: The best way to know Mr. Pepys is through his magnificent nine year daily Diary...Which is now available on-line on a day-to-day basis at http://pepysdiary.com/ courtesy of the wonderful Phil Gyford.

I would also recommend "The Unequaled Self", a new biography by Claire Tomlin...Just terrific and fills in the gaps the diary leaves...

PS: The following makes no claim to be a biography or history but is simply a work of fan-fiction with a number of historical events sandwiched into one year. (In other words...I know the Great Plague actually hit London in 1665-6, the Great Fire in September 1666, etc...But I wanted the Medway attack to happen at the same time so you get it all in one action-packed AU year...)

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

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

***

Part the Eleventh...

Hooke straightened as he released Buckingham's hand...

Poor George looks almost as uncomfortable as some humans when he touches them...Castlemaine thought...

"Lets take a moment in my study...Barbara?...Would you join us, before you must go to keep your appointment with the King?..." the Duke turned to her...

Castlemaine nodded and followed...Frowning a bit as Hooke eyed her carefully...

The only human...And one of the few beings of any sort...Able to send a chill or two down her spine...

But then who knows the full extent of his skills?...And given what she'd seen of them...And the rumors of his hold over his 'housekeeper', a niece...and his maids...A constant turnover of young, pretty, and generally innocent girls...Who left their positions with him considerably less so...Even a strong-willing vampiress might be a tad nervous around him...

"Well, Hooke?..." Buckingham lead the scientist/philosopher into the study, Castlemaine closing the door as she entered...

"I come, my lord..." a serpentine smile... "Bearing gifts..." Hooke lifted and patted a pouch slung on his shoulder...



***

The hallway of the upper floor of the Pepys' home...

"And step, turn...Bow to your gentleman...And...Done..." Pembleton released Elisabeth's hand... "Excellent, ma'am...You've retained the steps very well..." She smiling...

"Sam'l always says I'm too sure of myself...But I think I've got it down...Do I?..."

"You've done it perfectly..." the young man nodded...Hewer, now up in the hallway watching from near the stairs, frowned a little at him...Bootlicking puppy...

Though she did do it very well, but for the one stumble...

"Well, shall we try to get in one more?..." Pembleton suggested...

"Actually...Mr. Pembleton..." Elisabeth glanced at Will whose frown deepened... "I'm afraid I brought you up here under false pretenses...Though I did want to review the steps..." she looked a bit nervously at him...

He stared at her...Then at Will, feeling a bit reassured, though not entirely...One hears such things about the goings-on among the wealthy and powerful these days and the Pepys are moving into the highest circles...

"Mr. Pembleton..." Elisabeth looked at the dancing master carefully... "You are a man of some literary tastes, as I recall..."

"Ah, yes Mrs. Pepys, I try to keep up with all the new works and the classics...Though nowhere near as well versed as your good husband..." Pembleton, devoted young husband with large family, beamed, relieved by the safe course the conversation seemed to be taking...Unthreatening to either marital bliss or the landing of a few new clients at the party...

"Well...Sam'l is perhaps not the best person in this instance...I need the opinion of an unbiased reader...With some exposure to classics..." Elisabeth continued...

Ah...Pembleton nodded...Though a bit uncertain as to what...

"Here..." she handled him a carefully wrapped packet she'd pulled from a pocket in her waistcoat... "I would so like your input, sir...And feel free to give me your honest, unvarnished opinion...I am ready to face all criticism..."

"Of...What, Mrs. Pepys?..."

"My work, Mr. Pembleton..." she nodded at the packet... "That's just a sampling, of course...Some poems and the first acts of two plays...A short novel..." she smiled eagerly...

"That is, if it's not too much trouble?...I did mention my work before to you the year we did our lessons together..."

And you offered to look it over...she eyed his blinking face...

"Oh, yes..." Pembleton nodded...Glancing at the packet... "Certainly, though I must tell you, Mrs. Pepys I'm not a scholar like your husband..."

"Well, I don't want a scholar...Yet...See, I'm striving for something new in poetic sensibility...And you know how formalist scholars are...Anything new upsets them..." she smiled...Eagerly... "I need someone with an open mind..."

Ah...Pembleton nodded... "Please, take a look..." she tapped the packet...He looked at Hewer who shrugged slightly...And began to unwrap...

"The novel is set in France...Where I spent some of my formative years...I am half-French you know...It's a romance..." she continued...Eyeing Will who tried not to roll eyes...

Yes...Pembleton gave a thoughtful look at the top sheet of paper... "That's one of my best poems..." Elisabeth happily noted...

Indeed...Oh, yes...I do remember this one...Pembleton sighed inwardly...

"... 'Midnight descends in raven's-coloured clothes...'..." he read...

***

Buckingham's study...

"First..." Hooke laid his satchel on the Duke's desk...Pulling out several corked bottles... "The new supply of the elixir as you requested...More than enough for all your 'people' for several months..."

"As good as the last batch?..." Buckingham took one of the bottles in hand, examining the color by the light of the study lamps...

As if you had the slightest ability to judge that stuff...Castlemaine thought, smiling a little...Buckingham putting the bottle back down...

"Even better, I believe, my lord..."

"Good, good...Would be nice to improve the survival rate a bit..."

"As always, I remind you, my lord...The elixir's effect depends on both the strength of the vampire to endure it and, for most, from whom the blood component comes from...The farther from the original sire, the less the chance for survival...But for your own and the handful of other fortunates who can have their own blood successfully used...."

Fortunate me...Buckingham beamed...But then I was always a favored child...

However...Hooke went on... "I believe you will see an improvement in the number of new survivors..."

"And I can report that we are very near to having sufficient vials of plague to begin our campaign..." he smiled... "Enough to kill all London at least..."

"Very good, doctor..." A happy nod... "Remarkable that..." Buckingham smiled... "Who would think those little invisible creatures of yours could do so much damage..."

"I've spent half my life trying to warn of them...Bringing knowledge of them to the world..." Hooke reddened a bit at the memory... "The fools disdained me, sneered at my work, and chose to bury their heads in sand...Now, with your help, my lord...They'll rue their mistake...Forever..."

"My Lady..." the little man turned to her with another icy smile... "I've not done my duty and properly greeted you yet..." he bowed... "Doctor..." she nodded coldly...Not offering a hand...Struggling to suppress the nonsensical dot of fear she felt in his presence, despite her ability to easily tear his head from his little shoulders...

The frightening thing being his wanting so little from us in return...He's not even greedy...

An embittered, twisted genius capable of letting us emerge into the light of day...Well, some of us...And willing to try just for the hell of it...A human so full of hatred for Humanity he would happily volunteer to help George destroy it...

"Very well then, Hooke...Excellent work, my friend...So...What else do you have for us?...The little matter of a new weapon against the Slayer?..."

"I've isolated something additional from your blood, my Lord...Allowing me to create a stronger form of a substance I've describe to you before..." Hooke explained...

"It acts on the mind..."

"Oooh...Mind control?...Thrall?...That sort of thing?...Oh, I like that..." Buckingham grinned, then frowned...Hmmn...Say...

"You're not saying that this elixir of yours controls minds...My mind?..."

"Obv..i...ously, not...ssssir...A different...Subst...ance..." the little scientist gasped out as the Duke lifted him off the floor with one hand...Hmmn...Buckingham saw reason behind the statement...Yes, could hardly be...He lowered Hooke...

"This particular...Hauggh...Substance...Merely allows one...Augghhh...To implant certain suggestions...Amenable to the subject...In the mind...Thanks...Haughhhhh...My lady..." Hooke gratefully grabbed at the mug of water Lady Castlemagne had brought over...

He wiped his mouth with a sleeve and set the mug down...

"I've experimented with it for some time now...But with your blood component involved, I find it to be the most powerful version yet..."

So that's how he fills his dance card...Castlemaine eyed Hooke...

"And it being from you, I suspect you would be able to employ it even more effectively than I..."

Naturally...Buckingham pondered...

"Of course the amount I've isolated is limited...But there is enough to test on this Slayer of yours..."

"And she would follow my orders?...With no visible signs of thrall?..." Buckingham showed some eagerness as he picked up the idea...

"Not quite, my lord..."

Hmmn?...A disappointed frown...

"She would be rendered susceptible to suggestion, my lord...But I fear, if the Slayer's will is as strong as the sources I've consulted suggest, she would not obey blindly...As a normal human might..."

"What the devil good is that?..." An irritated frown...Little human gets a bit too comfortable with me at times...

"If you know her well enough my lord...The right suggestion could be employed to destroy her...In any case she will be far less able to defend herself when treated...This substance is the most powerful I've encountered in that regard as well..."

"How would you get the Slayer to take this...Substance?..." Castlemaine asked... "Invite her here for a dinner party?..." she grinned...

"As with our plague substance...It can be administered in various ways...Including smeared onto a small dart...Such as the natives of the East and the Americas use...In fact the non-blood components come from the Americas...An island in the Caribbean..."

"Hmmn...Not quite the weapon I had in mind, Hooke..." Buckingham sighed... "Still...It would be delightful to have her assault her own Council of Watchers at my 'suggestion'..."

"I would imagine she could be manipulated to do so...If you knew her well enough to use her own emotions, her angers and resentments..." Hooke nodded... "Although..." he smiled...

"That is not all..." he pulled out a folded, large piece of parchment and smoothed it on the desk...

"Ah..." Buckingham nodded... "Now this looks more like a weapon..."

"I must confess my lord, it is not entirely my concept...I base it on the ideas of Da Vinci..."

"Does he work for me?..." Buckingham looked at Hooke...

"Dead artist/genius...Florence..." Castlemaine hissed...

Oh, that Da Vinci...

"Yes...Well, my lord...This invention allows for multiple gun chambers to be fired in extremely rapid succession...A mechanical gun...It could discharge as many as one hundred times within one minute...Without reloading..."

"A single enemy becomes a hundred...Very nice..." Buckingham nodded... "Though I must admit your other weapon does have a certain appeal...If we could learn enough about her to manipulate the Slayer as you've suggested..."

"Why not just strike her dead with your plague?..." Castlemaine suggested... "It worked well enough on our test subject the other night..."

"Even mere humans sometimes survive the plague, my lady..." Hooke noted... "The Slayer might well endure as she has endured your various efforts to date to destroy her...With my other substance, his Highness could summon her at his pleasure...I feel sure it would at least allow you to dispose of her with relative ease, my lord..."

"Physic her and at the very least have her walk in the path of your new gun, eh?...Not bad, doctor...Not at all bad...I shall pass this on to the best gunsmiths in my employ...Meanwhile you may proceed with your other weapon...And hold our plague in readiness for release shortly..."

Hooke nodded...The Duke pulled a bag from a desk drawer and gave it to him...

"Hardly seems proper recompense for such fine work..." Buckingham smiled at the little scientist... "I hope you'll accept your proper due when our efforts succeed..."

"It's quite sufficient for my meager needs...I only wish to be of service and have my work recognized in your own good time, your Highness..." Hooke smiled... "Now, if I may take my leave...?"

"Certainly, certainly..." Buckingham waved him off... "Enjoy your little dinner party, doctor...Who's place is it?..."

"Mr. Samuel Pepys of the Naval Office, my lord..." Ah...

Hooke bowed to Castlemaine and left, closing the study door...

"Here, dear..." Buckingham offered a bottle of elixir... "This should be quite sufficient for you while you enjoy your little idyll with dear Charles..."

Thanks...She took the bottle... "George, that man wants more than a few pounds and a pat on the head from you...What have you offered him?...Eternal life or what?..."

"The good doctor is sadly uninterested in Immortality...Rather willing to depart this world, in fact, in his time...A tragic loss I hoped to avoid when that day comes...Though I prefer not to risk losing his genius by transformation just yet..."

"What does he want?..." Castlemaine repeated... "Besides seeing all London dead at his feet as punishment for failing to recognize his genius?..."

Oh...Buckingham waved a hand... "He has a few trivial requests...Nothing big...My protection when Hell on Earth is established until his natural death...The chance to work unhindered by superstition and well funded...That sort of thing...I am the only chance for him to accomplish his grandest dreams, if we succeed..."

"And you trust him?..."

"Trust...Like risk, is vital in any serious enterprise, dear...Cromwell knew that and it led him to glory...The late King trusted no one and ended with no one trusting him...But of course it's trust mingled with caution...I keep my agents watching him...And should anything happen to me from use of his potions and elixirs, he's well aware of the gruesome fate that would befall him..."

Besides...Buckingham said, waving a hand... "The poor man has no friend but me..."

She frowned but rose, time pressing...

"Any message for Charles?..." she paused...

"Just tell his Majesty Buckingham continues his most loyal friend and support..." the Duke smiled...

"You're a pillar, George..." she eyed him a moment and left...

Something he's not telling me...she thought, hurrying across the large room still full of various minions and guests, nodding quickly to several...Brushing her gown as she signaled to the doorman to have her carriage brought round to the front...

Somehow I just can't picture Barbara and Hooke together...Buckingham thought as he sat in his study, reviewing the estate accounts...One must pay attention to the details if one is to make a bid for the world...

But I suppose when the time comes to hand her over, under the influence, she'll be quite content...

***


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