"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 twelfth...



The Pepys' residence on Seething Lane within the Naval Offices complex…

A small, thin, rather gnarled-looking in face as the result of illness and privation, man removed his hat at the Pepys' front door, revealing but few hairs on his tight-skinned skull…Jane eyeing him with some apprehension…He having attempted a lewd move or two on her in the past…

Not to mention the rumors…And she'd seen at least one of his discharged maids, poor thing…Wandering the street like a broken-down horse looking for a place to die…

"Jane, is it not?..." Hooke trained a relatively benign smile upon her…Offering his hat…

"Yes, sir…Evening and welcome, sir…" she curtsied, taking the hat as she rose…God, I wish I'd remembered he was to come and let Nell handle the door…I hope he doesn't…

He placed a clawlike hand on her shoulder…

Well, leastways it wasn't me bum again…she sighed inwardly…

"Are all well, girl?..." Hooke asked pleasantly…

"Aye, sir…" she nodded… "I'll…" she pulled away from his grip with a bit of force… "Let the master and mistress know you're here, sir…"

"No matter, Jane, no matter…I hear them all inside, I'll find my way…" he patted her cheek and pressed on past her…

Hmmn…She looked to the other side of the door where her intended, Tom Edwards, an orphan hired several years before as Pepys' combination valet, junior apprentice clerk, errand boy, and fellow musician still held the door open, glaring after the distinguished, if somewhat less than famed, Curator of Experiments of the Royal Society…

"What's he mean grabbing you like that, girl?...Twisted little snake…"

"Tom…" Jane raised a hand… "He's the master's guest…And friend…"

"Mr. Pepys don't like him…He was the one who called him a snake…Man's got no business handling you…"

"He barely touched me, Tom…" Jane frowned… "Lord knows I've had worse…"

Tom reddened…But straightened as another guest…Two, in fact, approached…Quietly pulling the door back, while Jane pasted a smile…

"Well, here we are…" Mrs. Knipp, in gown 'borrowed' for the evening from the Betterton company at the Duke's Playhouse, hand on her rather morosely unhappy-looking companion's arm, gave a beaming smile at Jane…

"Mrs. Knipp…" Jane curtsied…Giving a short, hard frown at the Tom trying to surreptitiously get a glance of the actress' ample cleavage…Well revealed by her low-cut gown…

"I hear music…" Knipp put a hand to her ear delicately…Her companion rolling eyes... "Violins always remind me of the rustling of angels' wings…Eh, Richard?..." she turned to her partner…

"Right, violins…" the man sourly stated… "A bunch of horsehair being drawn over a bunch of cat's guts…Lovely…"

"My husband doesn't have the time to appreciate such things…" Knipp sighed at Richard who glared at her, then looked at Jane…That brief glance of intense sorrow in her eyes that always made the maid, in spite of her annoyance with the woman's posturing…And playing up to the master while the poor mistress sits neglected...Or worse…Feel a twinge of sympathy and fellowship…

"They're all out in the parlor, mum…" Jane smiled at the actress… "Let me go tell the master and mistress you're here…"

"By all means, Jane…A proper entrance…" Knipp nodded regally…Hands to her carefully placed wig…

"Don't see why this Pepys has to do with all the folderol…" Mr. Knipp frowned as Jane scurried off… "He's nothing but the son of a tailor with a cousin in the king's lap…"

"Mr. Pepys is a gentleman true, Richard…And his family has many highly placed members besides Lord Montagu…"

"Pretentious little fop, that what he is…Here, now you…Boy…" he eyed Tom in his place to the side, holding the door with near religious zeal, having wiped his angry frown at Mr. Knipp's disparagement of his employer a hair too slowly… "What's the trouble?...Don't like a man telling true about your little lord Pepys?..." He moved to face the young man directly…Hard fists clenching...

"Richard…Please…" Knipp pulled at his sleeve… "The boy meant no offense, I'm sure…" He shook her off…

"You think you can look down on a working man cause you slave for a little popinjay like Pepys, boy?...Proud as a peacock in our little livery, are we?..." he sneered at Tom…Whose face tensed…A slight, cool glance at the female primary breadwinner of the Knipp family...Mrs. Knipp giving a guarded, pleading look back...

"No offense intended, sir…" Tom noted coolly… "I was thinking on something…"

"Were you now?... 'Thinking on something', eh?...My, aren't we the courtier?..."

Jane returned, Elisabeth following hastily…Rather pleased to be the one called to handle this arrival, bless you, dear Jane…

"Mrs. Pepys…" a relieved Knipp stepped forward eagerly… "Mr. Knipp and I are so pleased to have been invited again to your lovely home…"



"Mrs. Knipp…" Elisabeth eyed her mortal enemy with a polite smile, bowing slightly… "Mr. Knipp…" she nodded at him… "I'm very pleased you both could come…"

That...Both...of you could come, oh yeah...Definitely pleased...

Ma'am…he gave the slightest of bows…A tad of warmth in his voice…A slightly startled Knipp darting a quick look at him…Then a slightly narrow one at Elisabeth…Elisabeth looking a hair weary and pale but quite attractive in her rather sober waistcoat and skirt, hair done up in a kerchief…Only the vibrant red and black in her outfit betraying a bit more than a modest housewife's spirit…

"Please…" Elisabeth extended a hand toward the parlor… "We're all in the parlor…Everyone will be so happy to see you…"

"Right…" Mr. Knipp frowned toward the parlor.

"I hear Mr. Pepys' new song…I know it well…" Knipp smiled to Elisabeth…

Indeed?…Elisabeth eyed her…

"I've been practicing it the last few nights in fact, at your husband's request…Haven't I, Richard?..."

Aye…A curt reply…

"He hoped I'd be willing to perform it tonight…Which, with your permission?...And assuming my paltry voice is up to the mark tonight…"

"I'm sure Sam'l would be delighted…" Elisabeth eyed her briefly…A bit of paint, great…Sam'l hates paint…They began moving down the hall..And she looks older close up, five…No, six years on me for sure…Hmmn…She frowned at the exposed cleavage…

Down to her boots…

Not that I'm in favor of a return to Puritan dress…Heck I like to show 'em off myself at times…But a bit…Much...

Though nothing on me, under proper conditions...she thought contentedly...

"Lovely dress, Mrs. Knipp…" she smiled… "But perhaps, with the cool air tonight…"

"An old costume of mine, Mrs. Pepys…But I felt it would suit the occasion…"

"Well, it's beautiful…" Elisabeth paused by the parlor door… "Eh, Mr. Knipp?..."

"It was cheap enough…" Mr. Knipp replied…

***

The gardens of the Whitehall palace complex…



"Your Majesty…" Sir William Coventry released the kissed hand and rose at Charles' smiling wave of hand…A servant pulling back the four dogs attempting to leap on Sir William's legs "I would hesitate to trouble you so late in the day…But as word has reached me that you are near to a decision on moving the court in view of the sad events of the other evening…"

"And you'd like me to settle the Navy's affairs…That have been pressing on me all this weary year…In one hasty evening's decision…" Charles grinned at him, nodding to the servant to take the dogs away, signing to another standing at attention, who hastily brought a folding stool over, on which the King took a seat, sighing… "You really should be knocking on the Speaker's door, you know, Coventry…I don't yet hold the purse strings…"

"There are crucial matters to be considered, your Majesty…Even if nothing can be done about the financial situation…"

Yes, yes…Charles sighed… "Surely Jamie can deal with the Navy…I put him there to relieve me of that burden…Just tell him to send anything I must sign on to me…But no more of this until tomorrow…And I mean tomorrow, Sir William…"



I have my own pressing matters to attend to tonight…he smiled…Picking at his long sleeves…Mirror, he called to the same servant at his right who'd brought the stool…The servant, a tall young man, pulled a small mirror from his breeches' right pocket, and handed it over…Charles smiled at himself…Straightening his wig, brushing a stray crumb…

A fine night for a river cruise…he noted to Coventry…

With the right company…

"Sire…"

"Oh, don't look so disapproving, Sir William...You have my confidence as well as Jamie's you know that, a burr and hair-shirt being a necessary thing, I know...But if they become too wearisome, the sensible man may cast them off..." a hard stare…

"Anyway…" the King smiled again…Indulgently, to cover the rough moment… "I can tell you I've not decided finally on the move…I hate the idea of leaving London unless I can see a bit more evidence that the plague has settled in…I merely want to be ready to move quickly…For my dear wife's and subjects' sakes as well as my own miserable royal hide…" A wry grin...Then frown...

"As for this damned war…Parliament and the greedy merchants wanted it, let them now pay for it…Though thank God this one is more of a game at sea than a war…God knows I'm sick enough of fighting and death…And have made honest efforts to put an end to them in this case, as your own brother can testify…"

"I would the efforts had succeeded, your Majesty…Perhaps they yet may…"

"Not while these fanatics in the guise of 'patriots' rule the land, Sir Will…The descendants of the same madmen…" Charles paused… "God, haven't they had enough?...Haven't I tried to open the doors to all religions, tolerate all, forgive all…I, who have the least cause of all to forgive and forget…"

"I saw my mother called a French whore in the common street...My poor sainted father condemned as a monster and a man of blood...Dragged to scaffold like a common criminal after that travesty of a trial before our fair Parliament..."

"Cromwell and his agents chasing James and me across Europe...Never knowing whose face about me was the traitor sent to do me in..."

"I'm tired of it all, Coventry...Tired to death...And I believe that's true of the whole damned Island but for these..."

Well…he sighed…

"I firmly believe we have greater threats than the Dutch to occupy your attention, sire…" Coventry eyed him…

"Not all my good friends in Parliament, I trust…" Charles smiled… "All those good fellows who welcomed me back with cheers and prayers after cutting my poor papa's head off?..."

"Sir, there are enemies even beyond those who fought your father and would betray you now for the right price…"

"Lovely…New enemies, eh?...You've added espionage to your many talents, Sir William?...Well, you and Jamie and Chancellor Clarendon review this threat and lets discuss them on my return…Tomorrow…"

"Sire…" Coventry paused… "These enemies are those I have warned you of bef…"

"Silence!..." Charles rose, an unusual animation and anger in his manner…The nearby servants awaiting his pleasure eyeing each other… "I've told you before, Coventry…I will not listen to nonsensical tales about my friends…Lady Castlemaine is not my enemy, however much you and your party may disapprove of her…And that includes my dear brother, you may tell him that..."



As for the others your care and concern have led you to warn me of…he frowned… "I've no doubt of Buckingham's ambition…But if you have nothing more to offer me than ridiculous wives' tales of magic and humbug that even my brother does not accept, as eager to buy every new miracle his Catholic wife tells him about as he is, then don't say a word…Until I'm offered something concrete I will not act against a man whose uncle was my father's firm friend and who has been mine throughout all my years of exile…"

He cut off Coventry's attempt to continue with an impatient hand… "God knows I'm sure he'd like to rule or set up poor Monmouth and rule through him…I've little enough faith left in friends or enemies…But I want some proof…Evidence…Not more rubbish about Evil and the Undead, as likely planted by his…Her…And my…Enemies to create disturbance and panic…"

He calmed and sat as Coventry watched him silently… "Enough…Bring me hard proof that Buckingham's actions threaten the government and I will pass it on to Parliament and take any necessary steps…Else…" he gave a cold stare…

"And as for my lady Castlemaine…She is none of your concern…"

A smile now resuming its normal place on the King's merry face…God, the pain of being 'the merry monarch'…A career of eternal acting, Charles sighed…

"You of all people, Will…" he grinned… "Giving credence to such nonsense…Will you be calling on me to burn witches next?..."

I get enough of those petitions every week to fill my office, you know…

"Ah, well…" he waved a hand gently at Sir William's still and set face… "I know you mean the best, Coventry…And as for the court's move, I promise you I will attend to all pressing business of the moment before that happens…If it happens…Lets put such things away for one evening, eh?...You and Jamie can spend the day tomorrow sunk in gloom about the state of affairs to your hearts' content…"

Coventry made a gesture of acquiescence, sighing slightly…Charles rising and leading him further back into the garden…Musicians hidden among the bushes began playing…

Hmmn…A slightly below par crew tonight, he grinned to Coventry, wincing a bit at a few missed notes…

"And I believe I know why…Clarke told me the best men had all gone to Buckingham's and some other fellow's party…That fine young fellow of yours, I believe...The one always hopping about...Pepys?..."

"Has a deuced pretty wife that fellow...I've noticed her with him in the gallery here..." Charles smiled... "A virtuous lady, I'm sure?...Yes?..." he nodded to Coventry's somewhat stern affirmation...

A sly air of inquiry...

"I have heard that our dear old Sandwich, before so kindly accepting our ambassadorship to Spain, sought unsuccessfully to drop his anchor in that harbor...Once upon a time..."

A bush rustled...As a woman stepped through... "Would that be my name being taken in vain?..." Lady Castlemagne merrily called out as she approached...

"Sir William...Your Majesty..." she bowed... "My dear..." Charles took her hands, beaming... "Delightful a picture as these gardens...eh, Sir William?..."

"Indeed, your Majesty..." Coventry displayed a noncommital expression...Castlemaine smiling pleasantly at him...

"I trust I'm not interrupting matters of national importance?...Sire..." she curtsied low... "I've only come to bring a request from your friends already on board that you honor us with your presence..."

"Ah...Well, Coventry...Duty calls..." Charles waved at him, taking Lady Castlemaine's arm...Servants and dogs following hurriedly after...The group swelling rapidly as others hidden among the byways and behind bushes emerged and followed, including a number of armed soldiers...

Coventry stared after them, shaking his head slowly...And made for the garden exit, pausing to eye a tall guard by the gate...

"Conyers...?" "Sir William..." Sergeant of the Guard Conyers stiffened and saluted...



"Tell me, Conyers..." a stern, cold frown forming... "How is it that Lady Castlemaine managed to come upon His Majesty and myself just now?...Are your men asleep?...Drunk?...Or dead?"

"Crawford...!!" Conyers called...A young, fit-looking guard in helmet, sword at side ran up to them... "Sir William..." the younger guard nodded... "Boy, how did Lady Castlemaine reach the king without being challenged?..." Conyers eyed him...

"Again?..." Crawford stared... "Sir...I..."

"You are in charge of the watch within the garden here, young man?..." Coventry eyed him...

"Aye, sir...Sir William..." the guard looked nervous, swallowing... "My lady often comes upon the king without giving notice...My men never see her..."

"Indeed...It seemed no difficulty to my old eyes to find her out..."

"The men say..." Crawford began...Conyers eyeing him coldly...

"What do they say, lad?..." Coventry pressed...

"That milady is a witch, sir...Or some kind of sorceress...That she can make herself invisible or turn into animals, smoke, whatever...And that that is how she can slip right past us...And the palace guard when she comes to the King at..."

"Hold your tongue, you rogue!..." Conyers glared... "Enough..." Coventry raised a hand...

"I'm sure my lady is merely adept at finding her way...And perhaps at finding a man or two among the guard who's willing to look the other way for a smile or a piece of gold...They all knowing she is the King's friend..."

"If that's true, Sir William, I'll personally tear the rogue apart..." Conyers insisted... "Crawford!...Have every member of tonight's guard on duty in the garden report to me, a man at a time...Including those going with the King on the royal yacht as soon as she docks...And have their rooms searched...Throughly...As they're sent to me..."

"Yes, sir..." Crawford saluted... "That's all, lad..." Coventry nodded to him and the young guard backed away and moved off along the garden pathway, lost to view in a few moments...

"Sir William, I assure you..." Conyers began...Coventry shook his head...

"Don't be too hard on the boy, Conyers...It's not his fault, I'm sure...Though I think you're right to check on the others...If any do confess to receiving pay or other favors from my lady , though, don't punish them...And don't make it known hereabouts...Just send them over to me...And say nothing to anyone..."

Am I understood?...Coventry eyed the soldier carefully...

"Aye, Sir William..." Conyers nodded...

***

Parlor of the Pepys home...



Guests scattered about the room, some seated at various small tables, others walking about as they chatted or ate or drank or all three...A large table to the side loaded with edibles and fine wine attracting steady attention...The musicians playing in the rear...Three violins, a bass viol, and recorder...The best in town for all three instruments...

Jane, Nell, Tom, and a girl, Susan, a former employee previously fired for drunkeness, but allowed back on trial for the evening, hurrying about as Elisabeth, while chatting with the various guests she encountered, endeavored to keep a watchful eye on them as well as various attractive ladies in the room...Several tending to cluster about a beaming Sam, contentedly in his element as he regaled a group with tales of the office, court, and his travels about town...

Though Sam could not resist an occasional glance his Beth's way...Smiling at her when caught...Thanks so much for all your work, darling...Otherwise nervously scanning for any danger in the form of several rather handsome young men moving about the room, including, besides the charming Mr. Pembleton, doing his careful best to make a discreet but lasting and favorable impression on as many potential clients as possible, one Major Robert Ferrers, an aide to the Earl of Sandwich, Pepys' cousin and old-time patron, Henry Sibley, brilliant young engineer, architect, and poet, and Major John Hobbes, a soldier far more famed for his bedroom conquests than his battlefield activities...

Fortunately she'd been trapped by old Hooke, that lecherous but in Bethie's case, harmless old snake, who'd attached himself to her much as a serpent might...She'd pulled his fangs long ago when he'd tried what she'd only vaguely and hastily described to Sam as a 'little foolishness' not wishing to see him take action to arrange to toss the sickly and poor, if pathetically lecherous, little man out of his meagerly paid post at the Society...

Though it might have been nice to see Sam toss Hooke out of their home then...Still, the man had backed off after she'd nearly broken his twisted little arm...An arm she'd been appalled to see had been permanently damaged by his childhood illnesses...Smallpox among others...And he'd apologized, a rare thing among such types, even if the apology had come complete with leer...

No, no danger there for the moment...Sam thought, relieved...Then extremely pleased to find Mrs. Knipp, currently free of morose husband engaged at cards with Will Hewer and a now seated and most-pleased-to-be-a-part-of-the-festivities Pembleton, directly in front of him, her best assets on public display three inches from his head...

"Is it not time for your song, Samuel...er, Mr. Pepys"..." Knipp beamed at him...Anxious to put another asset on display...

Hmmn?...Song?...Oh, yes...He looked up at her eager face from where he'd had his eyes fixed regarding her other best assets....Yes, her voice was quite an asset too, he thought...Hmmn...

Didn't know she painted...he eyed her face as she beamed at him...Still...

My god, those breasts are something...He glanced back down carefully...

"Mr. Pepys?..." she smiled at him...Placing her hand on his thigh... "Perhaps after my rendition you could show me your rooftop?...You have such a wonderful view of London from up there..."

View?...Yes, wonderful...he nodded vaguely... "Shall I begin?..." she whispered...Her mouth by his ear...

Oh by all means...Ummn...He blinked...

Oh, right...My song...

"Yes, certainly...Lets tell the men and assemble everyone..." he led her over to the musicians...Mr. Knipp giving a cold, brief glance from his seat...

Elisabeth a rather annoyed one from the corner where Hooke still kept her trapped, describing a few of his recent experiments for the Society...She being one of the few women of his admittedly limited acquaintance to display genuine interest in Natural Philosophy...

They had better be heading for the musicians...Elisabeth thought grimly, watching Knipp and Pepys moving through the crowded room while trying to pay attention to the little scientist's rather passionate description of his latest successful series of blood transfusion experiments...

Well, not all successful...But fifty percent, including the first human, had survived...A new record...

"That's wonderful, doctor...There were no aftereffects?...The poor man, I mean..." If only she could get turned...Elisabeth eyed Knipp darkly...Having seen the actress' little hand on thigh move...

I mean she works at night...It could happen...Easily...And I would so like to give her poor soul peace...

"Well...The fellow was a bit cracked in the head afterwards...But he must've been to start with to take the risk for a pound..." Hooke cackled at his hilarious joke...

"Amazing..." she nodded, a bit absently... "It will be quite a thing if you succeed in making it practical for physicians..."



Perhaps even useful for me...And the Council...she thought vaguely...Phew...They've stopped by the musicians...She noted, relieved as Pepys and Knipp began talking to the lead musician who nodded to them...

I would not want to have to run off after them in the middle of this thing...Even if I do have...Reasonable...Faith in my Sam...

After all, tis a wicked court, where even the King takes his pleasures without regard for God or Duty...And when in Rome...He'd better not...She frowned at Sam...Eyeing him sternly...

Get over here, you...

"Eh, the tiresome practicalities I'll leave to the jobbers and barber-surgeons..." Hooke shrugged... "It is enough for me to make the experiment succeed once..."

Hmmn?...Oh, yes...she nodded... "It's quite enough to let her try once...I mean to carry out your experiment once...And return to your true duties..." she looked over to Sam, still busily arranging his song's performance...

Well...It is his work...And I don't grudge him getting his work set right...She looked over to Pembleton, not very engaged in his card game, scanning the room for the right group...A man and female partner...To make his next pitch to...

Hope he likes my stuff...Though I do want his unbiased, frank opinion...

"Mrs. Pepys..." Hooke was beaming...To the extent that he could exude such warmth... "Your appreciation of the methods of Natural Philosophy is rare in men, let alone women..."

"Yeah, thanks..." she nodded...Looking back to where Sam seemed to now be content with things...

Make the intro and Get over here...She fixed him with a look...He smiled, nodding to Knipp who was preparing herself and taking a formal stance...Just a mo, love...he raised a hand...

"Pardon me, doctor...I think Sam'l needs some help...Now..." she gave the scientist a brief smile and slipping out from the corner, headed for the musicians' end of the room...

Yes, a remarkable lady...Hooke thought...

Indeed such a combination of beauty, charm, and a degree of womanly intelligence that the good doctor had chosen to honor her by placing her on a select list of those women, should they survive the coming disaster, he intended to request Lord Buckingham to spare for his own personal harem when milord came into his own shortly...

Though of course Lady Castlemaine would needs have precedence there...Apart from her special nature and abilities, even after the establishment of Buckingham's so-called 'Hell on Earth' the social proprieties naturally would have to be maintained...

***

"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 thirteenth...

The Pepys' parlor...Party in full swing...

Elisabeth, having escaped Dr. Hooke's attentions, engaged in conversation with Sam's forthright and capable cousin Jane Turner and her young, precocious, and rather bratty, daughter Theophila, The for short...

Jane of special value to Bess, she being the one whose generous offer of her home and devoted care had played a major role in getting Samuel through his highly dangerous surgery for the dreaded bladder stone back in '58...

A surgery which frequently claimed the life of the patient but in Sam's case had freed him from the debilitating pain which had threatened to leave him both an invalid and a pauper forever and set him and his Bess on a course now steadily carrying them to success...

Should little things like being the chosen Slayer not get in the way...

The, having noticed the little gnome-like Dr. Hooke with Bess before and on the prowl now, gave a slight nudge to her second cousin-in-law...

A woman whose presence in her Sam's life she tolerated...For now...He, the one man in England on some levels worthy, needing someone to keep him happy until his The should be grown enough to take the reigns...

"Your admirer's gone and found another, Beth..." she grinned, pointing at Hooke now in animated conversation with the lovely Mary Mercer, Beth's former companion, 'retired' from their service after Elisabeth's own flight of jealous fancy and despite that rocky start, a steady Pepys family friend... "Who is the little dwarf, anyway?...He looks like that print of Satan in your book, Mama..." she turned to Mrs. Turner...

Theophila...Mrs. Turner frowned... "He is a frightening-looking little fellow..." she couldn't help agreeing, all too openly pleased in fact with her only daughter's cleverness... "It's Hooke, isn't it?..."

"Dr. Hooke, yes..." Elisabeth nodded... "I think he had the smallpox as a child, lets not be too harsh...He is a brilliant natural philosopher...Curator of Experiments at the Royal Society..."

"Looks like an old lech to me..." The shook her head... The!...Mrs. Turner slapped her hand... "And I hear he 'experiments' a lot with his girls at home..." A snickering whisper...Theophila!...

"Where did you hear such talk, girl?...Who've you been talking to who says such vulgar stuff to a child?..."

"Not to me, Mama..." The grinned... "I just keep my ears open...As you and Father say to..."

"Wish you'd heed the rest of our advice...And keep thine mouth shut..." Mrs. Turner glared...

Shhh...The was solemn, seeing Sam handling sheets to Knipp and the musicians at the back of the room... "Samuel's got that Mrs. Knipp to do his song...No, he's still talking with the musicians, probably telling that Shepard to lay back on the violin...He always overdoes, Shepard ..."

"She still chasing him?...You ought to take care, she's borne children..." she eyed Elisabeth...Who gave her a cool smile...

Dear little thing...Charming as when she sent that gracious letter to thank me for sending her those lovebirds that the cage was inadequate...

"The, Mrs. Knipp is simply a friend to Sam and me..."

"He likes her..." The shook her head... "And while she's not as pretty as you, Beth, she's got a much better singing voice and you know how Sam loves music...If she leaves that nasty horse trader..."

"Enough, The..." Mrs. Turner took her arm...

"I'm quite sure my Sam'l will do his duty by me, Theophila..." You dear little...she eyed the slight, dark-haired girl now giving her mortal foe a self-assured return stare...

What a pity we couldn't take a late night stroll together sometime...I could leave you as vamp snack food...You'd make a fine little nibble for one...

"Some women have no sense..." The sniffed with all the sophistication of her newly acquired eleventh year... "All your French wiles won't hold Sam if he falls for a woman with musical ability...His very soul is music..." Accomplished (at least to her own thinking) musician Theophila noted...Locking eyes with her..Older...Rival briefly...

"My...French...Wiles, The...Are the devoted love...And faith...I give my husband..." Elisabeth replied coldly... "Which are returned in full, I assure you..."

Though he does appreciate the sophistication and worldly experience of a woman who's seen a bit of other lands, she smiled...

"The...Leave Bess be...Samuel is not about to run off with an actress...Especially a married actress..."

"Perhaps not..." The nodded... "But there's always Neil Gwyn...Though she isn't as good a singer, she's got the edge on you looks wise Bess..."

Of course I have heard she stuffs...

"Theophila!...Where the devil have you been hearing talk of Neil Gwyn?...Has your father?..."

"Please...Mama, you know Papa would never talk like that in front of me...On the rare chances we get to talk these days..." she dodged, eyeing her mother with a look that belied her somewhat exaggeratedly sophisticated manner...Looking rather more her age of 11 now... "I wish he'd come to London with us..."

"Your father prefers the country life in Yorkshire...I do not. It's a measure of his intelligence, and my own father's foresight in letting me inherit his townhouse, that he indulges me in my wish to spend the season here...And allows you this opportunity to enjoy it with me..."

For which you might display a little gratitude, daughter...she eyed The firmly...

"I appreciate it, Mama...But I miss Papa...And the boys..." the girl eyed Elisabeth... "I don't mean disrespect, cousin Bess...But you should take care to try and improve your talents...Samuel seeks more in a woman than the physical..."

"Oh, The...Hush, right now!"

"Oh, I quite agree with The, cousin Jane...Sam'l's always told me he saw more in me than mere beauty, which is why he strives to share so much of his interests and work with me...As for your suggestion on music..." Bess gave a cool smile...

"I'm workin' on it, sweetheart..."

***

The Sirs Will, Batten and Penn, carefully observing Samuel from their seats in the midst of the hastily improvised home concert chamber as he stood with Knipp and her musical back-up, giving the actress last-minute suggestions as to proper inflection...Batten noting, with smile to Penn, Sam's nervous look over at where a seated Pembleton was busily chatting up his neighbor...Hmmn?...Penn now frowning...young Margaret Penn, who beamed on the handsome instructor of the dance...

Meg?... His cherubic face becoming less so as he watched his daughter's animated expression at the conversation of some nobody dancing instructor...

"Het-humm!..." Sam now called... "Ladies and gentlemen...Mrs. Knipp, of the Duke's House...!" The buzz of conversation ignoring him...Mrs. Knipp looking a bit distressed, particularly as Mr. Knipp did his best to continue a loud conversation at the table where he was engaged in card-play with several others...

"Quiet!!..." Elisabeth cried in a startlingly loud voice...The room falling silent, a number in the crowded room blinking over at her...Penn and Batten exchanging glances...

The for the first time that evening smiling at her genuinely for an instant...

Yes...Sam glanced round...A quick grin to the Missus who reciprocated...

That Slayer thing does come in handy...



(For a chance to hear a clip from that hit song of the British scene in 1665, "Beauty, Retire..."

http://www.emusic.com/album/10592/10592276.html )

Knipp, now with a properly attentive audience...Raising hand toward the heavens...



"Beauty, Retire"...Samuel Pepys, 1665...

"Beauty, retire...Thou dost my pity move...

Believe my pity and then trust my love...

At first I thought her by a prophet sent, as a reward for valiant toils..."

(Elisabeth unable to resist returning Sam's grin at this line...Toils...Perhaps...But not all that valiant, boy...)

***

Near the Thames docks...Same time...

The rather decrepit rooms of one obliged to keep to the shadows in a land where his sort was probably less welcome than the Undead...

A nervous boy of fourteen in deliberately shabby clothes, standing by the meager fire, awaiting the packet whose safe delivery to a waiting boat for the Continent he knew was of far more concern than his own life...

"Here, Thomas..." Father Fogarty turned from his writing desk to look at the boy... "Take some hot cider from the kettle and sit yourself....I've need of a few more minutes to finish my report...."

The boy sighed, turning to grab a battered wooden mug from the table the priest had indicated and dipping it into the bubbling kettle, took a seat...Clearly anxious to be off...

"Almost done are ye, Father?...I must be off if I'm to make the boat...They'll leave at ten..."

"A moment, lad...Have your cider...I'll have you off in time..."

Thomas looked over to the desk, a quick glance and back to staring at the fire...

"What is it, boy?..." the priest asked kindly but not looking up from his writing...

"Sorry, sir...I know it's not for me to ask..."

"Indeed not, Thomas...But if you have a question, tis best to be out with it..."

"Is it...Is it for the Pope himself, sir?..." the boy asked hesitantly...

"The Pope himself?...And would I, a mere priest in this benighted land have myself a direct post to His Holiness, boy?...Come now, Thomas...I'd've thought you a boy of more sense..."

"Aye, sir...Sorry, sir..." the boy held his mug in his hands...Feeling the warmth carefully...

The priest eyed his work carefully...

"Report to the Council...Councilor Francis Fogarty...

Gentlemen,..."

He scanned down to the last paragraph...

"In summary, sirs...My fellow Councilor at duty and I have concluded that the situation is reaching a crisis point....Our enemy is almost certainly the Duke of Buckingham...Whom we believe is the one and same Duke supposedly deceased some years ago at the end of the Civil War, now portraying himself as his own nephew...It remains impossible for us to explain his ability to endure the daytime sun but we assume he is making use of some form of the black arts as well may a number of his followers...We have not yet ruled out the possibility of pre-emptive assassination by our agents but the Duke is well-protected and we believe may have already taken one or more of our people as his own...Fortunately, we have maintained strictly limited contact among all our staff...Even my fellow Councilor and I are not fully informed as to each others' agents...

There is little doubt our enemy plans to attempt the fulfillment of the Prophecy of Hell on Earth made to Cromwell...Though in what manner, we are not yet able to say...The sudden increase in plague cases this year recently may be related...This would correspond to similar vampirally-induced incidents masked as plague outbreaks in the past..."

He sighed, skipping further, yet anything but eager to reach the unfinished segment at bottom...

"Thomas, your drink, lad...Finish it up, you'll need it tonight..." he called to the waiting boy who nodded...

"The Slayer continues in her determination to remain outside our jurisdiction and maintain her current living situation...As per instructions, I have striven to continue in contact with her and I believe continue to hold her trust...Likewise as per instructions, I have not fully confided in her as to all that has been learned regards the Duke...I will release such information as I deem necessary to her operations as the situation requires...

Thanks to my success in retaining her confidence and with the assistance of my agents I have, as ordered, been able to take all steps requested by the Council to prevent her further distraction from Duty..."

God forgive me such cold words for such horrible deeds...But even as the Inquisition's holy work is not to be questioned in the saving of souls, so the work of the Council in saving Humanity...

Even to the murder of the most innocent babe...His hand gripping the rosary hanging from his neck involuntarily...

"...Though I must agree, reluctantly, with my fellow Councilor on duty that removal of her husband at this time would be ill-advised...She has made it unquestionably clear for many years now that his death under any circumstances would lead her to, at the very least, abandon her calling completely, on suspicion of the Council's hand in the matter...

Owing to her great skill, I continue to move, along with my colleague, to keep her in place despite the severe handicap of her family attachments...Should it prove necessary to remove her...I believe it could be accomplished by myself or my agents...

Should the said situation arise, I would recommend that my colleague not be assigned said responsibility for the Slayer's removal, as I find his objectivity towards the Slayer and her husband has greatly decreased during his years on duty as second Watcher..."

You're a good man, Coventry...Fogarty shook his head...But you lack some of that hardness only the Church's best training can bestow...

"There..." he smiled over to the boy... "All ready to seal...Drink up lad and you can be off..."

Ah...He nodded as Thomas rose from his seat... "I see you've already finished..."

"Aye..." the boy began...Suddenly grabbing at his throat...Gasping...

"Holy water, my poor boy..." Fogarty rose, shaking his head at the boy as he collapsed...Shrieking and in demon face now... "I noticed you weren't wearing your rosary hidden under your collar as always...Forgive me, lad...I should not have put one so young to such a task..."

He made a sign of the Cross over the remains as the vampire disintegrated...Then sat and unfolded the as yet unsealed report...



"Addendum..." he resumed writing...



"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 fourteenth...

Mrs. Knipp's singing done, the musicians had resumed more traditional fare and Beth had planted herself firmly at Samuel's side as the party prepared to move on to the evening's dancing...She rather grimly regarding all those guests female who attempted an approach...

"Excellent piece of work, nephew...Ah, niece..." from their rear, the sonorous voice of Sam's Uncle Wight ...Ponderous but extremely wealthy fish monger...His ever-annoyed wife grimly by his portly side as Bess and Sam turned to face the couple...

"Uncle...Many thanks..." Sam nodded eagerly...Nudging Bess slightly...

"Uncle...." she gave the briefest of curtsies...

"Yes, grand party, nephew...You do the family proud, boy...." Wight nodded sagely...

"Ought to have more chairs..." Aunt Wight noted grimly...

"Can't rise for a moment to get a thing without someone takin' me chair..."

"So sorry Aunt...Shall I get you one?..." Sam was off before Bess could hiss out a Don't you dare leave me alone with...

"So...Niece..." Wight beamed, moving in...Taking her hand in his large paw...

Lord, he's in the right profession...His breath smells like the rotting fish he sells...

Aunt Wight giving both a narrow, ever grimmer look...

Never realized what a fine Slayer Sam's aunt would make, Bess thought...That glare would kill vamps at twenty paces...

"And how are you these days?...I see Samuel has finally outfitted you with a dress appropriate to your rise in station..." Wight leered at her gown... "Though I see he has not yet fulfilled his husbandly duties..." A direct leer to her waistline...

"Oh, do be quiet you ole fool..." Aunt Wight hissed... Pulling at his arm...



"Hush and be still, woman!..." harsh return hiss... "No offense intended...Niece...You know my sole concern is the preservation of the family line..." Wight smiled...

Bess giving a grim stare...And I know just how you'd like to preserve the family line..Ole lech...

A vague memory of how she'd thrown him back across a room once in response to a proposal of his along the lines of family preservation a while back causing him to stand down a bit at her glare...

"Aunt!...Here's a chair for you..." Sam set a high-backed chair next to one of the small tables, hastening over to lead Aunt Wight to her seat...She managing to maintain her grip on her husband sufficiently to yank him back...Uncle Wight staggering a bit...

My...Hero...Bess eyed a Sam giving her a brief grin...Uncle Wight fuming but consoled by the immediate arrival of a glass of fine claret...

"Mrs. Pepys..." She turned to find a younger, somewhat more appealing version of Wight standing by her...Decked out in his best uniform, looking as appropriately military in bearing as possible after several bottles' worth of Sam's finest...

"Major Hobbes..." She bowed, catching Sam's rather unnerved look...

Hmmn...

A girl must, after all, keep her boy on his toes...From time to time...

"Mrs. Pepys..." Quick grab of hand and raising to lips...Loud smack... "You are a breath of radiance in the sunshine..."

Hmmn?...

"And how are you enjoying your return to London after your spell at Tangier, Major?..." Quick sidelong glance to where Sam was desperately trying to escape Uncle Wight as politely as possible while maintaining a locked stare at his wife and Hobbes...

"Capital, mum...Capital...As is our fair...Capital..." Hobbes guffawed at his brilliant pun...

"Indeed, major..." How could this one have gotten six girls of good family pregnant and had to flee for our Tangier colony till at least three of the fathers were dead?...

"There's that Major Hobbes...With Elisabeth..." Theophilia noted to her mother from where they sat... "Sam'l's not looking too pleased..."

"That Hobbes is a worthless cad..." Mrs. Turner frowned... "I don't see why Samuel invites such a man..."

"Connections, Mama...Connections...He handles much of the Tangier colony's supply now...And the King likes him...Damned handsome fellow, too I must say..." The smiled his way...

"The!..."

"Sorry...Very handsome..."

"And a libertine...As several young ladies have learned to their regret..."

"I can see why...Oh, Mama, please...I'm too young and hardly that foolish..." The frowned at her mother's hard stare... "I just hope Elisabeth has a little good sense...Sam'l is not a man to be treated in such fashion..."

"Please...Bess Pepys has more sense than you know, little one..." Mrs. Turner shook her head, smiling... "And better men than that fool have tried..."

"Like Sandwich...?" The eyed her mother who gave a reproving stare...

But the slightest of nods...



"Mrs. Pepys?...Per'aps this gallant soldier might request of you a tour of the place...I've not had the honor in some time..." Hobbes smiled, pulling slightly...

"Perhaps later, Major...Quite a lot to attend to right now...You understand..."

"Now, fair hostess..." Hobbes pulled again... "I've awaited my share of your attention all evening...At least do me the favor of showing a poor soldier the beauty of your view of the city in the moonlight..."

"Later, Major...We'll make up a party for the roof...A stroll...En masse...On the leads will be very pleasant...Later..." Bess gave a brittle smile and swung off...Hobbes catching her move rather deftly for one slightly swaying on his feet...Grabbing at her...

"Now Elisabeth...Pretty one..." he whispered his face above her neck, wine-laced breath hot on her skin...

"Major Hobbes...I said...Later..." she hissed...Pulling back from him harshly...Hobbes blinking at her...What the deuce?...

"Elisabeth?...Major?...Anything wrong?..." Mrs. Turner had seen fit to join the couple as their brief struggle had begun to attract a little attention...Reaching them just as a reddening Samuel had excused himself from Uncle and Aunt Wight...

"Nothing, Jane..." Bess gave a quick bright smile... "The Major was asking to see the roof view later...I thought a group of us might go up after the dancing's started...What do ye think, Sam'l?..." she turned to face a grim-looking Pepys eyeing the somewhat put-out-yet-uncertain-as-to-next-best-move Hobbes...The major wincing in surprise as he moved his arm...

Damned girl nearly wrenched it out of the socket...

A slight plea on Bess' face...Not now, Sam...

He calmed and nodded slightly... "Yes...Fine idea...Later..."

Bess and Mrs. Turner moved off...Hobbes staring after them...

"Come and have a drink, Hobbes..." Sam coldly smiled at him...

Damn strong girl that Elisabeth...The major shook his head...Hmmn?...A drink?...

"Capital, Pepys..." Sam taking him by the undamaged arm...A slightly indirect route to the table where bottles of his best sat...Dodging past the Wights who watched with interest...Sir Will Batten from his seat nudging Penn...

"Yes..." switch to low whispered tone... "Hobbes, here's my proposal to you...I'll low that you're drunk this time, but if you try that again I will toss you and your uniform out on the street..."

"Pepys?...Dear fellow?..."

"You...Heard...Me..." low growl... "Behave yourself in my home, sir, or so help me..."

I'll leave you to my wife...He did not say...Hobbes looking his slight form up and down...

Little jumped-up clerk...

Still...Social occasion...Proprieties and all...

And practicalities, in particular the Tangier colony victualing account...Firmly in the hands and under the oversight of said little jumped-up clerk...The promoting of the interests of several interested merchant suppliers being the good major's primary income source...

"My apologies...I fear my enthusiasm for the view was such as to be...Misinterpreted..." Hobbes gave a slight, stiff bow...

"Of course..." Sam nodded coldly... "Hope you'll find it deserving of such enthusiasm later...Care to try some of this?...Just in from France..." he raised a bottle...



"Don't mind if I do..." As I'll sample other things of yours, clerk...Hobbes smiled coolly...

Pon my soul a strong lass...he furgitively rubbed his arm as Pepys poured wine into two fine crystal goblets...

"Your continued health, Major..." he raised glass...Contentedly eyeing the rubbed arm...

"And so the army retires under naval pressure..." Batten winked at Penn...A slight grin to Pepys as he stood with Hobbes...Well done, lad...

On some matters His Majesty's Naval Office must present a united front...

***

"The fortress at Shearness is vulnerable to a close-pressed attack, the walls being in considerable disrepair though the large guns are sound...At this time all the larger vessels are laid up at Chatham and should remain so for at least another three months, owing to the fiscal crisis of the Navy..." Secure in his lodgings from prying eyes, Jonathan paused to review his summary of the miserable situation of the British fleet...Shivering a bit as an unseasonably chill wind blew through his open window...He rose hastily, closing the wooden shutters, then sat again...Cold enough to freeze the Thames, whatever the calendar said about it being late May...

Though perhaps not a miserable situation for all...he beamed at his letter...Oops...He brushed at a drop of candlewax that had struck the parchment...Ah, no harm done...

The chain and any underwater obstacles were the critical issue now...The Chatham naval base, where the main fleet, including the flagship Royal Charles, was currently forced to remain, half-or-less crewed for want of funds...Funds, most said, both here and abroad, currently committed by the King to a pair of sparkling eyes...Was protected for certain by a large, stout iron chain across the harbor entrance which was intended to block any attacking vessels should they penetrate past the Shearness fortress guarding access...However, the real concern was what might have been done in secret to further protect the entrance... Sinking of older ships in certain marked positions, a second underwater chain...Patrol ships anchored at key points...

All could spell doom to a bold Dutch attack which had to succeed quickly or face the danger not only of repulse but of its own force being bottled up by the British sinking ships and concentrating guns at the entrance to the river which any invader would have to sail up to get at the fortress and the fleet at anchor...

But what a prize if it could be pulled off...He bit his forefinger to calm his excitement...The pride of His Majesty's Navy, helpless as newborn kittens as they sat at anchor...

A blow sure to bring the war to a victorious end...And make the Republic supreme once more at sea...Around the very globe...

Not to mention pleasing Dad the Admiral no end...

Well, a few more days act as the shy, awkward, but diligent and earnest young English clerk...And the monthly reports, including the latest on Chatham, would be on hand, just a matter of a few snatched moments' review early or late...If one of those titled fools running the Naval Board at the office didn't manage to drop some word that would clarify the matter beforehand...

Pity about Mr. and Mrs. Pepys though...It would be rather uncomfortable to think of them learning how their kind trust had been repaid...But, service to the Republic demands unpleasant sacrifice at times...And it was Father's courageous life on the line...

Besides, maybe he could manage a quiet, friendly departure...Illness of the ole aunt in Wales or something like that...He pondered, waving the report a bit absently...Yes, the feeble ole aunt wasting away might do nicely.,,

Hmmn...? Something burning?..."Oh, by the Mass!..." he swatted the burning edge of his report on the desk...Setting several more papers on fire as well...He tossed a glass of water on the papers...

Phew...Report still in relatively decent shape...He folded it carefully and placed it inside an oilskin pouch...Then returned it to its...Hopefully...Secure place...

Say...Not bad maintaining of the character...he thought happily...Even old Demers would've been pleased to see how I kept form...

Of course he'd've made more of my setting the report aflame than necessary...He paused suddenly...



Am I supposed to be somewhere?...

"Mein Gott!...Mr. Pepys' party!..."

He had to be there lest suspicious arise...No self-respecting sallow-faced little Englander clerk would pass on a free meal with wine, song, and dance...And a chance to butter up the employer...

Looking out the window at the black night sky, he grabbed for his cane and jacket...

Not too late yet...He could plead a sad letter from ole aunty had occupied him... Which would have the additional benefit of stimulating the lovely Mrs. Pepys' generously tender solicitude...He made for the door and hurried out...

No doubt that bastard fish-eyed Hewer would be commenting on his late arrival...Well, a minor cross to bear for such a grand coming reward...

Rule Hollandia...Hollandia rules the waves...he hummed...

Definitely superior to the Englander version...

***

"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 "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year...", "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 fifteenth...

"Right, then..." Jonathan stopped by the front entrance to the Pepys' home in the Seething Lane Naval Offices complex, pausing for a quick last brush and moment to get firmly into character as the attentively eager young English clerk intent solely on making a good impression on his superiors whilst enjoying the pleasures of what most of the Naval Office's staff were in firm agreement was one of the pleasantest places in London...For good food, wine, music...And within the limits of polite society, lovely and delightful female company...

The spy game does have its occasional perks, he happily noted to himself, banging the knocker...Tom opening the door quickly, with a flourish...

An unmistakable slight frown on seeing the object of his attentions...He liking young Levinson, one of the newer clerks on the team, little better than Mr. Pepys' chief clerk Will Hewer did...And for similar reasons to do with Jonathan's eager attentions to Elisabeth...

Plus...Always something about that fellow...Darting eyes, watching people...Always like he's looking for a chance to make off with something, he'd told Jane a few nights earlier...

If I were Mr. Pepys I'd check his pockets on leaving tonight...

"Afraid I'm running late, Thomas..." Jonathan offered his doffed hat..."Everything in full swing...?"

"They've not begun the dancin' yet, Mr. Levinson..." Tom shook his head...

"Ah..."

"Though you did miss Mr. Pepys' song..." a slight, satisfied look...That oughta put a fear of the Lord in him, he knowin' how proud Mr. Pepys be of his work...

"Oh...I'll have to make my apologies...Excuse me, Thomas..." he hurried on...Tom watching after him...With frown...

"Tom?..." Jane had come from the kitchen bearing a platter which he took from her... "That the Levinson boy?..."

"Aye...Odd little fellow...Where's he from, anyway?...I never can place his voice...Not London..."



"He's a relative in Wales, Mrs. Pepys says..."

"He'll be hangin' on her arm all night, little puppy... 'You're looking so lovely tonight, Mrs. Pepys'...'Oh, how droll, Mrs. Pepys'..." he simpered...

"They all do, Tom...He's a nice little fellow..." she eyed him..."Not his fault if Mr. Pepys don't think it time to put you to clerkin' regular..."

"I'm as good at the work as most of them...Better than some..." Tom frowned... "But I've no money to pay my way..."

"Tom...Mr. P will take you on when he can and you're ready...He's promised and you have a good future if you watch yourself..." she kissed him hastily on the cheek... "Now, that's to be good, not for your fancy..." she grinned as he made a grab at her waist which she dodged... "Do us proud Tom, for my sake..." she took his hand...

"Aye, Jane..." he sighed...But smiled...

***

The "Mary"...Elegant royal yacht of and gift to, from the Dutch East India Company, in bygone days of happier relations between the Stuarts and their Dutch hosts, His Most Exalted...

("Exhausted"...Charles joked as his small party boarded to the guardsman-on-duty's reeling off of the royal title) Majesty, King of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and ("I suspect our dear cousin Louis would object..." to titters...) France...Currently serving to host said Majesty's group of picked guests...Including among others the lovely favorite and Queen's lady-in-waiting, Barbara Palmer, Lady Castlemaine...Lady-in-waiting, Miss Frances Stewart...And the King's young friend of notoriously ill repute, Sir Charles Barkeley...Rival to Buckingham for the King's friendship and favor, though likewise quite interested in promoting the cause of the royal bastard, the young Duke of Monmouth...The young Duke himself,.a favorite of his royal father, despite his illegitimacy, also on board...

Coventry watching the boat depart from on shore, frowning...

Little doubt now that Lady Castlemaine was an even greater danger to the realm than Charles' brother James supposed...Still, she was unlikely to act against Charles and even seemed to have no desire to place him under thrall...Was she that confident of the hold on him her mortal self had established?...Or did whatever unholy process that allowed her and Buckingham to move freely in daylight also place a check on her...And more to the point, his...Powers?...

Almost unfortunate her hold wasn't based on vampiral thrall...That sort of thrall the Council had means to deal with...

But if it were true...If the Evil Ones were so close to the throne and free to operate in the light of day to at least some extent...Why not act to secure the throne?...Why the hesitation on Buckingham's part?...

Unless, as his fellow Watcher Fogarty had suggested, he felt killing Charles would only free the Council's hand...Yes, the Council and its Slayer could deal with a vampiral monarch, but not with a mortal one...One who loyally, if blindly, defended his friends...And lovers...

A vague mingling of sounds across the water from the yacht...Laughter, a snatch of song...He looked to see the King, with Castlemaine beside him, waving with a smile his way...Coventry gave a brief wave back, smiling...

Poor man, a good and able man with all his faults and weaknesses...Mostly stemming, he, Coventry, supposed from his desperate desire to find persons and things a man could trust and believe in...Despite his hard-learned, through years of civil war and betrayal, cynical mistrust of all...

And of all persons for him to put some tiny measure of faith in...He stared at Castlemaine, now whispering something into the King's ear, Charles smiling back at her...

Lover, mother of a number of his illegitimate but beloved children...In her mortal days, it being likely motherhood would never trouble her again now ...Had she ever loved him, even hman?...Certainly she could not now...And yet, Charles had given no sign of sensing any change in her since her brief "illness" a year ago...Perhaps, having never really been capable of love as a mortal King's mistress, Barbara Villiers Palmer, Lady Castlemaine, vampiress extraordinaire, found it relatively easy to continue to act the part...

God grant that we can destroy her and her foul Master in time without hurting poor Charles too much...



***

Pepys' parlor...

Where the evening's antics had moved on to the practice of the dance...Tables and chairs pushed aside, causing no little grumbling from Mr. Knipp, forced with others to move his card game to the side...

Bess planted by Sam's side...You got one partner, boy and that's me, her firm look stating...

A somewhat forlorn Mrs. Knipp eyeing them from where she stood with an eager-to-display-his-craft, Pembleton...Mr. Knipp having sourly refused her entreaties to join the dancers... "What and look like one of my own horses' ends up there?"...To the point that an even pitying Bess had discreetly urged Pembleton to rescue the poor lady from embarrassment...And from Uncle Wight who'd been clearly about to try to transfer his affections to a new field...

Jonathan paired kindly, rather basking in Bess' pleased look at his request, with The who regarded the shy and awkward little clerk from cousin Samuel's staff with what she felt was a properly tolerant yet sophisticatedly bored look...

Sir Will Penn watching from table at the side...A slight twinge of gout keeping him off the floor...With his daughter Meg...Whom, he teased lightly, seemed rather anxious to replace the lovely Mrs. Knipp...

"But at least you've not given over to your brother's views and given up dancing entirely..."

"Will's not given up dancing, Father..." Meg, a comely young woman of twenty, smiled back... "He just restricts it to certain forms...Which he remains quite good at..."

"Ah..." the Admiral waved a hand... "I despair of the boy...He gets it from your mother, I know...Though I'd hoped he'd outgrow such things and settle down...Is he at least showing any sign of fancying one of his little Quaker ladies?..."

"Father..."

"Well, is he?...I can have at least some hope in that direction I trust?..."

"Will's close about such things but I have my suspicions..." she grinned... "He's a Quaker, Father...Not a monk..."

"Thank God..." Penn sighed...

"Father...You know you admire Will's stand for principle...And Mother's told me you do read his pamphlets..."

"I ought to...God knows, girl, I paid enough for his education...And most of what he writes is twaddle...As for his "principles"...I shed my blood for principles and where did it leave poor ole England after Oliver passed on...?"

"Father?..." Meg glanced nervously about...

"What...Should I be ashamed to say I fought for Oliver and his realm?...God knows we could use his stern hand at the wheel again nowadays..." Penn fumed...Though he had lowered his voice, looking round the room...No one close...

"Pepys?..." Sir William Batten had quietly crossed the room to where Sam and Bess where readying for their attempt to lead the first dance... "I think you might want to ask Meg to keep Admiral Sir Will from any more port...He's begun talking about Cromwell and the old

days...Nothing serious as yet, but..." a careful stare...

"Aye, Sir Will...Thankye..." Sam nodded...Turning and waving to catch Hewer's eye...Bess looking over to where Meg was doing her best to keep her father off the politically incorrect subject of the defunct Commonwealth and its leader, concerned...

Heck, I mean we all admired and loved Oliver but he's dead and buried now, his Commonwealth dead with him, and we've made our peace with the Stuarts for the nation's sake...At no little cost of conscience for some of us...Bess sighed inwardly as Sam whispered a few quick words to Hewer, who looked over at the Admiral, now pulled to a quiet seat by Meg, and nodded...



"Don't worry, love...Penn's not the man to make trouble for himself..." a whisper... "Shall we begin, ladies and gentlemen?!..." Sam turned to the other dancers, Bess' hand firm in his...

"Gents?..." he looked to the musicians...

"Mrs. Pepys...Here be the arrangement I propose...If you'll be so good, my Slayer, as not to toss me across the room on the first turn, I will do all I can to keep our libidinous major from your side so that you need not remove his arm from its socket..." he whispered as the music began...

"Done, love..."

***

"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 uniquestratagem...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 sixthteenth...

The dancing in the Pepys' elegantly appointed parlor was now in full swing...Sam contentedly leading Bess through a turn...

Only a few sideliners watching, including a rather put out Mr. Knipp whose fellow card players, fools to his thinking, had chosen to join in...And a steadily fuming Major Hobbes who'd taken to lubricating his annoyance with wine while watching his host and hostess...

Grand little nabob...No one, nobody but for a well-placed cousin...To serve a gallant member of His Majesty's Forces the business as he had...Ought to be fired from the cannon's mouth at daybreak...Or at least given a good run through with the bayonet....

And Dr. Hooke, watching the dancers from the corner he'd selected, quietly relishing his glass of claret…

A handsome lot on the whole, he thought_Rather a pity so many of them would quite probably be dead before the month's out…

***

"And now that we at last are ready to unleash death and destruction on England and have a weapon to use to neutralize the Slayer, courtesy our brilliant Doctor..." Buckingham beamed to his Inner Circle of followers...Undead only, sorry...But at least including some relations... "It's time we learned enough about the dear lady so that we can deal with her...We must lure her out of hiding..."

"You said the Doctor could only promise the substance would allow you to influence the Slayer, not control her absolutely..." his niece, daintily sipping from the glass cup placed before her a substance a bit too thick to be wine...

"It will be enough...Provided you and the others fulfill your duties to me and obtain the information I need to manipulate her..."

"But Uncle...Er, sire..." she hastily corrected at his stare...

"Pamela...Uncle, by all means...You know I believe in family..." he smiled...

"Uncle...How do we find her?...Except for Gnaticus' followers and Bertram, there..." Bertram the ex-monk, smiling politely at the recognition... "...who didn't get a very good look...Or didn't survive it...None of us knows what she even looks like..."

Indeed…One male, a former footman, now pleased to find himself newly elevated to the privilege of the Inner Circle…All right, serving the Inner Circle, he sighed, pausing in offering more `wine' to the Duke who waved him off…A welcome promotion nonetheless…Thought…The rumors of the appearance of the hideous, terrifying, and above all, fast-moving Slayer creature, being both infinite and running to the edge of belief…

`Course personally he disparaged the notions of her being eleven feet tall with fingernails ten inches long…Lady like that would be hard put to conceal herself…

Though there was that giantess of seven feet or thereabouts on view at Bartholomew Fair…

"We will bring her out, dear..." Buckingham insisted confidently… "Our first release of plague will deliberately leave her just enough clues to lure her to seek us even more intensely than usual as the cause..."

Say what?...Several minions eyed each other...Seek...?

"...And once we learn of a young woman prowling about with deep interest in investigating the plague's cause...A few hours careful surveillance should unlock her secrets at last..."

"But if the elixir slows her down, why not just kill or take her?..."

Other minions keeping a guarded, noncommital reserve...The Boss often not tolerating even implied criticism well...

"My dear niece..." Buckingham sighed... "I have not taken my time with this Slayer for casual reasons...There is more to Unlife and Evil than simply winning a single battle...I seek to establish Hell on Earth forever, not merely kill another Slayer in the line...To do that, in the end I must destroy the Council of Watchers and root out the Slayers entire...Even a vampirally-turned Slayer, though useful, is quite not enough for my plans...But a broken, human Slayer...One whose soul has been corrupted and placed at my service...Who can penetrate and destroy her Council or at least assist us in doing so...That, my dear, is a goal worthy even of me..."

And failing that we can always fall back on the turn or kill options...he noted happily...

***

"What?" Sam blinked at a suddenly alert Bess...

Tell me the Undead haven't found us out and a way to bypass the house protection...Nothing puts a greater damper on a party than bloody slaughter...

"Creed..." she hissed...Glancing carefully toward the parlor door...Where a rather hawk-eyed, tall, dark-haired gentleman in plain yet elegant clothes was with shrewd, brooding look appraising those about the room...

Lovely...Thought...Hoped...We'd be denied that pleasure...

Not that my former rival when in Lord Sandwich's service wasn't an interesting man to hold discourse with...But the constant need to watch oneself with him, the knowledge that he would catch and latch onto any mis-spoken, careless word...And make the best use of it he could, no matter how long off in the future that use might suit...

Rather wearying at times...

He'd even come close to sniffing out Bess when we used to have to do accounts for my lord at night...Before my lord at last sensed that I had moved off from him a bit and might not be so inclined to paper his errors and blots as I once was...

Damn...He'd assured me he'd be out of town, though appreciated the invite...

But with him one can rest assured his right hand has not the slightest word from the left...Even and perhaps especially when folded in prayer...Cultivating the solemn image of a devout angel in repose...



A sudden crash from the opposite end of the room...A sheepish Jonathan apologizing to a rather put-out Jane eyeing the former contents of her laden tray, now strewn about the floor in front of her...

"Very sorry, Jane..."

"Pepys...Good hostess..." Creed had found them out... "I'm so glad I was able to come to you tonight after all...A last-minute change of plans by my business associates left me free...I hope you don't mind my accepting the invitation after my previous decline..."

"Not at all, John..." Sam smiled, offering a hand...

"We're so glad to have you..." Bess, likewise smiling...

Creed, an open smile, scanning their faces and then again a quick glance about the room...

Doubtless necessary as I'm sure several here he tormented back in Cromwell's day wouldn't mind seeing him six feet under...Sam thought...Still one must concede, a most fascinating man...

"Was it a matter of my Lord's?..." he asked politely... Creed quickly eyeing him...Evaluating...

Well, I suppose one formerly so throughly a Puritan as to be entrusted with watching others on matters of faith and morals must tread carefully in these times...Sam returned a friendly, non-committal smile...

"Not precisely...Though my Lord remains my chiefest employer, I must do all I can to make my way...Not yet enjoying your success, dear Pepys..."

Oh, Lord... Bess repressed a frown and eye roll...Bloody imitation of Christ...What's he and his pointy hair up to with my Sam now...

Like I believe you don't have four or five times my stash of gold and silver tucked away somewhere...Sam thought...

"And you, dear one..." Creed turned to Bess... "Have you actually managed to distract our Pepys from his labors for an evening?..."

"I thought so, Mr. Creed..." she smiled, a bit faintly... "But I suspect matters will eventually intrude..." she gave him a slightly narrow look...

Whatever you're up to...Drag my boy into something dangerous and die, buddy...

"Pepys, might I beg to take you away from our gracious lady for just a moment?...I did have a word or two to chew with you...Mere petty business, fair lady, it shall not detain him long from your side...But as it does concern our joint duty regarding my Lord Sandwich, I fear we must leave you for a moment..." beaming smile to Bess who managed to restrain from an eye roll...Though she caught Sam's eye with grim look...

It's not my fault...His hapless return stare as Creed pulled him off...

***

"So Buckingham or one of his men has penetrated our people..." Coventry eyed his fellow Watcher as they stood in the shadows of several of the empty stalls of the Whitehall complex's small merchants and vendors...Only an occasional passerby and the hourly watch, so far all human, to be seen at instances...

"There's no doubt...No minor vampire lord would have taken such a risk...Or would have had the patience..." Fogarty showed the crucifix in his palm which he'd insisted on taking in hand to dispel any concerns...Coventry carefully placing his own cross back in pocket...

"They must be close to the time of their attempt, seeking to learn what we know..."

"That is my conclusion as well, Sir William...And so we must redouble our vigilance...And urge our gallant lady to new efforts..."

Yes...Coventry nodded, folded hands to chin...Then...

"Fogarty...Do you think it possible they know who our Slayer is?..."



"Difficult to say, Sir Will...Elisabeth has done everything she could to conceal herself...But..."

"Then perhaps we should consider striking first?..."

"An assault on Buckingham directly?..." the priest pondered... "We've ruled that out in the past...If we failed and he retained his human pose as loyal friend of the King, the Crown's wrath might fall on us all...Our whole organization in England could be lost as well as our Slayer...The Council would have no source of information for the next poor girl..."

"We needn't necessarily risk Elisabeth..." Coventry said quietly...

***