"Heliophobia..." Part XIV...



PG-13...



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

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

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

With apologies to Alfred...

***

Though he went along with her request to let her return home alone after calling Dawn to say she'd simply forgotten to tell him what time to meet her tomorrow for more sightseeing, William had followed Buffy from a distance back to her hotel...

Not about to let her wander alone after that last little episode...And as he expected, she'd turned at the door, looking for him, a faint smile on her lips...Rather quickly spotting him in the dark corner where he stood...

So much for my surveillance skills he thought ruefully as she stared his way, nodding slightly, then turned and headed in...

But at least she made it back in one piece...

The rest...Tomorrow will decide...

'Not sure if she wants to win this one...'

Nicest thing Buffy Summers ever said to me...he noted, heading back slowly to his place...

Even 'I love you' doesn't say it so well...

***

"Tomorrow...We're going out again...Early..." Buffy told a quiet Dawn...Hanging her coat on a hook and entering the apartment living room where she took a seat on the sofa, Dawn taking a chair...

"He might've come in...I'd like to see him..."

"He'll stop by later tomorrow..."

"Big of you guys...You want anything?...There's a little left from lunch in the fridge..."

"No..." Buffy rubbed her forehead with her right hand, the left clenching a little...Dawn watching her...

"And did you lay her ghost to rest yet?..."

Buffy said nothing a moment, then looked at her...



"What did Drusilla say?...Why is she here?..."

"Is that why you went running out after him?...Because I said she'd been here?..." Dawn sighed at the tense look on her sister's face...Buffy silent...

"Like I told you, she's worried about William...As for what you really want to know, I told her everything I knew, just like I said when you came in before..."

"What you know...?"

"I know enough...I know you're a fool, throwing everything you could win here away..."

"Am I?..."

"Will only wants to help you...He loves you..."

"He loves one of us..." she nodded quietly...

"You have the present, sis...She the past...Accept it and give this up..."

"He's taking me to Cicely's house tomorrow...I found it a few days ago..."

Dawn was quiet now..."So Drusilla told me...And she told me it's still Cicely's home ..."

"Yeah..."

"You led him to Cicely's grave...?"

"I didn't bring him, Dawn...He followed me there...I wouldn't have let him..." she sighed...

"...Meet his wife and daughter like that...?" Dawn cut her off... "You knew he'd go in..."

"She leads us where she leads us..."

Dawn frowned at her...

"No, that's not entirely true...We wanted him to know...But we didn't want him to go there and see it like that...When I saw him I slipped out and thought he'd follow...When I called later to find out if anything'd happened to him the partner who'd shown me round before told me he'd taken him to the crypt..."

"It must've been...Poor guy..."

"I guess...He hasn't said anything about what he saw...But we are going..."

Macabre place for a picnic...Dawn thought...

"And what have you told him?..."

"Enough..."

"Enough to keep him following you round?...Trying to keep you safe?...Does he hafta die again to win your little game...?"

"It's no game...And I'm the one who has to die..." Buffy said softly... "Not him...Me..."

"Buffy...This is not..."

"...'what he wants'?...I'm sure he'd say that...Heck, he did, more or less..."

"Sis...I won't let this go on...I shouldn't have let it go this far..."



"I can give it all back to him, Dawn..."

"You can't...But you can give him a future...Both of you...If you try..."

"A future and the past he lost...We can give him both, Dawn...There is a way..."

"You're deceiving him and yourself..." a pause... "Mother...He deserves the chance to choose...And to have the chance to help you...Before this destroys you..."

Buffy had paled a bit at the 'Mother'...But was calm in her response...

"It's too late now...What's done is done...And our choice..."

"I'll tell him to stop you...I've called Willow, she'll come when she hears... I've called Giles as well..."

"But you haven't told them everything..." Buffy eyed her shrewdly... "Because you want him with us..."

"No, not everything...And I do but not this way...It's a lie..."

"There's no lie here..." Buffy shook her head... "Within me is all that's left of the one he's loved and lost...I'm just giving him back the part of us he truly loves...Dawn...He needs us...And he needs his daughter too..." she stared at her...

"A dead dream, Buffy...I won't be a part of it...I'll tell him, have Willow end this..."

"If you really believed that, you'd go on...'Humoring' me...As for Willow...This isn't magics, Dawn...This is real...Willow's spells won't change that reality, not permanently anyway...And I've taken precautions against her..."

"So that's why she couldn't be sure what was up..."

"It's none of her...Or their, business...This is between William..."

"...And Cicely?...You'll leave her and her memories forever between you?..."

"It's for him...And she is a part of me..."

"A dead Slayer's memories don't add up to a person, Buffy...Fragments of a life, they don't make a living woman...You can't give him Cicely back by throwing yourself away..."

"Who's to say how much of me is Cicely?..." Buffy shook her head... "I don't know myself...I only know I want to give him what he deserves...And I want him to love me...Again...And he will...When I give up everything and am reborn, as he was..."

"He's here...What more do you need?...He loves you..."

"He loves us...Her part of us...I've known that, somehow, since the night he came back as William...Maybe even since the night Spike told me a little about her...And for sure, since the day I found her...Waiting for me..."

"If I tell him...He'll reject you...It'll all be for nothing..."

"He won't...Tell him what you like...What you think you know...He'll accept what can't be changed..."

"What can't be changed?...Buffy, what have you done?..."

"He got his soul back for love of me...I'm getting her back for him...There's nothing you can do, Dawn...I've made my decision...And it's too late to stop things now..."

"No...Listen to me, Buffy..."



"I'm sorry...Amelia...You know I'd never intentionally hurt you, baby..." Buffy suddenly grabbed Dawn's arm with one viselike hand and with the other plunged a needle into the arm...Dawn let out a scream, twisting helplessly...And went limp...

"Too late..." Buffy repeated, a bit wanly, vaguely staring at Dawn's unconscious face, stroking her hair... "Too late..."

***



"Heliophobia..." Part XV...

PG-13...

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

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

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

With apologies to Alfred...

***

6:00 am...

Buffy sat in the kitchen of her and Dawn's London apartment...Freshly showered and dressed, but looked as wan as if she hadn't slept...A small CD player gently crooning as she nervously looked at the closed bedroom door behind which Dawn lay on her bed, sleeping heavily...Her sleep newly reinforced by another injection of the drug Buffy'd given her the night before...

Play

"Was in the merry month of May

When flowers were a bloomin',

Sweet William on his death-bed lay

For love of Barbara Allen.



Slowly, slowly she got up,

And slowly she went nigh him,

And all she said when she got there,

"Young man, I think you're dying."



"O yes, I'm sick and very low,

And death is on me dwellin',

No better shall I ever be

If I lose Barbara Allen."



He turned his pale face to the wall,

And death was on him dwellin'.

"Adieu, Adieu, my kind friends all,

Be kind to Barbara Allen."



As she was walkin' through the fields,

She heard the death bells tolling,

And every toll they seemed to say,

"Alas for Barbara Allen."



She looked east, she looked west,

She saw his corpse a-comin'.

"Lay down, lay down the corpse," she said,

"And let me gaze upon him."



She rose, pacing the room...Stopping...



"O mother, mother make my bed,

O make it long and narrow,

Sweet William died for me today,

I'll die for him tomorrow."



"He loved that song...She sang it to him..." she whispered, staring at the player... "I see it...I see it...He was so happy...Had so much...Hope...That day..." she choked a bit...William...William...We loved you so...We love you so...

"They buried Willie in the old church yard,

And Barbara lies there nigh him,

And out of his grave grew a red, red rose,

And out of hers, a briar.



They grew and grew in the old churchyard,

Till they couldn't grow no higher,

They lapped and tied in a true love's knot.

The rose ran around the briar."

The phone rang suddenly, startling her...

"Yes?...William?...Yeah, fine..." her voice husky... "Ok...Really...Yeah, I couldn't sleep much either..." she paused... "When are you coming?..."

"No...No, I probably should try to get a little more sleep...Will?...Thanks for calling...I'll be waiting..." she hung up...Hand over her face...

She went to the bedroom door and opened it to view Dawn sleeping...I'm sorry, so sorry, Dawnie...It's poor thanks for showing me the way...

But some of me will be there for you...

Both of us will be here for you...Mother...And Father...

"Sweet William died for me in May...I'll die for him this morning..." she breathed...Closing the door...

"She sang it for him...And she will again..." she lifted and fingered briefly a necklace tucked underneath her dress collar...

An antique necklace, with large pendant, identical to one worn by Cicely in her 1878 portrait...Worn by Cicely the night of William's death...

***

8:00 am...

William had had little better luck in sleeping...He paced the living room of his apartment...

The key...The connection...Is there...Buried with Cicely and my poor girl in that house...Whatever hold the past ...My past...Had got on poor Buffy...The way to free her was there...

Rather wish we'd gone and done it the good...or bad...Ole fashioned way...And just slipped in at two or three am...

However, not so easy for me these days as it was Spike...And with Buffy not quite up to snuff...No need to spend the day in jail or at the very least trying to come up with a plausible excuse...

No, just have to wait and hope Mr. Knowles will be willing to leave us be to settle our poor "ancestors'" affairs alone...

And perhaps broad daylight is a bit safer...Just in case there is something...Someone...Nasty...Involved...

His hotel phone rang...

"Hello, Walthrop here...Giles?...Yes?...No, nothing other than what I've told you and Henri...What's up?...Dawn called Willow and asked her to call?..."

"Well, did she say...?"

He sighed... "No, Giles...I spoke to Buffy two hours or so ago...Everything seemed fine...Didn't Dawn say anything about why she wanted Willow to call her?..."



"I see...Well, I'm going to have her with me today...I think we'll be fine...But I will ask Dawn when I see her...And call me the moment Willow gets to London...Hmmn?...Not if it's dangerous to her to charge up like that...I think we can wait to have her take a plane..."

"I will watch over her, Rupert..." a faint smile...

"It's what I do, right?..."

***

8:30 am...

Office of the Chairman, at the New Antiquarian Hall of the Royal Council of Antiquarians and Library Scientists...

Where a newly arrived Rupert Giles about to begin his morning routine was startled to hear a bit of a ruckus in the usually sedate and hallowed halls outside his door...Looking at his secretary, who stared back, he went to the door and opened it to find several panicky-looking novice Observers and a Watcher anxiously confronting a very patient, if somewhat troubled-looking, Drusilla...In light tan coat, brown slacks, sensible but stylish walking shoes, looking anything but a deranged killer...

"Mr. Chairman?!..." the Watcher turned to him... "Drusilla!..."

"Yes, yes...Lower your weapons, gentlemen and ladies...There's no danger...Ms. Waverly is quite human and means no harm..."

"I'm so sorry about this..." Dru shook her head... "I should have called ahead..."

"Sir..."

"Benton...You as a full Watcher really ought to keep up with events among our foes...Ms. Waverly's demon was returned to Hell over a year ago...Please...Ms. Waverly, I apologize...Do come into my office..." he turned to open and hold the office

"I'm so sorry to make trouble, Mr. Giles..." Dru began as he waved her in and to a chair...Calling to his secretary for tea ...

"Not at all...It's we who must apologize...I and whoever is voted in as my replacement must see everyone in the Council is properly up to date on such things...You could have been harmed..." he paused at her anxious face...

"And I'm sure you came only because there is some serious danger to William...Or Buffy?..."

"I'm not sure, sir...But yes, I think there is..."

"Dawn called Ms. Rosenberg last night, asked her to come to London...Though William told me just a few minutes ago that all was well...He's taking Buffy around again today..."

"I've been in touch with Dawn...We came to London from Milan together actually..." Dru eyed him...

"I see...And Dawn's concerned by more than just what we've told her of what's been happening?" he stared at her...

"I'm not surprised to hear Dawn's being holding back things from us..." he explained...

"I'm afraid so..." Dru nodded... "But Buffy made her promise...Or perhaps..."

"Cicely did..." Giles finished...

"Possibly...Really, sir...Dawn doesn't know much more than you did...Except that things may have advanced further than any of us realized..."

"Dawn..." Giles sighed...Turning to wave the now-waiting secretary in to set down the tea tray...Observing Dru as she did...

Poor, poor girl...How could we have been so callous...So thoughtless...Not to realize your torment through all these horrible years ...



And yet, such a heart...To have endured so much...

"Don't blame her, sir...She thought the situation was under control...That Buffy was..."

"And she had her own very special reasons for wanting to persuade William to come..."

"What did she tell you?...Has Buffy...Was she deliberately deceiving us?..."

"I...I don't think that's quite so...Though she may have been more aware of what was happening to her than we realized...Sir...Mr. Giles..." she spoke to his troubled face... "How much material on Miss Cicely...Mrs. Walthrop?...Does the Council still possess?..."

"Little...We have the archives still intact, thank God...Her history and exploits are recorded there..."

"Do you have...To the best of your knowledge?...Any artifacts...Any personal items that belonged to Cicely?..."

"Personal items?...No...That is, none that I know of...And I have inquired since Buffy began her strange behavior...Drusilla?...Ms. Waverly?...Did Dawn tell you that Buffy had things of Cicely's?..."

"I think, Mr. Giles..." Dru leaned forward... "With your permission...We'd better go immediately and have a look at what is in your archives...And what may have been stolen from them..."

***

"Heliophobia..." Part XVI...



PG-13...

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

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

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

With apologies to Alfred...

***



The basement vaults of the "bookshop" where Giles had led William the other day...Secret repository of the Royal Council of Antiquarians and Library Scientists' archives...

"Are you absolutely sure this is everything?..." Dru asked anxiously...Looking over the pile of materials on the table between her and Chairman Giles...

"I'm afraid so, miss..." Hans Axton, standing next to a Giles, seated across from Dru, who was carefully thumbing through several old copybooks and a fragile-looking stack of letters... "There was nothing else...Nothing passed on to us in any case..."

Dru sighed at the small pile...The Watcher Farris's logs, and letters, some to the said Farris, some intercepted and copied while enroute to Cicely's family and friends, a very few, mostly quick notes, to William...One large folder containing a manuscript carefully tied...With the notation "my husband's surviving works...For Henry, to publish..." in a shaky hand...

"This can't be all...Sir...When Ms. Summers came, was there anything else?...Any of Cicely's personal effects?..."

"No, miss...I assure you..." Axton sighed...But eyed her carefully...So this gentle creature was host of the feared and fearsome Drusilla...

Such cold and cruel jokes the Almighty plays on Humankind... "I have been through Mrs. Walthrop's files many times...Nothing is missing..."

"Dru?...Ms. Waverly?...Are you sure Dawn is right as to what she told you?..." Giles leaned back a moment... "We of the Council would have little or no interest in the poor woman's personal belongings and would not have risked detection trying to obtain them unless they held some occult significance..."

"She said Buffy had gotten hold of some of Cicely's jewelry...She'd seen it before she left for Milan..."

"Could she have purchased from the family?..." Axton suggested...

"How could she have found them if she did...?"

"She did find Mrs. Walthrop's home..." Giles noted... "Will did say one of the law firm's partners who bought the place was a distant relative...Perhaps she got them from him or found other surviving members in her travels about London..."

"Perhaps...But Mr. Giles, this isn't nostalgia...She had a very definite purpose in acquiring Mrs. Walthrop's personal items..."

"Are you suggesting...?"

"I'm sure you know that personal items can be an aid...Strengthen the bridge between the host and the spirit contact..."



"You're saying Buffy wanted to contact Cicely?...That she's deliberately reached out to her?..."

"She wants to prove she loves him...Letting Will have Cicely back may be the way she's chosen...Dawn certainly thinks so...Sir?..." she turned to Axton, touching the pages of the Farris logs... "Are these the final entries?...After I...It..."

"After Mr. Walthrop's death by a creature sent from Hell to torment you, my dear..." Axton nodded... "Yes..." She gave him a grateful little smile and started combing through the pages...

Dawn...Giles frowned... "Why didn't the child tell us what Buffy was doing?..."

"She didn't know how far it had gone until I met her in Milan..." Dru looked up... "And...She has a large stake in this, Mr. Giles...The chance to get William back to Europe was a chance for her too...And she trusted in her sister's ability...Nothing's ever defeated her...She didn't fully realize this time was different until I spoke to her..."

Because this time she's not fighting back...she explained...

"I can't accept this..." Giles shook his head... "My Slayer would never..."

"You don't understand what a woman in love is capable of, sir..." Dru smiled wanly... "Though with Spike you've seen what even a demon can do under the influence..." Axton staring, nodding thoughtfully...Giles rising...

"To deliberately seek out the spirit of Cicely Walthrop, call her into her body?...Give up her life to her...For love of William?...Her own spirit trapped within or even ejected to some interspatial plane, some Limbo, for the rest of her life?..." the Chairman's voice shook a bit...

"Dawn thought it would merely be a contact...Buffy would let Cicely in and use her to bring William back to her...A brief sharing and a gift to him...But let me see if there is anything here as to what happened to Cicely's effects..." she resumed reading...

"Hans?...Would these be Mrs. Walthrop's final letters?..." Giles called...Axton moving to him...

"A terrible man, this Watcher..." Dru noted suddenly...The two men looking at her... "Even as carefully as he tries to hide his nature, a cruel and dark soul is here..." she tapped the pages...

"And yet, a rather sad and pathetic one...He did love Cicely...In his dark way..."

One becomes perceptive to such things spending decades trying to vaguely reach out from Limbo and within...she gave a wan smile to both men...

"We have been cruel...And blind...Dru..." Giles said quietly... "But I promise you we will do what we can for those like you and William from now on..." he paused... "But how could Buffy...And Dawn...Have been so foolish?...Even benevolent, a spirit naturally seeks expression in the Earthly plane..."

"Buffy probably knew exactly what was involved from the start, whatever she told Dawn at first, Mr. Giles..." Dru sighed... "And having learned the truth about Dawn and her soul...She was sure Cicely would come to her, Dawn's physical source this time on Earth...And she has..."

"Then this must end, now...Today...The link must be broken before it becomes irrevocable... Whether or not Buffy chooses to resist us, Cicely must be exorcized..."

"Mr. Giles?..." Dru was staring at an entry in Farris' logs... "I think you had better look at this..."

She pushed the log book over... Giles quickly snatching it...Reading over...He looked at Dru...

"I think now we know how Buffy got Mrs. Walthrop's jewelry..." Dru said quietly...



***

"I'm sorry Dawn wasn't feeling well..." William noted as he carefully drove Henri's special car toward the old Addams townhouse...

"She'll be fine...Just needed some rest after her flight and all..." Buffy replied... "I'm just sorry I couldn't have made you breakfast there...Would have been nice to have cooked you something..."

"I'm fine...Unless you're hungry?...And did you sleep at all?..."

"Not much..." she shook her head... "And I'm not hungry...I just would've liked to cook for you...I never did...Not even when you stayed at the house..."

"And was still rather psychotic to be welcome at the table...But thanks..." he smiled...

"Leastways we finally did have one day together..." she smiled back... "Thanks for taking me round yesterday..."

Sorry...And keep those eyes on the road...she grinned now at his hasty, worried glance... "I guess I am sounding gloomy...But this is gonna be a new beginning for us..."

"At least pretend you believe me..." she eyed him as he silently drove...

"I do...But..."

"I'll speak to Henri...If you'll promise to stay...Or let me come with you?...Will?...Whatever happens today?...You won't leave me again?...Promise?..."

"I won't...Not till you ask me to..."

"Then it's ok...Whatever happens..." she smiled warmly at him...Then looked out at the road...

"We're almost there...Does it look familiar?..." he waved a hand at the building before them in the street...

"Of course..." she nodded...

"It's home..."

***

"Heliophobia..." Part XVII...

PG-13...

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

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

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

With apologies to Alfred...

***

Summoned by Rose, the receptionist for the firm, solicitor Knowles greeted William and his "cousin Cicely" with visible relief...He and his partners having been growing anxious as what was to be done with the crypt remains, he noted as he led them to his office...Offering tea which both accepted, Will wishing to let Buffy gradually feel out the place again...

She seemed focused and alert as yet, he noted, relieved...Mr. Knowles making smiling comment as they sat that her accent was not noticeable today...

"Comes and goes..." Buffy smiled faintly...

"And did you marry into the family, Mrs. Walthrop?..." Knowles offered sugar which she accepted...

"Yes..." she nodded, ignoring William's gaze... "But I was already an Addams..."

"Indeed..." Knowles nodded in turn... "I remember you mentioning that the first day you came..."

"Did I?...No, thanks..." Buffy declined cream...

"We've discussed the matter..." Will cut in, a bit perturbed by the direction of the conversation ... "And we're thinking of having the remains reburied in the cemetery at Brusset...Most of the family, on the Walthrop side anyway, is there..."

"Yeah...It's where Cicely...And Amelia...Belong..." Buffy noted...

"That sounds like an excellent plan..." Knowles sat down...

"Naturally our firm would like to assist in the transfer in any way we can...My partners and I...Particularly with me being a distant connection...Would like to cover any expenses..."

"That's very..." Will began...

"There's not much time...We have to go down..." Buffy rose...Ummn...She looked at both men...

"Sorry...Busy schedule today...We need to get some...Measurements?..." she stared at Will...He putting cup down...Right...

"Of course..." Knowles nodded... "Let me take you down..."

"No, please...I know the way...I wouldn't want to trouble you further...William?..." Will caught a slight accent in her voice as spoke...She was trembling, so faintly as to almost escape notice...But he felt it...

"Yes, I think we can find our way, sir...If it's alright with you, we'll go down and check and then later we can let you know how soon things can be arranged..."



"Certainly, certainly..." Knowles rose...

***

She was trembling visibly now as they made their way into the room where the breeched wall of the crypt lay...Her hand in his clenching tighter the closer they came...

"Buffy?..." she stared at him as he stopped, taking hold of her...

"Buffy?...Are you alright?..." he asked quietly...

"I wouldn't have..." she said, slipping away from his arm but keeping hold of his hand... "I wouldn't have if I'd known..."

"Known what?...What do you mean, Buffy?..."

She was staring at the broken wall behind which Cicely and her daughter's...My daughter's Will thought...Lay...Closing her eyes...Her face turning blank again...

"Buffy?..."

"I loved this house so...But I'd have left it gladly for you..." she whispered... "Oh, I did the best I could, my darling...Forgive me..."

"Cicely?...Listen to me..." he told her...She dropping his hand and moving to the opening...Staring into the crypt...Touching the shattered bricks as she passed through, he following quickly...

"Wait...Cicely...Buffy, please..." he reached for her arm and pulled her back a bit...She turned to him, staring at his face...He embraced her gently...

"Buffy...She's not evil...She doesn't possess you...And you've no need to fear...Let her go...Cicely, listen...I know what you tried to do for me...There's nothing for you to feel guilt for...Let her go and be at peace, my poor girl...Please..."

"William?...You believe me...Now?..." she pulled back, looked at him...

"I believe..." he nodded... "Yes...Buffy...Just let her go...You've nothing to ask forgiveness for, Cicely...Please...I love her as I loved you..."

"You love me?..." she asked him, staring intently...No blank vagueness now, but a bewildered tone in her voice...Uncertainty...

"You love me?..." she repeated...

"I do...I do...Buffy, try...Please...Try for me..."

"I love you so..." she whispered, hugging him tightly, despair in her voice..."Oh, I shouldn't have brought you...I should have come alone..."

"No, listen to me..."

She released him and looked him in the face...

"It's too late, don't you understand?!..."

"It's not too late!...Buffy, you're the Slayer...The greatest Slayer...No spirit, not even Cicely can force itself on you...We're together...Listen to me!..."

She put up a hand, pulling away... "You love her...And it's too late..."

"I love you!..." he told her... "Please, Buffy!..." he reached for her and at his touch, she looked at him...

"William?...You believe I love you and I wanted to go on loving you?..."



"Yes..."

"Then...Leave me here...In the crypt...Alone..."

"Buffy?...Why?..."

"Please...Just a few minutes...There's something I have to do..."

She eyed his uncertain face...And grinned wanly... "Hey, a little faith, Walthrop. I am the greatest Slayer and nothing's ever beaten me, right?..."

He nodded slowly and turned...

"Tell me..." he paused...

"Just gotta tell Cicely what the deal is...That's what you wanted me here for, wasn't it?..." she smiled... "Be just a minute...Bye..." she gave him a slight push toward the opening and he went, slowly...

Halting just beyond the broken wall, listening...

An old, blasted memory flashed through his brain...Cicely beside him...In the bed they'd shared on the night their lives had changed irrevocably...Her beaming face next to his...That radiant joy emanating from her...

"Now, William...Here is the arrangement I propose..."

She's been there...Waiting...At least since Buffy became the Slayer...

Waiting for me...

And sudden dread filled his heart...

I led her here...Where Cicely was waiting...As if telling her I wanted...

Clambering back over the torn bricks he hurried to where the stone plaque was fixed in the wall, shining his flashlight about...

She was gone...Without a word or sound to him...

A moment later he spied the small open door and stairs at the other end of the room...She knew about them all the time, he realized...

Twenty-four...Henri's words echoed in his mind...Buffy is twenty-four...Cicely died when she was twenty-four...

God...What have I done?...

"Buffy!..." he screamed, racing for the stairs...

***

"Heliophobia..." Part XVIII...



PG-13...

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

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



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

With apologies to Alfred...

***

Hans Axton's bookstore/secret Watcher archive...Midmorning...

"Still no answer?..." an impatient Giles eyed Dru...Who put down the shop phone shaking her head...

"It may be a good sign..." she noted... "If Dawn is with them..."

"Perhaps..." he nodded, listening intently on his own cell phone...

"But...Oh, yes, Ayers...Giles here...Yes?...Was Dawn with them?...I see...And they went into the building?...Are they still there?...Very well..."

"They're at Cicely's..." he told Dru hastily, hand over mouthpiece... "But no Dawn..."

"You've had them followed..." Dru looked at him...

"I wasn't about to leave human William in sole charge of Buffy, whatever the cause of her behavior...Yes, Ayers...Wait until I arrive unless you have reason to think there's an emergency..." he closed the phone...

"Lets go..."

***

William had followed the stairs which had led a twisting way right up to the top floor of the building...Some kind of servant's passage, he guessed...He continuing to call for Buffy...Cicely...To stop, to no avail...Having to halt and drop down several times near the end to avoid a few small windows cut to let some light in...

"Buffy!...Please, stop!!..."

Suddenly as he neared the end and had to stop, even drop back from the exit, a panel concealed in the room ahead's long wall, covered in wallpaper...Owing to the bright sunshine pouring in from several large windows in the room that vaguely seemed familiar...He heard her...Singing...

Yes...He knew it even in that brief glimpse...That was her bedroom...The day she brought Henry and me, in tow with him, up...To show us...

The view of London from the roof...

She was singing softly...Standing on the ladder leading to the roof that she'd found and pulled down...Waiting...

"Buffy, I can't get...Come here, Buffy!...Buffy, please!!..." he gasped, falling back from where the sun's rays poured through onto the floor...

"Who stole my heart away...

Who...

No one...But you..." she looked at him...One hand on the rail, the other fingering something...He couldn't look closely in the harsh light...She moved, perhaps deliberately, blocking the light a bit...

"I love you, William..." she smiled at him...Tears streaming down her cheeks... "I love you so much..."

"Buffy...If you love me, come back!...Now!!..."



"And I can prove it...At last..." she turned and raced up the stairs...

He struggled forward in agony from the searing sun on his flesh in spite of coat, gloves, and scarf, trying to shield his eyes, just reaching the ladder as he heard screams from the street outside...Falling back, he vaguely caught sight of a shape passing by the open window of Cicely's bedroom...

***

A large, carefully shaded room in one of London's best psychiatric care facilities, the windows heavily tinted...Where Dru sat seated on a small sofa...Dawn standing by a large, comfortable chair in which a pale and quiet William sat...Dressed in casual shirt and sweater...

"William...?" Dawn whispered...Her voice faintly tinkling in his ear...

"William...Please..." she told him... "She's alive...We'll bring her to you as soon as she's able..."

"Will...?" she pulled back with a sigh...Turning to where Dru sat quietly...

"Why won't he snap out of this?...Dru...We've told him she survived the fall...?"

"Dawn, I'm sure he knows she survived the fall...But he also knows..." Dru paused...

"He believes he's failed her again..."

"No...He hasn't..." Dawn insisted... "William...She...She made her choice...It wasn't your fault..."

Silence...

"Oh, Daddy...Daddy, it was me..." she sobbed, falling to her knees at his chairside and grabbing at his limp hand... "If I'd never come back...If I'd let Glory take me...Mother would never have known I was here...Buffy wouldn't have found out the truth about me and let her back..."

"Dawn...It's not your fault either..." Dru had come over to where she now again stood by William in his chair...Staring out the tinted window at nothing...

"Buffy loved you, Daddy...She did this for you..." Dawn touched his shoulder gently... "Don't let it be in vain..."

Only the vaguest stirring at the touch...No recognition in his vacant stare...

She grabbed at him...Dru attempting to gently pull her back...

"Daddy...I'm here...And Mother is here now, I'm sure of it...Please try...Try...Don't leave us again..."

She hugged him a long moment, as Dru hesitated...Then released him and moved back...Dru leading her back to her chair...

"He will recover Dawn, you've heard the doctors...Just give him some time to sort all this out in his mind...He will..."

Dawn rubbed her eyes, looking at her... "Daddy..." she repeated, gently calling to him... "I have to go and be with Mother, but I'll be back...We'll bring Mother by in a few days when she's fully conscious and up...But she is back with us, Daddy...You haven't failed her...And it's not your fault..." She turned to pick up her coat from the chair...

"Does he know any of us are here...?" she stared at Dru...

"Even the doctors don't know..." Dru shook her head... "But what matters is, we are here..."

***

"Heliophobia..." Part XIX...

PG-13...

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

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

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

With apologies to Alfred...

***

London...William's psychiatric hospital room, about 2 am...

However quiet and uncomprehending his outward appearance, within William's restless mind was a swirling chaos of images...Only heavy sedation able to bring him the briefest fragments of sleep...

Now, the latest dose's effect fading, his body tossed as he lay in bed, as the various visions gripped him...Buffy at the Hellmouth cavern...Buffy in white coat beaming nervously at him at Henry's cottage door...A wan Buffy pleading with him not to press her about Cicely...Buffy staking a Bringer and fighting Ubies that last day...Cicely smiling on him, but Henri at her side...

Buffy raising stake to finish him...Buffy staring at him as he patched her hands on her resurrection day, telling her of his recurrent dream of saving her...Cicely staring at him that first day in the front hall of her home as he wiped tears back nervously at the sight of the most beautiful thing he'd ever...

Buffy smiling gently at him, then turning to race to where he could not pursue her, no matter how hard...To the roof of Cicely's...Her...Old home...

Failing her again...

Doc the demon leering at him as he fell...Failing her again...

Buffy hitting him as he tried to stop her from turning herself in, the pain as vivid as on the day...Telling him she loved him as the energy consumed him...Her face morphing into Cicely's as she left him...That day on the lake...That night in Henry's cottage...In London, his rooms...That first night in Sunnydale...That first fight to the somewhat-less-than-death... In London, Henri's office..."I decided, as long as I had to work at it, we'd come here...I always liked it here...." A harsh-eyed Buffy..."I wake up with you...I eat and drink with you...You loved it, dying that way..."

"William, darling..." a voice breathing lightly...A London accent...

"William...William..." he vaguely felt as though someone were lifting him up, holding him...

"We're going now...I've fooled them...The Watcher and his people think I'm still unconscious...Oh, William, please...You'll be all right...Cicely's here...I won't let them hurt you...Never again..."

He thought, for a moment, he saw a face in the dark...A face with burning, red eyes fixed on his...

"William?...Please...We have to go...Before they come...There are guards everywhere..."

Red eyes...Red...

Had she been crying?...Or was it some enemy?...

"I have you, darling...We're going now...You'll be all right..."

A somewhat startling burst of light as the door to the hall was opened...He blinked slightly, closed his eyes, trying to concentrate, hear the voice... "It's all right, we'll be safe soon..." it whispered...He could barely feel the grip of her arm about him, holding him to her...Barely sense that his feet were off the floor and he was being carried...He let himself go and simply struggled to hear the voice...

But whose voice...

Cicely?...Mother?...Buffy?...Am I dead, at last?...

"Hey!!...Stop!!!..." loud cry... "Security!!!"

He heard, muffled as if through a thick blanket or layers of heavy gauze, a sharp crack of wood, a crash of glass by his head...Though layers...Yes...A hand was holding a blanket or something soft about him...He could feel her body straining and trembling but powerful...

Footsteps on pavement, racing...The blanket, covering gone now...Not too loud, she must be wearing slippers or sneakers the thought came to him...Her heavy panting constant, though she carried him with one arm, lightly, as if he were a small, nearly empty sack...

The sounds stopped...She'd halted... "I don't know..." her voice came to him... "Oh, William...Help me..." she set him on the ground, holding him upright... "I don't know where I am...Are your rooms near?..."

"London's not the same...I don't know where to go...Please, sweetheart...Please...Before they find us...I..."

He made what faint effort he could but words did not come...As if he'd forgotten how to speak, the knack eluding him...

She picked him up again and hurried off, having spotted something, a large flow of traffic from the sound...Then came abruptly to a halt...

"Motorcars?...My God, they're all motorcars..." she whispered...

"Help!...Help, please!!..." he heard her cry...

"Is he all right, miss?..."

"My husband was struck ill, suddenly...He's fainted...I'm not sure what's wrong...Please, can you...?"

"Here..."

A vague sense of being pushed into something like a large mouth...No...No, the inside of a car...A door slamming...

"I can get you over to the hospital down the way..."

"Thank you...Please hurry..."

Wailing of sirens, loud voices...Please, I can't hear her...he thought...Cold air rushing on him...He was lifted up...

"That's quite a grip you've got...Let me help you inside..."

"No, no...Please...I have him...Thank you so much...I'm so grateful...Goodbye..."

He felt himself being pulled...Suddenly, as if a switch had been thrown he found he could open his eyes...Harsh light, a mad rush of shapes...He closed them...

"Cab?...Are these...?"

"Cab, lady?...Where you goin'?...Say, he don't look too good..."

"He's been given sedatives...Ummn...Do you know the nearest hotel?...An inexpensive one?...The doctors say he must rest..."

"Sure, lady...Is he ok?..."

"Oh, yes...Quite all right...He just needs to get to a bed...Please, they've just released him and he needs his rest..."

"Ok...But I'm no ambulance...The company don't bear no responsibility..."

"Yes, fine...Please..."

Another push into darkness...

"OH!..."

"He ok?..."

"Yes, yes...I just...I didn't realize what I looked like...Your mirror...It's not..."

"I seen worse leaving that place, lady...They give you a brush at the hotel..."

"Yes...I'm just...So thin..."

"You should get him to bed and go get a good dinner...You been sitting up worrying, huh?..."

"Yes...Something like that...Thank you, you're very kind...OH!...Please, take care!..."

"Don't worry, lady...I know these streets like the back of my hand..."

"They all move so...Fast..."

"London traffic...Nothing compared to Istanbul...Lucky it's not so busy...Here we are...Fifteen pounds and six..."

"Fifteen pounds?!..."

"Lady...You see the meter..."

***

He was out of the darkness again...Horns, people...The voice by his ear as he was held upright in her grip...

"Fifteen pounds...I thought it was strange so many people kept so much money in their bags at that place...Looks like I was right to ask for an inexpensive place..." A harsh, pleading whisper... "William, William darling, please try...For me...They'll be suspicious here if you're not...The Watchers will hear and find us..."

"Yours too, love?..." a friendly, warm voice...

"Hmmn...?"

"Harold here's potted as well...Can't handle more than two pints, poor thing...Say hello, Harold..." "Unnn..."

"Oh...No, William's just out of the hospital...Literally...A bit weary...Sedated..."

"Oh, my lamb...Well don't try to carry the poor boy in...Let me get you a wheelchair from the desk...Just you wait here, with Harold...Harold?!...Stay with the nice young lady..."

"Unnnn..."

Odd, William thought...Smells just like the brand we drank that night she came to me for help...

He blinked at the middle-aged, portly man in suit without tie, swaying on his feet...Humming some little tune now...What was it?...

"I was so happy that night..." he said, faintly...To her startled look...William?...

***

Office of the Chairman of the Royal Council of Antiquarians and Library Scientists...

A seated, weary-looking Drusilla, a pacing, near hysterical Dawn...Giles on phone behind his desk...

"How could they have just walked out?..." Dawn looked at Drusilla.... "Wasn't she unconscious?...Wasn't he catatonic?..."

"She must have awoken from the coma...Or perhaps she had been deceiving us...Maybe for some time..." Dru sighed...

Giles put up a hand...Ladies...

"Yes, well does any one have a clue?..." he growled into the phone... "I was told your hospital was the best of its kind in England...How could such a place allow two patients in their respective conditions to simply walk out of the building?..."

"You think Buffy..." Dawn frowned at Dru...

"Whoever she is now...She may have been confused, delusional..."

"Not delusional enough to leave him behind...It's Cicely..."

"Ladies..." Giles hissed... "Doctor, listen to me...I'm sending several of my staff to check their rooms...If you wish to avoid a major lawsuit I suggest you give them your fullest cooperation...And I want you to refer the police to me on this matter in future...I will hold you personally responsible if either of them are harmed..."

"He'll be all right with her..."

"Dawn, she's not rational...And with her strength..."

"You are telling me my mot..." Dawn blinked as Giles, putting down his phone, stared at her, then Dru... "Uh...My sister would never hurt Will...She's just confused...If I could get to her..."

"Dawn, that's far too dangerous..." Giles shook his head... "Even if we accept that Cicely has taken Buffy, which we still can't be sure of...We've no way of knowing how she..."

"She'd never hurt me or William...Never..."

"Cicely may not know anything of us, Dawn...And if she is not Cicely, if Buffy is merely..."

Giles looked at Dru's pleading face...

Drusilla...This is Drusilla...

My god, what have we done?...What have we become?...

We guardians of Humanity who forgot, betrayed the lost souls trapped...Dutifully molding our Slayers into perfect killing machines...Creating a permanent stalemate between the Light and Dark...

And the one Slayer who tried to break the mold, who might have led us out of our self-imposed trap...We destroyed...So we could keep playing the game with our foes...

"My mother is not insane!..."

"Not insane, Dawn...But...If there's even the possibility she might, however unintentionally...Mr. Giles?..."

"Dawn, we must be cautious...And Dru is right...Cicely may not know of you or your origin from Buffy...Let my people..."

"No...She'll know me...She'll listen to me...I'm her daughter and she knows me...She knew me..."

"She knew you?..." he stared... "Back at the hospital?..."

"It's your people who'll be in danger, Giles...You send Watcher staff after them and she'll kill them...She hates you all for what you did to him...And her...And she'd never let your people near Fath..."

William...she corrected...

"Dawn..." he gave her a hard, appraising look...Which, rather to his surprise, she firmly returned...He cutting away as the desk phone rang... "Yes?...Yes, send them out...But don't have them confront Ms. Summers...I just want to locate them for now...And what word on Ms. Rosenberg and our occult staff?..."

Dawn looked at Dru... "Very well..." Giles told the phone... "The moment she contacts the office...Or they arrive..." he put the phone down...

"Dawn?...What haven't you told me?...Your sister's sanity and life, not to mention Will's may hang in the balance..."

"You believe..." she eyed him narrowly... "That's why you've called in Willow and the occults...You're going to drive her out..."

"We have to confirm a spirit is present and yes, if it is Cicely possessing her...If Cicely drove her to leap from that building to induce that coma...To take her body...Yes, I will have her driven out..."

"You told us Willow and your people couldn't detect..."

"And she and they could not...But Cicely was the greatest of the Slayers and no fool...And I didn't know you had been in communication with her..."

"Not definite communication, Mr. Giles..." Dru cut in... "She was never sure..."

"And you said nothing..." Giles continued, hard stare on Dawn...

"You never told us about Cicely...Or my father..." Dawn said coldly... "Why should I have told you everything?...If you had nothing to hide, why didn't you tell us when William came?...When he got his soul, at least?..."

All you ever did for my father was try to kill him...she glared...

"My mother asked me not to interfere, Buffy asked me to let them try and bring Father back to us...After all you kept from us, why should I have trusted you blindly?..."

"Dawn, you have no sure way of knowing who you were dealing with..."

"I know...I knew...William is my father...I am the child they lost in 1880...The monks needed me to make Mother protect the key, so they summoned me, the soul of Amelia Walthrop into the living being they created from it...It was my mother in Buffy that led me there..."

"And you'd let Buffy be destroyed to make way for..."

"No...She promised me...Buffy wanted it, for William...To bring him back...She learned about Mother through your archives and she knew it was the only way...She called her out of herself, they agreed they would share, somehow...That's what she promised me..."

"And has she kept her promise...?" he eyed her coldly... "Why did she run from us?...From you, if all is as you say..."

"Because none of her trusts you anymore..." Dawn returned... "She knows you'd drive her out, maybe even kill Father..."

"If I had wanted William dead..." Giles paused... "Dawn, whatever Buffy has made you believe, you know she could be delusional, psychologically or occultly. And I won't casually give Buffy up to whoever, if anyone, has taken her...Cicely, the First, or some force we don't know...Your sister could be in thrall to her, unable to help herself..."

"Then let me go...She'll be looking for me, she'll speak to me...And I'll get her to meet with Willow, let her reach Buffy and prove it's ok...But only if you keep yours out of it..."

"I could go with her, Mr. Giles..." Dru suggested...

"No..." he shook his head... "We could play this game and I could agree and let you go...But you know Dawn I would never keep out of it...No...I will not risk any chance that Evil has found a way to bring Buffy down through her guilt over William...You see, I am being honest with you..."

"If you try to use me as bait, Giles...It'll be worse than Caleb and the First...I promise you, she'll do whatever it takes to get me away from your people..."

"Which is why I will do the sensible thing and wait for Willow...And when she arrives we'll find them together and we'll drive Cicely, or whoever, out...If they exist...And Buffy can do as she pleases...Take Will and go, resume her current life, hate me forever if she wishes...So long as I know I've done everything possible to free her..."

He sighed at Dawn...

"If Cicely is involved and is your mother, I'm sorry...But she has had her life and cannot have Buffy's, no matter how foolishly willing Buffy may be to surrender herself...And the fact that even you believe Cicely would be willing to kill human beings to have what she wants does not exactly convince me of her selflessness in this matter..."

"You guys still judge her, don't you?..." Dawn shook her head... "You still think she's failed you because she wanted more...She wasn't content to be your little Virgin Mary and now she's Mary Magdalene, fallen whore..."

I've been at an Italian university for nearly a year...You pick up the theology...she smiled...

"Your sister held human life sacred...She'd never..."

"My God, Giles..." she grinned coldly at him, Dru staring at her... "You really believe that, don't you?..."

***

"Heliophobia..." Part XX...



PG-13...



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

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

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

With apologies to Alfred...

***

"Careful, please..."

"Sorry..."

The burly, middle-aged porter pushing William along the hall in his chair apologized as he moved off from the side wall he'd just tapped with the chair arm...William looking round a bit but silent...

"William?...Are you all right?..." He looked over to her...

"Yes...fine..." he nodded slightly...The words forming slowly...

"We'll be in the room in just a moment...You can rest then..."

He nodded again...The chair halted by a door and she suddenly wrapped arms round him...

"I knew you'd be all right...We just had to get away..." she hesitated as the porter came past her... "...from that place..."

He eyed her...Buffy in the blouse and skirt she'd worn the last day at Cicely's, minus her suit, hair askew...But the expression...The erect posture, as if she'd spent years laced up with stick behind and through the crook of her arms to walk as a proper lady should...The nervous rubbing of hands accustomed to the easy dodge of needlework...

...And above all, the accent...

"Here you go..." the porter unlocked the door and opened it...

"Thank you, sir..." she nodded... "I can manage from here...Here you are..." she offered him a bill and he went off, muttering slightly...

"What the devil's the matter with him?...I can't believe I gave him an entire pound..." she shook her head as she pushed Will inside...

"Well...We're safe...For the moment..." she'd pushed him up to the large bed... "Here, I'll help you to bed and you can rest..."

"Later...I'm all right for now..."

"All right..." she patted his shoulder, clearly a bit nervous and uncertain... "Can I...?"

The phone on a little table next to the bed rang with a clatter...She jumped...Reminding him of that night at Henry's...

"What do I...?"

"It must be the desk calling...It's just a telephone, just pick it up and speak into the lower part near the cord..."

"Oh..." she lifted it... "Hello?...Yes, oh yes...We're fine...Ummn, one moment...William?...Would you like anything, their kitchen is still open for light items..."

"A cup of tea would be very nice..."

"Tea, please...And some biscuits or crumpets?...Thank you..." she hung up, fumbling with the phone a minute until getting it back into its cradle...

"Hate to think what that will cost..." she'd moved to the window, a light tone in her voice... "I cannot believe we were charged fifty pounds for a single night in this room...Especially at 3:30 am..."

And here I thought I'd taken a fortune with us...she smiled at him...Nervously looking away at his stare... "Remember how we argued about wages that time, you saying clerks were still being paid what they were in the 1660's...And quoting Samuel Pepys to prove it?..."

"Who are you?..." he asked quietly...

"The picture card in my bag with the odd fasteners says I'm Buffy Anne Summers of..." she quickly reached down to her purse, pulling out her wallet, fumbling with the snaps... "Yes...Sunnydale, California..." another nervous smile..."So I suppose..."

A knock at the door...She went over and opening, spoke a bit with the server...A young woman from the voice, William guessed...She re-entered with a tray...

"Late for tea but..." she smiled...Setting it down on a desk near the large window looking out on the street...She fussed a moment and brought two cups over, balancing carefully...Setting them down on the small table by the bed...

"Here you are...No cream but I gave you sugar and lemon...I don't know what these things are..." she set down a paper box of cookies... "At least the tea's hot..." she sat on the edge of the bed and sipped...

He took his cup...

"So I've not only failed her again...I've betrayed her...For you..." he looked at her steadily...

"She welcomed me back, Will...So much of her is me..."

He sighed, shaking his head...

"Did she love me at all?...Or was it all guilt...?"

"Will, please..."

"It's not right to prey on a poor girl's guilt and grief, Cicely..."

"Buffy..." she said coolly... "If that's what you want...I can find her memories, just help me Will...Tell me how..."

"How to play Buffy?..."

She set down her cup...

"I was ill...Those people...My friends...Were worried about me...It was a hospital we were in...So, Buffy is fine now..." she concentrated a moment...Frowning...

"...dude..." she smiled...

"Somehow I don't think that will be enough to fool her friends..."

"Buffy Summers, born 1980...81, Sunnydale, California, United States of America...My country, 'tis of thee...Mother, Janice...er Joyce...Father...Well, he left home long ago...Sister, Amelia...I mean, Dawn...My friends are...Wiccan..."

"Willow..." he corrected...

"Willow, right...Sandy..."

"Xander..."

"Really?...Is that short for Alexander?...Yes, of course it is...Dude..." she concentrated again...



"My Watcher...May they all burn in Hell...Ripper Giles..."

"Rupert...But he does go by Ripper at times..."

"Yes, of course...You see...I'm fine..."

"Why did she do it?..."

"We love you, Will..." she said simply... "I swear it wasn't simply guilt...Will you never believe in me?...Must we always pay for failing you?..."

He rubbed his face...She came to him and stood by his chair...

"We can talk things over tomorrow...You're tired...You ought to go to bed...Come, let me help you..." she beamed, putting a hand on his shoulder...He twisted to look at her...The effort wearied him and she gently lifted him and guided him to a seat on the bed...

"And maybe..." she smiled... "Maybe I am really just crazed...Lets talk tomorrow...You've been ill too, William..." She kissed him gently...

"I can't...I won't...Be a party to this, Cicely..." he looked into her face...Dark shadows in the cheeks...She was very thin these days, he realized, even for Buffy...She knelt by the side of the bed now...

"Tomorrow, darling...We'll talk tomorrow..." she kissed him again and gently pressed him back till he lay on the bed...Covering him...

After a few minutes, when he'd fallen asleep, she rose and went over to the window, looking out over the street, the little traffic swirling by...Eyeing her face in the glass...

"Buffy...Buffy Summers...Sunnydale...Willow...Rupert Giles...Xander...Dawn... Caaaan't....Heeeey, guys...Here's the deeeaaalll..." a feeble try at a heavy accent...

"Buffy...What are we going to do?..." she sighed...She looked back at the sleeping William, a hard look coming into her eyes...

"What are we gonnnnaaa do...Besides put a little meat on these raw bones as soon as possible..." She turned to look round the room...Spying...Ah...

"Tele...Vision...TeeeVeee..." She dragged a chair over to the television and sat down...Wait...She blinked...Yes...Purse...The odd thing...Wallet...

She rose and went to the small table next to the bed...William was sleeping lightly...She took the purse and returned to her chair...The television faintly glowing now, the volume at barely audible...She took out a wallet from the purse and began carefully looking through...

There...Yes...

Thank you...Thank you, sister...She took the note and unfolded it...On it, in Buffy's handwriting...Her signature and a series of numbers below...The words "Call this" underneath...

"Call?...Oh, telephone...Yes..." she rose again and carefully brought the room phone over, dialing each number carefully and softly...After several rings, a man's voice...

"Henri...?" she whispered...

"Yes, it's me..."

***



"Heliophobia..." Part XXI...

PG-13...

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

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

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



With apologies to Alfred...

***

Hot tongs searing...Molten lead pouring onto his flesh...

The Hellmouth crater...Lord, here we go again...He awoke, screaming in pain...

"William!!?...William!!..." she rushed over from where she'd been fussing at the room's larger table...A breakfast laid...

Ohhh!!!...he gasped... "The...Light...Window..."

"Oh, my god...I forgot!!..." she ran to the open window...Pulling the curtains with vigor...

"Oh, Will...I'm so sorry...I completely forgot..." she came over to him as he writhed in the bed...

"What can I do?...Should I call a doctor?..."

"No...No, I'm all right...Just..."

She took his hand, stroking him with the other... "Ok...It's ok..." A teasing lilt as he clearly relaxed... "I guess we shoulda consulted the docs at that place about your little solar problem while we had the chance..."

"Buffy?..." he stared at her...Her accent as Californian as ever...

"What?..." she stared back...

***

Office of the Chairman of the Royal Council of Antiquarians and Library Scientists...8:00 am...

"Sir...?" A secretary gently tapped at the sleeping Giles' arm...Having carefully avoided disturbing the snoring Dawn and the gently sleeping Dru in their chairs...

"Wha...What?...Oh, Miss Benton..."

"Good morning, Mr. Chairman...Sir, there's an urgent call..."

He sat upright... "One of the teams?...Have they...?"

"No, sir...It's Ms. Summers..."

***

"Ok...Ok, Giles...We'll be there in a few...Just let me get Will wrapped up and in a cab...Don't worry...Yes, I'm fine...We're both fine...He's talking and complaining and everything...I guess a night out did us both good...We'll be there soon...Can I talk to Dawn?...Ok, let her sleep then..."

She hung up...William watching from where he sat at table, picking a bit at his plate...

"Well...They're all in a tizzy at the Council...But I think I calmed Giles down...You almost ready?...You didn't eat much..."

"I'm fine...So...Where are we going now?..."

"Where?..." she eyed him..."Over to the Council building...To see Giles...I wish we could go sightsee again but considering we just spent a week in our respective psych wards we'd better go and let the guys know we're ok...They must be outta their skulls..." she shook her head...

"Right to the lion's den, eh?..." he looked at her...

"Will...I know I've been acting strangely...But I've got it together now...I'm fine..."

"I see..." he said, quietly...

"I'm so sorry about what happened...I know I put you through Hell...Jumping like that...I'll see a...." she hesitated...

"Shrink?..." he suggested...

"I was gonna say, 'therapist'..."

"That's good...My hat's off to you, girl for getting so much down in one night but it won't work, Cicely..."

"That was a delusion...I read about her in the Watchers' archive...I thought I'd let you die unloved and not believing me...I let it prey on me...I'll get help and I'll be fine...If you'll stay with me...And let me prove what I said that day..."

"I said I wouldn't be a party to this, Cics...I won't..."

"Cicely is dead, Will..." she shook her head... "For my sake, let her go...I have some memories but that's all...But..." she grinned... "If you promise not to tell my therapist and the guys I'll wear an old dress and a wig some nights..."

"Fine then...Glad to hear you've recovered so nicely...I guess that means I can return to LA..."

"No way..." she said, coolly... "I need you here...Or you'll take me with you...Giles can spare one measly Slayer..."

"I'm married...My wife may be dead, but I imagine, as a Victorian, she'd object...And I can't use the Spike excuse as with poor Dru..."

"You won't go...You wouldn't do that to me...Will, I couldn't bear this world without you..."

"Then admit to me who you are...Stop this game..."

"Buffy...Cicely...What does it matter so long as we love you?...Would do anything to be with you..."

"And if Buffy one day feels she got the worst of the deal?..."

"She'll never say that..." a firm look...

"Cicely...I'm sorry you were cheated out of your life...I'm angry we both were...But we can have Heaven together...One day, sooner rather than later, if you want..."

"And what about me...?"

He stared at her...

"I tole you Buffy loves you...So what about her part of me?...Do I get nothing?..."

She chuckled...Bitterly...

"Cicely gets it all...For Eternity...And I get stuck with nothing?...No way...I did this for you and she agreed to share...I won't let you get her out of it..."

Ah...she nodded at his perturbed face...

"Now you're not so sure...Are you?...:"

***



"Heliophobia..." Part XXII...

PG-13...

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



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

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

With apologies to Alfred...

***

Chairman Giles' office at the Antiquarian Hall...

9:00 am...

"So what else do we know for sure?..." a seated, newly arrived Willow eyed Giles from her chair...A still-somewhat-disoriented-from-lack-of-sleep Dawn nervously watching both from her own seat, Drusilla likewise uncertain beside her...

"Buffy was certainly in a coma for several days at the very least, whatever playacting she may have done more recently..." Giles passed what looked to be a hospital chart over...

Isn't medical records privacy protected in England?...Or do the Watchers get whatever they need in their own way?...Dawn thought...

"You can see there were some EEG trace changes noted and this aural field recording by my staff at the hospital shows some variation from previous readings of Buffy's, including those we did when you examined her..."

"Not enough to confirm a possession, though..." Willow shook her head, frowning at the data... "When is she coming?..."

"Within the next hour or so she promised...I've located her hotel and put my people in place should she be deceiving us..."

"Willow..." Dawn cut in..."You've got to let me..."

"Dawn, please..." Giles...

Willow glanced at her, then stared at Giles carefully...

"Dawny, just let us finish...You know I won't do anything that would hurt Buffy..."

"It's not Buffy I'm worried about..."

Another look from Willow, this time a bit longer...And somewhat harder...

"Maybe not..." Willow nodded to her... "But we are..."

"Ms. Rosenberg..." Dru spoke up... "If you know about Cicely and William...And Dawn's relationship to them both..."

"I'm interested in the facts and what has or has not happened to Buffy..." Willow briefly paused... Ummn.... "Drusilla..."

"I know you're concerned about what happened to Spike and..."

"Spike's a demon in Hell...We're talking about my father, William Soames Walthrop...Don't use that name for him..." Dawn insisted...

A guarded, concerned look by Willow to Giles...

"Dawn?..."

"You can't do this without giving me a chance to speak to them...Buffy and Mother..."

"Mother...?" Willow stared...



"Cicely was my mother...When her memories surfaced in Buffy and William came to Sunnydale it could only be a little while before I'd come seeking them...When the monks created my body they needed a soul...They knew Mother as well as Buffy would protect me ..." Dawn said firmly... "Willow, Buffy agreed to this...Let me speak to her first, with you...She'll tell you..."

Willow sighed...

"Dawn...I don't know if what you're saying about Cicely being your mother is true...But let me tell you something...Buffy Summers would never allow another spirit to take her body, not even on a time-share basis... And she didn't allow it here...Cicely...Or whoever this is, is taking advantage of Buffy's condition...It's fooled you and it's leading her and maybe William too into something that will destroy them...This is a murder in progress, Dawn...And from what Giles told me, we know now the killer has some powerful help..."

"The Immortal..." Dru said softly... "He gave Buffy Cicely's jewelry...The necklace her Watcher mentions at the end of his archives...Farris saw Cicely give to him at the hospital when he tried to save her from dying in childbirth...Henri gave it to Buffy, knowing it would provide the key link..."

"Henri...The one person besides William who could've known Cicely...And apparently knew her well enough to fill in any gaps in the archives...To whom she entrusted some of her jewelry...To give to the right person at the right time..." Giles nodded...

"Henri?..." Dawn stared... "But he..."

"Perhaps he does truly love...One of them..." Giles eyed her...

***

"Cab, please..." Buffy waved to an obliging porter as she and Will stood near the hotel entrance...

"You'd better let me get them close as possible, honey...Keep your hat on and collar up..." she patted him... "Cicely..." he called to her as she moved to the door...

"No fair, you know I'd turn in any case..." she called back, a lilt in her voice...And went through the doors to summon the cab in as close as possible...

Nothing for Buffy...He thought sadly...Oh, God what a fool I've been...Cicely, forgive me...Forgive me, my poor darling...

She hurried back in...

"All set, hurry...There's a little cloud cover...C'mon..." He let her pull him out to the waiting cab, a few patrons staring at the rather overdressed man in coat, hat, scarf, and gloves...

Summer suddenly go and make way for Autumn in June?...One man teased his wife...Who nudged him...

"Ok, take us..." "To this address..." William cut in, handing the driver a note...

"Will?..." she stared at him...

"We have a little unfinished business at home, Cicely..." he said quietly... "I'm sure our friends can meet us there just as well as at Giles' office...I'll call them when we get there...They might even find it more suitable..."

"Why?...William, what are you up to?..."

"Do you want to prove to me and them who you really are?..." he asked quietly... "We'd have to go there anyway, you know...I'm just saving us some time...Go, on driver..."

She looked his face over carefully but made no move to cancel the request or stop the car...

"Fine...If you like..." she finally said...

***

"Heliophobia..." Part XXIII...Conclusion...

PG13...



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

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

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

With apologies to Alfred...

***

"Just what are you planning to do, Will?..." Buffy asked as their cab made its way through London early morning traffic...Toward the address she knew all too well...

Her voice calm...But a faint touch of accent back...Her hands restless again...

"I'm going back into the past, one last time, Cicely...Visiting the scene of the crime..."

She looked at his set face...

"Don't worry...As you said the last time we came..."

It's home...

***

At Giles' office Dawn continued to urge she be allowed to speak with Buffy first...

"I left London only cause Buffy told me she was all right...That she and Mother were working together...To get Father to come...And he'd only come if he thought that Buffy was in danger and isolated from all of us...She's not being forced..."

Giles put up a hand...

"Our only concern is that Buffy is safe, Dawn...If Cicely is fully present now we must act...We can't risk assuming that Buffy is acting of her own free will..."

Dru however now eyeing Willow and Giles...

They'd been preparing for this, somehow ready...Natural enough in two friends of Ms. Summers well-versed in occult knowledge...But...

"Why did you leave Buffy to William if you really thought Cicely's spirit might be taking her?..." she asked Willow... "You could have done an exorcism, it would have done no harm if it weren't true..."

"We weren't sure...An exorcism's not something you do lightly...Especially without a subject's full cooperation…" Willow replied quickly...Avoiding her stare as she returned to Dawn...

"We can't be sure what Cicely or Henri are up to here, Dawn...I'm..."

"My mother's not evil, Willow...As for Henri...He did know Mother briefly in her day, and when Buffy explained things to him and asked him what he knew about her, he wanted to help, for Cicely's sake...If he's concealed anything from you guys, it was because Buffy asked him to..."



"We'll have to learn exactly what His Benevolence is up to..." Giles frowned... "But that's one more reason..."

"You've been waiting for her, haven't you?..." Dru suddenly spoke, quietly... "You called William in to bring her out...You...And Buffy?..." she stared at Willow, then Giles... "You knew Cicely would come forth in Buffy if William came to London...He's not Buffy's rescuer here..."

"He's the bait..."

***

Outside Cicely's former townhouse...

"As close to that door as you can get, friend..." Will told the cab driver as the man pulled his cab as instructed up a back alley to a rear ground level door...

"I think we can get in here..." he noted to Buffy...Who hesitantly followed him out...The alley well shaded from sun by the building opposite...

He waited as the cab pulled out and then went to the door...

"Will?...Shouldn't we wait?...There must be an..."

He produced a set of keys...

"Afraid I grabbed this from old Knowles' desk the last time we came...I'd thought if things didn't work out we might need to return at off hours, though at the time..." he eyed her... "...Another of my dreams of saving you, I guess...And about as ludicrous..." he shrugged as she watched him...Putting the key in the lock...

"Luckily he didn't get the locks changed yet if he did notice them gone missing..." he noted as the door opened... "I don't know how long we may have before the alarm goes off..."

"But I imagine your people have already taken care of that..."

She stared at him...

"You were planning to come here after we picked up Giles...And Willow, I suppose, right?...After all, it could only be properly done here..."

"Will...?"

"Lets go and have a gander at the scene of the crime, shall we?..." he pulled at her arm...

***

Dawn had been blinking at the others following Dru's last remark...

Bait?...

"It's true, isn't it?..." Drusilla said softly... "You've lured Cicely out to destroy her, haven't you?...On Buffy's orders...With William as the lure..."

"We can't let Buffy be destroyed, Drusilla..." Giles said quietly... "And she is...This has been destroying her ever since Sunnydale..."

"I see...She can't bear it, can she?...The memories of Cicely and Will that have surfaced..."

"You..." Dawn looked at Willow who refused to look at her...Though she replied to Dru...

"Not just the Cicely and Will thing, Drusilla...You of all people oughta have some idea what Buffy's been through...How she blamed herself...And us...For William until..."

"Until she found someone else to blame?...Cicely?..." Dru sighed...



"Dawn..." Giles turned to her... "Try to understand...You know how Buffy was after..."

"She's used me...To help her kill my mother's soul?..." Dawn stared... "How?...Like Halfreck?...Like Angel's friend?..."

"Cicely's dead, Dawn..." Willow tried... "Buffy..."

"Her soul's as alive as yours...If either of you have one...So now we kill innocent souls?...My true mother's soul?...If they get in the Slayer's way..." Dawn said quietly...

"Why should I be surprised?..." she looked at Giles, her stare hardening... "You tried to kill my father's soul..."

"Not his soul, Dawn...As for Cicely...Dru's told you about what we learned at the archives...Cicely's not played a totally passive role..."

"If you mean about Henri knowing Mother...He never concealed that...from us..." Dawn eyed Giles coolly... "It was Buffy who didn't trust you enough to let him tell you..." she sighed a little...

"Looks like she hasn't trusted any of us in this..."

"We're only going to block Cicely out...Permanently..." Willow anxiously cut in... "I doubt a soul can truly be..."

"And let my father think...His wife was evil...My mother evil...Trying to take Buffy when all the time..." Dawn glared..."She welcomed her in 'cause she couldn't fight her any other way...Told me who I was so I'd help in luring my mother out...Is that why she sent me off?...So I wouldn't be around to see her kill my..."

"Dawn...I still don't know exactly what's happened here...." Willow sighed... "But Buffy was in danger...Those memories surfacing from Cicely...They were..."

Giles' intercom buzzed...He pressed a button...

"Mr. Harris and Count D'Vestigy are here..." his secretary's voice...

***

"Sorry for the hold-up, Giles...Our friend was a bit more slippery than I expected..." Xander frowned at Henri who simply smiled as the two stood in Giles' office...The others, seated...

"Mr. Harris...I merely wished to delay our coming here...Had I truly wished to avoid you, I would have..."

"Well, Your Benevolence..." Giles frowned... "It seems you've been playing a part in Cicely's little drama...The romantic rival...Or perhaps, the beard would be a better term, as your role has been more of a con game..."

"Hardly a con game, Rupert...Nor entirely Cicely's drama...I will not insult your intelligence by attempting to deny that I have been playing a part...Though my affection and concern for Buffy has always been real..."

"You knew Cicely before she died...You provided the link to her Buffy needed...The jewelry, those details of the past not even the Council had in its records...You led her into this while trying to make us believe you were concerned for her and I want to..."

"I did nothing of the kind, sir..." Henri shook his head... "I had an obligation to fulfill and I fulfilled it, despite my misgivings, as Mrs. Walthrop wished...As she begged me a century ago, after she'd helped my struggling essence to a chance to escape the inevitable fate of the Undead...Given me the benefit of one of the spells she'd hoped to try on Spike for pity of my lost soul...And as I honor her dear memory and my debt to her, when Buffy came to me and voluntarily revealed herself as the one I had awaited...I executed my charge...Despite my quite sincere concerns for her and over how she wished to proceed..."

He smiled briefly at Dawn, who nodded a little... "Miss Summers here...Or should I say, Miss Walthrop...Can testify to some of the facts of the matter...She was the witness to our efforts in bringing William home to Cicely at last...And can confirm Buffy's willing and voluntary participation...I'm sorry that Buffy felt it best not to..."

"Henri..." Dawn sighed... "I think Buffy's tricked us both...And Mother..."



"No..." he shook his head... "That wouldn't be possible..."

Mother?... a now-seated Xander eyed Willow...

"They've been waiting for her to come..." Dawn indicated Willow, Giles, and Xander... "Buffy's lied to us...She's planning to destroy Mother...Or at least drive her off from Father forever..."

Father?... Xander stared...

"That's not possible, Dawn...And you, my friend..." Henri turned to Giles... "You still don't understand...As I see Buffy does not...Though she will...Soon..."

"Our only intention has been to help Buffy through this..." Giles shook his head... "We don't know Cicely...We've tried to be objective and patient...We let you play your little game for Buffy's sake because it was her wish and Willow and I did not want to lose all contact with her in her state then...But now, especially since I learned about the crypt at Cicely's home and the origins of Dawn's soul, I see that well-intentioned or selfish, she is too dangerous and powerful a presence to be allowed to keep any hold on Buffy... She must be rooted out of Buffy, forever...Her memories, on top of what Buffy went through in losing William at Sunnydale, are destroying my poor girl..." he paused...Staring at Dawn and Henri...

"That much of our concern was genuine...I can only say to you both that as you played a role, so did we...Any deception was mutual..."

"Rupert...Miss Rosenberg...You cannot drive Cicely from Buffy...You can't destroy her as an independent spirit...Willow..." Henri looked to her... "You know you've never clearly seen a sign of possession or spectral presence..."

"I've seen aural changes...But no, nothing so solid as a fully distinct presence ...That doesn't mean I can't pull her from wherever deep she's lurking now that Buffy's drawn her out..."

"Young lady..." he sighed... "You are powerful but you lack a deal of learning and experience...Rupert...You two are gravely mistaken here...In no small part due to Cicely's strength of will and desire to live free...Fear and shame have been the true enemies here..."

"Will's fear of the sun..." Dru said, suddenly...

"Not of the sun I think..." Henri smiled gently... "Of what it represents...All those pure things our gentle poet worshiped and loved...And felt he had betrayed and failed...The shame that still kept him from his poor Cicely whatever form she took..."

"And Buffy, poor child..." he sighed... "I could see it in the last weeks, and I was concerned, but I should have realized immediately on meeting her...At last, in the flesh, after watching her for so many years...There would be problems..." He looked at Giles... "You trained her well, Rupert...But you must have realized she was exceptional, even for a Slayer and even granted the memories and skills passed on normally..."

"Are you saying?..." Giles...

"For my part I should have seen the problem was even more complex than the fear and shame for Will Cicely felt...That mighty life force of hers...Her drive to live and triumph that made her both greatest of the Slayers and one of the few to win her freedom, made her full rebirth especially difficult...Though these things are usually hard, with the Buffy personality so strong, it was no wonder she came to perceive Cicely as an different individual entirely...And a rival...One who could be made to take on all the guilt and pain of failing William more than a century ago...It's largely my fault for following Buffy's lead so blindly, assuming Cicely was returning without difficulty, guiding her...As well as for leaving them alone...I'm afraid you are right Dawn, she, to an extent, deceived me as well..."

"My friend Buffy?..." Willow stared...

"Is suffering from what appears to be a case of multiple personality disorder as a result of problems in her reincarnation only magnified by her relationship to our poor William...You see, my friends, as I told Will when he first came to me, I have indeed been consulting therapists carefully for our Buffy...Our friend, Ms. Rosenberg, is not inhabited by Cicely Walthrop's spirit, voluntarily or otherwise...She is Cicely...Always was..."



***





They stood on the first steps of what had been the grand staircase of the Addams home...Preserved or restored in its elegant beauty...He looked up to the second floor...

"Will?...You shouldn't have brought me here again..." Buffy tried...Looking round nervously... "I want to go..."

"No, I have to tell you the story, Buffy..." Will held her arm...She somehow drained by his grip, unable to break free... "You should hear it from someone who was there, not vague memories and what you found in the archives...This is where we came together...And where I saw her for the last time..."

"William, please...Don't...We should go...Look, you're right...They are going to come..."

"That night I stopped there for a moment, after Halfreck'd told me I was beneath her...Cicely didn't want me...I'd half expected it, really...Even though we'd secretly married just the day before...I was ready to believe...No..."

She stared at him, still unable to pull away... "Please...Don't…" she whispered…

"...I knew what she'd said was true...Just as Spike knew it when you said it..."

"No..." she hissed...Her face distorted... "I didn't know...William, I love you...It was her fault, she was weak...Cowardly…"

"You, don't you mean?...Or haven't you made up your minds yet?...But odd how one little piece of a memory out of place sticks in the mind...You see, just as I left...Not even consciously recognizing as I saw...I saw her, up there..." he pointed... "I didn't fully realize that it was a genuine memory until Giles took me to the archives, or what it meant, seeing her there...She was hiding up there, watching...And it was Halfreck who came down to me..."

"She was a fool!...She couldn't handle it...I know everything that happened, Will...I've remembered it...So many times..."

"She'd loved me so much she'd tried to let me go..." he sighed... "And I repaid her by not believing in her, betraying her...Even if I allow that I did sense her memories in you..."

"You wanted me to tell you who I was..." she tried... He put up a hand...Please...

"I know who you are..." he shook his head... "Come on, play the part...You wanted it, you have it...Lets go up..." he pushed her to the stairs... "No..." she grabbed the railing...

He stepped past her... "Fine, then...I'll go alone..."

"Wait, you can't..." she looked at him, a frightened, haunted look in her eyes...But not fear for herself as her eyes darted up... "I'll come...Will, wait..." she went up to him as he climbed the wide marble stairs...

"You have to come back down...The windows upstairs..."

"They're closed now...And that didn't stop you before..." he continue up, she following nervously... They reached the second floor, staring down the hall to Cicely's old room...

"Come on...It's your own room...Anyway, Buffy's been there..." he headed down the hall, all rooms closed...Pausing at the entrance...

"Will?...Why don't we go?...It's not good for me, she..."

"Oh?..." he'd halted and turned on her... "What will 'she' do, Cicely?...You certainly have nothing to fear from yourself..." He turned the doorknob and opened it with a hard push...The heavy door swung open...He stumbled over a box of files in the dark, nearly empty room...Found a switch and a light clicked on...

She hurried to the window...Closed, thank... "Will?!...Don't open that!..." she grabbed at him as he pulled the ladder to the roof down...

Staring up at the sunlight beaming down on him...

"Will...?" she gasped...

"I'm not guilty...And the light is not judging me...As Cicely's never judged me..." he breathed hard, feeling the sun... "Just shining down on me, caring for me...As she did...And wanted to..."



He looked at her evenly...

"And here I had to stop...But you went on, Buffy..."

"Well..." she nervously smiled... "At least you believe..."

"It was Cicely...Last night..." Will said...Looking at Buffy...

"It was her...I wasn't lying, Will..." Buffy nervously pleaded...

"But it was with your permission...You in control...She never possessed you...It was only my being here that lead her, poor sweet soul, to consider accepting your oh, so generous offer..." he paused...

"It was brave of you to risk that jump...It could have killed even you...Your way of dying for me?...But it was cruel of you, terribly cruel, to let me think my Cicely had any hand in driving you to it..."

"Will?..."

"My gentle Cicely...Who only wanted a life and a love...Like you, Buffy...And she was every bit as worthy in her time...Though nothing prepared her to face you..." he sighed...

"There is an evil act...A murder...Planned here..." he eyed her... "But I was totally wrong...God and my poor, poor Cicely forgive me..."

"Will...Listen to me..."

"How can a memory be killed?...It can't be done unless you either kill the bearer of that memory...Or turn that memory into something physical...Hateful...Malevolent...And force the bearer to destroy it...And that's what you planned to do to my Cicely, Buffy..."

"Will...I let..."

"Yeah, the key word...Let...You, the greatest Slayer...Let Cicely in...Offered to share, didn't you?...My God, you?... You who let Angel be sent to Hell rather than mar your perfect score?...You consent to a draw?...Oh, please...You hated Cicely from the moment your memories drove you to find her in the archives and you realized she was the woman Spike had described that night years ago...And that she wasn't the bitch he claimed, but in fact...Your competition...And you guessed, perhaps rightly, that she was the real reason I wouldn't come arunning after you...But you couldn't get at her, there's the rub...What a pity you'd missed your chance at facing off with her in Heaven..."

"I love you, damn you...I would have, would die for you..." she said quietly... "But all you ever saw, could ever see, in me...Was her..."

"So you set out to make me hate her...Have me kill the memory and then let Willow destroy the soul of the evil bitch possessing her poor misguided-by-love-and-guilt friend...You knew it could be done after Halfreck...But I wonder if even that would have been enough..." he eyed her...She faced him calmly, though her hands were clenching tensely...

"She had her chance...She failed you...I wanted mine...But you'd never give it to me unless..."

"Unless I'd come to see her as evil...Trying to steal your body...Poor Buffy the victim...But you knew I never did quite buy that...Though you were clever enough to try to convince me you'd let yourself be tricked into it...For love of poor ole William ...But Cicely is no body thief, desperate as she was to be with me again...Willing as she was to accept your kind offer to share existence...An offer you made to bring her out where you could finally put her notch on your belt...With the usual unmentioned assist from your friends..."

"It was for love of William..." Buffy stared at him coolly...And put up a hand... "And it can still be...If I have to, for you...I will...It was her with you yesterday...I have to help her but she can be with you if I allow it...And she knows enough about me to fool even the guys now...We can still share, for you..."

"We'll never know, now...Perhaps, if you had been dealing honestly with my poor wife...Maybe I would have been weak enough to agree..." he said coldly... "But lucky for me, we'll never know..."

"And I'll be with my Cicely in Heaven, soon, please God..."

"No!...No!!..." she grabbed at him, pulling him back from the ladder, both stumbling over the various storage boxes and scattered files dumped about in the otherwise empty room... "Will...I only wanted you to love me!...Me...And forget her and the past...Why is that so hard?!...I..."

"William!!...Buffy!!!..." Giles' voice from the front...She held Will's arm tightly now...

"William, please...I...If you like, she can stay...We'll be one...I'll convince them she's gone or never was here...I'll tell them anything, everything...Just...You said you'd be with me to the end of the world...You loved me, you died for me...Me...And I was ready to die for you...Look, we'll run...I won't let Willow get her...Will, I can't bear it if you go..." she was absently fumbling with the necklace now...

As she used to when she was nervous...Will suddenly remembered...That's why it stuck in my head in the National Galley...The artist got it wrong...Cicely never let that necklace lay still...

"Buffy...If I am William...Lover, husband of Cicely...How can I betray her, knowing her soul lives and waits for me?...Maybe you modern people can't understand this sort of thing but you know I can't do it dear heart...Even if all that's left of Cicely is in you..."

"Sometimes...Sometimes...I don't know anymore..." she eyed him... "We only know we love you, Will...Please, lets go...I'll never drive her away...I..."

"Because you can't my poor dear..." Giles had come up behind them, stepping through the doorway, Henri beside him...

"Giles!...No...I'm all right!...Don't let Willow..." Buffy twisted back...

"No, Willow won't..." he sighed... "Oh, my poor tormented dear...I've failed you...I should have realized, not let my fears of the past's crimes prevent me from learning the truth ...Forgive me, Cicely..."

"Giles...You mustn't..." Will began... "Cicely is not..."

"No...We couldn't without destroying or demonizing her, Will...One can't live without one's soul...Thank God Henri was able to prevent us from trying..."

Buffy and Will looked at him...

"It is my fault, my friend..." Henri came forward... "I was worried, sincerely...But I thought when you came to London all would be well shortly...I'd no idea Buffy had grown so strongly as a personality that she could block her own self's natural return..."

"I..." Buffy stared...

"You are Cicely, my dearest friend..." Henri smiled... "There is no spirit to contend with, and no enemy to fight...And I have fulfilled the pledge I made to you in your last days when you spared me and gave me my hope of salvation...You have found William again...And saved him, at last..."

"It's a common thing in reincarnation and I am a fool to have failed to see it..." Giles sighed... "Though in Buffy's case what with her constant battles for survival and her mighty will to live...Cicely's will of course but she was not open to that knowledge...The situation was exceptional...You see, when the reborn personality is strong, it's frequently is slow to or will not accept the past life without much struggle, often abetted by well-meaning friends and family who fail to realize they are seeking to thwart a natural process..."

"You've been chasing your own spirit shadow, my dear..." he smiled... "Though Henri might have alerted us..."

"I was pledged to remain silent, by you, Cicely...You still feared the Council would try to prevent even your reborn form from seeking William...Which is why I think you came up with the scheme of having me join the Council and appear as an eminently suitable future mate until you 'contacted' Cicely and we could persuade him to come...For over a century I've been waiting for your return, trying to protect this husband of yours from the consequences of his demon's escapades..."

"Hmmn?..." Will stared...

"You were quite a handful, my dear sir...Though thankfully your own prowess was considerable enough to prevent my and my people's services from being too often required over the years...By the way Angelus meant to kill you when you reached Italy in 1894, Will...Fortunately I suspected from my surveillance of your pride that he might be planning it...He not being one to long tolerate a two-man show...And Darla confirmed it when I...Met with her and Drusilla while holding the two of you for your safety...He naturally thought better of it when I proved to be a formidable opponent and later his curse removed him as a major threat..."

"I...Am Cicely?..." Buffy gasped... "But why didn't..."

"The process of recovering the past life must be a natural one, Cicely...I'd hoped it would all proceed easily when you found me out from the archives and you asked of Cicely and requested my help in learning all I knew of her...I went along with your scheme of summoning Cicely's spirit while feigning distress and fear in order to stay as close to you as possible...I was sure once William came to England you would complete the process without trouble...I'd no idea just how strong and independent a force Buffy, the modern self, had become...Or how much she'd come to love William even without the full restoration of her memories..."

"But if you knew...If Cicely charged you..." Will spoke quietly... "Why didn't you simply kill me?...How could she have wanted me to survive as Spike?..."

"You'd intruded on the Prophecy of the Slayer, Will...She'd learned in trying to save you that the Council held the knowledge she was doomed to be called to return to fight the great battles of this time as she has been called back in the past...But you were an unplanned feature...A distraction that might hold her soul back...A problem..."

"So we killed you in the way most guaranteed to keep you from Cicely's soul..." Giles sighed...

Henri nodded... "She knew your soul hadn't left Earth, was clinging to Spike in some vague hope...But release your soul to the void and there was no guaranteed she could find you again...Cicely no longer trusted in her faith or any vague hopes of future bliss and reconciliation...She knew what Council prophecy decreed and determined that if she must be forced one final time to return to Earth, she would find you there and keep you with her always...She knew you still loved her, stayed on for love of her...So, she left Humanity's protection against Spike to the Council, its Slayers, and God...And your soul's protection, at least from non-human enemies, to Spike...and me..."

"Yes..." Giles sighed... "I'm afraid in no small part thanks to me and my efforts you, Buffy and your original self have come to odds with each other...But you are truly one, however much two distinct personalities have emerged in you..."

"Mother..." Dawn had come up behind Henri with Xander, Dru and Willow close behind... "It's all right, now...You're home, Father's home...You've saved him, Mother...It's over..."

"Father..." Will breathed..."Father.." .Xander smiled at him...

"I'm Cicely?..." Buffy whispered, looking to Will who stared at her...

"Am I?..." she asked him, brokenly... "Tell me...I don't know..."

"...Buffy...It's true..." Dru began, gently...Stepping into the light of the room...

"No..." Buffy hissed...Accent pronounced again...Necklace tightly gripped...Backing... "No, not now!...Not you!!..." she raised clenched fists...

"No, Cicely!..." Will grabbed her, Henri and Xander moving to help...She tossed the Immortal aside, against a wall, threw Xander back toward Giles, and broke away from Will... "You shan't have him!!...No!!!..." she screamed at Dru, feeling...

For a stake, Dawn realized... "Giles!..."

"Willow!..." Giles called...Willow tensed...

Then Buffy stopped, staring at a Dru who remained quiet before her....



"I'm not here to take him from either of you, Cicely...Just to help get him back to you...And to hope, someday...You can forgive me..." she looked at her...Will moved in front of her as Xander helped Henri to his feet...

Buffy staring at Will a moment...And suddenly, knelt...

"Oh, please...Have mercy...Don't..." she said to Dru, tears running, hands twisting... "Kill me...Don't...Take him..."

"No, Cics..." Will moved to her, knelt, taking a hand... "No one is taking me from you again..."

"Wait, Willow..." Giles told her, waving her back...As Dru went to the kneeling, sobbing Buffy...

"Don't...Please..." she whispered as Dru knelt by her...

"I won't, Cicely...See, the light?...On him?...He's safe now..." she waved to indicate the sunlight now streaming down on the spot where Will knelt by them... "He's here and he's safe with you..."

"And see where your daughter is waiting for you?...Dawn?..." she called...

"It's all right, now...It's all right..." she whispered, rocking the sobbing Buffy in her embrace...

***