Another Time, Another Place

Disclaimer:  I do not own the characters of Buffy or Spike and this is intended for entertainment purposes only.  Hopefully it will entertain.  We all know Joss takes credit for the characters.

Background:  Buffy is asked to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances in Sunnydale.  In doing so, she becomes a victim herself along with a certain annoying vampire.  Will they be able to work together to figure out what is happening in time to save the world?  Timeline is sometime after "Crush" and Spike is still figuring out his feelings for the slayer.  I may take liberties with other facts/couples/timelines as I see fit and as they pertain to the story.  Rated PG13/R for some language and content later in the story (just to be on the safe side).

Author's Note:  This is my first fan fiction so please be kind.  I would love feedback and hope I can use it to make the story better.  So please read and review!  I am a huge fan of Spike and especially like the Buffy/Spike period when Spike realizes he has feelings and Buffy becomes unsure of hers.  Lots of angst.  If you don't care for this type of story, turn back now before it's too late!  I hope to update this story over the course of the summer as often as I can, as long as real life doesn't interfere.  Of course, it's Spuffy with lots of twists and turns!

Chapter 1:  The Book

"What do you mean the council is asking for my help Giles?  They never ask. They just try to order me around like I am some sort of property!"  Buffy was agitated and Giles knew it but this couldn't be helped.  It was his duty to see that she complied with this request.

"I am sorry Buffy but this comes straight from the top.  It isn't a request that we can take lightly.  It is of the utmost urgency and Mr. Hargis said we needed to investigate right away, before someone else ends up missing".  He knew he needed to be diplomatic in his argument, but if it was as bad as Mr. Hargis had hinted on the phone, then they really had no choice.  He wasn't the head of the council, but he was far enough up in the ranks to be taken seriously.

"Fine, I will go on patrol and see what I can find out".  But I am not gonna start jumping just because they say jump.  How come we haven't heard anything about these disappearances anyway?  If it is so bad, why has it taken this long for me to find out?"

Giles removed his glasses and began to pace the room.  He hated when she got like this, but she was right.  Why hadn't they heard about this?  Three people were missing already.  It wasn't like the gang to be behind on these things.

"I am not sure Buffy.  It seems that because it hasn't involved vampires or demons of some sort that we haven't been in the loop.  These people were human and they do seem to have just disappeared from the face of the earth.  The clues are few I am afraid.  They only thing that we know about this is that they were all female and they were last seen at the library".

"Ok, I guess we start there then".  Buffy hated the library.  Nothing good every came from there and books certainly weren't her specialty, but she would make the best of it.

"Do we assemble the gang?"  I am sure that Willow would love a trip to the library.  She loves her books you know."  Giles pinched his nose and contemplated Buffy's question.  It would be helpful for everyone to be in on this but Mr. Hargis was very adamant about no one else being involved.  He insisted that Buffy be the only one told and it was certainly going to be difficult to convince her to play along for now.

"I think maybe you should go alone for now".  "Willow is in class and we really can't spare any time on getting started.  The library is to be investigated Buffy.  I am not asking you to go there to read".  He was amused at his feeble attempt to be funny.

Buffy however didn't find it amusing.  "I know Giles, but the library is such a bore.  I guess it won't hurt to ask around and see if anyone saw anything.  Do you have information on the girls who have disappeared?"  "Yes, of course, how stupid of me".  Giles quickly handed Buffy a folder with pictures of three fair haired girls.  They all appeared to be high school age.  Nothing mysterious about them being at the library Buffy thought.  They looked studious enough.  Probably there researching a paper.  Willow does that all the time.

"Alright, I am on it Giles.  To the library I go."  Giles turned to look at the young girl that he had trained to be the slayer.  She was becoming a fine woman.  He hoped he was doing the right thing by not giving her all the details.  Mr. Hargis had instructed him of course, but it was ultimately his decision to keep some things to himself.  "Yes, of course, but let's just keep this between you and me for now.  The gang doesn't need to be involved until we have more information."

"Sure Giles, all to ourselves.  Whatever you say".  Buffy left the magic shop and started toward the library.  It was dark outside and she wanted to get there before they closed.  She didn't notice that a certain blonde vampire was following her as she rounded the corner.

The weather outside was pleasant enough and Buffy wasn't going to dislike the chance to stretch her legs.  A good walk would do her good.  It was when she reached the library than her mood changed.

Oh the wondrous library.  People sitting on the musty couches reading books, others standing around pulling books and putting them back.  How anyone enjoyed this she just couldn't understand.  Now slaying.  That was an activity she could understand.  Hitting, kicking, and using weapons, all of the good as far as she was concerned. 

Well, here I am, she thought to herself.  I might as well start by asking the desk clerk if she recognizes the girls.  Detective Buffy.  Yep, that's me.

The girl at the desk was petite with dark hair and glasses.  She had on a wool sweater and Buffy had to laugh to herself at that.  It must be 80 degrees tonight.  Maybe there is a draft where she is sitting.  "Hello, my name is Buffy and I am looking for some girls and I wondered if you could help me?"  The girl looked very pasty, like she didn't get out in the sun much.  Definitely not a vampire though.  "I….I'm not sure.  I am not really good with faces."

"That's ok.  It would really help me out if you would look at these photos and tell me if you have seen any of these girls in the library lately.  Anything you can tell me would help."

The girl reluctantly took the photos.  Maybe she is just shy Buffy thought.  Don't talk to strangers and all that stuff her mom had tried to tell her for most of her life.  No talking was definitely not something that Buffy could do.  No way.

"I…I…I'm not sure.  They sort of look familiar but I see a lot of girls in here every day.  I think maybe this one I remember.  She asked me about a book she was looking for.  I gave her the information and then I didn't see her again."

"A book?  What kind of book? Do you remember the name?"  Now this was progress.  Buffy was starting to like this detective stuff even though she hadn't been able to hit anything yet.  If she came back with at least a clue Giles would be happy.

"It was a book on ancient prophecies.  It's called "The Keeper of the Dead".  "I told her it was a dangerous book, but she didn't seem concerned.  She took the information and headed to the upper stacks to locate it.  The girl was reluctant to tell any more for fear someone would over hear them talking.  She definitely wasn't comfortable with this at all.

"I hope you don't mind me asking but why is the book dangerous?  This girl seemed to be knowledgeable, Buffy thought, no harm in asking.  I certainly want to know if I am going to have to fight some demon to get to it. 

"It's just a rumor really.  I haven't ever actually seen the book.  I …I know it is housed on the third floor near the magic books.  There is a story connected to it and everyone who works here has heard it.  The book is cursed.  The man who wrote the book used to be a King and he was very happy until he refused to marry the princess from another land.  He was in love with a peasant girl from his own kingdom.  He knew he could never marry the girl he loved, but he couldn't bear to marry another.  The princess' father had a sorcerer curse him and he became the keeper of the dead.  He was destined to live out eternity trapped in a hell dimension watching over the corpses of demons condemned to the same hell.  His only escape would be to find a young girl willing to give her heart to him."

"The book was written by King Ryman.  He vowed to find a way to end his curse and wrote the book.  It belonged to a group of priceless prophecy books and was later brought here from an auction.  I don't really like to talk about it.  Others have seen the book and say it is just a fairy tale story, but I'm not so sure.  I've heard rumors of things happening to people who read it."

This was information she could use.  Curses she could relate to, and not in a good way.  "Thanks…..I am sorry I never got your name."  The girl reluctantly replied.  "Mary.  My name is Mary.  Please don't mention that I told you about the book."