We Will Remember Them….
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
London - 1943
The shackles on his ankles had rubbed his skin raw and the ones round his wrists bit into his flesh like claws. But as William the Bloody, Big Bad, Scourge of Europe, or Spike to his friends, shuffled along the corridor, he was angrier with the fact that his captors had refused to give him a rotten cigarette!
How bloody petty could you get, he cursed under his breath as one of his guards pushed him through a door into a dimly lit room, situated deep in the bowels of the Tower of London. Keeping a bloke from having a fag. It was an unwritten rule. When you were about to be executed you got some poxy church guy preaching prayers at you, a final meal and a last cigarette.
Well, he'd had the prayers – although what good the sodding vicar thought he could do for a vampire Spike wasn't quite sure. And although he'd plainly asked for a nice roast chicken, he'd got a miserable inch of blood in a cracked mug! Some last meal.
And now no cigarette. Spike sighed and stared round the room, looking for the execution squad. He was actually quite interested in the logistics of his own second death. Would they all rush at him with stakes, only one of which would be made of wood. He knew most firing squads only had real bullets in one gun.
The voice came from the far corner of the room. Spike squinted through the gloom, but it was hard to see through the dried up blood that was still covering his eyelids. But he knew the voice. Well, not the actual person, but the accent – some public school, army poofter talking with a plum in his mouth. But sitting down would be a change from being chained to a wall, so he sat. "Well, get on with it then," he said as the silence lengthened. "Haven't got all bloody day to die."
"You expect to die then, vampire?"
Spike winced as his cut lips twisted into a smile. "Well, I sodding well don't expect you to let me live, mate."
"You are a foul-mouthed, evil thing. But even so, there are many ways of dying. Some good, some – less good."
Spike tried to stretch out his legs, the chains clanking. Oh god, they were going to lecture him to death. This was all bloody Angel's fault! He remembered the submarine, the deaths, being captured by the Yanks and then, oddly, being flown back to England in the cargo hold of a plane before being incarcerated in the Tower. And somewhere along the line, he'd lost his black leather jacket! He'd been fond of that jacket. He loved a nice bit of black leather.
"You are English, I believe."
Spike frowned. Was there a different way for English vamps to be offed? "You know I am."
"Would you fight for your country, vampire?"
Spike stopped the automatic reply of "Of course" before he could say it. He had standards to maintain. "Depends how much you pay me, mate!"
He heard papers rustling in the gloom. "I see. Payment. Well, I suppose lacking a soul means that all sense of morality has long left you. Let us discuss something first, then we can argue about payment. What do you know about Slayers?"
The vampire sat up a little straighter. This execution scene was getting weirder by the moment. "Killed one once. Hope to kill more in the future. Except I don't have a future. Pile of dust me, if you have your way."
"I have your record in front of me. I can see you killed a Slayer in China. Well, this time, vampire, we want you to save one!"
"I should coco!"
"Our present Slayer, a girl called Joy, is being held captive in Germany. A British task force has tried to free her with appalling loss of life but no success. It is vital, imperative, for reasons that do not concern you, that the Slayer is released from prison within the next week. We want you to fly to France and bring her home."
Spike burst out laughing, wincing as his damaged ribs grated together. "Singing Rule Bloody Britannia while I do so, I suppose. Think again, Little Lord Fauntleroy, I'm not saving any poxy Slayer."
The shadowy figure ignored his outburst. "Now, let us come to the matter of payment. Stand up!"
Spike was jerked to his feet by his guard and propelled forward. He realised that at the far end of the room was a curtained window. The drapes were pulled aside and he automatically flinched, expecting sunlight. But all the window showed was another cell and there, chained to a post was his dark princess, Drusilla.
"You rotten bastards, let her go!" He strained at the chains and could have sworn he felt a couple of links give way.
"As you can see," the voice calmly continued, "we have in our care a lady you have some, er, affection for, shall we say? If you agree to rescue the Slayer, then both you and your friend will be set free. If not, we will dispatch the lady in front of you and you will spend the rest of your life in the deepest dungeon we can find, remembering that you could have saved her."
Spike stared with longing through the glass. Dru looked so thin and ill. He reckoned she hadn't eaten for days, weeks, maybe. There was no choice to be made here. He'd go and capture Adolf himself to save Dru. "Do I have your word you won't stake her?" he asked quietly.
"As an officer and a gentleman, yes, you do. Now to business, can you fly a plane, William?"
Sunnydale – 2001
"Let me get this straight. You want me to go back in time to 1943 – to France in the middle of a war!" Buffy stared at Quentin Travers, trying not to let her voice rise above a yell because Dawn was upstairs asleep.
The head of the Watchers' Council had arrived on her doorstep an hour ago, on his own, looking – she had to admit – worn and tired. She'd been tempted to tell him to get lost, then was worried he was going to give her bad news about Giles who'd flown back to England only days before.
But Quentin Travers didn't seem bothered by Giles' absence. All he wanted was Buffy's help, help she was determined not to give. She was far too busy here; she had responsibilities, Dawn, Willow, Spike – not that he was a responsibility, of course, and sleeping with him, so not a good idea, but….oh god, the sensations he aroused in her body were….
The elderly Englishman produced a large faded manila file from his briefcase. "Let me give you the facts once more, Miss Summers. During the Second World War, a great many of our records were taken out of London to save them from the bombing. Watchers buried them, hid them all over the country in secret locations until the time came to return them. We thought they had all been recovered until recently one particular file, this one, was found behind a secret panel in an old house in a city called Rochester which is the county of Kent in southern England."
"And this file thingy means I've got to go to France?"
Quentin Travers sighed and rubbed is forehead. "In 1943, the records show our Slayer, a girl called Joy, was held prisoner in France. Now, those records also show that she escaped – and this is the crux of the matter – with the help of another Slayer – a Miss Summers!"
Astonished, Buffy stared at him. "So I have already been to France!"
"Exactly. And this is where the official records – " he tapped the file, "become very vague. There are a lot of brief notes in code, which our experts believe were written by a colonel in the British Army who was an active member of the Watcher's Council and also a very experienced warlock. It is difficult to piece together from the code, but we think he realised that Joy would need the help of a Slayer to escape, but not one whose death would ruin the Slayer line – "
"Hey, I can die endlessly and because Faith is alive, no one is bothered," Buffy said dryly. "Geez – I do feel loved."
"Quite! So he concocted a charm to call a Slayer from the future when one became – well, let us say redundant. And obviously, with the reference to Miss Summers, that Slayer is you, Buffy."
"But why was he so insistent that Joy needed the help of another Slayer? Surely there were army guys who could have saved her?"
Quentin sighed. "I think the colonel was under a great deal of pressure. The notes become more and more fragmented and hard to understand. But right at the very end there is a section that is written in plain English. It says, 'Why did I send the vampire to rescue her? Whose side is he on? Can I really trust him? Must have Slayer help."
"Oh great! Now there's a vamp in the mix as well as the Nazis."
The head of the Watchers' Council leant back in his chair, his face lined with weariness. "We know you went, Miss Summers. And we know that Joy survived until the end of the War when another girl was called."
"Why was Joy so important – with all the weapons and bombs and things they had in those days, one girl, even a Slayer, couldn't have made a lot of difference."
Quentin Travers gazed at the slim blonde figure in front of him, not seeing her, his mind many years and miles away. "Not many people know, but the Nazis were fascinated by vampires. They imprisoned any they caught and experimented on them. They were hoping to recruit a whole army of evil beings. The Slayer would have been a vital weapon against such an army."
"But you Brits sent a vampire to save this Joy?"
Quentin nodded, obviously as puzzled as she was. "We are not quite sure of their reasoning, but perhaps there was an error of judgement and they wanted another Slayer to be dispatched to kill him and save Joy."
Buffy walked across the room and gazed out of the window into the dark yard. At the far side, she could see a small red glow of a cigarette. She knew who was standing out there and her body sang with anticipation of what he would do to it tonight if she let him. Well, he'd be disappointed this time. She had a very long journey ahead of her and a mission. She was going back in time to France, to save a Slayer and kill a vamp!