AN: Thank you for your reviews. As always, they make me as happy as a teacup pig :)
Before Buffy could move on with her story the man stopped her to go and make some tea for them all. He said he needed it. Buffy just nodded politely and sat in one of the comfy looking chairs in the room near the fire, which was starting to grow. Spike nosed his way around the room looking at the books and playing with any knickknacks the man had. When the man came back in the room he gave Spike a dirty look and set down the tea tray on a table in the middle of the room that all the chairs were facing. Then he brought a cup over to Buffy.
"Thank you." She said smiling even though the man's face was in a permanent scowl. He went to bring a cup over to Spike but Spike sidestepped him and sat into a chair next to the Buffy, further from the fire. The man outwardly glared at him but took the cup and sat down with it himself in a chair opposite Spike, the table being a barrier, and placed the stake on his lap. The chair opposite from Buffy stayed vacant.
"Now then, who are you people?" The man pushed his glasses up his nose and took a sip from his tea. Buffy looked at Spike quick who was still looking around the room from his chair, ignoring them, so she answered for them.
"Right, well, I'm Buffy and this is Spike." She motioned to Spike with the stake in her own hand. His gaze fell on the stake and he flinched back a bit but then smirked at the man across from him, trying to play it off like he didn't. "And you are?"
"Norman. Forgive me if I do not give you my full name." He hadn't taken his glaring eyes off of Spike. "Now you think I can help you?"
"Right. Um- Spike made a wish to a vengeance demon that sent us back in time and we really need to get back." The man didn't seem surprised by her statement. A knowing look crossed his features at her mention of a vengeance demon. It explained the time travel real easy.
"Well don't blame it all on me." Spike grumbled shifting his jacket underneath him.
"Then who do we blame it on Spike?"
There was no reply.
"And you think I can help you?" Norman asked from his chair with an impatient tone.
"You or the council. I mean, you will be able to help us right?"
"I'm afraid all members of the council have gone home for the night. You'll have to come back tomorrow." The impatient tone was kept but it was mixed with his lack of caring. He took another drink from his cup.
"See, we were hoping you could help us Norman." Buffy said with her sweetest smile. She understood why the guy didn't trust either of them but she still really just wanted to get home as soon as possible, to her nice warm bed that she wouldn't have to share with anyone.
"And how do you expect me to help?"
"We were hoping that you could tell us all you knew on vengeance demons. You know, how to break the wish or spell or whatever?"
"The only one who can break the spell is the vengeance demon who created it. Only they know the components of their spell. Any attempt to fix it with magic on your own could make it worse."
"Okay so we need to get this demon here, back from the future. How do we do that?" The man looked at her with tight lips. She could tell he knew but didn't want to tell them for whatever reason. "Please, the sooner we know the sooner we will leave you alone."
"And how do I know that to be true? You led four vampires straight to my doorstep tonight, maybe more I don't know. Three of which you kill but one of which you force me to invite into my home. You may have put my life and the council in jeopardy. Why should I trust you?"
"Because I'm the slayer and-"
"That may be true. In fact I believe it to be. You have proved yourself well in your fighting technique but you are also from a different time. I do not know what in the future causes a slayer to work with vampires but that doesn't seem like the type of slayer I could trust."
"I see wha-"
"I'm gonna jump on in here." Spike said shifting in his chair so he was staring down Norman. "Now Norman, Buffy here could spend the time trying to explain how she doesn't trust vamps either or how she was in dire need to work with them and that's why she did but I already see you're not gonna trust a thing she says. Especially not as long as I'm here. Then she'll tell you how I'm a harmless pup with my teeth cut off and how she still doesn't trust me but you won't believe her. Then she'll probably go into some whining thing about how the council should help a slayer in need blah blah blah." He could sense Buffy about to come up with some witty remark about how he needs to shut up but spoke before she could. "Well here is what I have to tell you; based on this place, the way you cowered in the corner, and the way you're holding that stake, it's a fair guess that you've never fought anything in your poncey watcher life. You let us into this broom closet of a home knowing full well that we could kill you in a heartbeat, well your heartbeat." Spike smirked at his joke but Norman seemed too annoyed to laugh along. It was a threat after all. "Why? Because we could have just as easily killed you, came in, and raided the council ourselves which I know happens to be behind that wall." He pointed to the wall with the fireplace covered in books. "Now we've done you the courtesy of not killing you but you still sit here, not answering our questions, when our patience is growing thin!" His voice rose to a yell then he took a short pause to collect himself and return to his menacing tone. "I won't leave until we find a way to get out of this hell hole and back to our own. If that means waiting here all night don't worry I will be here in your home. I'll be here till you wake up and I'm stuck with the bleeding sun outside. I'll be your own personal vampire watcher. You may think you can get the council for help tomorrow but as I said, my patience is wearing thin and I want to get out of here tonight. Not later. And I know you don't want me here in your home the entire night. The only way to get rid of me would be to kill me and Buffy can't leave without me, as much as she hates it, so she won't let that happen. No matter what. How wouldn't she? That's right by killing you! Then we'd just pick off another poor sap from the council and start all over again! Either way we get our info so why don't we skip all that and you answer our bloody questions so we can the jell out of here!"
Spike finished his long winded threat, halfway to standing out of his chair, and fell back into the cushions glancing around. Buffy was looking at him with her mouth slightly open, as if she was at a loss for words, and Norman was scared stiff. He seemed to be thinking, gripping tighter onto his stake with one hand and his tea was shaking in the other. Spike of course knew that Buffy would never let Norman die but he didn't know that and it was showing. His breath was caught and his heart was racing. Spike could smell the adrenaline from where he sat.
"What-" Norman had to clear his throat to talk, bringing the tea down to the table in order to prevent his shaking from spilling any. "What was the question?"
"How do we summon the vengeance demon?" Buffy said pulling herself together. As much as she wanted to yell at Spike for threatening the man, it seemed to have worked.
"Right." Norman shifted in his chair uncomfortably and Spike smirked in his direction. He did always enjoy scaring people half to death. "There is a summoning spell I know of. I have practiced some magic but I am no expert. As you say though, this cannot wait until morning so I can help with the correct information." His eyes darted between the two sitting in front of him. "I will need the exact date, time, location, and appearance of the demon. Do you have anything of hers? It would make it easier."
Buffy looked at Spike but already knew the answer.
"No." Spike replied to the glare from Buffy. "Should I pickpocket everyone I meet?!"
Buffy ignored him.
"Do you have the other information?" Norman asked looking more comfortable now that no one was threatening him.
"Spike?" Buffy prodded.
"Her name is Melanie. I have the date and place but that's about it."
"You don't remember anything else?" Buffy's tone was deadly.
"I was drunk!" He yelled defensively. "You were there too, don't you remember?!"
"I wasn't there!"
"You were there right before she was!"
"I didn't exactly look at a clock!"
"Neither did I!"
"I'm afraid I can't do it without all the information. Tomorrow-" Norman stopped himself short when Spike glared at him.
"Great." Anger bubbled up in Buffy. She was so sure that they would be able to get out of there. Now their plans were ruined all because Spike was drunk and she didn't know she was supposed to look at a clock. "So we're here tonight for nothing? What are we supposed to do Spike? This was supposed to work and I was supposed to be home by now! Now where are we supposed to go? We have nowhere to stay!" They had already left the Moore's house and it didn't seem like Norman would be willing to let them stay, especially after Spike's threat. She was not going to sleep on the street.
"Calm down slayer." Spike ignored Buffy's tirade as thoughts popped into his head. He knew he'd end up being more realistic than Buffy about their plan not working like they thought it would. He wasn't about to spaz out because all the ducks didn't line up. "We still have each other, right love?"
Instead of trying to comfort her more, he took a moment to consider another option. If they had the information Norman wanted, they could probably bring someone else back. He had no one who would care but Buffy provided options. Bringing Buffy back would be no help, obviously, and they wouldn't be able to do anything. But maybe one of her friends could. Red was a witch, she could probably work on something. That or one of the slayer's other little friends could. "Norman, could we use the spell to bring back someone else and send them back?"
"What are you thinking Spike?" Buffy asked before he could answer.
"One of your Scoobies ought to know something. Get one of them working on it."
"Anya." Buffy said with sudden realization wanting to hit herself. "Anya! Norman, could that spell work on an ex-vengeance demon?"
"It should work the same, though I'd need all the information or something from her possession."
"I have all the info. Won't be a problem." Buffy smiled and breathed out a sigh of relief. Anya would help them out. She knew everything about vengeance demons.
"Wait, that bird is alive now as a vengeance demon right? You sure you'll get the one who knows us?"
"It should work as long as the information is correct." Norman said, starting to straighten in his chair.
"It will be, just let me think. It'll be easy. She's basically always with Xander or working at the magic shop. I just have to think."
"I must collect a few things from inside the council for the spell." Norman said getting up and walking over to the wall covered in books.
"Do you want us to come with you?" Buffy asked standing up and putting her tea on the table.
"No." Norman said holding up a hand. "I mean no offense but a vampire has never stepped foot in the council and come out alive and I don't plan on ruining that tradition."
"Spike can stay here, can't you Spike? I've never actually been in the council before." Buffy said looking at the wall, not seeing how Spike knew it was behind there.
"Forgive me, but I don't wish to leave a vampire alone in my home."
"Alright." Buffy said with a slight pout.
"Now if you could turn, I would appreciate it." Both Spike and Buffy rolled their eyes simultaneously as they looked away from Norman. He pulled at a book and the two could hear a door sliding open. Turning around they could see a hidden doorway now open to a hallway leading to the council. "I'll be back in a few moments." With that he turned and left the two in the room alone.
"How'd you know about that wall?" Buffy asked Spike looking at it, not seeing it.
"Scuff marks on the floor." Spike said pulling out a cigarette.
"Don't smoke in here." Buffy said grumpily walking over to her chair and slumping into it. She really did want to see the inside of the council.
"Why not?" Spike asked with his cigarette in his mouth starting to light it with his silver lighter.
"You don't know if he smokes. He might not like it."
"It's the 1800s, everyone smokes." Spike took a drag from the cigarette and held it in his lungs.
"Well then I don't like it." Buffy said crossing her arms and leaning away from him.
"Well then good thing I don't care what you like." Spike said blowing the smoke into the air. A small scoff left his lips when he looked over the chair Norman had just been siting.
"What?" Buffy asked.
"Norman took the stake. Thinks I'm gonna come after him." He said with a smile. Frightening people was too fun.
"Well you did threaten him." Buffy said leaning her head back. She was too excited to care about anything Spike had to say. Anya would come and she would help and everything would be fine. If anything at least her friends would know what happened. There was some hope after all.
"Told him the truth." Puffs of smoke followed his words.
"You were really going to watch him sleep all night?"
"Like a fly on the wall."
"Yeah, that's not creepy."
"Not like I haven't done it before."
"I don't want to know."
"Not in a weird way! Like a hunter, watching its prey."
"Stupid bint." Spike mumbled under his breath.
"What did you just say?" Buffy stirred in her chair ready to punch him across the jaw.
"What are you gonna do when you get back?"
She was taken aback by his question. "What do you mean?"
"What's the first thing you're going to do when you get back home?"
"Do you care?"
"No. Just trying to be civil." Or just trying to avoid getting punched across the face.
"And calling me a bint was civil?"
"Answer the bloody question."
"Alright. First thing I'm going to do is…take a shower. Definitely take a shower."
"Sounds nice. I might join you in that."
"Not what I meant. But at least we know I haven't lost my charm." He licked his bottom lip as he moved his eyes over the slayer's body.
"Ha! Don't make me laugh." She did chuckle a bit and Spike took another drag.
"Then what will you do?" He wasn't sure why he was asking at this point. He already made her laugh so she probably wasn't going to hit him but his curiosity got the better of him. They had spent far too much time together the past few days and for those days he knew what she was doing and where she was every moment. Not knowing seemed odd. He knew he wouldn't be doing anything of importance so he might as well figure out where she was going to be.
"A movie night with Dawn and my mom under a nice warm blanket. Popcorn definitely. And maybe hot chocolate." Buffy smiled at the thought of it all. It included everything she'd been missing; her family, modern food, modern technology, her home, and warmth. Warmth was quickly jumping to the number one spot on her list as she leaned further towards the fire.
"Ooh, Joyce makes the best hot chocolate."
"Yeah thanks for making that weird."
"What? I like your mum. She's a proper woman."
"Thanks I guess." Buffy still didn't know how to respond to him when he talked like that. She still wasn't sure if he meant that in a 'your mom is nice' way or a 'your mom would be a nice dinner' way. "How bout you? I mean besides the blood in the microwave thing? Which ew, by the way."
"I haven't decided. Probably drink any memory of this away."
Spike took another drag from the cigarette. It wasn't untrue. He knew he would probably go straight to a bottle in his crypt, fight off any vamps that tried to move in while he was gone, and sit in front of the TV. There really wasn't a point to doing anything else and he didn't need to think about what had happened. The trip had been hell. He'd gone back to his human life, saw it all first hand and relived every nightmare, and all with Buffy continuously at his side, nagging in his ear. What could be a worse hell? He was sure that's why he wanted to forget it. Not at all because he felt the sliver of enjoyment and that scared him into wanting to forget.
"You don't want to remember any of it?"
The truth was, that wasn't the true answer. Yes, living continuously with Spike in a place she didn't know where she didn't have modern technology was terrible but there was still something she wanted to hold onto. She met a wonderful family and even managed to have some normal family fun with them. Not to mention the other side of Spike she saw. It wasn't only the human version of him, the William version, but it was the way he had acted. She had thought it was weird at first and she did keep her eye on it but now she realized she didn't want to forget it. She could never and would never tell Spike but he did teach her something about vampires. They were more complex than she had realized. Not complex enough to warrant her mercy when they killed but still, it was good insight.
Another small silence loomed over them but not for long because they soon heard Norman enter through the hallway again and back into the room. In his arms were multiple jars of various things, a few feathers, some green looking wood, a bowl, and a book. Buffy jumped up and grabbed the book and bowl from his hands before they dropped.
"Thank you." Norman said. "Clear off the table please." Spike looked up to see Buffy's hands full and groaned as he cleared it off and moved all contents to the floor while holding what was left of his cigarette in his mouth. Norman moved all objects in his hands onto the table and sat down in his chair opening the book before him. Neither Buffy nor Spike spoke to him as he moved about putting items into the bowl in known measured amounts. When finished he looked up at them both with an expectant face. "Are you ready to get started then?"
"Yes." Buffy nodded thinking through the time and day she would know where Anya was. It would be easy to get her on a work day, which was every day the shop was open. They had been sent back on October 24, 2000 and Anya had been working earlier that day. It would be easy to pluck her out from then. Anya never missed a day to make money.
"All I need is something from your time period and I can begin."
"You could have said that earlier." Spike said thinking about the fire he started earlier and putting out his cigarette on the side of the table.
"Spike, give him one of your cigarettes."
"No good pet. Won them in a card game, they're not modern."
"Give him your lighter then." Pure terror shone across Spike's face as he jumped up from his chair.
"My lighter?! Are you daft?! No!"
"It's either that or your jacket Spike."
"No. You are not getting either of those things. Those things are not for magic. No."
"Come on Spike, don't make me take it from you."
"No." Buffy came rushing over to him and he jumped to the side getting a glimpse of the back of her head. When she turned he quickly reached behind her and pulled the bow out of her hair made from her old shirt. "Here. Use this." She looked at him with a frown but took it from him anyway.
"Here." She said to Norman who took it.
"Thank you. Now sit opposite me, take this feather-" He handed her one of the black feathers, "-and tell me the exact date and time and where we are picking this demon up from." Buffy did as she was told and sat in the opposite chair that Spike had originally been sitting.
"October 24th in the year 2000. Five in the afternoon. She'll be closing the magic shop and counting her money."
"Good now I need you to picture the demon."
"Anya is an ex demon." Buffy reminded him twirling the feather in her hand. It was a black feather, probably a raven if she remembered anything from Willow's magic making.
"No problem." He said gazing over the spell in the book. "Now you don't need to answer these questions out loud, just concentrate and close your eyes. I need you to picture Anya. Picture where she is at that exact time and date. What is she doing? Would she be smelling anything distinctive? Does she smell like anything distinctive? What are her surroundings? What is she wearing? What color is her hair? How long is it? What color are her eyes? Does she have any jewelry? Is there anything distinctive about her? Concentrate on her and picture her completely in this place. See her there in front of you. Concentrate. Hold that image in your mind." Buffy nodded when the image of Anya counting money at the shop was fully in her head. Norman said some things in a language she didn't understand and she felt the feather heat up.
Spike watched as Norman read and added the ripped up piece of the shirt to the bowl, picking up his own feather. A small stream of green smoke started to curl and a stream of black smoke rose from the feather Buffy held. When the black smoke fell into the bowl and the spell completed a snapping noise filled the room. The smoke swirled together and streamed out from the bowl growing in Spike's direction. He moved out of the way to behind the chair Buffy was sitting and watched the green and black smoke create a cloud where Spike had originally been standing. Norman swished the feather over the bowl and with every movement the cloud grew bigger. Two female voices were heard coughing from the behind the smoke veil and as it cleared Buffy could see two distinct figures.
"Buffy?" Anya coughed out as the smoke cleared more. Now Buffy could see the two figures clearly. They both looked exactly like Anya; the one Buffy knew and one dressed in a Victorian style outfit. Oh No. She had had enough of doppelgangers for one trip.