|Story Title:||Miles To Go Before I Sleep|
Dancing in the Moonlight
Injected with poison from Warren’s Glargabullgashmanick demon, Buffy loses herself in a place she feels safe: in a life from a dream.
Click here to view history timeline and key dates.
Music Referenced: Dancing in the Moonlight, King Harvest http://youtu.be/VvtsGa96LaI and Blue Danube Waltz http://youtu.be/zXpbcDGPmbs
Some Screencaps courtesy of Broken Innocence (others from ScreenCap Paradise which is, sadly, no more). http://broken-innocence.net/index2.html and also from BuffyWorld.com
|Thanks:||Giant thanks to Anona for betaing this chapter, including her grammatical and punctuation corrections, wonderful commentary, and final review. Also thanks to Capella42 for her insightful suggestions that made the whole story better and epd4 for her help with the initial beta. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.|
|Rating / Warnings:||
NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes, and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY.
Buffy's Hallucination World:
Sitting with Annie having tea on her bed, Buffy touched a finger gently to her bandaged wound and a sharp pain shot up her arm. She’d lost her Slayer power and her Slayer healing when she'd come back in time – Rack had tapped it all for his time-travel spell, but she’d gained William and gotten her family back. That was the only thing that mattered.
“Father said it was quite serious and will take some time to heal,” Anne told her as she sat on the bed next to Buffy and nibbled on a biscuit.
Buffy nodded and gave her daughter a small smile. “I hope by the time you’re old enough to go on dates … uhhh, I mean go courting, that someone will have come to their senses and outlawed crinolines … and long skirts, for that matter. They’re totally dangerous.”
Anne laughed. Her new mother said some of the queerest things. She still missed her real mother, Cecily, and would always love her, but she also loved Elizabeth. It felt like she’d known her all her life, even though she’d only been here for a little over a year. Her father had explained long ago that Elizabeth had such funny ideas and used unfamiliar words because she was from America. Anne had oft told anyone that would listen that she’d like to see America one day; it must be quite a strange and wondrous land.
Despite knowing that her father loved her ‘real’ mother, Anne wasn’t blind. She knew that he loved Elizabeth every bit as much. In truth, she had never seen her father happier. So, despite the whirlwind romance and improper marriage, she and Bess accepted his new bride as their mother. Yes, they got ridiculed at school over it and they’d even lost some friends because other parents forbade their children from socializing with the Weckerlys. All that was a small price to pay to feel the joy that seemed to resonate from the very walls of their house since Elizabeth came to live with them, though.
Buffy sipped at the tea and nibbled on the crunchy, sweet biscuits that Anne had brought her. She still felt a bit unsettled about her nightmare, but didn’t let on to the girl about it. Those dreams always felt so real and, even if she couldn’t remember exactly what had happened in them, the feelings they stirred stayed with her, haunted her, sometimes for many hours after she awoke.
“Well, it appears your patient is much improved,” William observed as he came in the room. “I knew your tea would work wonders on her.”
Anne smiled proudly before popping the last bit of biscuit into her mouth. “She’s much better, Father.”
“Splendid, Anne. Why don’t you deliver the tray back down to Miss Nellie, then? I might’ve said to have her give you and Bess some biscuits, but it appears you’ve already partaken.”
“Mother said I could have some,” Anne defended as she got up off the bed and gathered up the tea cups and saucers and put them back on the tray.
“Indeed. And I’m certain that wasn’t your plan all along,” William teased his eldest girl.
“She’s no dummy,” Buffy interjected, giving Anne a conspiratorial smile.
“Of that, I am quite certain,” William agreed.
“Shall I bring you anything else, Mother?” Anne asked, neither confirming nor denying his accusation.
“No, honey – I’m fine. Thank you. The tea was perfect. I really am feeling much better,” Buffy assured her with a smile.
Anne smiled and headed out of the room, closing the door behind her.
Buffy looked up at her husband and her smile faded immediately. “Please tell me I didn’t do that,” she pleaded as he moved over and sat on the bed next to her.
The whole left side of his face was swollen, including his eye, and a dark purple bruise bloomed angrily on his jaw.
William removed his glasses and set them down on the bedside table. “It was my fault, dear. Don’t worry yourself over it. I believe it’s quite rakish, don’t you think?” he asked, lifting his chin and turning his face so she could get the full effect.
Buffy shook her head but smiled slightly. “How is me punching you your fault?” She couldn’t actually remember why she’d punched him. She remembered being dizzy and disoriented. She thought she’d seen a demon … but of course, that was ridiculous. This wasn’t Sunnydale. It must’ve been her mind playing tricks on her, perhaps from the loss of blood.
William shrugged slightly. “Well, obviously, I should not have had my face in the path of your fist, my dear. I do hope I didn’t injure your hand too severely.”
Buffy laughed and rolled her eyes as she clenched and unclenched her right hand. She hadn’t actually noticed that her knuckles were a little bruised and swollen. Funny how a jagged, bone-deep cut can overshadow things like that. “Sooo, rakish, huh? Is that like … a thug or something? Are you a bad boy, William?” Buffy teased.
William wagged his brows at her suggestively and Buffy laughed again.
“Why, William! I do believe I’ve completely corrupted you and sullied your good name and reputation,” Buffy continued to tease, batting her lashes at him coquettishly. “Whatever shall we do?”
William smiled, despite the pain in his jaw, and bit down on his bottom lip. He’d been so worried about her, but she was alright. His devilish angel was fine. “Have you ever had relations with a ruffian, my dear Avengelyne?”
“Hmmmm … I can’t say that I have, William. Just who did you have in mind? Mr. Portsworth, the fish monger, perhaps?”
William blew out an insulted snort and narrowed his eyes at her. “You, my love, will pay dearly for that tawdry remark.”
When William left her alone to get some rest, Buffy retrieved her diary from where she kept it hidden in the bottom drawer of her dresser and opened it up. She’d found that sometimes writing out what she could remember of her dreams helped her shake the feelings they left within her. She usually only did this when William was at work or when she knew he was occupied in his study. She didn’t want him to ever read her entries – ever. There were things in here he should never know.
Buffy scanned through the hand-written pages, observing with some satisfaction how much better she’d gotten at writing with these horrid fountain pens since she’d started this. She wondered how long it would be before Mr. Bic or Mr. PaperMate invented ball point pens; she wished it would be soon. Her scrawl still looked like a child’s compared to William’s elegant script; even Anne’s writing looked neater. She didn’t know how they kept those pens from leaking huge stains of ink onto the paper like they always seemed to do with her.
She turned to the very first page of the leather-bound book and read…
December 31st, 1891:
I’ve confiscated this blank journal from William’s study. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind, but I didn’t ask permission. I feel like I’m losing my mind, unable to talk to anyone about the truth of me. So, Dear Diary, you are my only confidant … I hope you can keep me sane. I told William I would stay. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him the truth: that my time here was short – or so Rack had told me. I’ve been here two weeks now. Rack said twenty-four hours at the most. I feel like any moment I’ll simply vanish and be dragged back to the life of my nightmares. A life without Spike. Without my family. Without my friends. I wait for it like a terminal patient waits for death, with resigned dread, never knowing when that final moment will come.
I showed William what true love can be and he reminded me what it was to feel at all, but now I am nothing. I’m a nursemaid awaiting the birth of his baby. I live under his roof, but he barely looks at me, he can’t touch me, we can’t be together. Not that he doesn’t want to – oh, he wants to, so do I, but Cecily…Cecily would know. She didn’t even flinch when she saw me. She just gave me that plastic smile and said it was nice to meet me. It was like she’d been expecting me to arrive, just waiting to rub my nose in her victory.
She’s so fucking smug. I want to slap that ‘he’s mine you’ll never have him’ look right off her face. Fucking bitch. I’ll show her who’ll have him. Just like her future self, she probably thinks I won’t kill her just because she’s human. She has no idea what I’ve become, what I’m capable of. She has no idea what she’s turned me into. When William, Jr. is born, her usefulness will be over and I’ll have my own vengeance. I could never tell William, he must never know, but she will die by my hand. This I swear.
January 1st, 1892:
That bitch seduced him last night! And she had the fucking gall to tell me all about it this morning! We both keep playing this game, like we don’t know each other; like we don’t know the truth of the past, but she doesn’t fool me one bit. She knows and she knows that I know that she knows … or something like that.
I did my best to not show any emotion as she confided in me, pretending I was her bestest friend in the whole, wide world. She told me all about her magical New Year’s Eve with William, from the party at her parents’ house to screwing him like the skank-ho she is. I had hoped that she was lying to me, just goading me, trying to hurt me more or get a rise out of me, but I knew as soon as I saw William this morning. He couldn’t meet my eyes for even a second. It was true. I hope she couldn’t hear my heart shatter from across the room. I would never want to give her the satisfaction of knowing how much that hurt.
William sat next to me in the garden later. He knew that I knew. He seemed so upset that it hurt my soul. I told him I forgave him. In truth, what do I have to forgive? She is his wife. I am nothing. I have no right to be jealous of him sleeping with his own wife. It’s ridiculous! So why am I so fucking mad? Why am I so hurt? Why do I want to kill Cecily right this minute and not wait one more day? I have to be patient. Bide my time. Someone once said that revenge is a dish best served cold. Now that I think about it, I think it’s an old Klingon saying – isn’t it? God – now I’m quoting Klingons! Well, assuming that’s true, then mine will be like a snow-cone. I’ll get my revenge and it’ll be sweet and icy.
January 5th, 1892:
FINALLY! I thought this day would never get here! I was so afraid I’d be yanked away from this time at the last minute, not able to complete my mission. But it’s over and I’m still here, at least for now. The midwife left us alone to take the baby and get him cleaned up. That was all the chance I needed.
Cecily was tired, exhausted really, from birthing MY SON, but she still had that smug look on her face. That look damn sure changed when I pressed the pillow down and suffocated her. She never saw it coming. She didn’t think I’d do it. She’s such a self-centered idiot. Her sneer was gone when I took the pillow away. Fucking bitch wouldn’t be ruining anyone else’s life, that’s for damn sure.
I hope William isn’t too devastated. I don’t want him to hurt another moment, but Cecily would only keep on hurting him for the rest of his life. I won’t let that happen. He may send me away, but at least I know that he’s safe now. Even if he doesn’t want me, he can find someone to love him, someone that deserves him. He can be happy.
I’m not going to tell him about the baby we made that night in the bandstand. Not until I know if he still wants me. I will not have him say the words only because he feels obligated. He’s in the lead; I’ll follow. I pray that he loves me, but, honestly, I don’t know. He hasn’t said the words since that night in the Common. He hasn’t touched me since the second night I spent in this house when he stole a kiss in the dark hallway before hurrying to his room. That seems like a lifetime ago.
Now all I can do is wait. I don’t do wait well. C’mon, William… please don’t make me wait long.
January 6th, 1892:
I want to sing from the mountaintops! HE LOVES ME! HE LOVES ME! HE LOVES ME! And I didn’t have to wait at all!
Buffy smiled at the words. She’d used a full page to write just that one entry. The rest of her entries were mostly notes about her dreams and nightmares. By getting them out of her mind and onto the paper, it seemed to ease her distress over them. She flipped to the first blank page and wrote the date: February 14th, 1893.
“Annie’s birthday,” she murmured, feeling her heart constrict in her chest. She shook her head. Annie was gone. She had Anne now. Anne and Bess and William, Jr. and Wanda. And William. Her first family was long gone – Hallie took them, but Buffy took them back from Cecily. It had been over a year now. The fear that she’d simply vaporize one day, that she’d be hurtled back to the future, had slowly waned as each day passed. All that was left of that old life were the nightmares. Buffy began to write … get it out, ease her heart, let the nightmares of her old life go – they weren't real; they were only the whisperings of long-dead ghosts.
A few days later, on a Saturday in the early afternoon, Buffy came home from a shopping trip in a righteous mood. Her arm was getting better; it had gotten a small infection at first, but it wasn’t bad and had cleared up fairly quickly. Now it was healing well, although she was sure she’d always have a nasty scar. She sat her purchases down near the base of the stairs and went into the library to find William.
“Did you know about this?” she asked without preamble, waving a newspaper around in the air.
“Good afternoon, dear. Did you have a nice time at the shops?” William asked, looking up from his work.
“Don’t ‘good afternoon’ me! Did you know about this? The Arsenaults are having a big party tonight and we weren’t invited! We live right next door!” Buffy pointed out unnecessarily. “I just talked to that … that woman yesterday. I’ve been nothing but nice to her! I even helped her that time her mean, little, rat-faced boy got stuck up in that tree! I’m good enough for that but they can’t invite us to their stupid party?” Buffy dropped the paper on the desk in front of William and crossed her arms over her chest indignantly, her lips set in a dour frown.
“I take baths! So do you! We don’t smell! We even eat with silverware and I know which fork is for the salad and everything. It’s not fair,” she whined as her bottom lip stuck out in a deadly pout.
William sighed and scanned the society column that told of the upcoming party. “My dear Avengelyne, you must know that we are … social lepers. I warned you of this before we were wed. I’m dreadfully sorry,” William apologized, standing up and moving around the desk to her side.
“Well, last I looked, I don’t have any body parts falling off,” Buffy groused. “I have all those beautiful dresses you bought me and I never get to wear them anywhere. Is there a social leper colony we could join … you know, just for the music and dancing?”
William pulled her into a hug as he sighed heavily. He really didn’t care about what other people thought of him, but he hated that they shunned his angel as well. She didn’t deserve their snide remarks and cold shoulders.
Buffy leaned into him and let out a frustrated breath. It felt good to be in his arms. That made everything so much better, even social leprosy.
Suddenly, William pushed her back to arm’s length, a giddy glint in his eye and a self-satisfied smirk on his lips.
“Uht-oh … I know that look.”
“Get dressed, my dear. We will be attending a gala ball this evening. Wear your very best gown. In fact, everyone’s invited. Cassandra, Miss Nellie, Theresa … and the children as well!” William enthused.
“What? William, what are you going to do?” Buffy asked warily as he began moving away from her and towards the door. “We aren’t crashing their party ... are we?” Buffy actually liked the idea of crashing the stuck-up neighbors’ party, but didn’t think that would help their social standing any.
“No time to dawdle now!” William advised, ignoring her question. “I’ve a few things to take care of. You tell everyone – eight p.m. sharp in the back garden and no peeking beforehand! Have them wear their nicest frocks. Of course, their husbands or beaus are invited, as well,” he called over his shoulder as he started out of the library at a quick pace and towards the front door.
“William!” Buffy called, hoisting her skirt and starting after him, but it was too late. He had already grabbed his coat and was gone.
“Hmph …” Buffy snorted softly. “Ok … fine, Master William. You want fancy, you’re gonna get fancy.”
There was a flurry of activity in the house after William left as Buffy told everyone of the impromptu party. Everyone began talking at once, wondering just what William was up to. The mystery of it just added to their excitement, however, as they all began their preparations for the private, fancy dress ball. Buffy went around to every room that faced the back garden and pulled the shades and closed the drapes. She could hear voices in the garden and things being brought in, but she didn’t peek and defied anyone else to look before the 8pm witching hour.
Buffy got a bath and Theresa helped her dress before the house-maid headed to her own home to get ready. Theresa was older than Cassandra, close to thirty, about Buffy’s age, Buffy guessed. Unlike Cassandra, she was soft spoken and her accent, according to William, was ‘North London’: not as refined as his Oxford accent or as thick as Cassandra’s. Theresa had a heavy, wild mane of brunette hair that she attempted to tame each and every day. It never worked. Each day, by noon at the latest, it escaped the pins and combs that held it atop her head and tumbled about her shoulders in defiance, as if it had a mind of its own. She had large, soft, warm eyes the color of dark cocoa that always seemed to be glittering with some joke only she knew. Her dark eyes were set off by her creamy complexion that held a smattering of dark freckles across her nose and the apples of her cheeks. Buffy had learned that she was married, but didn’t have any children, and that she’d only worked for the Weckerly household for a short time – only about a year and a half.
William had brought her in mainly to help Nellie, who was getting on in age and couldn’t get around like she once did. Now, Nellie concentrated strictly on cooking and taking care of the kitchen, while Theresa handled keeping the rest of the house in order. Buffy watched her work every day and could never figure out how women got the moniker of the ‘weaker sex’. Housework in Victorian times, Buffy discovered, was hard work! Buffy would’ve had no idea how to do half the things Theresa did and, without her Slayer strength, was frankly glad she didn’t have to.
The house-maid spent her days hauling the rugs outside and beating them into submission … or perhaps she was beating the dirt of out them, Buffy wasn’t sure. She cleaned the ash from the fireplaces and woodstoves every day and brought in more firewood … which would be turned into ash, which would start the process all over the following day. And who could forget ‘washing day’!? Washing day was actually two days – one for clothing and one for linens, and that didn’t include the diapers, which were Cassandra’s responsibility. All the washing was done by hand in wooden barrels and tubs. The water had to be hauled from the well to the wash-shed in buckets. It was then heated over a fire in a large, cast-iron cauldron. Finally, it was poured up into a wash-tub and the ‘agitation’ was done by Theresa – by hand. Then, to top it all off, after the laundry had been washed, rinsed, hung up to dry, and taken in, it had to be ironed with a heavy iron … literally made of iron, which was heated on the woodstove. Buffy thought the house-maid could most likely out arm-wrestle her, and she wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that whacker she used on the rugs. Babe Ruth had nothing on that woman’s swing.
To Buffy’s credit, she did suggest that perhaps they could pipe water to the wash-shed, as they’d done for the WCs in the house, so Theresa wouldn’t have to carry the water by hand. She also checked on getting a washing machine, but was disappointed when no one knew what she was talking about. No one knew what a vacuum cleaner was either – despite Buffy remembering to call it by its proper name: Hoover.
While Theresa helped Buffy get dressed, Cassandra helped Anne and Bess. The girls picked out their favorite fancy dresses, and Cassandra got them all gussied up, including fixing their hair up atop their heads like proper ladies. When they were ready, looking like little angels, the nursemaid retired to her own room. By 7:30 everyone except Cassandra and William were dressed and gathered in the front parlour, awaiting the appointed hour to arrive. Buffy assumed hostess responsibilities and was serving everyone libations as they waited and chatted amiably amongst themselves.
William finally came in the house at about 7:45. He looked like he’d been doing manual labor. His hair appeared windblown, despite a lack of wind today. Buffy knew he must’ve been running his hands through it constantly to get it that mussed. Beyond his disheveled hair, his cheeks were flushed, his clothes were rather unkempt, and a thin bead of perspiration adorned his brow. Buffy had to smile at the sight of him; she’d never seen William look quite so much like a … stevedore.
“Ahhhh… don’t you all look exquisite!” William enthused as he entered the parlour. “I must apologize, the ball will be delayed just a wee bit whilst I change. I trust the refreshments are suitable.”
Everyone raised their glasses and nodded or murmured their agreement that the refreshments were more than suitable.
“Very well, then. I’ll just be a moment … or two,” William excused himself and hurried upstairs.
“Where’s Cassandra?” Buffy finally asked Anne.
Anne had a slightly pained expression on her face. “I don’t think she has anything to wear … nothing suitable for a fancy-dress ball.”
“Oh … why didn’t she say something? I have lots of dresses that would fit her.”
Anne shrugged. “I think perhaps she was embarrassed.”
“Oh, that’s ridiculous,” Buffy asserted as she lifted her long skirt, turned abruptly, and headed determinedly towards the stairs.
She paused next to Nellie, who was talking with Theresa and her husband. “Miss Nellie, I hate to ask, but could you make sure everyone’s glass is filled for a few minutes? I just need to check on Cassandra,” Buffy asked the cook.
“No problem a’tall, Miss Elizabeth,” Nellie agreed with a nod.
Upstairs, Buffy quickly went through her wardrobe and picked out a dress she knew would look lovely on the young blonde nursemaid. It was a long-sleeved, soft, pastel-pink, silken gown with dark-plum lace covering the bodice. It was cut low enough to be slightly revealing, but not so low that it was improper. The bustle was made from rich layers of the silk and lace, alternating light and dark, and fell in graceful tiers down the back of the skirt. It would highlight Cassandra’s light complexion perfectly. Buffy took the dress from her closet, hurried down to the second floor, and knocked on the girl’s door.
After a few moments, Cassandra opened the door, still dressed in her work uniform. Her eyes were reddened and damp, as if she’d been crying.
“Is vere somefing a’ matter, milady?” she asked in her thick Cockney drawl, looking down the hall towards the nursery. “Didn’ ‘ear the babies pipin’.”
“Yes, there most definitely is!” Buffy informed her, holding the dress out. “You aren’t dressed!”
Cassandra looked at the dress for a moment as if she’d never seen such a thing before, then looked up and met Buffy’s eyes. “But … I wouldn’t dare, milady. It’s … Vat’s as lovely a name as I’d ever ‘ope t’ see, but … ‘tis yours. Well beyond me station, it ‘tis.”
Buffy stared at her with confusion, her brows furrowed. Half the things Cassandra said were gibberish to Buffy; usually William or Nellie was there to help decipher the girl’s Cockney colloquialisms. Finally, Buffy just forged ahead. “I’m not giving it to you – you can borrow it, though. Just think of me as your fairy god-mother. But Cinderella better hurry before the carriage turns into a pumpkin and the horses turn back into rats.”
A disbelieving smile curled the corners of the young woman’s lips and her dark blue eyes sparkled as if stars had been dropped into them. She opened her mouth to speak, but was, quite literally, speechless. It was possibly a first.
“Don’t talk. Dress,” Buffy instructed, pressing the gown into the nursemaid’s hands.
Cassandra nodded eagerly as she took it. “Yes, milady.”
At about 8:30 William reappeared in the parlour, dressed for the ball. The breath actually caught in Buffy’s throat when she saw him. He looked, well, dashing.
He was dressed in a black tuxedo: a well tailored, quite tight tuxedo that definitely accentuated his assets. The jacket had long tails down the back, but the front was cut short, ending at his waist. Beneath the jacket, he had on a hand-embroidered waistcoat, which was white with shiny silver stitching that ran in random swirling pattern over the whole of it. A white bow-tie encircled the high, white collar of his dress shirt, and the ensemble was finished off with white gloves, form-fitting black trousers, and black dress shoes.
William hadn’t really had time to focus on Buffy’s attire before when he’d dashed in, upset with himself for being tardy for his own gala. But now he took a moment to really center on his wife. Her auburn red hair was piled high upon her head and she had on a small black hat sitting atop that mountain of fire. A few ringlets hung free and framed her face; she seemed to glow from within.
Her dress was made of crushed black velvet. It was long-sleeved with a square neckline that went just low enough to make him wish it was a couple of inches lower, but that wouldn’t have been proper. The front of her dress shimmered with dozens of hand-embroidered roses. The embroidery combined white Brussels lace with the rich black velvet of the dress and looked three-dimensional. More fine lace adorned the collar, sleeves, and neckline, and formed a dust ruffle on the bottom of the floor-length dress. Her small waist was accentuated by a tight bodice that made it appear as though she was wearing an open vest over the top of the lace. A full bustle at the back was layered with more of the lace and velvet. The final touches were lacy black gloves and a white fan that matched the lace of her dress.
Buffy flipped the fan open and peeked over it at him, fluttering it quickly. He could see a flirty smile in her eyes, even though he couldn’t actually see her lips. He couldn’t help but think of later that night when he got to unwrap that delectable morsel from her fancy trappings.
William cleared his throat as he pulled his mind back to the moment and everyone turned to look at him. “I’m terribly pleased that you could all make it on such short notice. I know it was quite … improper, however I do believe I’ve gotten quite practiced at improper of late. I do hope you don’t mind too terribly,” William began as he moved towards Buffy.
“Without further ado, please let me welcome you to our garden gala,” he continued as he offered Buffy his arm and she settled her hand in the crook of his elbow.
The pair walked towards the set of double doors at the back of the parlour that led out into the back garden. William threw them both open with a flourish before offering his arm to his wife again and escorting her into their transformed garden.
Buffy drew in a surprised gasp at the sight that greeted them. The whole garden was aglow with small Japanese lanterns within which burned flickering candles. It gave the whole area an otherworldly feel, as if they had just been transported halfway around the globe to the Orient. Even the small fish pond in the center had lanterns floating in it and the light danced as it reflected off the still water. Off to one side there was a buffet table set up with all manner of fancy French hors d'oeuvres, another table held nothing but desserts, and yet another held liquid refreshments. A wooden dance floor had been erected near the back of the garden on the side of the yard next to the Arsenaults and they could easily hear the music from the quartet playing next door.
“I do apologize for not having servers. It was simply impossible on such short notice. But please do help yourselves to all the refreshments,” William invited as he and Buffy turned to welcome their guests to his garden gala.
Everyone ‘oooo’d and ‘ahhhh’d at the decorations and thanked their host for the gracious invitation. As they passed the couple and made their way into the garden, the guests assured him that, no, of course, it was no problem to serve themselves.
When everyone had passed, Buffy turned to William and put her arms around his neck. “How did you do all this so fast?”
William shrugged slightly. “Apparently our shillings are not as socially reprehensible as we are.
“Does it please you?” he asked, looking into her green eyes, which glittered in the flickering glow of the candles.
“It’s beautiful. Yes … it pleases me very much,” Buffy assured him. “And might I say how debonair you look, Mr. Weckerly.”
William blushed slightly at the compliment, ducking his head shyly as the old William snuck out of hiding for a moment. “And you, my dear Mrs. Weckerly, look simply ravishing. That gown is divine and you make it all the more splendid.”
“Oh! This old thing?” Buffy teased as she backed up and lifted the full skirt out to the sides with her hands and gave a small curtsy.
William smiled at her, the mischief and laughter in her eyes warmed his heart. That something as simple as an impromptu soirée for just their family and household staff could please her so much was just one of the many things that he loved about his angel.
Borrowed music from the ball next door drifted over the garden walls and William extended a hand towards her. “May I have this dance, milady?”
“Are you certain it would be proper?” Buffy teased.
“With you, my dear, I’m quite certain that it would not,” William assured her.
Buffy tilted her head to the side and gave him a slight nod. “In that case, I accept.”
Elizabeth and William were the first ones on the dance floor. The Blue Danube floated on the breeze and William led her in a slow waltz around the small floor. Buffy remembered dancing this same dance with Spike – thank goodness he’d taught her all these old dances! Soon Theresa and her husband, Darryl, joined them on the floor, then Nellie led Anne out, and Cassandra brought Bess, and the whole group waltzed ‘round and ‘round in the soft glow of the candlelight.
Since she hadn’t planned on attending and therefore didn’t tell him about it, Cassandra’s beau, Richard, showed up a bit later. Between dances, conversations infused with laughter filled the back garden as the small group crossed all of society’s boundaries and simply enjoyed each other’s company. Buffy had never met Richard or Darryl before and she was amazed to learn that Cassandra’s beau was a ‘knocker-up’.
“You … knock people up?” Buffy asked with shock, looking from Richard to Cassandra.
“Aye – near ‘bouts a hundred a day,” he’d replied proudly.
“A hundred … a day?” Buffy choked out with wide eyes.
“’Course, that’s jus’ in d’ mornin’. Drive a hansom cab of d’ evenin’,” he continued brightly.
Buffy started at him blankly for a few moments. “I find that … incredible. W-what do you eat?”
“Eat?” Richard asked, confused. “Bangers and mash, fish n’ chips … simple fare.”
“And you knock up a hundred women a day? And then … drive people around at night?” she asked skeptically. “No oysters or …” She was going to ask about Viagra, but was fairly certain if there were no washing machines, ballpoint pens, or Hoovers, then there certainly was no Viagra.
“Oh, no,” he interrupted her thoughts – waving a hand dismissively. “Only a few women, I’d reckon – mostly men that work in the factories in Manchester.”
“Men? You knock up men? How…”
“Elizabeth,” William interrupted, moving over to her after he excused himself from a conversation with Darryl when he noticed her consternation. “A knocker-up taps on people’s windows to awaken them in the morning.”
Buffy looked at William with wide eyes, then back at Richard. She swallowed hard, trying to regain an air of nonchalance. “Oh. I knew that.” Note to self: invent alarm clock – make a million.
The dancing went well into the night. Buffy, Anne, and Bess took turns dancing with William. To say his dance card was full would’ve been an understatement, but he didn’t mind at all. Bess, being only five, didn’t actually know how to dance, so William lifted her up and twirled her around as he danced. She floated around the dance floor with him, giggling with glee. They’d never done anything like this before. It was the most fun ever.
When it was Anne’s turn, William guided her through the movements until she was following him easily. Buffy stood with her hands on Bess’ shoulders and watched them. The wide grin on Anne’s face was a mixture of nerves, excitement, and joy as she moved around the floor with her father. There was a periodic grimace on her face when she stepped on his toes, but William didn’t falter as they glided around, carried away on the river of borrowed music that drifted over from the neighbors.
Buffy felt a lump form in her throat and a strange stabbing in her heart as she watched them smiling and dancing. Tears welled in her eyes and she suddenly found it hard to breathe. At first she couldn’t understand the strange feelings, then the horrible nightmare she’d had the night she’d cut her arm came flooding back to her.
It was just a dream, it was just a dream, she repeated to herself, but the swell of emotion rising in her wouldn’t abate. She bit her lip to keep her chin from quivering as she watched Anne waltzing with her father. One … two, three, one … two, three.
“Mother? Is something the matter?” Bess asked looking up at her with confusion. “Are you not having a good time?”
Buffy looked down and gave the small blonde a forced smile as she willed the memory of the painful dream back to the deepest recesses of her mind. “I’m having a wonderful time. Everything’s … everything’s perfect,” she assured the child just as the music stopped.
William escorted Anne off the dance floor, stopping in front of Buffy and Bess. “My turn!” Bess exclaimed, raising her arms for him to pick her up.
“There’s no music, darling,” William pointed out. “And I believe it’s your mother’s turn next.”
Bess’ lip poked out in a classic Summers pout. “But then it’s mine turn after Mother,” she claimed, not wanting to lose her place on his dance card.
“Yes. I do promise you another dance, but first I believe some refreshment is in order. I don’t believe I’ve ever danced quite so much,” William admitted.
When the girls nodded and scampered off to find something to eat and drink, Buffy gave William a teasing smile. “I hope you won’t be too tired for our own private dance later,” she whispered to him.
William ran his tongue over his lips and smirked back at her. “Never too tired for that, Avengelyne.”
The French hors d'oeuvres had been consumed by the guests with zeal, as had the sweets that William had secured for the occasion. A fair amount of imbibing of wines and cordials took place over the course of the night, as well. William was quite certain that his improper gathering had been much more interesting and lively than the tedious, but quite proper, gala ball that took place next door.
But now the garden was dark, empty, and silent. The candles had all burned out, there was no music drifting on the breeze, and all their guests had either gone home or were tucked into their beds upstairs. It was just Elizabeth and William left outside, sitting on one of the benches in the moonlit back garden.
“Did you have a good time this evening?” William asked as Buffy leaned against him and he tucked her under his arm.
“Mmm-hmm. It was the best, William. Nearly perfect,” Buffy assured him. “There was one thing missing that would’ve made it completely perfect.”
William’s brow furrowed in concern. “Servers?” he wondered.
Buffy laughed. “No, not servers,” she clarified as she pulled away and stood up. “Dance with me,” she requested, extending her hand to him.
William look confused. “There’s no music,” he pointed out.
Buffy just inclined her head towards the dance floor and extended her arm a bit further.
William shrugged slightly, taking her hand, then followed her onto the dance floor.
“This is a new dance,” she told him as she pressed her body against his and wrapped her arms around his neck. “You put your arms around me,” she instructed. “It’s very slow and you just move a little bit, like this,” she continued as she began moving her feet and turning them in a slow circle.
“And what do you call this dance without music?” William wondered.
“Oh … there’s music! Can’t you hear it?” Buffy wondered as she began to hum – then sing softly.
“♫ We get it on most every night, when that moon is big and bright. It’s a supernatural delight, everybody’s dancing in the moonlight. Do-do-do-do-do… ♫
“♫ Dancing in the moonlight, everybody's feeling warm and bright. It's such a fine and natural sight, everybody's dancing in the moonlight. Do-do-do-do-do-do…♫”
William smiled and wrapped his arms more tightly around her as she melted into him and they swayed under the moon to her scandalous song. He never knew what his angel would come out with next. He looked forward to hearing every song that she held in her heart, seeing every smile that graced her lips, and ducking every indignant huff when she was told by some poor sod that she couldn’t do something. That it wasn’t proper. It wasn’t ladylike. It just wasn’t done. William wanted nothing more than to experience all that and more; not just today or tomorrow, but for the rest his life – the rest of eternity if possible.
“♫ We like our fun and we never fight, you can't dance and stay uptight. It's a supernatural delight. Everybody was dancing in the moonlight … Dancin’ in the moonlight, do-do-do-do, feeling warm and bright …♫”
When Buffy ran out of verses that she could remember, she just hummed as they kept dancing. William picked the tune up with her, adding his baritone to her Victorian version of karaoke.
After a few more minutes in her arms, William suddenly stopped moving and pulled back to look into her eyes. “You are the most amazing woman, Avengelyne,” he whispered to her before dipping his head and brushing his mouth against hers.
Buffy moaned and nibbled at his lips lightly before pressing her lips against his and darting her tongue into his mouth. He tasted of sugary petit fours and brandy and desire. “Make love to me, William,” she breathed against his lips as she ran her hand over his chest lightly.
William recaptured her lips and pulled her body tightly against his, his all too conspicuous erection pressing hard against her hip. When the kiss broke, he took her hand and began leading her back towards the house, but she pulled back and stood firm.
When he turned, silently questioning her with just his eyes, Buffy shook her head. “No – here. In the moonlight. Make love to me here.”
William swallowed hard as his eyes darted up and around, looking at all the dark windows above them that could see into their garden. “But…” he began to object, waving a hand at the neighboring houses as well as their own.
Buffy stepped back up to him. “Unwrap me in the moonlight, William. I want to feel you touching me here, under the stars. I want to feel the moonbeams caressing my skin. Lay me down in the cool grass and make me burn.”
What was there to say to that invitation? Even if William had been able to form words, there was no riposte to that. He wondered briefly if he’d be fired from the university if he were to be arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior, dragged out of his own back garden, and tossed in with the harlots and tramps. He didn’t think about it long, however – about as long as it took Buffy to run her hand down from his chest to the bulge in his trousers.
He grabbed the hand that was groping him and pulled her over towards the wild cherry tree in the corner of the garden. It would at least give some small amount of cover from insomniacs who may hazard a glance down into their sanctuary.
This time the dance of disrobement wasn’t slow and gentle, but more frantic. William had longed to feel her skin under his palms this whole night and now that need had turned into an urgent, burning desire. In order to feel her skin, however, the first things that had to go were his gloves. And Buffy followed suit, pulling her gloves off as well, and dropping them onto the lawn at their feet. Then it was a hurried scramble for buttons and hooks and ties. There was a gallant battle with the layers of clothing interspersed with kisses and nibbles of heated flesh as it was revealed, bit by naughty bit, to the moonlight.
At last, their clothes lay in heaps on the dew-covered grass; the only things left were Buffy’s hat and the pins in her hair. As William reached for the hat, Buffy stopped him, placing both hands on his hard chest and holding him at arm’s length. He paused and met her gaze, then watched as she backed up another pace from him, into the full glow of the moon above. Her body seemed to shimmer in the soft light. Her creamy skin drank in the moonbeams and reflected them back like a star glittering in the night sky. It was where his angel belonged, he knew – in the heavens. He never went a day without thanking all that was good and holy for bringing her to him and allowing this goddess to walk at his side, here among the mortals on earth.
Buffy slowly lifted her arms and pulled the pins out that were holding her hat on, then tossed it to the side with the rest of her clothes as William watched, enraptured. Then she set to removing all the pins and combs that held her long, fiery mane atop her head. When her soft tresses cascaded down like flashes of flickering flames and washed over her shoulders, William drew in a sharp breath. She was radiant … effulgent.
Buffy held her hand out to him, encouraging him to move out from under the canopy of the tree and into the light of the moon with her. He swallowed hard and took two steps forward. He could no longer see the dark windows of the houses above them. All he could see was this beauty that stood before him, unabashed, unafraid, uninhibited. This angel who had taught him so much, who had, in fact, shown him what true love was and what it meant to be a man, beckoned him and he could not refuse her allure.
“You grow more lovely by the day, Avengelyne,” he murmured to her as he took her hand and stepped up close enough that her breasts touched his chest.
Buffy clasped her hands on each side of his face as she rose up on her toes and captured his lips with hers. She never got tired of feeling his lips on her, of tasting him, of seeing his desire for her standing hard and proud, of hearing his voice calling her name, of stifling his cries with her own. Her core ached for him to be inside her – she’d longed for him all day, all night. She longed for him every day, to be honest. But this night, seeing him in his finery, watching him move and dance as his tuxedo hugged his body, her desire was even stronger, burning like a bonfire within her.
William wrapped his arms around her and ran his hands lightly up and down the soft skin of her back, exploring every dip and rise of her body as they kissed. The passion she raised in him made him feel like an animal, a beast. Not long ago he would’ve been ashamed to admit such a thing, but his angel had been the one to show him the primal lust that lurked just beneath the surface. She’d been the one to bring it out of him and she was not ashamed, so he embraced it, gave in to it, let himself ‘just be’.
William pushed her down onto the soft, thick mat of grass at their feet and Buffy went without hesitation. When he grabbed her hips and flipped her over onto hands and knees, she felt the flames within her fan higher. And suddenly, he was inside her, filling her, fucking her tight, wet pussy with the power that she loved. Buffy dropped down from her hands to her elbows on the grass as William held her hips in his hands and slammed into her from behind. The animal was free – she’d given him the key to his own cage and welcomed his feral desire into the light. There was no place for shame, only for pleasure, for them both.
Buffy’s long mane of copper-red hair danced in the moonlight as it fell over the ivory skin of her back and shoulders. William reached one hand out to tangle in its softness. He loved the way it felt against his skin, like silken sunshine. Her body moved with him under the night sky, pressing back against him as he thrust forward. He craved her passion like he craved air to breathe – it was more than a desire, it was a burning need, and she filled it time and time again.
Wave after wave of pleasure washed through Buffy’s body as William pounded into her, each thrust harder than the one before. She bit down on her forearm to keep from screaming out lest the dark windows above them open their sleepy eyes. She felt his fingers tangle in her hair and she lifted her head away from her arm to bathe him in her tresses. When he reached around her, slid a finger between her folds and touched her clit, Buffy’s body jerked and bucked against him. The bonfire within her exploded in a fiery eruption of ecstasy.
William fought against his own need to call her name to the heavens, to howl at the moon, to announce his bliss to the whole world. How could she bring this out in him so easily? His whole body thrummed and tingled as her pussy tightened and pulled him deeper into her wet heat. He was certain that even the goddess Aphrodite could not hold a candle to his earth angel – she was perfection personified. Her lust, her passion, her humor, her kind heart, her dangerous pouts … her love. She meant the world to him. He could deny her nothing; he would never even try.
William felt her body convulse under him, could hear her muffled cries as she came and he slammed into her harder, lifting her on the moonbeams, allowing her to soar and glide through her old home among the gods for as long as he could. Buffy dropped her upper body and head down, and screamed against the cool grass and earth below her. She couldn’t hold it in – if she did, the fire would surely consume her.
With a final, savage thrust into her, William’s cum exploded out of his quivering, spent body and filled her. He leaned forward and buried his own loud moans of pleasure against her back as his cock surged and throbbed within her heat, draining him.
When her husband released his tight hold on her and pulled away, Buffy collapsed down onto the cool grass and rolled onto her back, her arms and legs splayed haphazardly on the lawn. She was sure she could hear steam hissing from under her where her hot flesh hit the dew-covered blades of rye-grass that served as their bed.
William moved up next to her on hands and knees. She was resplendent in the moonlight. Why had she not shown this to him before? Her damp skin glowed and shimmered in the soft, white light that shone down on her from the heavens. Her breasts heaved and swayed as she fought to get air back into her body, the muscles of her stomach and legs still trembled slightly from the exertion and pleasure of her orgasm. She was dazzling.
William dropped his mouth down and began to kiss her heated flesh, causing new rivers of chill-bumps to spring up and tingle over her soft, creamy skin. He suddenly felt the need to kiss every inch of her, to lick every drop of perspiration from her body, and to taste his essence mingled with hers.
“You are an angel, Avengelyne. A true gift from the gods,” he murmured to her as his mouth moved steadily over her quivering flesh.
His lips and tongue whispered over her skin and Buffy moaned her approval as she tangled her hands in his soft, curly hair. Her body still thrummed from her orgasm, blood still rushed passionately through her veins, her womanhood still tingled with desire. Instead of all those things slowing and calming, William’s mouth, tongue, and now hands were revving them up again. Her heart pounded feverishly in her chest, her breaths came fast and shallow, and her vagina pulsed with renewed need.
“William … so good,” Buffy moaned and he licked and kissed and caressed her body. “Love you so much.”
William smiled, rose up, and moved to capture her lips with his. “And I love you more than you could ever know,” he whispered against her lips between soft kisses.
Buffy began running her hands over her body, across her stomach, up to the swell of her breasts to her hard nipples. When she came in contact with William’s strong arm that he was using to support himself over her, she trailed her hand up and teased her fingers over his shoulder and down his back to the curve of his ass, giving it a firm squeeze.
“Make me cum, William,” Buffy begged as he resumed his mission to kiss every inch of her skin.
“Your wish, milady, is my command,” William murmured against her skin as he moved down her body.
William settled between her legs and laid his body down on the cool grass. He lifted her legs up and draped them over his shoulders, opening her glistening flower to him.
His own heart raced in his chest in anticipation of tasting his own juices mingled with hers, but he didn’t want to rush this … he wanted to savor it. He took a deep, calming breath and looked up at the dark windows that surrounded their back garden. If anyone looked out of those windows, what would they think? Before Avengelyne, if he had looked out and seen such a sight, what would he have done? Fainted dead away? Stood, transfixed, and watched? Closed the blinds and left the couple to their tawdry dance? Called the Constable and reported the barbaric behavior?
He smiled to himself and shook his head. The former was most likely what he would’ve done – fainted dead away; although the latter would’ve been the proper course of action, and he was a proper gentleman to be sure. After all, having vulgarians living next door would most certainly lower the property values of the whole neighborhood.
Buffy lifted one foot up and dropped her heel down in the middle of his back between his shoulder blades – hard, pulling William from his musings. “What are you doing? I’m pretty sure sex via mental telepathy doesn’t really get the job done, William.”
“My apologies … you are simply divine, my darling,” William explained as he wriggled around and tried to push his shoulder blades together and ease the pain she’d imparted on his mid-back with her heel. “I was completely lost in the beauty of you.”
“Uh-huh …” Buffy agreed sarcastically. “That’s why you were looking up at the … Oh God!”
William smirked as he twirled his tongue around her clit again and flicked it over the hard nub, the tip of his tongue just barely touching the bundle of nerves. There was one way to get her to stop talking … one sure way. William moaned against her as he tickled his tongue down from her clit to her dripping hole. His tongue darted out and tasted the slickness that covered her.
Their juices mingled together into a salty, tangy manna that he loved. The feel, the flavor, the sensation of it made his cock jump again. Before his angel, he’d only known one woman intimately: his wife, Cecily. She was cold and distant and they rarely made love. She would never, ever have allowed such a wanton display of debauchery. Never. The pleasures that his fallen angel had shown him over the last year had amazed and astonished him … and at times embarrassed him, truth be told. But she had been encouraging and passionate and she wanted him. Carnally. He’d fallen in love with her that very first night and that love had only grown with each passing day.
William dipped his tongue into her deeply, burying his face in her damp folds and Buffy’s hips jerked up against him. Her hands teased her sensitive nipples as he licked and slurped their slick, decadent dew from her chalice.
“Yes … William … more, baby,” Buffy urged him as her hands wandered down her body, momentarily tangling in his curls, then back up again. And he gave her more.
He slipped a slender finger down her slit and found her aching clitoris, and Buffy’s back arched up off the soft grass. She had to press her arm over her mouth to keep her cries contained within the garden walls.
“Yes … yes … yes …” she moaned as her hips bucked against him. She could feel the heat rising again from her loins, creeping up her body, ready to explode at any moment. She used her free hand to twist and pull her hard nipples, and the fire jumped and surged within her further. Then William moved his mouth back to her clit and sucked down on it hard, nibbling with his teeth and flicking his tongue against it rapidly.
Words lost all meaning as Buffy’s body convulsed under him. Bright colors pulsed behind her closed eyelids, her toes curled, and her legs quivered, jumped, and spasmed with every touch of his tongue to her clit. The fire within her raged as if blown by the Santa Ana winds across a parched landscape – leaving nothing in its wake but burnt embers and billowing ashes.
William knew he had taken her there as her body tightened and her muffled cries vibrated through her, unable to escape past her arm. Feeling her under him, tasting her like this, made his own need rise within him again with an urgency and passion he’d never felt with anyone but Avengelyne.
Before Buffy could even come down from her orgasm, her arm that was stifling her cries was yanked away from her mouth and replaced with William’s lips. She could feel his body moving against hers – hard and hot and damp from the dew on the grass and their exertion. She wrapped her legs around his slim hips and welcomed his hardness into her. William fought to go slow this time, to watch her face as he entered her. It was when she was the most beautiful: in those moments when he was pressing in, when she was welcoming him into her with love and desire.
He pulled back from the kiss and his angel opened her loving eyes and gazed up at him. The moonbeams seemed to have dropped stars into those emerald pools and they sparkled with joy. He could easily get lost in those eyes … drown in them for all eternity. His angel gasped when he pushed in, and then her moan seemed to come as a purr from deep within her body, perhaps from her very soul. She wrapped her arms around his back and lifted her hips up slowly to meet his.
William’s blue eyes gazed down on her with so much love, so much reverence and awe that Buffy wondered if there was someone else he was seeing – surely all that couldn’t be for her. She bit her lip as a joyous smile graced her lips as she realized that yes, it really was for her. He showered her with passion and deep, abiding love as he pressed into her. His blue eyes danced with devotion and tenderness as he stared down on her, transfixed. She could feel him stretching her, filling her, completing her, as his cock slid in. Then, when he was buried to the root, the tip of his cock pressing against her cervix, he stopped moving.
Buffy took a breath and let it out slowly as she savored every emotion, every sensation that he was pouring over her. She lifted her head up until her mouth was next to his ear and whispered, “Make love to me, William.”
And there was the angel inside the woman. William’s heart soared. There was no denying that he craved the frantic, animalistic, primal sex they often had, but he dearly adored making love to her. Soft, sweet, slow, sensual love.
William dipped his head down and brushed a kiss on her lips as he started moving his hips, pulling out just as slowly and deliberately as he’d pressed in. He kept his eyes locked onto hers, drinking in the beauty of her as they made love on the lawn of the back garden in the moonlight. Nothing could’ve been more perfect.
William couldn’t wipe the school-boy grin off his face even if he’d wanted to as he climbed into their bed and pulled the quilt up to cover their bare bodies later that night. The sun would be up soon, he knew. He'd left a note for Nellie to not wake them for breakfast, simply saying that they would join the family for tea later in the day.
He spooned against his wife’s back and she wriggled back against his body. They fit together like pieces of a puzzle, as if they were made for each other. William nuzzled against her neck, burying his face in her fiery mane and breathing in the scent of her. He could never get enough of that heavenly aroma, never get enough of her soft skin, her supple body pressed against him … never get enough of her.
Buffy pulled one of his arms over her body and intertwined her fingers with his as she cuddled back against him and sighed happily. Her eyes fluttered closed, but the contented smile never faded, even as she drifted towards sleep.
“I love you, William,” she whispered in a sleepy voice, giving his hand a squeeze.
Spike turned on his side and cuddled against the undulating wall of the demon-octopus’ stomach. The acidic bile that it secreted seared his face and lips, producing angry, red craters in his flesh, but he didn’t notice. He was far, far away from there.
“And I love you, Avengelyne,” he murmured, nuzzling against the nape of his angel’s neck, as his own eyes drooped and contented exhaustion overtook them both.
Author's End Notes:
Next we'll find out how the Scoobies, and the Weckerly children, including Annie, are doing back in Sunnydale. Will they be able to capture the demon and create an antidote for Buffy? Will Buffy fight the 'cure' to stay with William and the idyllic life they've conjured to escape their pain?
A Knocker-up was a profession in England and Ireland that started during and lasted well into the Industrial Revolution, before alarm clocks were affordable or reliable. A knocker-up’s job was to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time. The knocker-up often used a long and light stick (often bamboo) to reach windows on higher floors. In return, the knocker-up would be paid a few pence a week for this job. The knocker-up would not leave a client’s window until they were assured the client had been awoken. This all leads to the obvious question: who knocks up the knocker-up?
Dancing in the Moonlight, King Harvest
We get it on most every night
When that moon is big and bright
It's a supernatural delight
Everybody's dancing in the moonlight
here is out of sight
Dancing in the moonlight
We like our fun and we never fight
Dancing in the moonlight
We get it on most every night
Dancing in the moonlight
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