Alternate Universe: Unexpected
Story Title: Everything I Own

Chapter Title:


Billy, Don't be a Hero

Chapter Summary:


Buffy has put herself at the mercy of Rack … will he do as she asked and send her back in time or steal her power and leave her wrung out?  If he can get her back to 1880 and she can find William and Cecily – what will she do then? Can she follow her heart’s desire and kill the ex-demon, the human Cecily … again?


Time line:

January, 2010



Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004

The twins (Danielle, "Dani" and William, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004.

Annie was born on February 14th, 1999

Spike and Buffy  were married in  February 1999

Buffy was born January 19th, 1981

William/Spike was turned by Dru in 1880; first came to Sunnydale in September of 1997


All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.

Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions and got the memories from the 'Rome' Universe in May, 2003.



Music Referenced:

Billy, Don’t Be a Hero


ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:


Thanks: Thanks so much to Paganbaby for her continued support and wonderful ideas. I especially needed her help with this story because of the complexity of it! {{Thanks PB!}}

Special thanks also to 'u2fan2005' and 'epd4' for their suggestions, corrections, and help betaing this chapter!! I really appreciate them filling in for Pagan for this story!

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.


January 15th, 2010:


Suddenly, all the lights and sounds stopped swirling around Buffy (or was she swirling around them?) and she felt herself falling again. She looked around but couldn’t see anything – it was just complete darkness around her now, she couldn’t even tell if she was falling down or falling up or maybe she wasn’t falling at all…


Buffy searched in vain for some way back to where she’d been before; back to that feeling, that euphoria and peaceful blissfulness that she’d been engulfed in – back to the magick.  That feeling was gone, along with the music and the colors, and its absence hurt mentally and physically.


As she was trying to figure out what was happening and a way back, she was suddenly blinded by a bright flash of white light and found her answer about which way she was falling when she landed with a thud on something cold and hard.  Buffy’s eyes were closed, first against the blinding light that had flashed, then from the pain that radiated out from her lungs when the air was knocked out of her from the hard and unexpected landing.  It's not the fall that'll kill ya, it's the landing. She laid perfectly still for a couple of minutes, trying to breathe, trying to get the pain to stop … then she realized, she must be in limbo! Somehow the Grim Reaper or the PTB or whoever had found out she'd cheated them and they'd come for her.


Buffy forced her eyes open, wrapping her arms around her burning ribs and tried to get up in case someone had re-stocked the spider population. But, instead of the cold, red, dry sand of limbo, Buffy was met with grey clouds above and white snow beneath her …


Where the hell am I? she thought as she gathered some of the snow in her hand and looked at it like it would answer her question.


“I dare say! No one has any morals any longer! What is this world coming to?” Buffy heard a woman’s voice behind her.  Buffy sat up slowly and looked in the direction of the voice. There were two women standing on a sidewalk behind her gawking at her. They were both dressed in long dresses and hats and carried umbrellas - they clutched heavy capes around their shoulders against the cold wind and looked down their noses at Buffy as she sat on the cold, damp ground.


 “Where am I?” Buffy asked them, stumbling up to her feet.


“Dear Lord … she’s a lunatic!” the second woman exclaimed.


“No doubt escaped from Bedlam,” the first woman added.


“Just tell me where I am,” Buffy requested, brushing what snow hadn’t yet melted from her jeans and t-shirt.


“You, my dear, are in Clapham Common! And we don’t tolerate such … such obscene and vulgar behavior in these parts!” the second woman informed Buffy.


“Have you ever seen the like?” the first woman asked the second as the two women turned and started walking away.


“Never in all my days…” the second agreed. “I believe we should complain to the constable – something really must be done about these vagrants and tramps. Soon, they’ll be at our doorsteps, luring our husbands into debauchery.”


Buffy snorted. “If your husbands are so easy to lure, maybe you should look closer to home for the problem!” she called after them, but they ignored her and just kept walking.


Buffy sighed and looked around. He actually did it! Buffy thought as she watched the few people that were walking across the Common cut her a wide berth.  Buffy looked down at her clothes … she hadn’t really thought of that when she’d embarked on this journey – she should’ve worn something that would allow her to blend in.  She didn’t even have any money … at least not what would be considered money in 1880 London, to buy new clothes.  She not only didn’t blend in, but she was starting to freeze … who knew it got so cold in London!?


Buffy wrapped her arms around her torso and decided that her first course of action would be to find some suitable clothes before she got hauled off to Bedlam.  She looked around the large park and saw the steeple of a large church … surely they would have some proper clothes for a poor, American derelict to wear…


 Buffy opened the front door of the church and stepped inside. Candles burned near the altar at the front and there were a couple of people in the pews too lost in their own troubles to notice her.  She scanned the various doors around the edge of the main hall and finally picked one, pretty much at random, to try – it turned out to be a kitchen.  A middle-aged woman was sitting on a bench at a long, wooden table peeling potatoes – she looked up when Buffy entered and simply stopped and stared at the strange sight before her.


“Ummm…hi!” Buffy greeted the woman brightly. “I … ummm, I need some help. Someone, uh … stole my clothes and I was wondering if maybe you might have some that I could … uhhhh … you know, maybe borrow for a while,” Buffy stammered, trying to look lost and damsely … the lost wasn’t so hard, but she’d never done damsely very well.


“Where are you from, child?” the woman asked, finally getting over the shock of seeing a young girl dressed so … inappropriately.


“Sunny … America,” Buffy amended. “You know, the colonies?”


“Indeed … I have a sister that lives in Philadelphia,” the woman offered, setting her work to the side and wiping her hands on her apron. “I must say I’ve never seen her dressed so … oddly.”


Buffy shook her head and tried to look innocent. “Oh, it’s not what you think, honestly – I just got here and the … airlin …errrr … ship, lost my luggage and this is just all I could find …” Buffy stammered, trying to think of something plausible to explain her attire. “One of the sailors gave them to me … it’s … it’s what all the fashionable sailors wear these days.”


“I thought someone stole your clothes …” the woman questioned the change in Buffy’s story.


“They did! They did! Someone stole my clothes when I was in the shower and then the ship lost the rest of my luggage … it was kind of a double-whammy,” Buffy rolled her eyes mentally, but gave the woman as innocent a smile as she could muster.


“You poor dear! That must have been terribly traumatic! Are you sure you’re alright? Shall I call for the doctor?”


“No … no doctor. I’m fine, I just need some clothes so I can, you know, get home without  … ummm, causing a scene,” Buffy assured the woman.


“Certainly, dear child. We have some clothes for the poor and indigent here in the back, I’m sure we can find something for you,” the woman offered, turning and starting towards a door that led to a small storage room at the back of the church.


“Do you have far to travel?” the woman asked as she looked through the clothes for something Buffy could wear.


“Uh, I don’t exactly know – I’m looking for the Weckerlys … William Weckerly. Do you know him?” Buffy asked.


“Oh, of course! William’s such a fine, sweet boy. So devoted to family and community …” the woman acknowledged as she held a dress up to Buffy’s shoulders.


Tears stung Buffy’s eyes and she blinked them back.  In any time, William … Spike, was above everything else, devoted to his family.


“Yes…” Buffy agreed quietly as the woman checked the dress for fit.


“This will work, I think, my dear,” the woman told her, handing Buffy the floor length, fairly simple, black cotton dress, a white apron to go over it, a small crinoline, two petticoats, and a corset.  Buffy took the items from her and the woman stepped out of the small room and pulled the door nearly closed to give Buffy privacy to change.


Buffy looked at the corset and crinoline and immediately decided that was totally not happening.


“How do you know the Weckerlys?” the woman asked from outside the door as Buffy was changing.


“Uhhh … William’s my …” Buffy desperately wanted to say ‘husband’ and it nearly fell off her tongue, but knew that would just require more wriggling to get out of, so she changed it to, “uncle,” at the last moment.


“Uncle!? William has no nieces,” the woman stated suspiciously.


Shit! “Did I say ‘uncle’? I meant …” Buffy tried to think if Spike’s mother or father had any siblings … she couldn’t remember … “cousin,” Buffy amended and held her breath for a retort.


“Oh! You must be Bess’s daughter. How is the poor dear doing?”


Buffy rolled her eyes and sighed … she forgot the cardinal rule of lying – keep things simple and don’t offer information that’s not necessary. “As well as can be expected,” Buffy hedged, pulling the dress on over her jeans and t-shirt, just in case she needed to make a speedy exit at some point during her stay.


“Well, you tell her we’re all praying for her. God works in mysterious ways,” the woman offered sincerely just as Buffy opened the door.


Buffy looked at the woman closely, her brows furrowed in thought. “Wanda?” Buffy questioned.


The older woman smiled and tilted her head in puzzlement. “How did you know my name, dear child?”


Buffy’s jaw dropped open for a moment as she studied the woman’s face … it was Wanda. The same Wanda that she’d just talked to in the hospital yesterday – in 2010, the same Wanda that was in New York and at the B&B and at the hospital when the twins were born… But this Wanda didn’t seem to know her.


“I’m just good with names … it’s a gift,” Buffy said uncertainly.


“Can you direct me to William’s house? I’m sure they must be getting worried about me …” Buffy asked as Wanda handed her a ruffled, white hat and Buffy pulled it on, covering some of her auburn-red hair.


“Certainly, child – follow me and I’ll show you the way …” Wanda offered, leading Buffy out of the church by a side door.  Once outside Wanda pointed to a street leading away from the church. “That’s Macaulay Road right there … just follow that down a wee bit … you’ll see their house on the left, dear. The name’s on the gate…


“By the way child, what’s your name?” Wanda asked, turning to Buffy.


“B … Elizabeth,” Buffy replied, hoping Wanda didn’t know Bess’s children’s names.


“Ahhh … after your mother – and just as lovely, I might add, now that you’re dressed properly,” Wanda remarked, brushing a bit of stray hair away from Buffy’s face. “Are you married, child?”


Buffy smiled softly. “Yes …”


“A good man, is he?” Wanda asked her.


“Yes, a very good man,” Buffy responded as tears stung her eyes.


“And why did he send you on this journey alone, child?” Wanda wondered.


“He … he came ahead – I’m supposed to meet him later,” Buffy explained, which wasn’t exactly a lie.


“Ahhh, well then – I know you’ll be a sight for sore eyes, child,” Wanda assured her.


Buffy looked away from Wanda as she blinked her tears back. “What if I’m not?” Buffy asked softly, lowering her gaze to the frozen ground below their feet.


Buffy remembered how much it hurt when Spike didn’t remember her after Dru put him under her thrall. She knew that seeing William and him loving Cecily and not knowing her would be like someone taking a dagger and twisting it in her heart, but she had no choice … unless she could find Cecily alone - perhaps she wouldn’t even have to see William at all.  The idea of that made her ache inside too, to be this close to him and not see him – she wasn’t sure if that would be better or worse.


“Just follow your heart, dear. The heart always knows what the mind cannot fathom,” Wanda assured her.


Buffy quickly wiped a tear from the corner of her eye before it fell and nodded. That advice sounded familiar.


“Your children are very lucky to have such a kind mother,” Buffy offered.


“Oh … all of God’s creatures are my children, as my husband and I have none of our own,” Wanda told her with a sad smile.


“Oh … I’m sorry,” Buffy apologized. Remove sock, insert foot.


“Don’t be, dear child. I know the Lord has a purpose for us all … he works in mysterious ways,” she repeated, laying a comforting hand on Buffy’s shoulder.


Buffy nodded and took a deep breath then she turned and looked down the street that Wanda had indicated. “This one?” she asked, changing the subject and pointing down Macaulay Road.


“Yes, dear … just a wee bit – not far at all,” Wanda agreed. “You’ll come back to see me – let me know how everything went, won’t you child?”


Buffy turned back and smiled through her tears. “Of course. Thank you for everything.”


“Bless you, child. God be with you,” Wanda offered, giving Buffy a motherly hug. “Everything will be fine – you’ll see. My father always said …”


“Everything will be fine in the end, if it’s not fine, it’s not the end,” Buffy filled in with a smile.


Wanda laughed and nodded.


Buffy touched Wanda’s arm gratefully before turning and starting to walk towards the road that held what was her last hope.


“Follow your heart,” Wanda called after her and Buffy nodded as she trudged through the wet snow, holding her skirt up out of the snow to keep it from getting any wetter than it already was.




The Weckerly’s home was a large Victorian (duh!) in the middle of the block, not far from the church. Buffy stood on the footpath and studied the house. There was a short, wrought-iron fence across the front near the street and a small garden with a large flowerbed on one side of the walk that led to the front door, and large tree on the other side. She wasn’t sure what kind of tree it was, but she’d seen them in the park, as well - it suddenly seemed important to know that - to know everything about this house, William's house. Buffy could imagine a lovely English garden growing in front of the house in the summer, perhaps some tea roses on the fence, and the tree shading a nice patch of green lawn, but now everything was brown and dead, covered in a light layer of snow. The house itself was three stories and painted in a muted violet with mauve and grey accents around the windows and doors.  There were window boxes under each window – but nothing was growing in them this time of year. Buffy wondered what they held in the summer … probably something that matched the color of the house … violets or pansies, perhaps. 


Buffy took a deep breath and refocused on the task at hand. She needed to try to find Cecily and get her alone and … grant her heart’s desire of killing the rat-skank. That was the goal – that was the mission, she needed to be all about the mission, not on memorizing everything she could about William’s childhood home.


Buffy opened the short gate and walked up the footpath to the double front doors of the large Victorian house and knocked using the knocker.  Buffy straightened her dress, smoothed her skirt and brushed her red hair back from her face, tucking what hung out of her hat behind her ears – then put on a smile and waited.


The door opened about a foot or so, but no one was there … What is it, haunted? Buffy thought with an eye roll.  She was just about to push the door open further when a familiar face peeped around the edge of the door and looked out with blue eyes that did belong to a ghost … the ghost of her daughter, Annie.


Buffy gasped audibly and the spinning sensation returned, but this time it was coming from within. “Annie…” Buffy whispered as the girl behind the door opened it further but didn’t move to invite Buffy in.


The girl before her was her daughter – only older, perhaps nine or ten. She had the same blue eyes, the same angelic bone structure of her father, the same long, dark, curly hair.


“May I help you, milady?” the girl asked with a refined, English accent that reminded her more of Giles than Spike.


Tears fell from Buffy’s eyes and she pulled the girl into a hug and began dropping kisses on the top of the child’s head … then Buffy saw another girl standing behind Annie … she was perhaps three years old with the blondest hair she’d seen since … Dani.


“Oh my God…” Buffy dropped down to her knees, never releasing Annie, and pulled the other girl into the hug, as well. Had Hallie changed the timeline completely? She was sure Dawn had told her the records showed Cecily and William were married in January of 1881 … and she wrote December of 1880 on the paper.  Buffy pushed her confusion away, choosing instead to let her heart embrace her daughters … Spike’s daughters, William’s daughters.


“What’re you girls doin’ out there? Anne! Bess! Close that bloody door! You’ll have us all with the winter death!” Buffy heard a woman’s voice call from another room.  Buffy stiffened and released the girls as she stood up and prepared herself to meet Cecily Addams or perhaps Anne Weckerly … but, instead the woman that came into view was an elderly, heavy-set woman with grey hair that Buffy was sure had at one time been red, dressed almost exactly like Buffy. She was wiping her hands on an apron and walking as fast as she could, which wasn’t very fast, across the parlour towards them.


“Come in and close that door, child!” the woman ordered with a scowl, waving one arm at the open door.  Buffy stepped all the way in and closed the door behind her as she wiped the tears from her eyes and the two girls moved away from her and back towards the older woman.


“Early, you are,” the woman informed Buffy. “Wasn’t supposed ta be ‘ere ‘til after Christmas …”


Buffy shook her head apologetically – she had no idea who the woman thought she was but at least she wasn’t being kicked out. “Sorry … I … I had a little trouble…” Buffy offered vaguely.


“No matter, then. I’m Elenoria … but everyone jus’ calls m’ Nellie,” the woman introduced herself, sounding very much like Eliza Doolittle at the beginning of My Fair Lady … very much like Spike.


“Elizabeth … everyone calls me Buffy,” Buffy offered with a smile, not sure whether to extend her hand or not; did Victorian women shake hands?  She really wanted to pull the woman into a hug – this was the famous Nellie … the candy-cane cookie making cook that Spike had told her about – the one that had left such a lasting impression on young William.


Buffy did her best to contain her excitement and clasped her hands in front of her to keep from doing anything embarrassing – at least until she found out who she was supposed to be.


“These ‘ere girls are Anne and Bess … but I reckon you’ve met them …”


“Yes … Anne and Bess,” Buffy repeated, making a note to not call the older girl Annie or the younger one Dani


“You’re from the Colonies …” Nellie observed.


“Yes…” Buffy agreed, trying to remember her rule of not offering extra information and keeping her lies simple.


“Came a long way fer a nursemaid job, ya’ did,” Nellie observed.


“You have no idea,” Buffy agreed.


Nursemaid? For a ten and a three year old? Buffy pondered, looking at the girls who were peeking out from behind Nellie at the strange American in their parlour.


“Don’t ya’ got no bags?” Nellie asked, looking behind Buffy.


“Uhhh … no, the ship lost them.  They … ummm, said they’d send them around when they found them,” Buffy offered.


Nellie shook her head in disgust. “I always say them contraptions will be the death of us all … If God intended us to cross the water, He’d a made it soin’s we could walk on it like ‘im,” Nellie pontificated before turning away from Buffy and heading back in the direction she’d come from with Anne and Bess at her heels.


Buffy shrugged and smiled. “Can’t argue with that…”


“Got sweet breads bakin’ … need to get back ‘fore they scorch,” Nellie explained, and Buffy followed the woman through the parlour into the kitchen.


“Candy-cane cooki … errr … biscuits?” Buffy asked with a smile.


“How did ya’ know that, child?” Nellie asked with a furrowed brow as she removed a pan of the sweet treats from the oven before adding more wood to the stove and stoking the fire.


“Lucky guess…” Buffy hedged, silently chastising herself for once again saying too much.


“Is William or Anne or Cecily at home?” Buffy asked as she fidgeted with her apron.


“Master William is at University … won’t be ‘ome for a couple a’ ‘ours yet …” Nellie started. “Lady Cecily is spending the day at the shops downtown …” Nellie provided. “And you done met Anne,” she added, waving her arm at Annie’s identical twin who was now sitting with Bess at the kitchen table.


“Oh … yes, I know – I meant William’s mother, Anne,” Buffy clarified.


Nellie looked at her with confusion. “Mama Anne died some years ago, child. Don’t that agency ever update their fancy papers?”


“Oh …” Buffy stammered, shaking her head. “I thought … ummm … How long have William and Cecily been married?”


“Nigh on ten years now,” Nellie confirmed.


“And … and who am I supposed to nursemaid for?” Buffy asked as her heart began to race and she felt her face flush, afraid that she already knew the answer. “Surely not Anne and Bess…”


“What’s got you all flustered, child?” Nellie asked, looking at Buffy with concern.


“Just tell me – who am I nurse-maiding?”


“The baby when it comes … I say it’s gonna be a boy this time, Lady Cecily’s carrying low – sure sign,” Nellie said with a knowing nod.


Buffy plopped down in a seat at the table with the girls. “Cecily’s pregnant now … with Billy,” Buffy muttered.


“You sure you’re alright, child?” Nellie asked with concern.


“Yeah … ummm … when is the baby due?”


“Lady Cecily’s due sometime after Christmas – I think it’ll be in January, m’self – boys like to keep their mum’s waitin’,” Nellie offered.


Buffy shook her head – this was wrong. The genealogy reports that Dawn found couldn’t have all been faked, could they? William and Cecily got married in 1881, in January.  Anne was born right at nine months later … then Elizabeth – Bess, then William was born in January of 1891 … he died at the end of World War I, he had only been seventeen.


“What…What year is it now?” Buffy asked Nellie.


Nellie looked at her with concern. What kind of lunatic had the agency sent them?


“Just … I know this sounds strange, but just tell me what year it is, please,” Buffy begged.


“1890 … December the fifteenth, 1890,” Nellie answered her.


Buffy closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Rack had sent her back to the right day, but the wrong year.


“Are you alright, Miss Buffy?” Anne asked her, laying a hand on Buffy’s arm.


Buffy opened her eyes and looked at what was rightfully her daughter, hers and Spike’s, and then over to Bess, who was also looking at her with concern.  They were both beautiful girls – just like Annie, just like she knew Dani would be one day. Tears rolled down Buffy’s face – she couldn’t stop them. Buffy bit her bottom lip to keep it from quivering and wrapped her arms around her body to try and keep her heart from being literally ripped out. Hallie had truly taken it all from her, her husband, her children, her whole life. Of course, she knew that already, but seeing it right in front of her – seeing her daughters in this world … it ripped the scabs from her wounds and made her heart ache; it completely crushed the wall she’d built around it with a single blow.


“I just … I think … ummm …maybe I’m just jet-lagged or ummm … boat-lagged, just really lagged,” Buffy stammered. “Maybe I could – ummm – is there a room where I can lay down a little while? I’m just really tired.”


Nellie showed Buffy to her room which was up on the second floor next to the nursery; Anne’s and Bess’s rooms were just down the hall.


“Ummm … is there a bathroom .. or .. ummm, a loo?” Buffy asked Nellie but got a blank stare. “Ummm … watercloset?” Buffy tried.


“Oh!” Nellie finally understood. “Certainly – we were one of the first on the street to have one! Now we’ve got two! Just this way …” Nellie indicated, taking her back downstairs and showing Buffy to the bathroom.


“Where’s the other one?” Buffy asked Nellie.


“On the third floor – but it’s just for Master William and Lady Cecily … you don’t need to go up there,” Nellie informed her. 


Buffy nodded and thanked her before stepping inside the small room – she finally understood why it was called a ‘water closet’ … it looked like it had been a closet at one time and was just big enough for a sink and a toilet.  Buffy wondered where they bathed, but shook it off – she wouldn’t be here that long, she hoped.


Buffy wandered around the first floor a while before heading back to her room on the second. She opened doors and peeked inside each one, just trying to take it all in. This was Spike’s home … William’s home. It was where he grew up, where his mother and father had lived, where he spent his most formative years and she wanted to see it all.


One room peaked her interest above the others – the library.  Buffy stepped in and closed the door behind her silently. She walked over to what she knew was William’s desk and found papers about different classes at London University: ‘Theatre Languages’, ‘Literature and Empire’, ‘Poetry and Justice’, ‘Shakespeare: Romance and Tragedy’. That confused her because she knew he had gone to Oxford, until she saw the name of the instructor for the classes … Professor William Weckerly.


“My warrior the professor … you’d never want anyone to know, would you?” Buffy whispered to herself. “I would never tell, Spike … don’t worry. Your image is safe with me.”


Buffy set the papers back on the desk and looked up at the bookshelves, filled to overflowing with old tomes. Her eyes were drawn to one particular set of books, though – Sir Thomas Hanmer’s “The Works of Shakespear” – his father’s volumes, the same edition Buffy had given Spike for Christmas … their last Christmas together. It seemed like another lifetime ago.  Buffy pulled the last book out and sat down at the desk with it. After several attempts to figure out how to use the pen and inkwell on the blotter, Buffy wrote inside the back cover of the book:


My dearest William,


I followed my heart to you and you completed my soul. I will follow you forever – to the depths of hell or heights of heaven, until the moon no longer follows the sun and the stars dwindle, one by one.  Always know, never doubt, that I love you with all my being and I will find you again one day.


Your loving wife,



December, 1890


Buffy blew on the ink until it dried, then put the book back on the shelf with the others. She wasn’t really sure why she even felt the need to do that – but somehow it made her heart feel better; it made her feel like, if nothing else, she’d connected with William … with the man.  Buffy thought back to the last time she’d been with Spike in limbo – William hadn’t been there, so devastated was the man over the actions of the demon, he’d fled to the deepest, darkest corner of his soul to find refuge. So buried was the man, that even the demon’s attempt to kill her didn’t bring him out of his hiding place. Spike had once told her that she’d never met William … but he had been wrong, William was never far below the surface and it was him that made Spike what he was … a good man, a strong man, a loving man … her man.


Buffy slipped out of the library and back up to her room and lay down on the bed.  It wasn’t the most comfortable thing she’d ever slept on, but it was dry and warm and she suddenly felt exhausted.   She’d rest just a while, then … then what? “Kill Hallie,” Buffy said to herself quietly. “Kill her ratty-skank-husband-and-family-stealing ass,” Buffy admonished herself.


Buffy felt like she’d just nodded off when she heard a soft knock on her door.  “Yes?” she asked, sitting up sleepily on the edge of the bed.


The handle moved and the door opened slowly. “We thought you might like tea,” Bess offered, holding a small tray with four of the candy-cane biscuits on it with both hands as Anne stood behind her with a saucer and cup of tea.


Buffy smiled and took the tray from her small hands and set it on the nightstand, then patted the bed next to her for the girls to sit down.  Anne sat the cup of tea next to the cookies and sat on the bed as Buffy helped Bess up.


“Thank you so much – that’s very sweet of you,” Buffy told the girls as they sat next to Buffy.


“Papa says sweets always make you feel better when you’re sad. Are you sad because you’re far from home?” Anne asked. 


“Yes, I’m very far from home and I miss my family very much,” Buffy agreed as she looked from one of the girls to the other. How Hallie had literally stolen their children was beyond Buffy, but she most certainly had.  


Buffy couldn’t help but notice the girls eyeing the tray of sweets, so she picked the tray up and offered them each a biscuit, which they both accepted eagerly and with wide smiles. Buffy took one, too – she suddenly felt like she was starving – she couldn’t recall when she’d last eaten. Oh yeah, hospital food the previous night … that seemed like a hundred years ago.  Note to self: Eat something that will stay with you longer than mushy peas, cardboard chicken, and rubberized Jell-O before embarking on time travel missions.


“What else does your Papa say?” Buffy asked as she nibbled on the biscuit, trying to make it last.


“He says he’s going to take us to France next summer to see the Eiffel Tower before they dismantle it!” Anne exclaimed with excitement. “He says it’s an ‘engineering wonder and a feat of human ingenuity’!”


“Really? Oh, that will be so much fun. Parlez vous francais?” Buffy asked, avoiding making any comment about not having to hurry on account of them dismantling it.


“Oui! Parlez-vous Français, aussi? Le papa m'a enseigné! Votre papa vous a-t-il enseigné, aussi? Viendrez-vous en France avec nous?” Anne replied enthusiastically.


“Uhhhh … oh, well that’s the only French I know … ‘parlez vous Francais’. I only parlez vous … English – American English mostly,” Buffy admitted.


Anne shrugged. “That’s alright, perhaps Papa can teach you, too! He’s an excellent teacher!”


Buffy laughed lightly, thinking of the six months Spike had tried to teach her Spanish during high school. All those words and rules and phrases simply vanished from her mind as soon as the test was over and she’d graduated. Then the scene from the first day she’d come back to the mansion after sending Angel to hell flashed through her mind. She’d demanded Spike teach her how to be slutty … Buffy’s smile widened and the room suddenly felt much warmer as those lessons replayed in her mind.


“He is a good teacher. Maybe … maybe I can learn French one day,” Buffy finally agreed, wiping a thin layer of perspiration from her brow with her hand.


“He says Mr. Retchford is a Bulgarian!” Bess supplied cheerily when the conversation lagged.


“Bess! That’s telling tales!” Anne scolded her sister.


“Is not – it’s true! Papa said that last night at supper!” Bess defended.


“It’s not to be repeated!” Anne informed her with a scowl.


“Is there something wrong with being a Bulgarian?” Buffy asked with confusion … were they at war with Bulgaria or something? From her vague memories of World History 101 at UC Sunnydale, England always seemed to be at war with someone…


Anne rolled her eyes and Buffy’s heart nearly jumped out of her chest, the girl looked and acted sooo much like Annie. “Vulgarian,” Anne clarified, putting emphasis on the “V”.


“Oh. Well, it’s ok, I won’t tell anyone,” Buffy assured them with a smile.


“My name is Elizabeth,” Bess offered, changing the subject. “Just like yours!”


“That’s right,” Buffy agreed.


“But they call me Bess – I wish I could be Buffy! I like Buffy better!” Bess told her with a smile as she popped the last bite of biscuit into her mouth.


“I like Bess … it’s a lovely name for a lovely girl,” Buffy countered with a smile.


“So … what time does your father get home?” Buffy asked, trying to sound nonchalant as she broke the last candy-cane in half and offered the two halves to the girls.


“Oh, he’s already been home … but he went out to meet mother for supper. They’re having supper out tonight,” Anne supplied, taking the proffered half of the sweet biscuit from Buffy’s hand.


“Oh…” Buffy said, showing more disappointment than she intended. “Well, I guess I can meet … them later, when they get in.”


“They’ll be late – they’re always late when they go out with the Retchfords,” Anne offered before finishing off the cookie.


“They’re going out with the vulgarian?” Buffy questioned.


Anne lowered her voice conspiratorially, “Confidentially, Papa says, if he wants a lectureship, then he has to ‘make nice with the Neanderthal,’” Anne clarified.


Buffy mouthed, ‘Oh’ and shook her head in understanding. Apparently, the vulgar Neanderthal was William’s boss at the university…


Buffy gave both girls a hug before they left with the empty tray.  Buffy sat in a chair by the window and drank the now cold tea as she looked outside at the street and footpath below. She could see the church where Wanda was in the distance and she thought of going back there for advice on what she should do next, but Wanda had already given Buffy her advice – follow your heart.


Buffy closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Ok heart, start talkin’,” she demanded.


Buffy tried to concentrate on what her heart was telling her to do and she started making a mental list, because honestly, written lists with that fountain pen thingy and the inkwell were just too hard to do.


What her heart really wanted was her family back … and her family was right here, or would be soon. William, Anne, Bess … and soon Billy would be here. All she had to do was wait for William, Jr. to be born, kill Hallie and take over. She could marry the widower Weckerly and have her family back.


Buffy shook her head as she thought about that idea. First of all, she didn’t know how long she could even stay in this time – Rack had told her twenty four hours at the most … not a lifetime. Second of all … as much as she loved William, William wasn’t Spike. Spike would never ‘make nice with the Neanderthal’ … he’d beat the shit out of him and take what he wanted – or at the very least, find some way to get the vulgarian fired … actually, Spike would probably be the vulgarian, so, he’d probably just buy the guy a pint and take him to a kitten poker game. And thirdly, Buffy had no desire to live in skirts and corsets, crinolines and petticoats or to have to put wood in a stove to make it work or go who knows where to get a hot shower … This wasn’t her time and William wasn’t the man … wasn’t the whole person, that she loved. Buffy needed the man, but she needed the demon, too – she needed Spike.


Her next thought was back to her original plan – kill Hallie. The only problem with that plan was Buffy hadn’t considered that Hallie would be nearly nine months pregnant at the time she’d made it.  Buffy wouldn’t just be killing Hallie, but also William’s son. Would she actually be able to do that?  Buffy shook her head … did that small detail really even matter? This wasn’t real … was it? These weren’t Cecily’s children, they were Buffy’s; they didn’t belong in this time in the first place. But what about William?  She’d be taking his son away and Buffy knew that losing a child would hurt William deeply, perhaps more than even losing his wife.  Was she prepared to be the one to stab a knife into William’s heart and make his soul bleed, just like the tribunal had done to him?


Buffy blinked back tears at the thought of hurting William that deeply.  Yes, his son died young, died in battle – another warrior, like his father and grandfather before him, but was it her place to cut that life down before it even had a chance?


Buffy screamed out in frustration and banged her fists against her thighs. Her heart had no answers for her. What was she supposed to do here?!


“Are you all right, child?” Buffy heard from outside her door – it was Nellie.


“Yes … yes, just saw a … rat,” Buffy called through the door.


“Vile, nasty vermin!” Nellie agreed. “I’ll get you a trap to set later. Come down for supper now – we’re eating in the kitchen tonight,” Nellie told her through the closed door.


“Ok … I’ll be right down,” Buffy called back, wiping the tears from her face and trying to compose herself. She hoped to God that they were having something she could stomach … no blood or liver sausage or haggis or jellied eels or any of the other weird things Spike had told her they used to eat…  She was starving, but she wasn’t sure she’d ever be hungry enough to eat jellied eels.


“Please…if there is a God, let it be something normal,” Buffy prayed before opening the door and heading downstairs.


Buffy was pleased to find that dinner was a cottage pie … nice and ‘normal’, with mashed potatoes, minced beef and other stew-like veggies layered in a deep pan and baked.  Buffy remembered her mom had always called it ‘shepherd’s pie’, but Nellie assured her that this was ‘cottage pie’, made with beef; shepherd’s pie was made with lamb.  Buffy let out a long, thankful sigh … she’d forgotten to add lamb to the list of things she would’ve preferred to not eat – maybe there was a God, after all.  Buffy was famished and ate more than her share of the cottage pie as she let Nellie and the girls control the dinner conversation and only spoke when spoken to directly, forcing herself to keep her answers short and simple. Buffy was again thankful at the end of the meal when the ‘afters’ came; she’d managed to save enough room for the dessert Nellie had made, treacle sponge pudding.


Despite it not being chocolate, it was one of the best things she’d had in a long while. It was a steamed sponge cake with a sweet, golden syrup poured over it and there was warm egg custard to go with it.  It was ‘scrummy!’ according to Bess, and Buffy had to agree.


After dinner, Buffy helped Nellie give the girls baths … in a small, round washtub in the kitchen next to the stove – which provided not only warmth for the room, but the warm water for the baths. By the time the baths were done and the girls had been put to bed, Buffy’s mother instincts were screaming at her to take the girls and run with them – but she knew that would never work. Where would she run? Even if she could stay in this time, she had no money, she had no home, she had no friends or relatives and, despite Buffy’s fears that Bess was being mistreated, she saw no sign of that in the time she’d spent with them.  It was clear that Nellie loved the girls, possibly as much as William did … she was sure that Hallie, or Cecily, had no capacity to love anyone, even these girls who she’d given birth to.


Later that night, Buffy sat by her window and watched the street. The grandfather clock in the parlour rang out ten o’clock, then eleven, then twelve … at about half past twelve a horse-drawn carriage pulled up outside the Weckerly home and Buffy got her first glimpse of William.  She would know him anywhere – the way he moved, the way he offered his hand to Cecily, helping her step down from the carriage. Even as a human, he had a grace and ease to his movements and Buffy’s heart ached to go to him, but she simply sat and watched as Cecily took his arm and he led her through the gate and into the house.  Buffy heard the door open downstairs as the carriage pulled away, then there were footsteps coming up the stairs and her heart thudded in her chest … she was sure she could actually feel him coming nearer.  Buffy cracked the door to her room and looked down the hallway. In the dim lamplight she could see them both turn the corner on the landing and start up the next flight of stairs towards the third floor.


William was helping her up the stairs, holding her left elbow as she used her right hand on the railing … Cecily was big as a house. Buffy hoped that meant she’d need a C-section to birth William, Jr…. that would be fittingly ironic – maybe she’d die in childbirth and save Buffy the trouble.  Buffy then listened as their footsteps got further and further away … up to the next landing, then further still, to the third floor and for the millionth time since this began tears stung her eyes. Her husband was going to bed with another woman … he loved another woman … he made love to her, he laughed with her, her cried with her, he comforted her, he was her bridge over troubled water.


Buffy blinked her tears back and took deep breaths to try and stay calm as she opened her door silently and slipped out, climbing the stairs slowly.  One of the stairs creaked under her feet and she froze … but no one seemed to notice. She could hear them talking softly in the hall above … was he telling her he loved her? Or was it something more mundane … perhaps he was talking about the Neanderthal or the wine at dinner or one of a million other little things that couples talk about.  Buffy choked back a sob, she missed those moments – when you’re lying in bed and just talking about your day … about the teacher at school who went the extra mile for your child or the Neanderthal at the T-ball game who was yelling too much or even complaining that the dishwasher wasn’t washing right or moaning about the pukey tile in the bathroom for the hundredth time. It wasn’t what you were talking about that mattered, it was having someone beside you that understood you, that gave you support or complained with you or affirmed your belief that some parents at T-balls games should have the shit kicked out of them…


And, when the conversation waned, it was the kisses and the whispered ‘I love you’s and lying in each other’s arms as you both slipped off to sleep.  It was the comfort of knowing you weren’t alone – you weren’t the only crazy person in the world, that there was someone else, someone who was just as screwed up and crazy as you were, and somehow that made it alright. It was alright to be Looney-Tunes as long as someone else was Looney-Tunes, too.


Buffy bit down on her bottom lip to keep from crying or screaming … she held onto the banister with both hands to keep herself from running the rest of the way up the stairs and either tackling Hallie and knocking her away from William or throwing herself into William’s arms … at that moment, she wasn’t sure which she wanted to do more.  She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, then let it out slowly, before moving further up the staircase.  When she got where she could just see over the floor of the last landing, she stopped and watched as William kissed Cecily softly on the cheek and Cecily entered a room on the left side of the hall … then William turned and stepped through a door to the right. 


Buffy watched and waited … certainly one of those rooms was the other WC that Nellie had told her about … and, sure enough, just a few minutes later, Cecily emerged from the room on the left carrying a candle in a holder, but, instead of going across the hall where William went, she headed down to the end. Buffy went up another step to get a better look and it was clear that the room at the end of the hall was the WC …


What the fuck? Buffy thought, before it dawned on her … They sleep in separate rooms.


Buffy eased back down and sat on one of the steps out of sight of the hallway above as her mind raced. This was her chance! She would sneak into Hallie’s room, knock her out … carry her … where? Somewhere deserted, maybe back to the middle of the big park where she’d landed this morning, and … and let her heart decide what to do next.  Maybe there would be some way to save the baby but still kill Hallie … Buffy could feel the adrenaline racing through her, she was sure everyone in the house could hear her heart pounding in her chest. This was it – this is what she’d come for, she didn’t know how much longer Rack could keep her here, she needed to do this now.


Buffy heard Cecily come out of the WC and Buffy peaked up above the landing to make sure she went back into the room on the left … and she did. Buffy took some deep breaths and stood up. She crept silently the rest of the way up the stairs then down the hall. She stood between the two doors – William was in the room to her right … Cecily to the left. She needed to subdue Cecily quickly, not let her scream for help or alert William. Buffy reached for the handle and tested it – it wasn’t locked. Buffy took another deep breath and quickly turned the handle, stepped into the room, and closed the door behind her.


“I dare say!” William exclaimed, pulling his trousers back up and fastening them. “It’s customary to knock before entering a dressing room!”


“Shhhhh!” Buffy admonished him in a low voice, raising a finger to her lips. “I need to talk to you, William.”


“How do you know my name? Who are you? A harlot sent by Retchford? I can assure you, I do not partake in such improprieties,” William declared, picking his shirt up from a chair and slipping it back on, as well.


“No… shhhhh!” Buffy admonished him again, moving away from the door towards him.


William backed up and moved around the bed, putting it between himself and the crazy woman in his room. “You need to leave immediately!” he told her, as he continued to back up.


“William, I won’t hurt you … I just need to talk to you, then I promise I’ll leave,” Buffy told him as she made her way around the bed. William was trapped, with a wall to his back and his right, the bed on his left and a crazy girl moving quickly towards him.


“Please leave! I will not ask again!” William demanded, but Buffy kept coming.


“Some things never change – you can’t just be quiet and listen, can you?” Buffy asked in exasperation.  How Cecily didn’t hear them, she had no idea.


William made a sudden move to try and get across the bed and away from Buffy, but Buffy saw it coming and intercepted him, tackling him on the bed. They struggled for what seemed a long time, but was only moments, Buffy trying to pin him down and hold him still and William trying to get free of her grasp.  Buffy couldn’t figure out why she was having such a hard time controlling him – it wasn’t like he as a vampire – he was just a human; she should be able to hold him down with one hand tied behind her back… then it dawned on her … Rack had taken not only the power from the scythe, but most of her Slayer power for the magick…


“Fuck…” Buffy muttered under her breath as she continued to struggle with William.


“Please stop and listen!” Buffy yelled at him, no longer trying to keep her voice low. “Your son’s life depends on this! Please stop!”


William suddenly stopped struggling – looking at her with a furrowed brow, he asked, “My son? I haven’t a son …”


“Your next child,” Buffy explained, loosening her grip on his wrists and sitting back on his legs as he lay on his back under her. “Your next child with be a son, trust me on this. I know this is totally crazy and you don’t know me from Adam, but you need to listen to me now. There will be a war – a big war, with Germany and Russia and I don’t know who all, but you can’t let your son go to that war. Do you understand me? He’ll be killed – he’ll be seventeen and he’ll be killed. Keep him home – tie him up, lock him in the root cellar, do whatever you have to, but keep him home. Do you understand?”


William looked at her with bewilderment and shook his head ‘no’.  “Who are you?” he asked her again, sitting up against the headboard and pulling his legs out from under her.


Buffy let him pull away and then sat back down on her heels on the bed in front of him.  “That’s not important … what’s important is that you do what I’m telling you. I’m not a crazy from Bedlam … I’m …” a crazy from Bedlam, Buffy thought and rolled her eyes.


“Do you believe in Guardian Angels?” Buffy asked, taking a new tack.


“Satan is an angel,” William pointed out.Corinthians 11:14 ‘…for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,’” William recited. “Perhaps you are a fallen angel … here to lead me astray.”


Buffy let out a long sigh and shifted positions, sitting down on her butt on the bed and curling her legs beside her.  “Ok … that’s probably true about the fallen angel thing …” Buffy admitted, “… but I’m not here to lead you astray. I’m here to help.


“Ask me something only your Guardian Angel would know … anything,” Buffy pressed, folding her hands in her lap to keep from reaching out and touching his face.


William shook his head slightly, trying to make sense of this girl who claimed to be an angel. “What … How did my father die?” he asked her at last.


“He died in battle in the Crimean War in 1856; he was a hero, sacrificing himself to save his men. He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for ‘valour’,” Buffy informed him.


William tilted his head to the side and narrowed his eyes at her and Buffy fought against herself to keep from reaching out to him. “How do you know this? No one knows of that, it’s never been spoken of! Even I wasn’t aware of it until after mother’s death… I found the papers …


“Who are you?” William asked again, nonplussed, his brows knit in doubt.


“I told you, I’m your family’s Guardian Angel,” Buffy assured him again.


“What’s your name … what do they call you?” William asked the green-eyed angel with fire-red hair that sat across from him on his bed.


Buffy opened her mouth to answer, then closed it again before letting out a long breath. “Avengelyne … they call me Avengelyne.


“Now listen,” Buffy continued, “… when William, Jr. wants to go into war, don’t let him. He won’t live to see his eighteenth birthday if he goes into that war. Do you understand?”


This time William nodded yes, but still looked flummoxed and bewildered.


“Ok … good. That’s good. Now, I have a question for you,” Buffy informed him. “Are you happy?”


“Am I … happy? What sort of inquiry is that?” William retorted.


“It’s something a Guardian Angel needs to know the answer to … so I’ll know what to do or not do. Are you happy?” Buffy repeated.


“Of course …” William started dismissively.


“No,” Buffy stopped him, laying a hand on his arm. “I want the truth, not what you tell yourself to get yourself through the day; not what you tell your friends or even your wife – I want what’s in your heart, William. Tell me what’s in your heart when you lay in your bed at night and everything’s still and quiet. Are you happy?”


William looked down at her hand, which still rested on his arm and then back up into her eyes.  “I am happier than I ever thought I deserved to be,” he began softly. “My girls are … they’re my world. Do you know them? Little beauties, they are, and smart as whips,” he continued and Buffy nodded, answering his question and agreeing with him at the same time.


“My wife is with child … a boy, you say!” William exclaimed, his eyes going wide with wonder and Buffy could practically feel him swell with pride and joy over the news.


“My job has some tedium … bureaucrats, more interested in crowns than knowledge … but the look on the faces of my students in that moment when they see the power of language … the joy of literature … the passion of Shakespeare … that look is what it is really about.  There are nobler professions, higher paying positions, but I wouldn’t trade my chosen profession for any other,” William went on and Buffy could feel how much he loved being a professor, opening young minds to new and wondrous ideas. He was making a difference in the lives of the students he touched and it was clear that he treasured that.


“And your wife?” Buffy asked softly, never moving her hand from his arm.


“Cecily … dear Cecily. I’ve loved her since the moment I laid eyes on her. She’s given me two beautiful children and a third … a boy, will be here forthwith.  She is my Juliet. I feel like we were destined to be together, she’s the one, the only one for me,” William espoused and Buffy could feel his deep love and devotion for his wife … not for Buffy, but for Cecily – she could feel it as surely as she could feel someone turning a dagger in her heart.  


Buffy couldn’t stop the tears from falling from her eyes as she released his arm, stood up, and moved quickly towards the door. Buffy hesitated with her palm on the door handle and leaned her head against the jamb as William watched her, perplexed. He’d done as she asked, told her his heart, he wasn’t sure why she’d suddenly jumped up, seemingly upset with him.


“I’m sorry … I … I thought you wanted my true heart,” William apologized, standing up and moving towards her.


Buffy nodded against the door. “I do … I did,” she assured him. When William reached out and touched her shoulder, Buffy turned around quickly and pulled him into a tight hug. “Don’t forget what I told you about Bil ... I mean William … keep your son out of that war,” she admonished him before pulling back, laying a hand on his cheek, looking into his bluer than blue eyes, and dropping a soft kiss on his lips. “I love you …” she whispered against his lips before quickly turning away, flinging the door open, and running from his room … down the hall, down the stairs, and out into the night.


Buffy kept running, past the church and into the park … back into Clapham Common, past the spot where she’d awoken that morning – and still she ran. In the center of the Common, she came upon a large, round structure where all the footpaths leading in and out of the park met like the hub of a large wheel. Buffy stopped in the middle of the structure and fell to her knees; it felt somehow fitting for her to end up here – at a crossroads … not knowing which way to go.


Buffy’s whole body melted onto the floor of the bandstand as the snow started falling again all around her, dusting the ground, trees, and benches with a white veil that made it seem like she was the only person in the world. Buffy curled into a ball on the cold stone floor below her and wept … she wept for herself, she wept for William and Spike, their children, and their friends – she wept five years worth of tears. The wall around her heart was nothing but rubble and, as hard as she tried to rebuild it, she couldn’t stop the hurt any longer … she couldn’t pretend that nothing mattered but revenge, because all that really mattered was love, and William’s love belonged to another, just as her children did.


Buffy wept for so many reasons … reasons that kept clattering and smashing around in her brain, bumping into each other and merging then separating again.


She wept because she wasn’t able to do what she’d come here to do – she wasn’t strong enough, not emotionally and not even physically – she had failed.  She couldn’t kill Cecily … She could still feel William’s soul expand with joyous pride when he finally believed her…when he realized that his next child would be a son.  Buffy knew that William loved his girls with all his heart, but there’s always something special when that first son is born – someone to carry on the family name – a legacy.


She wept for William … for the loss of his love.  He had given his heart to Cecily, just as Spike had given his heart to Buffy – wholly and truly and right from first sight; that was so very William.  Buffy wasn’t sure what she wanted him to say when she asked him if he was happy. A big part of her, maybe all of her, wanted him to say ‘No’ … to scream ‘No!’ to shout it from the rooftops … ‘NO!’  She wanted him to hate Cecily … to despise and loathe her and regret the moment he met her and that part of her, that green monster inside her, sobbed now … because he didn’t do any of that. He loved Cecily … still. It hadn’t been a passing fancy, an ill-advised infatuation, or a case of puppy-love … it had been his destiny.  


Buffy chastised herself for even going into William’s room … if only she had done what she had planned and gone into Cecily’s room … even with only part of her Slayer strength, she should’ve been able to overpower a pregnant, Victorian housewife.  But as she stood there between the rooms she suddenly felt her heart … she felt it pull her towards William. Her heart had finally told her what to do and she had finally listened … and it had been wrong. So very, very wrong. 


“Stupid … so, so stupid,” Buffy muttered to herself though her tears. What did you think, that he would walk away from his wife and run into your arms? That he’d feel your soul and somehow know that you were his destiny, not her? “Such a stupid fool …” Buffy moaned as she covered her face with her hands and continued to sob.


“Seems a quite queer place for a Guardian Angel to sleep,” William observed, walking into the bandstand behind Buffy.


Buffy jumped up quickly and wiped at her eyes and nose with both hands before turning to face him.


“Angels can sleep anywhere…” Buffy informed him, smoothing her skirt and trying to look nonchalant.  


“Indeed … and are all angels ‘stupid fools’?” William asked, walking slowly towards her.


“Only me …” Buffy admitted, taking a step back as he stepped forward.


“Who are you … really?” William asked as he studied her face in the dim lamplight. “You appear to be flying much too close to the ground for an angel of any standing – fallen or otherwise.”


Buffy rolled her eyes and sighed as she folded her arms across her chest. “Someone who cares about you … who cares about what happens to you and your children. A fallen angel trying to get her wings back.”


“You said you loved me … that wasn’t … the way you said it …” William stammered before stopping and starting over. “I haven’t been loved by many women … well, really only one, but I could feel … something. When you said that, it felt … oddly genuine.  What was that?”


“We … it …” Buffy started and stopped, rubbing tiredly at her eyes. What was she supposed to tell him? That his wife, the woman he thought was his destiny, was a rat-skank-husband-stealing-whore that made a wish and ruined their lives and condemned his soul to hell? That would probably go over like a lead balloon – she would no doubt end up in Bedlam … again, with that story. Plus it would just be hurtful … it would cut his heart, bleed his soul, to know what his Juliet really was, and above all else, Buffy didn’t want to hurt him like that.


“We were together in another time … another life … hell, maybe it was another universe, hell, I don’t know, anymore. We were each other’s destiny … I … I lost you and I’m trying to find a way back there – back to you, but … I just, I haven’t been able to …” Buffy dropped her head into her hands as tears overtook her.


William closed the short distance between them and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into a hug and Buffy melted against him as the sobs came even harder than before.  She could feel his heart beating in his chest, feel his chest heaving with labored breath from running after her all this way, feel his warm arms encircling her. William was alive – truly alive, and he was happy. He had a family, he had a wife that he loved who, if she didn’t love him, at least made him think that she did, he had a job that he loved, he was affluent and even respected … why was she trying to take all that away from him?


“‘When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions,’” he recited Hamlet to her, his voice soft. “I’m sorry … I’m sorry that I’m not the man you were seeking.”


Buffy nodded and reluctantly backed up away from him and out of his arms, wiping at her eyes and trying to stop the tears. “It’s not your fault … I’m just … I’m afraid I’m being trampled by the battalions.  This was my last chance,” Buffy told William before giving him a small smile. “You should … you should go home – go home to your family.”


William tilted his head and looked at her with a certain amount of awe, along with a little bewilderment. “Is what you said true … about a son and a war?”


Buffy pursed her lips together and nodded as she raised her eyes up to his and held his gaze.  “Don’t let him go … he’ll want to be a hero, he’ll want to be like … like you. Don’t let him be that hero, William, it’s not worth the price.”


“I’m no hero … that was my father,” William pointed out.


Buffy forced a sad smile to her lips. “No … you’re a hero, too. To me you’re a hero … to your students and your children you are. Don’t sell yourself short, William – you have the soul of a warrior, the heart of a lion,” Buffy assured him. Buffy reached behind her neck and unfastened the chain that held the cross that Angel had given her at their first meeting.  She took the pendant and fastened it around William’s neck, sliding the cross down in place over his heart. 


“To remember me by … to remember that you’re a hero,” Buffy murmured, sliding her hand down from his neck and touching the cross as it rested against his chest. Buffy could feel his skin warm under her fingers, feel his heart beating below her palm, feel his chest fall and rise with breath … she thought she could even feel his soul as it reached out for hers. It felt so right to have her hand on his chest … she longed to be back in his arms, longed to have his love, longed to be with him…


Buffy suddenly pulled her hand away, and wrapped her arms around her torso to keep from reaching out and touching him again. Averting her eyes from his, she told him, “Go now … someone will miss you. You shouldn’t be here, it’s not proper; I might lure you into debauchery.”


William cocked a brow at her, but she just tilted her head in the direction they’d come from, back towards his house where his family and his wife waited for him, afraid to say another word lest she beg him to stay, to hold her … to love her. When he didn’t move, Buffy turned her back on him and walked to the other side of the pavilion, hugging her arms even tighter around her body and closing her eyes against the pain – she felt like she was losing him all over again even though this man … this William, had never been hers to begin with.


“Thank you for coming … for my son’s life. I won’t forget … I won’t forget you, Avengelyne,” William told her softly before he turned and headed down the steps of the pavilion and began walking through the falling snow back towards Macaulay Road.


“I won’t forget you, either …” Buffy whispered as she turned and watched him walk away into the cold, dark night.



"Billy, Don't Be a Hero"

Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods




The marchin' band came down along main street
The soldier blues fell in behind
I looked across and there I saw Billy
Waiting to go and join the line
And with her head upon his shoulder
His young and lovely fiancée
From where i stood i saw she was cryin'
And through her tears I heard her say

Billy, don't be a hero, don't be a fool with your life
Billy, don't be a hero, come back and make me your wife
And as Billy started to go,
She said keep your pretty head low
Billy, don't be hero, come back to me.

The soldier blues were trapped on a hillside
The battle raging all around
The sergeant cried, We've got to hang on boys!"
We've got to hold this piece of ground
I need a volunteer to ride up,
And bring us back some extra men,
And Billy's hand was up in a moment
Forgettin' all the words she said

She said,
Billy, don't be a hero, don't be a fool with your life
Billy, don't be a hero, come back and make me your wife
And as Billy started to go,
She said keep your pretty head low
Billy, don't be a hero, come back to me.

I heard his fiancée got a letter
That told how Billy died that day
The letter said that he was a hero
She should be proud he died that way
I heard she threw that letter away......




If you'd like to get notified of updates, email me here: Updates

Feedback: Email me feedback, I'd love to hear from you! passionate@passion4

Go back to: The Main Home Page             The 'Teach Your Children Well' Home Page