Wipe a tear, baby dear, from your eye-ee,
Though it's hard to part, I know,
I'll be tickled to death to go.
Don't cry-ee! Don't sigh-ee!
There's a silver lining in the sky-ee,
Bon soir old thing! Cheerio, chin-chin!
Nahpoo! Toodleoo! Goodbye-ee!”
“How do you feel today,” Giles sat down in the garden chair next to Daphne Hetherington-Squires.
It was a pleasant spring day, the incessant wind had dropped almost to nothing and the buds were beginning to come out on the trees.
“I’m very well Mr Giles thank-you,” Daphne rested the book she’d been reading in her lap as she turned to smile at Giles.
“Good, good,” nodded Giles absently, the strain of the last few weeks was beginning to show in his face.
Buffy and Dawn were still not talking, although Dawn seemed to have calmed down and had stopped using magic against her sister or indeed anyone else. What was really puzzling was Willow’s inability to leave Seattle; just as she was about to board a plane to bring her to England some new crisis would erupt and she’d have to postpone her trip. Giles had to admit that he’d feel a lot happier if Willow were here to talk to Dawn. But things were quiet now so he’d count his blessings, after all Buffy and Dawn would have to talk to each other eventually.
“Yes,” Daphne’s voice broke into his thoughts, “apart from the fact that none of your girls will answer any of my questions.” Daphne watched Giles closely for a moment, “I mean they’re all very nice and polite in their own odd little way Mr Giles. But I’m not stupid, I know something very odd has happened to me. I mean the way these girls talk, well only women of loose morals would say half the things they do where I come from, but, these young women talk as if it’s all quite, quite normal.”
“Well yes Miss…” Daphne interrupted him with a request to just call her Daphne, “well Daphne, you could say something very odd has happened. It was decided that the less you know the better for all concerned.”
“I see,” Daphne gave Giles a thin lipped smile, “I suppose you’re right but as I don’t know, I’ll just have to guess, and I’ll just have to trust you.”
“Anyway,” Giles said with a wave of the hand, “I’ve good news. Thanks to your speedy recovery we’ll be able to send you back tomorrow or the next day at the latest.”
“Back?” Daphne raised an eyebrow.
“Umm yes,” Giles cleared his throat quietly, “the plan is to send you back as near as we can to your point of departure.”
“If I remember correctly my ‘point of departure’ was in a machine gun post just about to be overrun by Boche infantry…I have no wish to be hurled back into the midst of a battle.”
“Well yes of course not,” Giles took off his glasses to give them a rapid polish, “Dawn…”
“That’s the young woman with the charming little boy,” Daphne smiled disarmingly, “I do so wish I could have met her husband, but I expect he’s off at the war,” once more Daphne’s eyebrow lifted in an unspoken question.
“Hmm, yes, indeed,” Giles replaced his glasses, “Well anyway, Dawn assures me that you’ll be quite safe where you land. If there does happen to be any problem there’s a small window of opportunity to bring you back so we can start again.”
“Oh how reassuring,” Daphne smiled insincerely.
“Yes,” muttered Giles, “of course.”
Once more the library furniture had been pushed against the walls and Dawn had drawn her magic circle on the floor and laid out her candles, herbs and chemicals. This time the directing of the spell would be slightly harder because she had no actual connection, other than Daphne, with her target. Dawn had spent many hours tracking down the last known movements of Lady J. For a long time she had been getting nowhere until she stumbled on the Munich police department’s records. These had detailed a disturbance in a café near the centre of Munich on the day Lady J was reported to have disappeared. This had to be the point at which something had changed, Dawn reasoned that this must be were she was supposed to send Daphne back to.
Reading through the spell once more just to check that she’d got everything right, Dawn glanced up and looked around the room. Her sister stood by the door and glared in her direction without speaking. Giles stood by the mantelpiece and fiddled with that damn clock that wouldn’t keep time. She could feel that he didn’t like the idea of what was about to happen. Well, tough, she thought, she was going to reunite these women whatever Giles or her sister wanted.
Near the window stood two slayers clutching swords, there would be another two on the door just in case something came back to the ‘here and now’ that shouldn’t. Just then the door opened and Daphne walked into the room dressed in the clothes of a well-to-do young English woman touring the continent in 1923. They had found her period money; in fact Giles had been very thorough in making sure everything was just so and nothing from the ‘now’ got back to the ‘then’.
“Daphne?” Dawn walked across the room and took the young woman by the arm steering her to an empty corner; she cast a minor privacy spell so no one could overhear what they were talking about.
“I see fashions have changed,” Daphne looked down at herself and shrugged, “I don’t think I approve.”
“Look,” Dawn smiled reassuringly, “several years will have passed in Lady J’s life time…”
“Yeah, look,” Dawn glanced around at the people in the room, “when you appear you’ll be within feet of Lady Joanna, maybe right next to her. You’ll be in Munich, Germany…”
“Oh! So we won the war?”
“Yeah I think it’s safe to say you won,” Dawn nodded, “if Joanna asks what happened to you, you can’t say.”
“Oh she’ll most definitely ask,” Daphne nodded her head and smiled, “she’s curious about that sort of thing.”
“Well you’ll have to make up some story…something with memory loss in it maybe?”
“Yes I’m sure I can think of something.”
“Then you’ve got to disappear.”
“I beg your pardon!”
“Not literally,” Dawn pursed her lips in frustration, “go live somewhere quietly. Somewhere you can start a new life, where no one knows you.”
“Let me guess,” Daphne looked into Dawn’s eyes and grinned, “we’re never heard of again?”
“Something like that,” nodded Dawn, “now lets stand over here,” she pointed at the circle, “and lets get you on your way. Just remember to you it’s only been a month, to Lady J it’s been nine long years she’s gonna be a little disorientated.”
“I’m glad to see that the art of understatement is still being practiced,” Daphne stopped in the centre of the circle, “when ever I am.”
Dawn began to chant the words to her spell.
Munich, 7th November, 1923.
Sipping her coffee Lady Joanna watched the two men sitting at the corner table not five yards away. At long last her search was over. All those years going around hospitals, and soldier’s canteens even prisoner of war camps had finally paid off. Not that she begrudged the time spent, she was glad that her quest had allowed her to help all those brave Tommy’s and make their lives a little better. Even if she had only been doling out tea and cigarettes. Even the time she had spent with the German prisoners had, she hoped, contributed in some small way to better relations between Britain and Germany.
But, of course her main objective had been to find out what had happened to Daphne on that day in Belgium all those years ago. Then once she had found out the details of her lovers death she had set herself the task of tracking down the swine who’d shot her. Now there he sat not two tables away. Plus to make matters even better she’d been able to combine business with pleasure by shooting that obnoxious little man next to Herr Goering. Yes her employers would be pleased when they heard of the little man’s death. They (who ever ‘they’ were exactly) had been most insistent on the death of this particular ex-German Army NCO. All she had to do was stand up, walk over to their table; she’d ask them their names just to be sure. Then she’d pull the revolver from her handbag and shoot them both in the head. No doubt the police would catch her maybe even kill her. She didn’t care now, her work was done.
Taking a final sip of coffee Lady Joanna felt a cool breeze on her cheek, as a hand touched hers as it lay on the table top.
Turning at the sound of the familiar voice Joanna gasped as she looked into the eyes of the woman who sat across the table from her.
“Daphne?” she found her voice had been reduced to a mere whisper, “Is that really you?”
“Yes it’s really me.” Smiled the younger woman.
“I-I thought you were dead,” Joanna’s trembling hands sort out those of her lovers, “all these years I…where?”
“It’s a long story,” Daphne smiled warmly, yes Jojo was older but she still loved her, “come on,” getting to her feet she helped Joanna to hers, “I’ll tell you all about it.”
As she stood up Joanna fell into Daphne’s arms and held on to her as if she’d never let her go. She wept openly resting her head against the younger woman’s shoulder.
“I was so lost without you,” she gasped between sobs and uncaring of the looks people were giving her as she kissed Daphne’s face and lips.
Putting her arm around Joanna’s waist Daphne steered her towards the door.
“What say you and I go on a trip somewhere,” Daphne asked softly as they came out onto the street, “how do you feel about Australia or New Zealand maybe?”
After the commotion caused by the two English women the café slowly went back to normal. Finishing their coffee Hermann Goering and Adolf Hitler stood up and walked out onto the street. They had work to do, tomorrow they would put their plan to take over the Bavarian government into action; today Bavaria tomorrow Berlin!
Lord Hasseldorf’s Domain.
“Seventy-two million!” laughed Hasseldorf as he wiped tears of joy from his eyes.
“Well done My Lord,” Squiftic clapped his hands together, “I have to admit I thought we’d never pull it off.”
“Yes,” Hasseldorf got himself under control once more, “once or twice there I thought we were going to lose it, but you can always rely on humans to screw things up.”
After a few more minutes of self congratulation Squiftic excused himself and left Hasseldorf to enjoy his victory by himself. Thanks to the efforts of one little human witch humanity would be plunged into the most destructive war in all its history. All because she couldn’t bear to see too lovers parted, she had wanted a ‘happy’ ending. Well, she had got it although he didn’t think that the seventy-two million who had died, would die, in what would be called World War Two would agree with her. Plus what made it funnier still was the fact that she would be congratulating herself on not disturbing the timeline which of course from her point of view she hadn’t. As far as Dawn Summers was concerned World War Two had always happened, but he, Lord Hasseldorf knew better.
In the real timeline, the one that was supposed to happen, had not the silly little witch interfered, there would have been no world war. Yes, there would have been wars but nothing so destructive and so far reaching in its consequences. The seventh of November, 1923, would only have been remembered as the day an embittered English woman had shot the leader of a minor German political party along with one of his closest advisers.
It was just too funny for words. One day, Hasseldorf promised himself, one day he would explain it all to the witch just to see the look on her face. Laughing once more Hasseldorf snapped his talons and brought his TV back into existence, leaning forward he switched it on. Satan Vision was showing scenes from the latest war and famine in Africa. Settling back in his throne he got himself comfortable ready to enjoy a quiet night in watching the telly.
The Department of Temporal Investigation, 2708.
The DTI building trembled as the time wave crashed against its temporal shielding. Inside the shields everything remained the same, outside things changed; often dramatically.
“That’ll be World War Two happening,” Commander Vilchjo sighed as he watched the sensors that scanned the outside world.
“Indeed,” Sub-Commander Fajra agreed, “it does appear to be one of the more persistent of events to try to prevent.”
“This is my third attempt,” Commander Vilchjo watched as information appeared in the air in front of him, “my predecessor had six or seven attempts at stopping it.”
“Maybe it’s inevitable,” suggested Fajra, “and we should stop trying to stop it, maybe work around it?”
Giving his colleague a sharp look Vilchjo waved his hand making the charts and tables hanging in space in front of him vanish.
“No,” he replied firmly, “the true timeline must be preserved.”
“What happened this time?” Fajra wanted to know.
“It would appear that our agent was distracted when her long lost lover suddenly appeared in the café.”
Waving his hand again Vilchjo studied some text before dismissing it.
“Who’d have thought it?” Fajra shook her head slowly.
“Indeed,” Vilchjo gave his colleague a puzzled look, “there’s more to this than meets the eye,” he mused. “our records show the lover had died; now she turns up nine years later seemingly out of thin air.”
“You think someone is manipulating the timeline for their own ends?” Fajra studied some text of her own.
“It could be,” agreed Vilchjo slowly, “we must investigate, but first, we must prepare a new mission to put the timeline back on track. Then we must find out who is at the bottom of this meddling.”
Breathing a sigh of relief Giles sorted through note books and placed them on the shelves as Dawn sat at her desk typing away on her computer. Everything had gone back to normal. Buffy and Dawn had made up after it had been shown that nothing terrible had happened because of Dawn’s meddling with time. Dawn had apologised to Buffy for using magic on her and had promised to at least run any future magical adventures past Giles or Willow before she did anything major. Of course things were still a little strained between the sisters but he was sure that wouldn’t last.
He turned to see Dawn heave a large black metal box onto her desk.
“What do you want to do with this?” she indicated the box, “it’s got quite an unusual protection spell on it so we’ll need to be careful opening it.”
“Hmm,” Giles walked over and examined the box, “where did it come from?”
“Let’s see,” Dawn consulted a sheet of paper, “says here that it was bought by one of the London guardians from an antique shop. He noticed the magical field and thought it was best if we had it.”
“Hmm,” Giles peered at the box as he polished his glasses, “magic you say?” he looked up at Dawn, “I think we’ve had more than enough magic around here for a while.”
“Well if you don’t want to open that, what about this?”
Bending down Dawn picked up what looked like a roll of very old stair carpet, she dumped it on the desk causing a small cloud of dust to rise around her.
“What’s it to be?” asked Dawn taking swipes at the dust motes with her hand, “Open the box or unroll the carpet?”
Of the BEF the German official monograph stated; ‘The fact that neither the enemy commanders nor their troops gave way under the strong pressure we put on them, but continued to fight the battle, though their situation was most perilous, gives us an opportunity to acknowledge that there were men of real worth opposed to us who did their duty thoroughly’.
By October 1914 Britain’s peacetime ‘red little army’ had sadly become the ‘dead little army’. Of the thousand men per battalion who had landed in August, there remained, on average, one officer and 30 men.
Among the many qualities demonstrated by the old Regular Army during its passing in the first three months of the war, the British ‘Official History’ singled out the ordinary soldiers’ ‘staunchness, patience, indomitable cheerfulness under incessant hardship, their calm cool courage in spite of fire which no human being had ever before experienced…though their dearest friends, comrades of many years, fell beside them, they fought with all the majesty of their ancestors, without anger or malice’.
‘The Angel of Mons’.
Nearly a year after the battle of Mons had been fought stories started to appear in the British press that an Angel had appeared over the British lines at Mons and provided protection for the troops there.
After the war various groups investigated these claims. None of the few survivors from the battle could remember seeing anything that remotely looked like an Angel. Neither were there any reports of aircraft or strange cloud formations that could have been mistaken for an Angel.
Most serious historians regard the story of ‘The Angel of Mons’ as just that, a story. Probably invented by some newspaper editor to increase sales and raise the moral of the civilian population.
Historical Notes were taken from; ‘The Old Contemptibles’ written by Michael Barthorp and published by ‘Osprey’, London. Additional material taken from the Internet.