Epilogue.Crankie Manor (A), 2012.
~The Watcher’s Library.~
“Dawn?” Giles looked up from studying the sliver of wood in his hand.
“What?” Dawn glanced distractedly at the empty box in her hand.
“Did you say something?” Giles replaced the wooden ‘postcard’ on the table.
“No,” Dawn had the strangest feeling she’d forgotten something, “no, I thought I’d found something but it’s just an empty box.”
Putting the box down Dawn looked around the room a puzzled frown on her face.
“That darn clock’s wrong again,” she observed with a sigh. “If you don’t mind, Giles,” Dawn felt that she really needed to see her son, “I think I’ll just go and check on William; then I’ll find a slayer to get those stone slab things out of the crate.”
“Yes, fine,” Giles was too wrapped up in his work to really listen, “carry-on, I'll be fine here.”
Dawn shrugged off the odd feeling and headed out of the library and towards the kindergarten. Crankie Manor (B), 2012.
“Come in!” Buffy looked up from her work to see Willow walk into her office, “Willow!” she smiled standing up and walking around her desk to give her friend and lover a warm hug.
Gesturing for Willow to take a seat, Buffy told her secretary that she didn’t want to be disturbed before firmly closing the door and sitting down next to Willow.
“What’s up?” Willow asked as she got herself comfortable.
“Umm, well,” Buffy hesitated, “I wanted to ask you while we were alone…”
“Oh!” Willow grinned impishly, “You want to try some kinky stuff eh? Xander really likes it when we dress up as Catholic schoolgirls,” Willow giggled girlishly, “Tell me!”
“No!” flustered Buffy, “Well yes…but not now,” Buffy took a deep breath, “It’s nothing to do with that…well it is, but…”
Willow raised an eyebrow quizzically and waited for Buffy to get to the point, she didn’t have too long to wait.
“Does Xander use one of those contraceptive patches?” she asked finally.
“Oh no!” Willow explained, “He tried once but he had an allergic reaction to it. He came up in a really icky rash, all dripping yucky stuff, nearly as bad as the mystical syphilis. Kennedy and I are both use the birth control pill, why do you ask?”
Buffy gave Willow a sheepish look, suddenly the penny dropped in Willow’s mind.
“Buffy!” she gasped, “You mean you weren’t?”
“No,” Buffy shook her head, “and I’ve missed my period.”
“How long?” asked Willow figuratively taking off her black pointy witch's hat and putting on her doctor’s one.
“Two weeks,” Buffy replied quietly.
“Okay,” Willow sighed, “you better come to the medical centre tomorrow morning and we’ll see if you and Xander are going to be playing mommies and daddies anytime soon.”
“This needn’t change anything between the four of us,” Buffy reassured her friend as they both stood up.
“No it needn’t,” Willow gave Buffy a quick smile, “we don’t have to make any long term decisions just yet, but you'd better start thinking about your choices soon though.”
Willow’s eye fell on a piece of blue cloth lying on a table by the window; curious she walked over and picked it up. It was a child’s sweatshirt with a brightly coloured picture of Piglet embroidered on the front.
“Where did this come from?” Willow looked at her friend, “Bit early to start buying clothes for the baby.”
“I didn’t,” Buffy crossed the room to look at the top; her brows creased as she examined it, “I’ve no idea where this came from, maybe someone left it here by accident?”
“Whatever,” Willow shrugged, “I’ll take it to the Kindergarten and see if anyone’s lost it,” she headed towards the door, “and don’t forget.” She stood resting her hand on the door handle, “Nine…no make that nine-thirty tomorrow morning.”
“I won’t,” Buffy called as her friend left the office.
As she sat down to start her paperwork again, Buffy had the strongest feeling she’d forgotten something, but couldn’t think what. Shrugging she went back to work and wondered what it was like being a mom.Southeast Britain 54BCE.
Standing on the headland Marbod watched as the last Roman ship sailed away back to Gaul. He sighed deeply and shook his head sadly. He would miss Ariawen the Slayer and Dawn the Sorceress, for all of their odd ways. He thought back to that last battle as he stared out over the sea; finding Ariawen’s body. She had got so close to the Roman leader, Caesar, she could have easily cut him down; but at the last moment she had stepped aside and attacked the man next to him.
Maybe Ariawen had been able to see things other people couldn’t, perhaps the man had been a devil or monster. Maybe the Sorceress had been right all along, the ‘Slayer’, as she’d called Ariawen, shouldn’t get involved in the wars of mankind, she had a higher calling. Not that he’d been able to ask the damn woman because she’d disappeared at almost the same moment that Ariawen had died. He’d seen her go, one moment she was there, then in a heartbeat she was gone.
He thought back to all the tales she had told about her home and her sister and all her friends. Smiling Marbod wondered if the man she’d called ‘Giles’ was anything like him, he certainly sounded as if he filled the same function as he, Marbod, had. Sighing again Marbod leant against his staff; he still had a lot of work to do. He would have to talk to his brothers and have them watch in case another girl like Ariawen should appear. He laughed a little to himself, they would become (what had Dawn called this Giles fellow?), yes that was it, Watchers. They also needed to discuss how they should employ another girl like Ariawen if another should ever come to their shores again.
The Roman ship was well out to sea now, almost half way to the horizon. Marbod wondered if the Romans would ever come back. He laughed, not in his life time he hoped. Turning away from the sea he started to walk towards his home and as he walked he hummed a tune to himself. Once he had the tune fixed firmly in his mind he started to compose the words that would tell of Ariawen’s strength, bravery and beauty. If he’d not honoured her in life, as perhaps he should have, he could at least sing her praises in death.”A roar she cried frae the bottom of her heart,
That she’d near fall, but as dead.
Dead as 'a can be by their feet; de ya ken?
Never! She cried,
Never shall ye tack me alive ye rotten hounds,
For she slashed we the blade O her longsword,
Cut and thrust and they fell doon before her round her feet.
The girl awoke and found she was lying in the back of a cart trussed up like a Christmas turkey. After lying there for a couple of minutes collecting her thoughts and after trying to work out where she was, she decided to act. Easily breaking the ropes that tied her hands and feet, she jumped up and quickly killed the two jokers who’d been driving the cart. No one was going to rape and sell her! Faith started to rifle through the two dead pervert’s clothing she’d need money to get herself home to Sunnydale.Crankie Manor, 2012.
The library was back to its normal tidy state now that the bits of wood with their writings had been passed on to the British Museum. Giles had been satisfied that there was nothing mystical about them and they were too big a find to keep at the Manor. He’d phoned one of his contacts at the museum and they had dispatched experts who’d eventually taken everything back to London.
The museum people had left the two stone slabs with Giles saying that they weren’t particularly valuable or rare; they took photographs before heading back to civilisation. One of the historians had expressed surprise that the slabs had turned up in this country. She suspected they’d been brought from Italy to Britain by some Victorian traveller or collector.
“They’re sort of Roman tombstones,” Giles had explained when he and Dawn examined the stone slabs.
Having translated the inscriptions Giles and Dawn had discovered they belonged to a rich merchant and his wife. They’d lived a long and happy life together having many 'strong sons' and 'beautiful daughters', or so the inscription claimed. Glancing at the woman’s headstone Dawn wondered what her life had been like. The carving of her face looked vaguely familiar.
“You know, Giles,” Dawn studied the woman’s likeness closely, “she looks a bit like Faith, older but…”
“What?” Giles bent down to look at the carving again, “yes,” he sounded unconvinced; “I suppose she does…a little. Oh well, back to work.”
“Shall we open that box next?” Dawn walked back to her desk and sat down.
“I suppose so,” sighed Giles, “but let’s do that tomorrow, eh?”
“Yeah, lets,” agreed Dawn.
As they got back to their more mundane work, Dawn couldn’t help looking at the woman’s headstone again.
“Who were you, Fidelia Venetrix?” she asked, but got no answer.THE END.
*: Based on a work by Pink Floyd.