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This story is No. 2 in the series "That the autumn leaves were turning". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Buffy learns of a Slayer from the past and saves London town. A relationship develops. Darker than the previous one

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Other(Current Donor)vidiconFR18324,6082103,63226 May 1126 May 11Yes

Chapter 3

*Sentences like this*  Denote thoughts.

Full disclaimer at the end of the story

Chapter 3

The observation room of OR1 of the George Kirrin Memorial Wing of the Royal London Hospital was filled to capacity. The dithering staff had been quite firmly told to be off. The recovery room was being guarded by three very determined young women and for some reason half a dozen young women and girls had taken up station at various strategic points on the approaches to the operating theatre.

Even the unflappable nurses at the Royal London, used to the hijinks of generations of students, even they, were a bit flustered. They’d gotten a bit used to the Council’s personnel by now, but the current crop of visitors was…different. All three of the elder Kirrins were there for one, and they had assured that they would donate another wing if they saved the girl on the table. A fan of the family was certain she had to be a daughter or granddaughter because she was the spitting image of the Lost Cousin, the indomitable George, role model of a thousand little girls. And Lady Kirrin was with her partner, in public, that never, ever happened. And that was just the operating theatre.

General Lord Steed was sitting in the recovery room, holding the hand of a woman that the Chief Surgeon swore was Emma Knight, famous society beauty and once one of Britain’s richest heiresses until she disappeared almost thirty years ago. It was a strange night.

When Emma Knight opened her eyes she looked straight into a pair of cold, hard blue orbs. She swallowed. Had the vampire betrayed them after all?

“ ‘Ullo Ms. Knight. You gave us a bit of a scare there. You’re in the Royal London. You had a bit of a shock. Doctors say it’ll be a week or so before you’re all back to yerself.” He gestured at a comfortable chair in the corner. “Steed’s there. Things ‘ve changed bit…”

“Changed? How?” *God, I’m hoarse… I sound as if I’ve been screaming for years.* She felt a soft touch in her mind. And she realized it was leaving, not coming in

“Sorry ‘bout that luv, I needed to know if you were still you in there, how much time had passed for you.”

“Time passed for me? What do you mean?”

“Well you ducked into the machine that was powering a Chronus Gem and being manipulated by a Timeshifter. So I sorta peeked. To see ‘ow long you’d been in there subjectively, see too long…I know what happens when torture lasts beyond a person’s endurance.” 

“So…you looked in my mind to see if I was mad, that’s different from what you did outside the warehouse?”

“Yeah. It’s not easy, like suggestin’, that’s your basic in out,  just sittin’ there and lookin’, feelin’ that takes stamina.”

She studied him more closely. Chiseled cheekbones, high forehead, broad shoulders, gorgeous blue eyes. She inwardly groaned. *What the hell is wrong with me? Lusting after a vampire? I wonder if this is my biological clock ticking?* She gathered herself and considered the vampire. He looked exhausted. “Why did you do it?”

“Know your type, not the sort to want to be a ravin’ loony. Except in politics. An’ nobody else would do what you wanted to be done.”

She blinked. *How odd…He just told me he would’ve killed me if he had found me permanently insane…and I feel grateful.*

“Thank you. So, anything else I need to know?”

“Yeah. It’s the 7th of November 2004.”

Emma swallowed. “I’ve been in a coma?”

“Nah luv. Time travel. You’re still as young an’ pretty as before.”

“Can I go back?”

“Dunno, have to ask one of the magic or science brains.” The vampire rose. She felt his mind again and he grinned at her expression “Useful for some things. Sleep.”

Emma was indignant and suddenly very sleepy. John Steed snorted in his chair. “I would have done it too you know.”

“Yeah, but it would’ve been a lot easier for me to do it.”

Steed rose and stood by the bed. The old vampire rose, a little more stiffly than normal. “ ‘m gonna check on George.”

Steed nodded. “Do that.” He watched the blonde in the leather duster walk off. “Commodore Pratt? Thank you.”

The vampire stiffened. “Bloody Buggerin’ Blast. Thought no-one had the clearance to read that bit.”

“Her Majesty does. She sends her regards.” He heard a little chuckle.

“God bless the Queen.”

“God bless the Queen.” Steed replied seriously.

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Buffy stood staring at the frail body in the bed. Three old people sat around it. Cousins, two of whom had been younger than this girl when they last saw her. An oxygen mask covered her face, several IV’s ran into her arms and her chest was heavily bandaged. The doctors had repaired the damage to her heart as best they could and Slayer healing would take over soon. But George Kirrin had been dead. And now she was here. And that would have some effect on the timeline, but she couldn’t care less.

Anne Kirrin held her cousin’s hand. “She’s so thin.” The words came out in a whisper.

Giles cleared his throat. “She spent seven and half month on the run after she cut her ties with her Watcher and the Council…”

Julian Kirrin was still a large man, even in his seventies. “She’s so small…I forgot how young she was…”

“She needs feeding up and sleep and a lot of love.” Dick Kirrin’s voice was decisive. “I’ve asked Jo and Mo to cook some of Aunt Fanny’s dishes.”

Julian gave his brother a look. “You just want a meat pie with eggs for yourself.”

“Well that too.” Dick ran a hand over George’s greasy hair. “Never seen it this long, or this dirty.”

Anne’s hand stroked the prominent bones of George’s thin one. She looked at Buffy. “And I suppose you’ll slot her into some Slayer school until she matches up with your…cohorts?”

“Only if she wants to…” Buffy looked at the girl on the bed, her hand absentmindedly toying with a large claw covered in something purple. “The New Council doesn’t force girls to become Slayers. We train them to use their powers, to keep from getting into trouble, to recognize signs of vamps and stuff. ‘Cause some of them come looking for us. And we go after those who abuse their powers.”

Julian bristled. “You think she will?”

Buffy gave him a very straight look and shuddered. “God, I hope not…” She lifted the claw. “She pulled this out of her chest and stabbed it into a demon’s urethra, then she slammed her knife into its eye as it whimpered. She took down two Akrothos demons on her own.” She looked at the Slayer lying in a anesthesia induced stupor on the bed. “I don’t think I could take her…”

Giles dropped the glasses he’d been polishing and swallowed audibly. “Bloody hell.”

The three cousins looked at the Watcher. It was Julian who spoke. “Is that a good or a bad ‘bloody hell’?”

Giles picked up his glasses. He gave Julian a very calm look. “Buffy is better in most situations than any other Slayer I know. If she deems Miss Kirrin to be better…she’d be a very formidable fighter indeed.”

Buffy looked at the claw. “She was so scared, but she never stopped…”

Anne nodded in reminiscence. “George was always at her most dangerous when she was frightened. She hates being scared. So she takes it out on someone, preferably whatever or whoever scares her…” 

Buffy grinned. “Hah. How’s she when practicing?’

Dick scratched his nose. “Errr…She was never very enthusiastic…”

Giles grinned. “I’m getting an image here…” He looked at Buffy, who scowled.

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Baroness Kirrin of Kirrin was annoyed. Her nephews and nieces had always been special to her, especially since the disappearance of her own daughter, they’d become like her own children. But they could be vastly annoying as well. Like now for instance, they’d dragged her off to the hospital for no reason and instead of attending the charity for teen mothers she was now in a wheelchair, being pushed by her youngest daughter in law. Trust Julian to marry a gorgeous Italian…thirty years his junior.

She rolled her eyes at Jo’s chatter. Dick’s wife was nervous, that was obvious. Fanny knew that little mannerism well after so many years. Susan was waiting for them at the entrance, as always serene but Fanny noted the little signs of strain in her face. She was Julian’s age but looked much younger than her years, but then so did her niece and nephews. Fanny had been a touch surprised when Anne had anxiously confessed to her that she was in love with a woman. But Susan was a lovely girl and it took all sorts to make the world.

“So, are any of you girls going to tell me why I’m here? My last physical exam showed no signs that worried the doctors, at least no more than they should for a woman my age. And why am I in a wheelchair?  I can walk perfectly well.” *With the aid of a cane, but still, she walked very well for a woman well past her hundredth birthday.*

Jo bit her lip. Susan looked uncertain. So it was Momo who answered, in her soft voice with the slight Italian lilt even after all these years. She’d once expressed her discomfort about this to Fanny who’d laughed and told her it was because she listened so much and spoke so little. Her vocabulary was immense and her and Julian’s children all spoke fluent English and Italian. Fanny could sit and listen to Momo sing to her children for hours.

“We need you to see someone Aunt Fanny, and we want you sitting down. And no, it’s not Julian, Dick, Anne or the children. And it’s nothing to do with your health Aunt Fanny either. It’s a wonderful surprise…but we need to show you.”

Fanny hmphed. “Very well then. Let’s get this over with.” She gave her daughters in law, for that was what they were, a little smile and settled down. “Did you bring my knitting Jo?”

Susan exchanged a look with Jo. They sighed in unison and Fanny chuckled. “Don’t sound so put upon dears, I’m an old woman, allowed her foibles.”

Momo reached into her elegant purse and handed Aunt Fanny a half finished sock and a ball of wool. “Here you are.”

All three women looked at the youngest. Momo shrugged. “It seemed like a sensible idea to bring it.”

Susan shook her head in wonder. “One day Momo, I’ll manage to sit you down and make you talk…I do wonder what you hide behind that silence of yours.”

“No greater secrets than Lion, a Witch or a Wardrobe.” Susan’s mouth fell open and her confident stride faltered a bit before she caught up again.

“A talk is definitely in order.”

Fanny looked at the young women, no girls really, guarding the elevator with surprise. They seemed nervous, exalted, capable and innocent at the same time. If there hadn’t been three of them…When they came out of the elevator another group of young women was waiting there, and a one eyed man was sitting in a chair in the corridor, doing Sudoku’s.

He looked up briefly at them and then rose. He approached them and sketched a bow. “Ladies, I’m Xander Harris.” He inclined his head to each of the women in turn. “Baroness Kirrin, Baroness Kirrin, Lady Kirin.” His gaze lingered on Momo and the youngest of her daughters in law looked unaccountably unnerved. He grinned at Susan. “Not quite sure how I should address you…”

Susan shrugged. “Miss Pevensie will do.”

“It seems disrespectful somehow.”

Fanny cleared her throat. “Young man, I was brought here for some sort of marvelous surprise. And good looking, in a rakish way you may be, I’ve passed my Byronian phase and I never was much into pirates. Nice trousers though.” She eyed him approvingly and the young man flushed. All three of her daughters in law gaped at her.

The young women around the lift tittered.

*Serves you right.*  Fanny thought. She lifted a perfect white eyebrow. “I may be old but I’m not yet blind, and I do have a good memory.”

“Baroness, I’m flattered that a woman of your taste and beauty expresses even a slight interest in me, but I’m spoken for and strictly monogamous.” Xander bowed again.

Fanny laughed. “Well, if you’re not my surprise, what is?”

Xander looked up and smiled. “Well the doctor is here. So if you please.” He gestured at the door.

He turned serious. “You must understand Lady Kirrin that this is real, we’ll explain everything later…but…” He shrugged and led them to a nearby door, opening it. Fanny was wheeled inside and saw Julian, Dick and Anne standing next to a curtain drawn around a hospital bed. A pretty little blonde girl and a man in his forties with glasses in a good tweed suit rose and slipped out behind Fanny and her wheelchair. The doctor took up an apologetic position by the door and Momo wheeled Fanny forward.

Fanny scowled at the three. Jo ran to Dick, hugging him and Julian walked over to put a hand on Momo’s and then an arm around her shoulder. Anne looked at Susan and then away. Susan bit her lip and moved up beside the blonde, putting an arm around her shoulders as well. Fanny noted it with a little worry. There was something off between those two.

“Well? Am I going to have to die of old age in this chair before I get to see this surprise?”

Dick took a deep breath and pushed aside the curtain. “The doctors expect she will fully recover.”

Fanny let herself be rolled forward and saw the still figure in the bed, clad in a hospital gown. Her hair was longer than it had been since she was eight and her face and body were far too thin. There was something under her nails, her long elegant fingers and hands were roughened with hard living and there were enormous circles under her eyes. Fanny looked at her family, her face calm.

“That’s George, isn’t it…”

“Yes.”

“Did you do this Momo?” She looked up at the woman behind her.

“No Aunt Fanny, Master Hora was very clear that Time travel is not good for the Time space continuum. If I had I would have told you earlier. If I was certain when this might happen, I also would have told you.” Fanny nodded. Momo’s speech became more Italian in grammar when she was nervous and she knew Momo did not lie.

“I see…did Quentin’s experiments work? He was planning on keeping her safe in the past.”

“I do not know exactly, Aunt Fanny.”

Julian started to laugh. “You’re not surprised. We took all these precautions…”

Fanny shrugged. “Momo said I’d see George before I died. Momo doesn’t lie.”

“B-But…” Anne struggled to understand her Aunt’s equanimity.

“I’ve become quite used to the supernatural in my life. If you lot hadn’t noticed some of the stranger things about Morena it’s because you haven’t listened. Really listened, not just to the stories, but to the truth behind them.” She saw Anne wince. *Aha…she’s found out Susan’s been telling the truth all this time…*

She gestured and Momo drove her forward. She took George’s hand in her own. “She needs a bath.”

Dick shook his head. “They took her straight into surgery, they gave her a sponge bath after, but she was really quite dirty.”

Fanny smiled. “That’s nothing new.” She lifted the limp hand and kissed it gently, then took it between both of her old wrinkled ones. “I’ll stay here until she wakes up.”

None of the younger Kirrins thought to make an objection. Objections to Aunt Fanny when she spoke in that way were useless.

“Yes Aunt Fanny.”

“Those young women outside…”

“Are mostly Slayers. We’ll explain later. First I want a word with my wife.” Julian gave Momo a pointed look. Momo flushed slightly and tried to hide behind her bush of raven curls. Julian sighed and reached out to push it aside. “Or maybe I need to listen to the truth behind her tales better…”

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Fanny Kirrin sat dozing on a comfortable chair by her daughter’s bed when the first faint stirrings of consciousness made themselves known. Her eyes shot open as she felt the light movement of her daughter’s hand. Knowing that George might wake up disorientated she withdrew it and sat back. Slayer strength was dangerous at times.

The deep brown, almost black eyes opened, looking groggy. They wandered around the room, assessing it for risk. Fanny felt a flash of disappointment when they passed over her and did not hold a touch of recognition. A doctor came in and approached the bed.

“Miss Kirrin? Can you hear me?”

George nodded her head. “You’ve been intubated, to help you breathe. I’ll remove that now.” He turned away and two nurses entered. The three of them efficiently removed the tube and some of the other medical appliances, including one that had George blushing. And all through it the old woman sat studying her. She looked familiar. The entire Kirrin family had a strong family likeness and this woman looked like her grandmother, but older. The doctors left and George gazed at the woman thoughtfully.

“You are wondering who I am.” Fanny said finally.

George heard the sadness in the old woman’s voice and suddenly it all clicked. Her eyes widened. “Mum?”

Fanny Kirrin leaned forward to kiss her daughter’s cheek. George was looking at her with desperation in her eyes. “How?”

“Time travel. You are still not yet nineteen years old…I’m…a touch older than when last you saw me.”

“Oh Mum…”

“I’ve missed you my little George…”

“Dad?”

“He’s been dead twelve years dear. Its almost 2005.”

“Oh…hell.” George started to cry. Fanny pressed the alarm button.

“I’ve sent for someone to help you calm down dear, you’ve had a heart operation, crying like that is not going to help, not even with your Slayer healing.”

George kept crying and Fanny hoisted herself out of her chair, cradling the curly mop of hair to her chest. “Take deep breaths my dear, calm even breaths.”

The door opened and a doctor came in. Taking in the situation he walked over to the IV and opened it a little wider, checking the flow. He glanced at Fanny. “Just a mild sedative, Your Ladyship.”

The doctor stood watching to see the results of the drug. It took George a few minutes to calm down. Her eyes were trifle glassy. “Annie? Julian? Dick? Timmy?”

“The first three are alive and quite well. Timmy died at age fourteen…he fathered two nests of pups and we’ve always kept one of his descendants.”

“The Council? Are you in danger? Are they still looking for me?”

Fanny smiled, taking George’s hand to prevent it from fidgeting with the blankets. “The Council…a few years ago the Council was blown up by the First…and every potential in the World was made a Slayer. So you’re no longer the only one…and the New Council is very much on the side of the Slayers. Currently they’re trying to find out if anyone is still alive who approved or condoned what happened to you. And if anyone is, which I doubt, they will be punished. The Senior Slayer was not amused when she found out what was done to you. The Cruciamentum has been banned by the way. There is a test to see if Slayers are clever and not just strong, but the girls are carefully prepared for the idea.”

George smiled sleepily. “’S good then.” She tried to keep he eyes open and Fanny chuckled.

“Sleep dear. Fourteen Slayers are guarding your sleep…you are perfectly safe.”

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Slayer healing was really remarkable. George Kirrin was standing in front of the mirror in her room, looking at herself. She’d been fed. A lot. Malnourishment and deprivation had left a mark on her body before her final encounter and two days of square meals were hardly enough to counter that, but her family was determined to get her fattened up as soon as possible.

All of them remembered exactly what things she liked to eat and supplied plenty of it. Today she was to be introduced to some of the modern day personnel of the Council. And more importantly the rest of her family, it was quite extended now. Today she would meet only with her cousins and their significant others. Her mouth twitched. She’d never thought she’d have a chance to get a real boyfriend, but now, with so many Slayers…

She took a deep breath. The modern clothing fit her well enough, and she always thought of herself as modern, but the way some of the things they’d shown her would have fit, those tank top things…She shrugged. Took another deep breath. Walked to the door, opened it and left. Julian was waiting to lead her outside. They were to meet at Julian’s town house. Her family’s fortunes had changed since her disappearance. They were rich. Her father’s inventions, her cousins’ work… To none of it had she contributed. All she’d done was bringing them terrible grief for decades. She sat silently in the back of the Rolls Royce.

Julian sighed beside her.. “George, you saved the world twice and thousands of lives as well. Will you stop moping?”

“What?”

“You are not dead weight. You never were, never will be. As I just said you’ve saved the world twice, thousands of lives and inspired tens of thousands of girls, all we have to do is make up a suitable background for George Kirrin’s granddaughter, or whatever.”

“H-how did you know?”

Julian gave her an exasperated look. It was oddly familiar even on his old face and after all these years. And then she knew that a lot of time might have passed, but they were still the cousins who’d spent so much time together and she grinned. “Oh, of course.”

“Now that we have that out of the way…We’re here.”

He led her into the spacious hall and then into a smaller room. There were three women waiting with Annie, Dick and her Mum. George took one look at them and started laughing uncontrollably.

“I knew it! I knew it!” She pointed at Momo. “You’re Julian’s wife.” Jo was next, “Good to see you Jo, I always knew you two would end up together…” Her gaze rested on the tall form of Susan. “But I must admit I thought Annie would go for a red head after that whole business with Maureen Kelly.”

Annie blushed a fiery red. “There was no business with Maureen Kellly! And how do you know about it anyway?”

Susan gave Anne an interested look. “Who is Maureen Kelly?”

George shrugged. “Annie’s first big crush. It was pretty obvious. Tall, willowy, red head, curls, big blue eyes. She was in my form.”

Anne groaned. “Dammit George! Of all the things to bring up on your first meeting!”

“You mean Julian should be less embarrassed for cradle robbing?” George teased.

Julian blushed, as did Momo. George grinned and went over, giving the bushy haired woman a hug. “Hey, don’t worry. Julian always had excellent taste. Did he tell you about his adventures with Caroline Furber-Whitlow?”

Julian started to sputter. “H-how?”

“Oh really Julian, if you want to keep a secret, keep quiet. If you want to find out secrets, keep a big dog. And develop Slayer hearing…” She winked.

Dick laughed. “Yup, that’s our George. I’m ever so glad all my indiscretions came later.”

“If you say so. I’ll just say Pine Hollows…” George said dryly.

Dick shrugged. “That wasn’t indiscreet. That was the night I proposed to Jo. Very extenuating circumstances…”

George sighed. “Some things don’t change, I still can’t get a rise out of you. Now give me some names…”

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The night had been successful as far as George was concerned. She’d met her cousins’ children and significant others…she still wondered why everybody had been so surprised that she’d known about Annie’s preferences…or Julian’s little escapades. She grinned. And for the first time in sixty years she was patrolling in London without having to fear the Council was out to get her.

She was chasing something through the bushes of Hyde Park when a slim form appeared next to her. “We aren’t supposed to hunt these, they’re harmless.”

 The accent was American and George slowed her run. “Ah…sorry…ummm…Who are you?”

“No prob, I didn’t know either. I’m Buffy. They’re Wombles.”

“Buffy?”

“Yeah. I blame the medication my mom was on after my birth.” Buffy’s nose wrinkled.

George grinned. “I shouldn’t quibble what with my name… So why’re you here?”

“Ummm, well none of the regular London gang dared approach you. And we can’t have people hunt Wombles, the Queen would be upset.”

George blinked. “Why didn’t they dare?”

“Because I may have described a bit too vividly how you took down those Akrothos. And Willow thinks you’re awesome, but she babbles when she gets exited. And she couldn’t keep up with you when you were running. And Faith got called back to Cleveland already.”

George noted that the girls beside her was short, blonde and very trim. The blonde looked up at her. “You hungry?”

“Yes…”

“Lets get a Sub or two.”

“Sub? A submarine?”

“No, it’s a fancy bread thing. You buy them at a sort of bakery.”

“I don’t have any money.”

“I do, Ummm…have you Slayed anything tonight?”

“A very stupid vamp. The place seems rather empty.”  Geo9rge sounded plaintive.

The blonde shrugged, leading her out of the park. “There’s three trained slayers permanently assigned to London and we’ve got a bunch of enthusiastic trainees running around.”

“What are you, within the Council I mean?”

“I’m Buffy Summers, the oldest living Slayer. I was called in 1996. I’ve been dead a couple of times, was brought back from the dead and I’ve stopped counting the things I’ve killed. I led the battle to defeat the First. I’m the leader of the Slayers and the Co-chair of the Council.”

“Ah…and what would I do in the Council?”

“Provided you want to continue Slaying? Well, with you here, there’re three chosen Slayers. Me, Faith and you, all the rest have been created by the spell or come into their powers since then as they grew older.”

Buffy looked up at the sky. “There’s a pecking order that is established by ability to fight, lead, time spent as a Slayer, being the longest serving Slayer gives me an edge, Faith as well. But you, you’re in a league of your own. You were part of the Famous Five. You defied the Council, saved the world, and you’re a role model for most of the British girls.” Buffy flushed. “And I recently found out what my mom meant when she called me a regular George.”

George gave the older girl an incredulous look. “You’re having me on…”

“No, sorry. Willow was a huge fan of yours before she even knew you were a Slayer. In the records they just call you the Fallen Slayer. They couldn’t quite do a…a Damnatio Memoriae, but they came pretty damn close.” Buffy scowled.

George snorted. “You act a lot dumber than you are, don’t you?”

Buffy slowed to a walk. “You’re good. Yes…I do, I did. I wanted to be…someone else…not the Slayer.”

“Me too...I don’t have to…can I…”

“Have something like a normal life? Yes and no…all of us can try…but the Slayer inside us, she wants to hunt. But we can do it in pairs at least and take care of the worst risks that way. And we’ve got back up, witches and doctors and psychologists. Watchers who want us to live. So we certainly try.”

“H-how normal?” George asked tentatively.

“You mean children? Boyfriends? A social life?”

“Yes.” George looked down at the ground, then up at the stars.

“Well, I’m afraid you’ll find that your social life will be sort of limited to people you can tell the truth to. I’ve found that relationships with people who don’t know…don’t work very well. But other than that, there’s no regs. You find a boy or girl you like, you can hook up. We’ve got plenty of Slayers who do. And of course we understand about the two H’s…even if most of us tend to be less obvious about it than Faith.”

“Two H’s?”

“Hungry and horny. We’ve got plenty of prophylactics. And lots of food.” Buffy’s matter of fact voice made George blush.

“Oh…I see.”

“The good thing about having more than one Slayer is that you can talk about it and realize that we have it all in common…and that it can be fun, but that having a significant other…makes it all a lot better. Faith got married a coupla months ago. Never thought that would happen a few years ago.”

“And you?”

“I-I… Can you keep a secret?”

“Willow?”

Buffy gave her an astonished look. “How the hell?”

“The way you said her name, a little catch…it was how my cousin spoke about his wife and my father about my mother. And she about him, for that matter.”

“You can tell when people lie? With Slayer hearing?” Buffy sounded impressed.

“Yes. Can’t you?”

“No…all of us can do different sort of things. You do know you’re very good fighter?”

“You saw me fight those blue things?”

“Akrothos, yeah.”

“I thought I remembered you. What was that axe you carried, it felt…”

“Awesome, I know. That’s the Slayer Scythe. I’ll explain later. You took down two. Okay, you would’ve died if Willow and I hadn’t been there. But I fought one and barely won and needed back up just like you. To take out two, that’s like, wow.”

“Do we fight better when we think we’re going to die? I never fought that well in my life…”

“What did you think was in there?”

“Blue demons that raped and killed women to procreate and might use a Slayer to open a small Hellgate to bring a few more of their kind.”

Buffy blinked and looked at the dark curled slayer as they stood in the light of the fast-food store.

“You knew…everybody thought the Council lured you there…made you think they were vamps.”

“They did. I was warned.”

“So why did you go in?”

“It wasn’t easy. I had to knock out and tie up my source, he wanted to stop me.”

“Who told you? A watcher?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

Buffy grinned. “William the Bloody aka Spike?”

It was George’s turn to be stunned. “H-how?”

“He’s a Champion of the Light now…got soul too.”

“H-he does?”

“Yeah…he had a thing for me for a bit…It’s complicated. Let’s go in and eat.”

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Willow was sitting on the bed looking at Buffy as the blonde prepared for the night.

“I think we should tell people.”

Buffy rolled her eyes. “I think I should kiss you senseless during the dance tomorrow. It’ll be easier. Everybody will know and at the same time.”

“Okay.” Willow agreed easily.

Buffy blinked. “What?”

“I don’t mind. It’d save time and there’s a couple of witches and slayers who are getting a bit…interested in me.”

Buffy bristled. “Right. Kiss it is.”

“I think we need to practice.” Willow looked up coyly. Buffy pulled her up and kissed her. After a minute Willow was starting to see stars, her toes were curling and there were…other signs of enjoyment as well.

*Holy Goddess…this woman can kiss.*

Buffy stopped kissing. Willow made a mewling noise. “More practice?”

Willow mewled her confirmation and Buffy grasped her again. A few minutes later she lowered the redheaded witch to the bed.

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The Council meeting room had been transformed into a ballroom. Slayers had been flown in from all over the world so that at least one representative of each Slayer House was present. 

The evening was formal and the elder Kirrins stood looking with some amusement as numbers of young Slayers roamed the room, dressed in the modern day versions of formal wear. The few younger men looked decidedly put upon.

Of the Scooby High Council, as the Stentor had called them, so far only Rupert Giles, Faith Lehane and Xander Harris were present. The other women of the group were still dressing. Dawn Summers had volunteered to help George Kirrin dress. Julian, Dick and Annie were gleefully looking forward to seeing George in a formal dress, something she utterly despised.

General Lord Steed was seated next to Aunt Fanny and the two elders were discussing the vacuity of youth and the lack of really good sherry. They were drinking cider from champagne glasses, just like the rest of the company. Apparently Slayers and alcohol were unmixy things.

Emma Knight sat alone in one of the alcoves of the large hall. Her long elegant white dress suited her colouring and the delicate ruby necklace had been lent to her by the Dowager baroness Kirrin.

Her face calm she watched the gathering of Knowledgeable. And wondered what she would do with her life.

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Dawn Summers was trying to get a mulish George Kirrin to wear a dress. The bold eyed beauty was not cooperating. Dawn had carefully chosen a deep red for her but she point black refused. She also refused the make up. And all she’d done regarding the racy err… lacy underwear was scoff.

Dawn herself was a vision in turquoise and was getting more than a little annoyed.
“It’s a dress George…not the end of the world.”

“I can do something about the end of the world.”

“It’s a very beautiful dress and it will look wonderful on you?”

“I’d rather wear tails and tie. “

Dawn closed her eyes and prayed for patience. She needed help. Help could be had. George and Buffy had struck up a friendship of sorts, so maybe her sister could help her. After all she and Willow had been helping each other prepare. Dawn threw George, sitting clean and powdered in her new terrycloth bathrobe, a scowl. “Don’t touch your hair.”

George had wanted to go to the hairdresser’s minutes after leaving the hospital. Only the combined authority of her now much older cousins, her cousin’s significant others and mostly her mother had prevented her from having it all cut off. The luxuriant loose black curls framed her sun browned face. She’d filled out a bit with the good meals and she looked less starved and her bold dark eyes and long lashes had drawn attention from several young men as she walked the streets.

She ran a hand through her hair and grinned. Dawn would be annoyed.

Dawn threw open the door to her sister’s apartment and waltzed in. “BUFFY!!” And then she stopped. Her sister and Willow… in their under things… very lacy tiny under things… Willow in Buffy’s lap… on the couch… kissing.

Dawn squeaked, an incongruous little noise after her loud yell, but Buffy and Willow froze and then tried to disentangle themselves.

Dawn squeaked again, her mind going in circles. *Willow was on Buffy’s lap and they were…kissing. Buffy sis-mom was kissing Willow sis-mom.* Willow had managed to scoot off Buffy’s lap, blushing furiously and Buffy was as red as a beet as well.

“Dawn! Errr…this isn’t…” Dawn backed back into the small hall, her hands flying to her mouth, eyes wide, before she flew out of the room at breakneck speed, almost tripping over the plain grey door mat.

Buffy cursed and followed her, disregarding her state of undress. Dawn was just outside the door, still wide eyed and leaning against the wall. Buffy sighed in relief and dragged her inside, closing the door.

Dawn looked at the two her face blank, her voice even and emotionless. “It’s a joke right? Vengeance on me and Xand?”

“Dawn…” Buffy put a hand on Dawn’s shoulder but her sister pushed it away.

“IT’S NOT FUNNY!!! It’s not funny at all…”

Dawn turned towards the door but Willow, now in a rather tatty green robe, interposed herself, resolve face in full effect. “Dawn Summers, you will stay here and listen and act like an adult. This is not a joke. I-Its anything but a joke. W-we…Buffy and I were going to go to the ball together, and show people, tonight. We’re going to do everything we can to make it work, and not everything we do is about you either! Or Xander!”

Dawn looked from Buffy in her delicate green blue silk and lace underwear who was rubbing her arms in worry and Willow, looking both terrifying and terrified.

“Y-you’re serious? How long?”

“Since the night of the Wombles.” Willow blushed. “It was my shirt.”

“Ah. Ohh! I see…” Willow blushed even more as Dawn started grinning. Buffy groaned. Suddenly Dawn turned and hugged Buffy. “I love you Buff…and it’s wonderful… It will be great seeing you two happy together.”

Willow raised an eyebrow at Buffy who shrugged in a-what-do-I-know way.

“So you’re not angry?”

“Angry? This is the best news I’ve had in years Buff!”

“Okay…” Buffy sounded touch uncertain at her sister’s easy acceptance of the new situation.

“But now I need your help, George does just not want to get into her dress. And it’s a wonderful dress and it would really suit her.”

Buffy shrugged. “George is not even that fond of skirts, I’d say a formal dress is about as far away from what you’ll get her to wear as anything. You may have better luck getting her into a Leia bikini.”

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The figure in the white and gold uniform walked into the building as if he owned it, the only vampire ever to cross the threshold of the Council building not a prisoner. He hadn’t worn it in many years, not since the early days of the Second World War, when he had walked out of the Wardrobe in the Spare Room right into the arms of Digory Kirke, explorer, Watcher, and one time practitioner of magic.

That had taken a bit of explaining. Luckily he’d carried his papers from the government, including the tiny magical lettering that stated that yes, William Pratt, vampire, was in His Majesty’s secret Service, had been in his brother’s secret service and his father’s secret service. Had, as matter of fact, been an agent to Her Majesty, Queen Victoria. They’d had some interesting conversations about the Old Girl over the years. And the old professor kept a most excellent wine cellar until the Council destroyed his finances when he opposed them over the Kirrin affair…which reminded him, he’d have to talk to Giles about restitution of that money to any heirs there might be. He grinned. The old man had even entrusted him with his Journals…now all he had to do was remember where he’d stowed them…

The hall fell silent around him and he did not notice, deeply sunk in his memories. The Stentor called out behind him as he uncaringly went by.

“His Grace William, the Duke of the Northern Wastes and Black Mountains of Narnia, General in Chief of the Armies of their most Righteous Majesties, the Sword of Aslan.”

The hall had been noisy before, now it was so still you could hear a pin drop. He walked towards Queen Susan the Gentle, her face serene, and he felt the presence of Aslan around him as he neared her. He stopped the regulation five steps in front of her, a picture perfect performance, as it should be he had designed the greeting after all, drew his sword and held it in front of his face in salute before re-sheathing it, going down on his knee again and presenting her the weapon hilt first.

“Ever at Your service; Your Majesty.”

“So formal Sir William?”

“Begging your pardon, Ma’am, and I know about their Majesties, but I would not put it beyond King Peter or King Edmund to rise out of their graves to have a word with me if I ever were less than a gentleman.”

Emma Knight, from the alcove where she sat alone heard the words and wondered what sort of un-gentlemanlike behaviour the High Queen of Narnia had engaged upon with the spiky haired vamp. A thought she was sure went through the minds of every man and woman in the hall.

Queen Susan laughed a tinkling silvery laugh. She tilted her head. “Do you still dance? I remember how you taught us the Viennese waltz…”

“For you ma’am, I’d dance to the ends of the earth.”

Susan looked at the young man in charge of the music. He’d heard her words and laid an appropriate number on from the music library. Susan smiled. “Strauss… Shall we dance, William?”

“It would be my pleasure, Susan.”

Anne Kirrin, standing in the door to the toilets, headed to the bar and ordered a stiff drink.

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Buffy stood next to George in front of a large standing mirror in Dawn’s apartment. Buffy wore an emerald green dress that brought out the green in her eyes, strapless and off the shoulder but with the possibility of adding a jacket. A few touches of gold accentuated the curves of her body. She looked beautiful.

George was wearing a new blue terrycloth bathrobe. She was looking mulish. 

“Why not?”

“Because!”

“George…there are Commonwealth girls down there who think you’re the best thing since sliced bread…” Buffy wheedled.

“And they can go on thinking it while I wear slacks.”

“Do you think I’m some weak female? Or Willow? Or any of he girls you’ve sparred with? Anne? Or Susan? They’re all down there, wearing dresses.”

“I don’t want to.”

Buffy looked at the defiant profile and the sparkling eyes…sparkling with more than anger…tears.

“Tell me why not George…”

At first the other Slayer looked rebellious, then she saw the compassionate look on Buffy’s face.

“Dad…when I got…after we got along a bit better when I’d told mom and dad about…what I was…He told me that on my eighteenth birthday he’d buy me a dress…like none I’d ever seen before…and I’d wear it and be his little girl for the last time…”

Buffy nodded. “And now he can’t be here and dance with you…He loved you George…he spent years trying to find a way to save you…manipulate time.”

“Which caused this whole mess.”

“Yes. And I doubt he would be happy to hear that when he finally succeeded in some way, you refused the gift of life.”

George opened her mouth to retort. Buffy spoke first. “I’ve been dead and I’ve been ripped from heaven. You were taken from a different time, you never truly died” *well in this reality anyway* And you will not beat yourself up over something that can’t be helped. Now dress up as pretty as you can and make all the boys and girls who are so inclined goggle at you in desire.”

George sighed. “Oh very well…I suppose my mother wants to see me in an evening dress at least once…”

“That’s the spirit. So what did Dawn get you in the way of underwear?”

George blushed. 

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The great hall was buzzing with dancing and gossip. Queen Susan of Narnia had so far danced four dances with Spike. Neither Willow nor Buffy had shown up, and Dawn and George were still absent as well. Dick Kirrin was grimly watching his sister drink. She was on her second whisky and it didn’t look like she wanted to stop. Susan was dancing with Spike again. Julian was looking worried and Jo was near tears. Even Aunt Fanny seemed worried. They all remembered what Anne had been like before Susan. They didn’t want to think what would happen to the youngest Kirrin if her lover deserted her for another.

Momo had been watching the events and decided enough was enough. She strode onto the dance floor, her silver and yellow frock floating around her like a cloud, oblivious to the looks, stares and whispers. She lightly tapped Spike on the shoulder and spoke in her soft Italian accented lilt. “May I cut in?”

Susan smiled. “I have been monopolizing Spike, haven’t I?”

“Oh no Susan, I want to dance with you,” Momo replied calmly.

Susan blinked, as did Spike. “W-with me?”

“Oh yes. I insist as a matter of fact. Your grace, if you would excuse us? Do you prefer to lead or follow, Your Majesty?”

“I really don’t know…”

“Then I’ll lead.” The shorter, younger woman very firmly led the taller back into the dance. Spike looked after the pair in bemusement.

Momo was silent. Susan, irked by her behaviour spoke rather sharply. “Is there a reason why I can’t dance with Spike?”

“Is that what you want? To dance with Spike?”

“What do you mean? He’s an old friend, a good friend.”

Momo was silent.

“I knew him when I was young…he’s the only one left who knows about Narnia and understands…” She was silent for a minute. “Annie never believed me until Spike showed up…I know it’s terrible but it felt so good to see her realize that my life had at least been as exciting as hers…” Momo’s silence sat between them again. The dance ended and a new one began but Momo did not relinquish her sister in law.

Susan felt a need to fill the silence. “She felt so guilty about it…but it felt so good to be Queen Susan again…it still feels good. Anne will just have to get used to it.”

Momo’s large eyes rested on her thoughtfully and Susan sighed. The eyes looked away and Susan was swirled round. Anne was sitting at the bar, in the sea blue dress that went with her eyes so well, her gold and silver hair limp around her bare white shoulders, and those shoulders slumped. The whisky glass went to her lips and came back empty. A look at the bartender and another glass was set before her. 

“She’s drinking…she never drinks…” Susan looked worried. “Why is she drinking? Momo? Please?”

“Why wouldn’t she?” Momo’s gaze settled on Spike for a second and then moved back to Susan’s eyes, thoughtful, sorrowful, but not unkind.

“We talked about it…I teased her about her selective belief, sure, but she knows I love her…I had no evidence to show her Narnia was real…the Wardrobe doesn’t work anymore…I can shoot a bow, but I could’ve learned that here…William was the first time I could really talk about Narnia in years…”

Susan’s mouth and eyes widened. “Oh Aslan…she thinks I’m…she thinks I want William!”

Momo’s eyes flickered to Anne who was finishing another whisky.

Susan struggled to get loose. “Damn it Momo! Let me go!” Momo gave her another gentle look and danced her over to the bar. Susan felt herself being released and propelled towards Anne. She walked up behind the blonde and noticed that her lover’s shoulders were shaking very slightly. She put her hands on the love of her life’s shoulders and leaned forward, whispering softly.

“Dance with me, my love.”

Anne stiffened. “Susan?!” 

“William, Spike, he’s a friend. No one alive remembers Narnia…It took me years to remember it was real…and to meet him…it was like touching heaven…but I forgot I’ve got a chance to touch heaven every day…Anne I love you…I was mean and prideful…I wanted to feel superior, for believing you…I wanted you to suffer a little bit for not believing me…For all the jokes about the lion tamer…”

Susan swallowed. “I didn’t think…what it’d look like to you…I don’t want to live without you…I don’t love William…I love you… Annie…please?”

Anne turned around on her stool, her hair flying, stumbling to her feet. She hauled the taller woman close and kissed her fiercely. Susan tasted the whisky on her lips and tongue, smoky, tangy, a little wild. Her heart beat rapidly in her chest. Anne was always so reserved and she was not all that fond of public displays of affection either…but this felt right and good, and Aslan, she’d have to get Annie drunk again if this was how she kissed when tipsy…

Anne stopped kissing her and Susan looked at her in a daze. The shorter, younger woman stepped even closer, her blue eyes like sparkling sapphires. Anne’s hands found their way into position and she started the dance. Julian and Dick were standing slack jawed, wide eyed and blushing.

Aunt Fanny looked at Momo and nodded her approval. Momo nodded back and then grabbed Julian. “Come Julio…I’ll even let you lead.”

Dick laughed very hard until Jo grabbed him and he had to confess he’d forgotten how to waltz.

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There was short peal of bells and the stentor called out. “Miss Dawn Summers, Chief Archivist. Miss Buffy Summers, Senior Slayer and Council Chair. Miss Willow Rosenberg, Chief Wicca.” There was a moment of silence. “The Right Honourable George Kirrin, Senior Slayer.”

Dawn was wearing a turquoise dress and her hair was a soft cascade of brownish gold around her shoulders, a circlet set with a single large turquoise on her head. Her smile was brilliant and she made a bee line for Xander in his evening dress. He wore the carefully embroidered and enchanted eye-patch that she had made for him and that Willow had layered with extra spells. He looked debonair and handsome and she welcomed the warmth of his arms.

Buffy was wearing her emerald and gold dress, her hair pulled back in a simple style but elaborately curled at he back. Willow was in a gold lamé dress with swathes of green, her hair in a loose curled upswept do. They entered arm in arm, but they were very good friends and had done so on numerous occasions. They were probably unaware that they were doing it.

George was wearing a deep ruby red dress, strapless, leaving her slim, sun bronzed shoulders bare. George never seemed to lose her tan. Her long elegant legs were visible through the long slit in her dress and showed of the red and black stockings underneath, dark red pumps and a jet and ruby necklace finished the look. Her hair was bound with red ribbons into a short French braid tied back to her head and soft curls framed her face to land on her bare shoulders.

Julian and Dick could only stare.  Aunt Fanny felt her heart glow with pride.

Anne grinned, a little too widely, whispering to Susan.  “I knew George would clean up pretty.”

Susan pursed her lips. “She’s very pretty…but not as pretty as you.” Anne was surprised as the Queen of Narnia initiated another passionate kiss but wholeheartedly participated.

George saw the scene and blinked. “Bloody hell…”

Willow and Buffy, standing atop the stairs down to the hall swallowed. “Buffy? Do you think we’ll still be like that when we’re their age?”

”Hmmm.” Buffy turned to Willow and gave her a calculating look. “With plenty of practice…I’d think so yes.” Before the red head could protest she led her down to the dance floor.

“Buffy! What are you doing?”

“Don’t worry love, I’ll lead.”

Willow was about to protest but Buffy closed the distance between them and twirled her into the dancing couples.

His Grace William Whitefang, the Duke of the Northern Wastes and Black Mountains of Narnia, General in Chief of the Armies of their most Righteous Majesties, the Sword of Aslan, also know as Commodore Sir William Llewellyn Pratt, of her Most Britannic Majesty’s Navy, also known as Agent William Pratt Frasier 00-zero, also known as Sir William Pratt, Bart., also known as William the Bloody, also known as Spike was swallowing heavily.

He knew he had a…thing for Slayers, he knew he was love’s bitch, he knew that he was dangerously loyal and monogamous for a vampire and that trying to love, to seduce another Slayer was probably the dumbest thing he could ever do, and he realized that when he’d attempted to court, however ineptly, Buffy Summers she had not been the Slayer he’d really wanted.  “Bugger, damn and blast.”

He noted that the hall fell silent as Buffy and Willow started dancing, very close. He noticed that the proverbial pin was in fact a squeaky noise as Giles ruthlessly cleaned his glasses. And a whispered ‘good lord’ as the Slayer and the Wicca moved in for a kiss before resuming their dance. But the thing he really saw, smelled, tasted…was George Kirrin in a red dress.

Full Disclaimer:

The used or referred to copyrighted settings are, with one exception, are:

Joss Whedon’s Buffy verse

Elisabeth Beresford’s Wombles

Sidney Newman’s The Avengers (and the New Avengers of Clemens and Fennell)

Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five

C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia

Michael Ende’s Momo, also known as the Grey Gentlemen or The men in Grey (MOMO oder Die seltsame Geschichte von den Zeit-Dieben und von dem Kind, das den Menschen die gestohlene Zeit zurückbrachte in the original German)   

The last setting is only mentioned in passing as well and I’m a touch curious if people will recognize it. It might be easier now then a year ago.

And if you’re wondering who died…well Uncle Quentin counts.

All three chapters edited for style and spelling

 

 

The End

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