Water, Music and unsettling news
Author’s note: See end note for details Chapter 30: Water, Music and unsettling news
Jenny Calendar hesitated before ringing the bell of Rupert Giles’ apartment. But they needed to talk and they needed to plan and the less others knew about it, the better. And she wasn’t going to ask him to her cruddy little apartment… Rupert opened the door almost furtively. “A-ah Je...Miss Calendar.” He stood aside, opening the door, but did not invite her in.
Jenny, knowing full well what dangers lurked in the dark made no comment but just crossed the threshold. “Well…any ideas?” She said as he closed the door behind her.
“I don’t want to do it?” Giles uttered, after a moment’s thought.
Jenny flashed him a grin. “Very funny Rupert. Got anything to drink?”
Giles bowed slightly. “Of course. Tea?”
“Coffee,” Jenny smiled impishly.
Giles sighed and went to make a carafe of coffee and a pot of tea, feeling they would need them Jenny followed him into the small kitchen, leaning on the counter.
“We have to sing something Rupert, I need this job and Snyder is nasty enough to sack us. Or to find another way to make our lives totally miserable,” the young woman noted dejectedly.
Giles looked at her as he filled the coffeemaker with water. “Why do you work here anyway? A woman of your education and background could find a job anywhere in the world…why Sunnydale?”
Jenny smiled sadly.“It’s complicated Rupert. And no doubt you have a story of your own?”
Giles blinked, his surprise clear. “Err…Yes. Well…ummm…Bay City Rollers?” he offered, trying to change the subject.
“Any women in there Rupert?” Jenny asked pointedly.
“Erm…no,” Giles admitted.
Jenny lowered her forehead to her arms and leaned more heavily on the counter. “God…we’re never going to live this down.”
“No.” Giles filled the filter and turned on the machine.
“So…got any ideas on how to contain your little friends in the ‘Homework’ group? You know they’ll love this, us in the talent show.” Jenny asked hopefully.
“Well, I was thinking of sending them to kill of a few harmless demons, to keep them occupied. Only Willow reads the bulletin boards and then only to check on the chess and science club meetings,” Giles mused aloud.
Jenny looked shocked. “Rupert, killing demons of any kind is not something I’d recommend for school going children!”
Giles shrugged. “You’d be amazed; I think they’d be deeply insulted if I did not send them out to kill demons.”
Jenny smiled. “Rupert…your little homework group is really, really weird.”
Giles smiled. “Like you wouldn’t believe. Shall we take a look at my record collection and see if we can find anything that might be suitable? And we can both agree upon?”
“Okay…” Jenny walked out of the kitchen and started pulling records from the racks. Giles listened as she started humming tunes.
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“Mom? Can we go to the playground?” Dawn asked.
Joyce was about to say yes when her mother interfered. “Dawn honey…would you mind terribly if I kept your mother, Aunt Charlotte and Simon here? There are some things we need to talk about.”
Joyce was about ready to tell her mother to stop interfering when she saw her father shake his head at her, ever so slightly. And then she saw her mother bite her lip. This was important…and her mother was very nervous.
Joyce looked at Prue. “Would you mind?”
Prue looked at her youngest cousin and grinned. “Not at all…what do you want to do at the playground?”
There was a cough. A tall, broad shouldered black man was standing beneath the Arch Gateway. “I would presume Miss Dawn wants to train?”
Dawn pouted and whined. “Bottley! These are our cousins…we’ve never seen them before! It’s no fun having to train if they’re here! Who knows when we can get together again?!”
There was another, softer cough that might have been a laugh and a shorter, broader man stepped into view, his eyes a dark blue and his pale blond hair cut very close to his scalp carrying more than a few hints of grey. “Sean, why don’t we make it a run through? Get some of the other kids in, make it a game.” He looked at the three younger Halliwells. “And you three as well. If people find out that the doctor is close to you, you’ll need to be able to protect yourself…” he added musingly.
The three girls exchanged looks. “P-protect ourselves?”
The blonde man nodded. “Yes. And If you three are going to be like your grandmother, or your mother…” The man silent for just a second and seemed to stare off into some old memory. “Then you need to be trained, you need to be able to protect yourself. Lord knows your mother was powerful, but I can think of a number of occasions when she really could have done with a way to kick a man in the groin really hard.”
Penelope took a step forward. “Leonard…” she almost hissed.
The man nodded. “Penny. You look… very well.”
The old witch took two steps forward and slapped him hard across the face. Then she turned and stalked into the house.
Hurst looked after her. “Well, that went better than expected.”
The Halliwell sisters looked after their grandmother and then at the man in front of them. Prue crossed her arms. “Well?”
Hurst gave the three young women a long look. “We were engaged, she still pined after her first husband. I told her to get back in touch when she’d moved on,” He shrugged. “She never did.”
He looked at the teens. “Run through or training, take your pick, better be quick.”
Xander looked at his sisters and Amy and grinned. “Run through, with Jokers.”
Hurst nodded. “Very well. Lewis will remain here. We’ll use some of the new guards as well to make it harder on you.”
Xander nodded, still grinning. “So cousin Prudence,, feel up to an epic battle, water pistols and all?”
Prue looked at her sisters. Piper looked determined and Phoebe just grinned evilly.
“You’re going down Xander…You’re gonna fall hard…”
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Phoebe was panting hard as she ran through the playground. Dawn was faster than she’d thought, probably due to the ballet. And Buffy was quick and agile as water. Willow was sneaky. Xander was even worse and he carried water balloons, or grenades as he called them. Amy was just plain scary… Piper was out there somewhere with Prue. Probably hiding, Most certainly whimpering. Prue had been so certain she could at least out last Dawn…She folded her left hand around her water pistol and felt for the bottle of water she carried as extra ammo… She heard a noise and ducked. *JOKER! Dammit.*
The huge Slavic bodyguard so laconically called Bchenka by the children was impassive as he looked at her prone form on the sand of the playground castle. The water pistol in his hand seemed tiny even though it was much larger than her own. His eyes were a very pale blue she noted and he was graying at the temples…older than he looked. He leaned forward and spoke in a guttural Slavic accent. “Splash. You dead.”
“No I’m not! You’re a Joker!” Phoebe glared. The big man pointed and Phoebe looked straight into Willow’s face. The smirking redhead didn’t pause but fired her little pink plastic gun straight into Phoebe’s face. And then she did a little shuffling dance and ‘Eeeped.”
Phoebe got up, her face calm and turned to the younger girl. And growled.
Willow gulped and backed away. “Now Phoebe,” the redhead babbled, “It was entirely within the rules…you just got distracted by Bchenka, which is easy ‘cause he’s like real big and EEEEEKKK!!!”
Phoebe had started tickling Willow and Willow was very ticklish. On top of the central tower of the play ground Hurst sighed. “Bloody amateurs…”
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Penelope sat on the couch looking at the fireplace her face an expressionless mask. Danielle sat down next to her. “Well, that explains why he kept out of your way until now…”
“I didn’t even know he was still in the US, he told me he was going back to the UK…”
Danielle nodded. “He did. Simon didn’t know by the way, I asked him. Penny…”
“He was right…still is…I never have managed to put Allen behind me…and yet…” She turned to look at Danielle. “Danni…I talked to Cece…and it helped. I told her things I never told anyone else… About Allen, and our dreams, about Patty and what I wanted for her…what I want for my girls…about all my mistakes and…everything really…and I don’t know what to do now…The girls need to decide what they want…and I’m so afraid they’ll chose to take up their powers…and that they’ll be the Charmed Ones…and yet…when Simon…”
Danielle put an arm around her friend. “When he told us his House and realizing he’s going to be the last… Yes, I felt the same thing. It’s the Blood Penny, the Blood calls to us, to act and do our duty and make certain there is a next generation… Can you imagine doing that, being so certain of the evil of your line…” She shuddered. “And the problem is it’s mine too, it was enough of a surprise to realize we were the lineage of Abrahams of the House of Meier…but Abrahams of House Death? That scares me Penny, even more because when Simon dies Willow will be the Matriarch of Death…”
“If his father hadn’t been who he was, thing might have been so different,” Penelope sighed.
“Strange really…I never realized how badly all of us want to procreate. It must be a biological imperative of some sort…” Danielle smiled sadly.
There was the sound of a throat being cleared. Simon stood behind them. “Actually a few people have looked into that. An entomologist called Ferris Carlyle studied the She mantis and found that the sort of pheromones they put out are excreted in lesser ways and different compositions by magic users. We attract each other, even if our magic is minimal or latent and the pheromones also increase the need to procreate…”
Penelope grinned. “I see…so basically all of us are horny as hell and want to make babies, which is probably not helped by our society demanding we procreate to maintain our Houses.”
Danielle nodded. “But it does explain why we kept that part of the Wanding society even after the Channellers split off, we just realize that there’s more to it than breeding in pure bloodlines.”
Simon nodded. “True, it also might explain why magical women are so fertile…” He looked at Danielle. “A one night stand doesn’t normally lead to conception after all.”
Danielle looked thunderstruck. “Oh goddess…I never even…I thought…” Her face became outraged do you think they. “ She gestured upwards. “Had anything to do with it?”
“Nanny, if they have, I’m going to let them know of my displeasure.”
Danielle smiled. “As if they’d listen.”
“Probably not, no… Penelope, Cecilia would like to speak to us in the dining room now that the children are gone.”
Penelope smiled. “I doubt my girls will like being called children.”
Danielle gave her a look. “Phoebe certainly didn’t protest being tucked in, Piper looked disappointed I didn’t and did Prue protest at all?”
Penelope sighed, wistfully. “No Danni, maybe Joyce is right. Maybe in some ways…I can let them be children again. Especially Prue.”
Penelope rose and went into the dining room. Danielle went into the kitchen and started to bake Simon’s favourite blue berry crumble. Maybe it was time he had a chance to be a child again as well…
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Cecilia was standing by the window and Joyce and Charlotte were sitting on two chairs facing it when Penelope came in. James was standing beside his wife and Simon was rather uncomfortably leaning in a corner.
Cecilia turned around and looked at her older sister. “Would you close the door please Penny…” Her voice was unsteady.
Penny did as she was asked and Cecilia sat down. James stood behind her and comfortingly put his hands on her shoulders. She closed her eyes and sighed, then opened them again.
“When I was fourteen years old a man came to our parents’ house. He was tall, dark, attractive…I was…” She looked at her daughters and smiled a bit sadly. “Rather rebellious…And I was seeing a boy…and the boy’s friends...all perfectly innocent today, but not back then. The man was charming, well educated, cultured, soft spoken and polite. He told me he was there to see our parents…and I let him in.”
She took a deep breath and James squeezed her shoulders. “We talked until my parents came home…and then he talked to them, and he did know them, apparently quite well…they seemed to get along pretty fine. Dad made a remark about me being a handful and the man laughed and said I’d make someone an interesting wife someday. And that he’d be pleased to have me educated in a school Down East. They discussed our powers and the man offered to look into ways of lifting Gordon’s latency.”
She stopped talking for a while, looking at the table, before continuing. “The next day he came back and I let him in again. He…attacked me. I used my powers to fight back, but he’d blocked them…Walked through them as if they weren’t there. And then…” She swallowed again and James held her as tears ran down her face.
Joyce and Charlotte looked horrified. “He raped you…” Joyce whispered. “I thought you meant you got away…”
Cecilia shook her head. “I…no…I didn’t have a chance…He told me the things he wanted to do to me…that I’d be a good replacement for his wife…”
Simon had been growing steadily paler as Cecilia had been speaking. “P.C.J.”
“What?” Cecilia looked at him.
“He wrote about you…all of his…conquests. You were…a favourite.” He suddenly fell to his knees and violently vomited on the floor. Joyce was beside him in seconds, holding the waste paper basket in front of him. *The second time he’s needed to use it for this…I wonder if I should start carrying barf bags…*
She looked at her mother apologetically. “From what Simon says his father’s journals are very graphic. Detailing what he did…and wanted to do…”
Cecilia paled. “Oh…oh…” James held her close as she eyed the younger man on the floor emptying his stomach. “So…”
“He’s read about all of his father’s ‘lovers’…He tracked down some of them, to do what he could…offer what help or support he could…”
“I see…” She swallowed heavily.
Penelope walked round to Cecilia. “Cece…I still don’t understand why you didn’t tell me…I know you said you didn’t want us to get hurt…but…father and mother would never have stood for this…for what he did to you.”
“I-I…Penny…you weren’t always there when we fought…they-they thought I was you know, not being a nice girl…that I was…”
“They thought you were having sex?” Penelope looked astonished. “What sort of boys did you hang out with?”
Cecilia actually blushed. “Not that sort…mostly the Shop class…And well…I knew enough to not let anything happen.”
“I see…” Penelope smiled and squeezed her sister’s shoulder.
Cecilia waited until Simon had recovered. Joyce reached into his pocket and handed him his handkerchief, a large square of linen the size of a small tablecloth. The room was filled with the smell of vomit. Joyce rose and was about to leave, muttering about cleaning up when Cecilia stopped her.
Joyce stood stock still and then very slowly turned her face to her mother, her eyes very wide. “More? More than being raped?”
“Yes…after...the attack…I…Lashed out, I was angry, I cried a lot, disobeyed…Mom and dad talked about sending me to a boarding school…Near…him
so he could keep an eye on me…” Cecilia shuddered and James hugged her again.
Cecilia took a deep breath. “So when I found out I was pregnant…I didn’t think they’d believe that their good friend Simon was the father.”
Charlotte and Joyce gasped in unison. Simon groaned and sank down on the floor in the corner. Penelope sat down heavily on the chair next to Cecilia.
“So I ran away. As far as I could…”
Joyce and Charlotte were looking at their mother with horror and pity in their eyes. “Oh Mom…”
Cecilia broke down, crying in great heaving sobs. Joyce and Charlotte rose and hugged her. Simon left the room with the wastepaper basket and returned with a box of tissues, a bucket and a mop. He handed the tissues to Joyce who supplied them to her mother and proceeded to clean the floor.
It took some time to finish mopping up the vomit but when he had Cecilia had recovered enough to continue. Simon settled at the table with a haunted, hopeful look on his face and a notepad and his fountain pen ready.
“I gave birth on March the third 1953, in Bridgeport West Virginia. A-and the next day I left her on the doorstep of the police station...” Cecilia broke down again. “She was so beautiful…I called her Clarice…but I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep her…take care of her…my baby…my beautiful baby…” Cecilia sobbed.
Joyce and Charlotte were crying now too and Penelope had buried her face in her hands to stifle her sobs.
“I-I tried to find her later…but…I never could…I don’t even know if she’s still alive…” Cecilia’s voice broke.
Joyce kissed her mother’s cheek gently. “Oh, Mom…”
She looked at Simon who had written down the few particulars and sat looking at them as if they were the greatest thing on earth. “Mom? Simon will need more…did you leave a note?”
“Y-yes…Clarice…love of my heart, I can not care for her, please keep her safe. Clarice I will love you always, your Mommy.” She took a deep breath. “I’d bought her a little blue baby blanket…the best I could afford…I wrapped her in it and put her in a cardboard box…It was unmarked, there was nothing on it.”
“Oh Mom…” Charlotte gulped and joined Cecilia and Joyce.
“Her eyes were the prettiest blue and her hair, she had just a little a bit, was blonde…” Cecilia whispered her voice and eyes sad and forlorn.
Joyce looked at Simon who was still taking notes. “Anything else, Mom?”
“No…I tried measuring her…but she kept wriggling…I had no scales…I don’t know what she weighed…” Cecilia sobbed again and James, Joyce and Charlotte held her close.
Simon took out his cell phone. “Micheala? This is an all out call. Every single available agent on the lookout, you’re looking for a foundling…left on the doorstep of the Bridgeport, West Virginia police station on the 3rd of march 1953. No stone unturned, no expenses spared. A girl, blonde hair, blue eyes at birth. Wrapped in a blue baby blanket, in a cardboard box. There was a note, but we’re keeping that secret…every last stone…Start now, today. This very minute. Yes…Thank you Micheala”
Simon looked at Cecilia. “If she can be found…my people will find her…”
Cecilia gave him a wan smile. “Thank you…”
“It’s the least I can do…I wish I could do more.” Simon shrugged helplessly.
Cecilia shook her head. “No…I know you will do you utmost…even if only because you want a sister.”
Simon flushed. “That obvious?”
Cecilia sighed. “Joyce was right…you have been alone too long…”
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Prue Halliwell was on her knees and panting. *Why the hell did I agree to do this?*
Suddenly a slight form appeared in front of her hiding place, a cavity between two upright wooden beams and two diagonals and squirted the contents of the green waterpistol it bore into her face. Prue gasped and spluttered. Dawn giggled.
“Gotcha!” The girl leaned back and grinned. “That makes three times I got you without you even getting close…I thought you were good at his?”
Prue groaned and rose. “So did I...” She knocked her head on the beam and dropped her waterpistol to grab her head. Dawn was by her in an instant. “Prue? You okay?”
Prue immediately let go of any resentment she might have felt towards her youngest cousin. The concern and worry in her voice made sure of that.
“Yeah, sure Dawn…just feel a bit silly.” She moved out from her unsuccessful hiding place and felt her head.
Dawn looked at her with concern. “You sure? That looked like a pretty hard bump…”
“Yeah.” Prue looked up at an anguished squeal. “PHOEBE!!! NO!!!”
Prue looked down at her youngest cousin. “Willow?”
Dawn grinned “Willow. She must have gotten Phoebe. And Phoebe is taking revenge… Prue? Prue, stop looking at me like that…PRUEEEEEE!!!!!”
Piper was snaking through the old tires that were part of the playground when all of a sudden her way was cut off by a descending plate of MDF. She tried backing up bit suddenly felt the bottom of her pants getting wet and then she heard two sets of giggles. With all the dignity she could muster with a wet bum she crawled backwards out of the tire tunnel and glared at Amy and Xander who saluted her with their guns.
“I thought we weren’t supposed to work together?”
Amy nodded sagely. “Quite right.” She then shot Xander in the face and tackled him to the ground, squirting her gun empty down his shirt. Piper grinned and walked over to the bag Xander had put aside before shooting her and got out two water balloons.
Amy and Xander looked up to see a water balloon heading for each of their heads. Piper had always prided herself on her aim. It was excellent today.
Joyce, Charlotte and Penelope eyed their various, very wet, offspring, who were looking rather self-conscious. Joyce sighed.
“So let me see if I’ve got this straight, after the Run through degenerated into a tickle fest…you went to the Water Park and Buffy threw Xander into the fountain, and then Amy threw Dawn. Piper and Phoebe tossed Amy, Amy managed to trip Prue…after which you sort of lost track of who did what to who? And we’ll never find out exactly what happened to cause you to stand dripping wet on the lawn?”
There was a cough and Hurst stepped forward. “Not entirely Ms. Summers…in the words of Miss Buffy…” He held up an electronic camera, as did three of the other bodyguards. “We got footage…”
There was a groan from the assembled young people. Joyce grinned at her sister and Aunt. “Go get changed you lot…Mom is making her pasta. And she’ll teach the making of proper cornbread.”
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Rupert Giles sat looking at the woman on the floor with amazement. Her hair was loose around her nearly bare shoulders. She’d taken of her sweater because of the heat and now wore only a pink spaghetti strapped satin top that was rather clingy…and of which one strap had fallen down revealing her entire bare shoulder…and when she leaned forward…to look at the records…Giles gulped and went to the bathroom, splashed some cold water on his face and took of his dress shirt and put on some jeans. The tweed was to warm…and well…he was not that old…and. He groaned…He actually thought he had a chance with her…idiot that he was. Nevertheless the t-shirt and jeans would be a lot more comfortable.
Jenny looked after him with irritation in her eyes. *Damn stupid damn idiot…What do I have to do? Waltz naked into his bedroom? I’m not even wearing a bra and he barely looks at me…*
She rose and stretched, feeling her bare skin being caressed by the satin top. She noted the paperweight on his desk and blinked, muttering to herself. “He wouldn’t…” She walked over and picked it up. She sighed. “He would…An Orb of Thesulah as a paperweight…Really Rupert…”
She grinned and tossed the magical crystal, reaching out to catch it. But the surface was slick and soapy and the thing slipped through her fingers, falling on the carpet and rolling under the cupboard. She groaned and got down to pick it up, swearing to herself. It might be an heirloom, if it was damaged Rupert would not be pleased.
Giles walked downstairs just in time to see her on her knees, her bottom waggling in the air as she was reaching under his record cupboard and swearing a blue streak. “Come here you stupid thing…Got you! She came out form under the cupboard, her top even more in disarray and Giles noticed that she was most certainly not wearing a bra. He gulped. “Jenny…something wrong?”
She looked at him guiltily. “I was playing with your paperweight and dropped it…I hope it wasn’t an heirloom?”
Giles chuckled. “Heavens no, I bought it at the local magic shop. It’s an Orb of Thesulah, you can use them to set protective wards and keep out malign spirits.” He shrugged. “Which considering where we live…is a useful thing.”
Jenny looked relieved. “Oh, thank Goddess…I was afraid that I’d damaged something of emotional value…Hey, you do have a tattoo!” She pointed at the black mark peeking out from beneath the short sleeve of his t-shirt.
Giles froze. “Ah errr…yes…It’s a remnant of my misspent youth…very misspent…and very youthful.”
Jenny reached out, pushing up the t-shirt. Giles tried to pull back and she grinned. “Oh stop being a baby…I’ll show you mine…” Giles gulped. She continued pushing up his sleeve up and looked at the strange rune. *Magical…it feels…dark…Oh dear…Misspent youth indeed…make sure to remember this…send SoS a mail or message about it…Crap…Why do all the men I fall in love with embrace the dark? I’ve got to get out of here…throw him of balance, then get out Jenny…*
She let go of the sleeve and grinned again. “Good boy…Want to see mine now?”
Giles nodded. Jenny turned her back and very slowly let her top drop a bit, exposing the area below her shoulder blade. A tattoo was revealed, about two inch across of a raven.
“There, that’s mine.”
Jenny grinned at him over her shoulder as she drew her top back up. “Yeah, I lost a bet in college and as I always pulled these silly practical jokes, they thought this would be appropriate…”
“They pull pranks at MIT?” Rupert asked, smirking.
“Oh yes…yes indeed. Like you wouldn’t believe,” Jenny told him with a grin.
“I’m sorry…it just always seemed such a staid institution to me…” Giles teased.
Jenny looked at him in disbelief? “Staid? Rupert…what world do you live in?”
“Well there’s this verse you see…” He grinned at her and she groaned as he started declaiming.
“Root-ti toot, Root ti toot,
We are the girls of the Institute,
We don’t neck and we don’t screw,
We don’t go out with boys who do!”
Jenny huffed. “I’m sure something similar exists about Oxford!”
“Well yes…but all completely untrue. Are you telling me you date boys who do?” Giles grinned at her salaciously and she gulped.
“No…not boys…men…yes. Boys…No.” She grinned back and felt the strap on her left shoulder fall down and saw Rupert swallow.
“Do you know how they separate the boys from the men Rupert?” Jenny asked in a throaty purr.
Jenny pulled the strap back up and picked up her sweater. “Give me a call when you do. Bye!”
She left quickly pulling the door closed behind her. I her car she drew the symbol on piece of paper with her ballpoint pen. Then she hit her steering wheel with both her hands hard and swore violently before driving off. End Note: I found this a very difficult chapter to write. I wanted to show the anguish that Cecilia felt when leaving her daughter, and the pain she still suffers from it. I hope I succeeded. The little ditty Giles recites I first read in the works of Julian May...I must admit I don’t know where she got it from. I also should note that Clarice is not an OC…the timeline for her background has been changed however.