10.Kenworth Street, Middlesbrough.
“Come on Dawnie,” once again Willow advanced on Dawn syringe in hand, “just a little more blood. I mean you do
want Buffy back, don’t you?”
“Back off, Red,” Faith stepped in front of Dawn blocking Willow’s path.
“What if I don’t?” Willow glared into Faith’s eyes refusing to be intimidated; the air grew heavy with tension and magic.
“Sorry baby,” Kennedy came up behind Willow and wrapped her arms around her neck and squeezed.
There was a gasp and a short struggle as Kennedy cut off the blood flow to Willow’s brain, her eyes rolled up into her head as her eyelids fluttered closed. As soon as Kennedy sensed that Willow was truly unconscious she laid her gently on the floor. Kneeling next to her girlfriend, she checked her pulse and breathing.
“I’m sorry,” Kennedy looked up at Faith, “she’s not really like that it’s the magics, you know?”
“Don’t sweat it sis,” Faith rested her hand on Kennedy’s shoulder for a moment before going back to check on Dawnie. “You okay, kid?”
“You mean, apart from feeling like a pincushion?” Dawn looked down at her forearms, they were covered with band-aids. “Yeah I’ll live, how’s Willow?”
“Hey, she’ll be okay,” Faith smiled encouragingly, “she’ll just have a headache when she wakes up is all.”
The group’s attempts at time travel had been a failure, not a complete failure but still a failure. Faith had travelled back into the past a dozen times; each trip had required a syringe full of Dawn’s blood. Each time Faith had gone back she’d found herself in a past that was subtly (sometimes not so subtly) different from the one she’d been aiming at; she told herself that she should have called a halt after the first trip.
Having stepped through the gate, Faith’d come face to face with Buffy. The problem was that this Buffy was on a mission to save her best bud, Faith, from falling into a time machine and being carried off into the future. Faith realised now that this should have been a warning. But they’d tried again and again and each time they tried Willow got a little more insane, Kennedy got more worried and Dawn got another hole in her arm.
“Right,” Faith turned away from Dawn and looked down at Kennedy who was cradling Willow’s head in her lap, “that’s it! If we want to get Buffy back we’re gonna have to find another way. Kennie,” Faith gestured at the gate way, “how do we destroy this thing?”0=0=0=0The Future.
“Traditionally,” Buffy called over her shoulder as George and herself climbed upwards, “prisoners are kept in the deepest dungeons.”
“So, why are we going up?” George wanted to know.
“Well,” Buffy paused to look back down the long steep ramp they’d been walking up, “so far these future-vamps haven’t shown much in the way of traditional vamp action…apart from eating people that is.”
“I bow to your superior knowledge on theses matters, Miss Summers,” George stood beside her and looked down at all the great machines that rumbled, clanked and groaned below them; he sighed heavily, “What a waste.”
“Sorry?” Buffy turned to continue their ascent.
“All this,” George gestured to the great expanse of machinery below them, “the product of hundreds of thousands of years of man’s ingenuity…all for nothing.”
“How do you know?” Buffy asked.
“What do you mean?” George paused in his climb to stare at the little blonde’s back, “Its obvious isn’t it? For all mankind has achieved in the end we might have well stayed safely in our caves.”
Once again, Buffy stopped and turned to face the Victorian adventurer.
“So,” Buffy smiled, “you worked all this out from spending a couple of days wandering ‘round a few square miles that the entire human race is a failure?”
“I’ve climbed to the top of the hill,” George pointed out, “these ruins go on forever, there’s no…”
“What about the stars,” Buffy turned to carry on climbing, “did you check all of them? In my time people were always talking about space ships and such. Come on George lets get going I think we’re nearly there.”
Thinking about what Buffy had said, George kept climbing, perhaps Buffy had a point, perhaps it was too early for him to write off the human race. Very soon the ramp levelled out and the came to a large chamber at one end of which stood a pair of large metal doors.
“Using my super-slayer-sense of direction,” Buffy said with not a little sarcasm, “I’d say we’re inside the bunker.”
“Look!” George pointed excitedly to two furrows in the sandy floor of the chamber.
Turning he followed the furrows with his eyes until they fell on his time machine; with a great shout of relief and triumph, George ran over to his machine. Fussing over the time machine like a proud father, George muttered and adjusted the incomprehensible workings of the machine. Smiling to herself, Buffy studied the ground by the great doorway.
In the red light she could make out a multitude of small foot prints, just the right size for the Little People. Here and there she also found slightly larger more animalistic looking footprints, obviously the future-vamps. Thinking hard, Buffy concluded that the future-vamp’s access to the hall of the Little People didn’t lead directly to the vamp’s underground world. The tunnels, or whatever, must surface near the hall. The vamps having selected their snacks must take them outside were the Little People are woken up. Then they were forced up here to meet their gristly fate; now where had the bloodsuckers taken them?
Casting around, Buffy followed the tracks to the wall of the bunker where there was a big, dark shaft, a lift shaft she surmised, leading back down into the dark. Looking around Buffy pressed down on a large lever; far below there was a loud clanking sound followed by high pitched squeaking as ill lubricated metal protested at having to move.
“What’s going on?” George called from the other side of the chamber.
“Elevator,” Buffy pointed to the great black hole in the wall, “I think it leads to where they’re holding the Little People. How’s the machine, will it get us home?”
“I think so,” George at least sounded confident, “there are still repairs to be made but these future-vamps as you call them, don’t appear to have damaged it in any way.”
“Musta got bored with it,” Buffy shrugged just as the screams of tortured metal stopped, “our ride.”
Leading the way into the red-lit interior of the lift, Buffy pushed down on the lever that seemed to be the only control in the lift itself. The lift car started to move.
“Going down,” Buffy announced cheerfully.0=0=0=0The Rosenberg-Scarpone Residence, Middlesbrough.
Switching off the light, Willow crossed the bedroom in the dark and climbed into bed. Slipping between the covers she snuggled up to the warm body that already lay there. Resting her head against Kennedy’s shoulder she sighed contentedly.
“Sorry about earlier,” she said quietly, “you know about going all ‘Dark Willow’ and such.”
In the silence that followed, Kennedy considered her answer.
“You know you really frightened Dawn?” Kennedy slipped her arm around Willow, “I, of course, wasn’t frightened in the slightest, neither was Faith…but you really did upset Dawn.”
“I didn’t mean to,” Willow started to defend and excuse her actions, “I was only…”
“…trying to help,” Kennedy finished the sentence for her, “From what I’ve heard you were only ‘trying to help’ when you nearly destroyed the world.”
“Sorry,” Willow mumbled.
“Sorry’s not good enough, sweetheart,” Kennedy replied sadly, “you’ve got to get help before you go off the deep end again. Isn’t there a ‘Witches Anonymous’ thing you can go to for help? At least stop doing the big spells that…that, you know, make you all scary Willow, hmm?”
“You don’t know what its like,” Willow sat up and looked at her girlfriend in the darkness, “the magics make me feel so strong and powerful and…”
“…and wanted?” Kennedy asked.
“Yeah,” Willow agreed quietly.
“I’ll always want you,” Kennedy reassured her, “but you’re still addicted to magic, Willow and I know what addiction can do to people.”
“No I’m not,” Willow pleaded, “I can control it, look I’ll be fine.”
“Whatever,” Kennedy rolled over and closed her eyes.
In the darkness, Kennedy wondered if she’d have the strength to do what might need to be done if Willow ever went dark again. She did indeed know what addiction could do to people, it had almost destroyed Willow once before. Addiction had almost destroyed her own life when she was a teenager; only the intervention of her ‘pig’ of a watcher had saved her; ‘Hi, I’m Kennedy and I’m an alcoholic’, she was amazed no one had worked it out, only Buffy knew and that was because misery loved company.
Perhaps when Buffy got back…maybe she should…get to know her better? Kennedy thought about this idea for a minute or two; get to know Buffy better? No way!0=0=0=0The Future.
“Our stop, I think,” Buffy stepped out into the dark chamber where the lift had stopped.
There was the same dim red lighting here as everywhere else; what really stood out about this chamber was that scattered across the stone floor were the remains of countless Little People victims of future-vamp hunger.
“Oh my God!” George gasped in horror.
“I don’t think god has ever been here,” Buffy pointed out as she made her way delicately between the bones; her slayer hearing had picked something up further into the chamber.
Down in the ‘feeding chamber’, as Buffy was already calling it, the noise from the machinery was strangely muted, they must be deep under the factory floor. As she walked across the chamber trying not to look too closely at all the dry bones stacked up against the walls, Buffy could smell something. She could smell fear, the fear of people in terror, people who knew that they were going to die in a horrible, disgusting way.
“Look,” Buffy pointed to a corridor, the entrance to which was almost hidden behind an untidy pile of tiny, human skulls. “If Weena’s alive she’ll be down there.”
“How do you know?” George asked from behind her.
“Trust me George,” Buffy glanced over her shoulder at the man, “I know.”
More red lights illuminated a long corridor on either side of which, Buffy could make out iron bars blocking off the entrances to long narrow cells. The first couple on either side were empty, their doors wide open. Buffy examined the bars and the locks that secured the door to each cell. Something told her that these had been put in whenever the complex had been built, she didn’t know how she knew this but she did as sure as she knew the sun would rise tomorrow. Moving on down the line of cells she came to one and was greeted by a great wail of despair as the inmates mistook her for one of their tormentors.
“George!” Buffy cried to the man who was still staring horrified into one of the empty cells, “I’ve found them…at least most of them.”
The Little People survivors cowered at the far end of the cell, they huddled on the floor as if they thought that if they could make themselves small enough the vamps wouldn’t see them. Buffy grabbed hold of the bars of the cell door and pulled. The age old metal protested, but finally it gave up the struggle against slayer strength. The lock snapped and Buffy pulled the door open.
“Come on!” Buffy gestured frantically to the terrified Little People, “You’re free, now let’s get out of here.”
The Little People refused to leave the ‘safety’ of their cell.
“Damn-it-all!” Buffy was just about to go into the cell and drag the Little People out when she was halted by a call from George.
“Miss Summers!” George cried uncertainly, “We have company.”
Dodging back out into the corridor, Buffy saw George blocking the corridor with his fists up and ready to fight. Not more than a few yards beyond him were wall to wall Future Vamps.
“Miss Summers,” George gave ground slightly in the face of the Future Vamps snarling advance; in his own quiet way, George was a very brave man. “Get the Little People to the surface, I’ll deal with these-these foul fiends.”
“No George,” Buffy went to stand next to George, “I’ll deal with these you get everyone out of here, okay?”
“But Miss Summers!” George started to protest.
“But, nothing,” Buffy gave him a murderous smile as she pulled Mr Pointy from his hiding place, she was so
going to enjoy this. “Now move!”
Without waiting to see if George was obeying her orders, Buffy charged at the snarling mob of Future Vamps. 0=0=0=0
The fight was very much like a cartoon fight, but without the falling pianos. The Future Vamps were no match for Buffy either singularly or ‘en masse’. Grey bodies flew through the air to impact against the stone walls or the iron bars of the cells. Several times Buffy had to stop staking the vicious vamps because all the dust and ash was making her cough and was getting in her eyes so she couldn’t see. Buffy had fought the forces of darkness for years, she’d often been outnumbered and on various occasions outclassed by her opponents. The Future Vamps hardly made her breath heavily.
Running back along the corridor towards the lift, Buffy left a tail of vamp ash behind her as each step dislodged ash from her clothes and hair.
“Yuck!” Buffy spat gritty ash from her mouth, “I must have swallowed a gallon of vamp ash,” she patted at her clothing and clouds of ash rose around her. “Everything alright here?”
“Indeed they are, Miss Summers,” George smiled down at Buffy as he worked the lift control.
“Hey,” Buffy grinned at the inventor, “I see you’ve got a fan.”
Weena was clinging on to George as if she would never let go.
“Yes,” George pressed the lever and the lift started to move again, “Miss Weena is indeed alive and well.”
The lift made its long tortuous way to the surface; once inside the bunker Buffy and George herded the Little People out of the lift and started to search for the controls to the doors. As they searched Buffy paused, she cocked her head to listen and then went over to where the ramp to the lower levels entered the chamber.
“George!” she cried, preparing to defend the entrance, “You better get those doors open…soon!”
Below her, but coming closer by the second was a long grey column of Future Vamps. They were coming on at a dead run determined not to allow their lunch to escape
“Just…hold…them,” George was obviously struggling with the controls; Buffy didn’t turn to look because she was sort of mesmerised by the approaching horde of horrors, “Miss Summers, I’ll have this open in just a jiffy.”
“There we go again,” Buffy muttered crossly to herself; the Future Vamps would be on her in a second, “what the hell is a ‘jiffy’?”
The first wave of hideous grey things hit her and pushed her back into the chamber. Stabbing with Mr Pointy for all she was worth, Buffy dusted dozens of Future Vamps but still they came on forcing her ever backwards. Just as she was beginning to think that they’d overwhelm her there was a terrible screeching screaming sound from behind her. Her first thought was that the vamps had got past her and had fallen on the few remaining Little People.
Just as she was resigning herself to having failed she saw the first vamp explode into dust as the sunlight hit it. More and more vamps turned to ash in that strange silent explosion that signalled the death of the undead. The sunlight was shining directly through the door and down the ramp killing dozens of Future Vamps as they charged unheeding of the danger ever upwards. Realising that her shadow was in fact saving some vamps from a dusty death, Buffy moved to one side of the entrance and watched as more vampires collapsed into chaos.
Eventually, even these vampires realised that their cause was lost and stopped charging, they retreated down the ramp in a confused mass, back down into the red shot darkness of the cavern.
“My God!” George walked slowly over to where Buffy stood; he waved at the dust laden air in front of his face, “There must have been hundreds of them.”
“Yeah,” Buffy agreed, “last time something like this happen, we nearly all died.”
“You mean…” George looked in horror and respect at the diminutive woman beside him.
“Yeah,” Buffy nodded her head, “welcome to my life. As battles go this was hardly a foot note.”0=0=0=0Epilogue.Kenworth Street, Middlesbrough.
The time machine came to a gentle stop in the old house, it was still night and all was quiet. True to his word, George had found tools in the museum to repair his machine, it had only taken him two or three days. In that time Buffy had done her best to find and block the Future Vamp tunnels into the Little People’s hall. In the time they’d spent before starting their journey home, neither George or Buffy had seen any sign of the Future Vamps.
“I shall go back, you know,” George told Buffy as she climbed off his lap, “back to the future.”
“I thought you would,” Buffy smiled as she clambered off the machine, “I didn’t think you were the sort of man who’d just leave those people to fend for themselves.”
“Indeed,” George agreed, “there’s a lot to be done, anyway,” he paused and held out his hand to Buffy. “It’s time to say goodbye, Miss Summers, its been a privilege to meet you.”
“Why thank-you kind sir,” Buffy was tempted to ignore George’s hand and give him a slayer strength hug; but she knew that would embarrass him so she took his hand and shook it politely, Giles would have been proud of her. “Its been an honour and a privilege to meet you too.”
“Jolly good then,” George hesitated before continuing his journey, “I say, Miss Summers, you wouldn’t consider joining me in the future would you?”
“Sorry George,” Buffy shook her head, “work to do here and I think Weena might have something to say if I came back with you.”
“Oh yes,” George laughed quietly, “yes indeed, well then, I’ll be off…don’t forget I’ve dropped you off just before dawn on the morning after you fell in with me and all our little adventures.”
“Yeah thanks,” Buffy nodded, “as far as all my friends are concerned I’ve only been gone a few hours.”
“Quite so,” agreed George, “I’ll leave you to it then, no time to waste, eh?”
Waving once George placed his hand on the control and started to fade away into the past.
“Nice guy,” Buffy told herself as she watched him vanish.
Looking around the room, Buffy shrugged and started to head for the door, had she got a patrol report to write!? Just as she was looking for the way out she noticed the time machine start to materialise. At first she thought George had forgotten something or was stopping off on his way back to the future. It was only when she noticed that the machine was totally undamaged that she realised there might be something wrong.
Hiding in the shadows, Buffy watched George arrive and climb out of his machine and start to take notes. She watched herself arrive, her argument with George, the twins bursting in and causing her and George to fall into the machine and start their adventure in the future.
The twins stood in shocked horror at what they’d seen happen; Buffy Summers had vanished and it looked like they’d made it happen.
“W-what do we do?” Gillian or possibly Maddy asked her sister.
“I-I don’t know,” Maddy or was it Gillian turned a horrified look on her sister, “Mr Giles will kill us! We’re soooo
in trouble!” they chorused.
“What’s up girls?” Buffy asked as she walked in from the hall; she suddenly found herself being hugged by two over excited teenage girls.
Moments later, as the twins chattered happily (now that they weren’t going to be grounded for life), Buffy glanced over her shoulder at the place that had held the time machine.
“Good luck, George,” she whispered before once again walking out into the dark.The End.Watch out for ‘Doing Time’, the series finale of Grim Up North, Season One; coming to a crossover, fanfic site near you…soon!