25. Outside the Wall.All alone or in twos
The ones that really love you
Walk up and down outside the wall
Some hand in hand some gathered together in bands
The bleeding hearts and the artists make their stand
And when they’ve given you their all
Some stagger and fall after all y’know it’s not easy.
Banging your heart against some mad bugger’s wall.
Pink Floyd, ‘Outside the Wall’.Buffy’s Chalet, Slayer Central.
“Dawn cleaned the place up all by herself,” Willow explained; she’d managed to chase everyone away for a while so she could have a few moments alone with Buffy. “I did some shopping for you, there’s milk, coffee, tea, breakfast stuff; and I bought you some new toiletries and cosmetics. There’s enough to keep you going ‘til you have time to go shopping yourself.”
“Thanks Will,” Buffy replied vaguely as she wandered around her little home touching things as if to re-assure herself that it was all real.
“You’ll be alright,” Willow told her, it was more of a statement than a question, “you just need time to…” Willow’s voice faded away as she screwed up her eyes and looked at something just above Buffy’s head.
“What?” Buffy asked when she noticed Willow apparently staring at her hair; Buffy’s hand touched her head, “Yeah I know it’s a mess I really need to go to a hairdressers…hey why don’t we…”
“No it’s not that,” Willow took a step or two towards Buffy and waved her hand above her friend’s head.
“What’s up, Will?” Buffy asked eyeing her friend nervously.
“Have you been having any really vivid dreams lately?” Willow asked.
“Yeah!” Buffy nodded, “I’ve been having these wicked, realistic, erot…” Buffy shut her mouth on the word before it could fully escape, “erm…I thought I was having them because I was in prison.”
“Like slayer dreams?” Willow asked as she slowly walked around Buffy all the time gazing at what was floating above her friend’s head.
“Way more real than slayer dreams,” Buffy giggled, “I mean it was like I was really there and…” once again Buffy shut-up, there were some things that she wasn’t going to share, not even with Willow.
Thinking back to all Buffy had told her about the demon woman Groutie and the Ghost of Slade Prison, Willow quickly came up with a theory to explain everything.
“I think Groutie was the sort of demon who fed off people’s emotions,” Willow turned and picked up her shoulder bag from where it lay on a chair.
“What’s Groutie got to do with my sex dreams?” Buffy put her hand over her mouth, too late; Willow, however, didn’t seem to have noticed what she’d let slip out.
“I think Groutie could only feed on the emotions in people’s dreams,” Willow explained as she searched in her bag for something, “and you being a slayer and prone to really weird and vivid dreams anyway,” Willow shrugged as she took something from her bag, “you’d be like an ‘all you can eat’ buffet, Buffy.” Willow giggled, “Get it buffet, Buffy or Buffy buffet!”
“Yeah okay,” Buffy hoped Willow would stop making fun of her name sometime soon, “how did she do it and like I feel okay so it couldn’t have worked so good.”
“Ah!” Willow grinned her special ‘aren’t I a clever witch?’ grin, “It wouldn’t, I mean she’d want to keep you healthy to supply her with more dreams…I expect you dreamed about sex all the time because that would be the most intense emotion for you.”
Buffy gave Willow a look that was both shocked and pained at the same time.
“Hey, come on,” Willow shrugged, “fear wouldn’t be any good, you’re the big bad slayer gal, what would you be afraid of?”
“S’pose,” Buffy agreed reluctantly, now Willow would think she was a ‘dream slut’.
“Did she give you anything to drink at any time?” Willow was busily scribbling something on a piece of paper with a coloured pencil.
“She gave me some tea once,” Buffy said uncertainly, “I felt a little weird and emotional afterwards but…”
“That’ll be how she did it,” Willow held out the piece of paper, “hold that in your right fist.”
“I’m going to break the spell,” Willow became ‘serious-witch’ all of a sudden, “now stand on your left leg,” Buffy complied with Willow’s instructions, “and finally, put your left index finger on the end of your nose.”
“Are you sure this is necessary?” Buffy asked as she wobbled slightly on one leg, “If I find you’re having this recorded and its on You Tube tomorrow…”
“Oh stop worrying,” Willow stepped forward and shook what turned out to be salt over Buffy’s head, “there you go!” Willow smiled, “All gone.”
“Sure,” Willow nodded, “but I’d have an extra long shower if I were you.”
“Will that help get rid of any magical fallout?” Buffy asked.
“No,” Willow shook her head, “you still smell of prison, I mean eww!”
“Just for that,” Buffy laughed and pointed to the door, “you can just get out!” Buffy relaxed a little and looked lovingly at her old friend. “Seriously Willow, thanks, but I’d like to be by myself for awhile…y’know prison, not much in the way of privacy.”
“Not a problem,” Willow walked slowly towards the door, “I thought you might say that so I put a privacy spell on the place. No one will disturb you for an hour or two. You’ll get better eventually, you always do, you’re the slayer…and my friend.”
“Thanks Will.” Buffy watched as Willow shut the door behind her.
Sitting down on one of her chairs, Buffy breathed a deep sigh of relief, all the people around her telling her how happy they were to see her. It was all getting too much for her, she just wanted to be by herself for awhile.
“Darn,” Buffy sat in her chair and rested her cheek on her hand, “no more really vivid sex dreams, eh?” She’d have to think of a way round that.0=0=0=0Slayer Central, later that night.
Hearing a footfall behind her, Buffy looked over her shoulder and saw Giles standing a couple of yards away.
“How are you feeling?” Giles asked as he crossed the final few feet between them.
“Not so bad,” Buffy smiled sadly into her glass of lemonade, “a little overwhelmed though.”
“Yes I expect you are,” Giles stood next to Buffy and joined her in looking out over the dark, night shrouded North Sea, “but, you’ll soon be your old self again.”
“You think?” Buffy asked before lapsing into silence once more.
The party had been just a little overpowering for her, so many people all wanting to see her and tell her how pleased they were she was back and how they’d never doubted her for a minute. Although she believed her sister and her closest friends, she even believed Kennedy, but she could see the doubt and suspicion that lingered in other people’s eyes.
“Yes I do,” Giles broke the silence, “I keep telling you, Buffy, you’re an extraordinary young woman and I don’t just mean as a slayer.” Giles gazed out across the sea to where the navigation lights on cargo ships twinkled like little red and green stars. “You’re extraordinary in every way. I have every confidence in you. You’ll soon be back to normal and at the helm again.”
“What are you really after, Giles?” Buffy turned to face Giles a crooked smile on her face, she could always tell when Giles wanted her to do something.
“Oh god Buffy,” Giles pleaded, “please come back to work…soon!”
“What’s up?” Buffy’s smile got wider, “I thought Faith was doing a great job…or so Dawn tells me.”
“It’s not that I wish to denigrate what Faith’s been doing,” Giles began hesitantly, “it’s just that…I’ve missed you.” Giles paused for a moment, “I’ve missed the way you know what I’m thinking, I’ve missed seeing you come to work. I’ve missed the way you try to avoid me when I want to show you some new artefact that I’ve acquired. I missed the sound of your voice, the smell of your perfume, even that god awful, so-called music that you listen to!” Giles took a long deep breath, “There, I’ve said it, now tell me not to be so sentimental.”
“No Giles,” Buffy went over to Giles and slipped her arm around his waist and rested her head on his shoulder, “you’re not being sentimental, and I’ve missed you…like loads.” Buffy stopped to think for a moment, “Y’know we’re like an old married couple, like totally comfortable with each other, but without the sex and everything because, hey, I’m totally gay now…”
Buffy’s voice faded away to nothing as they stood looking out into the night, each comfortable in the silence of their company.
“So,” Giles broke the silence after a minute or two, “in the spirit of what doesn’t destroy you, makes you stronger; what do you think you’ve learnt from your recent experiences?”
“I can darn socks now,” Buffy observed cheerfully, “before I went inside I never even knew socks could be darned.”
“And?” Giles laughed gently.
“I’m a demon in the kitchen,” Buffy pointed out, “you want five hundred breakfasts cooked or curry…I’m the girl to call.”
“I’ll bear that in mind,” Giles smiled, “but really what has it taught you?”
“It’s taught me to bide my time,” Buffy remembered the advice Norma had given her so often, “keep my nose clean and not let the bastards grind me down…Oh-and always keep my hand on my hayp-ni!” Buffy paused in thought for a second, “What’s my hayp-ni, Giles?”
“I’m sure I don’t know,” Giles replied uncomfortably.
“You do,” Buffy accused, “I can always tell when you’re lying to me Giles. Come on Giles tell me, what’s my hayp-ni? I’ve gotta know!”
“Ah, well, yes,” Giles prevaricated slightly embarrassed, “This is really something your mother should have told you.”
“It is!?” Buffy looked up into Giles’ face enjoying seeing him squirm a little.
“But I doubt she knew the phrase, being American,” Giles considered trying to side track Buffy with a lecture on the differences between US and UK English.
“Come on Giles,” Buffy pleaded, “you know what it is, spill!”
“Alright then,” Giles was too embarrassed even to take off his glasses, “it’s an old fashioned term for a girl’s…” Giles whispered in Buffy’s ear.
“Oh-my-god!” Buffy giggled, “Now I know why Norma said it was too late!”0=0=0=0Slade Prison, Norma Fletcher’s Cell, about a week later.
Walking into Norma’s cell, Miss Mackay paused as she waited for the woman to notice her, slowly Norma let her paper rest on her lap.
“Good evening Miss Mackay,” Norma said, but not with her usual sarcasm, “to what do I owe the dubious pleasure of your company?”
“I've noticed a change in your attitude since Summers’ release,” Miss Mackay observed not unkindly.
“I just want out, Miss Mackay,” Norma sighed wearily from where she lay on her bunk, “that's all. Three more years if I keep me nose clean.”
“Not throwing in the towel, are we, Fletcher?” Mackay hoped, the wing wouldn’t be the same with out Fletcher’s own special brand of rebellion, “Or are you acknowledging that the system always wins?
“Nobody wins, Miss Mackay,” Norma sighed miserably as she sat up and hung her legs over the side of her bunk, “that's what's so tragic.”
“Fletcher the philosopher,” Mackay raised an eyebrow, “Normally,” she continued, “I'd hesitate at putting another newbie in here, but I think the new Fletcher could be just what she needs.”
”Oh, going to have a bit of company down below, am I?” Norma smiled at her inadvertent lesbian joke.
“Got a young girl called Nicholson,” Mackay explained, “The governor wants to move her into this wing she’s caused too much trouble in ‘C’ wing for her to stay there.”
”She's not a Scot, is she?” Norma asked suspiciously, “I mean, we do have to draw the line somewhere.”
“No,” Mackay chose to ignore the veiled insult, “she's from Sunderland.”
“Dangerously close!” Norma gasped dramatically.
“Bit of a tearaway,” Mackay explained, “keeps lashing out. You'll keep an eye on her?”
“Difficult not to in a room this size!” Norma pointed out.
“No, I mean,” Mackay gestured vaguely to the cell, “you'll show her what you've learned.”
”All right.” Norma jumped down from her bunk, “But what have I learned, Miss Mackay?”
“That there's no use in bucking the system,” Miss Mackay didn’t really believe what she was saying even as she said it.
“All right.” Norma looked up into Mackay’s face, “I'll just tell her three things. One - bide your time. Two - keep your nose clean, and three - don't let the bastards grind you down.”
“What about keeping her hand on her hayp-ni?” Mackay asked with a smile.
“It’s probably too late for that, what with ‘er coming from Sunderland an’ all.” Norma smiled.0=0=0=0The Rosenberg-Scarpone Residence, Middlesbrough. The same night.
“Please, Kennie,” gasped Willow as she started to writhe under Kennedy’s hands and tongue, “please let me sleep! It’s alright for you what with slayer stamina an’all.” Willow sighed with relief as Kennedy stopped what she was doing, “Thanks,” Willow gasped as she lay back on her pillows, exhausted, “I don’t know what’s got into you lately.”
“You saying I can’t show how much I love you?” Kennedy asked as she snuggled up to Willow, “‘Cause if you are I’m going to have to reconsider our relationship…how does no sex at all grab you?”
“Nooo!” Wailed Willow with a slightly nervous giggle, no sex? That would be terrible!
Stroking Kennedy’s hair, Willow decided it was time to ask her lover what she’d been thinking about for the last several months now.
“Kennedy?” Willow said slowly, “How do you feel about children?”
“Kids?” Kennedy looked up into Willow’s face, “Don’t think about them much, I mean I helped out at the local Primary school when I was at school, got extra credit for it…they’re alright I guess. I don’t hate them if that’s what you mean.”
“What do you think about us having a baby?” Willow asked slowly.
“You mean adopting?” Kennedy raised her head from where it had rested on Willow’s breast.
“No,” Willow looked down into Kennedy’s eyes, “I mean actually ‘having’ a baby!”0=0=0=0Stockton-on-Tees, several nights later.
Standing in the shadow of a door way, Buffy had to admit that when she wanted to, Dawn did some damn good work. Months ago when she’d been in prison, she’d asked her sister to keep track of a prison officer called Beal who’d anally raped her using her truncheon. Of course Buffy hadn’t mentioned this, but Dawn had diligently tracked the woman down after she’d been forced to resign from the prison service by Miss Mackay. Having tracked Beal to Stockton-on-Tees, Dawn had found out that she’d got herself a job in a hostel for runaway girls. From the evidence that Dawn had managed to collect, Beal had soon gone back to her abusing, molesting ways.
Hearing footsteps approaching along the rain slick street, Buffy watched from her hiding place as Beal walked home on the other side of the road. Stepping out into the night, Buffy started to follow the woman. If, Beal took her usual route home she’d turn off the road and into an ill light passageway between two building, that’s where Buffy had decided she’d strike. Sure enough, Beal turned into the alley and walked briskly towards the other end, she turned as someone kicked an old tin can behind her.
“Hello Miss Beal,” Buffy walked slowly into the light of the only street lamp at her end of the alley, “remember me? Buffy Summers, remember I once told you that one dark night you’d turn around and find me standing there?”
“Summers?” Beal had stopped and turned to face Buffy, “I heard they’d let you out.”
Buffy had to admit the woman was brave, she showed not a trace of fear, not all bullies were cowards.
“How did you swing that, eh?” Beal wanted to know, “Fuck the governor or something?”
Brave but still a total bitch, Buffy sighed to herself; she glanced behind Beal to check that everything was in place.
“I also promised myself,” Buffy said keeping Beal’s attention on her, “that I’d feed you to a vampire…Maggie.”
Standing behind Beal, Maggie let go of the vampire’s arms and let it sink its teeth into Beal’s neck. The vampire drank thirstily as it drained Beal letting her body fall to the floor completely bled dry.
“Okay slayer,” the vampire wiped blood from around its mouth, “I’ve done what you wanted, now you’re going to let me go right?”
“I suppose so,” Buffy nudged Beal’s body with the toe of her boot, the woman was really dead, “I won’t have it said that Buffy Summers reneges on her deals, you can go.”
The vampire turned to go, but was halted by the sound of Buffy’s voice.
“Of course,” Buffy continued nonchalantly, “Maggie didn’t make any deal.”
Striking out, Maggie rammed her stake into the vamps heart, she stood back and watched as it turned to dust and mud in the damp air.
“You’ve turned into a hard woman, Buffy Summers,” Maggie observed.
“Whatever,” Buffy shrugged as she looked down a Beal’s body, “prison changes you.”
Dismissing the body from her mind, Buffy looked up and around before smiling at Maggie.
“Hey,” Buffy stepped over Beal’s still form and linked her arm through Maggie’s, “I saw a pub down here,” she pointed to the far end of the alley, “come on I’ll buy you a drink.”0=0=0=0Slayer Central, Buffy’s Chalet the following morning.
Buffy’s hand shot out from under her duvet and silenced the alarm clock before it had a chance to wake Maggie who was still asleep beside her. Carefully, so as not to disturb the sleeping woman, Buffy pushed back the duvet and swung her legs out of bed and put her feet on the floor. For a moment she wriggled her toes as they rested on her bedside rug. Climbing to her feet she padded across her bedroom and into the bathroom. Within minutes she’d peed, washed and brushed her teeth. Coming silently back into her bedroom she dressed quickly before heading for the door.
Not bothering to stop for coffee in her own little kitchenette, Buffy went straight for the front door, opening it she stepped out into the sunshine of a bright, spring, morning. Closing her eyes she lifted her face to the sun and felt it warm her skin. Taking in a great lungful of fresh seaside air she opened her eyes and smiled. No time to waste, she told herself as she headed off towards the kitchens, she had five hundred breakfasts to cook.THE END.