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Q

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This story is No. 3 in the series "An Inspired Future". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Giles' Aunt is a very interesting woman.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Surprise CrossoversEricJablowFR1313,122021,8337 Oct 117 Oct 11Yes
This is set after Buffy and Dawn rejoin the fight in "Keepers in Rome" on my home site, and before Xander is wounded in "Inspired Conversations", and before the battle in LA ending AtS. Call it mid-April, 2004.

There is a disclaimer at the end of the story. I wanted the crossover to be a surprise, but I'll move it here if I have to.

♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪

“I am never driving in Europe.”

“You shouldn't drive anywhere, Buffy,” said Dawn. “Besides, I don't want to pay the congestion charge.”

The lift doors opened, and the two sisters walked down a corridor to a small office labeled simply “WCI”. Buffy tried to turn the knob, but the door was locked, and she reached for the buzzer next to it.

“Let me,” said Dawn. She touched the door, and said “Mellon.” The lock clicked, and the door opened by itself.

“You're turning into Andrew.” The two walked into the office and saw a secretary standing up in surprise. An alarm was buzzing, and they heard Giles call out “Jane?” He opened his door and walked through, his sword at guard.

“Surprise!”

Giles set his sword upon a small table and hugged Buffy and Dawn.

“You're getting touchy-feely,” said Buffy. “Very Californian,” added Dawn.

Giles released the two of them, smiled, and motioned them into his office, as Jane sat back down at her desk. He followed them and closed the door behind them.

After they were all settled, Giles asked “Were our suspicions in Paris correct?”

“Yeah. Dominique's secretary was a succubus, and she was influencing him,” said Buffy.

“He didn't know what she was at least,” added Dawn.

“That's a mercy. I assume you took appropriate steps.”

“Annalie Hellspawn has been permanently retired. Dominique's taking a leave of absence,” said Buffy.

“We did have to get out of France in a hurry; Dominique is pretty high up in Le Quai d'Orsay, and he could have been vengeful.”

“We took the Chunnel Train, dropped our things off at the hotel Dawn found for us, and took a taxi here.”

“You weren't brave enough for our Underground?”

“That would be a no.”

“Well, how long do you plan to stay in London?”

“I'm not sure. I'd like to meet the British Slayers. Dawn wants to visit Oxford. I think she wants to go there. We'll wing it.”

“We'll have to get an apartment,” said Dawn.

“A flat.”

Buffy simply shook her head.

“By the way, Buffy, how did you open the locked door?” Dawn glared at him.

“That will cost you, Giles. Earrings, probably.”

They chatted for the next half-hour about London and Rome and the differences between them. Dawn babbled about her trip to the ruins of Pompeii and her translating its graffiti. Giles talked about batting in a neighborhood cricket match, while Buffy just listened to her old mentor and let her mind wander.

She was shocked out of her daydream when Giles' cellphone rang.

“Hello? Aunt Nancy! How nice to hear from you.”

“It's nice to hear from you to, Rip. You were looking a bit thin last time, so I want to invite you to dinner. I need to put some meat on your bones so someone might want to jump them.”

Buffy and Dawn tried to hold back from giggling.

“I'm afraid I cannot tonight, sorry to say. Two of my charges have returned from a year in Italy, and I thought I should spend time with them.”

“They're people, Rip, not credit card droughts. Bring them; I always make enough for a week.”

Giles glanced at Buffy and Dawn; they nodded their heads in approval. “Yes, Auntie Nan. Buffy and Dawn have agreed to join us.”

“Come at 6:30. I'm getting too old for late dinners.” She hung up.

“She calls you Rip?” said Dawn. Buffy started to laugh.

“She doesn't know about our world, but she knew my nickname. She was a bit of a hellraiser herself.”

“Just like you, Giles?”

“No. No need for a sword, Buffy.” He looked at a clock and said, “Where are the two of you staying?”

“I found a place at Westminster Bridge near Waterloo Station,” said Dawn.

“That is very good. Nan lives in Woking, a half-hour's ride away. Shall I meet you at your hotel at 5? We shall be able to walk to the train, and you shall have a chance to freshen up. It is good to see the two of you again.” He smiled.

Buffy asked, “When was the last time we had a chance to just relax together?”

“Five years ago in San Francisco, after you blew up the school and took Mom and us away,” said Dawn.

Giles looked at some papers, signed the top, and put it onto his out-basket dismissively. “Expense reports. I think we're done for the day. I'll tell Jane to close up early, and I'll take you back to your hotel you can freshen up and change.”

The three of them got up, Giles spoke with Jane for a minute, and the three of them left.

After they walked through the city for a bit, Giles said, “Neither of you have been in London before, I understand.”

“Mom and Dad took us to Mexico a few times, and they took me on a trip to Hawaii before you were born, Dawn,” said Buffy.

“This trip was our first time in Europe, Giles,” added Dawn. She waited a moment. “So what is your Aunt like?”

“Nancy? She was a rock and roll singer in the '70s, though she wasn't that successful. That business is pretty savage, and she might tell you about it if you ask nicely. She's been a cabaret singer ever since, though she's always called herself a chantusie.”

“Wow, Buffy! Somebody who mangles the English language more than you.”

Buffy groaned a bit. “We'll see that tonight, Dawn. So, Giles, how does she know your nickname?”

“She was Mother's youngest sister. Father didn't like her much. She drank and smoked, she was in a low-class profession, and she was loud. Nancy ran into me and some of my mates a couple of times, and picked the name up.”

“Did she ever meet Ethan?”

“No, thank God.” They arrived at a Underground station, and Giles led them in. He bought the two weekly passes, and they went to Buffy and Dawn's hotel. Giles then left them so he could prepare for the evening.

♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪

Giles returned to the hotel at 5 in the afternoon, and they walked along the Thames to Waterloo, Giles acting as tour guide. When they arrived, Giles muttered to Dawn, “This isn't King's Cross. Don't ask.” Giles bought their tickets, and they went to their platform.

Buffy asked, “Why no driving?”

“We're likely to drink more than I'd be comfortable with. We would be driving outward with traffic.”

They were lucky to find seats on the commuter train, and they settled in for the ride, the three of them occasionally talking quietly. A half-hour later, they arrived in Woking, and Giles hailed them a taxicab. Fifteen minutes later, they arrived at a small house on a suburban street. A woman sitting on the porch looked up, saw them alight from the cab, and greeted them.

“Rupert, darling, how nice to see you. And what lovely young ladies. And you are, dears?”

“Aunt Nancy, these are Buffy and Dawn Summers, whom I have had the privilege of caring for for a few years.”

“Hello, Ms. Nan—”

“Hello, Giles' Aunt,” said Dawn.

“‘Nancy’ is fine, loves. Let's go in.”

♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪

It was a small two-story house; a large living room with an upright piano and many souvenirs of a long singing career abutted the entrance foyer, and they saw a kitchen and dining room behind it.

“Come, sit down. A Summer Lightning for you, Rip? And, ladies, you look old enough; I'll get you the same.”

Buffy started to say, “Nancy, Dawn's only seven—”

“And we were in Italy for the last year. I can handle this.”

Nancy came back from the kitchen with four glasses and some bottles on a tray. She smiled and said, “Americans. Supper will be ready in a few minutes.”

“So, how did you get into singing?” asked Dawn while Nancy was pouring the ale.

“I always wanted to sing and act. When I was a kid, all I heard on the BBC was standards and 50's music, so that's what I learned. I started singing at school dances and other local events. Then, we had the pirate radio, and suddenly, that's what people my age wanted to hear and what I wanted to sing. I ended up in London back in '69 trying to break into the biz and working as a cashier while I tried. I was a backup singer for a few bands, I did a few radio and telly commercials, and I started working the dinner club circuit, and then '75 came.”

“What happened then?” asked Buffy.

“My one chance.” Nancy drained the rest of her ale, and said, “Let's dine; I'll tell you the rest after.”

♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪

Dinner was simple; Nancy made a few trips to her kitchen bringing back a roasted leg of lamb, and served it with currant jelly, some sort of fried vegetables, and some rolls.

“Ah, lovely,” said Giles. Buffy and Dawn looked at each other a little dubiously.

Nancy asked, “Would you care to carve? And what would you like to drink, ladies?”

Buffy said, “No more ale for us, please.” Dawn nodded. Nancy went back to her kitchen while Giles took care of the lamb. She returned with two ales and two mineral waters, and was surprised by the portion Giles gave Buffy.

“Buffy's metabolism makes the rest of us cry,” said Dawn.

“I suppose so. Let's eat.”

The four of them ate slowly, an effect of the Summer Lightning. While they were eating the trifle Nancy served for dessert, Buffy asked the question both sisters had wanted to ask all evening: “So Aunt Nancy, you know Giles' nickname, and he's never told us where it came from. Care to gossip?”

“Please God,” muttered Giles.

Nancy laughed. “It's because of what he did to his birds' underthings.”

Buffy's jaw dropped. “Mom.”

“On the hood of a police car.”

“Twice.”

“You haven't changed, Rip,” added Nancy.

“I certainly have, Q,” said Giles.

“Q? You don't look like a Star Trek fan, Aunt Nancy,” said Dawn.

“Yes, Q—Nancy Cunard de Longchamps, à votre service,” said Nancy.

“We'd better not mention this to Andrew or Xander,” said Buffy.

“Just because some stupid American sci-fi show gives a character my nickname doesn't mean I'm going to give it up. I had it first! I'm proud of it, and I'm keeping it.”

Dawn raised her hands up in defeat. “I'm sorry. I won't mention it again.”

“That's all right, dear.” Her voice softened. “I could go for that captain, you know.”

“You never lacked for companionship, Aunt Nancy. Every time I saw you at one of your clubs, you had a man waiting for you at the stage door,” said Giles.

“Always on my terms, nephew. It's not like when I was young, and the record producers cared more about what you would put in your mouth than would could come out of it.”

“You didn't,” said Buffy.

“No, but I lost a lot of opportunities that way. Anyhow, I was desperate for work, and I ended up auditioning for a play on the West End. The producer hired me and Dee and Anna. We didn't get along very well, but as the play was going down in flames we got on better. After it finally closed, the musical director suggested we form a rock group, and that's how ‘The Little Ladies’ were born.”

“I remember seeing the three of you at a club. Dee seemed pretty hard, while Anna seemed a little off,” said Giles.

“She was the weakest one of us, and she got into trouble with pills later.”

“Buff and I―we've never been tempted. You did that at home, and you'd be dead. Real soon,” said Dawn.

“We did okay for a while, but we had producer problems, finance problems, contract problems, boyfriend problems, lots of problems. Andy Mackay of Roxy Music saw us at one of our first performances and wrote some songs for us, but it wasn't enough. We'd have done much better these days with the Internet, Napster, and iTunes. We wouldn't have needed to put our careers in the hands of worthless managers.”

“Oz told me some stories about the music business back at Sunnydale. The Dingoes were happy to do all their recording themselves. I guess the story didn't end well,” said Buffy.

Q laughed. “We met another group on tour, and our producer schemed to pair its lead singer with Dee. Anna and I found ourselves pushed to the side, she left, and then I left. It took me a few months to climb out of that one, but eventually I did, and found my way on the lounge circuit. Tell me, Buffy, do you sing at all? I know Giles does.”

“Only when I absolutely have to,” said Buffy.

“I'm more of a dancer,” added Dawn. “But I'd like to hear Giles sing someday. Anya said he nearly turned Willow straight.”

“Let's go downstairs, and I'll show you my studio. Perhaps my nephew will join me.”

“Yeah, Giles. I want to see this,” replied Buffy.

Giles glared for a few seconds, and then nodded.

♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪

They trooped down the stairs, and Dawn whistled when she saw the basement. It was a sleek professional-quality studio; a set of instruments including a guitar, bass, keyboard, and drum set, were arranged near one wall. Microphones were in front of the instruments, and speakers were behind. A set of chairs lay opposite. In the back was a glassed-off room with mixers, tape recorders, a video camera, and a PowerMac that Dawn lusted after.

“I've been collecting these for a long time. I can do my own recording, produce my own albums, and produce some friends' albums. Just don't tell the local Council; they would increase my taxes. Here, come in.” She showed them all the equipment; even Giles looked a bit overwhelmed. “Now, let's try them out.”

They went back to the main room, and Nancy picked up her guitar, took a deep breath, and belted out “I found my thrill/On Blueberry Hill.” Giles joined her at the last verse.

“Not bad,” said Buffy.

“That was Fats Domino. So, Rip?”

Giles took the guitar from her, spent a minute tuning it, and started off with a soft version of Blind Faith's Presence of the Lord.

“Nice, but that's really supposed to be louder,” said Nancy.

“I'm not very loud these days.”

“What was that?” asked Buffy.

“Blind Faith with Eric Clapton,” said Nancy.

“Eric Clapton is God,” averred Giles.

Nancy and Giles traded off songs for the next hour. She sang Many Rivers to Cross, and he sang Dawn, to Dawn's embarrassment. She did (What's So Funny about) Peace, Love, and Understanding, and he sang It's Different for Girls. She did the Sundays' Summertime, and then Giles broke loose with London Calling.

“So, Aunt Nancy, are you going to do any of your old songs?”

“I hardly ever do them: bad memories. But, I'll leave you with one.”


Everybody wants to sing

In the Rock Follies

Do their private little thing

In the Rock Follies

Have to break

Out of their cage

Have their eyes fixed on the stage

So numb they never

Feel the sting in

The Rock

The Rock

The Rock Follies



She finished the rest of the song, to everyone's applause, and they all went upstairs for coffee to fortify them for the trip back to London.

As the taxicab pulled up to the house, Nancy kidded Buffy and Dawn on the cheek, and she told Giles, “I'll be performing in Surrey next Tuesday. Would you like to join me?” Giles said, “Yes.”

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They said little on the train ride back and even less on the Underground ride back to the hotel. The Summers sisters hugged Giles in the hotel lobby, Buffy said they would call him tomorrow, and he headed off to his flat.

In the morning, they saw the message light blinking on the hotel phone. Buffy called the front desk, and the attendant told them that an envelope had been left for them. The two went down to breakfast, and Buffy opened the envelope.

“What is it?” asked Dawn.

Buffy looked puzzled. “We've been invited to a meeting of the ‘Boadicea Society’ Thursday evening.”

“Who?”

“I don't know.”

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This story is a crossover fiction between Buffy the Vampire Slayer, owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Productions, and Rock Follies, written by Howard Schuman, produced by Verity Lambert, with songs by Andy Mackay, for Independent Television (ITV) in 1975 and 1977. I claim no rights to any material under copyright to those parties or their legal successors. ITV is now known as "Channel 3," for example.

The use of the name “Andy Mackay” in the story was an extrapolation of the fact that he wrote all the songs in the series, including the one I quoted at the end. If that is problematic, or if the length of the quote is problematic, I shall remove or shorten them.

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Rock Follies and Rock Follies of '77 was an short, but influential series on Thames Television in 1975 and 1977. It starred Julie Covington as Devonia “Dee” Rhodes, Charlotte Cornwell as Anna Wynd, and Rula Lenska as Nancy “Q” Cunard de Longchamps. Simon Jones made his debut as a waiter. Andy Mackay wrote all the songs. No, she wasn't just a hack from a shampoo commercial or a punch line from a Dan Rather joke. The shows are really the only successful television drama on the music industry, and the music videos included in each episode were a precursor to MTV. ABC even tried to clone the show three times; all were abject failures.

The shows reached the US in 1976 when WOR-TV in New York did a Thames on TV week as an experiment. Unfortunately, it also introduced the US to (Correction) Man About the House, which ABC later adapted as Three's Company.

Julie Covington later performed in the War of the Worlds Rock Opera. Simon Jones and Rula Lenska were reunited in the second Hitchhiker radio series, where she played Lintilla the Clones, and she was later exterminated in Resurrection of the Daleks. Charlotte Cornwell has appeared in many movies and television shows, and was the model for a character in one of her brother David's (John le Carré) books.

The End

You have reached the end of "Q". This story is complete.

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