Title: "The Dreams of the Innkeeper's Daughter"
Author: The Padre
Disclaimer: The following story is a work of fiction. All characters from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel: The Series” are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. "The Highwayman" was written by Alfred Noyes. No copywrite infringement is intended or inferred; no profit is intended or inferred. Any other characters and this story are of my creation.
Distribution: Do you like my Pulp? Take it! I only ask that you tell me where it is and give credit. Thanks. This story and others can be found at my website.
Rating: 'R' for violence, language, adult situations and character death.
In this Story: An answer to a challenge from the old "Your Mission..." website.
"Challenge #8: The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes"
"Buffy is the focus of this challenge-- she's studying the poem The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes and has a dream that she's transported back to the time of the poem. She knows she's Buffy Summers but is forced to go along with the poem to a certain point (you choose the point). What does she do differently? I would like Angel to be the highwayman, but a S6 variant with Spike (after Buffy hears the recent song version) may work as well too. Heck, the male character is up to you!"
You can read "The Highwayman" and other great poems here:
Spoilers and Warnings: Season Two of BtVS along with some Season Seven Mythology.
***She knows she heard voices. Voices coming from the darkness; they spoke only in whispers. She can taste blood in her mouth, but is it hers? She tries to remember...remember....
"Well, eh? Lookathat? The Little Miss is stirring, she is."
"Ha! She's a-rising in time to see her suitor, I'll measure. She's now a-rising to see his death."
"Mind your tongue, ya' whelp!" Oh, I hurt,
Buffy thought as she slowly rose to consciousness, trying to shake away the cobwebs that clouded her mind. Realizing that she was lying in a bed, Buffy tried to stretch out and move, but her efforts were brought to a cruel halt: the petite blonde was tightly bound hand and foot. Rapidly becoming alarmed, Buffy tried to call for help, but found herself silenced by a handkerchief that parted her lips and was secured tightly behind her head. Now she was wide awake, adrenalin running unchecked through her body. Struggling to try and get free, Buffy found out, only caused the harsh rope that held her fast to dig deeper into her soft flesh. The pain was quite real and Buffy soon stopped wiggling so hard.
Wanting really bad to not turn into a life-sized version of wig-A-Lot Barbie, Buffy kept her mind busy with trying to finding out what was going on. As she looked around, she saw that she was dressed only in a long plain gown. The large bed she was lying in was made of wood and accented with ornate carvings. A long rifle and a rucksack were leaning against the foot of the bed. A decorative tapestry readily served as a wide canopy. The room she was in was pitch dark, save for the brilliant bluish-white light of the full moon that poured in from the open window and the reddish glow of dying embers in the fireplace. The only sound that could be heard was that of quiet silence; of a night devoid of modern sounds. There was no distant wail of a siren, nor click and whirr that was indicative of central air. There was only the music of waving branches and rustling leaves, and the rare but recognizable sound of neighing horses.Horses??? But there aren't any horses on my street....
Buffy brought all of her struggling, and any hope of escape, to a full stop. A cold feeling fell over her; she realized that not only wasn't she no longer in Sunnydale, it was apparent that all of her slayer powers were gone, too. A heady mix of frustration, anger and fear rolled about inside of her. The young woman felt her eyes getting wet. A soft sob escaped from behind her gag.
A figure emerged from the shadows of the room. He was a tall man, thin in nature and with a fine head of hair that had been poorly pulled back into a small ponytail, small wisps of which fell across his face. A common face, to be sure, but it was accented with sad but wizened eyes that had seen a little too much. His heavy red frock and white breeches told of his service to an Army. The multiple pips on his sleeves suggested that he was someone of rank. A sheathed sword hung at his side. It was evident that he could read the building terror in the blonde's hazel eyes. He knelt down to the side of the bed and began to gently stroke Buffy's hair. His voice was a whisper, but the heavy English accent was palpable. "There, there, Little One. Don't be too afraid now." He paused to wipe away the tears that were streaming down Buffy's cheeks. "This is for your own good, it is. Can't have you running around and givin' shelter to the enemies of Good King George, now can we? Be a good girl and behave. This'll all be over soon."
Totally confused and lost in her helplessness, Buffy could only nod. She lay still.
Still stroking Buffy's hair, the soldier continued his soft speaking. "There, yes. That's a good girl." The soldier looked contemplative. "'Tis a cold night, it is. Do ya feel a chill coming on, Little One?"
Again, Buffy nodded. Her thin nightgown provided little defense against the cool night air and the small coals left near the hearth gave off almost no heat.
"Here, hold on, now." Keeping his profile low, the tall soldier went to the foot of the bed and retrieved a thick, quilted throw. Slowly, he laid it out and covered the frightened blonde all the way up to her neck. From the top of the bed, the solider grabbed a pillow and placed it underneath Buffy's head. "There. That's all better now, isn't it?" The small smile he showed appeared genuine.
Buffy's eyes revealed the gratitude she felt. Despite being bound and gagged, the pillow and throw, along with the tall soldier's soft voice, made her feel a little more relaxed and not as scared.
A second voice came from the shadows. It too was at the level of a whisper, but the tone was harsh and without warmth. "Ah, go on with ya! Whatcha' ya doing there?
"Just making our Little Miss comfortable, I am. She's a tad frightened is all."
A second figure stepped out of the darkness and into the moonlight. He was a much younger man, also dressed as his fellow soldier, but very rotund. His sleeves had only one pip. His pig-like face had an incessant scowl, as if he had been sucking on lemons. "I don't see why ya should bother." the fat soldier hissed. "She's a known collaborator, the Holster said so!
The tall soldier confronted his cohort. "The Holster is a sniveling rat." A look of distaste crossed the older man's face. "His tale-telling stank of envy."
"Envy? Over the girl?"
"No...he's envious over our quarry. Our Highwayman is a fearless man, but the Holster is a simple coward." The tall soldier paused and eyed the younger man. "You've much to learn, lad. The Highwayman is our enemy, aye, but he should also have our respect. He's a crafty one, he is."
The fat soldier snorted. "That changes nothing. Ya still shouldn't be wasting time on the girl. If she's lucky, when the Judge is done with her, she'll only get Transported. For her lover, ah, he's sure to Swing, he is." He turned his face towards Buffy and leered at her. "But, I can see why this bandit's so taken with her. My, she's a tiny thing; pretty to the eyes, she is." Lust and evil intent emanated from his being. "Once we've done our business, I say we're due for a little...reward." He then turned toward his companion. "I haven't had a good woman in some time."
Buffy was listening to the whole conversation with great intent. Muffled protests issued forth: she did not want to be touched by the younger soldier, let alone raped. She looked to the old soldier for assurance.
The tall man caught the look in Buffy's eyes and turned back to his fellow soldier. His voice was cold. "She's not a woman, mate. She's a child. We'll have none of that talk, now."
"And I'm saying she's part of the spoils. If she's been soiled by the likes of the Highwayman, I'm havin' no doubts that she'll be just fine for the likes of me."
"And how do ya know she's not still an Innocent? Tell me if ya know so much?"
"She's lain with the Highwayman. The Holster said it was so!"
The older man spoke with disgust. "Ah, so because the Holster says it, it must be Gospel. Your young years are evident, mate." Taking a deep breath, he continued. "He's an ill man, the Holster is. Sick down to his soul with his lot in life and coveting all that's out of reach around him. I'd not take him to be a wise man at all."
The fat soldier wasn't satisfied. "Wise or not, foolish or not, I still say the girl will be mine before the sun rises."
The tall soldier stiffened. "And I'm sayin' that you'll not be touching this Young Lass anytime soon. I'll have the Vicar on you—"
"So says you!" Raw anger was in the young soldier's eyes.
"Yeah, says me. You're to be a gentleman, remember that! Your father may have bought your commission, but I still outrank you." The old soldier's voice was firm, determined.
"Then we'll just have to have it out, Captain, won't we?"
"I'll not shush-"
"Be quiet, whelp! Listen!"
For a second, both men grew silent. Far away, the rhythmic sound of hoof beats could be heard.
The young officer's eyes grew intense. It was one thing to talk about fighting the Highwayman; it was another to actually face him. His voice carried the stink of panic. "It's him! He's coming!"
The tall man nodded. His voice was calm. "Aye, lad, he is. Better to get yourself ready. We haven't long. Go now. Warn the rest of the garrison and be quick about it. By the sounds of things, he'll be upon us in no time."
Glad to have a direction to calm his fevered mind, the young man whispered with urgency, "I'll do that!" Quickly, he left the room.
Once his partner was gone, the Captain found a small chair that lay in between the shadows and the moonlight. As he sat down in it, he looked directly at Buffy, the moonlight casting harshly across his determined face. "Aye, Lass. That'd be your lover coming over the hill. He'll soon enough be ours." He then stood up and walked over the large open window. In a casual fashion, he reached into his coat and pulled out a long pipe and a tobacco pouch. While he began to load his pipe, he continued. "Please excuse my young friend, Little Miss. He hasn't as of yet mastered the space between his ears." He paused as he put the pouch back into his coat. "And, while he lacks the social graces of a young lady like yourself, he's dead right about two things, the first being that your lover will most certainly die. Likely before the sun rises, I'll wager."
A look of alarm crossed Buffy's face. She very well understood the old soldier's meaning.
The man read her well. Cruelty entered his eyes. "Aye, that's right, Lass. With this Liam, this Highwayman, Irish filth that he is, there'll be no need to waste the Hangman's time. No, Lass, a hot musket ball is your lover's destiny."
Buffy's fear quickly turned to hot fury. She resumed her struggles, despite the raw skin of her wrists and ankles. Now, though, she had the added handicap of the heavy throw which covered her completely. It was like trying to move against quicksand. Before she knew it, Buffy was fully involved in the throw and, except for her bare feet which now stuck out from the bottom of the heavy quilt, was almost immobile.
The Captain let loose a soft chuckle. "That's a good girl," he began, "get yourself all caught up, now." He went over to the small remnants of the fire, took a small taper from above the mantle and held it to the coals until it began to smolder with a glow of its own. With the lit end, the Soldier lit his pipe. Curling smoke, along with the odor of tobacco, filled the air.
Having now returned to the small chair, the Soldier looked out the window and smoked his pipe. "The second thing, Little Miss," the soldier continued, "that my friend is right about is that you'll be Transported. In the morning, we'll carry ya off to the Magistrate." In a taunting fashion, he gave Buffy a wink. "Even if your father were to sell this fine Inn, it wouldn't matter a wit, Little Miss. It's Botany Bay, for you."
Buffy only responded with a grunt and fierce look in her eyes. The solider was unimpressed. "You've a fine fire in your eyes, Lass. But a few years in the Antipodes will soon enough take care of that." Having finished with the small blonde, the soldier turned to the window, waiting for his men to finish the job for which they had come. The hoof beats, though still far off, were getting closer.
Panic raced through Buffy's mind. Liam, the soldier had said. The Highwayman's name was Liam and he was Irish. Hoping against hope, in the mad world that she found herself in, Buffy truly believed that the Highwayman was none other than her Angel and he was coming to see her. She had to try and somehow warn him of the impending ambush.
But, save her feet, Buffy was unable to move. The gag kept her from crying out to give a warning. Tears of frustration again began to fall down the blonde's cheeks...until she saw the musket leaning against the foot of the bed. Buffy wanted to give Angel a signal and any signal would do.
Now driven with purpose, Buffy, realizing that simple struggling had gotten her nowhere, began to rock and wiggle, all the time slowly working her way down to the foot of the bed. Within a few moments, she felt flushed with success as felt her long toes caress the cold metal of the musket.
Buffy paused, making sure that she was not giving her herself away to the old officer. As she looked at him, she saw that that he was engaged in staring out the window and giving her no notice whatsoever. But in taking a few extra seconds to get closer to the musket, Buffy's feet pressed against one of the columns of the footboard, which gave off a loud creaking sound.
The Captain's head snapped around. "Eh? What's this, then?" He was no fool. He looked at Buffy, then the musket and finally the pair of bare feet that were resting against it. Dark concern was on his face. He started to rise from the chair. "No, Lass. Don't do it-"
Buffy, giving the old Soldier her best 'fuck you' look, pushed with all her might against the musket and sent it falling to the floor. Upon hitting the ground, it went off with a loud retort that completely destroyed the quite silence of the night.
The result was instantaneous. From the bed, Buffy heard the sound of shouts and confusion pouring in from the open window. The ambush planned by the Redcoats was no longer an ambush. From underneath the throw, the blonde relaxed. She knew that Angel had to have heard all the commotion; he could be safe.
But she wasn't so sure about herself. Buffy looked up just in time to see the old soldier standing over her, wearing a look of pure fury. "Wench!" he seethed. "You'll swing for that! I swear it!" Raging, the Captain backhanded Buffy across the face, leaving her slightly stunned. As a small rivulet of blood began to trickle out of the blonde's nose, the soldier ripped off the throw and roughly flipped Buffy over on her stomach. Then, with a large knife he cut the ropes around her wrists and ankles. The soldier reached into the large rucksack and withdrew a set of iron manacles. "These were meant for your filthy lover!" he hissed. "But seeing now that our efforts in catching the swine have been delayed, I wager that they'll do quite well with you." The Captain proceeded to chain Buffy with the irons; first securing her ankles and then making sure that the blonde's wrists were well fixed behind her back. For added measure, the soldier took some of the cut rope and ran a strand from Buffy's wrists to her ankles, pulling it tight and leaving the small blonde hogtied. "There, whore! That'll keep ya'."
Buffy had now fully recovered from the soldier's blow. Despite the pain in her cheek and the salty metallic taste that filled her mouth, Buffy remained defiant. Buffy knew her situation to be grim but she still continued to glare at the soldier, her chin jutted out in an open challenge. Buffy had faced death before and she in no way looked forward to hanging at the end of a long rope. But Angel would now be safe, so it was worth the sacrifice. She was determined not to give the Redcoats the satisfaction of seeing her crumble up into little pieces. They were going to see what this Girl from Sunnydale was made of.
The younger officer burst into the room. He was distraught in both presence and voice. "Sir! We can't find him!"
"Eh? What do ya mean ya can't find him? He had to have been close! Spread out!"
"We did that! All of the men are out searching the fields, but so far, all we've found is his horse. It's as if he's all but disappeared!"
"His horse and that's all, eh? Ha! That means he'll be on foot, the hasty fool! He'll be easy to catch now—"
The Captain was interrupted by a lyrical voice coming from the open window; it carried an unmistakable Irish brogue. "Fool? Ah...now, good Captain, that's a rather unfriendly thing to say."
All heads turned towards the tall and imposing figure that was now standing in the window frame. Buffy's heart leapt for joy! She would know that voice anywhere! Angel! He's here! He's here!
With a sense of unhurriedness, the silhouetted form continued. "Rather rude, actually, especially since we've never been formally introduced. One would think that manners would emanate from a man of your station. I'm rather disappointed."
"Highwayman!" The Captain was momentarily caught off guard, but he quickly regained his composure. "It appears you have outwitted my garrison." He turned and shot his cohort a cold look.
"They're off chasing their tails; it is quite the scene. They seem to be lacking in manners as well."
"Swine!" the younger soldier spit. "What would an Irish pig such as yourself know about such manners?"
In the blink of an eye, the stranger, all dressed in black and with his large cape flowing behind him, leapt from the window and was upon the soldier. With one smooth, well-practiced motion, he snapped the young man's neck. As he allowed the young soldier's body to fall to the ground, the Highwayman stood tall and said, "I know enough to not speak unless I am spoken too."
By now, having seen the swift end of his fellow officer, the Captain had withdrawn his sword and assumed a defensive stance. He glared at the tall stranger. "You'll not have at me so easily, Highwayman. Aye, you are big and fast, I'll give ya that. But I still say that you're the fool!"
The Irishman grinned. "And why, good Captain, do you say that?"
The old soldier motioned with his blade. "I am a master swordsman, my good lad, and, ha-ha, I can see you've no steel or pistol on your person."
The Highwayman paused for only a brief second. "I have no need for either."
"Ah! The brashness of youth. Then, most certainly, I will have your blood this night!"
"No, my Captain Darlin'." the Highwayman said, slowly undoing the ties to his long cloak and taking it into his hands. "With respect, I will be having yours."
Wearing a smirk, the old soldier charged at his adversary, but he was overconfident. Just as it appeared that he was about to be run through, the Highwayman easily stepped aside and came up behind the Captain, throwing his riding cloak over his head, effectively blinding him. Before the old soldier could recover, the Highwayman took a hold of his head, and, like he did to his cohort in arms, gave the Captain's head a sharp twist.
There was an audible crack and the Captain's body became instantly still. Without ceremony, the Highwayman let the body fall to the ground. "Ah, you're brave, but I find no favor with any man who takes pleasure in striking little girls." In silence, he stood for a moment, looking down at the corpse that lay at his feet. His thoughts were interrupted by the muffled squealing that was coming from the bed. He turned toward the small blonde still in chains and smiled. With a boyish grin, the Highwayman said, "Sorry I'm late. I had to use my horse as a decoy. And to think that they all fell for such a simple ruse." He went over to the bed and sat down next to Buffy. As she gently began to stroke her hair, he said, "But I guess it doesn't really matter now. We're alone."
Buffy's heart was ready to burst. Wildly, she struggled against her chains; her hazel eyes were moist with the desire to exchange the restraints that held her fast with Liam's strong arms.
Pulling a knife from his belt, the stranger sat down on the bed next to Buffy and cut away at the rope that kept her hogtied. Then, after taking up the small blonde into his arms, he used the same knife to cut away her gag. With a slight chuckle, he whispered, "And you were saying?"
Buffy started babbling. "I-I was so scared for you! I woke up and I didn't know where I was and I was tied up and they said they were going to kill you-!"
The Highwayman grinned and, laying his fingers against the young woman's lips, said, "Shhh. There's nothing to be afraid of now. See? We're alone and together." The Highwayman bent forward and took Buffy up in a long passionate kiss.
Buffy's body, though still chained, sagged noticeably in the Highwayman's arms. After a few moments, he pulled back and gently caressed the blonde's hair. He could see that her eyes were filled with tears of relief. "Now's not the time for crying, Darlin'. Don't be sad; we can be together, now. Forever."
Letting out a soft sob, Buffy began, "Oh, Angel, I want to be with you-"
"Angel?" The Highwayman let forth a cruel laugh. Ridges appeared on his face and his eyes turned a bright yellow. Full fangs appeared in his mouth. "My name's not 'Angel', Darlin'. Call me Angelus."
Buffy's eyes filled with horror. "No! No! It can't be-"
"Oh, Darlin', it is...it is!" With that, Angelus sank himself into the softness of Buffy's neck.
Buffy continued to struggle and cry aloud, but soon...all too soon...everything went dark....
The Demon awoke, disoriented and...and hungry. But not for blood, for the Demon was way beyond the simple craving of blood. Vampires hunger for blood; Pure Demons do not.
She tried to move, to sit up, but found her hands chained behind her back. Her feet were similar straits. Eventually, she did come to a sitting position, but, for the time being, it was all that she could manage. It was then that she noticed that she was nude, but, strangely, found that she did not care. She also saw that she was alone. In a corner next to her, she saw a pile of torn clothes and various books marked 'Math' and 'Famous Poems'. As her disorientation cleared, she began to recognize the items in the pile. They once belonged to Buffy Summers.
Now they belonged to her.
She was once Buffy Summers, but Buffy was dead...and now, because of a rather simple mistake, only The Slayer remained.
As the minutes passed unmeasured, the events of the past day slowly began coming back: the love; the fight; the giving in and the giving up. She remembered dying and being reborn. Angelus, for reasons known only to him, allowed his fledgling's first feeding to be his blood and not that of a human. If Buffy had been human, there would have been no difference.
But Buffy was a slayer – and for slayers, the rules were different. It is the Demon Heart that gives a slayer her power. If a slayer is turned, a new demon takes over the body along with all the memories; drinking fresh human blood makes the change permanent and leaves the former slayer a vampire. But, should a turned slayer's first drink be that of her Sire, then the slayer's Demon Heart manifests...and comes alive.
As the Slayer sat on the cold floor, she felt calm and unhurried. She could feel herself growing stronger, more powerful. There were things that she had to do. The Demon closed her eyes and concentrated on the chains that held her wrists together.
Suddenly, with a short focused tug, she snapped the bonds that held her hands fast. With her hands free, the Demon now made short work of the manacles around her ankles. Standing, she looked around and started to explore. The Slayer realized that she was in Angel's mansion on Crawford Street, probably off in some forgotten room. The door to her room was locked, so the Demon, with very little effort, tore the handle of the door and entered the hallway.
After walking a little ways, she could hear voiced coming from the great room. She could hear Spike, Drusilla...and Angelus. Talking and laughing among themselves, with apparently neither care nor worry. To the Demon, they sounded light and celebratory. As she looked to the right, the Slayer noticed a shiny metal shield and matching sword hanging on the wall. For a moment, she stood there, taking in her reflection, gazing deep into the pair of solid black eyes that stared back at her. A sick grin, with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth, showed forth.
Her musings were broken as she heard the voices growing louder and bolder. The Slayer, after taking the sword down from the wall, decided that the three vampires, along with anyone else in the house, would be the first to die.
Then, the Slayer thought, it would be Giles' turn. He is Buffy's Watcher. He would quickly figure out what had really happened. He would send for the Council; they will probably come anyway, but better later then sooner. Joyce, Cordelia and Oz would have to go, too.
Even Willow and Xander. Pity.Yes,
the Slayer smiled, I'm going to kill them all.