***Bloody Awful Poetry***
Chosen +1yr, HP Bk7 +5yrs
Slightly AU: Buffy & Dawn stay in England with Giles
Anything recognizable belongs to Whedon and Rowling. I'm just playing with their worlds and moulding them into my own.
Many thanks to Beatrie Otter for being my Beta
Two weeks later, Dawn and Kiley sat at Dawn’s kitchen table putting the finishing touches on their Lord Byron report. Being the studious types they were, they had everything finished well ahead of schedule.
"There! All done! Now we just have to type the thing."
"We still have another two weeks to refine it."
The doorbell rang, interrupting them, and Dawn went to answer. It was the postman, delivering a package. A shoebox-sized brown paper wrapped package covered in airmail stickers and postmarked Los Angeles.
"Kiley, if this is what I think it is, we won't need to refine it."
"What is it?" Kiley came over to Dawn's side of the table, watching her start to unwrap the package.
"Spike's journals, hopefully."
"Who's Spike?" Kiley wondered.
Dawn ignored her, continuing to unwrap the package, which turned out to actually be a shoebox. Dawn lifted the lid. It was full of small, leather-bound, hand-sized notebooks. She picked a couple up and handed one to Kiley.
"Here, leaf through this, see if there's anything interesting."
Kiley took the proffered notebook and opened it to the first page. Her eyes bugged out when she read the first line.
"Is this for real?"
"Is what for real?" Dawn asked coyly.
"August 28, 1878."
"Yup! I told you I had a plan to get those extra points!" Dawn grinned.
"Oh my word! You might not have had Victorian-era journals in your attic, but you knew someone who did! This person must be a really good friend to send you something this valuable, unless they're really forgeries and you're looking to cheat your way into the points.” Kiley’s excitement turned to wariness. She leaned forward in her chair. “They're not forgeries are they, because I'm not going let you drag me along into one of your schemes, Dawn Summers, because if you-"
"Kiley, they're real.” Dawn interrupted the babble before it went too far. “I'm just hoping there's something in here that was actually published, maybe in some obscure paper somewhere. I doubt it'd be mainstream."
"But how do you know they're real? What if-"
"Trust me, Kiley, they're real. Quit worrying. The guy that sent them to me, well, these journals have been in his...family...for over a hundred years. The guy that wrote these fancied himself a poet, so there should be some poetry in there, we just have to find it."
"Fancied himself a poet, Dawn? You're starting to sound positively British!"
"Oh be quiet." Dawn playfully scowled, and gestured to the journal Kiley was holding. "Read."
"Gyah! This is awful!" Kiley threw down her journal into the "read" pile and picked one up from the "unread pile"
Dawn looked up from her journal, "They do say the guy that wrote these was called William the Bloody because he wrote 'bloody awful poetry'"
"Well, that's certainly what it is, bloody awful!"
As Kiley was saying this, Buffy and Giles were just arriving home from their daily commute into London. It was only a 40-minute train ride from Little Whining to West London, where the Council Headquarters were.
"What's bloody awful?" Buffy's voice floated in from the front entrance.
"Poetry project." Dawn answered vaguely on purpose. She hadn't told Buffy about asking Angel if he happened to have any of Spike's journals lying around, and she certainly hadn't told her about asking him to send them to her.
"Hello Buffy, Mr. Giles." The two unloaded keys and coats onto respective hooks and hangers and came into the kitchen to see the girls.
"Hello, Kiley, here to work on the project?" Giles asked.
"Yes sir." Kiley turned a page in her journal and returned to reading.
"What's with all the little notebook thingies?" Buffy asked, gesturing at the journal-strewn table. Dawn steeled herself. The moment of truth was coming. The most volatile unknown was how Buffy was going to take it. Ever since Spike had sacrificed himself nearly a year ago, he had been a touchy subject, and it was impossible to predict how Buffy would react.
"Bonus points if all goes well." Dawn decided avoidance of the crux of the subject was the way to go, at least for now. Fortunately, Kiley provided her with an interruption.
"Hey, I think I recognize this one!"
"One what?" Buffy was trying to figure out what was going on. Schoolwork had always been a bit of a mystery for her, even when she was in school.
"I believe Kiley is referring to something written in that notebook," said Giles.
"If we present a poet Dentworth hasn't heard of, she'll award bonus points. It turns out Dawn has a friend that had the journals of his Victorian-era poet ancestor kicking around, and he was kind enough to send them to us."
Buffy turned to Dawn, the Look in full force on her face. Dawn gulped. There was no more avoiding the subject.
"I called Angel and asked him if he knew if Spike kept any journals of his poetry."
Buffy gripped the edge of the table for support. Even after almost a year, Spike's sacrifice still hurt.
"Looks like he did." Her voice was flat, nearly a whisper.
Dawn gave her sister a concerned look, and then returned the conversation to Kiley.
"You said you recognized a poem, Kiley"
Kiley had been absorbed in the byplay between the Summers sisters. There was obviously more to this story that was let on.
"What? Oh, yeah. I'm pretty sure I saw it in a compilation my sister has."
"The one in London?"
"I only have the one sister, Dawn."
"Oh, right. I knew that. So anyway, if it is, it could help us prove to Dentworth that the rest of the poems are authentic as well."
"I could call her," Kiley glanced at the clock, "She should be in by now."
"Go ahead." Giles gestured towards the phone. After all, he was the one paying the phone bill. Kiley picked up the phone and dialled.
"Hermione? It's Kiley. Great! How are you?"
"Bleedin' ponce! You should have never left that bloke Ron. He
wouldn't have done that."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever you say. Listen, I've got something to take your mind off this latest prat of yours - shut up! Any bloke that leads you on like that is a prat. Honestly! Are you sure you're the older sister here?"
"Listen, forget him, alright? You still have that collection of poetry books, the one with the titles that match different periods of the day? See, I'm doing this poetry project on the Nineteenth Century, and I'm trying to find if a poem was published back then."
"Dawn's friend sent her his ancestor's journals that he wrote poetry in, and I recognized one of them. I'm sure I saw it in that collection, the Poems of the Night one, I think."
"No, I'm quite certain it was in that collection."
"How about I read it to you, then you can tell me whether I was hallucinating or not."
"Just hear me out, OK?"
Kiley read out the poem:
Laughing, Mocking (the)
Bloody Awful Poet:
Ripping, Tearing (his)
Bloody Awful Poetry!
'Ware the Wrath (of the)
Bloody Awful Poet:
(He'll) Rip you, Tear you,
Bloody Awful Gentlery!
Buffy had heard enough of this one-sided conversation. She grabbed Dawn’s arm and pulled her into the other room.
"You sent for Spike's Journals?" she hissed. Dawn nodded weakly. "What were you thinking? And showing them to a strang- someone who doesn't know-" Buffy broke off, her jaw clenching, gripping Dawn’s arm tighter and tighter.
Dawn shook off Buffy’s hand and took a step back, narrowing her eyes.
"That's exactly it. She doesn't know. And she doesn't have to. I told her they had been in Angel's family for years, which is technically true. What harm can there be in not correcting her assumption that they belonged to his ancestor?"
"But they're Spike's
." Buffy balled her fists, begining to border on hysteria.
"Spike is dead, Buffy. Yeah sure he was dead before, but I mean, dead dead.” It had been nearly a year since he had sacrificed himself to allow the remaining Scoobies and Slayerettes to escape from the Sunnydale sinkhole. In Dawn’s mind, it was time for her big sister to get over this. “I miss him too, but life goes on, you know? Dentworth hates my guts, and if I can show her a poet she's never heard of, she'll be forced to face up to the fact that a 'Colonial' can actually amount to something."
"Dawn-." Buffy’s voice hardened, heading into full-blown Lecture Mode. Fortunately for Dawn, Kiley interrupted just then.
"Hey Dawn, Hermione's invited me and you up to London for the weekend. You want to come?"
Dawn tried to hide her relief. "Can I, Buffy? Please?"
"She wants to see the journal with the poem in it, and since it's not really mine, I figured Dawn should come along" Kiley added helpfully.
Buffy had that stubborn look on her face that Dawn knew meant she was thinking of refusing, so she quickly tried to pacify her older sister.
"Look, Buffy, I'm sorry I went to Angel behind your back, and besides, Hermione only wants to see the one, right?" She looked to Kiley for confirmation, who nodded. "So, come on, you can still look at all the others. Besides, they're from before he was turned."
"You sure? The one Kiley read sounded pretty scourgish to me."
"What's the date on it?"
Kiley checked it out. "October 22nd, 1879"
"A year before, see? Well closer to six months but still...Come on, please? Giles, tell her."
Giles glanced at Dawn, then at Buffy. “I see no harm in letting Dawn go into the city for a weekend."
"Fine." Buffy relented.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Dawn gave her sister an exuberant hug and went with Kiley to confirm the arrangements.
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