Sands of Burning Time - (7)
Disclaimer and Distribution notes are listed on the Index page of this story.'Single' quote marks surround thoughts in this story. "Regular" quotes are around spoken words.
Spike grumbled to himself while he rolled over. He had wanted to get piss-assed drunk so badly the night before, and he was a little miffed that he hadn't been able to. As he thought about the night before, he was struck by the idea that something had happened between himself ... well, his past self and the Slayer.
Spike racked his mind for something, anything, and the only thing he could find was the idea of fighting Chaos demons with Buffy. He knew that had never happened in Sunnydale. He rolled off the bed bent on finding the Slayer and the truth.
Buffy ran down the deserted door-lined corridor. She couldn't find Dawn anywhere.
"Buffy! Help me!" Dawn's distant voice echoed off the walls.
"Dawn!" Buffy screamed. She pounded on one of the locked doors. "Where are you?"
Buffy realized she was lying on her back in the dark. She could feel the wood on all sides of her, and she knew she was in her coffin. She gasped for air while she pounded on the lid above her.
"Dawn!" Buffy screamed again.
"Buffy, wake up," Spike's soft voice brought the Slayer out of her nightmare.
"Oh Spike, I dreamed I couldn't find Dawnie," Buffy's voice hitched. "Then I was there again, in the coffin."
"We'll find her, Slayer." Spike reassured Buffy. "I bet Rupes will have the answers today."
"Well, I'm ready for some action," Buffy said. "All this waiting around has me all antsy. Maybe we should patrol tonight and find some excitement."
"You mean like Chaos demons?"
Buffy gave Spike a startled look. "You ... um ... remember that?"
"I remember Chaos demons now, and I know we didn't fight any of those in Sunnydale."
"He ... you were there when Evy and I were attacked by those demons." Buffy shrugged with her eyes on Spike's face. "I invited him ... you to help. No biggie."
"Buffy, that Spike is dangerous." The bleached blond vampire looked worried. "He's like how I was when I first came to Sunnyhell. To him you're just a Slayer. To me, you're special."
"You're special to me, too." Buffy gave Spike a smile. "But he's you, and I think he deserves a chance too."
Spike chuckled as he shook his head. "Well, at least you'll confuse him enough, and I know I won't get staked."
"You betcha. His and my memories are obviously linked now in the timelines. So, we need to be careful." Spike sidled closer to Buffy. "You want me to keep the bad dreams away?"
"That'd be nice." Buffy pulled Spike down into the bed. She cuddled up to his cool body, feeling content and at ease with the vampire.
ANOTHER PLACE, ANOTHER TIME
"I love your smoochies, Spike," Buffy whispered. "Thanks for being my date to the prom. I swear I have the hottest guy here."
"Well, pet, I know I have the prettiest bird here," Spike smiled down at the petite Slayer.
Giles looked up from where he was studying the Crilderian. Why did he have the impression that he'd met Spike as a teenager when he knew that he'd met Spike in Sunnydale? That would explain the sudden trust in the vampire.
Things were changing, and Giles knew it. He just didn't know if it was a good thing or not. Everything they were doing was already affecting the future.
Giles hoped he found something that would help find the teenagers soon. Lord only knew what kind of damage had already been done to the timeline. He sighed as he went back to his studies.
The hungover menfolk stumbled into the O'Connell mansion dining room. Logan felt the best of the four of them. His extraordinary fast metabolism meant he normally didn't wake up with a hangover. However, the night before he had tried to compete with someone incapable of getting drunk.
Ardeth was more hungover than Logan but considerably less than his old friend O'Connell. He grimaced with disgust when the servant put a plate of fish, sausage, fried mushrooms, fried bread, and runny eggs covered in some kind of red sauce in front of him. His stomach churned in rebellion.
"Mmm, look at this spread," Spike observed as he strolled into the room. He picked some food off everyone's plate as he passed behind them, giving a running commentary as he did. "Kippers. Nice, fat and juicy. Oh, fried mushrooms. Excuse me, O'Connell. Llet me dip this in that sauce in front of you. Look at that fried bread. I haven't seen that much grease since the Bit took me to the Double Meat Palace."
The vampire finally got to his seat where he plopped down, and he waved the waiting servant over with his plate. Spike looked down the table at the pale, yet greenish faces he had left in his wake. He chuckled as he said, "Yum, runny eggs and tomato sauce. Wonder if the cook has any Tabasco sauce?"
Glurb! Jonathan's stomach lurched when he opened one eye long enough to see the mess on the plate in front of him. He was English, and he had never understood the need for a huge heavy breakfast. That line of thought made him wonder why they weren't eating their normal breakfast of strong coffee, candied almonds, pita bread, and seasonal fruits and figs. The fruit was Evy's idea that she implemented to get Alex to eat more fruit.
"Ah good, breakfast." Evy walked in with her arm through Buffy's. "I thought we'd show the Slayer some traditional English fare. Dig in, boys."
"Evelyn, you are a mean, cruel woman," Rick muttered. "You know I can't stand this crap on a good day, let alone when I have a hangover."
"Oh poor baby." Evy cooed at her husband. "Maybe next time you won't get sidetracked by the booze."
"Yes, dear," Rick said in a defeated tone. "It's not my fault. You know that I can usually drink anyone under the table. Unfortunately I can't keep up with the vampire with his ring and the mutant with his constitution. I'm only human."
Spike snorted in amusement. From his observations the night before, he and Logan were about equal in the getting plastered and the recovery departments. Well, under normal circumstances they were equal. Poor O'Connell didn't stand a chance.
"I think we need to travel to England," Giles announced as he entered the room. "While this was a big help ..." He lifted the Crilderian. " ... it just isn't enough."
"Why England?" Buffy asked.
"London to be exact." Giles carefully placed the book on the table before he removed his glasses for a good wipe down. "When I was the curator at the British museum, there was a hieroglyphic crossword stored there. It is a grid that can be read both horizontally and vertically. Each direction is a different message ending with 'this stone can be read three ways'. I believe this third unknown way will be a clue to our final destination."
"But we have to go back to that palace place to use those crystal thingies," Buffy said. "I do remember we're in a war around here. What if we can't get back into Egypt?"
"You'll have to sneak in," Ardeth replied. "I'll prepare my men just in case. We'll probably have to pose as slave traders. There are still a few routes that no one checks."
"Please do that," Giles said. "I have no desire to be a guest of Germany for the next few years."
“Been there, done that already, Rupes,” Spike chuckled.
Ardeth rose to his feet, and he bowed to the ladies. After another shuddering look at the breakfast fare, he left the room.
"Well, we're finally doing something," Buffy muttered. "I supposed I should hunt Spike down and tell him the momentous news."
"Spike's right there," Jonathan pointed out.
"No, I mean evil Spike," Buffy replied.
"Oi, I'm evil," Spike protested.
"Of course you are, baby." Buffy leaned over to pat the bleached blond vampire's hand. "I wonder what Dawnie and the others are up to."
"Not staying out of trouble!" Logan and Rick said at the same time.
"Are you sure about this, Alex?" Dawn asked again.
"Yes, it reads quite clearly here." The boy tapped the writings on the wall. "This is the Atlantian equivalent to a bathroom."
"God, I hope so. I'm beginning to stink!" Dawn huffed. "Really, this is the absolute worst kidnapping I've ever been in. Glory's skanky minions were ugly, but at least they were alive."
"How many times have you been kidnapped?" Rogue asked in her soft accent.
"At least once a year since Buffy's been the Slayer." Dawn shrugged. "No biggie." She brightened when the door slid open. "Dibs on the tub."
"So, you're not worried?" Alex asked.
"Of course I am!" Dawn exclaimed. "Baldie has me, and I'm a green ball of mystic keyness. Rogue here can take other people's powers, and you're an expert on a whole mess of ancient languages. Whatever he wants to do is not of the good."
"Any ideas what that might be?" Rogue remembered Magneto's recent attempt to use her powers.
"Before it was always to find a way to bring Anck-Su-Naman back, his one great true love." Alex looked at the girls. "After the fight with the Scorpion King, Imotep and Dad fell into the chasm to Hell. Mom went to help Dad, but Anck ran away. Imotep allowed himself to fall into the pit."
"Can you tell us anything at all about Atlantis?" Dawn asked.
"Not really." Alex shook his head while he racked his brain for facts. "It is said though that they had mastered time travel."
"Well, Baldie certainly mastered forward travel," Dawn muttered as she peeked into the bathroom.
"What if he's trying to get this Anck chick from the past?" Rogue asked.
To pass the time the three teenagers had told each other their life's stories. Alex's had included how his parents had met and his connection with their kidnapper.
"It's possible." Alex nodded. "He's obsessed with her. That's for sure. Maybe he figures that the vessel she inhabited later was tainted and not his true love."
"I saw my sister and Spike when the dead guys got Alex," Dawn called back over her shoulder as she entered the bathroom. She could tell there was a bathing area, and she just hoped there was a toilet somewhere. "I know they won't rest until they find me."
"I think Logan followed me." Rogue flexed her fingers as she thought about the rude, sarcastic man. At first glace, a girl would think he was a cruel lover, but Rogue figured under all the bluster and bite, Logan was a really good man. Not a nice man, never that, but a good one.
"Alex, come read this stuff. I gotta go!" Dawn said from the other room. "Do you think one of us is skinny enough to fit through that hole?"
Alex grimaced. He hoped the hole that Dawn was referring to wasn't the chamber pot. He still hadn't mentally recovered from the last one he'd crawled through on that train ride from Hell. "Coming, dear," he muttered sarcastically.