Sands of Burning Time - (12)
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.
"Imothep, what do you want from us?" Alex asked in the ancient language that the former mummy understood.
Imothep glared at the young man. "I wish to return to before my beloved Anck Su Namun betrayed me."
"How does kidnapping us help you do that?" Alex turned to his companions to speak in English again. "His girlfriend was not the most loyal of women, and he hopes to go back in time to before she deserted him."
"Why does he need us?" Dawn shook her head in confusion.
"That's what I asked him." Alex turned back to Imothep. He was startled when Dawn let out a scream, and she pointed behind Imothep.
"Eyeball!" Dawn screeched. "Run!"
When Imothep turned to look behind him, Dawn grabbed one of Alex's arms and Rogue grabbed the other. They dragged him along behind them as they sprinted in the opposite direction.
Imothep let out an angry roar that reminded Alex of when he met the man before. However, instead of pursuing them, Imothep screamed something at the retreating trio. It wasn't until they stopped four corridors over, out of breath and panting, that Dawn was able to gasp out words.
"What did he say that time?"
"That he won't be thwarted," Alex replied between deep gulps of air.
"Wow, how very Evil Overlord like of him ... not," Dawn said in a dry tone.
Rogue giggled. "I know, really."
"Let's find some food, and then, rescue ourselves." Dawn rubbed her stomach.
"You need to explain this Evil Overlord thing," Alex said.
As they started their search for food, the two females explained the Evil Overlord Manifesto to the male. They spoke quietly and kept an lookout for their captor and the roving eyeball.
Finally, Alex opened a set of doors to a huge room that clearly used to be a greenhouse or arboretum. Now it was just an overgrown mess of plants. "Is that an apple tree?" Alex pointed towards a tall tree laden with fruit.
"Looks like it." Dawn peered into the foliage. "I think I see some tomatoes too."
"Let's eat." Rogue rushed to the apple tree to pick some fruit.
The three friends ate till they were sated. Dawn closed her eyes, and she laid back on the grassy floor. "I ate too much."
"Me, too. We should get some sleep though," Rogue yawned. She looked around. "But first we should find something to block the door."
Dawn opened her eyes. "Oh, shit."
"What?" Alex looked over at Dawn who pointed upwards. Alex and Rogue both looked to where Dawn's attention was riveted.
"Oh, shit," Rogue echoed Dawn's exclamation.
"Bloody Hell! We're under the sodden ocean," Alex muttered even as he watched the pod of whales swim by the clear roof of the greenhouse.
Mary McKinley stood in the shadows waiting for the other members of her party to arrive. She kept out of sight of the museum guard while she thought about the Slayer and her two eerily similar vampires. One of the vampires, the older one, loved the Slayer with every fiber of his being. He fairly glowed with it all. The other younger vampire was growing to love her with every more with every passing interaction.
Mary was startled, but she didn't show it as she turned to find a distinguished older gentleman standing a few feet away. "Yes, I'm Mary McKinley."
"Rupert Giles, at your service."
"Hello," Mary replied. She looked around for the others. "Where is Miss Summers?"
"We're just waiting on you." Giles gestured towards the museum. Buffy, the blonder vampire, and the other couple from the club the night before melted out of the shadows. Introductions were made all around.
The guard was greeted like an old friend, and the group passed into the dark, quiet museum. The group made their way past the mummy exhibit which Rick and Evy eyed with extreme wariness.
"Didn't we get rid of these guys before?" Rick asked his wife.
"Yes, dear." Evy patted Rick's arm.
"Bad experience?" Mary asked.
"Like you wouldn't believe." Rick's hand gripped the pistol at his side that Mary just at that moment noticed.
This made Mary eye the mummies too. She mentally prepared several fire spells.
Just in case.
"Oi, we smashed the ugly stone gargoyle," the darker Spike announced. He came up to the group followed by two more men that Mary didn't know.
The nervous, twitchy one eyed darted back and forth between the mummies, the vampire, and the heavily muscled man with long sideburns like he didn't know which one to be scared of the most. He nodded towards the muscle man. "He slashed it up with his claws first. His claws!"
"Whatever get the job done," the man growled. He pulled a cigar from his jacket pocket, and he clamped it between his teeth. Before he could light it, Evy pointed at him.
"No smoking allowed, Logan."
"Yes, ma'am." Logan grimaced, but he didn't light the cigar.
Evy marched away, leading the way to their destination. "Don't dawdle, Jonathan. You wouldn't want to be in here alone if the exhibit wakes up."
Jonathan looked around at the mummies. He gulped. "Good point. Come along, O'Connell before that sister of mine does something stupid."
"I heard that."
Mary knew she shouldn't be surprised by the group's camaraderie, but she couldn't help herself. They were such an interesting, eclectic bunch filled with dynamic personalities. She wished she could be part of their little circle of close friends.
"Here we are," Buffy said, breaking into Mary's thoughts. She turned to Mary. "Our magic users ..." she trailed off.
"Thought we only had Willow?" the blonder Spike replied.
Buffy rubbed her forehead. "I'm getting flashes of Amy Madison along with Willow. It's really weird and kinda hurts."
Spike looked confused until Giles patted him on the shoulder in clear and apparent sympathy. "Willow's pet rat wasn't always a rat. She used to be a girl."
"Oh." Spike turned to Mary to finish Buffy's original thought. "Our magic users are currently unavailable since they are still in the future in Sunnydale."
"Boca del Infierno," Mary whispered. Anyone who was anybody in the supernatural world knew where and what lie beneath the small Californian town.
"Yeah, good old Sunnyhell," Spike confirmed.
Right then and there, Mary decided to move to Sunnydale in the hopes of meeting with these people again. She didn't know how far in future it would be, but she was willing to try.
"As Buffy and Spike have indicated, we are in need of magic to uncover a vital clue in our search for several companions." Giles gestured towards a broken stone tablet covered in hieroglyphs on display. "As I'm sure you can tell, the artifact is incomplete and magical."
"Yes, I can." Mary scooted closer, and she peered at the tablet. She could see where the magic swirled on the surface of the stone. The magic was so powerful that she even saw a shadow of enchantment where the stone was missing. After a few minutes of humming, she nodded knowingly. "I know just what to do."
Mary felt inside her handbag. She drew out a small bottle of shimmering bronze-colored powder. After she opened the vial, she blew it across the surface. "It reads like a prophecy or a poem."
"What does it say?" Evy asked with eagerness and worry.
Mary looked at the other woman. "Of course. The path to the city under the sea lies behind the portal of time. To open the portal you need the crown of the Beloved Queen of Mut." She pointed to a certain series of hieroglyphs. "See there? It reads Nefertiri Meritmut."
"Great. Who wants to bet this crown is back where we started from," Logan grumbled. "I'm going out for a smoke now."
The blonder Spike's fingers twitched, but it was the darker Spike who spoke. "I think I'll join you." The two men left together.
"I'm going to go check on passage back to Egypt." Jonathan hurried away.
"It's the middle of the night," Rick called to the retreating Jonathan. His answer was a two-fingered salute thrown over his brother-in-law's shoulder.
Buffy stepped up to Mary. "Thanks so much for your help. You really don't know how much this means to me. To us."
Mary bowed her head once. Even though she didn't completely understand what was going on, only that several people in Buffy's party were missing loved ones, she wasn't a cold-hearted person. "You're welcome."
"Here's the rest of your payment." Rick handed Mary an envelope.
Mary opened the envelope to count the money. She knew it was tacky and she trusted the Slayer, but there was a little cynical part of her that had to make sure. "It was a pleasure doing business with you."
"We need to get a good night's sleep," Giles commented. "Hopefully, we will be able to book our trip back tomorrow."
"In the morning we need to look at the maps back at the mansion and figure out where we're meeting up with Ardeth." Rick looked around. "So far, so good. Let's get going while the getting is good."
So, that's what they did. However, Mary couldn't help notice that everyone eyed the mummies with wary suspicion on the way out. Outside they found the dark Spike and Logan smoking while Jonathan dug through the glove box of an automobile.
"I know there's a schedule in here someplace," Jonathan muttered.
Mary watched with amusement as the group squeezed into two automobiles. She really, really liked the bunch of crazy, yet compatible people.
"Can we give you a ride home, Miss McKinley?" Evy hung out her window.
Mary shook her head. "I'm fine. Nobody will bother me."
"You're carrying a bunch of money," Buffy said from her window.
"My purse is magic," Mary replied. "Bigger on the inside only to me. I tucked it all away. Nobody will ever get it but me."
"Hmm, like the Tardis." Buffy gave Mary a thumbs up. "Good for you. Thanks for your help and all."
Mary watched the two cars drive off. She didn't know what a Tardis was, and it was many years before she did. The first time she watched Doctor Who and realized what Buffy had meant that night in London, Mary laughed and laughed. Her son and daughter thought she was crazy.
A week later, Mary was on a boat to America. Standing next to her on deck was a handsome young man that suddenly turned to her.
"I can't believe I'm actually doing this. Leaving my little village and going on an adventure." He stuck out his hand. "Royston Madison."
"Mary McKinley." Mary shook Royston's hand. Something about the man's name was very familiar. "I'm very pleased to meet you."
Royston smiled at her before he turned back to wave at someone on the dock. Together, Mary and Royston watched England fade into the distance.
SUNNYDALE, CALIFORNIA 2001 The Magic Box (revised future)
"Angel should be here any minute," Willow announced.
"You think he'll actually be helpful?" Faith asked. "He usually is all with the cryptic and Buffy avoidance. I still don't know why he doesn't like her."
The bell above the door jingled.
"Speak of the devil," Xander grumbled. He had never liked Angel. Something about the broody vampire rubbed him the wrong in a way that Spike never had, not even from the very first day.
The Scooby gang turned as one to greet Angel, but they were surprised when they saw that it wasn't the vampire. Instead, it was a pretty dark skinned woman holding the door open for a pretty boy with sunglasses who was pushing a bald man in a wheelchair.
"You're not Angel," Willow blurted out.
"Sorry, we're closed," Anya said from her place behind the counter. "We open again tomorrow at 9 a.m."
The bald man chuckled. "I am aware, Miss Jenkins. However, I'm not here to buy any of your fine magical merchandise. I believe we have some mutual missing persons."
"You know where they are?" Xander jumped to his feet. "Are they all right?"
"I know when they are," the bald man said. "Forgive me. I'm Professor Charles Xavier. My companions are Ororo Munroe and Scott Summers."
"We're looking for Buffy Summers and her sister, Dawn." Anya gave Scott a suspicious look. "You're not related are you?"
Scott shook his head. "Not that I'm aware."
"What exactly do you mean by when?" Xander asked. "That sounds like an odd thing to say."
"Spike, Buffy, Dawn and Giles are in the past." Angel and Cordelia came into the Magic Box behind the professor.
Faith pointed at the professor. "Oh my God, you guys are those mutants on the news last week."