Sands of Burning Time - (14)
Note: This chapter continues with the various history changes for Spike and the Scoobies. You will see, at the end of the chapter, how the second slayer was called in this timeline. The addition of Edna Giles and Lawson are also worked into things to show the changes. I've addressed Angel and Spike's presence in the new timeline in Sunnydale as well. I know that I repeat some Lawson bits that I wrote from Chapter 9, but I expanded on it a little more as well. I also changed the date of Lawson getting the note to August 1997 instead of 1996.
Note #2: I am keeping this Mummy series timeline note in here as it will come into play more in the coming chapters. For timeline reference the Mummy movie was set in 1923. The Mummy Returns (#2) was set in 1933. Finally, The Mummy: Tomb of the Emperor was set in 1946.
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.
Late 1970's ~ New York
Spike practically bounced around the subway car. Although he hadn't sampled the Slayer's blood, he was still high on the adrenaline rush of the fight. This wasn't the Slayer that killed Drusilla, of course, but that was who she symbolized to him. He finally felt that he'd avenged his Sire's death.
"I don't know how I'll ever tire of that." Spike felt the briefest pain of remorse as Buffy's face flashed in his mind's eye. He could practically see her disappointment in him, but he forced the image back.
Spike had no idea that Nikki would be the last Slayer he ever killed. Just as he was about to exit the car to another compartment, a small boy ran into the car from the other end.
"Mama! No!" Robin Wood tried to turn his mother's arm. "You can't go." Wet streaks started to cascade down his face. When his mother told him to hide under a bench after the white-haired man appeared, Robin was worried.
As the sounds of a fight echoed back from the next car Nikki disappeared into, Robin grew even more fearful. The dead silence that followed his mother's scream was the worst sound of all. His young mind was barely able to comprehend the fact that his mother was truly dead. She'd been injured plenty of times before. After a day or two she'd be right back out again.
All of the previous adrenaline was sucked away from Spike at the sound of the little boy's cries. Something the version of himself that he met in the past said to him came back to his mind.
"As much as we love and adore her, Drusilla will never truly be yours. She will tease and taunt, but she'll never give you even half the love that Buffy can. You'll do so many things to try to gain Dru's attention or "win" her back from a fit. A lot of them will haunt you for years to come. There are faces you will never forget and the sound of tears that will torture you. Save us both a lot of pain and don't follow that path."
As Spike watched the boy cry, he knew these events were some of those the other Spike spoke of. Although it seemed Dru was alive in the other future, he'd still done something similar in both timelines. He'd never forget this scene. It was like a cold bucket of water being dumped on his heart and mind.
Spike knew he couldn't leave now. There were all manner of beasties still on the late night subway line. If he left the boy alone, he would surely end up a morsel for another creature of the night.
Spike slowly walked back over to the trauma that was of his own doing. He extended a black nailed hand out to the boy. "Oy. You can't stay here. It isn't safe."
Robin Wood looked up at Spike with tears in his eyes and emotions laced with both grief and fear. Before him was the same looking man that his mother chased in the first place. His stomach lurched in the way his mother's Slayer senses had. The nice man who lived with them, Uncle Bernie he called him, always told Robin to run in the other direction if he felt this way. He couldn't leave his mother behind. Besides what good would it do to run? If the guy was able to kill his mother, surely he could kill a small child. So, instead of running, Robin Wood looked up at the punk dressed man and said, "Are you going to kill me too?"
Spike nearly crumbled. He was a monster in many ways, but he never harmed children. The very thought made him feel ill in a way that vampires should never experience. Sometimes Dru, Darla, or Angelus would indulge in such depravities, but even at his worst Spike couldn't take a young child's life. Teenagers were seen as a case by case basis. Slayer's were "fair game" no matter their age. Being a Slayer aged them well beyond their birth years.
"No. I won't kill you. What I need to do is get you back to your Mum's Watcher."
"Watcher?" Robin heard the term before, but he wasn't sure who that was.
"Yeah. He sounds a bit like me, but he dresses all tweedy and stuffy."
"That sounds like Uncle Bernie."
"Then let's go see Uncle Bernie. Stick close to me and nothing will touch you." Spike hefted Nikki's body over the shoulder opposite Robin's position. He wasn't going to leave the fallen Slayer to the scavengers of the night. At least she would get a proper burial.
Spike was quite surprised when Nikki's watcher was both angry and accepting of Spike's presence and explanation. The Council had already informed him of his Slayer's passing. He also had opened a note that Edna Giles gave to him before his trip to the States to be Nikki Wood's Watcher. She told him to open it upon his Slayer's death. He knew exactly who Spike was, but the appearance of the vampire with a safe Robin Wood told him that there was a chance for the vampire to yet redeem himself.
Winter of 1996 (when Buffy was originally called) ~ England
[NOTES: According to the TV series' timeline Buffy would have been called in the latter part of 1996. The series started March 1997 stating that she burnt down the gym several months prior. Since we are going with the TV series' timeline, these are the dates we are using for this story. We hope that clears up any confusion.]
Spike couldn't believe that he was here, of all places, about to do what he once swore he never would. He grabbed the doorknocker with one hand and solidly knocked three times. He stepped back to wait for an answer.
A bleary eyed Rupert Giles opened the door partially. It was the middle of the night. Although he'd been up reading through some old journals, it was not a proper time for company. So, he wasn't about to invite anyone in. "May I help you?"
Spike snorted at the irony of that statement. "Not right now, Watcher, but I can help you."
Giles opened the door more fully in shock. Who was this punk looking man standing before him? He was unnaturally pale, and that screamed out the possibility of him being a vampire. He took a chance on his instincts and said, "And why would I wish to listen to a vampire?"
Spike's smirk grew. The man standing before him was younger than the Rupert Giles he met 50 plus years ago, but he was still very smart. He looked past Giles into the house. "Is Granny Edna around?"
"Rupert what on Earth are you doing entertaining guests so late at ..." Edna Giles' voice trailed off when she saw the vampire on the other side of the threshold. "William, the Bloody," she murmured. She wondered just which version of the vampire was standing at the door. She'd heard of his changes in the 70's, but he'd switched sides back before as well.
"The Slayer's been chosen, Madam," Spike's voice took on its more cultured roots. "It's her. It's time."
"I was wondering where Merrick disappeared to." Edna pushed her way into the door frame next to her grandson. "He wasn't thumbing through his beloved archives the last time I was at headquarters. You are ready to follow the right path now?"
Spike grumbled a bit to himself. "I have been since the late 70's. My anger died that night after Wood's death. It was a rude awakening to be sure."
Edna Giles nodded her head. "Bernie said you had been quite helpful with Robin and the demon population in New York for a few years." Although she was quite angry for the vampire's couple decades of resumed bloodshed from the mid 50's to the late 70's, she was happy to see him returning to his true destiny.
Rupert stared at his grandmother in disbelief. Was she seriously having a conversation with William the Bloody as if it was tea time?
"We don't have too much time to act. You and I both know that Merrick won't last but a month at the most." Spike glanced at Rupert Giles. "Is he ready?"
"Good, good. That will give Rupert time to put in his two week notice at the museum." Edna pondered all the preparations that would be needed. "You are sure that he will be chosen to follow after Merrick's death?"
"As long as Merrick is killed by Lothos, then yes. Everything from before suggests that it should be so. I don't think they changed anything that would keep Rupert's appointment from happening. I have a feeling they wouldn't want anyone else in his position."
"Surely you aren't suggesting that I go anywhere with this murderer?" Rupert asked his grandmother. He was flabbergasted that she even suggested such a thing. He may have retreated from the Council's training and expectations for a few years, but he knew who William the Bloody was in their history books.
Edna patted Rupert's arm. "Of course you are, my dear. Please come in, William."
"Have you taken leave of your senses?" Rupert Giles pulled a cross from the pocket of his housecoat and pushed it out towards Spike as he walked into the Giles' home.
"I let you have your freedom, Rupert because I knew that in the end what you learned from those mistakes would be needed. Don't test my patience. You have a destiny."
Rupert Giles groaned. Oh how he hated that word, destiny. He hated it as much as detested another word, prophecy. He had no idea yet just how much those two words would be intertwined in his life for the next several years. Life was about to get interesting for the soon to be Watcher.
August 1997 ~ Cleveland, Ohio
Sam Lawson looked over the letter he'd just received. Most vampires didn't keep a stable enough address to get mail. Most didn't care about getting any either. Most of the traditional vampire rules didn't seem to apply to him though.
Sam was a different kind of vampire. He had been different ever since originally being turned by a souled up Angelus during World War II. His early survival was helped along solely by another vampire passenger on the submarine and not his Sire. He supposed that Spike became his Sire and mentor in all ways that truly mattered.
Now, it looked like it was time to help repay debts owed for his fledgling days. Sam knew Spike would never force him into anything, but Sam still felt that he owed his unlife to the vampire. They'd kept in touch over the last 30 years after spending over 10 years traveling together. The missive in his hands said that Spike needed help in Sunnydale, California. "Strange name for a town," he thought. With a shrug of his shoulders in indifference, he headed to the bedroom of his modest apartment in Cleveland, Ohio to pack for the trip to sunny California.
"From one Hellmouth to another. Seems to be my lot in life." Sam chuckled.
March 1998, California
Edna Giles walked up behind her grandson Rupert in the hospital. She rested her hand on his arm while he looked at his Slayer lying like death in her hospital bed. She knew just how much pain could be caused when your Slayer was lost. At least he had the pleasure of her return to him.
"How could something as benign as the flu be the catalyst to end my Slayer's life?" Although Rupert was relieved that Spike managed to take care of the Der Kindestod that was stealing children's lives, Buffy had died for several minutes before her life force was returned to her body. Death was always a bedmate for Slayers, but he never wanted to feel that way again. He loved Buffy too much to lose her.
"At least you have not lost her completely."
Rupert looked lovingly at his grandmother. "I will forever be grateful for that. I don't know how you handled that loss."
"As painful as this was, it needed to happen. You already managed to dodge her death once. I always wondered when the bomb would be dropped on you. Now that we have faced it, hopefully we can relax a bit more." Edna and the future Rupert Giles had talked about only a few of the major events that happened. He didn't want to burden his grandmother with the knowledge or tempt her to change things. There were also some things that Spike shared from what his future counterpart said to him as well.
Spike arrived in Sunnydale shortly before "The Harvest". He never hid from Buffy who and what he was. He also tried to help out wherever possible. It was rough at times for Spike to reconcile himself between the two versions of Buffy that he knew. It wasn't love at first sight or even second sight. He helped to train with her daily, and they gradually became friends that respected each other's abilities.
Almost a year ago the group managed to thwart a skewered prophecy in the codex that predicted Buffy's death at the hands of the Master. A couple different versions of the same prophecy were found in two different tomes. It was hard to determine which one was right. Between Spike, Rupert, and Edna who had come to Sunnydale to visit Rupert a few weeks prior, they managed to confront the Master and close the Hellmouth without Buffy's death occurring.
Spike walked back into the room followed by a contrite Angel. "How is she, Rupert?" He cared a great deal for the young woman that he considered his responsibility to protect. He kept his distance romantically though because of her age and other factors. He respected her, but he truly wasn't sure what he felt for Buffy beyond that.
"She's resting peacefully now. Thank you, Spike."
"No problem, Rupert. Do we know who's been called?"
"No," Edna answered for Giles. "I've checked with several of my contacts, but nothing is forthcoming. They will let me know as soon as they know."
Spike and Rupert both nodded.
Angel looked over at the girl on the bed. Something about the girl rubbed him the wrong way. He didn't know if it was the memory of her visit to him in the past or her closeness with his grand-Childe. He really hoped that Whistler gave him someplace else to be soon. He needed to get out of this town.
The group didn't fully accept him, and Angel refused to acknowledge the fact that his secrecy in the beginning was probably the cause. He'd tried to contact the Slayer when he arrived 8 months ago in July with a cryptic warning about needing to crush the bones of the Master that she killed. He recognized her from the visit to the past. He kept his name and heritage a secret from her, trying to entice her curiosity. It didn't work. He was completely surprised to have his identity ratted out by his wayward grand-Childe Spike.
Now Angel felt that most of the time he was treated only as extra hired muscle. How could this be his path to redemption? What possible reward could be at the end of these tedious tasks? Why did he bother to stick around at all? All of those questions constantly roamed his mind while Angelus scratched and growled from inside his trapped psyche. He needed to get away from Sunnydale.
"I did get some good news," Edna Giles broke through Angel's inner monologue. "Crawford thinks that he's finally found the spell we've been seeking."
"The memory retention spell?" Spike asked, in awe that he might finally understand all the reasons why his future counterpart became the way he was.
"Yes. He's going to fly with it here next week. It's not something we want to risk traveling by post."
"I quite agree, grandmother. We will prepare for his visit. Hopefully Buffy will be back to her old self by then. I know she'd want to participate."
Spike looked around the room at the weary humans and bored grand-Sire. "Why don't you all catch some kip? I'll stay here with Buffy tonight to make sure nothing else is around."
"Will you be safe from the sun?" Edna asked concerned.
"The blinds are tight and thick. I'll be sure to stay on this side of the bed as well for further protection."
"That sounds like a good plan of action then." Rupert clapped Spike on the shoulder. "Thank you, Spike."
Spike nodded in affirmation to the gesture. Then, he sat down on the opposite side of the bed from the window while Angel, Rupert and Edna filed out of the room. He made a mental note to phone Lawson in a few minutes. He'd been protecting the other Scoobies just in case Der Kindestod went beyond the hospital.
Spike grasped Buffy's hand in his and squeezed it gently. "Hopefully the worst is over now, pet. Rest in peace for the night. I'll be here waiting for you."