Speaker-to-Customers (speakr2customrs) wrote,

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Life, Resumed Chapter Eight

Here is more of my post-NFA fic ‘Life, Resumed’. A longer chapter this time, 5,365 words. All spellings are in UK English because of the POV. Rating still PG-13. Previous chapters are HERE

When we left our hero Buffy had just burst into Giles' house…

Life, Resumed

Chapter Eight

William rose to his feet when the young lady entered the room, as was proper, and greeted her. “Miss Summers, I presume?”

“Miss Summers? Huh?” The girl’s eyes opened very wide. They were green, or perhaps hazel, and the only aspect of her appearance that William found worthy of note on first sight. Her face was pretty enough, but markedly less so than that of Nina Ash, and she was far too thin of figure to appeal to him. “What is this?” the girl went on. “Spike – you can’t not remember me. You love me. You can’t just forget.”

William bowed his head. There was a note of entreaty in the young lady’s voice that wrung his heart. “I am sorry,” he said. “I have not the faintest recollection of you. I remember nothing of Spike’s existence whatsoever.”

The girl put her fist to her mouth and seemed to choke back a sob. “Spike… William… you have to remember.”

“I am dreadfully sorry,” William told her. “It is as if there is nothing left of Spike. It seems terribly unfair, for I gather that he strove heroically and was surely deserving of a reward, yet such did not transpire. I am sorry.”

“I warned you, Buffy,” Giles put in. “I did think that there was a chance that seeing you would bring back his memory, but…”

“Willow,” Miss Summers said.

Giles frowned. “Not without William’s consent,” he stated in tones indicative of stern resolve.

“But he has to remember,” Miss Summers cried. “He has to.” She turned and fled from the room. Olivia followed.

“I’m sorry about that,” Giles said. “I asked her to wait until tomorrow, when you would at least have had a chance to recover from the journey and get your bearings, but she ignored my request. As usual.”

William sat down. “It may have better to get it over with, I suppose,” he said. “She appears to be rather distressed. Alas, I believe that I may have reawakened sad memories in Miss Summers rather than any of Spike’s memories being restored in myself. Perhaps it would have been better had I not come here.”

Olivia came back into the room in time to hear William’s comment. “She would just have gone to Los Angeles,” she said, and sat down.

“She would indeed,” Giles agreed. “I couldn’t have kept the news from her for long. She undoubtedly would have blown up in spectacular fashion when she did find out. I had hoped to kill two birds with one stone, as it were, and use Spike’s apparent reappearance as an excuse to pull out our agent from Rome without arousing the Immortal’s suspicions. The egotistical tosser won’t accept that any girl could ever tire of him and it was getting rather tiresome having to keep Buffy incognito.” He shook his head. “I’m not sure that it’s worked out terribly well. Buffy rather blew her cover in public shortly after we gave her the news. If we could have brought you over a couple of days earlier…”

“Arranging a passport for me took a little time,” William said. “I apologise, but it was unavoidable.” He yawned. “I do beg your pardon. I am feeling suddenly weary. I think that I may have to retire to bed.”

“Quite understandable,” said Giles. “Get some rest. I’m afraid that you’ll probably have to face Buffy again tomorrow morning.”

- - - - -

William perused the pages of the Daily Telegraph over breakfast. “Good heavens,” he exclaimed. “Such appalling behaviour!”

“What? Oh, yes,” Giles said. “There is much less respect for authority than there was in your day, I’m afraid.”

“But to pelt the Prime Minister with flour and purple dye? Outrageous! Truly disgraceful! Is the First Lord of the Treasury no longer a figure to command respect? I cannot conceive of even the lowest ruffian engaging in such behaviour towards the Earl of Beaconsfield or Mr Gladstone.”

“The position itself is as significant as ever, or more,” Giles confirmed. “The Queen’s consent is a mere formality these days and the Prime Minister has almost unlimited powers. Tony Blair, however, is no Disraeli or Gladstone.”

William shook his head. “Such disrespect,” he muttered, and he moved on to the next article. A wry smile came to his lips. “I see that England is still engaged in trying to pacify the wild Afghans,” he said. “Some things, it appears, have not changed.”

- - - - -

The social changes were in many ways harder for William to grasp than the technological or political changes. To discover that Olivia went out to work, quite independently of her fiancé, was something of a shock to him. Why, she even drove herself in her very own motor carriage! Incredible!

In William’s experience it was primarily the women of the labouring classes who worked, in domestic service or in menial roles such as washerwomen, and when women of good family took up roles such as schoolmistresses it was as a substitute for marriage. Those without the beauty or the fortune to attract a husband were forced to turn to such activities but it was hardly by choice. Olivia could not be fitted into those categories.

As William delved deeper into the newspaper he discovered that she was far from unique in this age. Women of all classes filled every niche. Even the wife of the Prime Minister was a practicing lawyer, and possibly a witch; although that appellation might merely be being used as a term of abuse towards one who seemed to be remarkably unpopular amongst the populace at large. Women were lawyers, doctors, bankers, even soldiers! The spirit of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was everywhere in this age.

Good Lord! The men who had pelted the Prime Minister with flour had been protesting that the law gave too much control of their children to their divorced wives. William had heard of cases in which the Court of Chancery had given custody of children to their mothers, true, but it had still been very much the exception in his day. The pendulum seemed to have swung very much in the other direction. Perhaps justly so; certainly men capable of such unseemly behaviour could hardly be regarded as suitable role models for children, but it was another example of how much the world had changed.

Flying machines, vampires, goddesses, young maidens stronger than any music-hall strongman, television, skirts higher than the knee, the end of Empire, a tunnel under the English Channel, equality for women, attending Church services on a Sunday now being the exception rather than the rule, a pound being now made up of one hundred pennies rather than two hundred and forty – and that pound was now scarcely sufficient to purchase a cup of tea!

If he could return to his own time and relate his experiences he would be mocked as a madman. Such a return was impossible, of course; he was in the twenty-first century irrevocably, for good or ill, and must make the best of it.

William sighed. Was there a place for him in this world? This excursion to an England that he no longer recognised had not helped. Indeed, it had thus far led him to believe that, if there was a place for him, it was in Los Angeles in the company of Mr Angel and his fellows. He found himself missing their company already. Perhaps he might prevail upon Mr Giles to assist him in making a telephone call to them? Or in sending one of those ‘e-mail’ letters for telegraphic transmission? No, not yet. First he had a promise to keep.

- - - - -

“I shall be working from home today,” Giles informed William. “It’s one of the advantages of the communications systems of this time.”

“I am sorry if my presence here is inconveniencing you,” William said.

Giles shook his head. “You hardly need to apologise. It was I who requested that you come here, after all. I’m afraid that you’ll almost certainly have to face an invasion of women this morning. Buffy will be back, and she’ll bring Willow and Dawn. If it gets too much for you I’ll try to provide some moral support.”

“Thank you.” William swallowed hard. It was time to fulfil the promise that he had made to Angel, to Harmony, and to Illyria; now, before the arrival of Buffy Summers forced a delay. “Mr Giles, there is something that I must discuss with you. It is a delicate matter, and I feel that I am in a difficult position in that I am a guest in your house, but I have little choice.”

Giles raised his eyebrows. “Oh? Go on.”

“It concerns an appeal for assistance that Angel made to you,” William said. “He sought your aid in obtaining the services of the witch Willow. His colleague Miss Winifred Burkle was gravely ill with a demonic infection and Willow was her only hope.” He swallowed again. “You refused his plea, sir, and as a result Miss Burkle died.”

Giles sat down very quickly. It seemed almost as if it were pure luck that there was a chair behind him. “What? I – I didn’t know.”

“She was consumed by fever, perished, and rose again as Illyria,” William elaborated. “Angel and Harmony were quite bereft, for Miss Burkle was dear to them, but their colleague Wesley Wyndam-Pryce was most grievously stricken. I understand that Wesley and Winifred had proclaimed their love for one another only a brief time before the infection took hold. He was plunged into the blackest despair upon her death and Angel believes that this led to his death in its turn. Wesley performed his final mission without heed for his own safety, casting his life away in the process, and Illyria bears a deep grudge against you on that account.”

“But – but that doesn’t make sense,” Giles protested. “If Willow had cured Winifred then Illyria would have been destroyed.”

“I must confess that I do not fully understand Illyria’s logic,” William agreed, “yet she undoubtedly grieves for Wesley and resents you for what she sees as a betrayal. Perhaps it is her belief that Willow would have failed, and is upset only that no such attempt was even made, or perhaps it is because she is unhappy in this world and would as soon have been returned to her eternal sleep. I know not.”

Giles sighed deeply and raised his hand to pinch the bridge of his nose. “I had no idea,” he said. “I didn’t believe Angel. He was working for Wolfram and Hart, after all, and I assumed that he had sold out to Evil. That it was a trick of some sort.”

William said nothing. He simply stared at Giles for a few moments, until the older man sighed again and lowered his head.

“I made a mistake,” Giles admitted. “I have my own reasons for holding a grudge against Angel. I probably allowed them to influence me unduly. It made me too ready to accept the worst possible interpretation. I’m sorry.”

“It is not I to whom you must make your apologies,” William said.

Giles sighed for a third time. “Very well. I’ll ring Angel and apologise. If he doesn’t just hang up on me, that is.” He glanced at his wrist-watch. “As well now as later, I suppose. It will be the middle of the night in California but, after all, he is a vampire.”

- - - - -

Mr Giles was engaged in talking on the telephone for some considerable time. William occupied himself by watching the television machine. The variety of entertainments on offer was incredible. All summoned by pressing buttons on a mysterious device that projected a beam of invisible light, or so Angel had informed him, thereby doing away with the need for wires. It was beyond his comprehension, but then so were many others of the contrivances of the twenty-first century, and so he did not worry about it. He devoted his attention only on the ‘programmes’ upon the screen.

Mr Giles had recommended that he view the educational programmes on the ‘Documentary channels’, in order to gain a better understanding of this world, and he followed that advice. The programme that caught his attention, however, was of little immediate relevance. It depicted those giant extinct reptiles known as dinosaurs. Fascinating. The reconstructions were amazing in their verisimilitude and yet very different from the statues constructed by Mr Hawkins at the Crystal Palace park. It seemed that much had been learned about the creatures over the intervening century and a half. William watched, enthralled, until Mr Giles completed his telephone conversation and returned to the room in which the television set was housed.

Hardly had he done so, however, when a shrill repetitive tone announced that an incoming call was being made to the telephone apparatus. Mr Giles returned to the telephone and engaged in a conversation. Within a few minutes the call was completed and Mr Giles joined William once more.

“That was Buffy,” Giles announced. “She wants me to take you over to her house.”

“I suppose that I should go,” William said, with some reluctance.

“I won’t be staying,” Giles said. “I might as well go into the office, if I’m leaving the house anyway.” He seemed to detect nervousness in William’s expression. “There’s no need to worry. I can promise you that Buffy doesn’t bite.”

- - - - -

William had assumed that he was going to the Slayers’ residence, of which he had been told, and that Shannon would be there. A familiar face would be welcome. His assumption proved to be incorrect. Buffy Summers and her sister had a house of their own, separate from the accommodation for visiting Slayers, and Shannon was not present. There was a familiar face, nonetheless, for Andrew was there; William was unsure of whether this was a good thing or a bad.

Dawn Summers was a young girl blossoming into womanhood. Taller than her sister, and prettier, although there was a family resemblance. Her blue-grey eyes clouded with disappointment when William showed no signs of recognition upon their meeting. Another who missed Spike, it seemed.

Also present was Willow, the witch of whom William had been told by Angel, and William took particular note of her. He paid her even more attention when she favoured him with a most attractive smile. She asked him questions that indicated that she was interested in him as a person in his own right, unlike the Misses Summers who appeared to regard him almost as a usurper, and smiled again as he answered. Why, she was quite enchanting! William smiled back at Willow and answered her questions with enthusiasm.

“Hey, don’t worry about it,” Willow told him, after he had confessed to his bafflement as to the operation of some of this age’s devices. “Like, most of the people around don’t get how things work anyway. As long as you can figure out which buttons to push that puts you on a level with them, so, it’s no big.”

“I suppose that you are right, Miss Willow,” William said.

“It’s just Willow, William,” Willow said. “Don’t bother about the ‘Miss’, ‘kay?”

“Very well, Willow,” William agreed. “I wonder, would you be so good as to instruct me in the art of sending an ‘e-mail’? I would like to communicate with Angel, Harmony, and Illyria.”

“I could do that,” Andrew offered. Everyone ignored him.

“Sure thing,” Willow responded. “We could do that right now, if you like.”

“Hey!” Buffy broke in. Her lips protruded in a pout and a crease appeared between her eyebrows. “Remember what you’re here for, Will.” She bent close to Willow’s ear and whispered something. William heard a few of the words and noted that they included ‘stealing’ and ‘boyfriend’.

“I so was not!” Willow protested. “Hey, gay now, remember?” Her cheeks flushed pink.

“Yeah, so you keep telling us,” Dawn muttered. “Like the Kennedy thing was such a big success, right?”

William deduced that Buffy believed that Willow was seeking to attract him on her own accord. He would not have been altogether averse to the idea, for Willow was perhaps the most attractive young lady that he had encountered thus far in this century bar Nina Ash, but he could see that it would not find favour in Buffy Summers’ eyes. “Another time, then,” he said.

“Uh, yeah,” Willow said. “Um. What I’m here for. Right. Uh, William, Buffy wants me to try to restore your memories with magic. Only, hey, I totally won’t mess with memories unless you are okay with it. Informed consent. ‘Cause, hey, doing it without your permission would totally lead to badness.”

“I am sorry, Miss Summers,” William said, pointedly refraining from calling the girl ‘Buffy’, “but I am in no way willing to give such consent.”

“But you have to want your memories back,” Buffy said. Her lip trembled. “Willow would only be fixing what’s broken.”

“I beg to differ,” William said. “I do not regard Spike’s life as mine. I fear lest I would lose my own identity.”

“He’s right, Buffy,” Willow backed him, and in so doing made herself the target of fierce glares from both Buffy and Dawn Summers.

“If Spike got to be human as a reward then you are keeping it from him,” Buffy accused.

“Indeed you have a point, Miss Summers,” William agreed. “It seems rather unfair that he should receive such a reward yet be unaware of it. Even so, simple self-preservation compels me to resist any attempt to thrust his memories upon me with magic.” He weakened slightly at the sight of Buffy’s trembling lip. “I would not object to attempts to awaken memories within me by more conventional means. Showing me treasured possessions of his, and the like.”

“Kind of hard, seeing as how everything of his went down with Sunnydale,” Dawn remarked.

“Except this,” Buffy said. She put a hand to her neck, where she wore two silver chains, and removed one. The one that she left in place bore a crucifix. The other had been longer, and hung down below the level of her blouse; upon removal it proved to have a ring suspended upon it. She passed it to William. “Spike gave me this as an engagement ring,” she told him.

William looked at it closely and his eyebrows climbed. It bore the emblem of a skull. Hardly suitable as a token of a promise of marriage. “It is entirely unfamiliar to me,” he said. “A rather unconventional device for such a purpose, is it not?”

“Spike was kinda funny that way,” Buffy said. Her lip quivered again.

“It is time for my cunning plan,” Andrew announced.

“I guess so,” Buffy agreed.

“A cunning plan?” William recoiled slightly.

“We’re gonna play you some of Spike’s favourite music,” Dawn interpreted.

“Oh. Very well. I have no objection,” William said. “I have always been fond of music.”

“You haven’t heard it yet,” Dawn muttered.

Andrew produced a small device from a pocket. He used wires to connect it to a larger machine, operated some controls, and music filled the air.

Or rather sounds that bore some loose relationship to music.

Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go I wanna be sedated
Nothin' to do and no where to go-o-oh I wanna be sedated…

There's no point in asking you'll get no reply
Oh just remember I don't decide
I got no reason it's too all much
You'll always find us out to lunch
Oh we're so pretty
Oh so pretty we're vacant…

White riot – I wanna riot
White riot – a riot of my own
White riot – I wanna riot
White riot – a riot of my own…

You spurn my natural emotions
You make me feel like dirt
And I'm hurt
And if I start a commotion
I run the risk of losing you
And that's worse…

William’s forehead became deeply creased as he listened. “Good heavens,” he commented. “I shudder to think what W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan would make of such cacophony.”

Ever fallen in love with someone?
Ever fallen in love?
In love with someone
Ever fallen in love?
In love with someone
You shouldn’t’ve fallen in love with…

“Although,” William conceded, “this particular song does perhaps have some slight merit. I can empathise somewhat with the sentiments expressed in the lyrics.”

“Oh, yeah, I totally get that,” Willow agreed. “The Buzzcocks were, like, classic, and hey, that song was just so right for Spike.” She smiled at William and he smiled back.

“Willow, can I have a word?” Buffy said. The glare was back on her face as she led Willow a little distance across the room. She whispered into the witch’s ear and made a pulling gesture with her hands. William could not make out her words but Willow’s reply was clear.

“But hey, Buffy, a spleen won’t stretch that far!”

Buffy raised her voice. “With Slayer strength, wanna bet?”

Willow gulped. She avoided meeting William’s eyes as she returned, and took up a position slightly further away from him than before.

Buffy turned her attention to William. “Remembering anything?”

“I have no recollection whatsoever of hearing any of this, ah, music before,” William told her. “Nothing has changed.”

“Spike…” Buffy stared directly into William’s eyes. “Please. You must remember. If you’re in there somewhere, come back to me. I love you.” Her lips parted and she waited for a response.

“I am afraid that addressing me as Spike is pointless,” William said.

Buffy’s shoulders slumped. “I’m still hoping,” she said. “Oh, crap. I guess you might as well kill the punk rock, Andrew.”

“There is yet one more option,” the young man said. “I told you of our encounter with Aimee Mann at LAX? Perhaps the music of that fair songstress might trigger some memory.”

“Not really Spike’s style, but yeah, go for it,” Buffy ordered. Andrew hastened to make adjustments to the device from which the music was issuing.

Oh, Mario,
Sit here by the window;
Stay here 'til we reach Idaho,
And when we go, hold my hand on take-off.
Tell me what I already know,
That we can't talk about it.
No, we can't talk about it.

Because nobody knows,
that's how I nearly fell,
trading clothes
and ringing Pavlov's Bell.
History shows
there's not a chance in hell…

William listened with some interest. This, then, was the lady musician who had greeted him as he had passed through the airport building? It was certainly more to his taste than the previous songs had been. It stirred no memories, however. He shook his head. “I remember nothing,” he told Buffy. “I am sorry. Alas, I believe that your attempts are futile. There is, I feel, little point in continuing.”

Buffy lowered her head. “I guess. Okay, Andrew, give up.” Andrew switched off the music device and disconnected the wires.

“I would like to return to Mr Giles’ home,” William informed Buffy. “He gave me a key for that very purpose. I am afraid that this meeting has been rather stressful for me and, I believe, distressing for you also. I think that we have done enough for today.”

The corners of Buffy’s mouth turned down. “Yeah, distressing is one way of putting it. Okay, I guess we’re gonna have to call it quits for now. But this isn’t over. I don’t give up easy.”

“Very well, we shall meet again,” William agreed. “But this has been quite enough for one day.”

“Okay. We’ll give you a ride back to Giles’ place,” Buffy offered.

“I would rather walk, if you don’t mind,” William said. “I have spent many hours sitting down on the, ah, aeroplane and on the train. A walk would be a welcome change.”

“Right. I’ll walk over with you,” Buffy said. “It’s not like you know the way.”

William frowned. He wanted to get away from Buffy. Walking in her company would merely prolong the awkwardness. Ideally he would prefer to be with Willow, and he believed that it would not be regarded as improper to request that she accompany him, but he knew that Buffy would not take kindly to such a suggestion. “There is no need,” he said. “Andrew can act as my guide. If you would be so kind?”

Andrew broke into a beaming smile. “That would be so cool. As Spike served as my mentor, so shall I act towards his human incarnation.”

William forced a smile onto his face even as he groaned inwardly. “Then let us now depart.”

- - - - -

“Buffy is my Yoda,” Andrew remarked, some minutes after they had left Buffy’s house; quite incomprehensibly to William. A term from some Oriental philosophy, perhaps, although he could hardly imagine that Andrew would study such things. No, it must refer to one of the ‘computer games’. “She totally showed me that the forces of Good rule.”

“Ah, yes, quite,” William agreed, speaking purely for form’s sake. He had little real interest in Andrew’s words. An omnibus roared past them, a bright yellow vehicle emblazoned with pictures of toys and the legend ‘Legoland’. A village constructed from toy building blocks, apparently, if William had understood the advertising articles in the local newspapers correctly. It might be an interesting place to visit. Or was it purely for children? At least it might allow him a day of escape from Buffy. William spent a moment reflecting on Legoland and allowed Andrew’s stream of nonsensical chatter to wash over him unheeded.

“Oh, crap,” Andrew exclaimed. The change in his tone registered on William and he turned to look at the young man. Andrew’s eyes were wide and his mouth was twisted in apparent worry or even fear. William followed Andrew’s gaze and saw a small, open, motor carriage pulling up at the kerb nearby. Two young women were inside. “Caprice and Isabella,” Andrew said. “Get out of here, William. Like, run.” He pulled out one of the small portable telephone devices.

“Run?” William echoed. The girls vaulted out of the car, not even bothering to open the doors, and raced towards them. They covered the distance so quickly that William had no time to react. One snatched the telephone from Andrew’s hand and crushed it in her fist.

“Andrea, you have been the naughty boy,” the girl said. She opened her hand and a shower of metal and plastic shards fell onto the grass strip that bordered the paved walkway. “His Benevolence he is most annoyed with you.”

“Hey!” Andrew protested. “You broke my phone.”

“Your ribs they are next,” the other girl threatened. The smile upon her pretty face did not match the menace of her words. She seized Andrew’s collar and lifted him effortlessly into the air.

Slayers. William felt a cold shiver run down his spine. What was it that Andrew had said, back at Angel’s hotel, when he had burst in at the head of six Slayers of his own? ‘Caprice and Isabella work for The Immortal’. ‘He pays each of them quarter of a million Euro a year and we can’t match that’. These two young women were hired thugs who no doubt sought to inflict grievous harm upon Andrew.

William remembered an occasion when Cedric and Eustace had taken him to watch female pugilists in action. He had been awestruck by the skill of the women, shocked by the ferocity that they had displayed, and quite repulsed by the brutality of the spectacle. Now such brutality, multiplied a dozen times over by the inhuman strength of Slayers, would be unleashed upon Andrew. And, no doubt, upon William if he sought to interfere.

William had felt little fear when the Slayers had entered in Los Angeles. Angel’s calm strength and confidence, and Illyria’s contemptuous assumption of superiority, had been enormously reassuring. Now Angel and Illyria were five and a half thousand miles away. Shannon was in this very town, but he knew not where to find her, and neither did he know the location of the Watchers’ Council office. Buffy Summers’ house lay a good ten minutes’ walk behind them. There was no help to hand and William felt his heart pound and his mouth go dry. To obey Andrew’s instruction, and to flee the scene with alacrity, would be the sensible thing to do. It was an awfully tempting option.

And yet how could he abandon the young man to a brutal beating and still call himself a man? William swallowed hard and then spoke up. “Unhand him, young woman, or I shall call for a constable.”

The woman holding Andrew turned her head. She laughed, shook Andrew as if she were a terrier shaking a rat, and spoke in a foreign language; Italian, presumably. The only word that William recognised was ‘Caprice’, and he therefore deduced that the speaker was Isabella.

Caprice responded to the speech by hurling herself upon William with irresistible force and speed. He found himself seized from behind and jerked backwards. He opened his mouth to call out but a hand clamped down to muffle any sound that he might make.

“The Polizia Inglese do not carry the guns,” Caprice hissed into his ear. “We laugh at them.”

William struggled to free himself but achieved nothing. The girl’s other hand bit deep into the muscle of his upper arm, crushing like a vice and causing excruciating pain. In front of him William saw Isabella lower Andrew until his feet touched the ground and then strike him cruelly in the stomach. Andrew’s breath was forced out in an explosive gasp. He swayed in her grasp and it seemed that he would have fallen but for the hand holding him up.

“You can deliver for us the message,” Caprice went on. “His Benevolence is not to be mocked.” She chuckled. “And we have learn from your Booffy Summers. We are not here. We are in Italia, and we have the many witnesses to prove it.”

Andrew groaned. Isabella silenced him with another blow, this time to the face, and blood spurted from Andrew’s nose. William was filled with despair. There was but little chance that any would come to their aid, he thought, for even upon a sunny day such as this it seemed that few people in this part of Bracknell chose to walk along the footpaths. Almost all, William had observed, preferred to travel in their motor vehicles. Even if someone did pass by, or if a carriage should stop and its occupants come to intervene, Caprice and Isabella could easily strike them senseless and resume their assault.

And yet there was some slight hope. Bullies, it was William’s firm belief, were also cowards. If he could but call for aid perhaps the nerve of the Italian girls would fail them and they would flee. He had to try. He set his teeth into the hand that covered his mouth and bit down as hard as he could. He felt something give. She had cut herself slightly when she crushed the telephone device, it seemed, and the wound opened as he bit. Hot liquid spurted into his mouth, salty and… oddly familiar…


“Sorry, luv, I don’t speak Chinese.”


“Don’t want the dance to end so soon, do you, Nikki? The music’s just starting. By the way… love the coat.”


“You’ll find out on Saturday.”

“What happens Saturday?”

“I kill you.”


“I know you'll never love me. I know that I'm a monster. But you treat me like a man, and that's... Get your stuff. I'll be here.”


“Because nobody knows
That's how I nearly fell
Trading clothes
And ringing Pavlov's bell
History shows
Like it was show and tell…”


“Spike, no!”

“I remember…”


Spike hooked his right foot behind Caprice’s leg, bent his left knee, and sagged in her grasp. He thrust himself back, slamming the back of his head into her face, and simultaneously jabbed with his elbow to her body. Her grip was released and Caprice fell backwards. Spike was free. He half turned and brought up his fists. “I’m back,” he cried joyfully. “And I’m a bloody…”

Caprice sprang to her feet. She lifted her hand in front of her face, scrutinising the wound, and her pretty face contorted in an ugly snarl. Other than the minor injury from the bite she appeared to be completely unharmed.

Spike gulped and completed his sentence with somewhat less verve. “…human.”

Continued in CHAPTER NINE

Lyrics from ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ by The Ramones, ‘Pretty Vacant’ by The Sex Pistols, ‘White Riot’ by The Clash, ‘Ever Fallen In Love (with someone you shouldn’t’ve)’ by The Buzzcocks, and ‘Pavlov’s Bell’ by Aimee Mann are used without permission.

Tags: fic, life_resumed
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