Summary: Another haunting stirs up more than
just the newest ghost in Dorset
you?” Buffy asked, uneasiness creeping into her pores and taking over.
She was alone in
a small, dark space and she couldn’t see very well. Where was her claustrophobia coming from? That was pretty easy to figure out. Where the voice was coming from? Not so much. If it weren’t for her slayer senses, she probably wouldn’t have
heard it at all.
her eyes shut and opened them again, trying unsuccessfully to peer through the
enveloping murk. She hoped that her
enhanced sight was in some strange dreamlike-slow-motion-delay-mode. It didn’t help. She was still greeted with nothing but darkness, and that
wonderful feeling she loved so well of being closed in.
She felt panic
rising, starting in the pit of her stomach.
She tried to squash it, by taking deep breaths, but couldn’t. It seized her, grabbing onto her like a boa,
not the pretty, pink, furry type, and wouldn’t let go.
way around and trying to find a way out hadn’t gotten her very far, but she
didn’t care. She needed to escape. She needed to move around in the open, and
if she didn’t do it soon, she would go crazy.
She was met
with resistance--lots and lots of resistance, as she felt her way around the
cold inner space. Old memories kept
resurfacing, much to her chagrin.
Chagrin? Oh swell, now she was
channeling Willow. Still, she couldn't push
those horrible thoughts back down where they belonged, so she did all she could
do; she scratched at the walls that surrounded her, hoping against all hope
that she would be able to dig herself out again if she couldn’t find a door.
“I can’t help
you if I can’t see you. And I can
barely hear you,” she snipped. “Where
are you? Tell me where you are.” Not like she could help herself at the
moment, but focusing on the whispering seemed to ease her own anxiety a little
voice repeated, before slowly drifting away.
flew open as the voice faded like a song on the radio. She was dreaming. Thank God. She had been
there, done that, and she didn’t need to go there again. Ever!
Two things you don’t ever forget: drowning and waking up in a cold
She took a
deep breath. She was safe and sound at
home, in the bed she shared with Angel.
million-dollar question was if it had been a slayer dream or just a
random-fleeting-bad-memory dream. She
didn’t know for sure. Focus,
Buffy! What did she know? The entire being-buried-alive-suffocation
nightmare that she carried through to adulthood was getting really old. Enough
was enough already. Besides, she’d been
there twice, in some form. She didn’t
care what people said, the third time definitely wasn’t the charm.
She shook her
head, trying to clear the thoughts that threatened to overtake her, destroying
her ability to concentrate. The reality
of it? dream wasn’t about her or her fear of
drowning or being buried alive. It was
someone else’s life that she had gotten a sneak peek at. The feelings of suffocation and terror were
what she and her mystery guest shared.
up closer to her back. His subtle
movements pushed the remnants of her fear away. Even in his sleep, he could sense when she was troubled. If she moved just the right way… His arm
slipped around her stomach and he pulled her even closer to him. Yep, that’s what she figured he’d do.
“You okay?” he
asked, his voice thick with sleep.
Buffy was at a
place in her life that made her feel happy and safe. Who wouldn’t want to spend as much time there as possible? “I could be better,” she said. As she turned to face him, taking in his
messed up hair and sleepy smile, the pleading whisperer of her dreams quickly
“Do you think
it was prophetic?” Giles asked as he sipped his tea.
shrugged. “I’m not sure. I didn’t actually see anything.”
much with which to work,” Giles said, toying with his teaspoon.
“You going to
finish that??” she asked, reaching for the scone he hadn’t even touched.
He pushed the
plate toward her. “By all means.”
said. She was starving and she had
Angel to thank for that.
“If that’s all
you have, Buffy, there’s nothing I can do.
Are you quite sure there was nothing else in your dream that could be of
She glanced at
the scone in her hand and then put it back on the plate, suddenly losing her
appetite. She was pretty sure she had told him all she remembered. Leaning back and closing her eyes, she tried
thoughts weren’t of the dream, they were of Angel, and those thoughts were
enough to make her forget everything else.
She was experiencing intense feelings.
Feelings that never ceased to amaze her, and an intimacy that she had
never felt before One she wasn’t sure
actually existed until now. She just
needed to be with Angel… always.
She opened her
eyes. Oh right. Her dream.
“Focusing. I’m focusing.” The feelings of being buried alive: fear,
loneliness, helplessness, and suffocation, always remained fresh in her
memories. She was afraid if she focused
on the whispering too long, she’d go crazy.
She told Giles
everything, faltering briefly when she explained how trapped she felt. How hard it was for her to breathe.
Giles said softly.
no. Drowning used to be number one on
my nightmares to have list, but it was replaced by actually waking up, buried
alive and not being in Heaven anymore, thanks to one’s friends, but not in that
order,” she said, trying to make it sound light.
So much for
the light. “It’s okay. It’s dead and buried… in a matter of
“No. It’s good.”
briefly and then continued. “Is there
anything else that you can add?”
“There was no
frantic, Giles. Trust me. Well, besides my freakage. The frantic-buried-alive feeling and I are
old buds, okay? Been there, it wasn’t
that. I felt…” Her words trailed off,
she wasn’t quite sure what she was trying to say. “It was more of a defeated feeling, maybe? I’m not sure. Someone’s just not happy and they sounded way depressed.”
we’re already too late?”
again, I don’t know. Why can’t slayer
dreams have a little more info in them?
Maybe something that’s actually helpful for a change?”
work that way, Buffy.”
Buffy was in
the process of brushing her hair into a ponytail. She and Angel were getting ready to go out and patrol, like in
the old days. She needed to shake the
antsiness that had been nagging her all day and she figured a dose of what used
to be normal would do her some good.
Who was she kidding? She needed to
be outside. Besides, in her defense,
Project Paranormal hadn’t gotten any calls and that meant they could do what
they wanted to do. She just needed to
get out and think about something besides a haunting voice and being surrounded
by suffocating darkness.
“I was just in
the ground,” she said. “Not much else
besides that.” She wasn’t in the mood
for filling him in on all the details yet because she wasn’t sure what they
meant. “Being in a hole in the ground
doesn’t lead one down many avenues to research. If there was something to actually research,” she quickly
added. She turned away from the mirror
to look at Angel.
said, turning his face away from her.
He didn’t do
it fast enough. Buffy saw the smirk
that resided there, if only briefly.
him lightly on his muscular arm. “Don’t
‘nothing’ me, mister. There was
definite smirkage. What’s so funny?”
her brows together. “That’s what I
said. What’s so…” her voice trailed
off. “I sound like Giles.”
“It was bound
to happen,” he said, pulling her into his strong arms. “He kind of rubs off sometimes.”
“Repeat it and
I’ll stake you.”
her and put his hands up in surrender.
“Not a word. Your secret is safe
returning to the mirror. “It’s probably
not just Giles. Hanging around all
these English types for so long, comes with the territory I guess, being over
here now. I will admit it though, I do
like the accent. It sounds so
sophisticated. ‘High-ho, cheerio’ and
all that.” She tried to copy the
“I don’t think
they actually say that.”
exactly, but you know what I mean.
Besides, I think that was a game.”
Cherry-O. I used to play it with Dawn
when we were way younger.” Back when
life was simpler and not so scary and depressing.
“I assumed you
weren't playing it with her now.”
She picked up
a pillow that was sitting on the chair next to her and threw it at him. She watched the pillow’s reflection in the
mirror and then laughed when she saw it stop mid-air. “That is still so cool.”
She caught the
pillow when it came sailing back toward her and thanks to her boyfriend, she
laughed for the first time that day.
more than willing to make them something to eat before they left, but Buffy and
Angel declined. They had decided to go
into town and eat at the Boar’s Head Inn and then patrol. It was as close to quasi-normal she could
get. Well, except for the entire
‘boar’s head’ thing. She didn’t want to
think about it too much. If she did, she’d keep picturing a big ol’ boar head
on a platter.
How did these
places come up with such strange names anyway?
Meh. Maybe she was better off
“Are you two
going out?” Giles asked.
was on the front door knob. She and
Angel were that close to making a clean getaway.
crossed our minds,” she said, turning to face Giles. She leaned on Angel in the process. He put his hand on her hip.
“We were going
to run into town and have dinner,” Angel said.
definite plans for patrolling after food,” she said.
up?” Angel asked, taking a step toward Giles.
“Whatever it is, I’m sure we can handle it.”
“We are a team
after all,” Buffy said, joining them.
“Let’s talk in
As Giles led
the way, Buffy and Angel exchanged looks.
There was no doubt in either of their minds that the night that they had
planned was no more.
me nervous,” she whispered.
“He does look
a little more tense than usual. I’ll
give you that.”
She took in a
deep breath and expelled it slowly.
“You’d think I would get used to this.”
her closer to him. “There are some
things you shouldn’t have to get used to.”
Giles in the study. He was already
sitting behind his desk, his face appearing even more serious than it had a
minute before. His jaw was tight, and
his hand unconsciously fidgeted with the book that was sitting on the corner of
down in the nearest chair and Angel leaned against the wall, arms crossed over
his broad chest.
“I received a
call today,” Giles began. “It appears there
could be some possible paranormal activity in Dorset. St. Mary’s Church to be exact.”
“What kind of
activity?” Buffy asked.
“There is a
legend of a school boy having haunted the church. It has been around since the 1700s.” He adjusted his glasses. “As a matter of fact, the ghost has not been
seen since then.”
in confusion. “Wait a minute. The ghost hasn’t been seen in almost three
hundred years and now it’s back?”
seem odd,” Angel said.
“That would be
where our expertise could be of help,” Giles said.
“So what is
the story exactly?” Buffy asked, taking the rubber band out of her hair. She shook her head and the blonde mane
cascaded down around her shoulders.
Nervously, she began to play with the stretchy piece of rubber.
at the book on his desk, and took a deep breath before continuing. “The boy was buried with no inquest into the
cause of his death. Approximately seven
weeks after he was interred, he began appearing at St. Mary’s Church where he
was also schooled. There was an
incident, exactly what, I cannot be sure, and they exhumed the body. They found that the boy had been strangled. The killer was never caught.”
“He was buried
once and then buried again?” she asked weakly.
so,” Giles said.
alive, Buffy. I’m sorry about
this. I know the feelings that can
resurface because of the details of this particular job.”
the not alive part.” She leaned back
hard against the chair. “Stupid,
ambiguous slayer dreams.”
“What are you
talking about?” Angel asked, concern
evident by the strained tone his voice had taken on. “Feeling like I’m missing something here.”
“Buffy had a
dream--” Giles began.
“A boy calling
said. “You never said it was a boy.”
“I guess I
didn’t realize… it was the voice of a young boy.”
happened last night? Your dream?” Angel
sighed. “And you think it’s him?”
up at Giles and he nodded his head toward her.
“I think we’re
both thinking it’s him. Who else could
at Angel. “I was going to tell you all
of it over dinner.”
He met her
eyes briefly before looking away. Damn,
he wasn’t too happy with her at the moment.
She had planned to tell him when she knew more.
at the clock on the mantel. “Why don’t
you continue with your dinner plans for this evening and then leave for
that this was Giles’ way of letting her explain everything to Angel and she
loved him for it. “Thanks, Giles.”
welcome.” Giles tilted his head in
acknowledgment. “After dinner, please
head to Beaminster and go directly to the church. Speak with Father Michael.
He’ll fill you in on any additional details. I will reserve you a room at an inn for the night and call you
with those details.”
up. “We’ll figure it out. We have to.”
“I have no
doubts that you will,” Giles said with a small smile.
turned to leave, he added one last comment--one that would haunt her all
through dinner and in the car on the way to the church.
“His name was
Daniel Lucas. Buffy, he was only eight
years old when he died. You need to
find out why he has come back. Why he
is no longer at rest.”
never really been for him, but Buffy liked to do the whole going out on a date
thing. He was glad that it was over and done with. Now, they were in the car and he was driving. Driving made him feel like he was doing
something--something besides brooding.
He couldn’t help it. Brooding
was his thing. It came naturally.
What he really
wanted to do? Break something large and
demon-shaped. After all they’d been through together she hadn’t felt like she
could tell him about her dream and how much it had upset her?
“You okay?” he
asked. He was finally talking to her
with more than one word at a time. It
had taken halfway through dinner for him to calm down. He had forgiven her. Too bad that now he had something new to
worry about. Ever since she’d found out
that it was a child’s ghost they were going to try and banish, she had appeared
He had learned
not to dwell too long on any of the things they encountered, especially when it
came to children. He had done things in
his time, things he’d never repeat to anyone.
Many of those things involved children much younger than Daniel.
“I know fine
and that’s not fine,” he said, signaling and turning onto the A3066. They were almost at the church.
wasn’t fiddling with her seatbelt, she was staring blankly out the window.
She put up her
hand to stop him. “I know.”
it out. He’ll be at peace again.”
What could be
so traumatic that it would bring a ghost back after three hundred years to
re-haunt a church? That was the thought
that worried Angel the most. If that
could happen… he pushed the thought from his mind. The past was past. He had
to move on.
he said as he pulled up in front of the church.
Sweet Be'mi'ster, that bist a-bound
By green an' woody hills all round,
Wi hedges, reachèn up between
A thousan' vields o' zummer green,
Where elems' lofty heads do drow
Their sheädes vor haÿ-meakers below,
An' wild hedge-flow'rs do charm the
O' maïdens in their evenèn strolls.
When I o' Zunday nights wi' Jeäne
Do saunter drough a vield or leäne,
Where elder-blossoms be a-spread
Above the eltrot's milk-white head,
An' flow'rs o' blackberries do blow
Upon the brembles, white as snow,
To be outdone avore my zight
By Jeäns gaÿ frock o' dazzlèn white;
Oh! then there's nothèn that's 'ithout
Thy hills that I do ho about, --
Noo bigger pleäce, noo gaÿer town,
Beyond thy sweet bells' dyèn soun',
As they do ring, or strike the hour,
At evenèn vrom thy wold red tow'r.
No: shelter still my head, an' keep
My bwones when I do vall asleep.
‘The Pride of
Beaminster’ sat on over 5,000 acres of land.
The Tudor style architecture and the Gothic golden-brown tower that
loomed before them were hard to miss.
Pinnacles rose up from every elevation.
Saints, beasts, and angels looked down from every possible vantage
point, drawing the eye ever upwards.
Before the car
had come to a complete stop, Buffy opened the door and jumped out. It was either jump out of the car or jump
out of her skin.
Taking in the
scenery around her, she noticed that the heart of the tower held sculptures
depicting the life of Christ. Two other
figures flanked the top part of the building and in the middle was a
Crucifixion that was flanked by the Virgin and somebody else Buffy wasn’t
familiar with. The entire scene was set
within a fake window that was surrounded by angels. How could anything bad ever happen in a place like this?
amazing,” she said, looking up at Angel.
“We didn’t have churches like this in Sunnydale.”
Angel took her
hand and squeezed it. “I think it’s
pretty safe to say that you didn’t.”
“The detail is
incredible,” she said. “Some things
just never cease to amaze me here.”
“We did agree
that you needed to get out more.”
“Don’t I know
it,” she said, smiling, grateful that he could set her at ease like no one
“Let’s go.” He
took her by the elbow and guided her to the main entrance. The door was answered on the second knock.
older man asked after he opened the door.
“May I help you?”
us,” Angel said.
breathed out a sigh of relief. The tight
shoulders dropped in relaxation.
said, motioning them inside. “I’m
Father Michael, please come in.”
you so sure it’s the same ghost? This
Daniel Lucas?” Buffy asked the priest.
“In 1728,” the
priest began, “some lads saw the ghost, one of them being the young man’s half
brother.” He handed her photocopies of
an old magazine article. “The following
account of the Beaminster Ghost Story first appeared in the Gentleman's
Magazine in 1774.”
the paper and then handed it to Angel.
“So they didn’t investigate his death?
Is that normal? ‘Oh here’s a
dead boy, let’s just bury him and not find out what killed him?’”
entirely sure,” the Father said. “That
part was never documented.”
the paper back to the priest. “What
else can you tell us?”
“That sums up
what I know.”
“Okay, so the
boys who saw the ghost threw a rock at him and he was never seen again?” Angel
“Yes. The report of the ghost prompted his remains
be retrieved to verify if he indeed was still there. That’s when they discovered he had been strangled with a black
“He was found
in a field not far from his house?” The
priest nodded. “His killer was never
caught and now the boy’s ghost is back?” Buffy asked and then glanced at Angel
and frowned. “So if he haunted the
place before it was because he wanted someone to know he had been murdered?”
his shoulders. “That’s what it sounds
“So why did he
come back this time?”
“That would be
want to be here at all. The entire
child ghost thing was freaking her out a little bit. She was used to vampires and demons--killing vampires and demons. A kid’s ghost? That was something entirely different.
“Why did Giles
only book us one night?” she asked as Angel opened their door.
thinks we’re really good at what we do,” he said.
“We are really
good at what we do.” She pushed past
him into the room. “Pretty much
everything we do.”
around the room. Not bad for a room,
but that’s all it was, a room. Nothing
fancy about it. Too bad it was
smack-dab in the middle of a town that had a kid’s ghost haunting it. She shivered.
“How about we
find a better room tomorrow if we have to stay here? A hot tub sounds kind of nice.
Nothing eases weary slayer muscles like a long, hot soak in a tub full
of pulsating jets,” she said.
She arched a
finely manicured brow at him. “Well,
there is that one thing…” And at the
moment, she needed that one thing more than anything else.
“I did some
research after you left and from what I’ve gathered, St. Mary's Church of
England school has a wonderful reputation,” Giles said.
sitting at the desk in their room, holding the phone with her head and shoulder
and trying to take notes. “Slow down,
Giles. I can’t write that fast.”
“Oh yes, I’m
sorry,” he said. “The school is very
prominent in the community. If word of
a ghost got out… well, I suspect you don’t need me to finish that statement.”
“No, I can
pretty much figure that one out on my own.”
the better with this one, I’m afraid.
we do, we need to do it quick. That’s
what you’re saying?”
exactly what I’m saying.”
“Figured as much,
but no pressure, right?”
“Are you all
“So far, so
good,” she said, dropping the notebook onto the desk. “We’ve only been here one night, haven’t found out much. I guess I’ll up our reservation to a week to
be on the safe side.”
“I wasn’t sure
if you’d like the room, that’s why I only booked it for the night. Don’t forget to use the company credit
always.” She tapped the pad with her
pen. “Hey, can I ask you another
She picked the
notebook up and flipped to the first few pages. “I guess Daniel was strangled with a ‘black list’. What is that?”
really. It just means a black piece of
cloth. Typically cotton.”
“So he had a
black cloth around his neck. Could that
mean anything? Besides the fact that’s
what killed him?” She shivered as she
the opposite of white, it is the color of maximum darkness. It has no hue and it absorbs all light
Giles.” She sighed into the phone. “So we have stuff that means something, but
ties into nothing.”
do. It’ll make sense. I have faith in you and Angel. If anyone can figure this out, it is the two
“Now if I only
knew where to start.”
“Good place to
start,” Buffy said, grabbing Angel’s hand as they made their way down the
street that used to be the field where Daniel’s body had been recovered.
and looked around. “I think it’s about
another half mile that way.” He pointed
north. “Probably won’t do us any good,
most likely something has been built over the actual spot.”
“How do you do
“What? Know where to look? Incredible sense of direction,” he said,
smiling that quirky little smile of his that made her heart melt.
said a short time later.
put her hands on her hips and scanned the immediate area. It was the middle of the night and except
for the occasional call of a feisty cricket or the barking of a dog, the street
was deathly quiet.
“I guess his
house was somewhere over there. I’m not
sure where else to look. Was there
anything else in the papers Father Michael gave us?”
didn’t answer her, she looked up at him.
“What is it?”
she asked quietly, their voices sounded booming in their quiet
surroundings. She caught the look of
uncertainty on his face.
“How did I
know you were going to say that?”
He glanced at
her out of the corner of his eye, but said nothing.
“Good or bad?”
she asked, nothing replaced the nervousness she was feeling, not even her
She watched as
he scanned the area, trying to pick up on whatever had joined them. She was unconsciously fiddling with the
stake in the waistband of her jeans.
Being in the middle of a town in the middle of the night didn’t make for
the warm and cozy, no matter what the temperature. She knew her sudden chill was coming from something else that had
nothing to do with the weather.
getting anything, so now’s not the time to be hazy on the details.”
“What do you
mean it’s gone?” she asked. “How can it
“It was there
and now it’s not. Pretty simple,
actually,” he said with a mischievous glint in his eye.
She shook her
head and smiled at him. “Good thing I
love you so much.”
Arching a brow
at her he asked, “And why is that?”
sometimes you can really be a smartass.”
standing in the same spot she and Angel had been in the previous night, but
this time she was alone. The street
they had walked was no more. Trees,
fields, paths and rugged terrain had replaced it. She rubbed the goose bumps off her bare arms. Out of habit she checked to see if the stake
was still in her waistband. It wasn’t,
but she didn’t panic.
The air around
her was charged with energy. The
previously still night was no more. The
wind began to blow, making leaves, dirt, pine needles and small-rooted
vegetation rise into the air, helpless in the gusts that caught them up in
their currents. She wondered briefly if
she would be swept up in its swell.
to watch the forest debris as it began to rise above the trees. It spun in an inverted vortex, picking up
speed with every rotation. Without any
warning, the upward spiral became a downward one, and it all began spinning
back toward the ground. The strange
tornado kept up its twister-like motion, coming to rest directly in front of
her, leaving a ghostly-looking, brown-eyed, young boy in its wake.
caught in her throat as she studied the apparition. “Daniel?”
There was an
ethereal quality about him. If she
looked at him too long, she could see through him. If she turned away from him, she couldn’t see him at all. If she squinted to try and bring him into
focus, he looked blurrier, fuzzier.
didn’t answer her. He didn’t need
to. On some unspoken level Buffy knew
who he was and that she was now standing where his body had been found.
and as if floating on a cloud, and went back the way she and Angel had come the
didn’t have a choice, she followed him.
It took all of
her slayer speed to keep up with the floating boy. “Hey! I’m not all floaty
here. Could you maybe slow down a
little?” Her apprehension had lessened,
but her frustration was growing by the second.
either didn’t hear her or was ignoring her.
Buffy was going with door number two.
she continued to follow him. She didn’t
know how long they had been walking. It
felt like hours, but time tended to be wonky in a dream state. Eventually, the terrain evened out and she
wasn’t having such a hard time keeping up with him. She was a few feet behind him when they came to a road. The past melded into the present. The road they were on led to Dorset.
Just when she
figured she couldn’t lose him at this speed, he stopped outside the
She turned to
him and asked, “Are we going in?”
spirit didn’t answer, but moved forward.
Buffy heaved a sigh and followed.
She figured he’d stop outside the front door, that seemed to make the
most sense, but he went beyond the front of the church altogether.
the back of the building and he kept moving.
They were now beyond the church and heading into the woods that
one to question… Who am I trying to kid?
I always question. Is there a
point to this?” she asked, trying hard to keep the exasperation out of her
then. They were standing before the
doors of an underground cellar.
for a cellar, but Buffy studied the entrance and figured it wouldn’t take much
to break it. Finally, she could find
whatever it was he wanted her to find.
She looked back over her shoulder and her breath caught in her
guide was gone.
“Help him,” the eerie voice from her previous
with a start.
“Angel! Wake up,” she said, pushing on the still
form sleeping next to her. The entire not-breathing
thing could still freak her out once in a while.
After Dawn was
born, Buffy got in the habit of checking on her little sister during her naps
to make sure she was still breathing.
As Buffy got older, and before she was called, she thought it was
morbid. Now, she figured it was some
sort of precursor to her current lifestyle. “Angel!”
awake! I’m awake,” he said, sitting up
and letting the sheet fall away from him.
“What’s wrong? Are you okay?”
help herself. She snuck a quick peek at
what the lack-of-sheet had exposed, she was human after all, and then she was
right back to business.
fine. We need to go.”
hands through his disheveled hair, he asked, “Where?”
thing she loved about him. He didn’t
ask her why or what or if she was nuts, he just wanted to know where they were
“A cellar in
the woods behind the church.”
his head and pushed himself out of the bed.
herself take in the view this time, in its naked glory. Too much of a good thing? No such thing.
familiar,” Buffy said. “See that tree
here and over there? I remember those.
The cellar has got to be here still.”
She closed her
eyes, put herself back into her dream, and began walking. Daniel wouldn’t have shown her all of this
for nothing. Something was here. She wasn’t worried about falling or tripping
over anything. The slayer part inside
her, and Angel behind her, would always keep her safe.
With each step
she took, she visualized the path she and Daniel had taken. When she sensed she was close, she stopped
and opened her eyes.
here someplace,” she said.
Angel said. “The grass has been trampled. Someone or something has passed through
here, and not too long ago.”
He was right;
she could’ve about kicked herself for not seeing it first. She began to follow the indentation in the
grass and stopped when she came to a perfect square of undisturbed grass. Bending down, she began to push the grass,
leaves, and sticks away. She was
surprised when it came off in one fell swoop.
she said, noting that someone had made a mat out of forest debris and had used
it to cover up padlocked cellar doors.
She pulled at
the lock, trying to break the strong grip it had on the door handles. She heard a splintering sound, and then
another. A split second before she knew
everything would come loose; she planted her feet so she wouldn’t go flying
back. Then she gave it one final yank.
her spinach,” Angel said.
spinach, unless it’s in one of those salads with the little oranges,” she said,
tossing aside what remained of the door.
Her heart was
pounding in her chest so hard it would’ve drowned out a marching band if one
had been around. Part of her wanted to
sprint down the steps, not caring what she was running in to, but she knew that
rushing into a situation wasn’t always the best plan, so each step she took
into the shadows was deliberate and careful.
She felt one
step after another with her toes and only descended if she was greeted with
another solid step. As she moved down into the darkness, Angel at her back, her
eyes adjusted to the gloominess and she silently cursed herself for forgetting
to bring a flashlight. It wasn’t long
before she spotted a small boy sitting on the dirty floor, tied to a wooden
pole. There was a black piece of cloth
tied around his neck and his hands were bound above his head.
“Oh God,” she
said, forgetting all about the slow and steady. “Don’t be dead. Don’t be
dead,” she pleaded, as she ran to the still figure.
Angel said from directly behind her.
That she heard
and she made a mental note to never knock vampire senses again.
to the unconscious boy, who was no more than seven or eight. “Hey.
You okay?” she asked, removing the black cloth from around his neck
first. She could’ve cried out when she
saw the mark it left. Then she untied
his hands. His eyes fluttered open and
then closed again. “Come on, pal. Stay with me.”
Angel moved in
once Buffy had undone the knots restraining the boy’s hands. “Buffy, let me.” He lifted the young boy up.
“Let’s get him outside.”
she said, her voice breaking. As she
followed Angel up the stairs, she brushed the unshed tears away from her
carried the boy up the stairs and into the fresh, night air, Buffy took several
deep breaths to steady her nerves.
Knowing she was a little more in control now, she knelt down and faced
the boy, who was looking a little more alert.
thirsty? Do you want some water?” she
asked as Angel handed her a bottle they’d had the foresight to bring. “It’s not too cold, but it’s wet.” She twisted the cap off of the lukewarm
The young boy
looked at her, eyes wide, and then reached out slowly for the bottle of water
she offered him. She hated whoever had
done this to him; the innocence and trust the boy had once possessed were
After he drank
down half the bottle, he tried handing it back to Buffy.
yours. Keep it.” She handed him the cap.
He smiled at
her and held onto the half-empty bottle like it was a sacred toy. It took all of Buffy’s control not to lick
her finger, reach out and try to clean his dirt and tear stained cheeks.
“I’m Buffy and
said, not coming any closer.
They both knew
what an intimidating figure he could be at times and they didn’t want to take
any chances at further terrifying the boy.
“Hi,” the boy
squeaked out. He cleared his throat and
tried again. “Hi.” He smiled when it came out better the second
“Can you tell
us your name?”
glanced from her to Angel and then back again.
“I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.”
smiled. “I know. That’s a good rule to follow. How about, just this one time, you talk to
us and after today you never have to talk to any strangers again?” Her voice cracked a little bit, but she held
on. “Sound like a deal?”
strangers after today?”
“Yes. After today, no more strangers.”
broke her heart. “Can you tell us your
“Sure. I’m Lawrence Daniel Lucas. Can you take me home to my mum?”
Daniel Lucas was reported missing the same day Daniel Lucas’s ghost appeared at
the church,” Giles said.
a lot,” Buffy said, playing with the phone cord. “Wonder why we didn’t figure that one out?”
missing persons never crossed my mind.”
neither,” Buffy said. It would have
been such an easy connection to make and they hadn’t done it. It was sloppy and it wasn’t sitting very
well with her.
“What are your
What were her
thoughts? She was happy that they had
found the boy and had returned him to his overjoyed family, but they still
didn’t know what or who had taken him.
He had no memory of the abduction.
They knew it
had to be related to Daniel’s death almost 300 years earlier, but they didn’t
“I think I
have too many thoughts to focus on only one of them at the moment.”
like me to come there?”
screamed, ‘Yes’, but apparently her mouth didn’t get the message. “No.
We’ll be fine. Angel and I just need
to sit down and work this. Did you find
anything else out for us?”
“As a matter
of fact, I did.”
ever get sick of eating that?” Buffy asked as Angel took another bite of his
black pudding. Vampire or not, that was
the grossest thing she had ever seen.
Okay, maybe not the grossest thing.
there are many menu choices that cater to my tastes,” he said, scooping another
bite into his mouth.
breaking some rule or something? I read
that black pudding is a breakfast dish and you’re eating it for dinner.” She had surfed the Internet looking for food
translations. Hasty pudding was steamed
milk, flour, butter and eggs. Black
pudding was something much worse.
He pointed at
her plate. “And your ham and cheese omelet? Sounds like breakfast to me.”
She rolled her
eyes. “Eggs are good anytime.”
“So is black
pudding.” He smiled at her.
“No way am I
kissing you,” she said. They both knew
she was lying.
plates were cleared and coffees replenished, they began to talk quietly about
what Giles had told Buffy.
some checking. Lawrence wasn’t the only
kid that disappeared around this time of year,” Buffy said, waiting to see if
the realization would hit Angel before she had to explain further. “He was the only one found before it was too
guess. One kid a year, all around the
same age and they all attended St. Mary’s.”
calling Lawrence a miracle.”
“You would think
one kid missing the same time of year would be a big deal.”
surprises me anymore. Giles didn’t get
much out of anyone he tried talking to.”
lucky, that’s for sure.” His brow
creased in thought. “Giles took care of
the explanation on how we found him?”
“Uh-huh. We are out-of-towners curious about the
Daniel Lucas legend. When we were
exploring, we heard whimpering…”
didn’t question it too much. The kid
Giles was hoping for. Thankfully it
demon?” Angel asked.
demon or a demon worshipper of some kind, it’s been going on too many years
now. A sacrifice?”
“That’s what I
was thinking, but I’m trying to figure out what it accomplishes,” he said.
figure that out, case solved.”
“I think we
need to talk to Father Michael again,” he suggested.
until sunset before setting off for the church. A good meal and a little quality time together had re-energized
happened?” Buffy asked as they pulled up in front of the church. A section of ground at the east end of the
building had been cordoned off; a tape-barrier had been erected to keep
everyone away from the pile of stone-type debris that was now scattered around.
“Did a chunk
fall off or something?” Buffy asked,
her eyes traveling up the side of the building.
“It looks like
it,” Angel said, standing beside her.
“One of those pinnacles.” He
pointed to the uppermost part of the church.
Sure enough, the parapet was missing one.
nearly killed me.” The priest had
appeared out of nowhere. “It sounded
like someone had launched a missile.”
though?” Buffy asked.
quite well, thank you. It didn’t
succeed, as you can see,” he said, his voice shaking.
that statement a little odd, but didn’t question it.
“I heard you
saved the Lucas boy. I hadn’t even
known he went missing.”
“No Amber Alerts on this side of the ocean,
I guess,” Buffy said. Lawrence was a
student at the school and he was found on church grounds, how could the priest
not know he was missing?
what?” Father Michael asked, looking back at her.
not important.” She was starting to get
some nasty vibes about this guy.
ghost been back?” Angel asked.
“Um, no. No, he hasn’t. I guess your services are no longer required. I will make sure I send payment in care of
your company straight away.” The priest
turned and his gaze settled on the destroyed stonework. He then quickly turned back toward Buffy and
Angel. “Now, if you don’t mind, I need
to get this cleaned up. Is there any
other reason why you’re here? Is there
something more can do for you?”
Buffy and Angel
glanced at each other, a silent understanding passed between them.
Buffy said. “And good luck with
that.” She nodded her head in the
direction of the rubble.
nothing to do with it.” He looked at
her like he had never seen her before.
“Buffy. My name’s Buffy.”
Michael suffering from sudden amnesia or what?” Buffy asked, slamming the car
door shut. She wasn’t sure if it was her gut or slayer instinct. At this point she really didn’t care. Besides they were both the same thing
nowadays. “Something’s not right with
him. I should’ve sensed it before.”
you so sure?” Angel asked. “I’m not
saying I don’t agree. I’m just curious
what you’re thinking.”
“Just the way
he was acting. He definitely wasn’t as
happy to see us this time as he was the first time we showed up. And he was way too edgy. And he forgot my
name! How can someone forget anyone
“If part of a
building almost landed on me, I’d be edgy too.”
“It’s not just
right. There’s a lot more he’s not
exactly. But something wasn’t
right. Just can’t put my finger on what
entire building falling thing freaked him out more than we thought.”
“I’m going to
call Giles,” Buffy said. Maybe he can
do some more research for us, have it done by the time we get back to our
“Do you know
where the word pinnacle comes from?” Giles asked. “How about parapet? They’re
derived from Latin. They both symbolize
guarding in one way or another. They,
in theory, guard the church.”
the church by dropping a big chunk of rock on the priest?” Buffy countered.
maybe,” Angel said.
him, Giles? You heard Angel?” Buffy asked.
“It’s not that
“I can hear
Giles, too,” Angel said with a smile.
“Vampire hearing is really good for eavesdropping.”
“Now you tell
me! What about all those times I repeated
to you both what the other said?”
you enjoyed playing middleman… er, woman,” Giles confessed.
“Oh, so now
you two are ganging up on me? Exactly
when did this happen?”
his shoulders. “Not sure. It kind of evolved on its own.”
“And it’s not
as though we catch every word,” Giles said.
conversations are worth repeating
just to hear your voice,” Angel added with a wink.
Buffy might be
feigning annoyance on the outside, but on the inside she was beaming. Giles and Angel had sided up against her in
fun. Things were definitely looking
“To get back
on task,” Giles said, interrupting the celebratory party of one she was having
in her head. “Do we know how or why it
said. “He said it barely missed him and
that was it.”
“I could go
back and hurt him a little bit,” Angel said.
“That might get him to talk.”
thought. If he’s evil, I figure it is
“We don’t know he’s evil, we just suspect it.”
another child might disappear in the meantime,” Giles said, “if Lawrence were
truly meant to be a sacrifice…”
think of that,” Buffy confessed. “We
need to do something, and quick.”
you, I could hurt him,” Angel repeated.
“You might be
onto something with this entire hurting thing,” Buffy said, falling onto the
bed. “Why do people lie? It would make it a lot easier on us if they
would just fess up. You know? Maybe like, ‘Yes, I’m the bad guy and I’m
turning myself in now because it’s the right thing to do.’”
“I don’t think
that even happens in the movies,” Angel said, lying down next to her. “Not that I’d be an expert on that.”
gotta hope.” She snuggled up next to
him, putting her chin on his shoulder. “Maybe
you should hurt him.”
“I’m all for
it, but what if he’s not evil?”
He placed a
soft kiss on her forehead and then asked, “What do you want to do?”
“I hate to say
it, but I think we need to pay our priest another visit.”
kids reported missing yet?”
“Nope. Giles checked it out. So far we’re safe.”
“For how much
know. That’s what scares me.”
Angel had the
priest by the collar, applying just the right amount of pressure to his throat
so that it would be painful, but not enough to make him pass out or inhibit his
ability to talk.
“Stop! You’re hurting me!” he cried out.
Angel had told
Buffy he had some errands to run and he didn’t offer to tell her what they
were. Now, he was doing what he did
best, and he’d never admit to anyone how much he enjoyed it at times.
“I’ve told you
everything I know!”
said, feeling his face shift into his demon visage. “Here’s the thing.
Vampires have the uncanny sense of being able to tell when someone’s
lying.” He sniffed the priest’s
head. “You smell different. Your heartbeat’s a little faster. It’s tied to the blood. And I would be an expert in the matter. Did you know that the way one’s heart beats
and the way they breathe during terror and lying are entirely different?”
He shoved the
priest back onto the old wooden desk.
Father Michael landed splayed out, knocking papers to the floor. Angel ignored the small crack he heard when
an antique crucifix landed on the floor.
Not like he was going to pick it up.
lying. I…I don’t remember,” Father
Michael finally confessed.
remember? How can you not remember?” Angel
asked, grabbing him off the desk and shoving him into a chair.
seeing the ghost and calling you for help.
I don’t remember anything after that.”
“A boy that
attends this church on the weekends and school during the week disappeared and
is found on church property tied up in a hole in the ground. Part of the building almost falls on you and
you don’t remember?”
the smell of blood that had permeated the air.
Nothing equaled that particular fragrance and he knew nothing ever
remember. It’s the blackouts.”
Angel hated the most was that the man wasn’t lying. The priest’s heartbeat and respiration had returned to normal,
and with that, so did Angel’s face.
first time it’s happened?” Angel asked.
“No.” He wouldn’t meet Angel’s eyes. “It happens once a year, around the time the
children disappeared, every year since I took over the place.”
didn’t think that was odd?”
The priest looked
up at him, the fire of anger in his eyes.
“Did I think it was odd? I am a
man of God, sir. There is no way I
could do… I couldn’t hurt a child or anyone for that matter.”
telling the truth.” A statement, not a
am. Now, please help me so I can help
he was telling the truth?” Buffy asked.
much I’m sure of, but him telling the truth? Yeah, I’m sure,” Angel said. Too bad he wasn’t telling her the
truth. As far as she was concerned,
Father Michael and he had just talked.
“And now we
need to help him do what?
Remember?” She leaned back in
her chair, her head rolled side-to-side.
“We seem to be
asking ourselves that a lot lately,” he said.
He went behind her and began to rub her shoulders. The knots that had formed there melted like
“Or we could
just stay here and do this,” she added weakly.
a lot of this lately.”
complaining?” she asked.
“What do you
She turned her
head and looked up at him. “I think
we’re stalling because we’re not sure what to do. That’s what I think.”
He nodded his
head in agreement. “My guess is some
sort of possession.”
great. Go all Exorcist on me.”
“The priest didn’t
get possessed in the Exorcist, the
kid did. I always liked The Omen better than The Exorcist,” he continued. “The Antichrist reigning--it’s a big bad’s
How had they
gone from talking about helping a possessed priest and ended up comparing which
1970’s horror movie was better: the pea soup-spitting girl or the boy whose
nanny hung herself at his birthday party?
There was no mistaking the shock on Buffy’s face. Yeah, so he knew a little bit about some
horror movies thanks to his momentary obsession with them back in the
He didn’t have
a chance to tell her about it before a knock sounded on their door.
“I've got it,”
he said, crossing to it.
“This was too
complex to talk about on the phone,” Giles said, barging into the room, his
hands full of various bags and folders of who knew what. “Time is of the utmost importance.”
exclaimed. She stood up so fast she
knocked the chair over. She bent over
and picked it up.
flushed with either excitement or exhaustion.
Angel couldn’t tell which. All
he knew was that he didn’t say anything, but began pushing everything on the
table into a pile to make room for all the stuff he had brought.
you’d be so kind,” he said, motioning for Angel to remove the stack of papers,
cups and odds and ends of items that Buffy and Angel had tossed on to the table
haphazardly during their stay at the inn.
around the room, and with a shrug of his shoulders deposited everything into
the garbage can in the corner.
“It is a case
of possession,” Giles said, sitting down in the chair Buffy had just
vacated. “An annual possession of
people of the church, typically the priest.
I had to go back quite a few years for documentation of the fact, but I
Buffy said, sitting down next to him.
“Back up a minute. What?”
said,” Angel added. “We kind of got to
the possession part, with the father having blackouts--”
Michael is having blackouts? He
admitted to them?” Giles asked. The excitement in his voice not hard to
miss. “He actually admitted to them?”
Angel arched a
brow. “Yes. We had a… chat. He’s been
having them every year around the same time the kids have disappeared.”
exclaimed, and then amended his answer quickly. “Not about the disappearances, about the confirmation of the
Giles pulled a
folder out of one of the stacks piled on the table and then yanked some papers
out of it. “There wasn’t much time to
prepare, so please bear with me. I
found cases going back hundreds of years.
It involves a Gnikcusluos spirit.
This ghost feeds on the latent energy released at a person’s death, a
youth’s energy being the greatest.”
said. “I am so going to kill this
thing. How do I kill this thing?”
Gnikcusluos was actually an evil priest who was turned into a spirit as his
“What did he
do to get banished to I’m-not-really-here-anymore-land?” Buffy asked. She must’ve changed her mind when she saw
Giles’ face go a shade whiter. “Never
mind. I don’t want to know.”
continued. “He was destined to walk
church property to repent for eternity as a spirit. He could see and hear, but he wasn’t able to interact with anyone
or anything. What went wrong with the
spell, I do not know. Somehow he has found a way to possess the incumbent
priest of St. Mary’s. He feeds on the
souls of children. The black list, or
black cloth used to strangle the children, is the opposite of the white collar
of the priest’s uniform. The black list
is symbolic of good gone bad, part of his attempt to corrupt the innocence of
“So we need to
fix the spell to stop his ability to possess anyone,” Angel said.
going to fix it exactly.”
“I’m not sure
about this,” Father Michael said. “I
suspect the church wouldn't agree with using spells and magic within their
enclosed him in a magical circle that consisted of herbs, powders and ancient
artifacts he had gathered before coming to Dorset. “Good heavens, man,the church created this mess in the
The priest had
nothing to say to that.
“This is a
protective circle,” Giles said. “The
spirit will not be able to possess you while you are in it. It will keep you safe while we alter the
child-soul-eating days are over,” Buffy said.
She was starting to feel anxious.
The magic thing was never truly for her, she’d rather hit something and
she had nothing to hit.
“Why does he
need me? Why can’t he just feed on his
through this,” Giles said.
“How do you
know it’ll be tonight?” Angel asked.
“It’s in the
stars,” Giles said.
“Why don’t I
think you’re kidding?”
not. More or less. It is the same date every year. There are a few extra days thrown in to
you came here,” Buffy asked Giles. “No
time to waste.” Giles nodded his
head. “So Mr.
Incorporeal-I-Have-No-Patience possesses the priest beforehand so his meal is
ready and waiting, but we ruined that.
So I’m guessing when he shows, he won’t exactly be in a good mood.”
lighting the candles that Giles had set up around the room. Buffy still hadn’t found a way to expel the
pressure that was slowly building, and it was starting to get to her. She bounced on the balls of her feet and
kept straightening the candles Angel had just lit.
Just as he lit
the last one, a strong wind came up, blowing them all out.
“This can’t be
good,” Buffy said.
A beam of
light came from Giles’ direction. “One
must always come prepared.” Leave it to
him to bring a flashlight.
alone,” Angel said.
early?” Buffy asked.
materialized outside the sacred circle Giles had erected around the
priest. His ghostly face pulled tight,
anger glaring out of his sparkling eyes when he tried to cross the magical
said answering her own question. “It’s
a really, really ticked off Daniel.”
She now had a pretty good idea how part of the church had fallen off and
ghost!” Father Michael cried out.
spirit kept trying to enter the circle, but the magic kept him out time and
time again. He began circling it. Not walking, he was definitely floating this
time. The faster he went around it, the
more wind he created and the louder the roar became. The gusts he created began to blow away the circle that Giles had
“We must stop
him,” Giles shouted. “The Gnikcusluos
will be here at any moment. If he comes
and the circle is broken, he will take possession of Father Michael and it will
be almost impossible to fight him without it killing the priest. If there is no child here when he's
possessed the priest, he will settle for killing the youngest human in this
vicinity to obtain the most power.”
It took a
moment for it to register. “No
way!” Buffy said. “I am not going to become a spirit
snack. I like my soul right where it’s
There was only
one thing left for her to do. “Daniel!”
she shouted. “Stop!” She didn’t think he’d listen. He hadn’t listened to her before, why start
stopped and hovered in the air in front of her.
Okay, not like
it wasn’t the first time she had been wrong.
The room was
deathly quiet and that’s when she finally understood. If this were a cartoon, a light bulb would’ve lit up above her
did not hurt you or try to hurt Lawrence,” she said quietly, moving closer to
spirit hung suspended, his head tipped in her direction.
“He is an
innocent. Just like you and the other
boys. Something used him. It isn’t his fault. He’s trying to help us stop it forever. To make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone
else ever again.”
slowly faded from Daniel’s eyes, an upturned chin told Buffy all she needed to
“You came back
to save Lawrence, to save your family, and you did. We can take it from here.
You can rest now. You don’t need
to worry about this anymore.”
“You trust me,
right?” Buffy saw the slightest nod of
his head. “Lawrence is safe and will
always be safe from this.” She motioned
to the room and to the priest. “Your
work is done. Go back to where you came
from. We have work to do and you can’t
help us. You need to go back,
There was a
more definite nod and then the ghost was gone.
believe it actually worked,” she said looking from Angel to Giles.
“You spoke the
truth,” Giles said as he began fixing the circle. “He knew you wouldn’t lie to him. He trusts you, Buffy.”
it,” Angel confirmed. “And since I know
you won’t join Father Michael in that circle, you need to come and help me get
these candles lit. There’s no way
anything’s sucking anything out of you.”
Buffy arched a
brow at him.
“You know what
Michael’s screaming and the demon’s deafening screeches, Buffy was having a
hard time forming a coherent thought.
Good thing she
didn’t need to think in order to kick some ass.
The spirit was
in its incorporeal form, trying to get at Father Michael. At each unsuccessful attempt to get to the priest,
the Gnikcusluos’s got more enraged and that made it sloppier. It apparently hadn’t realized that Buffy was
available and close, but she knew it would cross its tiny mind eventually.
Still, it gave Angel and her time to circle around behind the annoyed, hairy
beast, and that’s all they needed.
incorporeal just as Giles had said it would be. The original spell was fine and dandy on its own, but it didn’t
make much sense to any of them. Using
what he could, Giles decided to change the spell just a little bit.
making the Gnikcusluos all-spirity for eternity, he was going to make it
corporeal so they could get rid of it once and for all.
chanted in a language Buffy didn’t recognize and probably never would, she and
Angel began to circle around behind the demon as it tried to crash into the
protective field yet again.
Father Michael screamed. His arms
shielded his head. “I can’t stand this
anymore.” His hands slid down over his
answer, she didn’t want to draw any attention to herself and Angel, but if she
could’ve reassured the priest, she would’ve reminded him that there was no way
the demon could get to him as long as he stayed inside the circle. And Giles being as smart as he was, had created
his own protective circle around himself.
Buffy just loved that man.
With a simple
nod from Giles, and a subtle shimmering emanating from the spirit, Buffy and
Angel leapt toward the now corporeal child-killing demon with a vengeance.
The demon sensed
them quicker than she thought it would, turning and going on the defensive, it
came at them in all its hairy, browny goodness.
to the ground as one of its large, spiny arms came flying in her
direction. She came up swinging then,
and hit absolutely nothing. For a being
that spent hundreds of years as nothing but fog, the Gnikcusluos was
quick. It ducked away from the assault
like it was nothing. One minute she was
ready for a fight and then next she was landing flat on her butt.
Angel shouted, “Stay down!”
She rolled out
of the way just as Angel planted his sword in the demon’s leg where its knee
would have been, if it actually had a knee.
It was kind of hard to tell from her angle.
advantage of the demon’s momentary confusion at actually being touched, let
alone skewered, she grabbed her own sword, squeezed the hilt as tight as she
could and then flipped back onto her feet.
Knowing it was now or never, she swung the shiny metal toward the
beast’s head. It penetrated the thick
neck almost too easily. It cut as
smooth as a knife going through butter.
It took a
minute for the demon to realize it was now headless. Buffy figured the dead give away was when she caught the head
staring at the now headless body, which chose that very moment to topple
“Could this be
any grosser?” she asked, stepping over some goo.
“I think not,”
Father Michael said, right before he fainted.
After they helped
Father Michael clean up the demon parts, Buffy and Angel headed back to their
room. They were exhausted and
dirty. Buffy had mumbled something
about ‘another outfit being ruined’ and threw away the clothes she had on. When she thought he wasn’t looking, she
threw away his, too.
“My bag feels
lighter,” he said, arching a brow at her.
probably just stronger or something.”
something.” He smiled.
After a good
night’s sleep and a day lounging around, they were finally packing to go
home. Giles had left at first
light. They were waiting for sunset for
all the obvious reasons.
about not telling you about dreaming about Daniel in the first place,” Buffy
Angel knew she
was having a hard time with the whole thing.
Even after they had discussed it in the pub, he felt there was still
something left unsaid.
“I guess I was
kind of embarrassed about the leftover Master stuff. Not so much with the coming back from the dead because let’s face
it, that’s pretty huge, but with the entire not being able to breathe thing and
the huge claustrophobia issues that run a close second. It all still has a tendency to freak me out
once in a while.”
He tilted her
chin up so their eyes met. “I can relate
more than you’ll probably ever know.”
The memories of time spent on the bottom of the ocean weren’t the only
thoughts to surface. “With everything
you’ve been through, Buffy, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”
“See, I know
that, but still…”
There was a
knock on the door.
“That had so
better not be Giles,” Buffy said, walking to the door and opening.
Lawrence and a
woman he had never seen before were standing in the hallway.
Angel hung back
and let Buffy handle it. She was a lot
better at this kind of stuff than he was.
said, blushing. He handed Buffy a
single yellow rose. “This is for
you.” He leaned toward Buffy and said,
“My mum bought it.”
standing next to the young boy smiled and extended her hand. “We heard you were leaving and I wanted to
thank you in person for what you did. Everything you did. We spoke to Father Michael and well, the
Daniels are very grateful for what you have done and we wanted you to know that
before you left.”
that the entire ‘thank you’ thing made Buffy uncomfortable and the fact that
she was blushing gave it away. Still,
she shook Mrs. Daniel’s hand.
welcome. I’m glad we could be of
help.” She ruffled the boy’s hair. “And thank you for the flower. It’s beautiful and I’ll make sure to give it
fresh water every day.”
He met her
blush and then hid behind his mother.
“We won’t keep
you,” she said as she took her son’s hand.
“Thank you again. May God bless
“You have an
admirer,” Angel said, coming up behind her.
the door and looked at him. “You know
the hardest thing about this job?” He
shook his head. “That. I can fight, kill things, even die and come
back, but a simple thank you freaks me out.”
She pushed his
shoulder lightly. “I didn’t see you
rushing toward the door.”
said, “Freaks me out a little bit too.”
She placed a
gentle kiss on his lips. “I am so ready
to go home now.”
to Jo, DS and Ares who helped me when I got stuck on a major plot point. If it wasn’t for you, this story never
would’ve gotten finished!
The legend of
John Daniel is true - his name was changed to Daniel Lucas for this story. He was murdered and his ghost did
appear. It was found that he was
murdered, but in reality his murderer was never caught.
You can read
more about it here:
detailed description of the church can be found here: