(the Kings of Mercia)
Spike entered Buffy’s house
via the backdoor, as usual. He had a four-pack of beer under his arm. He could hear music playing, and Tara
walked into the kitchen with an empty bowl, to fill with more chips.
“I know, just think Glinda
suits you better, is all!”
Tara smiled and he winked at her, and
put the beer down on the breakfast counter. “Hey, what do you think of these, pet? Do you think Buffy’ll like
From out of his pocket Spike took
a small box, flipped it open to reveal a pair of delicately pretty silver filigree earrings. “I’ve kept
the receipt, just in case, you know..”
“Oh, Spike, they’re
lovely! She’ll love them, I’m sure!” Tara’s enthusiasm for the earrings
was infectious, and she grinned at him – and he’d paid for them! – he’d got a receipt!
He quickly flipped the box closed
and slipped it back in his pocket when they heard somebody coming.
“Oh, it’s you.
Anya wondered where you were with the chips,” Xander said.
“Goodness – if she
was THAT desperate for them, why didn’t she come and get them herself?” Tara grabbed a family sized bag and tore
it open, then tipped the contents into the bowl, shoving it towards him.
Spike went and hung his duster
up and then went into the lounge.
“Where’s the birthday
“She won’t be a minute,
she had to go up and change her top. Xander spilt his drink on her,” Willow
“Pillock,” Spike muttered
under his breath. It was only then that he noticed Xander was cracking open one of the beers he’d bought.
“Oi, whelp....get your bleedin’ own will ya? – cheeky sod!”
Xander ignored him and drank deep
as Buffy thundered back down stairs.
“Hey, all changed –
Spike! You’re here!” Buffy said brightly.
“Happy Birthday, Pet…um,
do you want your present now or...?" He put his hand in his pocket.
“Um...I think Willow said something about presents! Willow
– Will... presents?”
“Oh, um..... yes, give it
to me, I’ll put it on the table with the others. Now we're all here, you can open them, and then we have cake!”
Anya turned down the music and
Buffy selected a parcel off the table and began to rip at the candy-striped paper.
“Oh, brilliant –
thanks, Xander, Anya – I can play CDs in the kitchen now too!”
She didn’t take the portable
CD/Tape/radio out of the box, but put it to one side and picked up another parcel.
“Thanks Will, Tara – I LOVE this bath stuff, it smells yummy enough to eat!”
Putting the basket of bath goodies
back on the table, she selected Spike’s gift next, and looked a little awe-struck when she popped open the box.
“I’ve kept the receipt
in case you want to change ‘em, pet – only the woman said something about don’t try them on if you don’t
want them.... hygiene or something,” Spike said.
“Oh no, they’re beautiful!
- I love them – thank you Spike!” Buffy gave him (much to Xander’s disgust) a kiss on the cheek and
a hug. Tara grinned and mouthed ‘told you’ to Spike, and he grinned too.
“Come on, cards next…here
open this one! It’s from England!”
Tara handed Buffy a large cream envelope.
Buffy eagerly ripped it open and
her eyes flashed with delight when she saw a check for $200.
“Ooh, thank you Giles!
There are some boots I’ve had my eye on…. I’ll have to call and thank him – when can I call? –
I never know if its still yesterday there or is it tomorrow already or the middle of the night....?"
“Ring him anytime –
you won’t interrupt him doing anything exciting!” Spike quipped.
Buffy smiled. She was just about
to open the second card, when the doorbell rang. “Who’s that? I’m not expecting anybody else..."
“You won’t find out
until you answer it, pet."
Buffy opened the door to a
“This is for you.”
He handed her a plant pot; containing the weirdest looking plant she’d ever seen.
She closed the front door and carried
in the strange plant. It had long succulent looking dark green leaves like a cactus, and papery purple flowers with three
very large and powdery looking stamens sticking out of the middle. It gave off a funny smell, peppery, odd.
“Who in the hell sent you
THAT?" Anya asked, wrinkling her nose.
“Don’t know, hold on,
there’s a card – pooh – it’s a little…whiffy!” Buffy put the plant on top of the bookcase,
and took the card out of the envelope. She scanned the card, and then frowned.
“To Buffy, Happy Birthday
from Angel – EW! He usually sends me roses…I wish he'd...oh!” Buffy suddenly came over all light-headed,
and she fainted.
“BUFFY!” Spike dashed
forward, and he too suddenly felt light headed. He glanced at the plant, and saw it seemed to be giving off some sort of pungent
Spike landed in a heap on
the floor, and was quickly followed by Xander, Anya, Willow and Tara, when they all had come forward to help their stricken
Outside in the delivery van, the
driver’s eyes glittered like a reptiles, having seen them all go down through the window, one after
The real delivery driver had been
bound and gagged, knocked unconscious and was now lying trussed up amongst the other flowers yet to be delivered in the back
of the van.
The original bouquet of pink roses
meant for Buffy had been thrown aside, but it had had the card ripped off, the very card that had been attached to the weird
looking plant so as not to raise any suspicion.
Inside the van, a cell-phone rang.
“Is it done?”
Smiling, the driver shifted the
van into gear and said, “Yes, oh mighty master, the deed is done,' as he drove away.
The master continued, “Good…good…I’ll
send in the others to carry out the next phase.”
Hanging up he quickly re-dialed.
“Yes, Master?” was
the anxious answer.
“Everything is set.
They’re unconscious. You and the boys go in and grab ‘em up and take them away, just like we planned.”
demon croaked, “We have a bit of a problem. Only me and Julius showed, the other guys must have bailed.”
His claw hand dropped the phone, when the boss began to yell obscenities in his native dialect.
The Master inhaled and took a calming
breath after his rant. "Roy? Roy, damn-it, are you there?”
“Yes! Yes Master!”
Roy managed to squeak out.
“All right, here’s
what we’re going to do….. leave two of them there, you take two and have Julius take two. They’re
only going to be unconscious for another hour or so. Get them as far away from each other as possible. Remove
all their personal effects. That dragon heart plant only works so well...after awhile it lets bits of their memory bleed
through, so no need to help it along. We just need to keep them away till after the ceremony.”
An hour later.
“W-w-who are you?”
asked a wide-eyed dishwater blond.
The red-head swung around to see
who was talking to her. “Me?” she said, pointing to herself. “Um…..well, I’m…um…”
The girl's gaze traveled side to side as she thought hard about how to answer what should be a very simple question.
“Um…can you believe…I’m not sure?”
“Oh, I’d believe you,
because I don’t know who I am either.”
The red head's eye’s widened
in comprehension of her words. They didn’t know who they were or where for that matter. “Oh dear….well,
maybe we can find something around here that will give us some clues,” she said as hopefully as she could.
The women began to search the room
that had obviously been decorated for a party. Looking at the untouched cake, the blond suggested, “This cake
says ‘Happy Birthday Buffy.’ Maybe one of us is Buffy?”
“I suppose...but look, there
are six drinking glasses about, so that means there were more people here. Where are they now?”
Holding up a card, the blond said,
“Maybe this fellow can help us. He sent ‘Buffy’ a check for $200. He must know her well.
If we can find out how to get in touch with him, he should be able to answer some questions.”
A nearby marina:
The waves made the boat undulate
softly, lulling him into a serene state of consciousness. Taking a deep breath, his eyes fluttered open slowly, trying
to focus on…on…the strange woman hovering over him!
He screamed like a little girl
who'd just had her dolly’s head ripped off by the neighborhood bully. Sitting up, he backed away quickly, gaining
some much needed personal space, and trying to understand just how he came to be in this position.
Before he could say anything, he
was assaulted with a barrage of questions from the insistent blond.
“Who are you? Wait.
Who am I? What are we doing here? How did we get here? And why are we in our underwear?”
the girl questioned with a furrowed brow.
He couldn’t believe he hadn’t
noticed that yet! He brought his hands up to his face rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Here he was with a beautiful
half naked girl and didn’t know why! His ability to form words and his memory had vanished.
And, above all else, why did his
boxers have the Starship Enterprise on them?!
The girl leaned forward with a
raised brow eyeing him inquisitively when he failed to reply. She found him cute, in a tame and boyish way, with big brown
eyes and nice dark hair. And even though she had no idea how or why they were there together, she was a woman....a woman with
needs. Not to mention the fact that......
“You know, one of us must
have money to have a boat like this!”
A cheap ‘no tell’ motel
in the middle of nowhere:
He rolled over, falling off the
bed, hitting the floor with a resounding thud. His eyes narrowed as he peeked over the mattress and tried to remember
ravishing the lovely little chick still sleeping very soundly next to him.
He sat there thinking…..and
thinking….. ravishings he remembered, surely.
Just then he realized…..
he didn’t remember ANYTHING….and came to one conclusion. Drugs! She must have drugged him. It
was the only logical answer.
Well, he was going to get to the
bottom of this! Giving the ‘hussy’ a few sharp jabs with his index finger, he stood back, arms crossed as
Seeing the stranger, she jumped
up and looked around frantically at her unfamiliar surroundings; a dimly lit room with outdated furnishings and shabby curtains.
Anger flickered in her eyes; she
was going to get to the bottom of this!
They glared at each other before
they each let loose a torrent of questions and accusations, yelling at each other at the same time:
“Who are you?”
“Who are you?”
“Why did you bring me here?”
“Where are we?”
“What did you do to me?”
“Why did you drug me?”
“Why are you so pale?”
“Do you know how loud you
“Why is there porn showing
on the TV?”
“What’s that big stain
on the bedding?”
Abruptly they stopped, and just
looked at each other…blinking, taking in the questions.
The girl was the first to
say something. “So…..you don’t know what we’re doing here?”
“No, don’t have a clue
as to how we got here, Pet. Don’t know anything,” he said, frustrated to realize that this girl didn’t
know any more than he did about what was happening to them.
With tears in her eyes she slumped
to the bed, and with a wavering voice said, “Then what do we do now?”
He sat down beside her and wrapped
an arm around her shoulder. “We’ll figure something out, Luv.” Looking around, he noticed that
they didn’t seem to have any belongings. “Well, I’ll tell you what...I’ll go to the office and
see if I can’t get us something to wear, while you get cleaned up. It looks as if all I have are these,”
Spike gestured to his jeans. “And I don’t see anything for you to wear.”
In all the commotion she'd failed
to notice she was just in a camisole and panties, and at once started to cover up. She was brought to tears again. “We
don’t have anything.”
He took her face in his hands,
feeling the need to comfort her. “We’ll get through this, and you have these,” he tapped her earlobe.
“They’re very lovely. Whoever got them for you must think you’re something really special.”
She went into the bathroom and looked
in the mirror, focusing on the earrings.
She couldn’t explain why,
but she just had to smile.