liliaeth and I offer a little interlude of Beloved for your enjoyment. We’re well into the fourth month of William’s captivity. Please follow the Warning Alert System.
Alonna is almost 9 years old.
And look at us: we’re talking again! We bet you’re wondering what’s been going on in the lives of the folks back home in Los Angeles. Just a quick peek and hopefully we’ll provide some answers. Not too many now – we wouldn’t want to spoil you.
Please, as always, read and comment! The muse has been perusing Lane Bryant catalogues. Really, all that virtual food is giving her a well-rounded… personality. Feedback is always welcomed.
Goddess bless willa_writes - my heart and beta-supreme, and smooches to gillo and just_sue for being an extra pair of eyes.
To read Beloved from the beginning, go Here.
Full-sized banner by liliaeth beneath the cut.
Beloved – Interlude 18-19 – Girl Talk
Every Friday, like clockwork, Buffy found herself in Will’s room. Belly down on his bed, she amused herself and eased her broken heart by talking to his stuffed bear.
“If I could get my hands on Mr. Gordo, you wouldn’t have to be so lonely, Paddy,” Buffy sighed, gently pushing the toy from side to side. “I miss him, too.”
With a little bit of concentration, she managed to draw the beloved animal onto her lap. “Just until the hen party, now,” she warned. “Not like they’d even see me, but I don’t want Nina sitting through me again. That was just weird.”
Sure enough, speak of the devils… the sound of feet marching up the stairs heralded the arrival of William’s female contingent. Buffy counted them off like contestants at a game show, or guests on Oprah: Meet Nina, wife of Angel and Will’s adopted mother. Charlotte, his former nanny. And last but not least, we have little Alonna, Gunn’s daughter and Will’s closest friend.
They entered the room armed with feather dusters and fresh sheets for the bed.
Paddy gently tumbled from Buffy’s hands as she hovered a few feet over the bed.
“Mama would have been here, but CJ’s not feeling too good,” Alonna said as she ran her hand over each toy William had left out on the day he disappeared. She sat down, fiddling with loose puzzle pieces in the corner of his room. This was her ritual – a way of connecting with her missing friend.
“Maybe we should pack the puzzle away, dear,” Nina suggested, brushing her fingers gently against the girl’s cheek.
Alonna shook her head, vehemently. “No, Aunt Nina! You know how Will gets about his puzzles. He worked so hard on this one, and… and…” she stated at the half-completed scene and sighed. Only the Beast had been completed… Beauty was a jumble of empty spaces.
“And it was your present to him for his birthday. It’s okay, then… just dust it off and we’ll leave it right where it is.” Changing focus, Nina headed towards the bed Charlotte had already stripped.
Buffy noted a strained silence between the two women as they silently shook out the pillows and comforter and remade the bed with fresh linens.
“It was so good to hear from Will again last night,” Charlotte offered, a small smile gracing her face. “He seemed happier… um, less miserable than last time.”
A brief flash of anger flared across Nina’s face, but disappeared almost before it registered. Not soon enough, though. Charlotte caught the emotion and her smile faded.
“Nina, I’m sorry…” she began, reaching out to the hurting mother.
A deep breath brought the werewolf’s roiling emotions back under control. “Don’t,” Nina began, brushing the young woman’s hand and concerns away. “I know it’s not your fault – that you’re not keeping Will from us on purpose. It hurts, though, knowing your brother-in-law is. Nathaniel Chalmers is a twisted, sadistic, evil man, holding our son just out of reach with threats of bodily harm and taunting us with happy phone calls we only get second-hand. Angel is beside himself these days. He can’t even come into Will’s room anymore.”
She broke down then, crying uncontrollably. “What do they want from him, Charlotte? What are they doing to my beautiful boy?”
Charlotte gathered the sobbing woman into her arms, all hints of hostility gone for the moment. “We just have to hope for the best, then. Taking small comforts in knowing Will’s still with us and…”
Nina broke out of Charlotte’s embrace; despair written across her face. “I wonder if he thinks we’ve given up on him? If he hates us for not trying harder to rescue him? Oh God,” she gasped, fingers fluttering towards her mouth. “It's been so long... I can’t believe we know where they’re keeping him and not doing anything about bringing him back home.”
Alonna, who’d been silent during all of this, climbed onto Will’s bed, and leaned against her best friend’s mother, giving what comfort she could.
“Don’t you think Will’s daddy is doing the best he can to find a way around the Council’s edict?” Charlotte said, earnestly. “I know he and Hugh’ve been trawling the sewers and the demon bars for weeks, trying to find another way into the country.”
“And my Dad, too,” Alonna piped in. “He’s got stacks and stacks of papers all over his office. He says he’s looking for legal pessidents to get Will back.”
“Precedents, hon,” Charlotte nodded, taking the girl’s hand in her own. “Legal precedents. Maybe he can find a loophole in the Council’s paperwork.”
Nina sighed, drawing Alonna closer into her embrace, but looking at the woman she considered to be her second sister. “We’ve shown the Council’s letter to the cops, and they insist there’s nothing they can do. The paperwork from the Consulate seems to be airtight, and they say Will’s where he belongs. They attributed Mr. Wyndam-Pryce’s threats to those of an angry grandfather and said to let it drop if we don’t want to cause an international incident.”
“Hugh and I have spoken plenty of times about going against his brother and trying to bring Will home, ourselves,” Charlotte murmured. “In fact, Nathaniel’s encouraged our coming back to his home… but I’m sure it’s a trap. I don’t think they’d let us back out of the country if we went… and we don’t want to be responsible for Will getting hurt if we fail in his rescue. Besides,” she said, looking straight at Nina, “Hugh said this kind of stuff goes on all the time with the newest Slayers. Taken from their homes and placed in the Council’s hands, they don’t even know that their parents are still looking for them.”
“Then I suppose we really do have to be grateful that they’re letting Will call here at all,” Nina sighed. “And I am more than relieved to know he’s not being brutalized.”
“But they are!” the little girl insisted. “They suck.”
“You’re right, they do suck,” Charlotte agreed. “But let’s not use that kind of language or your folks won’t let you come over here anymore.”
“Where do you think I heard it from in the first place? My dad says that word… and more,” Alonna giggled. “Mom’s always threatening to wash out his mouth.”
“Guess you can take the man off the street…” Charlotte joined the girl in her giggles, breaking some of the tension in the room.
“All right, ladies, enough is enough.” Nina stood up and shooed everyone else from the bed. “Let’s finish up here and then get supper started. Bethany should be up soon, right?”
Charlotte smiled at the mention of her daughter. “We probably have another half-hour or so. I’m so glad she still takes afternoon naps.”
“Can I stay upstairs, Aunt Nina?”
Nina shook her head. “It’s probably not a good idea, Alonna. Why don’t you come and help us cook?”
“And we’ll need you to look after Bethany when she wakes up,” Charlotte added. “Besides, it’s too sad to stay in here all alone.”
Alonna nodded in agreement, then picked up a puzzle piece with part Beauty’s face and fitted it into one of the open spaces with a gentle pat. She followed the other women out of the room without looking back.
Buffy floated back down to Will’s bed as the door closed.
Nobody heard her quiet sniffles as she curled around Paddy.