Woo Hoo! It’s only been a handful of days, and liliaeth and I have a small interlude of Beloved to share with you. We’re still about a week or so shy of six months into William’s captivity. This takes place immediately following the last chapter. Please follow the Warning Alert System.
2014 - November
William is ten and a half years old.
Another day in the life of our William. Life seems to have gotten better for the lad. Some new freedoms. A new companion. What more can the little guy ask for?
Please, as always, read and comment! We decided to line the muse’s manacles with foam and fleece – we’re not heartless after all… and the sweetling has been rather cooperative since
Goddess bless willa_writes - my muse's muse and beta-supreme, and gillo, for her continued encouragement, and just_sue, for pushing me to continue when I'm feeling lazy (and totally untalented).
To read Beloved from the beginning, go Here.
Full-sized banner by liliaeth beneath the cut.
Beloved – Interlude 19-20A – Sugar and Spike
Will shook off the last effects of his dream as he tugged down the hem of his sweatshirt before opening the door. The last thing he needed to start off his day was a crack about his appearance from EJ. She could be ruthless if the mood struck her.
She wasn’t exactly a demon. EJ was a slayer, like his Buffy, and just a little bit older than him. According to Mr. Chalmers, she was ‘called’ by the spell that activated all the slayers while she was still in her mother’s belly. EJ liked to tell the tale that she was so strong before she was born that she nearly killed her mother during her birth.
EJ’s mom had never married, and drugs and alcohol had been issues, too. EJ was rescued by the Council a few years ago and raised in a foster home. The Council could do no wrong in her eyes.
Leaning against the doorframe, EJ tapped her watch, a duplicate of his. “Come on, short-stuff – you know Mr. Chalmers hates it when we’re late.”
Will simply ignored her friendly taunt. He’d grown several inches since he’d been… away, and was nearly as tall as she was,
“Race you there?” he challenged, bending down to tighten his laces.
With a wicked grin, EJ took off, leaving Will in her wake.
As he closed the door, he gave thanks that Mr. Chalmers now trusted him enough to be where he was supposed to be at the proper time. With a grin of his own, Will began to run, catching sight of EJ’s feet as she rounded the first turn on the way to the door leading to the outside track.
Will checked his watch as they raced alongside each other.
“Getting’ slow in your old age, Eej,” he laughed as he grabbed a lock of her short brown hair, playfully. “Never used to be able to catch you with a head start.”
Emma Jane wrinkled her nose in disdain, tilting her chin up slightly as she looked at her companion. “And what makes you think I was running flat out, boy? I felt sorry for you, that’s all. Slowed down so you wouldn’t get lost all by yourself.”
A sharp huff was Will’s only reply, as the two continued to hare down the corridors. They’d become a familiar sight in the past two weeks, and wandering Watchers made sure to stick close to the walls to give the children uninterrupted passage. And to keep from getting knocked down as they rushed by.
With a quick glance to his watch, Will yelled, “Think we’re gonna beat Mr. Chalmers to the field?”
“Turn left up ahead,” EJ yelled back. “I think it’s a shortcut .”
“Gotcha!” Will jumped over a briefcase dropped in the effort to get out of his way, his step never faltering as he followed after the young slayer.
They tore through a labyrinth of corridors in a seldom-used wing, coming to an abrupt halt in a dimly-lit hall lined with rows and rows of portraits. Both were panting mildly, having exerted themselves trying to outdo each other.
“Where are we?” Will asked as he hunched over, trying to oxygenate his system. “Who are all these girls?”
EJ stood frozen in front of the paintings. “I think… I think they’re slayers.”
Will ran his hand over the bottom row of portraits. Each one had a small brass plaque beneath it, most inscribed with only a name and a pair of dates.
“They’re all dead, aren’t they?” he whispered, a chill going through his body.
EJ didn’t reply, too busy looking at the portraits on the opposite wall.
He noticed the march of years as much from the style of clothing as the dates on the plaques, but didn’t recognize anyone until the final portrait… hers. Buffy Anne Summers. Born February 1981 – Died June 2004. There was also a list of her accomplishments: Killed The Master. Thwarted Ascension. Destroyed Glorificus. Closed Sunnydale Hellmouth.
“Buffy,” he murmured, his voice a pained whisper drawing EJ’s attention.
“What’s up, shrimp?”
“Why is she here, Eej? She’s not dead,” Will insisted. “Why does this say she is?”
“Are you sure? I don’t think the Council would get something like that wrong. Slayers are important and taken care of – like me.” She pushed at Will’s shoulder trying to lure his attention away from the portrait. “If she’s not dead, where is she?”
“She’s… stuck,” was the best he could come up with. “I’ve seen her all my life. She used to keep me company at night and tell me stories. Nobody else could see her… just me.”
EJ snorted. “You had an imaginary slayer friend? How sweet… not!”
Will pushed her back, annoyed at her attitude. “I didn’t make her up,” he insisted. “She’s as real as you and me, just not solid. She’s stuck, like I said. In a statue we had in the garden. My da… my family was trying to set her free.”
“You have a family? A dad?” An eyebrow arched as EJ shot him an incredulous look. “Then what the hell are you doing here? Why aren’t you home?”
“Mr. Wyndam-Pryce and Mr. Chalmers took me away from them,” Will choked out, staggered by a fierce wave of homesickness the likes of which he hadn’t felt in months. “They said… they said it was too dangerous for me to stay with my dad.”
He would not cry in front of EJ. He wouldn’t. He was big (bigger) and bad (tough) and he didn’t cry like a baby.
“Mr. Chalmers said that my dad wanted to make me a monster. That he didn’t really care about me at all. I didn’t believe him, but if it’s not true, then why didn’t my dad answer any of the letters I’ve written? I’ve been here so long. He won’t talk to me, either. Him or Mom. I can talk to Uncle Hugh and Lotte… but they never come to the phone.”
EJ looked perplexed. “Okay, I can understand how your folks could be ‘monsters’, like my mother with her habits. But how could he make you one? I mean, how would he do that, anyway?”
“He’s a… vampire,” Will whispered, ducking his head in embarrassment.
“Your dad’s a freaking vampire?!” EJ stared at him, her mouth open in shock. “That’s…oh my god! That’s why you’re nearly as strong and fast as I am. So… you’re half vampire? Do you have fangs?”
Now it was William’s turn to stare.
“I – I’m adopted… and my real mom died when I was born.”
“Did your vampy dad kill her? And take you?”
“No!” Will cried out, harsh and swift. “He found me at a shelter, and took care of me. He married my Mom when I was two years old. He wouldn’t… couldn’t…”
“Pffft. You never know with one of those bloodsuckers, Will. Who knows what he did to you?” EJ shivered and rubbed her arms. “I thought I was the only one the Council saved, but I guess they saved you, too.”
He nodded, uncertainly. Too many people trying to get into his head.
EJ pushed onwards, oblivious to his distress. “I mean, if it wasn’t for Mr. Chalmers and Mr. Wyndam-Pryce, my mom… she was into drugs an’ stuff. Used to bring all these different guys home, too. The last one, he liked little girls. I had to kick him to get away.”
“And your mom kicked the guy out?”
“You’re kidding, right? She got ticked off at me! She said I ran her man off, and kicked me out.”
“But you were only a little kid. How did…?”
“That’s when Mr. Chalmers found me.”
Her earnest expression brought a lump to Will’s throat.
“He brought me here. Put me with these foster-parents who are so different from the bitch!” she spat out with distaste. “They’re really cool – they made sure I was fed and clothed. I never had it so good.”
Will was so caught up in EJ’s little speech that the beeping watch alarm took them both by surprise.
“Oh crap, Eej! Mr. Chalmers is gonna kill us. We’re officially late.”
“Then let’s get a move on, kiddo. He can only kill us once!”
They flew through the corridors at breakneck speed, coming to a complete stop in front of Mr. Chalmers, who was standing in front of the track, looking at his own watch with disapproval etched on his face.