Again, I thought people would probably rather a new instalment than wait for the absolute end…
Dawn in Rome Part Four
Usual disclaimers. Feedback welcome to the max.
Of course, the scary thing is how nice everyone is about it.
It turns out to be my welcome to the scary adult world of extreme embarrassment.
And being mocked.
Like your grownup friends mock you when you are one of them, not a kid.
Willow rings up almost immediately, because she is on line, and does the whole toaster oven routine, again. She never tires of some jokes, bless her. And then Kennedy goes on the phone and says Hi and tells Willow that she and I are in a relationship now.
Which sounds terribly pompous put like that.
But Willow thinks it’s cute and says she is very happy for us, but what about this Celeste? And I say I don’t know and Willow sounds slightly shocked, but in a happy way.
And hardly has she rung off, but it’s Xander calling in from Lusaka, and he is being male about it.
‘Oh, well,’ he says. ‘I knew the crush on me wasn’t going to last.’
And I blush a bit, because actually that went on for far longer than he knows and gave me many happy hours, though some of them kind of involved Anya now I think about it.
But Giles is all serious and talks to Buffy on the speakerphone and says he doesn’t get why Wolfram and Hart would be playing spiteful pranks; he thought better of Angel than that, even after Giles refused to help him.
I didn’t know about any of this.
And Willow – because now it’s a conference call – says ‘You shouldn’t have done that, Giles. I know the arguments, but it was Fred. And you’d all have liked her. Besides, incredibly brilliant scientist tricked into working for evil lawyers is better than demon hellgod working for evil lawyers with a happy song on her lips, don’t you think?’
Giles gets all harrumphy. The way he does when he is in the wrong.
And Buffy says because she is always the sensible one when it’s to do with other people’s sex lives that we should all go to bed and deal with it in the morning when things are clearer. Which sounds like a good idea to me, especially because it means that I can finally go and snuggle with Kennedy even if we aren’t actually going to do anything tonight.
And we end up in my bed because her bed has weapons all over it waiting to be cleaned, because she travels with a whole load of swords and bows and things that have to be shipped and only arrived today.
She doesn’t trust the airlines to keep them in proper atmospheric conditions, apparently, so everything has to have oil smeared all over it, which means that now they have to have oil smeared off them. I guess this makes sense if you are serious about weapons.
But at least she is not insisting on sitting up all night doing it.
Buffy obviously wants to say something snarky about me and Kennedy going off to bed together, but she clearly hasn’t anything that especially springs to mind.
Because that would mean actually dealing with girls having sex, which she so cannot cope with. For reasons about which, on the whole, I don’t want to think myself.
And Andrew is smirking a lot, because he finds sex so embarrassing.
It’s because it never looks like it does in movies or comic books, I guess.
And sleeping with Kennedy – I mean, actually sleeping, is very comfortable because we sort of fit together quite well, which is a good sign about what we’ll do when she hasn’t got a sour mouth.
I get a really good night’s sleep. Until my cellphone goes off at five in the morning.
I’m half awake and I don’t recognize the voice at first.
‘Umm, Dawn,’ she says.
I say something that may be yes, but sounds more like ‘Unggh’.
‘It’s me,’ she says, unhelpfully.
‘Sorry, ‘ I manage to say more or less articulately. ‘Who is this?’
‘Harmony,’ she says ‘Harmony Kendall. I was at school with your sister.’
‘Yeah, yeah, ‘ I say. ‘I remember. Why would you think I want to talk to you? The whole congratualations on bonking a pop diva thing is getting really old. Especially when it’s some bird- brained vampire who tried to kidnap me.’
‘Well,’ she says. ‘I really liked you, when I sort of kidnapped you. And you’ve never said that you will kill me if you ever see me again. Unlike your sister and Willow and nasty mean Xander. I really need to talk to one of you.’
Then she goes on. ‘ Besides, everyone kidnaps you all the time. It wouldn’t be fair for you to hold a grudge against me, because I haven’t kidnapped you for simply ages.’
‘What is it, then?’, I say.
‘Well,’ she says. ‘you might say please. I’m trying to do the right thing here, and claw my way back to redemption after another little slip into the dark side. So you might say please.’
I really hate doing this, but it might be important.
‘Please, Harmony,’ I say.’ Tell me what this is about. And I am glad you’re trying to be in recovery from evil. You really must meet my friend Andrew sometime.’
Because I have a dark side of my own.
‘Oh him,’ she says.’ Tucker’s brother. He’s quite cute, isn’t he? In a looks like a hobbit sort of way. Do you think he’d go out with me? I dated his older brother once.’
Is there any boy who went to Sunnydale High so brain dead and so socially inept that he never got to date Harmony?
‘So,’ I say, ‘what’s the crisis?’
‘Oh, yes,’ Harmony says. ‘Something enormous is going down in LA. Angel and Spike and Wesley and everyone are probably going to get killed. There’s some enormous plot against them – and they’ve killed a load of people, bad people of course. I was their spy, only I got my head turned for a while, as any girl might because Hamilton was so very very hot. Only not you, I guess, because I saw that tape, by the way. I don’t do that sort of thing, myself, but it looked very tasteful.’
‘And when exactly is all this happening and where?’
‘Well, duhh, now I guess. And somewhere near that old hotel of Angel’s, I think.’
And then I say, ‘Spike?’
‘Oh,’ she says. ‘ He’s back. He was a ghost for a bit, now he isn’t. I thought Buffy knew. She might keep track of people’s boyfriends when she steals them, and take better care of them. Honestly, she’s so inconsiderate.’
By this stage in the call, I am in the hall and banging on Buffy and Andrew’s doors and shouting emergency. And Kennedy has got enough of the conversation to be trying to raise Giles and Willow and Xander on the phone.
And in the middle of all this, I get a call waiting signal, and I put Harmony on hold for a second, and it’s Celeste.
‘What is it?’ I say, because I am feeling a bit testy, because I get the feeling that I’ve been played and maybe she was played too, and maybe she was the player.
‘Turn on the TV,’ she says. ‘I thought you guys were supposed to stop things like this.’
And so I turn on the TV and the world is ending, or something.
‘Fuck,’ I say, because what else do you say when there is a dragon flaming downtown LA on the news.
‘I really can’t talk about this now,’ I say to Celeste. ‘And I really need to be told you weren’t in on any of this.’
‘I wasn’t.’ she says.
‘Well,’ I say.’Friends of mine are probably dead. So I am a bit upset right now. We’ll talk later.’
And I hang up on her, but Harmony has hung up on me, so there wasn’t much point.
Kennedy looks sharply at me.
‘That wasn’t a very romantic way to be talking to your other girlfriend,’ she says. ‘You can be quite mean to people when you set your mind to it.’
Buffy is staring at the television like she could switch it off with her mind and make the flames and screams go away, and Giles is shouting down the speaker phone that a helicopter is coming for her straight away, because he needs her to brief someone called Blair. And then I realize who he means.
I suppose this changes all the rules for all of us.
No pretending that this didn’t happen. No more gangs on PCP.
I grab Andrew by the lapels of his silk dressing gown.
‘You were in LA,’ I say. ‘You knew Spike was alive. You didn’t tell us.’
‘I thought it best.’ he says sounding more British than ever. He really is turning into a Watcher boy. ‘ And so did he.’
‘Men.’ I say.
Buffy is in her room putting on the nearest thing she has to a smart suit.
And someone on television is talking about the National Guard taking heavy casualties and I look at the screen and there’s a fucking demon army marching through South Central and people are throwing Molotov cocktails at them and firing automatic weapons at them and quite a lot of demons are going down.
And Riley is on television, suddenly. He says to the interviewer that there has been a secret war against subterrestrials going on for some years, and the interviewer is nodding like he knew this already, and government agencies were involved, and also an international NGO called the Watcher and Slayer Council.
And the interviewer says, ‘But isn’t that mostly little girls?’
And Riley says ‘Sir, I’ve fought for my country with the best men it has. And those little girls are the best men I ever fought alongside.’
He is a dear.
And Buffy glances at the screen and blows a kiss at him and is out the front door, down the stairs and out into the square outside.
And there really is a helicopter. Already.
Giles says, ‘Dawn, Andrew, Kennedy. Until we know what’s going on, you’d better sit tight until I get you reinforcements. There’s obviously an enemy plan, and you’re obviously on their radar. So sit tight.’
And then he says, ‘From what Harmony says, and she is far too stupid to lie, even to order,I was wrong about Angel. And the rest of them. God rest their souls.’
And he hangs up without saying goodbye. Being all business.
Only when I look around, Andrew is there, but Kennedy isn’t. When I go to her room, neither are her three best swords.