The Old Smith House
Summary: A little glimpse of Buffy and Angel’s not quite
peaceful suburban future.
Author’s Notes: Set in a future where the world knows
about vampires (but not much beyond that) and isn’t keen on Slayers.
This light hearted story goes out in dedication to
everybody in the team who worked so hard to make sure there was a ficathon
this year, and all those who’ve organised or helped in years before. Thanks
Mrs Beauchamp loved Tuesdays. On Tuesdays she polished
her silver, standing by the sink in her large street facing kitchen and
watched the world and his dog shuffle past her window. It was a very
ordinary suburban street for the south of England, red brick and spacious
enough for families with three or four bedrooms upstairs and small neat
gardens at the front and back. Shiny cars were parked outside automatic
garage doors, wet with melting frost in the crisp November sun.
Until a few years before Mrs Beauchamp had preferred
Saturdays for the long arduous chore. There were more people around.
Families streamed past the window to the park arguing about coats, lunch,
parties later. The birthday parties had been getting more impressive for
years. When she’d first moved here newly married forty years ago, parties
were twenty kids in the living room with some balloons and pass-the-parcel.
Now every Saturday the street was transformed for some child’s special day.
Clowns were popular to start with, now there were superheroes, bouncy
castles and streams of exotic animals to be petted (and sometimes escape)
as her neighbourhood moved up the social ranks.
There was a lot to look at on a Saturday. But still,
Tuesdays topped the bill every time since the old Smith place had finally
been bought. Her friend Frank Smith had died leaving his place just across
the street in a legal loophole until after five years later a SOLD sign had
appeared over night. The speculation was pretty intense amongst the
neighbours. Ella who lived next door to the empty house with her three year
old twins was first at Mrs Beauchamp’s door with some toddler made biscuits
for a cup of tea and some speculation.
Ella’s twins had been woken at two am the night before
by a bleached blonde man over revving his motorbike. When her husband,
Mikos, had stuck his head out the window to see what was going on, the man
had lit a fag and swore at him before letting himself in to the Smith
place. It didn’t take long for that story to make it’s way round the close
and by the time a removals van turned up a week later nobody was feeling
good about the new residents.
Mrs Beauchamp had rushed her silver out when she saw the
van arriving and settled in for a good nosey – only to be surprised when
the man that clambered down from the drivers seat of the plain white van
was a sharply dressed middle aged dark haired man. He wore a suit, closely
fit over a pale shirt and tie. A slightly younger woman jumped down from
the other side, long blonde hair swishing round her shoulders as she
scrutinised the street.
The man called her over, and Mrs Beauchamp cracked open
the window as the woman laughed and joined her partner stretching on tip
toes for a kiss before demanding the keys. Their voices floated over the
air and Mrs Beauchamp could hear the blonde’s American accent as she called
the man “stuffy” teasingly. Feeling much more relaxed about any potential
problems Mrs Beauchamp switched most of her attention to the fiddly details
on a silver serving tray that never got used. A flash of light caught her
eye as another car and trailer drew up. The man driving bounded out of his
car to throw a hug around the blonde and their cat-calls filled the street.
As they straightened up the man intoned “Welcome to the ‘burbs!” In his own
thick accent and turned around to survey the street. One eye was covered in
a black eye patch, and his shaggy brown-black hair fell around his scarred
face. There was a crash as the tray clattered to the floor and Mrs
Beauchamp dropped down below the counter on her sixty-three year old knees
as the group peered over her house. Heart beating she steeled herself and
raised herself up. Ready to wave at curious faces. The trio of Americans
had already lost interest though and were opening up the vehicles and
pulling furniture out.
The man with the eye patch was heaving boxes out the
trunk and passing them to the blonde girl who stacked up the huge cardboard
crates and more or less skipped inside. They could only have been full of
pillows for how many the tiny woman was taking at a time, though on closer
inspection the man seemed oddly sweaty for such light work. The other man
was hidden in the back of the van so that when she came back the blonde
disappeared into the van as well, until they emerged hefting huge items of
furniture between them as though they were made of feathers. It was an odd
mix of stuff. Well made but all very solid. Lots of heavy dark woods. For a
youngish couple there was a distinct lack of IKEA flat packs and an
abundance of art and sculptures.
And a huge cage.
The tray dropped to the floor again. Ducking down Mrs
Beauchamp dived for her handbag, pulled out the mobile inside and was
halfway through dialing her husband at the golf course when she stilled.
Maybe it was a dog crate? Modern art? Very adventurous sex life? Carefully
she slipped the phone back inside the leather bag and stood up. Setting the
bag back on the kitchen table within easy reach she smoothed down her
clothes. She’d ask Ella about it tomorrow. If they did have dogs it would
be obvious by then, surely?
The rest of the day didn’t yield any more excitement.
Although in truth it was the start of something very strange. About a week
later the guy with the eye patch had come by and mowed the lawns. He’d got
a tape measure out and measured all sorts of things and got chatting with
Ella when her boys kicked their ball over the fence. Ella had reported back
that he was a carpenter and there was the lift of a smile that told Mrs
Beauchamp that he had been funny and charming in that self-depreciating way
that her younger friend liked so much. Xander Harris, the man’s name had
been – was only occasionally back after that. Usually a Tuesday to oversee
builders who popped in and out making changes. The house wasn’t being made
any bigger on the outside and Mrs Beauchamp was very surprised to hear that
most of the work was being done giving the house a basement though why this
was necessary hadn’t been explained. It was then that Mrs Beauchamp had
started dedicating her Tuesdays to the silver and keeping an eye on Ella as
she chatted easily with the American over her fence.
The other Americans hadn’t been seen again until a few
months later. It was five o’clock and the first of the cars were returning
to the street after work. Mrs Beauchamp had put the silver away and started
chopping vegetables for dinner. It was still summer then and a group of
neighbourhood children were on the front lawn of one of the houses kicking
a football around and laughing as their school uniforms were streaked with
grass and dirt.
When someone pulled up to the old Smith place Mrs
Beauchamp assumed it was another contractor. The car, a non-descript Volvo
estate, sat in the drive for a long time before the drivers door opened and
a girl stumbled out. Jaw dropped in undisguised interest Mrs Beauchamp
peered through her nets as she tried to make out what was wrong as the girl
limped towards the front door. Blonde hair lay darkly matted against the
girls head and she held her arm tightly against her chest as she leaned
against the door frame and stared at the lock on the door. Her good arm
eventually rose to fit the keys into the hole and Mrs Beauchamp could
clearly see that all the fabric of her sleeve on her good arm was shredded
too, so much that she fancied she could see blood dripping from the point
of her elbow.
Forgetting her cooking Mrs Beauchamp shot out the door
as fast as her slightly arthritic knees would allow. The kids up the road
had stopped yelling and out of the corner of her eye she could see as Jamie
ran into his house yelling for his mother. The other children stood huddled
in a half circle watching doe eyed as the blonde gave up and collapsed on
“Do you need some help?” Mrs Beauchamp yelled as she
reached the edge of the drive. The girl waved at her and she wasn’t sure if
it was a denial or permission to come up. The question was merely
politeness anyway, nobody could be that battered and not need help! “Who
did this?” She found herself demanding as the bruised mess of the girl’s
face came into view.
“’m fine.” She mumbled through her fat purple lip. She
had an American accent, or Mrs Beauchamp would never have noticed it was
the girl from moving in day.
“Well let me help you in at least.” Mrs Beauchamp
insisted. She’d had four sons born and raised on this street. Worked as a
nurse part time as well. She was good at insisting.
The blonde girl nodded eventually and Mrs Beauchamp
leaned down to wrap an arm round her shoulders and help her stand. She
picked up the dropped keys as she went, and noted the large elaborate cross
key chain popular since vampires had been outed a year or so back. Mrs
Beauchamp ignored the pain from her protesting knees and twisted the key in
the lock to let them in.
Inside the work had all been finished, though the
furniture was draped with white dust cloths. Against the white walls it
made it look like a ghost house and all the more obvious that no one had
been living here. Spotting a sofa-shaped tent Mrs Beauchamp guided the girl
over and helped her lie down on it. She didn’t bother taking the sheet off,
the girl was covered in blood and it would save the stains.
“I’m a nurse.” Mrs Beauchamp explained. “I’m going to
call an ambulance. Can you tell me what’s happened?”
“No. Ambulance.” The girl moaned opening her eyes
fearfully. “Don’t like hospital.”
Sitting on the floor next to her Mrs Beauchamp sighed.
“You don’t have to pay in England.” She told the American. “You don’t need
to worry about money.”
The girl shook her head again, and it was so obviously
painful that Mrs Beauchamp laid her hands on her shoulders and tried to
feel for broken bones. “No.” The girl repeated.
“Tell me what happened and then we’ll talk about the
ambulance.” Mrs Beauchamp compromised.
“Fell in a chalk mine.”
Mrs Beauchamp could well believe that. Apart from dirt
on closer inspection the girl was streaked with white and small chips of
chalk. “And before that?”
That explained the face. “Do you know who did it? Do you
want to call the police?”
“No. Was just random.” It wasn’t very convincing, but as
a nurse she’d heard a lot of unconvincing lies in her time. A stranger did
it wasn’t as irritating as ran into a door, but still seldom true.
“Is there anyone I can call?” She spotted a silver ring
on the left hand. “Your husband maybe?”
She waited for the domestic violence flinch. But the
girl just closed her eyes and nodded. “Angel. Number by phone.”
“What’s your name, sweetie?” She tried to raise a smile.
“Just so he doesn’t think I’m some random mad woman?”
Mrs Beauchamp couldn’t help it. “Seriously?” Buffy
glared at her. “I’ll be two minutes. Phone in the kitchen?” Mrs Beauchamp
covered as she darted away.
The kitchen, when she found it, was at the back of the
house. It was very modern with the big double door fridge freezers she’d
always thought of as American. Marble counters spread around the room and a
chunky breakfast counter in the middle of the room had a phone sitting in
the middle of it. Somebody had done some clever wiring to get in there and
Mrs Beauchamp picked up the hands free set and glared at it for a minute as
she tried to work out if it was on and find Angel’s number in a little
stack of post-it’s next to the port.
She found a mobile number eventually and Mrs Beauchamp
pondered just calling an ambulance while she was there, but perhaps this
Angel would be able to convince Buffy.
The phone at the other end rang twice before someone
snapped “Angel” at her.
“Erm, Mr Angel?” Mrs Beauchamp was rethinking the
domestic violence possibility. “I’m here with your wife. I don’t want you
to worry – but she’s been badly hurt.”
“Where are you?”
Mrs Beauchamp gave the address and the man hang up
without a further word. At least somebody was coming. Taking the phone with
her Mrs Beauchamp returned to the front room to find the blonde girl
sitting up. “Oh!” She moaned, “You need to lie down Buffy.”
“I’m fine, honestly.” Buffy replied, it must have been
pure adrenalin but she did seem a little better. She had stuck the bad leg
out into the room, and the better arm was feeling her bad shoulder
experimentally the way Mrs Beauchamp had seen medical staff do a hundred
times. “Mostly bruises I think.” She took a rattling breath. “Maybe a
cracked rib. No need for hospital.”
“What about your shoulder?” Mrs Beauchamp wasn’t fooled.
“I popped it.” Buffy looked her up and down. “Do you
want to do it? Or Angel can when he gets back.”
Mrs Beauchamp perched at the end of the sheet covered
sofa. “Buffy, you are covered in blood and dirt. I have to tell the police
or a doctor about this. I’m not doing nothing. I can’t understand why
you’re being so blasé.”
Buffy sighed. “I get hit a lot. I work in private
“Since you’re not forty, previously muscled and now a
bit fat - excuse my doubts.”
“I’m a ninja.” Buffy replied flippantly and Mrs
Beauchamp gave her a censorious look. “Well not ninja precisely. I don’t
think they take girls. And I’m so over black. But the martial arts expert
of the west? That would be me. I do a lot of contract work. Special cases.
They get violent more than I’d like. But that’s the job. That made it sound
like I’m a regular Don didn’t it? I don’t work for the Mafia, I promise.”
Mrs Beauchamp leaned back in the sheet then remembered
the dust and stopped herself. “I don’t think any of the neighbours bet on
Buffy laughed and the sound shocked Mrs Beauchamp.
“Thanks for getting me in the house… I didn’t catch your name?”
Mrs Beauchamp stayed until Angel arrived and smoothly
took over. Buffy had seemed relieved to see him and given her odd lack of
pain and not so bad injuries Mrs Beauchamp had been happy enough to leave
with a new nickname of Mrs B.
The weeks and months after that were always slightly odd
though never so much to cause more than a few hushed conversations. One
month the whole street had been kept up by some huge dog baying and
growling all night long. Though it was oddly silent during the day and
after three days it had stopped. When Mrs Beauchamp met Buffy on the street
unloading her shopping she said they had been dog-sitting for a friend, but
would never again. They laughed over terrible pets, and the happy but none
the less two wheeled two legged poodle down the road.
The pair of them were in and out a lot, frequently in
the middle of the night. You could never guarantee they would be in at any
one time even on holidays. Sometimes it was just one or the other and all
sorts of people came to stay or to ‘house sit’ including Xander and for one
very loud weekend the bleached blonde man.
Everyone got used to Buffy arriving home smeared in
blood and other more stinky things and she just smiled when people asked
her who she worked for and why she was stuck with so many night shifts. Her
big surly husband Angel had been known to come home looking similar, but
mostly in crisp suits and carrying shopping bags.
It was months since the first time Buffy and Mrs
Beauchamp had met when Buffy was having a day off and Mrs Beauchamp had
popped round with Ella and her now nearly four year old twins for their
semi-weekly chat and biscuits. Buffy didn’t cook, but there were often
cookies or flat breads and other treats left by her husband, and eagerly enjoyed
by whoever was working at home that day.
The twins, Felix and Jake had been turfed out into the
garden and could be seen through the back window chucking around leaves and
riding on their little bikes. The three women were snuggled into the
oversized sofa that circled the fireplace and dominated the room as they
drunk tea and chatted about neighbours. Buffy was asking about a man who
had just moved in at the end of the street. It had been another odd
neighbour arrival, apparently moving in over night and only ever seen past
dark. Though it being winter dark started at half four these days. Since
Buffy, Ella and Mrs Beauchamp were the three neighbours most likely to be
around in the day everyone was surprised when the doorbell rang.
Buffy shot her neighbours a puzzled expression as she
went to answer the door. The front door was hidden from the main room
behind a door so it was “Dawn!” being yelled excitedly that drew Mrs B’s
attention to the visitor, and she resisted the urge to lean back and peer around
the door frame.
“Xander, what are you guys doing here? I though you were
in India for this rotation?”
Ella perked up and abandoning all pretence of not being
interested stood up to sneek a peek round the door. “Can’t I visit my fav-
ow! Second favourite Summers?”
“Of course, Xand, come in.”
“Here’s the part where we need a favour.” Another
American voice cut in, Dawn, Mrs B guessed since it was definitely female.
Buffy sighed loudly. “Tuesdays are my days Xander. Can’t
“I think you’re going to want to take this one, Buff.”
There was a little giggle. “Meet Giles.”
Mrs Beauchamp found herself inching towards the door as
well and standing beside Ella she could see Xander and a brown haired young
lady with more than a passing resemblance to their friend and neighbour
Buffy. Hugging her knee was a small boy. Maybe three years old. He was
dressed oddly, in smart dark trousers and a button up shirt under his
duffel coat, but with an apron folded up around his waist like he had been
in the middle of cooking something.
“What now?” Buffy echoed.
“Buffy.” Xander had noticed them and waved distractedly
before trying to catch Buffy’s eye. “Buffy this is Giles.” He emphasised
the name very loudly as though there was something significant about it.
“Giles!” Buffy yelped. “Why is he…”
“Hi, Ella!” Xander said loudly and Buffy spun round to
see them there.
“Um… oh, sorry. These are my neighbours. Ella and Mrs B.
This is my sister Dawn, and you’re met Xander, and, uh.” Her face blanched.
“Have you spoken to Willow?” Buffy asked her friends
“We’re on it.” Xander reassured her. “This is really a
research situation though.” He shot a look at the interlopers. “Um.
Schools. Need research. And we were going to go do that if you could, gua…
guide Giles for the day that would be great.”
“Guide?” Ella echoed.
“Oh, you know.” Dawn flustered. “Teach him good manners.
Spiritual rightness. The way of the llama. That kind of thing. Shouldn’t be
too long.” She reassured Buffy.
“Right.” Buffy nodded uncertainly. “I think I’m going to
Dawn nodded. “It’s a two person job.”
“Spiritual guidance.” Xander added. “Don’t they say that
the Dalai Lama always has a wingman.”
“We’ve gotta get started on that school research.” Dawn
motioned to the car and dragged Xander off as they yelled goodbye’s at each
other. Giles stood in the doorstep and stared at them with big brown eyes.
Taking pity on Buffy Mrs B stepped forward and hustled
the little boy into the house with the promise of a biscuit.
“So this is your nephew?” Ella asked Buffy.
“Yup.” Buffy replied fishing her phone out of her pocket
as she spoke. “Sure.” She seemed oddly resigned as she motioned to the
kitchen. “I’m just going to ring Angel – could you watch him for a minute?”
“No trouble.” Mrs Beauchamp insisted and she found a box
of second hand toys that Buffy kept under the TV for the twins. “I’m
Amelia.” She told the boy, and he nodded mutely as he stood in the centre
of the room, wide eyes taking everything in. “This is Ella, we’re friends
with your Auntie Buffy.”
No response. “Shall we get that coat off?”
Giles seemed to remember what he was doing and slipped
the coat off his shoulders and abandoned it on the floor as he sat next to
the toy box, in the way of toddlers everywhere.
“What toys do you like?” Ella asked kindly, apparently
having gotten over her surprise at Xander’s son.
“Books.” He said carefully.
“Books are great aren’t they? Do you want to be a writer
when you grow up? Or work in a library? Watch things maybe?”
“No!” He yelled. “I’m going to be a greengrocer.” Giles seemed
to think about it as he trawled through the box for toys and dug out a
plane. “Or a fighter pilot.”
“My husband Mikos flies planes.” Ella told him and Giles
scrambled to her side clutching the RAF plane toy.
“Really?” He breathed all excitement and interest.
“I have two boys as well, they’re playing in the garden.
Do you want to go outside?”
Giles nodded and Ella helped him back into his coat as
Buffy came back into the room. “Thanks.” She murmured to Ella as she led
the boy out to the corridor and back door.
“Are you feeling okay, Buffy? You look like you’ve had a
shock.” Mrs B asked when they were alone.
“Oh, uh, Giles has just changed a lot, since I last saw
“They grow up so fast.”
“Kinda.” Buffy looked around. “Where is he?”
“Didn’t you see? Ella just took him outside to meet the
boys.” Mrs Beauchamp headed over to the window that overlooked the garden.
Crisp brown leaves swirled around in clumpy knots. “Although I can’t see…”
She heard the door click open before she noticed Buffy had gone, and
squinting through the glass Mrs Beauchamp could see Buffy charging outside
and hear her yelling “Giles!” Through the open door.
Something flew past the window at break neck speed. At
first Mrs B thought a great dane had jumped the fence. Buffy spun to face
the animal and slipped into a defensive pose Mrs B recognised from the
self-defence course Buffy had taught to the neighbourhood women that
summer. The beast was huge, with long black flanks and a short stubby tail.
Far bigger than any dog she’d ever seen before, and… was it a bull? Horns
curled from the front of it’s skull, and Buffy was forced to grab it by the
neck and twist the head away as it tried to maul Buffy with a slobbering
teeth filled mouth.
Coming to her senses Mrs B ran trough to the kitchen and
grabbed the telephone before dialing 999. The window here had a better
view, and she leaned over the counter just in time to see Buffy flip the
beast over and pin it to the ground. It had nicked her face at some point
and blood dripped down through her blonde hair and streaked it red.
“State your emergency?”
“I need the police! And animal control! There’s a dog
attacking my friend.”
“Can you tell me where you are please?” The man, was
swift and calm and reminded Mrs Beauchamp how she should be behaving.
Mrs B gave the address quickly and fielded the next few
questions as quickly as possible. “Do you need an ambulance?”
“Not at the moment. Give it five minutes and who knows.”
She growled into the receiver and the man repeated his assertion that the
police would be there as soon as possible, but it might be twenty minutes.
Cracking the window open Mrs Beauchamp yelled out to
Buffy as she tumbled on the floor with the massive creature. Her hands were
stuck keeping it’s claws and face away from her, so she was doubled up
kicking and kneeing anywhere she could get purchase. “Buffy! The police are
“Fuck.” She distinctly heard as Buffy slipped and rolled
away from the black thing as it tried to pounce on her. Turning half back
to Mrs B, Buffy called back “Chest in living room – need weapons now!” and
bounded up her six foot fence until she was balancing on the skinny beam of
wood that topped the wooden barrier and running along it towards a tree in
the corner of the plot. “Now!”
Scrambling back Mrs Beauchamp made her way back to the
front room and found the chest behind the sofa. Shoving blankets off it’s
surface she heaved the heavy engraved lid off and stilled for a moment,
taking in the antique arsenal in front of her. It was a good job the twins
had never been too adventurous or they’d’ve had far more than joked about
Weapons weren’t exactly Mrs Beauchamp’s raison d’etre
but she’d had four sons and read every castle storming book for bedtime
there was. A short sword seemed a good choice, and a heavy club with one
spikey end. There was a crossbow and a few arrows too.
A gun wouldn’t be amiss, but there wasn’t one here. And
wherever it was would legally be locked and separate to the ammo… “Hurry up
woman.” Mrs Beauchamp chided herself and hurried up from her knees as fast
as her sometimes worrisome joints allowed.
The back door was still open when she got there with her
arms ladened with weapons. But it wasn’t Buffy there to great her. Face on
the beast was obviously not a dog. The huge black bulk of it was ribbed
with muscle and scales she hadn’t noticed parted for a quilled spine, whose
sharp edges shone like a razor in the afternoon light. It’s breath stank
like rotting flesh and gangrene and it’s short stubby jaw was matched with
a trio of razor sharp tusks that jutted below - a reflection of the two
horns just above it’s meagre eyes. It was pant wettingly terrifying. And
this from a woman who’d dealt with addicts clawing down into withdrawl on a
A hand touched her shoulder.
“Aaah!” She screamed spinning and punching with all her
might at the weight beside her. Her fist ooffed into Angel’s side and
bounced off so that the shock waves reverberated down her arm. Somehow she
was on the floor again.
“Hello Mrs B.” He smiled a bit too calmly, trying to be
reassuring. “Is Buffy out back?”
She nodded mutely, and noticed the huge broadsword
hanging from his other hand as long as her arm and nearly dragging on the
ground in Angel’s loose grip.
“I didn’t realise you were coming for tea today.”
Somehow Mrs Beauchamp found her voice. “Yes, with Ella
and the boys.” A slobbering growl wafted toward them and Mrs Beauchamp was
transfixed by the beast just in time to see it shoved away from the door by
an impressively still standing Buffy.
“Hi, honey.” She called. “Saved some for you.”
Angel laughed and shouldered the broadsword as he
gathered up the crossbow and arrows and chucked them to his wife. “You
By the time the pair had headed out into the garden and
Mrs Beauchamp had recovered her composure enough to stumble to the back
door and lock it behind them, the world was seeming like a very different
Through the glass in the back door Mrs Beauchamp could
clearly see Buffy and Angel tag-teaming the beast. It ran from one to the
other only to be dealt horrific blows that spewed blood and black guts
across the neatly cut lawn and strewn leaves. When Buffy ran out of arrows
she grabbed a rake leaning by a tree and snapped it in half before planting
the wooden handle squarely through the neck of the beast.
Blood tumbled from it’s open maw as it twisted toward
the back door and Mrs Beauchamp before it’s shuddering and laboured
movements finally stopped. She could hear them calling to each other as the
beastie died arguing about Giles, and as soon as Buffy seemed sure the
creature was pushing up hellish daisies Buffy turned to run off and look
for him. Angel caught her arm and checked the wound on her head before
sending her on her way and heading back to the house streaked from head to
foot in black and blood.
Mrs Beauchamp unlocked the door and opened it to let the
tall man in before he’d got there. There was no doubt that the duo where
her heroes of the day. The only question was, what kind of heroes were
“Are you okay, Mrs B?” He asked as he shucked off his
shoes and jacket at the door and left them hanging over the garden chair by
the back door. He bought his massive sword in with him, and Mrs Beauchamp
was very aware of it’s presence as he steered her into the kitchen and
guided her into the comfy chair in the corner. “Pot’s still warm – do you
want some tea?”
“Yes please.” Mrs Beauchamp murmured and watched as
Angel carefully placed his sword on the table and used kitchen roll and a
special oil he pulled out of a drawer to clean the blade immaculately. When
he was done he poured the tea and handed the mug over to Mrs Beauchamp who
sipped at it gratefully.
Something about swallowing down the warm liquid shocked
sense into Mrs Beauchamp and she sat up in the chair urgently. “Ella! And
the boys! Are they alright? Did it…” She paused tried to take it in. “Eat
Leaning against the counter Angel sipped at his own mug
of tea for a moment before putting it down carefully and sighing as he
caught her eye. “Mrs Beauchamp, that was Ella.”
“What do you mean?” It didn’t make sense.
“Ella wasn’t human, just pretending. She’s a Kran-dak
demon. You don’t usually see them this far from the Himalayas, but it got
ambitious I guess.”
“Ambitious?” She echoed. How could a monster be
ambitious? Although Ella being a demon with that much bad breath would
explain the polo addiction.
“They’re quite intelligent, really. Amongst their
abilities are mimicking human form and a special poison in the barbs on
their spine which can reverse the aging process.”
“Reverse?” She was starting to feel like a parrot, and
Angel just nodded waited for her brain to catch up.
“Have you heard of Felix and Jakob Milas?”
“Of course, they’ve been missing for a year. Twins -
both very famous in their own fields.”
“Exactly. Felix is an Olympic kick-boxing champion, his brother
an expert in Physics from CERN. Went missing the day before Felix and Jakob
- Jake - moved here with Ella and Mikos.”
“They wanted to raise them again, but under their
influence. Human muscle and brains at their disposal.”
Angel smiled. “Exactly.” His tea must have been too
cold, because he moved round the kitchen to throw it down the sink, and
poured some water instead.
“Demons beyond vampires exist.” Mrs Beauchamp mused.
“And I called animal control. Although I’m really hoping it explains some
of the stupider wounds I’ve seen in the ER. How many people really get
attacked by puppies?”
Angel spluttered on his drink.
“So you and Buffy are what? Demon fighters?”
“Oh!” She jumped up brightly. “Is she a Slayer?”
Angel smiled wryly. “No comment.”
Mrs Beauchamp held up her arms in mock resignation.
“Your girl saved our lives today. Anyone that has a problem with Slayers
officially has a problem with me. I was never keen on vampires anyway.
Always stealing blood from the bank.”
Mrs Beauchamp’s guardian Angel – that’s who he was now,
no questions – nodded to the door. “Worlds to save.”
“Oh of course,” she hurried away. “Don’t let me get in
your way – I’ll deal with the police when they get here. Say I made a
mistake. You go find your nephew.” Angel stared at her blankly. “Your
nephew? Giles? Toddler Giles?”
“Giles?” Something clicked. “Oh… Giles.” He hurriedly
picked up the sword, and rushing to the bookshelf in the corner grabbed an
aged Mrs Beeton and shucked off the cover to reveal something much more
runic underneath. Then pick up a basket full of little jars of herbs and
chuck the book in so he could heft the lot with one hand. “If I have to
change a diaper before this is done, that man seriously owes me.” He
muttered as he sped out the back door, and Mrs Beauchamp could have sworn
she saw him swoop over the fence without breaking a sweat through the
Tuesdays like that are hard to live up to – on any day
of the week. But future Tuesdays did their best to try, and Mrs Beauchamp
delighted in her new neighbours and the assortment of beasties that
sauntered and slithered down the street to try and best them. Mostly Mrs
Beauchamp polished her silver, but she did a fine line in repairing broken
and shredded furniture for the pair too.
She liked to think of herself as the last reserve, and
had a stockpile of small bottles of holy water that had come in extremely
handy when a gang of vampires had attacked the house. Picking off the
demons from the back with her daughters in law while her boys poured onto
the streets with cross bows and stakes was going down in the family history
books should anyone ever write them.
Buffy and Angel had come to her door with wine a week
after the Kran-dak/Ella incident and apologised for putting her life at
risk. Mrs Beauchamp couldn’t help but laugh at them. Who needs safety when
you’ve got the world’s best bodyguards and excitement just across the road
at the old Smith House?
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