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One Tin Soldier


Part Twenty-Five

Once the spell controlling her had been broken, the Slayer healed at an alarming rate. The doctors in charge of her case, despite the number of times it had been explained to them, were still in shock.

After discussing the problem, Giles and Xi, with Xander's support, decided not to wait until she was fully healed before they told Buffy the truth about Slayers and the Testing Time. Not even Giles, who knew her better than anyone, could predict how she would react, and they wanted time to run for cover if it became necessary.

Once again, Buffy managed to surprise them all. There were no recriminations, no anger, no denial, just relief.

Buffy smiled up from the bed the doctors insisted she stay in for another week, "so, when can we do this thing?"

Xi just raised a brow, "you don't appear to hold any apprehension for your future, Ms. Summers. Most people in your position would be quite upset."

Buffy just shrugged, "hey, at least I have a future now. I don't care if I end up working at the Double Meat Palace for the rest of my life, I can be normal. With normal problems. No more 'Oh God, the world is ending!' to worry about."

Giles smiled, his pleasure at seeing Buffy, the old Buffy, was all too evident.

Xi shook his head, "I don't think that your life will be quite as normal as you would hope, Ms. Summers. You have skills few can claim. There are a great many people who would be most eager to pay you to impart those skills. And then there are the Slayers. They will need to be trained."

Buffy frowned at him, "I thought you said you were going to train the new Slayer."

"True. But you have experience, there is much you can teach that I can not." Xi smiled disarmingly, "I am also an old man. I won't be around forever. Someone must stand ready to take my place when the time comes. I can think of no better person than you, Ms. Summers. Between us, we can train them to live, not to be merely cannon fodder in an unending war."

Giles touched Buffy's arm, "Please, Buffy, just think about it. You don't have to decide right now. You have time."

Buffy nodded, a frown marring her face, "I'll think about it, but that's all I'm promising."

Xi just laughed, "that is more than I had hoped for, Ms. Summers. As for the transfer? We will be attending to that shortly. The next Slayer in line is being retrieved as we speak."

"I thought Sgt. Coffey was going to take over until the new girl arrived," Giles asked quizzically.

Xi shrugged, "a brave offer, but a foolhardy one. My granddaughter is beyond the age where she could make the transition easily. To take on the duties of the Slayer at this late date could cause irreparable damage to her body. It is best to wait until the next in line can be brought here."

"What about the Hellmouth and stuff?" Buffy demanded, still very much in Slayer mode.

"I do believe Major Harris, Captain Bloodwell and their men have that well in hand," Xi replied. Patting Buffy's hand, he added slyly, "I realize that they are not on par with your skills, but there are a great many of them. I'm sure they can hold on for a few days."

Buffy nodded absently, her mind stuck on something Xi had said. "Giles? What's up with Captain Bloodwell, anyway? Is that Spike's real name?"

Giles settled back in his chair with a small smile on his worn face. "Actually, yes. In the 1600's, one of Spike's ancestors, a man by the name of John Blood, was wanted for Piracy. His family chose to distance themselves from him by changing their name to Bloodwell, but the memory of the aristocracy is a long one. Even after two hundred years, many sections of society ostracized the Bloodwell family because of John Blood and what he had done. So when Spike was turned, he left London immediately in an effort to avoid any further backlash on the family name. He is one of the very few vampires that did not return to their homes to slaughter the remaining inhabitants. From all accounts, Spike and his family had been close, but after Drucilla... well... Spike never saw them again. But they never forgot about him, and neither has anyone else in the family."

Buffy, being Buffy, said, "huh?"

Giles grinned, "Mrs. McGlumphy, whom you haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet, is Spike's great-niece, several times great actually. Apparently Spike's family discovered his fate when a Watcher came to the house and started asking questions. Spike's younger sister, Mary, took offense and bloodied his nose for him, as she and her brother had been very close when they were younger. Mary, who was known to be a BlueStocking, married a commoner named Edward Broad, a rather cunning young man by all accounts. With her contacts and his business sense, they managed to acquire a great deal of money, even by today's standards. They named their first son William Bloodwell-Broad. By the time young William took over the family business, he dropped the Broad and went by Bloodwell, and there has been a William in the Bloodwell family ever since. His younger brother, Edward, kept his father's name and also went into the family business. By all accounts, the Bloodwell and Broad families are quite proud of their ancestor and plan on having a reunion so they can all meet him in person."

Buffy's mouth fell open in shock, then she asked, "what kind of business were they in?"

"They started out manufacturing cannonballs, then expanded into several different areas. The British government still obtains much of their munitions from the BB company."

Buffy started giggling. Giggles that soon turned into outright laughter.

"I fail to see what is so amusing," Giles said, sounding more than a little affronted.

Buffy gasped and coughed, and finally managed to squeeze out, "BB's?"

"Humph. We aren't talking of those tiny metallic spheres you Americans refer to as BB's, Buffy. We're talking about artillary shells, mines and aerial bombs. Do you remember the rocket you used to destroy the Judge? That was a product of BB manufacturing."

Buffy immediately stopped laughing. "Really? Wow. Hey, do you think Spike could talk his family into getting me some more toys? Please?"

Giles rolled his eyes, but was obviously pleased by his Slayer's bantering. It proved she was well on the way to recovery. "And what, pray tell, do you need toys for?"

Buffy grinned maliciously, "I'm thinking I could shove a rocket up those bastards asses, the ones that hurt Willow and Tara, then watch them go 'Boom'."

Giles grin was just as nasty, "what a capitol idea, Ms. Summers. I've sure the good Captain could be persuaded to part with a few of the family's products for such a humanitarian cause."

Up to this point, Xi had contented himself with just watching and listening, trying to get a better feel for the Slayer and her Watcher, but this? "Humanitarian? By what dictionary?"

"The dictionary of 'Payback is a Bitch'," Buffy stated calmly. "It would be a lot faster and a lot less painful than what they did. I think that's humanitarian of me. Don't you, Giles?"

"Oh, definately, Buffy. Without a doubt."

Xi had heard what had happened to the young witches and was sickened by it, but he had learned that further violence solved nothing. But trying to convince others of that would serve no purpose. It was not a lesson that could be taught, only learned though experience. So, discretion being the better part of valor, he decided to change the subject. "When is this 'reunion' taking place?"

Giles immediately caught on to what Xi was trying to do and decided to play along. "I believe Maggie said they hoped to have all the arrangements made within a month. One of Spike's great nephews is an entertainer of some sort and that is the soonest he could arrange time to be here."

Buffy gaped like a fish, "an entertainer? A singer maybe? William Broad?"

Giles concentrated for a moment, thinking about the family tree Maggie had shown him, "I believe so, yes. Why do you ask?"

Buffy was howling at this point, "God! Giles, you have to get me an invite! You have to! I gotta see their faces when Spike meets his nephew for the first time."

"What are you blathering about, Buffy?" Giles asked shortly.

"William Broad, Giles. He's idolized by millions. But he doesn't go by William any more."

Xi caught on immediately and his estimation of the Slayer's intelligence went up several degrees. And having seen Captain Bloodwell, he too wanted an invitation to the reunion. It was sure to be Bloody good time.

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