Secrets & Lies


by: Lynn
Continuation of The Chains Series



Willow and Giles worked throughout the afternoon and into the evening. They had decided to concentrate solely on the Watcher's diary first, because of its greater volume. It was slow going in the beginning, but they soon established a comfortable rhythm of translating the text, with Willow quickly catching on to the differences between modern and medieval French, impressing Giles with her ability. As they translated, Willow typed it all onto her laptop, which he had to admit proved a lot faster than the old handwritten way.

The first few pages of the diary dealt with Lucien's early days in training as a Watcher and his life in Rouen, where he was an apothecary and sometime leech. He lived with his unmarried sister, Marie-Thérèse, in the same building which housed his apothecary shop. Some of his early entries expressed frustration at the English occupation of his city, and at the lean times brought on by the neverending war. The entries were sparse, until the day that a small girl arrived on his doorstep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

14 June, 1425

My Slayer arrived this morning- a small, golden child with bright inquisitive eyes. Marie-Thérèse has fallen instantly in love, finally having a little girl on which to lavish her affection. I have tried to explain to her the need for distance, that the Council advocates a relationship similar to that of an apprenticeship, but my words fall on deaf ears.

It is true that Anne is an engaging child, very friendly and not the least bit fearful of her new surroundings. Looking at her, I find it difficult to imagine that this tiny, delicate creature will grow up to battle the forces of darkness. I have long wondered why the Slayers are young girls and not men. Perhaps they serve as the perfect lure, drawing evil with their beauty and innocence. If so, then Anne will be like a beacon with her glowing smile and sweet nature.

She will grow to be a beautiful young woman- a Slayer of men, as well as beasts. It will be difficult to shelter her from their advances, but a Slayer must not be distracted from her duty. I must make certain that Marie-Thérèse does not get any romantic notions where her little one's future is concerned.

We have spread the story that she is our niece, sent to us because her family cannot afford to feed her. It was readily believed, for Marie-Thérèse and I are able to provide for a child, and everyone knows how much my sister has longed for one. It pains me that one with so much love to give has been denied a marriage and family, all because of a few barely visible scars. How can people be so blinded by ignorance? The fire did not extinguish the purity of her soul, which shines from within.

I must admit to feeling apprehensive about my responsibility. I am to train Anne and send her off to fight the most horrible evils, possibly losing her to one of them. It is a heavy burden to bear.

~~~~~~~~~

Lucien faithfully recorded Anne's progress- her skill at learning letters, her physical strength, the way her mind quickly solved problems. Many of his daily entries were short, just a statement or two about what they had worked on that day. Those passages went quickly for Willow and Giles, allowing them to progress through the first year in just a few short hours.

~~~~~~~~~~

24 May, 1426

Anne's intelligence astounds me. She already is quite adept at reading and writing, and her ability to cipher is far beyond her years. Marie-Thérèse glows with pride every time her little one shows off her skills. It is so good to see my sister happy. The two of them have formed a close bond- they are inseperable. The customers are also captivated by my Slayer- they bring her sweets and little trinkets when they come to see me. Even Gérard de Metz- that humorless old goat, smiles at the sight of her. I swear that Anne could charm the Devil himself.

~~~~~~~~~~

16 July, 1426

Mon Dieu! Anne is such a headstrong child, so willful. She questions everything, and uses her wiles on Marie-Thérèse in order to have her way. I fear that I will not be able to control her in the future.

~~~~~~~~~~

Giles smiled at Lucien's words. Anne sounded remarkably like Buffy and he could well sympathize with Lucien's plight. He wondered what it would have been like to have received Buffy into his care as a small child. The Slayer probably would have driven him out of his bloody mind. A surge of affection for his charge flooded him as he conceded that she certainly would have made his life more interesting. Perhaps less dark, as well.

Willow looked at the clock, surprised to see that it was ten already. Goodness, she hadn't even called home or checked on Buffy. She stood up and stretched, not noticing that the Watcher's eyes were drawn to the strip of bare skin exposed when her shirt lifted.

"I hadn't realized how late it was. Do you think we should call Buffy and tell her about the journals?"

"What journals?" The Slayer had entered the library silently, startling them.

"Buffy! Are you done patrolling already?" Willow asked, taking in the Slayer's happy smile and languid movements.

"Yep, I made a quick pass through the cemetery. No newly risen dead to report."

"Your 'day of decadence' must have agreed with you. You look...very relaxed."

Giles blinked, his gaze flicking back and forth between the two girls. "Decadence?" Did he even want to know?

The Slayer blushed and looked away. "I spent most of the day in bed, just lounging around. It felt good to be lazy for once." *Boy, did it feel good.* The blush deepened and she flung herself in a chair, trying to look as casual as possible.

She and Spike had reluctantly parted at eight-thirty so that Buffy could patrol and so that Spike could, quote "make certain that the imbeciles hadn't burned down the bloody mansion" in his absence. She could still feel the imprint of his last hard kiss on her lips and there was a delicious soreness between her legs as a reminder of his lovemaking.

She loved the way he was with her- forceful, demanding- always taking what he wanted. Angel had backed away far too often, making her the pursuer. It was nice to be able to give in to Spike's strength, to let him be in control. It was something she'd found lacking in mortal men; a strength to equal her own.

Glancing up, Buffy saw Giles and Willow staring at her with identical puzzled expressions. She shook herself out of the daydream and tried to remember what they'd been talking about when she had walked in. "Did you say something about journals?"

"Yes, we did." Giles stood up, looking excited as he reached for the volumes. "I received these journals from my grandmother's estate. They appear to have been kept secret from the Council. They're quite old- fifteenth century- a Watcher's diary and a Slayer's journal." He handed them to Buffy, saying as he did so, "Their names were Lucien Aubry and Anne LeMaire."

As her fingers touched the Slayer's journal, Buffy felt an electric shock go through her, followed by a sense of familiarity. The room seemed to fade away as her hand stroked the cover. *My journal, but...it's different. It's not the same book...how can that be?* A sudden lightheadedness came over her and her fingers pressed against her temples.

"Buffy, are you all right?" Giles was at her side, looking at her with concern.

She blinked at him, slowly coming back from the sudden fog that had filled her mind. "Giles? What happened?"

"Y-You just went deathly pale for a moment. It was as if you weren't here...your eyes were completely blank." He glanced up. "Willow, get her some water, please."

The redhead nodded and ran from the room.

Buffy patted his arm. "I'm okay, Giles. I just got dizzy for a second." She smiled to show him that she was feeling better. "Tell me more about the journals."

"They're in French. Willow and I have started the translation of Lucien's diary and we plan to work on Anne's journal later on, when the time periods match up. That way, the events will be revealed chronologically."

"French?" Buffy asked faintly. Her dream came flooding back- the terror, the hopelessness. Spike had said she'd been speaking French. Were the journals connected somehow? Was the dream a prophecy...a portent? She started to shake as the possibility of losing Spike hit her again.

Buffy wanted more than anything to be able to tell Giles about her dream, but how? Telling him meant revealing her relationship with Spike and she couldn't do that, not now. Giles wouldn't understand- 'couldn't' understand her feelings for Spike. He didn't see what she saw when she looked at Spike. All he saw was a demon, a killer; the same thing that had taken Jenny from him. She would have to keep the dream to herself, and pray that the journals would give her some insight as to what they meant.

Willow returned with the water and she and Giles watched anxiously as the Slayer drank, her color still pale. After a few moments, the shaking subsided and Buffy's breathing evened out. She looked at the journal again, tentatively reaching out to touch it. When nothing happened, she opened it and stared at the name written inside.

"Anne...my middle name is Anne." Her finger traced the letters as she wondered about the other Slayer. *What was she like? How long did she live? Was she like me...or like Kendra?*

Giles adjusted his glasses. "It is, isn't it? Of course, Anne was quite a common name back then...still, it is an interesting coincidence."

"Giles, this is the Hellmouth," Willow chided the older man, noticing Buffy's almost trance-like state. "Do you really believe in coincidence anymore?"

"Hmmm, you may be right. It is rather odd, the journals showing up as suddenly as they did." And just as Buffy was going through a difficult time. His gaze drifted back toward his Slayer, who was sitting there staring at the book. "Buffy? Are you sure you're all right? Do you remember anything at all from when you blanked out?"

Buffy shook her head. "Not much. I just...felt like I recognized the journal. But it was different, somehow. I don't know how to explain it, it was just weird. Like I was there, but I wasn't."

"Well, I'm certainly anxious to find out what's in these books. Willow, I hope you won't mind working with me on this. It may involve long hours, probably tedious ones at that."

*Me, mind?* Willow smiled brightly at the prospect of working with Giles. "I don't mind at all. I'm just as curious as you are. I mean, think about it...reading a first hand account of life in the Middle Ages. And Anne and Lucien are real, not just some characters in a novel."

The look on her face enchanted him- the dreamy smile, the excitement sparking in her green eyes. Giles groaned inwardly at the thought of working closely with her for the next few weeks. How was he going handle being alone with her night after night? *Don't be ridiculous, you've worked together numerous times. You're not a bloody animal and you certainly can control yourself. Pillock.*

"I think I'll work on Lucien's diary for awhile longer. Why don't you girls go home and get some rest? You both look tired."

Giles doubted if anything earth-shattering would be discovered in the early parts of the diary. He had the feeling that the real revelations would come when they worked on Anne's journal. Unfortunately, research often involved wading through pages and pages of monotonous text until one finally got to "the good stuff". It would most likely be days- or even weeks- before they translated enough of the diaries to learn anything significant.

After questioning Buffy once more to make certain that she was feeling all right, he said goodnight to the girls and turned his attention back to Lucien's words, already resigned to getting little sleep that night.


***********


Something was different. Spike knew it- had felt it ever since he'd first fed from the Slayer. Her blood was changing him. He wasn't sure how, but he could feel it happening- his remorse over that woman, Lara; the dreams about his past; the way the Slayer constantly occupied his thoughts and the way he couldn't stand to be away from her. He'd been 'feeling' too much- caring too much, about too many things. And it was only getting worse...

On his way back to the mansion, he'd come across easy prey- a drunken teenager stumbling home from a party- just begging to be killed. Spike had grabbed the boy, slaked his thirst, and dropped him to the ground...still alive. The gluttony that usually made him drain his victims was gone. The urge to kill just wasn't 'there'. It bothered him- worried him, more than he cared to admit.

What was happening to him? Was her blood somehow capable of controlling a demon? A Slayer's blood was so pure- so powerful and addicting. Was it powerful enough to have wrought this change in him? Killing those other two Slayers hadn't changed him this way; their blood had only given him a surge of strength and a good old fashioned buzz. So what was different this time?

Well, 'this' Slayer was still alive. He fed from her in increments, taking only a little at a time, and only in the throes of passion. And she loved him, as fucking incomprehensible as it was. She'd looked him right in the eye and said so, promising that she'd never leave. Cor, was he bloody insane? Hell yes, he was completely 'round the fucking bend' for falling in love with the Slayer. Christ! Would he never learn to guard his heart? Demons weren't supposed to fall in love...not with their enemies at any rate.

Spike ran his fingers through his short hair and paced around his room. It felt like a prison, not like home. The mansion's oppressive air weighed heavily on him, suffocating him. He didn't belong here anymore, didn't fit in. *No one left who knows anything about me...no one except the Slayer.*

It was times like this that made him miss Dalton. Spike had been able talk to him- really talk, about anything at all- no matter how strange the subject matter. That had been stupid, letting the poor sod get fried by the Judge. Dalton had even cared about Drusilla, helping Spike take care of her when she'd been weak.

Dru. Sometimes he missed her so much that he ached with it, like a burning hole in the middle of his chest. He hated the weakness of it, hated that he missed someone who'd taken his heart and stomped all over it. Hated her for not having been strong enough to resist Angel.

Would his relationship with the Slayer end the same way- in tragedy? Would she have the strength to handle her Watcher and all of her mates finding out about them? Or would she desert him, the way that Dru had? And would he be able to survive it if she did?

A low, rumbling growl sounded from deep in Spike's throat as he continued to pace, trying not to think about where his feelings for the Slayer were leading him. Trying not to bloody think at all.


************


Buffy moved through the streets of Sunnydale, trolling for demons and other assorted baddies. She was counting down the minutes until she would see Spike, just as she'd done almost every night for the past couple of weeks.

They usually met on the edge of town after Buffy finished patrolling, driving away to Breaker's Woods, the beach- any secluded spot that they could think of- far from the prying eyes of Sunnydale. For a few short hours at least, Vampire and Slayer were able to make the rest of the world disappear...and lose themselves in the one they created.

For Buffy, the past two weeks had been incredible, filled with love and laughter and more passionate lovemaking than she'd ever thought possible. Her days ran together in a blur, barely making an impression. She existed only for the nights with him, for the few hours that they could steal away together.

Hours spent talking- about anything and everything- although Spike still kept his more vicious exploits hidden from her. Hours spent fighting, trying to see which of them was faster, stronger...more resilient. Their battles served as a bizarre form of foreplay, driving them into a lustful frenzy, leading to hours of dizzying sex. It constantly amazed them both that their desire never waned, but instead grew more intense with each encounter.

The last time they had been together, Buffy had curled up next to Spike, letting her hand roam over his sweaty skin as she basked in the afterglow of a particularly spectacular orgasm. Without thinking, she'd given voice to the fear that plagued her during the day.

"Sometimes, I wonder if you'll get tired of me, when the novelty of sex with a human wears off." As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she'd wanted to take them back. *God, I'm so pathetic. Why can't I learn to keep my big mouth shut?*

Spike had been flabbergasted. *Tired of her? Christ, I fucking can't get enough as it is.* His hand had tangled in her hair, tugging her head back to look in her eyes. "Never happen. Not in this bloody lifetime."

He'd kissed her hard, plundering her mouth with his, showing her just how much he wanted her...how much he needed her. And then he'd proceeded to show her exactly why he'd NEVER grow tired of her, of this...of loving her.

Buffy sighed as the memory of that night swept over her. Spike never came out and said that he loved her, but she could feel it down to her toes when he looked at her, when he kissed her, when he growled her name as he came inside her. The intensity of his lovemaking told her all she needed to know and his very possessiveness spoke volumes.

She understood his reluctance to say the words; neither one of them liked the vulnerability that came with such an admission. Her own uneasiness had kept her from repeating them since that day in her room. Once had been enough.

School would be letting out in a couple of days. She couldn't believe that summer was here already, along with her annual visit with her father. She'd been panic stricken at the thought of leaving Spike, but as luck would have it, her father had cut the visit short. Instead of the whole summer, she would only have two weeks at the beginning and one week at the end.

His job was requiring him to travel extensively this year, and while she was somewhat disappointed at their lack of time together, she was also relieved that she could spend most of her summer in Sunnydale. Spike wasn't happy about her leaving, but there was no way around it. They would just have to deal...and make up for lost time when she returned.

Buffy looked up from her musing and realized that she was at the edge of town, her feet having unconsciously brought her to the pick up spot. The squeal of tires could be heard a block away and her body tingled in anticipation of what was to come. Another night in his arms, another night of ecstasy. As the black car came into view, her heart beat a little faster and a silly grin plastered itself on her face. They still had a few days before she left, and she would make sure that they didn't waste a single minute.


School had let out and Buffy was in L.A.. She'd passed her classes- just barely- somehow managing to pull a D out of her ass in French. Her mother had been so relieved that her daughter had made it through the year without getting kicked out, that she hadn't mentioned the substandard grades on Buffy's report card. Not that the Slayer would have cared one way or the other. She'd seen so little of her mother these last few weeks, and lately, anything that she 'did' say tended to go in one ear and out the other.

Now, Buffy was with her dad, who was doing his best to spoil her rotten. Dinner at her favorite restaurants, a couple of Broadway shows, marathon shopping sprees- all things that had given her an inordinate amount of pleasure in the past. This year, however, they were only a way to pass the time until she could be back home again, with Spike.

He called every night, making her shiver as he described- in great detail- all of the things he would do to her when he got her back in his arms. Buffy would lay in bed, touching herself and wondering if he was doing the same as his voice purred erotically in her ear. Spike made her come, time and time again, with just the power of his voice and the image in her head of him lying there naked, stroking himself as he spoke to her. It was only out of sheer luck that her father never picked up the phone during their calls.

Willow also phoned frequently, filling Buffy in on their progress with the journals. Lucien's diary hadn't revealed anything yet, but they were almost ready to start with the translation of Anne's. It made Buffy anxious to be back in Sunnydale, helping with the research. She wanted to know why she'd felt such a connection to Anne, and what her dreams meant.

She'd had several more of them. Some were like the first, with that overwhelming sense of terror and helplessness. Others showed her only quick images- a young girl being burned at the stake, a vampire rising out of the grave. A man with midnight blue eyes, kissing her until she couldn't breathe. He didn't look like Spike, but he felt like him- the same cool lips, the same wiry build under her hands.

Between kisses, he whispered in her ear, "You're late. I was worried, cherie. I thought perhaps he'd found us out." And she answered him in a voice that was half sigh, half moan, "Non, we are still safe for now, my love." Urgent hands removing her clothes, lowering her to ground, his voice a rumbling growl as he told her how much he wanted her, needed her. "Je te desire...J'ai besoin de toi..." Always in French, but it didn't matter because she understood every word.

Upon waking, she always felt disoriented, staring at the room around her like a stranger in a strange land. The dreams were so vivid, so 'real'- like being in another time and place. And the man- no, the 'vampire' who kissed her- so much like Spike, and yet, so different. She had to find out, had to know what it all meant. If something was going to happen, she needed to be prepared to face it.

Buffy rolled over in bed, blinking at the light filtering into the room. *Morning again. Just a few more days and I can go home.* She never thought of L.A. as home anymore. She saw her father so seldom, and everything and everyone else that she loved was in Sunnydale. Her mom, Giles, Willow, Xander, Oz...even Cordelia. And of course, Spike. *Home is where the heart is.* And Sunnydale was home, Hellmouth and all. It was where she belonged.


************


Spike could feel the sun rising as he stripped off his clothes before collapsing on the bed. The tiny prickles that danced over his skin reminded him of the Slayer's heat, of how his skin always tingled in her presence. *Just a few more days, mate. A few more days until you're back where you belong- inside her slick, hot, tight, wet...Great, just bloody great...another fucking hard-on.*

With a long suffering sigh, Spike wrapped his hand around his aching cock and jerked himself off, anxious for the day when he would feel the Slayer's soft little hand around him instead. He brought himself to orgasm quickly, imagining her velvety tongue, the silken walls of her pussy tightening around him. Two fucking weeks of this...he was such a pathetic wanker.

Stretching out his aching muscles, Spike crawled under the covers, eager for sleep. For the past ten evenings, he'd done nothing but fight, going off on anyone stupid enough to provoke him. Last night, he'd gone after two demons just passing through, getting banged up right proper. Fortunately for him, they hadn't had any weird appendages that sliced and diced, just regular hands and feet. They 'were' sort of slimy though, and what was with those antlers? The two demons had tried their hardest, but even double teaming him hadn't given them enough of an edge to defeat his pent up aggression.

His eyes closed as exhaustion overcame him, allowing him to drift into a deep sleep. The dreams started almost immediately- images from his past, visions of the Slayer. Then, they suddenly shifted and he was standing in a stable, pacing back and forth, muttering to himself.

He could smell the fresh hay, the horseflesh. Where was she? Did the Watcher know about them? Had she been hurt while slaying, or was she...?

A soft voice behind him, "Guillaume," and then she was in his arms, her lips soft and yielding beneath his. The Slayer, 'his' Slayer, but...she looked different. Blue eyes, not hazel, and her hair was darker, more honey colored. But she felt the same- the same curves, the same softness, the same warmth. As familiar to him as his own skin, as familiar as the taste of blood.

Spike was murmuring against her hair, "I was worried, cherie. I thought he'd found us out." She reassured him that they were still safe, whispering "Je t'aime," as his hands removed her clothing. They made love in the hay- fiercely, desperately- his fangs sinking into her breast as he came in glorious, violent shudders. Her sighs ringing in his ears, her heartbeat thudding against his chest. Her love surrounding him like a mother's womb.

As quickly as it had come, the dream left him. His eyes opened and he just lay there, staring up at the ceiling, taking deep, unnecessary breaths. *What the fuck was that?* Not a memory, but it 'felt' like one, every image sharp, down to the smallest detail. He could still smell the girl's scent, taste her skin on his lips. Could still feel the powerful emotions emanating from the dream.

How could he feel so strongly about something that had never happened? About someone he'd never met? But he knew her...as well as he knew himself. He recalled that they had both been speaking French. *What in the bloody hell is going on? First the Slayer dreams in French...and now I do?*

Spike rubbed his face with his hands, trying to make some sense of it all. There wasn't any logical explanation for the dream that he could think of. *Bloody, fucking Hellmouth...what could possibly be next? Rain of toads? The sea turning to blood?*

His unlife had been fucked six ways from Sunday ever since he'd arrived in Sunnyhell. Getting paralyzed. Losing Dru to Angel, and then losing her forever. Falling in love with the Slayer. Was the Hellmouth working some sort of weird mojo on them? Some sort of spell which turned enemies into lovers? Still didn't explain the dream, though. Spike rolled over and buried his face in the pillow. *Just come home, Slayer. J'ai besoin de toi comme le sang que je bois...I need you more than the blood I drink.*


*********


From the Journal of Anne LeMaire

13 January, 1430

Today I am ten years old. I received a beautiful new dress from Tante Marie-Therese and this book from Oncle Lucien. This book in which I am to record my life as a Slayer.

Oncle told me today about my destiny. That I am a Slayer, born to kill vampires and fight the forces of darkness. It is my duty to train and prepare, for when one Slayer dies, the next is called. And then it will be my turn, one girl in all the world. I am not sure how that makes me feel. Proud, frightened, even a little angry? My life is not my own, it belongs to the Watcher's Council, to Oncle Lucien...to the vampires.

I have always known that I was different somehow- stronger, faster, braver than most of the boys who live nearby. Now Oncle says that I must be very careful to hide my abilities. As I near womanhood, my strength will increase, and my senses will become sharper. No one must know that I am the Slayer. I will have to hunt in secret, alone. Always alone.

~~~~~~~~~~

As she read Anne's first entry, Willow felt a sort of sadness creep through her. She had forgotten what a Slayer's life was supposed to be like. Buffy was the exception- a Slayer with friends and family, a Slayer surrounded by love and support. Anne appeared to be loved by her Watcher and surrogate "aunt", but the time in which she had been born made her job all the more difficult. Superstition and fear would have made it quite dangerous for the Slayer, if anyone found out about her superhuman powers. *What a lonely existence, always afraid of being found out.*

Buffy was coming home tomorrow. Willow had missed her and couldn't wait to show her the translations from Anne's journal. She planned on working all day and most of the night, in order to have enough for Buffy to read. Willow was also hoping that her friend would confide in her.

Buffy had practically sleepwalked through the last few days of school, and it was only through Willow's constant tutoring that she'd passed any classes at all. She'd disappeared almost every night after patrolling, not even showing up at the Bronze the way she used to. There had to be a guy, and Willow was hurt that Buffy hadn't told her about him. *She has to know that she can trust me, right? I tell her everything...well, almost everything.*

Willow still hadn't told Buffy about her attraction to Giles, but she figured that it didn't matter. It wasn't like anything was going to happen there, anyway. It was just a crush, an infatuation. There really was nothing to tell.

She looked up, casting her gaze on the man in question. He was completely engrossed in Lucien's diary, working on the same time period as she was. They planned to translate a few entries and then compare what they had. Giles had told her that the diary didn't contain anything remarkable so far, just the usual Watcher's notes on his Slayer's progress. Fortunately, the man wasn't long winded in his writings and Giles was able to keep pace with Willow's much smaller volume.

They worked tirelessly, stopping now and then to point out anything historically interesting. Anne wrote sporadically during the first year, too young to have very many experiences beyond her studies and Slayer training. Before long, Willow came to a reference that sounded familiar. She frowned, trying to place the name.

"Giles? Have you come across the name Jehanne la Pucelle? What is that...Jehanne the Pure?"

Giles answered almost absently, "The Maid, actually. Lucien speaks of her, as well. That's what Joan of Arc was called by her contemporaries. The name that most people know her by is fiction, invented sometime in the sixteenth century. Her real name was Jehanne Romee. I've always found her story fascinating."

"Okay, that makes sense then. It appears that Anne followed Jehanne's career. There are several references to her army's victories." Willow could just imagine how many young girls had worshipped Jehanne. A young woman not much older than they, leading an army and helping to crown a king. Breaking free of the oppression that women were subjected to back then. It was unfortunate that Jehanne's life had come to such a tragic end.

~~~~~~~~~~

25 May, 1430

News has come to Rouen that the Burgundians have captured Jehanne. What will this mean for France? Will the Dauphin pay her ransom? The English soldiers were cheering in the streets. I hate them! I wish they would go back to England and leave us alone.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Lucien's diary mirrored Anne's in the events surrounding Jehanne's capture. He was fed up with the English occupation of the city, and he was also becoming increasingly concerned about keeping Anne's abilities concealed from the rest of the townspeople.

~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Diary of Lucien Aubry

15 September 1430

Anne's strength is growing by the day. She is already a formidable opponent in her training sessions and her agility is remarkable. It is becoming more difficult for her to control her temper, however.

The other day, she almost broke Jacques Boucher's arm when he set upon young Louis de Coutes. Thank the Lord, he was too ashamed to tell anyone that a small girl bested him. I have told her repeatedly to be careful, but she cannot resist defending the weak and less fortunate. It is not the first time a ruffian has felt her vengeful wrath. I just pray that I can keep her safe and that her identity remains a secret.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Again, Giles was struck by the similarities between Anne and Buffy. He knew that Buffy stood up for her friends time and time again, and that the school bullies gave her a wide berth. Was it just a Slayer's nature to defend the weak? Or did Buffy and Anne take it upon themselves to act on the compassion they felt for the downtrodden? Whatever it was, Giles couldn't deny that Buffy was one of the strongest Slayers he'd ever come across. It made him wonder what kind of Slayer Anne had been.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Journal of Anne LeMaire

20 December, 1430

The English have brought Jehanne to Rouen! She is to be tried for heresy and witchcraft. How can they do this to a servant of God? I do not believe that Jehanne is a witch. It is just the word of the English, they want to punish her for putting the Dauphin on the throne. It is they who are evil.

~~~~~~~~~

30 May, 1431

It is over. They burned Jehanne today, may God have mercy on their souls. I didn't want to go, but Oncle Lucien said that we must, so that our prayers would aid Jehanne's soul on its journey. I can still smell her burning flesh, still hear her cries. It was so horrible! I think that I would rather risk eternal damnation and take my own life than to be burned alive. Blasphemy, I know, but I do not care!

Oncle says that we must be ever more vigilant about keeping my identity a secret. It matters not that we fight evil, my slaying powers would be enough to have me branded as a witch. I shall pray every night that does not happen. I could never be so brave as Jehanne.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Giles and Willow stared at each other for a moment as Anne's words reverberated in their heads. They both knew that it was common practice for children to witness executions, but it still horrified them to read about it firsthand. And for Anne to have a real reason to fear the same fate- it was a wonder she hadn't been plagued by nightmares every time she closed her eyes.

Giles cleared his throat and looked at his watch, surprised at the time. "It's quite late, Willow. Let me drive you home."

She readily agreed, tired from working on the journals all day. They gathered up their things and left in silence, the past weighing heavily on their minds. At least Buffy would be home tomorrow and they could see how 'their' Slayer was feeling these days. Neither of them could shake the feeling that something was looming on the horizon. Something that would change them all.


Continued