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Written In The Stars (Chapter 5)

by Harmonie

[Story Headers]

Written in the Stars 5/?
By Harmonie ( Rated PG-13
Spoilers: During Season 1, perhaps shortly after I Robot, You Jane, but it doesn't really'll see. Disclaimers: Not mine, obviously. Rightfully belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Summary: The Master has found a sure way to get rid of the Slayer and take over Sunnydale...but he's forgotten about Angel. Notes: I used Buffy's middle name, Elizabeth (yes, I've found out it's actually Anne, but I started writing this when I first started watching the series, so let's let this one slide, kay? Alexander is Xander.)

Chapter 5

Angel lay still on the bed, trying to breathe lightly. He had never needed to breathe before, only out of habit, but now he needed to inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale...Too deep a breath sent a shattering pain through his side. That and the other evidence he had so far led him to finally accept what was happening. He was human. He breathed, his heart beat, his skin was warm, his wounds slow to heal. He was human. This is what he had wanted for over the last 100 years...but it only filled him with an auspicious dread. By this time, he was recurpurated from the disorientation upon waking and the meeting of...Buffy? When his eyes first allighted on her face, he thought her a dream, like the dreams he had been having over and over since the weeks she had gone missing. Even when he thought he saw her, he believed it to be a hallucination. But when she had walked in the room, he could smell her scent, her voice, despite the English accent, undefinably the same. Her odd garb led him to an awful suspicion. But her clothes were dated, even past him. No one in the 1700s wore that. But...God, he was so confused. Elizabeth Giles...Giles...the Watcher? Did that mean that the others were not dead, but also taken into the Rift? But he couldn't think straight. The pain in his side was intense. Why did it hurt? he wondered again. By this time, yes, there would be discomfort and bruises, but his fractures and breaks would have healed by now. But he was human now, not a vampire. Something must be very wrong.

He searched the room with his eyes again, thoroughly this time, pausing to contemplate each detail. Above him was a canopy just crude enough in construction to fetch a high price for its authentic look by museums everywhere. Dusty cobwebs graced the canopy's peak. Something made him think he wasn't in Kansas anymore.

"Matthias?" he said hopefully. Nothing happened. "Are you there?" Nothing. An uneasy sensation began to creep over him. In his rush to escape he didn't stop to think about what kind of universe he would end up, only the security of knowing Buffy was there fueled his courage. Matthias had warned him that the possibilities of where he would end up, a utopia, a hell on earth, the Middle Ages, were limitless. He had even told him that universes changed all the time, and one they might have thought had Buffy in it, may have changed or collapsed. The only relief he felt now was that he saw her. Buffy was alive. She just didn't know who she was. She hadn't seen any of the others. Hopefully, they were all here. He didn't fancy jumping from world to world to find each and every person that had recently disapeared from Sunnydale, including the Scooby Gang, their families and even some of their friends. Dammit. He had depended on the fact that when he finally found her...them...that they would know they were in an entirely different universe. But they, well Buffy anyway, had emmersed herself in the world. She was part of it. God, this was going to be much harder than he had expected it to be.

Well, he could tell he was back in history. Some kind of history anyway. That shouldn't be too much of a bother. He was born 250 years ago, wasn't he? He would just have to adapt being Liam. He could remember manners and decorum. With a groan, he remembered just the kind of man Liam was. First things first, he thought, find out where I am and then find the others.

Turning his head toward the far wall he saw a window deep set in a thick wall of stone and crumbling masonry. The glass was wavy and milky, full of imperfections. Crude. Primitive. Very familiar. The words repeated endlessly to Angel as he scanned every detail of the room from the dried weeds scattered haphazardly across a less-than-clean floor to the scratchy sheets made of too-thick, uneven threads that covered him. This was detail even beyond museum quality, he realized. And no museum, nor the most accurate decorator, would every try to recreate that smell. Where in the universe could he be?

Fighting the exhaustion that tried to overtake him, Angel reviewed the events that had led him to this place. Buffy disapearing. The town being overtaken by an army of vampires in a single night. Endless bloodshed. Him fighting, but never winning or losing. Dreaming of her. Finding Brother Matthias, an old monk in a cathedral just out of town, where the lucky ones managed to hide. The Rift. The crystals. The Uchukuzi, the strange machine/relic that brought him here. The Master, his followers raiding the church, looking for him. Disapearing into a shocking white light. Something going wrong. Dark. Too dark. Then pain. A blinding, hideous pain. Dreaming of her. Then finding her.

The Latin chants and litanies soothed Elizabeth's nerves even further as she listened to the Mass in the Harris' private chapel. Each morning and each evening a priest from the nearby priory at Wilton came to perform the service for the family, she'd been told, in exchange, no doubt, for a goodly consideration of gold. Elizabeth knew of that monastery. It was wealthy indeed, controlling many acres of fine land, farmed by the peasants for the monks.

Elizabeth took advantage of a long prayer to glance covertly around her. She was unsurprsied to find Lord Harris' hawkish eyes peering frankly unabashed at the gathered company, measuring each, Elizabeth included. She stiffened her back and looked the other way. Lady Harris' lips moved silently, praying different words than those of the priest. The gentlemen and squires of Lord Harris' household generally appeared bored, their squirming held at bay by Lord Harris' scowls of displeasure. Servants and maids stood in the back, shifting from foot to foot. But it was Alexander who most grasped her attention. His face was contorted in an expression of anguish, his hands clasped so tightly his knuckles turned white. What private torment could he possibly be facing? What sins or burdens so great? Elizabeth's own hands clenched more tightly. She knew of nothing in Alexander's life that could cause such their impending marriage.

After the service was ended, Elizabeth lingered in the chapel for a moment, watching Alexander move on to the railing and kneel to continue his prayers. The other gentlemen exited as quickly as propriety allowed. She saw Henry Harris approach the monk and hand him a small purse. The monk peered in, and said something that earned him a harsh glare from Lord Harris. The priest quickly stashed the purse into his robes, bowed and left.

Elizabeth slipped away before Lord Harris saw her there. Seeking out Lady Cecily, she found her in a small room filled with chests and boxes. The walls and ceilings were hung with dried herbs. A rich, spicy aroma filled the room. Elizabeth inhaled deeply of the rich assortments of scents of the small apothecary.

"Come in, my child," Lady Cecily beckoned her. She held a wooden box on her lap, sorting through its contents. Ducking under some hanging herbs, Elizabeth entered, finding a place to sit beside Lady Harris on a rough hewn bench. "Here," she said, taking a stem with dried pink flowers on it. "This is centaury. It grows in pastures. Very bitter to the tongue, but it is good for fevers and bleeding. That man..."

"Liam," Elizabeth interposed, "He told me that was his name. He gave no other."

"Liam has only a scant fever now, but we shall give this to him for safety's sake. And a rock crystal for him to hold to cool the fevers."

Elizabeth touched the dried plant and looked about the room. There were dozens of plant types, many of which she could not even name. "So much to know," she said. "Where did you learn all these things? Who taught you?"

"I learned here and there over the years. Much from a physician my father kept in his employ. Such learning that man had. He'd read Aristotles' writings in Greek and the Secrets of Albertus Magnus in Latin, and spoke English, Italian and French as well. Then he honed his science throughout the years. And, as you know, I've borne a good many children. I've learned much from the midwives and doctors who tended me.

"This one," she said, holding up a plant with bizarrely twisted roots, "is mandrake. When plucked from the ground it screams. And here, periwinkle. When cooked with houseleeks and meat and eaten by a man and wife it will bring love between them."

Elizabeth touched the herb, committing the lessons to memory. "You mentioned willow for Liam's pain," she said.

"Yes. When steeped in tea it provides some ease," she rummaged through the chest. "I fear we shall have to gather some afresh, though." She glanced toward the narrow slit that served as a window. Rain still fell in an endless drizzle. "And I've other potions in mind to heal and strengthen him. Though, I must tell you child, I do fear his injuries to severe for him to survive even with the best the science of medicine can provide."

"I can gather the willow, if you'll permit, Madame. I've a heavy cloak and I saw the willows from my window," Elizabeth offered. She hoped Alexander's mother didn't notice her eagerness to tend Liam, to be near him.

Elizabeth lifted her skirts immodestly high in a futile attempt to keep them off the wet grass. The sheep and cattle didn't venture so close to the soft ground of the marsh so the grass had not been cropped down. Elizabeth already regretted that she had ventured here too. The muddy ground was treacherous, sucking at her shoes and leaving water to fill in her tracks.

When finally she accomplished her mission, she was soaked and thoroughly chilled. The heavy woolen cloak had shed the rain well enough from her back, but where it met in the front rain had seeped into her gown. The hems of her skirts, as well as her chemise, were muddy and wet. She hoped the rain hadn't ruined her pearled hood.

Lady Cecily exclaimed over the sodden mess, chastising herself for not sending a servant instead. She helped Elizabeth out of the cloak and had one of her maids hang it by the fire. The damp wool steaming by the fire smelled good to Elizabeth's nose. It reminded her of times when she was little and her father took her with him to barter their crop of wool. Or with her mother, watching the servants spin and weave the mound of fluffy wool.

Excusing herself, Elizabeth returned to her chamber to change. Moments later a knock at the door brought in a pasty-faced maid in a torn, too-small dress to bring in the basin of warm water she'd requested. She pulled off the blessedly unspoiled cap, loosening her braids. Draping her wet gown and chemise over the chair, Elizabeth shivered as she washed in the warm water. She'd not thought to bring her own soap and there was not to be had here but harsh lye. She did have soothing rose cream with her to soften her hands later though. Elizabeth dried, wishing they'd lay in a fire but it would be a frivolous waste of wood this far into the spring. Looking to her trunks, she realized that not all her trunks had been brought up into the room. She had only the wet, gray wool and the too-chilly silk of yesterday, no other dresses at hand.

Elizabeth pondered for a minute. All the gentlemen and man-servants of the household were gone about their business for the day, only Lady Cecily and her maids would be about. With firm decision, she pulled on the light silk chemise, not bothering to pull the ties closed at the neck. The sheer material warmed her not at all, but at least it was dry. Lacing and fastening the complex closings of the gown itself was far too much effort for so brief a trek. Boldly, her bare feet slapping on the stone floor, Elizabeth set off in search of Lady Cecily and her maids to fetch her missing baggage.

Now sure of her route through this ancient labryinth, Elizabeth started to where she'd last seen the mistress of the household going down a narrow spiraling stairway, down a passage and another stairway. Resolutely, she passed the door to Liam's chamber without a sideways glance. Scarcely had she gone three steps beyond it, however, when she heard a moan from the room that gripped her heart. Heedless of her attire she dashed into the room. She found Liam sitting upright on the edge of the bed, holding his ribs. Even injured and bound in bandages, his half-clothed form caused her to catch her breath.

"What happened? Are you all right?" she demanded.

Liam stared at her in a way that sent a rush of heat over her body. His dark eyes drifted slowly up her form. Elizabeth felt them looking at her like torches searing into her flesh. He lingered long over her breasts, barely concealed by the thin silk, up to the bare skin above at the open, low neckline of the smock until, after an endless time, to meet her eyes. Though he still took cautiously shallow breaths, Liam seemed to have forgotten his pain. "I thought I'd get up and take a look around. Bad idea," he said. His gaze flickered over her again and she felt wholly naked before his probing eyes. "You look...radiant. I like this much better than that thick dress, or that thing you had on your head last time."

Elizabeth shifted from flustered embarassment blended with concern to anger at his brazen comments, not to mention insulting her gable hood. Why, that had cost a pretty shilling and not a lady in Court at London could boast one finer or more fashionable.

"You'll mind your tongue, you bold knave," she scolded, moving even as she did to help him lie back on the bed. She was, perhaps, rougher with her hands pushing him back down harder than she intended.

"I'm sorry, Buf-...Elizabeth. I meant no offense," he apologized between gritted teeth.

"You'll address me as Mistress Giles," she ordered, surprised by her own spark of courage. Smoothing the bedclothes back over him, she smiled to assuage her sharpness. "You're a stranger here, as your manner of speech makes clear, and injured as well. I ought not have scolded you."

"A stranger, indeed." He studied her in a way that sent another flush creeping up her neck. "I, uh, I'm not even sure where I am."

"You're at the estate of Lord Henry Harris, Earl of Whiltshire, near Salisbury," she said.

The answer didn't seem to satisfy him. "Salisbury," he repeated softly. His brow furrowed and he frowned. "And, if you'll pardon my confusion, miz...miss...mistress, I mean...What is the date?"

"Why, it's the third of May. We found you yesterday and brught you here in the eve." He swallowed and she wondered why that information troubled him so. Was he expected elsewhere? Would family or friends be worried by his delay? "I'm sure Lord Harris would be glad to send a messenger to tell of your whereabouts, if you wish it."

He shook his head slightly. "I'm very much afraid that wouldn't help." His next question quite startled her. As if summoning all his courage, his full voice barely a whisper, he asked, "Mistress Giles...what year?"

Angel had never been one to pray, but he did send a most sincere prayer up to whatever God or gods there might be in the eternity between his question and Buffy's answer.

The beautiful girl he thought he had lost look baffled but answered evenly, "It's the year of our Lord fifteen hundred and eighteen."

Angel examined Buffy again, savoring the rich blonde of the braid that trailed over her shoulder, the tantalizing swell of her breasts, the way her tightly crinkled nipples peeked teasingly through the translucent gown...If her remembered what it had felt to kiss her mouth, how much he had missed her, he wouldn't have to think about her words.

It was no use. In the span of those simple words the universe crashed in on Angel. 1518. That explained the stranger dress, buildings and smells. That's why the stars were so much brighter than he remembered. And this is the world where he had fallen into, in search of the only girl to could save them all. And there was no one who could help him, and there wouldn't be, not for another 500 years.

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Fandom:  Buffy
Title:  Written In The Stars (Chapter 5)
Series Name:  Written In The Stars
Author:  Harmonie   [email]
Details:  Series  |  PG-13  |  gen  |  16k  |  04/18/04
Characters:  Buffy, Angel
Pairings:  Buffy/Angel
Summary:  The Master has found a sure way to get rid of the Slayer and take over Sunnydale.but he's forgotten about Angel.

Notes:  During Season 1, perhaps shortly after I Robot, You Jane, but it doesn't really'll see.

Disclaimer/Other:  Not mine, obviously. Rightfully belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.

Sequel to:  Written In The Stars (Chapter 4)

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