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Fool's Paradise

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A fool's paradise is a wise man's hell!  Thomas Fuller

Entry the first. Date: unknown.

Dear Diary: My powers of persuasion finally succeeded today: I managed to convince the head physician to afford me a notebook; fountain pens are out of the question in my condition, hence the poor fist on this page from the dull pencil lead they reluctantly allowed me. I never thought that one’s daily entries into a journal to be a luxury, yet the past few weeks have taught me otherwise. I shall never take such simple pleasures for granted again. I have sorely missed the capture of my thoughts on paper, with which to reflect on my life progress and muse at fond memories. Truth be told, I would dearly like to hold the volumes of the last year or so, as my own recollection has proven far too unreliable. In short, my silent friend, I am afraid. I am afraid more for what I have seen and do not recall, rather than for the sights that have already been shown me – strange as they are, they cannot compare with the overwhelming dread that invades even my most private moments. But I speak too soon. I must start at the beginning, to gather some semblance of my muddled thoughts into a coherent account. The capsules they force down my throat morning and night may well divert me from this humble goal, but I will persevere.

What do I remember? I remember stumbling down a back alleyway in darkness; I remember my skin covered with burns and being clothed with a strange black coat made of some sort of animal hide. I remember an infinitesimal rage boiling from within me to strike at anyone, anything that dared step in my path. I remember I did take out this rage on two uniformed officers once I turned a corner, that we did scuffle and that I was soundly rapped with their billy club on the back of my head, sending me into unconsciousness.

When I awoke, I found myself imprisoned. I knew somehow that the two officials were lawmen and that my assault on them proved me most dangerous. I, the most law abiding of citizens, dangerous! Can you imagine? But the facts did not lie.

Still, I could not stop myself from shouting, demanding that I be released. I believe it was fear speaking on my behalf – how else to explain the utter desperation at finding myself under lock and key, as though I had been subject to the worst sort of torture? Yet I could see no sign of injury, other than my previous burns, upon my person. In short order, another uniformed official appeared at my cell and demanded me quit. He asked if I could tell him who I was, my employment, my age, address, and my purpose in the area. In great confidence, I stated that my name was William Langley, gentleman, age 35, domiciled at 22 Middlesex Rd. London, and that I could not recall my purpose here, but that I would gladly return to said address upon my release. At this the official frowned deeply with a forbearance of great perplexity and asked me to state the year. Well, of course, I said, the year of our Lord is eighteen hundred and eighty! The constable paled and hurried away from my cell as fast as his stubby legs could carry him.

What happened then is a blur of activity. A group of physicians, whom I determined from their white coats and medical instruments, examined me thoroughly. The mental examinations were most rigorous and prolonged; they asked me to reiterate the year of my birth and the supposed time of my disappearance numerous times. The repetition was most distressing and I came to believe that I would never provide them a satisfactory answer. Yet what other recourse did I have but the truth? I remembered what I now believed to be a streetwalker accosting me in a barn, stealing my clothing and my valuables, rendering me helpless, and spiriting me away to this unknown city – for I did not believe for a moment that I awoke in my London. At great length, the lead physician concurred with at least part of my statement: I was no longer in London, but in an American city named Los Angeles!

In the cloud of my fear and misery, I had never noticed the accents of my captors and then realized that they did not speak the tongue of Mother England, nor did the doctor who spoke to me. I cannot begin to describe the distress this news brought to me. In truth, I am ashamed to say that I flew into a kind of desperate ire that I have not experienced before and hope never to display again. I recall being restrained and an injection being administered to me. When I awoke from my sedation, I was no longer in the jail cell, but in the incarceration of this strange hospital. This is how I have come to be here and have remained here, in my estimation, for at least four weeks.

Dear friend, I explain this so factually, as though the language may shield me from my true feelings. Yet I am constantly filled with unanswered questions and unutterable trepidation. What has become of Mother in my absence? How did I get born to this strange land? What of my home and my valuables? I curse the moment of weakness that caused me to fall into the clutches of that Cockney harlot, for it is she I blame for this misfortune. The medical staff provides me with no assurances to my health or to Mother’s; indeed, I am well and truly obscured from any knowledge of use to me.

Diary, you are the only light that shines in this awful place. I bid you farewell for now.

Chapter Text

Entry the second. Date: still unknown

 

Diary, the most exciting news. Doctor Whitman met with me for great length today and under great duress, explained some of my condition to me.

I appear to have suffered a mental breakdown! I nearly wept with joy when he told me.

It is well documented that only the finest artists in history succumb to the temptation of madness in pursuit of the muse. This must mean that I am well on my way to a creative breakthrough of epic proportions. While initially astounded at my reaction, Doctor agreed to allow me several more writing tablets with which to catch the reams of poetry that will doubtlessly follow as I recover. Perhaps, if I dare be so bold to imagine it, I may well become a novelist based on these very experiences!

One would think that given my protracted state of melancholia, the ringing words of Ms. Adams would be perpetually in my thoughts. That could not be further from the truth. I seek no information on her whereabouts, nor her reputation, and have quite removed her from my interests. All of those energies lie with Mother, where I believe they are better spent and with affection more genuinely returned in kind.

My frequent questioning about Mother appeared to vex Doctor, however. He assured me that I should not trouble myself with further thoughts of her condition, but rather focus on my own recuperation! Yet he would not elaborate on who tends to her or whether her illness has progressed. His insistence that I think only of myself smacks of quackery and were I to take his advice, I would be guilty of the worst sort of egoism. I shall not mention her again, so that he believes in my compliance towards my recovery, but in all honesty I am quite cross with him. I find I cannot continue writing in this state and must leave you for the moment.

Chapter Text

Entry the third. Date: (cannot be determined)

My world has truly crumbled before my eyes. I have been unable to put word to paper for some time now. Seeing the events displayed in text makes the improbability of my situation all the more difficult to bear. I appear to be held by the most evil and barbaric of criminals. Why else would they try to hoodwink me with the fantastic tale they’ve spun? Let me see if I can elaborate rationally for you, my friend.

The thrilling discovery of my mental state was short-lived. Such a diagnosis for these Americans meant daily visitations with a different physician to discuss my physical health, the history of my birth, my genealogy, and other personal details that a man of my standing is unaccustomed to sharing with strangers. Difficult as it is to believe, the doctor who questioned me... was female. How a young lady of her status became thus employed boggles me – but then, so many things about this American city and their ways leave me confounded. Alas, I digress.

I found these daily discussions trying and tiring, which is initially why I abandoned you, dear diary. After she had filled what seemed to be an entire tablet with my dissertation, she spoke to me most kindly in words I will struggle to recreate for you here:

“William,” she said. “I want to thank you for taking the time to give me all of this information. I know this hasn’t been easy for you.”

I assured her that the entire experience had indeed been dreadful, but if it meant my release from this institution, I would gladly answer whatever questions she posed, no matter how intimate.

She looked down then, appearing to gather her thoughts before she spoke again. “William, what I’m about to tell you isn’t going to make any sense for a while. I told the team that we needed to share a lot more with you than we have, because I believe it is a key to your recovery.”

At that word – key – I felt the skin prickle on the back of my neck.

“They agreed with me,” she continued. “And I offered to speak to you on their behalf. Please remember, William, we have your utmost interest in mind. You will be safe here.”

I nodded and bade her continue, holding my breath all the while.

“William, I have some very sad news for you. Your mother...has died.”

Mother! I felt the tears sting my eyes and an endless sadness consumed my very being, matched only with my depthless guilt. It could only be my disappearance and the lack of my care that would contribute to her already failing health. I mourned in silence for a few moments, collected my thoughts, and asked when the wretched event had taken place. The woman leaned over carefully, perhaps fearing my reaction, and related the following to me. I have memorized her words in hopes of finding some meaning to them; alas, none has been forthcoming.

“William, this is the part that won’t make sense to you. It doesn’t to me, either. I wanted you to go into as much detail as possible so that I could investigate and hopefully substantiate your identity. The address you provided definitely matches a former residence in London in 1880. The census records also list a William and Anne Langley living at that home up to that year. As of 1881, though, the Langley family is never mentioned again. So I can only assume that your mother died somewhere between 1880 and 1881.”

A former residence?

My throat went dry as I began to think of how foreign the date sounded in her mouth. I feared that the greatest of her revelations had not yet been brought forth. Perhaps I had been lying in repose for weeks – neigh, months!

”Why?” I asked. “What date is it now?”

“William. It is 2004.”

Loyal comrade, indeed I barked a stupefied laugh. To be thought mad, I could abide. But to be thought so gullible and foolhardy that I would accept such a preposterous proclamation on faith alone did me most grave disservice. Did she think me a follower of Jules Verne, whose works I could never acknowledge as more than trifling flights of fancy? Time travel indeed. The very notion was incredible!

She provided me then with several newspapers, proclaiming the date, as though that would satisfy my disbelief. Many of the words and locations on their pages were so unfamiliar to me that I wondered how they could be part of the English language. At this my head began to pound painfully and I begged her remove the lies from my sight.

Through my pain, I could hear her speak: “William, William, try to concentrate on my voice. The fact that you are in such pain makes me believe that you’re under some kind of delusion that your mind has created to protect you. I think you’ve experienced something so traumatic, so horrific, that your mind has erased it from your consciousness and has given you the memories of another time and place as a sort of comfort to you.”

”Then let me be!” I told her then. “I harm no one in my condition!”

“William, I can’t do that. I wouldn’t be true to my profession as a doctor if I did that. You have no home, no identification, and no employable skills. And regardless how safe and comforting these memories of 1880 are, they aren’t helping you out at all. They’re hurting you. We have to uncover your true identity.”

”I have an identity!” I argued. “I’m William Langley of London! I know it as surely as I know the blood that courses through my veins!”

“How we continue with your therapy is up to you,” she continued, as though I had not even spoken. “I could ask you some pointed questions that might get you on the right path, or perhaps you’d prefer hypnosis...”

”Do you mean mesmerism? “ I asked. “I think not!” I assured her that I was far from interested in any French healing techniques.

This statement appeared to unsettle her. “William, what disturbs me the most about your delusion is your fine attention to detail. The way you talk, I might as well have picked you up in 1880 and dropped you off in 2004.”

”Madame,” I said coldly. “Then it is you who is the interloper in my time, not me in yours!”

“We’re contacting schools, businesses, anyone who might be able to tell us something about you and where you come from. With your great knowledge of that time, you could very well be a history professor or even a writer of some kind...”

”A poet!” I screamed then, full of frustration. “I’m a poet and I’m William Langley and I demand to be released immediately!”

“Until you cooperate with your own recovery,” the wicked woman said. “You will continue to be held here, William – for both your safety and the safety of anyone around you.”

I confess I lunged at her then. I could barely stifle the desire to wrap my bare hands about her treacherous throat! The violence that seethed in me was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

A horde of white coats drugged me then and restrained me for several more days until they deemed me fit to be unleashed. I say days – I hardly know if that is true. All concept of time has been ripped from my intelligence.

2004 – I can scarcely write the numerals on the page.

I cannot – will not – believe such wild tales. It is inconceivable.

I weep for Mother, whom I well may never lay eyes upon again. It shames me to admit, though, that I also weep for myself.

What horrible crime have I committed that I must be imprisoned so?

Chapter Text

Entry the fourth. Date: September 15, 2004 (I am told)

I have made my best attempts to resist their insistences that I undergo hypnosis. If they cannot find a person who recognizes me from a photograph, then they say I must subject myself to whatever means necessary to uncover my true identity. Doctor Whitman says that he will withhold the consolation of my journal and books of poetry should I refuse him.

Can they take anything more from me?

I am desolate. For once, the words fail me. There is no explanation for any of this, except that I am suffering from a horrible dream.

I wish to wake now, please.


Chapter Text

Entry the fifth. Date: September 18, 2004 (apparently)

I feel I should report the following as good news, however grim I remain about its consequence. They have found individuals who recognize me in Europe. One of them will travel here in the next few days to interview me. Days from Europe across the sea to the farthest corner of America? Yet it appears to be possible, in this strange time.

With great hesitation, the lady Doctor has shown me more than newspapers. She has delivered me maps, picture books and manuscripts, even encyclopaedic indexes, all in an effort to persuade me of her reality in the year two thousand and four.

I wonder if it is the many sedatives with which I have been injected, which is clearly a method of mind control, but I have not argued with her on this matter further.

The sheer volume of the work is extraordinary…the discoveries, the inventions. As much as my mind battles against it, I cannot fathom why she would take such lengths to convince a lowly poet of such an abominable lie. Although the thought of existing in the twenty-first century challenges the very foundation of my existence, the necessity of these doctors to force such preponderance upon me for no reason other than to toy with me seems an even greater improbability. Doctor Powers nearly erupted with glee when I admitted this to her.

If I am not William Langley, though, then who am I?

Perhaps I am the male equivalent of the infamous “Rebel Rose,” who spied on behalf of the Confederates during the Civil War in this country? That my lost memories have to do with government secrets and the like -- although, to be true, espionage does not seem to be a likely career for me.

I understand too well why I have clung to my standing, my address, and my name. Without it, I am but a rootless bit of driftwood amid a chaotic sea of unknowns. I do not know how much longer I can exist in this condition...

Ah, but I have spoken enough about such unpleasant business.

I find myself anticipating the visitor from Europe with great fervour, for I feel he may well hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of my mind.

Beginning with why I shudder every time the word “key” is mentioned?

Chapter Text

Entry the sixth. Date: September 21, 2004 (allegedly)

The visitor has arrived. Cannot collect my thoughts enough to write, suffice to say, “he” is actually a “she” and “she” is the most lovely vision I have dared lay eyes upon. Her beauty puts that of the high-and-mighty Ms. Cecily Adams and the strumpet I encountered in that blasted barn to most bitter disgrace. I will strive to make her best acquaintance, despite the provocative flash of ankle she insisted on displaying upon our first meeting.

Later:

I have whiled away the most enchanting day with Miss Summers. Her company is made that much more delightful given my extended solitude from the outside world. Again, though, I am placing the cart before the horse! Let me begin once more.

After a fitful night’s rest, I requested an early shave from the orderly upon rising – no blades for the madman of course – and a cup of their strongest tea for fortitude, which is still quite weak by my standards. I wished to appear fresh and alert for my noon appointment. Surveying myself in the mirror, I thought myself rather a dashing rogue. I still do not have enough hair to tie back, tsk, but the odd bleached colour has faded. I told Doctor that morning I believed my burns and the tint of my hair, not to mention how cropped it was to my head, could indicate that I had fallen victim to a fire of some kind. Doctor promises that he will discuss the matter further with his associates.

On to more important matters: the arrival of Miss Summers. I will try to repeat verbatim our first encounter so as to affix it forever in my memory.

I sat in wait in the sun-drenched common room, wearing attire not of my choosing, but only that made available to the invalid. I balked at having no dresscoat – however could I greet a guest in my shirtsleeves? And the shortness of those sleeves! But Doctor assured me that the orderlies’ uniform was quite the fashion in Western America and it became clear that I would not be given any other choice. So white collarless shirt and canvas pants it was. May I also add that the Americans’ version of underpants borders on the pornographic in its scantiness, but that is another topic for another day!

She appeared as if a vision from my dreams. A woman so far above my status that it hurt my very soul to gaze upon her.

Framed by the sunlight, the glow reflected on her flaxen tresses like the promise of dawn upon dew. Something about her seemed so dear, so achingly familiar that I rose out of my chair before Doctor Powers had a chance to guide her to me.

“William,” Doctor began. “William Langley, this is Miss Summers.”

I gave a short bow, my eyes never leaving the girl’s face and I waited for some spark of recognition to alight there. Yet instead of a warm embrace or a cold refusal, what she gave me next was most unexpected. The tiny princess burst into tears!

“It’s you!” she sobbed. “I can’t believe it’s really you!”

Her reaction astounded me, even frightened me. This fair-haired maiden truly held my life within her grasp.

“It’s me,” I said. “I’m most pleased to hear you say that, but begging your pardon, if you please Miss, who am I?”

Her eyes flew to Doctor Powers in alarm and the kindly dear reassured my new friend with a squeeze on her arm. “Is this the man you’ve been looking for?”

Miss Summers nodded quickly and took one of my hands in hers. I blushed at her audacity but could not bear to tear myself away.

“We have many questions for you then. Spend some time with him, see if anything rings a bell, then we can talk privately in my office later.” The doctor smiled at me. “I’m so happy for you, William.”

Indeed, I was quite pleased with myself at the good fortune of Miss Summers finding me!

“Let’s sit,” she said and I immediately pulled a chair out for her at the window-side table. She stared at me as though she’d never seen such simple acts of chivalry. Instead of sitting, she grabbed me violently to her breast and embraced me as though greeting a long-lost relative –with more ardour, if that were possible.

I could not extract myself from her embrace – her size belied her inner strength. Truly, I did not wish to separate from her, mortified as I was by the public display of her affection.

The scent of her awakened something so powerful and primal in me, I cannot speak its name. I knew at that very moment, I had been well acquainted with this woman in my past, no matter how implausible as it would be for her world to intersect with the one I remembered. I knew not how, but I vowed at that instant to let my heart be my guide.

“So, you’re William now.”

“Now,” I nodded. “Yes, now and always. You should know that better than anyone,”

Her bright smiled dimmed somewhat. “William…Langley.”

“Why yes. You say my name as though it is unfamiliar.”

She looked down, avoiding both my eyes and my reply. “I’ve read what Doctor Powers wrote about you, your psych evaluation. I hope that’s okay. I just wanted to understand as much as I could as quickly as possible.”

Her earnestness touched me. “Yes, of course. Although, its contents cannot have provided you with any new information – you, who have travelled all this distance to identify me?”

“William, I – I knew you by another name.”

Delighted, I smiled at her. “A soubriquet? From you?”

“Uh, you mean your nickname?” Her eyes widened. “Ohh, no. I didn't give you that name.”

“I do not recall it,” I hitched my chair closer to hers. “Pray tell me what it was!”

But my lady bowed her head and shook it gently. “No, I don’t think it matters. William suits you. Besides, it’s your real name.” She laced her fingers through mine. “I want to give you something real.”

My tongue turned to sand in my mouth. I could not begin to imagine what the promise of her hand could mean.

“We are…companions, then,” I heard my voice ask her.

“We weren’t,” she admitted. “Not for a long time.”

“Perhaps that is why I did not share with you my real name!” I pointed out to her.

She nodded slightly. “Maybe. We fought on opposite sides for what seemed like forever.”

This disclosure shocked me. “Fought? In battle? Like soldiers?”

“Not anything that official,” she smiled. “But yeah. We had our moments, definitely.”

“I took up arms against you?” I asked, still reeling from the thought.

“But in the end,” she squeezed my hand. “We fought on the same side. For good. You’ve done some amazing things, William. I’m sorry…I’m sorry that you can’t remember the good you’ve done.”

At this moment, I felt familiar enough to clasp her hand in return. “With your help, I hope that I will.”

Sleep tugs on my eyes, dear diary. The good Miss Summers has promised to do everything in her power to bring me back to myself. The feeling of being within the bosom of her good graces is bliss, utter and complete bliss…

Chapter Text

7th Entry Date: September 25, 2004

Fucking hell. Need sleep. If I am who she says I am, then why am I still holed up in this bloody hospital? A champion? Bollocks. Any kind of champion would have forced his way out by now, not laid back and taken their drugs like a fucking chump. Tired, so tired.

Chapter Text

8th Entry Date: September 27, 2004

She tells me the same story every day. It’s a pleasure to simply watch her; I’ve long stopped listening to the words. So much nonsense, except for how she looks at me. She says there’s more when I’m ready for it. I’ve no doubt there is. Not sure if I want to hear it though.

 

What kind of a bloody name is Buffy anyhow?

Chapter Text

9th Entry Date: 30 September 2004

I’m not sure if I need to keep this journal. The thing is, I don’t need to write as much down. I won’t forget it. I won’t forget her. Though it seems I’ve done that already, haven’t I? Well, right, never again.

Here’s what she tells me: I saved her life. I saved many lives. I took part in ending the world’s amount of evil. And that I’m human. Not sure exactly why she had to spell that bit out to me, but she seemed altogether chuffed by it.

We spend days together. They’ve let me out to walk the trails around the hospital – well, the sanatorium it really is – as long as she’s with me. Strong bit of a bird she is, it reverberates under her skin like a pulse. Whatever I ask, she answers, though the replies seem a bit dodgy. It’s what she doesn’t say that keeps me up nights. How can she talk so much and still say nothing?

Buffy, did I love you? I feel that I must have loved you. Did I treat you poorly? I don’t know for an instant how I could have. Every time I meet your eyes, I know why the scars are over my heart. They’re from you; they have to be, my heart nearly exploding from my chest with the sheer force of wanting you. I want you still, like wanting you is the only thing I really do know. If I start to remember all that you’re telling me, the docs tell me that I can leave with you.

I want to remember. So badly.

Chapter Text

10th Entry Date: 1 October 2004

In addition to most of my life, I seem to have forgotten nightmares. Wished they stayed gone.

Dear Christ, they’re horrible things. The white coats have extended my phone privileges through the night, because only the sound of Buffy’s voice can truly soothe me. Doc Powers wants to cut out the sedation, so Buffy it is. Not that I mind. It’s what I’m seeing that...

I don’t know if I can describe it.

It’s like I’m a fucking monster! There are teeth and animal sounds of snarling and ripping skin and muscle and god, the blood. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in it. I can taste it. What’s worse is how it makes me feel.

Like I want more of it.

Well, fuck. That can’t be good, can it?

Buffy asks me to tell her. How the hell can I tell her this? What would she think of me? One thing's certain, her invitation for me to return with her to Rome would get pulled right out from under me. ‘Course going anywhere is going to be tricky: come to find out, there’s no record of my green card on file. No driver’s license, no birth certificate, not even a bloody baptismal record.

It’s like I never even existed. But here I am, in the flesh. I must have come from somewhere. And these are the answers she says I'm not ready to hear. Bugger it. I'M READY.

I've been rereading what I've written -- I don't even know that ponce from a month ago. It was like Buffy appeared and someone flipped a switch in my head -- 2004 doesn't seem like any revelation. But the switch got flipped only halfway. As far as 1880, well, I know it's still a part of me, I'm just not sure how. These are the questions that I need answered. I think Buffy's the only one who can do it.

Chapter Text

2 October 2004

B didn't show today, although we spoke on the phone. I spent the day making a list of questions for her:

1. What's my real name?
2. What year was I born?
3. What's the deal with London?
4. Why did I lose my memories?
5. If I don't have a green card, how did I get into the States?
6. If I don't have a green card, how the hell do I get out?

Those are decent for starters, I reckon. I told her that I'm ready to know what she has to tell me, warts and all. She said she needed a day to collect herself but promised me she will be here tomorrow. I find that I'm so thrilled by the thought of seeing her again, that I can hardly sit still. Maybe...maybe I can ask her about us, too. The idea of us being only "companions" leaves me a trifle cold.

Chapter Text

3 October 2004

No B again. Not even a bloody phone call. Everytime I ring her cell, I can't even get a signal. She told me that she’d help me! She TOLD ME. She promised! You don’t break promises to a madman -- doesn’t she know that?

Doc Powers pulled me in for consult today. She’d heard about the bleach job and trim I gave my hair last night when I couldn’t sleep. Never thought a bloody haircut would ruffle her feathers so.

“I don’t know if I’m pleased with the change in you, William,” said the bint. “You’ve shifted practically overnight from a pleasant, well mannered gentleman to…”

“To a real man!” I told her. “You wanted the real me, love. Feel him coming out a bit more every day.”

“And how does that feel?”

“How do you think it feels? Bloody fantastic, that’s how it feels. Take your psycho-speak and shove it up your…”

Well, I didn’t finish it now did I? Instead, her two goons slammed me back down in my seat. Bloody rude, that is.

“Until you can behave yourself, you’re denied visitor privileges!” she huffed at me and spun on her heel out of the room.

I was about to yell something back real good, real smart, and then I thought the better of it. Buffy. Whatever would I do without Buffy?

Fucking hell, what have I done?

Chapter Text

4 Oct 04

God, I miss her. It’s only been a few days and…it’s like an amputation is what it is. I’ve begged with the witch doctress herself but she’ll have nothing to do with me. And we’re now back on sedation again. Brilliant. Maybe I can dream about Buffy, if I dream hard enough, she'll be here.

Chapter Text

5 Oct 04

I’ll do anything, just please bring her back. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please.
Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please.

Chapter Text

6 Oct 04

Bad dog. Very very very bad dog. Can’t hunt, can’t kill.

Oh yes he can.

Slobbering, licking, feeding, begging, crawling, clawing, growling, dig the earth, get the bone, all the bones, all the pretty bones all in a pretty row…oh she’s so pretty and I’m going to have a taste

Chapter Text

I’m the dog. The dog is me. Kill the dog.

WhofuckingknowswhatdayitIsdoesnotmatteranywaytheyareaLLthesameandIAMafuckingkillerfuckkill
shootTHEdogshoottheBigblackdogiamthedeaddogdiedathousandtimesandwilLnotdiethedOgthedOg
willkillagainunlessyoukillthedogfirstkillmebuffykillmeiDeserveitkillmeandletmedienexttoYouinpeace
andloveandeveryonewillloveandhewillbelovednoonelovesabadbaddogfireburnanddieandburnanddie

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New Entry on new meds!

1 December 2004

Well. That certainly was interesting, wasn’t it?

With the help of the lovely Doctor Powers and some hypnosis, coupled with a completely new prescription, I rid myself of those last horrific nightmares and with them, the bad influence of that poor, deluded Miss Summers. I wish I could be angrier with her, but I am merely saddened.

At the end of my tether, in my worst depths of despair, she came to me dressed in the white cloak of a doctor. Clearly she had snuck into the facility in this disguise. She appeared to have been crying. And what she said was so strange, that I wonder at it still:

“Spike. We don’t have much time and they won’t let me see you anymore, so I gotta make this fast and you’ve gotta try to believe me. You’re Spike. You’ve never been anyone else to me! I know what your nightmares are, they’re memories. But Spike, that’s not all that you were. You’re also this man, this William, a man who would cross an ocean and nearly kill himself to earn his soul! This is the man that I love! The man I believe in. Please, Spike. It’s taken me so long to get here.

“Spike. Please say something. Come with me. Let me help you escape. I've been able to get some ID for you! We can get away. You can have a real life. With me.”

“That life,” I vaguely remember telling her. “Is a lie.” Then I began to scream at the top of my lungs for the assistance of Doctor Powers, for it was she who had discovered how the sedatives caused those horrible night terrors, and I am forever indebted to her aid. Come to me she did, and spirited Miss Summers away.

On her person, Doctor said, they found my driver’s licence, green card, and passport, all looking remarkably new and in perfect order. Almost…too new, now that I look at the license, even though it is three years old, it bears no creases from my wallet…

Ah, no matter. It is a relief to have them again. A man with a country, an allegiance, a career, and a name – and my flat! How good to see it again, to write here at my sunny breakfast nook! Though the sun…it is so very strong. Has it always been this strong? It must have been the days in hospital. Still. At the sight of dawn, I…wince. Perhaps it is a reaction from this new medication?

Thanks to the hard work of the esteemed Eve Powers, I have perfect recall for the life I led before. Nothing as exciting as espionage, but I will take the normal life of a bank clerk any day. No one knows why my memories recalled the life of 1880 with such clarity but it seems the robbery I suffered on that fateful May evening forced my mind into some deep-seated denial brought on by the death of my treasured mother Anne, some months before. I’d never quite dealt with it properly, you see. I suppose this was simply my mind’s way of healing itself. I am most certainly William Langley of London, born and raised, Oxford-bred, and residing in California to take on the duties of global banking. Who also writes the odd phrase of bloody awful poetry on occasion!

I do hope that Miss Summers finds a manner of healing herself. She seemed so desperate to attach herself to any remnant of that “Spike,” a man who most certainly is dead by now, that she nearly convinced me I was he. And while I would certainly enjoy doing the random act of good will, I am neither monster nor champion. I am merely a man.

In the few days I came into contact with Miss Summers, I felt a most powerful connection. Yet dear Evie is right, that a young woman so struck by her grief merely awakened that of my own, and with it my most basic needs to rescue and protect. I do believe the sweet doctor is jealous and may have a crush – one I will gladly return in kind.

Thus I have no further needs for this journal, dear diary, and will sign my name and employment with great certainty…

Yrs,
William James Langley
Global Mergers and Acquisitions Officer
Wolfram & Hart Bank and Trust
Los Angeles, CA

Chapter Text

“Buffy? Are you awake?”

Willow’s voice should’ve been a palliative for her battered heart but the tender sound of her friend’s voice only made the tears start again.

Useless tears. They didn’t change how she had failed.

For the past few days, she’d done nothing but sleep and reflect on how badly she’d botched her one and only chance to save Spike. She couldn’t even look Willow in the eye and had taken to sneaking out of her borrowed room to make sandwiches in the wee hours of the morning while the rest of the house slept so she wouldn’t have to face any of them.

Sleep had not even been an escape. Her mind simply replayed the events of that one horrible night when she wrenched herself out of the hands of the hospital guards who’d tried to hold her down and drug her. She’d barely broken free and escaped the hospital, running wildly down the block to the shiny black van that waited for her and screaming at them to go, go, go. Her lone arrival spoke volumes to the breadth of her defeat. The van hadn’t stopped speeding until the handful of witches surrounding Buffy in the back of the van could cloak her then whisk them all away to their private beach house where their powerful water magic worked most effectively. Buffy had never felt so safe. And so alone.

She sniffled into her pillow. “I still can’t believe it.”

“Buffy, it’s okay.”

“I ran away, Will. I had the chance to save Spike and I just… ran away.”

“Buffy, you did the right thing! A Wolfram & Hart operated asylum? When I think about how you could’ve gotten trapped there. How would we have ever gotten you back, never mind Spike?”

“I wish I had known what we were getting into. I would’ve done everything differently, starting with breaking their doors down with an army of Slayers. Guess it’s too late now.”

“We drove by there while you were sleeping. Buffy, the hospital’s disappeared.”

“Why am I not surprised.” Buffy exhaled heavily. “No sign of the others?”

“All my other locator spells are big duds. Except for our little guy here, the rest of Angel’s team is just… gone.”

Buffy sat up from the bed and held out her arms. “How’s he doing?”

“Now that he sees you? Much better.”

“Aww,” Buffy couldn’t help but whisper as she took the chubby, dark-haired baby out of Willow’s arms. “Don’t you know I don’t have a maternal bone in my body, bud?” she crooned to him. The baby buried his face in her neck and nuzzled her.

“Sheesh. If only Angel had known what the Shanshu really meant for him. He could’ve avoided it like the mother of all plagues.”

Buffy patted and rubbed the baby’s warm back until he expelled a loud belch that surprised them both and made him giggle.

She couldn’t help but smile. “Good thing you’re cute. It’ll make the next eighteen years a little bit easier. Although I don’t think there are any parenting books that cover raising your ex-boyfriend.” She swallowed hard. “I’m glad we have Angel, don’t get me wrong. But I can’t leave Spike out there, Will. I couldn’t live with myself. And I know I can’t live without him.”

“I don’t think you’ll have to. The coven did some digging for me. He’s cloaked but we know his home base is a Wolfram & Hart bank. He’s William James Pratt, Global Mergers and Acquisitions Officer.”

Buffy stared at her. “Here? In L.A.?”

“For the time being.”

“So there’s no more Wolfram & Hart law offices but they had a hospital and now a bank? What do you think it means?”

Willow shrugged. “The coven found four banks internationally. My guess is they’re trying to rebuild since Angel all but defeated them.”

“Yay for you,” Buffy said to the baby softly and kissed the top of his fuzzy head. “Who was a good little vampire with a soul, huh?”

“But when they couldn’t get their hooks into Angel, they did manage to snag Spike.”

“Right. Who better to battery fuel their battle back to power than a Shanshued vampire with a soul. They’re using him, Will. They’ve wiped his memories and drugged him and they’re making him work for them so they can get their evil empire back.” She shook her head. “I can’t let that happen.”

“I know. It won’t be easy because Spike’s not Spike any more. He’s a regular guy, a citizen. If he sees you coming, he’ll freak since they’ve programmed him to see you as the enemy. Plus, if Eve’s all up in his grill…”

The Slayer met her friend’s eyes. “I can’t do this like I did before at the hospital. I can’t wait for him to choose me. We don’t have time for that.”

“Buffy, this is still Wolfram & Hart. They’re still crazy powerful and dangerous.”

“And we’re even more so. Look, I’ve got you, your coven, and a shit ton of Slayers behind me. Not to mention, Spike. I’ve got the power of Spike.”

“A power he doesn’t know he even has from a guy he doesn’t even know he is!” Willow squeaked.

“But he’ll remember with me, Will. Don’t you get it? It’s there. Just waiting for me to tap into.”

Willow frowned. “He’ll remember he’s a killer. That’s what you think freaked him out, right? I bet that’s what let that rotten Eve get him back under her thumb again.”

At the sound of the name, the baby squawked angrily and grabbed a fistful of Buffy’s hair.

“I know. I have to go slow. More importantly, though, I have to let him know that no matter what…” She took a deep breath. “That I love him.”

“You do?”

Buffy nodded. “And I know he loves me. Spike’s love for me could power a universe. Even if he doesn’t remember it, it’s there. Between the two of us, we can put Wolfram & Hart into the ground for good. They think they’ve got Spike on their side? Let ‘em think it. They won’t know what hit them.”

“Are you saying…”

“I’m taking back what’s mine and this time, I won’t hesitate."

"Oh, Buffy..."

“I'm doing it. I’m stealing Spike.”