I really gotta find a beekeeper in the area and start taking in some raw honey to get started before the real pollen hits.
Plus: raining. Non stop. It's now just drizzly, but the week of unrelenting grey... I don't wanna get out of bed in the a.m.
Plus, me, the anti-reality show person has been sucked right into The Apprentice. How? Why? What? How?
And they kicked Troy out last night... *sniff* At least I still have Kwame. And watching Bill meltdown into a high school snickerer has a sick fascination to it. Is it wrong that I want Amy, the last remaining woman to go with her tail between her legs?
At long last I get a whole weekend in my new place. Sort of. I have to put the finishing touches on taxes, clean my now dusty apartment, change the pet pests, and try to unpack at least two of my 15 boxes.
And try to work around that Part 47 block on Living History. Actually, it's not so much a block as me being not entirely happy with it.
In the meantime, here's an interlude with Catherine and Charlie for Part 43...
So Part 43A of Living History...
Up to part 42 can be found here
Continued from here
Catherine entered the temporary quarters with a sigh.
"How's it going?" Charlie asked from his position by the window.
"They're out in this eerie cemetery looking for the cavern entrance right now," Catherine said as she fell onto the bed and stared up at the ceiling.
"So you're sold then?"
There was a moment of silence before Charlie remarked, "J'Nal's doing the dance of joy. Well, maybe not a dance, more like a meditation. But he's smiling. I caught him."
"Great," Catherine said quietly.
She felt the bed dip.
"You could be happier about this."
"There's a very good shot that we didn't screw up the timeline at all."
"Still not sure how I feel about that," Catherine admitted. "And we still don't know for sure."
"But our chances just got a lot better." When Catherine remained resolutely silent, Charlie dove in, "You're still upset about what Faith told you, aren't you?"
Catherine sat up, resting her face in her hands.
"Explains why they barely talk," Charlie muttered.
"I trust you."
Charlie looked at Catherine in surprise. "I hope so," the doctor said slowly. "We've known each other for how long?"
Catherine waved him off. "Not you. I mean, yes, I trust you, but that's not what I meant."
"So what did you mean?"
Catherine leaned back on her hands, her face still in thought. "Something I remember reading." She gave Charlie a sad smile. "You know what my family's like. Gotta know the history. Gotta know the facts."
"I'm beginning to think those are two different things," Charlie agreed.
"I've read every journal written by every member at one point or another," Catherine said as if he didn't speak. "Either for research purposes or for family study purposes, but reading Alexander's and Faith's journals is on the required reading list for everyone in the family."
Charlie kept silent, wondering where Catherine was going.
"There was this story? Adventure? Incident? I remember reading it and I thought at the time how strange it was. Why would 'I trust you' be so important?" Catherine gave her odd aborted smile at Charlie. "It's like that one line in a book you can't ever forget and becomes this big mystery on why it hit you so hard. 'I trust you' was that line for me."
"Are you going to tell me why? Or leave me guessing?" Charlie asked.
Catherine sounded distracted. "A little over two standard years from now, there's a demon loose in Cleveland."
"Now there's a shock. There's an unstable dimensional mystical convergence here."
"Yeah, but this demon? This demon's got these spines," here Catherine's fingers danced up her arms, "covered with some kind of poison. A normal person gets hit with it and they're immediately immobilized by violent seizures so the demon can eat them at their leisure. A Slayer can still move, but even they slow down. Remove the spines, Slayer healing kicks in and they eventually recover."
"But not a normal person?"
"No. Violent fevers, violent hallucinations, slow painful death that can drag out for weeks," Catherine answered.
"People in this house went toe-to-toe with it. Faith and Violet almost managed to kill it, but got hit with the spines, which left Alexander alone to face it."
"He got hit too."
"Yeah, but not before he killed it. Something four times his size with poison already circulating through his body. Can you imagine that?" A small amount of the family pride was still there as Catherine spoke. "Faith managed to remove everyone's spines, but not before Alexander had seizures."
"Well, since it happens only, what? Two standard years from now and he's still around after that, so we know he doesn't die," Charlie pointed out.
"That's not the point," Catherine said slowly. "He suffers for a week with these violent fevers and horrific hallucinations. I remember reading in Faith's journal that he was absolutely convinced that almost everyone was a monster trying to kill him. Some she remembered as real monsters he'd faced, some might've been imaginary."
"I heard 'almost.'"
"Three exceptions: her, Willow, and this mystically ensouled vampire named Spike who was around because he was delivering a package. Willow he seemed to see as these dark, twisted versions of the Willow he knew. A vampire. A murderous sorceress. A manipulative woman using magic for her own gain. Spike he didn't even see at all. But, he saw Faith and even stranger, he saw her as her, not as a twisted version of herself."
"Sounds like fun," Charlie muttered.
"Faith-then might see your sarcasm and raise it," Catherine admitted. "See, the thing that always confused me is that Faith seemed, I don't know, upset that he could see her. At that point they'd been working together more than two standard years, had already proven they were a good team, were responsible for a few younger Slayers that they trained in tandem. It didn't make any sense. I mean, I'd think she'd be happy that he could recognize her because that meant that maybe, just maybe, he was in love with her."
"Why would you think that?"
"I was a sappy romantic little girl."
Charlie snorted. "You. Romance. Is this before or after something tries to eat your head?"
"Hey! It was just the once," Catherine protested. When Charlie gave her a knowing look, she added, "Okay, twice." Charlie gave her raised eyebrows and she amended, "Fine. Three times."
"That you'll admit to."
"I admit it. I have rotten taste in men."
Charlie chuckled and shook his head. "Maybe you weren't wrong about him maybe already being in love with her. So, why don't you think that was the case?"
"Knowing what I know now? How can you even ask? Besides, I think he was involved with someone else at the time," Catherine shrugged. She scrubbed a hand through her hair. "I think I can see why Faith was bothered by it. I think it's because she thought he was seeing her as a monster. Not a make-believe one, but the woman who tried to kill him. It was like the fact he could see her as her meant that everything they'd gone through together ultimately changed nothing."
"She didn't say?" Charlie asked.
"No. No she never did," Catherine whispered. She continued in a louder voice. "Anyway, at one point she's alone in the room with Alexander he managed to get out of the bonds tying him down and makes a break for the door. Faith's forced to tackle him and drag him back to the bed, fighting him every step of the way. She eventually manages to pin him to the bed and while he's fighting to get her off, she's telling him that he's sick, he needs help, they're trying to help him, she knows he's in there somewhere..."
"If what you said is true, it's a wonder the situation didn't push him over the edge," Charlie commented. He thought about it. "It didn't, did it?"
"That's the odd part. The part I don't get. I mean, that I didn't get," Catherine fumbled. "He suddenly just went still and he's staring up at her."
"I can imagine what was going through his head," Charlie shuddered.
"No you can't. I don't think anyone can," Catherine corrected. "He says three words to her. Just three. 'I trust you.'"
Charlie let out a low whistle.
"I don't have to tell you that right after that Willow walked in and he's back into violent hallucinations. He manages to toss Faith aside and he charges Willow head-on." Catherine shook her head. "But the thing that got to me was Faith's reaction. It was almost like she didn't know what to do. Like those three words were these precious gifts. It just didn't make sense. At least it didn't make sense to me. I mean, why wouldn't he trust her? They must've been friends. They did work very closely together for a long time. So why would you work with someone you didn't trust?"
"You have your answer," Charlie said.
"No, I have my answer on why 'I trust you' meant something to Faith, but not the rest." Catherine looked down. "She never forgot that, you know. Every once in awhile she'd make reference to it, like somehow it became her touchstone, like it made her, I don't know, more real." She looked at Charlie. "Does that even make sense?"
"So how'd they save him?"
Catherine bit her lip. "There was a spell involved. A fairly gruesome one."
"Cure worse than the disease?"
"I doubt Alexander would agree, especially since he was back to his old self after a month," Catherine said. "But there's a damn good reason why every portrait in our time has Alexander dressed from the neck down."
Charlie slapped his head. "The scarring! I completely forgot! Well, that and I wasn't clear on the story behind it."
"Good thing," Catherine gave him a half-grin. "Can you imagine it now? One of us asking Willow about cutting those patterns into his skin to heal him? If you thought Alexander and Faith were traumatized by finding out what little they found out, I don't even want to imagine what Willow would be like if she found out that at some point in the future she'd have to nearly skin Alexander alive to save him."
"Betchya J'Nal remembered," Charlie muttered.
"Probably Ms. Tikri and Ruda, too," Catherine added. "But Ruda's got a good head on her shoulders and once she heard 2003 she knew to 'forget.' Plus, in Ruda's world any fight you can walk away from is a good one, so it wouldn't occur to her that this was something anyone should be warned about. As for Ms. Tikri? She strikes me as someone who'll do anything to make sure we have a home to get back to, so she probably threw out all those questions."
"You hope. And thanks for pointing out that I'm the dumb one."
"The dumb one who knows more about medicine than anyone I know," Catherine pointed out. She let out a sigh. "Don't feel bad. 'I trust you' has been practically burned into my brain since I first read it because it was such a mystery to me. Plus, I refreshed my memory before we made the jump."
"Because you wanted to ask about it," Charlie replied. When Catherine nodded, he added, "At least now you know."
"I only know Faith's side. Not Alexander's." She looked down. "I still don't know and will probably never know why he said 'I trust you' to the last person he'd ever say it to if he was in anything resembling his right mind."
"Think he would've answered you?" Charlie asked.
"I don't know," Catherine replied. "I honestly don't know. I might've gotten an answer, just not a truthful one."
"Sooooo, they're looking for the Grail?"
"That's an awkward change of subject."
"Seemed like the thing to do."
Catherine settled back. "Scouting actually. Seems that Giles believes we should follow the script Alexander 2008 left us, or as close as we can get given everything was pretty much made up out of whole cloth."
"Why bother?" Charlie asked.
"The way he explained it to me was that if Alexander thought it was important enough to say we were present at the Grail's discovery, then we should be present," Catherine said. "We're coming up with strategy once the Slayer team gets back from the scouting trip. We'll be going for the Grail tomorrow night. Or at least that's the plan."
"And we know it'll happen because our plans have gone off without a spanner in the works since we started this," Charlie said. "What does Alexander say?"
"Don't know. From what I understand he's been pretty much holed up in his room since yesterday afternoon. Sleeping, if you believe Andrew Wells."
"And why would you do that?"
Catherine started giggling. "He's guarding the entrance to their room like it's the entry to the Life After. I'm pretty sure if someone really wanted to get past him, it would be a classic match: yappy dogger versus a rex catilus. Entertaining, but a very short fight."
"I'm surprised it hasn't happened," Charlie chuckled.
"I think they've decided to find Andrew charming," Catherine lost her humor. "Prevailing opinion seems to be that Alexander needs the sleep, so they're letting him sleep."
Now I have to go back to writing....