He’d been in England now for three weeks; after procuring a false identity in LA, he had flown first to France, where ‘William the Bloody’ had a part interest in a certain highly profitable demon club just on the outskirts of Paris. Needless to say, his business partner was most displeased to see that after all these years he was ‘not dust’. Even less so when Spike informed him that he wanted out of the thriving business and that he had forty-eight hours to come up with the cash. When Merv had hummed and hawed Spike’s patience, which seemed even less than usual lately, had given out. After a brief but thorough reminder of why it would be in Merv’s best interest not to piss him right off, he had informed the terrified demon that his share had just gone up by 2% and that he would be back in two days expecting cold hard cash; good Sterling too, none of those poncy Eurodollars.
So William Prescott, 28 years of age, born in Rochford, Essex had rented a nice flat in London and set about to explore the city that had grown massive since he’d last seen it. In the three weeks since his arrival he’d already acquired some favourite haunts. One of which was a small jazz club a few blocks over from his home. It wasn’t his normal scene, but the music was good, the atmosphere was soothing and, best of all, he didn’t have to put up with being come on to a dozen times a night by the loud, scantily-clad drunken tarts that hit on him every time he set foot in one of the more upbeat clubs around town. He just wasn’t in the mood for company right now, not even for a shag, and the stupid whiny little bints reminded him of Harmony.
Another of his favourite pastimes was walking along the canals, watching the world go by at a slower pace, the warm sunlight of a London summer shining down on him. It had taken him a few days for the rage that had consumed him to burn out, a few days over which Los Angeles’ demon population had diminished rapidly. Once it did, however, he had begun to appreciate the gifts that had been bestowed upon him. Sunlight, and the comfort of its warmth surrounding him, being his favourite.
Buffy was heading home after a long day to the flat that was provided by the Council as part of her salary, Dawn was going to Rebecca’s house for the weekend, so there was no diversion to be found there—although Buffy was glad that Dawn was settling in and making new friends. Willow was down in South America, and Xander had returned home to the States a few months ago; homesick and heartsick. On impulse, she turned away from home, opting instead to head for one of the many lovely parks London was famous for. She had done very little in the way of sightseeing since arriving in London; she had done very little at all in the way of living since that morning in the Hellmouth almost ten months ago.
Walking through the park, enjoying the peace and the softness of this long English twilight, she lost all track of time. She’d been walking for hours, lost in her own world, following a path that branched and meandered for miles; now, she was lost. She had no idea where she was, or how to get back home from here. She cast her eyes around looking for somewhere she could get a taxi from, a figure in the distance caught her eye—a black-clad figure, lean and lithe, possessed of self-assuredness and grace, his white-blonde hair slicked back against his head. She was not close enough to see the sharp, angular features of the beautiful face, or the gorgeous blue eyes that could burn into your soul, but she knew they were there—knew every line of that face as if it were her own.
As her feet started to carry her in his direction, she forcibly stopped herself. What was she doing? It wasn’t him. It couldn’t be—she knew that. She had seen him burning up; she’d watched as his soul incinerated him from the inside and had been helpless to prevent it. This couldn’t be him. It couldn’t. But, oh, how her heart longed to believe it could be. In direct disobedience to her orders, her legs again started in the blonde’s direction. He was moving away from her in a smooth, long-legged gait. Speeding up to close the distance, her heart pounding, adrenaline rushing through her, she kept trying to tell herself not to be stupid ‘it cannot be him ’. But, no matter how much she told herself this, as each step brought her closer to him, she became more and more convinced it was him. It had to be!