Remember, remember

Author: Mark Wilson <anfic[at]>

Rating: PG-13?

Summary: Shortfic to celebrate Guy Fawkes night.

Spoilers: Set after the end of S7 and Angel S5.

Chapter 1

"Remember, remember the fifth of November,
gunpowder, treason and plot,
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
'twas his intent
to blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow:
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!"
- traditional rhyme (source

London - Friday, 4 November 2005, 23:15

The old brick walls had stood undisturbed for centuries, save for the faint drip of water, the soft scurry of rats hunting through the drifting sewage and the distant murmur of surface traffic. But today was different. The familiar pitch blackness of the tunnels was interrupted by tiny moving specks of light and the splashes that echoed eerily through the stillness were too loud and too big to come from the usual sources.

"Blast," the sharp curse couldn't really be called loud, but breaking the silence that has surrounded them till then it was startled both the men creeping slowly through the darkness. They glanced around worriedly for a moment reassuring themselves that there was no one to overhear the girl's outburst.

"Please, quiet," the older man urged her. "We're almost under the building now and I'd really like not to have to explain what we're doing here to all those nice policemen with machine guns we saw earlier."

"Yep, definitely want to avoid that," Xander agreed quietly. Then after a moments silence, "What's up with that anyway? I thought the British police didn't carry guns."

"Most don't. Just those on special duty. Surely you noticed them at the airport when you arrived."


"Guys, not now," Buffy interrupted sounding a little annoyed. "Bad enough we're crawling through stinky tunnels in the middle of the night. Can we at least try to get it over with as soon as possible. I really need my sleep if I'm going to stay awake through tomorrow's Council meeting."

When she turned her torch on his face, Xander winked his sole eye at her. "Yeah, and I used to think it was boring having one stuffy old Brit droning on-and-on-and-on. A room full of them raises dullness to a whole new level."

"Ha, ha," the stuffy Brit in question commented drily. "Very droll I'm sure. Now can we just keep silent. If the map was accurate, the grate that leads into the cellars should be just around the next bend."

Silence reigned again as they trudged forward, trying to ignore the ankle deep filthy water they were walking in. Rusty iron bars hove into sight exactly where the map had predicted, and Giles pulled a small leather pouch from the bag slung across his shoulder. He slowly sprinkled the contents of the bag around the edges of the bars being very careful not to get any of the faintly glowing purple powder on himself or either of his companions. When the pouch was empty he tossed it between the bars into the chamber beyond and stepped back to make room for Buffy. Setting her feet as firmly as she could in the slime covering the floor, Buffy took a firm grip on the centre of the grate and nodded for Giles to continue.

In the merest breath of a whisper, so faint that even Buffy had to strain her slayer enhanced hearing to pick the words out, Giles began to speak a short Latin phrase over and over again. With each repetition the powder glowed brighter and brighter. By the fifth time they all noticed a growing acrid odour, accompanied by faint whiffs of smoke curling up from the ends of the bars. As the tenth repeat rolled towards an end, Buffy felt the metal becoming uncomfortably warm beneath her hands. The smoke so thick now she could barely make out the edges of the grating. Then as the final word left Giles' lips for the twelfth time, a circle of light flared up and Buffy staggered slightly under the weight of the abruptly loose grating. Stepping back slowly, she silently laid the bars to one side.

Swiftly, but without even a whisper of sound, Buffy darted down the newly opened tunnel and cautiously peeked her head out to check both ways at the next junction. Reassured the coast was clear, she signalled that it was safe to continue.

"Are you alright?" she whispered in concern, as she watched a sweaty faced Giles lean quite heavily on Xander for support as they moved to join her.

"Yes, yes, just a little drained. I'll be fine once I get a little rest," he comforted her. "That's a somewhat advanced spell."

"Oh, it's just Willow made it look so easy when we were in the Paris catacombs last spring."

"Humph, well few people are in Willow's class any longer when it comes to magic."

They lapsed back into silence again, as Buffy led their stealthy creep through the maze of old rooms and corridors. Although their research showed that this part of the cellars had been walled off from the main building decades ago and security should therefore be almost non-existent, none of them felt like taking any chances.

After almost quarter of an hour, they finally arrived at the room indicated as their destination on the map. A room which at first glance appeared no different than any of the dozen others they had passed by or through, but something was nudging unpleasantly at the edges of Buffy's Slayer senses, setting her nerves on edge.

Xander however felt nothing, and after a long circuit of the room showed nothing but some old discarded rags and scraps of wood, he levelled a cold one eyed stare on Giles. "There's nothing here. Are you sure this prophecy's reliable."

"As sure as I can ever be about these things. Give it a bit longer, there's still a little while to go till midnight."

"So what are we expecting again," Buffy asked, trying to take her mind away from the menacing sense of expectation that seemed to be forming in the very air around her. Her hands rubbed her arms absently, as the growing tension made all the fine hairs stand on end.

"We went over this several times already Buffy," Giles sighed in exasperation. Sometimes he thought she never paid any attention to a word he said. Then there were other times, he thought with a wry smile, when he was sure of it.

The smile confused Buffy somewhat, but she quickly dismissed it from her mind. "I know Giles, but what else do we have to do while we wait.

It's not like discussing our plans for tomorrow's meeting would be any more novel. We've gone over those arguments dozens of times during the last few weeks."

"True," he sighed. In truth he could use a bit of a distraction himself as well. "Alright, once more from the beginning. Three weeks ago, an antiques dealer who has had several dealings with the Council in the past came across a box of documents purported to have belonged to Robert Catesby during a clearance sale at a stately home near Wolverhampton. When he got a chance to look through the papers a couple of days later, he came across one that he knew immediately would interest us and got in contact with one of our agents."

"Yeah, yeah Giles, we've already had the long boring version, just get to the point."

Giles sighed and from long habit reached up to remove the glasses he wasn't wearing. His fingers stopped a couple of inches from his face and he awkwardly let his hand drop to his side, before stuffing it in his trousers' pocket. There were times that contact lenses just didn't offer the same benefits as glasses after all.

"The paper was a prophecy. Apparently written by someone close to the conspirators shortly after the failed attempt to blow up parliament in 1605. It told of how their spirits would find no rest until they avenged their deaths and completed their mission. It spoke vaguely of several events that would take place over the centuries - most of which we've been able to confirm actually happened - that would culminate in another chance for them to finally destroy parliament here on the site of their original failure four hundred years later."

"Exactly how they are supposed to achieve this is a bit unclear, but several hints in the text suggest they will be given physical form for the night and attempt to break the seals that Myrddin Emrys placed upon the Hellmouth here almost fifteen hundred years ago."

"This is where I have a problem Giles," Xander complained. "It's now. .." he paused briefly to check his watch, "... just four minutes till midnight. If they're gonna try and open a Hellmouth, shouldn't they be here already. Don't they need sacrifices and chants and some sort of big ceremony. Hell, it was sealed by Merlin, that's gotta be tough to break."

"Yes, quite." Giles looked around nervously. "Normally I'd agree with you but some of the things these spirits have done already suggest they've got a lot of power at their disposal and that means we can't afford to take them lightly."

"OK, but in that case we really should have brought more slayers. Headquarters is practically overflowing with them right now."

"They're all just kids Xand," Buffy said defensively. "And none of them have much field experience."


A sudden stirring in the air and a drop in temperature interrupted whatever Xander had been about to say, and the three friends turned to face the rapidly thickening bank of mist filling one of the doorways as the faint sound of Big Ben striking the hour filtered faintly down from the street above.