Yet More (Semi)Parallel Lives... "Great Race 1906"...Part XLII...

PG13

A BR verse, Semi-P tale...

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...



In (semi)Parallel Lives, Buffy had a slight accident while making the neural recording that restored Buffy Rebecca, her robotic sister...And found herself in an alternate existence...

But, just as BR herself came out of the infinite potential universe of Buffies...So Buffy's mind that night wandered through a number of alternate existences...Here's another...

-The night of BR's restoration, Buffy's wandering mind travels ever further

    -Into the body of a young Physics student in 1906...Who has a leetle trouble dealing with Angel's counterpart...

    -Another tribute to Jack Lemmon, of course...



Part XLII...

***

Given the Missus' aversion to early morning hours, Walthrop had decided to let her sleep in while he checked out the car and road conditions ahead...

Stopping at the inn's dining room for coffee, he received the startling news that the famed Belgorda Pass about twenty miles ahead had been sealed by avalanche...

News so troublesome that he paid scant heed to the innkeeper's cheery mention of the late night arrival of additional foreign visitors...

***

At that moment Miss DuBois was engaged in looking a rather downcast and exhausted Le Grand about three miles up the road to the pass...

In spite of her weariness...Well explained by her rising to join him as he had attempted to quietly leave the inn at five-thirty that morning...( Odd...And a bit...Disturbing...That even in a separate room, she'd heard his footsteps distinctively)...She realized she'd never seen him so utterly lost and uncertain...

So close to real despair...

So in need in comfort...As she patted his hand gently...My poor...She thought, considering a comforting kiss...

My poor?!...Kiss?!...Whoa!...She came out of her half-sleep with a start, causing him to look at her...

"Miss DuBois?..." he eyed her...



Just a bit tired...she smiled nervously...

Well...I just wanted to comfort him, that's all...And I was drifting off...That's all...

Ah...he sighed...Looking up the road where some rocks littered the way...Nothing compared to what he knew blocked the pass ahead...

It's over... he thought...Even if we could go around the pass safely...Which is nearly impossible in this terrain...In several days, likewise nearly impossible, more like several weeks...And even if the pass could be cleared in a few days...Which is probably impossible...Millie must be well along on her way to Vienna...Rome...And Paris...

"Well..." he smiled wanly at Miss DuBois...Kind of her to drag herself all this way so early after their rough trip last night...

Best we head back and sleep a bit more...See what can be done later...

"There's always something that can be done..." he noted firmly...But lacking something of that ole sparkle in his eyes...

I'm sorry...Angel...Miss DuBois looked at him...

***

But both their spirits received an immediate boost at the sight of the figure now hastening up the road from the inn...

One William Maximilian Walthrop, beloved husband of their competitor...

"Walthrop!..." Angel waved cheerily...Never had a man been such a welcome sight...

Unless of course Millie'd pushed on and left him behind after some new and ridiculous argument ...With them one never knew, Angel reflected...

"Mr. Walthrop!..." Miss DuBois called, in an equally pleased...And rather animated, Angel noted...voice...

"Seems we've all had a bit of bad luck!..."

Did she just squeeze my hand?...Angel wondered, feeling...

***

"Don't suppose this could be straightened out fairly quickly...?" Walthrop eyed the road to the pass...

Say like within the next two hours...Before poor Millie drags herself out of bed...he thought...

Not very likely, sir...If the reports of Mr. Le Grand and the others who've been up the way are correct...the town customs inspector...Chief representative of authority in the region...Just summoned up from the village to inspect the situation...noted...

"Last time we had one near as bad as this...Took six months to clear the pass..."

"It did look rather bad..." Angel noted... "And we were nearly caught by the initial avalanche..."

Oh...? Walthrop eyed him...Coolly...

"Yes...Very pleased to see your hand wasn't in this, old friend..." Le Grand glared back...

Mr. Le Grand...Miss DuBois hissed...

Crisis situation...Need for cooperation...Time and place...



"Did I mention how grateful I was to you and Ms. Walthrop for helping to rescue me in Romania...?" she beamed at Max...

Anytime...he briefly smiled at her...

"And just what was that remark supposed to mean, ole friend?..." he returned to Angel...

"Simply based on past experience, Walthrop..." Angel sniffed... "You and Millicent have never shown much in the way of scruples in trying to stop me..."

"Our scruples, you posturing twit?!...Who's been hamstringing every one of Millie's...And she's Professor Fate-Walthrop to you...Efforts since he stole her doctoral thesis...?!"

Miss DuBois blinked...Stole?...

Angel reddened...

"I did not steal her thesis!...You blew up the gasoline in Boracho, sabotaged our competitors, blocked the road in Canada...Kidnaped Madele...er Miss DuBois..."

"We didn't sabotage...all..our competitors...And we just didn't have time to offer Miss DuBois assistance formally..."

As for the rest, peanuts compared to what you did!...Max raged...

"Gentlemen..." Miss DuBois sighed...

All of this is pointless...In the past...Water under the bridge...Or ice floe if you like...

"We must focus on the problem at hand...How are we going to get around or through the pass...?"

"More immediate..." Max sighed...

Who'll tell Millie?...

"Be glad to..." Le Grand grinned...

Oh...? Walthrop...and Miss DuBois...Looked at him coldly...

***

"...Love...Changeless and Evergreen..." Buffy-Millie warbled...Rolling about her bed...Hugging herself...

Sweet William...to let her sleep in a bit...Though of course it could only be just this once...Race to finish after all...

Race to win...If their narrow lead held up...Especially after last night's early "rest stop"...

But a night like last night's was worth risking a narrow lead...she beamed at herself in the mirror over the dresser across from their bed...

Even the teeth didn't look so bad on a morning like this...

But, gee...He hadn't gone to breakfast yet, hadn't he?...She wanted to eat with him...Maybe in here...

Maybe...Eat him...she grinned at herself...Snarling...

Yeah...The Slayer is back...At least for one last time...All she needed, really...Just a chance to get it out of her system...

Good ole Dracula...The demon one, I mean...she thought...To go and threaten Humanity here...



And even better...To fail so miserably...At my hands...

With Max's indispensable help, of course...My courageous William...

Just like his counterpart...

Hmmn...she spied a small clock on the dresser...Still rather early...Well, up and dressed, Miss Fate...As my old matron at Princeton used to say...Might still catch him...Probably he's off to see about the road and if there's any news as to ole Angel...

Ole what's-his-name...

My sweet thoughtful Maxy out checking things for his honey...Hmmn...Another song from Buffy's future dimension if I can remember...

Yeah...

"Nobody does it...Better!..." Two inn guests heard her barely intelligible screech as they passed the door...Staring at the door...

Oh...Sometimes...This world has just gotta be...Heaven...she told herself as she hopped out of bed...

If only our babies...Lil' Buf and Will were here now...

Well...Maybe if they were here, but on another floor with Amelia and Phil at night...

***

"Well?...Convinced...?" Angel eyed Walthrop who sighed...

They all having accompanied the custom inspector back up the road as he made his survey of the damage...Being the local Austrian Imperial official responsible for road maintenance...

Being the only local Austrian Imperial official...

The road was unquestionably as bad if not worse than Le Grand and Miss DuBois had indicated...

Months to clear properly...The inspector pronounced judgment...

Weeks to clear even a small path through...

Even an skilled engineer like Walthrop could see no way around it...

Millie would have to be told...

***

"After the ball is over...La-dee-dah-dah-da-da..." Professor Fate had switched to more conventional music as she headed over to take a quick look at her Hannibal Super Twin8...Her spirits raised even higher by the innkeeper's hasty reply that no, Mr. Walthrop had not yet breakfasted...

He believed the gentleman had gone out to check on some news of trouble on the road ahead...

Oh?...she'd beamed at the man...Hastening out...

Well, can't be too serious on a beautiful day like today...she'd called back cheerily...Waving...

"Charming lady...In spite of the teeth..." a local patron noted to the innkeeper now taking his breakfast order...



***

My poor girl...Hezekiah stroked the Le Grand Special...Sadly feeling the several small dents in the engine cover and door panels...

"Alls I can say, dearie..." he sighed...but darkly glared as he continued...

"If the Perfesser had a hand in doing this to you..."

"Mr. Hezekiah?..." Buffy-Millie stopped in mid-step, as she passed, headed for the other side of the inn stables where her Hannibal sat ...A bit dumb-founded...

You...he stared at her...

Mentally reviewing the rather ample selection of firearms and knives lining his coat ...

***

"Well...I suppose if we can mutually agree upon a side route through the mountains...If one can be found..." Max noted to Angel and Miss DuBois as they strolled back up to the inn at Sesia...

No!!!...Came a shout from the stables...

"Millie!..." Walthrop cried, racing for the stable door...Le Grand and Miss DuBois following...

To find Buffy-Millie spread-eagled across her beloved Hannibal...Hezekiah, gun in one hand, large wrench in the other, confronting her...

"William!!!..." she screamed to him...

He's gonna destroy her!...

"Hezekiah?!..." Angel called to him...

What's going on...?

"She set that avalanche, Boss...Nearly killed us and hurt the ole girl..." Hezekiah looked mournfully back to the Special...

And I'm gonna take it out its hide...Or hers...he grimly noted...

"Not a chance, friend!..." Max took position in front of the car...

So sweet a hubby I got...Buffy-Millie thought, beaming from her position on the hood of the Hannibal...

"Hezekiah!..." Miss DuBois called...

I'm sure Professor Fate wasn't involved here...She's blocked here too...

"So...?" Hezekiah frowned...

We'll just be even then...he advanced on Walthrop...

Buffy-Millie rolled to the side and jerked the car door open...

"Hezekiah!..." Angel frowned at him, coming over...

Cease and desist...We have larger problems to deal with right now...



"You bet you do, pal!..." Buffy-Millie hollered from the side of the Hannibal as the main cannon popped up...

"Gangway, Will!..." she called...Swinging the cannon to bear on Hezekiah...Whoa...He blinked...

Lethal lady with a 75mm howitzer...Mounted within a lovely antique brass cannon...

The Fate-Walthrop theme...Style and functionality...

Now...Millie...Max sighed...Looking back at her in the car...

Nobody spoils my good mood...she thought...Glaring at Hezekiah...

***

Yet More (Semi)Parallel Lives... "Great Race 1906"...Part XLIII...

PG13

A BR verse, Semi-P tale...

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

In (semi)Parallel Lives, Buffy had a slight accident while making the neural recording that restored Buffy Rebecca, her robotic sister...And found herself in an alternate existence...

But, just as BR herself came out of the infinite potential universe of Buffies...So Buffy's mind that night wandered through a number of alternate existences...Here's another...

-The night of BR's restoration, Buffy's wandering mind travels ever further

    -Into the body of a young Physics student in 1906...Who has a leetle trouble dealing with Angel's counterpart...

    -Another tribute to Jack Lemmon, of course...

***

Part XLIII...



A stealthy shadow moved across the vast hall of the LeGrand Motor Works...Long past closing, guards having moved on after making their hourly tour...

Ace investigative reporter...Self-promoted...Warren Mears of the New York Sentinel newspaper, continuing his undercover mission to find the information that would expose the machinations of the LeGrand family and their associated companies once and for all...

Although key records had been obtained and passed on to his eagerly-waiting-if-difficult-to-satisfy employers Alex and Wilhemina "Willow" Harris...Indicating that the various LeGrand companies, including the new Motor Works, had profitably pilfered a number of inventions of one Professor Millicent Fate-Walthrop...There was still not the kind of evidence that would satisfy a court...Especially in a state where the judiciary was largely owned by one Hercule LeGrand, head of the LeGrand companies, and father of Angel LeGrand, the famed Technologic Pioneer and Great Racer...

More was needed...Alexander Harris, Owner, Publisher, and Editor-Emeritus of the Sentinel had noted at their last conference...And he reposed utter confidence in his newly appointed reporter's ability to get it...As did his wife, Acting Editor and Co-Owner Wilhelmina Harris...

Utter confidence...They had both sternly noted to Mears...Who'd gulped but promised to give it his...

All?!...Who cared about his "all"?!!...This paper needs that evidence, man!!!...Alex had stated in tones allowing for no options but success...

Alex...Willow had nervously interjected...Alex being under doctor's orders to watch the old ticker and try to keep a somewhat more relaxed attitude...

Yes, yes...Well...Just see that your assignment is properly completed, Mears...he'd concluded...Mears nodding...

Properly completed...Willow, eyeing Mears, had supplied a last bit of cold sternness...

Yes, Ma'am...Sir...Mears had nodded...

And now was the time to live up to his pledge...

Besides he was lots more scared of that crazy Mrs. Harris than LeGrand and company...

***

In Bosnia, the pleasant reunion of the two remaining Great Racer teams had been somewhat marred by an altercation between Professor Fate-Walthrop and Angel's mechanic and thug-of-all-trades

Hezekiah...Who'd run into each other in the stable of the inn where both teams had found themselves forced to halt following the mysterious avalanche that had blocked the only passable road to Budapest...

And were now, despite the efforts of the newly-arrived remaining members of the respective teams...Angel LeGrand and New York Sentinel reporter Madeleine DuBois...And William Maximilian Walthrop, husband to the Professor...In danger of seriously escalating their disagreement into a high-powered shoot-out...With advantage to the Professor, courtesy her Hannibal Super Twin-8's high-powered medium cannon...

The Professor being in no mood, her delightful morning...Following a terrific previous evening with the hubby...Having been spoilt by the encounter...to consider a more sporting engagement...

She sat at the controls now, cannon carefully targeted on the current source of her wrath...

While to his credit, despite the rather hopeless odds, Hezekiah held his ground, brandishing his largest pistol...Mr. Walthrop sadly out of immediate harms...And hostage-taking way...

"Professor...!" Miss DuBois cried...

"Millie...Come on now..." William added his voice...

"Millicent...Now really..." Angel joined in...

At the use of her given name by her competitor, Buffy-Millie considering swivelling the cannon to retarget...Well, not yet, Mr. Hezekiah seeming a bit too well-armed to be left to his own devices...

Can always blast Angel's fool head off later...Hezekiah and his gun collection might possibly do some damage to the car...Or to dear Max, she eyed her beloved tenderly...

That much of her good mood was still intact at least...Walthrop catching and noting her quick loving glance with pleasure...Such a sweet, tall, blonde thing she was to worry about him so...

Ah, the upside of longtime love and marriage...He gave Angel a slightly superior look, seeing that LeGrand had caught Millie's look at him and seemed....Just a hair...Deflated...

Poor fellow...To have had a brief chance and managed to strike out with the one and only Buffy-Millie Fate...And, despite that almost cocoonlike ego protecting him, to clearly have begun to realize, at last, what he might have had...And lost...In 1897...William happily thought...The whole trip around the world now having been made for him in that one quick moment...

Yeah...

At least as far as this world's Angel was concerned...He had no doubts any longer...That one glance...And her frantic efforts to save him in Romania...Had settled that matter for good...

Still proprieties to be observed...The Race...And the reputation of the family at stake...Which a long prison term for Mother would do no good...

"Millie...It's all right...Hezekiah is not going to do anything to the car..." William gently told her...With a gleam in his eye thanking her for that glance...

"You bet he's not!..." she noted firmly...Glaring at her target...While at the same time catching that gleam from William...Oh...Maxy...I've done it at last...She calmed a little with inner contentment...

So...He knows I'd blow LeGrand's twerp's head off without a look back...At least as far as this Angel goes...We're ok...At last...

"Buffy..." he gently tried again, sensing her calming mood...Which to the others still seemed unabatedly threatening... "Please...It will be alright...And we have other things to worry about...Serious things..."

Buffy again...? Angel and Madeleine looked at the Professor who gave a very slight blush...

Max...she hissed...

Private names should remain...Private...her quick frowning look said...Heck, do I ever call you Spike in front of others?...Well, often?...she thought...Eyeing Miss DuBois...

Just that one time back home...And that was a very upsetting night...

"Must be a lovers' nickname..." Miss DuBois whispered to Angel...

Hmmn...What was that name she used for him?...Miss DuBois wondered...Back when I first met them in Indiana...Oh, right...

Spike...Spike...And Buffy...

Kinda sweet, really...Especially considering the Professor's usual grim front...

Oh?...Angel thought...Lover's nickname....Buffy...Hmmn....

Gee...She never asked me...the Angel LeGrand...To call her "Buffy" back in the old days at Princeton...he thought...Just a hair sadly...

But then that night we had our little "encounter" she and I were a bit too busy for much conversation...

Well, other matters pressing...

"Professor..." Angel resumed his efforts with an attempt at placating her...Miss DuBois stared at him...A bit...

He may be dense, but he does know her well...and how much that title means to her...

Damn...

"Please...This is all a minor misunderstanding..." Le Grand continues... "We face a serious situation which we must all work together to solve...It's no time for silly squabbling...Hezekiah, you too...This is no time for nonsense...."

Max likewise took the practical route in his next effort...

"Millie...We'll never finish the Race if you blow the man's head off..."

And the clincher...

"Think of the children, sweetheart..."

She glanced at him...Urggh...A deep glower back at Hezekiah...Still nervously holding his position in front of the Walthrops' beloved vehicle....

Well...she sighed internally...

He's got me there...The children...

God I wish lil' Will and Buf' were here...To see me blow this jerk's fool head off his shoulders...Then his employer's...

Well, maybe not...she sighed again...Externally now...

Max sensed the battle moving in his favor...

"Please, Mil...For me...And the children..."

Ummn...For Will...And the children...Damn...

Especially as Hezekiah must have been involved in Angel's sabotaging of my past efforts...she thought...Still glaring...At her best "Wild Witch of the West" intensity...

After all...Angel's not smart enough to have pulled those little schemes off on his lonesome...And he'd never have allowed himself to...Literally... Get his hands dirty, mucking around with my equipment...

"Tell him to back away...Slowly..." she called to Angel grimly...

Hezekiah...he called...

"You heard Millicent..."

"Professor Fate-Walthrop to you!!..." she and Max simultaneously growled...

Gee...Miss DuBois thought involuntarily for just a horrifying half-second watching the Walthrops...

Must be nice to grow into each other like that...

Hezekiah reluctantly...But slowly, as ordered...Backed away...

Both he and the Professor now suddenly aware of what the others had been trying to say...

Serious what?...

"What's happened, honey?..." "What's up Boss?..." Buffy-Millie and Hezekiah asked their respective partners...

***

Well...Buffy-Millie sat with a grim frown on a folding chair brought up from their car by Max while she had inspected the blocked road for herself...

"It's blocked for sure..."

For both of us...Angel, now pleasantly engaged in pouring champagne from his apparently inexhaustible source, noted...The others having sat down to a picnic lunch while the Professor had made her loudly-insisted upon personal inspection with William in tow...

Just in case those idiots...Not including dear Max of course...Had got it utterly wrong and the road could be cleared with a few minor efforts...

"Well...We must now simply concentrate on finding a usable route around the pass..." Angel smiled at Miss DuBois...Madeleine...Who couldn't resist returning the smile...

So nice to see him back in form...Ridiculous as his never-failing optimism might be, it did have a certain charm, she had to admit...

Not that he'd lost it completely even back when they'd thought the Race hopelessly lost...But he had seemed a bit worn down...

And she was, in spite of herself...Beginning to find herself anxious not to see him worn down...

Hmmn...Buffy-Millie kicked at stones on the ground...Potentially weeks delay in this terrain...And mucho chances for the opposing side to pull ahead in those hills around us after we separate...

"What about driving to the coast?...Taking a ferry of some sort up to the first port with a decent...Safe (please) road to Budapest..." Miss DuBois suggested...

Only direct road to the coast was just past that pass...Buffy-Millie frowned, pointing up the road...

"Well...We're all in the same boat...We'll think of something..." Max noted, coming over to her... "Here..." he passed her a sandwich and champagne...

Hmmn...She sighed, taking her lunch...Thanks...And setting it down on the ground, startled the others by pulling him into her lap and kissing him...

"Thanks, baby..." she hugged him... "But you haven't eaten yet...Sit down and lemme get you something, Will..." she insisted...

"Is there any ham...? Max prefers ham...What?..." She eyed a staring Miss DuBois as she came over to the blanket where the others sat...

"You saw us in down mode in Siberia..." she explained...A slight wave of the hand...

Down mode?...Angel and Miss DuBois looked at each other...

"Down mode..." William agreed from where he sat in his folding chair...

"But we be in...Up mode now..." Buffy-Millie beamed at her Max...Bringing over sandwich and champagne...

Up mode...Definitely...Will nodded over to them...

It was a definite look of...Something she cared not to see...That Miss DuBois suddenly caught in Angel's face as he stared at the Walthrops, particularly Buffy-Millie's happily beaming face as she spread her coat, sat, and rested her head against Will's chair, between his legs...Utterly content as she closed her eyes, in spite of the potentially disastrous turn of events...

Shhh...Genius pondering, Will gently grinned at the others, finger to his lips...Other hand stroking her beautiful hair...

Angel silently staring on at them...Madeleine at him...

Even Hezekiah, watching his teammates, felt a vague sympathy for both...Though also some annoyance...At the Boss...Who had chosen a fine time to start regretting missed chances...

Sometimes...The Boss just had no brains...To hurt the poor lady so...He glanced at poor Miss DuBois...Who was now doing her best to avoid noticing Angel's long stare at his quietly happy competitors...

A lady such as one didn't encounter very often...Whatever Mr. Hercule might have to say regards her...

***

As the Great Racers re-entered their inn...A temporary truce in effect while they considered their options, the innkeeper greeting them, indicated a heavy-set, walrus-mustached gentleman sitting at table...

"Mr. Chadwick...?" he called... "Your people have returned..."

The heavy-set man beamed...Angel and the others stared at him as he rose, bowing to the ladies...

"Mr LeGrand...?" he put out a large hand...

Chadwick, Eugene Chadwick...Of the European Division of LeGrand Machinery Works, Inc...he smiled...

"My card..." he presented a white card...

"My father sent you...?" Angel stared...

"He'd alerted me to the possibility of your being in the area..." Chadwick noted...

Hezekiah eyed him...Hmmn...One of our European boys, eh?...I think I can guess how the pass up ahead got blocked...

"But it was mainly happy coincidence that I was in the region on an inspection tour..." Chadwick continued, all congeniality...

Uh-huh...Buffy-Millie sourly noted...

Yeah...

"I'm sorry..." Chadwick looked at her... "I've not had the pleasure..."

Professor Millicent Fate-Walthrop...she replied...

"My husband William..." she waved to Max...Who nodded...

Ah...

"So all of you were trapped here by the avalanche...?" Chadwick nodded thoughtfully...

Yeah...All of us...Buffy-Millie frowned...

"You too..." she noted... "Unless you got some easy way out...Say maybe...Had one already standing by?..."

Professor...Miss DuBois frowned back...

"Does seem a little...Interesting...That you're here...Now...Friend..." Walthrop stared at Chadwick...

"Surveying the country roundabouts...For possible roadways..." he smiled...

We expect the automobile to become a major force for change in Europe...Even in remote locales like this...And LeGrand Motors wants to promote road expansion...

Good for business...he concluded...

"So is...Winning this Race..." Buffy-Millie grimly smiled at him...

Excuse me...? he smiled back pleasantly...

"We are both trapped here, Professor..." Angel noted, a bit peeved...

She gave him a withering gaze, teeth prominent...He glared back...

One time...One time I behave...Well, a tad less than gentlemanly...And she's determined to make me the fount of all things evil forever more...he groused within...

It's not like I ever divulged our little mutual secret...Except almost that one time back in Morovia...But even then I didn't, even though that annoying little husband of hers had given me ample cause...

Miss DuBois staring at him...

Why is he so?...Bothered by her attitude...It's almost as if he were...Hurt...

No...

It couldn't be...He couldn't...Be...

But...He just started calling me...Madeleine...

I mean...Look at those teeth...

"Mil..." Walthrop patted her... "Lets hear the fellow out..." he smiled somewhat more pleasantly at Chadwick...

We can always konk him one later, if he turns out to be an annoyance...he hissed in her ear...Kissing her quickly to cover...

Ok...she shrugged...

Well?...she looked at the still-beaming Englishman...

"Well...In point of fact, I may actually be able to help you..."

Really?...she dryly noted...But wrapped Walthrop's arm around her and presenting an attentive expression, took a chair with the others at the Englishman's table...

Angel frowning at her slightly...As Miss DuBois did at him...

He's hurt...Cause she thinks badly of him...she thought...

All this time...I thought it was her, mooning after him...It never even occurred to me...

Not with those teeth...

But...When she's with Walthrop and happy...With that hair and those eyes...Even the teeth fade out when she smiles...

And she's so brilliant...And he somehow manages to appreciate a fine mind...Maybe sensing his own deficiencies in that regard...

Oh, God...

And he just started calling me Madeleine...

***

Yet More (Semi)Parallel Lives... "Great Race 1906"...Part XLIV...

PG13

A BR verse, Semi-P tale...

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

In (semi)Parallel Lives, Buffy had a slight accident while making the neural recording that restored Buffy Rebecca, her robotic sister...And found herself in an alternate existence...

But, just as BR herself came out of the infinite potential universe of Buffies...So Buffy's mind that night wandered through a number of alternate existences...Here's another...



-The night of BR's restoration, Buffy's wandering mind travels ever further

    -Into the body of a young Physics student in 1906...Who has a leetle trouble dealing with Angel's counterpart...

    -Another tribute to Jack Lemmon, of course...



Part XLIV...

Eugene Chadwick, sinister agent of Le Grand Motor Works and Le Grand Machinery, Inc...European Division...offers his "help" to the stranded Great Racer teams...Their one road out of Bosnia blocked by the machinations of the Serb revolutionary agents in his employ...

Well, the offer of help being sincere in regards to young Le Grand at least...

He eyes the rival leaders across the table of the little inn where they have taken shelter in hopes of devising a solution to their joint problem...

Young Angel Le Grand, wavy-haired, dashing hero of the new age of Technological Advancement, suit and teeth as white as ever, a contented and optimistic expression on the features which have won the hearts of females (and not a few males) the world round...Eager to resume his natural upbeat outlook on the basis of Chadwick's so-far vague promise of assistance...

So good of Father to have ordered our people to keep an eye out...Not that any interference should be tolerated...But surely assistance offered in equal measure to both teams to allow the Race to continue should be taken for the good fortune it was...

And Professor Millicent Fate-Walthrop... "Buffy" to her beloved husband William Maximilian "Max" Walthrop and her interdimensional advisor, the doctor-god and brother/counterpart of Glory, Benedictus only...Tall, blonde, buck-toothed...With a slight, unjustified hang-up regarding her looks...Dressed in her usual practical black...Grimly giving a narrow and guarded scrutiny of this walrus-mustached, heavy-set Englishman with his oleaginous smile...Who'd appeared so opportunely at a rather interesting moment...Just after the only pass had been blocked by "accidental" avalanche...

Coincidence?...Uh-huh...

And their respective team members...Sitting beside Angel, the tall, ever forthright, and radiantly lovely Madeleine DuBois...First Black female reporter for the New York Sentinel...Her deep brown eyes also scanning this rather too conveniently appearing fellow...Instinctively sensing a shiftiness in his manner...

Bears watching, this fellow...And he seems to be going out of his way to avoid noticing the nonwhite member of the LeGrand team...

Ummn...Well, not member...Of course...Just an impartial observer...Utterly objective...

Standing by as well...Likewise watching carefully, but with little doubt as to Chadwick's true mission...Angel's mechanic, right-hand, and parentally-appointed nursemaid/thug of all trades, Hezekiah...Bald, well-muscled, ruthless...But utterly devoted to his sometimes clueless young employer...And becoming rather attached, in spite of his resentment and fear of her influence, in his rough, but brotherly manner to the Miss DuBois...A lady such as rarely seen...In his reluctantly-given, hard-earned opinion...

Lucky ya didn't get us killed, yer little...And if you fumble this one...I and my favorite Bowie may get intimately acquainted with yer innards...

And beside the frowning Professor...Her own William Maximilian...Slight, blonde, loving, and indomitable...A worthy counterpart of the William Soames Walthrop who'd fought his arduous way back to Humanity in her counterpart Buffy Summers' world...Even if he did only come up to her shoulder...He too eyeing the agent of Le Grand, Inc with suspicion, though perhaps a little less grimly...

Coincidence that a Le Grand employee should pop now?...Yeah, right...Still, Mil' should be a little less obvious...Give the fellow enough rope to hang himself while we watch...

Hmmn...he gave a quick side glance at Angel...The usual dim-witted, "go Princeton" positivism...

No wonder he was captain of the Princeton cheerleaders back in our college days...

Does seem like he has no clue as to any intent on Chadwick's part...Possible he doesn't know, if there is a scheme on...? Could he really be that...? Max eyes that beaming face...

Oh, yeah...

Still he did steal Mil' thesis...And he's at least benefitted from someone messing with my girl's past efforts...Very likely "doesn't want to know..." is the principle at work between him and his boys...

***

Ah, ha...At the Le Grand Motor Works offices, Warren stared at the files the lock of which he'd just skillfully forced...

Nuthin...Routine files on parts shipments, payments to suppliers...A file on labor unrest at the company, complete with a letter from rival manufacturer Henry Ford suggesting the pooling of resources to terrorize and eliminate troublesome "agitators" among the workers...

Not a thing useful...He sighed...

"Hey!!!..." A light shined in his face...And the lights went out...For him at least as the guard who'd caught him slammed his billy club on his neck...

***

In their hotel room in Vienna...Amelia and Phil Walthrop, William's younger brother and sister, debated their course of action...

To accept Hercule LeGrand's orders to stand ready to prevent their sister-in-law from achieving victory...Or face having him expose them as his chief agents in hamstringing her past efforts...

Albeit with the best intentions...

Mil' had to get over this nonsense with Angel Le Grand...It was ruining her chances for doing the great work she was clearly meant to do...And hurting brother Will...

But, contrary to their hopes...And Mr. Le Grand's continual assurances...Each setback had only strengthened her desire to wipe that smirk off Angel's handsome face once and for all...And prove that she, Millie Fate-Walthrop was in every way, more than his match...

And now, with a long list of rather nefarious, if always well-meant...And carefully planned as to leave Millie and Will a margin of safety for escape...deeds of sabotage behind them...The diabolical Hercule had them over a barrel...

The thought that Millie and Will might learn what they'd done...And hate them for it...Intolerable...

The thought that they might snatch her greatest potential triumph away from her...One that might be of real practical benefit to the Fate-Walthrop Company, the family business...Equally intolerable...

Phil took the case for abandoning the effort...He'd had enough...To do more, and wreck her chances of winning this damned race would hurt Mil' more than he could bear...

"They'd throw us out, Melia...And I wouldn't blame 'em..." he noted...

"They wouldn't throw us out Phil..." Amelia shook her head...

"No...Guess not..." he sighed, conceding the point... "But she'd never trust us again...And it would never be the same..."

And his chief argument...

"She might blame Will..."

It was true, 'Melia knew...She might choose to believe...With a little help from Hercule Le Grand...That brother Will had been behind their efforts...Trying to keep her away from Angel...And with him...At home...

As he'd shot off his biggest debating gun, she jumped ahead to her strongest argument...

"But if Mr. Le Grand lets her know about us...She'll believe it was Will in that case, too..."

An impasse...They stared at each other...

A knock at the door...Telegram...

"The Belgorda Pass blocked by avalanche...Stop...Are trying to find new route...Stop...All well...All our love...Stop...Behave selves in Vienna...Stop...Will and Mil..." Amelia read...

Phil quickly pulled up a map... "There..." he pointed... "It's the only road...They might be stuck until the race has to be called off..."

Hmmn...Amelia stared at the map...

She eyed Phil who eyed her...Phew...Maybe the debate's outcome could be deferred a few days at that...

***

Yet More (Semi)Parallel Lives... "Great Race 1906"...Part XLV...



PG13



A BR verse, Semi-P tale...

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

In (semi)Parallel Lives, Buffy had a slight accident while making the neural recording that restored Buffy Rebecca, her robotic sister...And found herself in an alternate existence...

But, just as BR herself came out of the infinite potential universe of Buffies...So Buffy's mind that night wandered through a number of alternate existences...Here's another...

-The night of BR's restoration, Buffy's wandering mind travels ever further

    -Into the body of a young Physics student in 1906...Who has a leetle trouble dealing with Angel's counterpart...

    -Another tribute to Jack Lemmon, of course...

Part XLV...

In the LeGrand Motor Works main office a dazed Warren came to, to find himself securely bound to a chair...Water all over his face and upper body, from a pitcher now on the table by the desk...Tossed at him by the tough, scar-face man facing him he recognized as one of the chief security men...A former Pinkerton man well-schooled in dealing with "troublesome" labor agitators...Hired by Hercule LeGrand for his expertise in such work...

"Wake up!!...Bastard!...What the hell were you doing in this office at this hour?!...Speak up!..."

Unnnh...Warren gave an understandable but unsatisfactory answer...

Requiring a savage response, given in the form of a hard blow to the side of his face...

"Talk...!!!...You're working for someone!!...Who is it?!!..."

***

Chadwick's proffered solution was a relatively simple one...Two miles back down the road was a ferryboat landing across the River

All they need do was to secure a barge large enough to handle the cars, float downstream, and resume ground after about fifty or miles where there were reasonably passable trails back to the unblocked section of the main road...

The only fly in the ointment being...No gasoline on said trails...Which would likely run nearly a hundred miles before hitting the main road again...

The fuel efficient Hannibal might make it...Buffy-Millie noted proudly...But the Angel Special would not...

Max pointed out there would be at least another hundred mile of driving on the main road after regaining to reach the next gas stop...Which LeGrand confirmed with a quick check of the map he'd spread out on the floor by their table...

Neither car would make it on their remaining gas...And not much likelihood of finding a rapid communication system on the glorified goat-trails they'd be following much of the way so as to have the gas brought to them...

Long out of carrier pigeons, Miss DuBois sighed at LeGrand...What to do...?

"We could try sending a rider by horse but they'd have a devil of a time getting through unless they'd floated down past the pass and mountains as well..." Chadwick twisted at his mustache...

Hmmn...Buffy-Millie pondered...

"How many miles to the depot...Straight, I mean...As the crow flies...?"

"About a hundred, I believe..." Chadwick eyed her... "If it were possible to go straight, over the pass, the mountains here, and the river...

Millie?...William looked at her...Wheels definitely turning...Oh-oh...Oh...oh...

Millie...he eyed her...She smiled back...Guess what I got in mind...Hee...

"Yes..." Angel nodded... "I believe the river offers our best chance...We will simply have to see if we can arrange for contact to be made with the gas depot and have it shipped up to us where we leave our barge..."

"That could take days...A few weeks even.." Buffy-Millie noted.... "If they can even get it to us on the trails..."

"If the cars could make it to Strena...Here..." she pointed...

"It's off the track to the main road by at least forty miles..." Angel eyed the map...

"But...It looks like it has some communication with the outside world..." she tapped her teeth with a finger...An arch look to Max who knew what was up...

God...I hoping we'd never try this one...he sighed to himself...Still...If Mil' did it...My Buffy-Mil'...I'll stake my life on it every time...

"Yes...If the cars can reach it, there is a road of sorts there..." Chadwick nodded...Eyeing her...Hmm?...What is the fool woman suggesting?...

And can it be turned to serve my purpose in being here?...Eliminating her...

"Millie..." William sighed...Guessing at what was coming...

"It'll only be a hundred miles, hon'...And a grand scenic view..." she grinned...C'mon, babe...Show a little of that Max and Mil' team spirit...her quick look said...

"Great..." he replied dryly... "Perfect way to test your heliocopter...Over the roughest terrain in Southern Europe..."

Whaat?...Angel, Miss DuBois, and Hezekiah stared...Hmmn...Chadwick pondered...

Ex...Actly...she put her tongue on the side of her upper lip with a wink... "A great trial run..."

If nobody...For once...Screws it on us...she gave Angel a slight frown...

Screws...? Angel blinked...Hmmn...

"Wouldn't you want your device properly screwed together...?" he asked innocently...Chadwick looking a bit puzzled as well...

Miss DuBois glaring a bit at the Professor...Her past career experiences having exposed her at times to the sort of uncouth types where such terms were employed...

Hezekiah equally experienced in his own past likewise glaring...Though not above wondering if perhaps...He gave Chadwick a careful look...

Whatever this fellow agent of Le Grand's was up to, he'd best get it straight between them at the first opportunity that obtaining the gasoline was the element of prime importance...And that the Boss was not to be exposed to any potential scandal...

"Mil..." William gave a reproving frown...It's just cruel to insult our poor Angel when he's utterly clueless...his slight smile noted...

Whatever...Buffy-Millie waved a hand...Anyhow...

"It's little extra something tucked away in my Hannibal..." she beamed benevolently at her opponents...

A new sort of flying machine...Vertically lifting...Using a rotation blade for the lift wing and another for balance...

The rest of the group about the table stared at her...Excepting William who gave a reluctant grin back...That's my genius girl there...

"It's in pieces but it could be assembled in a few hours...Some of us could take the cars downstream and then overland to Strena...While I..."

"And me..." William eyed her...She frowned back...Anyway...

"Fly over to the depot and have the gas sent back to Strena...Easy as pie..."

Easy as a fork in pie crust...Chadwick thought, picturing...A flying machine?...In those mountains...?...If they didn't crash outright, they'd be sure to die of thirst and starvation...Especially if my friend Princep and his men can get a crack at them and their ...what was it?...Heliocopter...?

"A capital idea, Professor..." he beamed... "Sure to save you both many days..."

"Sounds a bit insane..." Miss DuBois shook her head... "A flying machine?...In these mountains...?"

"Heliocopter...." Buffy-Millie said firmly... "It's not an airplane...It rises vertically and then flies...More or less...wherever you wish..."

I hope...she did not say...

If you got the bugs out...Max did not say, supportively...But eyeing her sternly...

Angel nodded thoughtfully...An interesting little proposal...And if he knew Millie Fate..."Sounds like a remarkable machine...But surely it would be best if I and perhaps Walthrop..."

She grimaced...As did Miss DuBois, slightly...

"Like hell are you using my heliocopter...You're lucky if I trust you with my car on the barge...But if Max is there to watch over it..."

Oh, really...? William stared at her...If I'm left behind safe with the car, eh...?...Like hell...he thought...

Millie and her language...Angel sighed to himself...I never will get used to it...

Must be rather...Entertaining...At times...he eyed Walthrop, a slight something...Wistful...in that look...Miss DuBois catching it even as he turned away...

I never realized...she sadly thought to herself...It never even occurred to me...

"Well..." LeGrand smiled slowly at his rival... "Perhaps the two of us..."

Hezekiah stared...Miss DuBois stared...

Boss...?

Mr. LeGrand...?

"Us...?" Buffy-Millie stared...Hmmn...

On the one hand...I might get him to finally come clean about my thesis when we're alone...Not to mention show off my latest...

On the other hand...Max would probably let me do it just to prove he believes there's nothing left between pretty boy here and me...And have a coronary from worry while waiting...

And I have put my boy through a lot on this trip...

Not to mention...Angel and I are the biggest people here excepting this Chadwick character...The two of us together might be a bit much in this kind of terrain...

Hmmn...He hasn't put on much weight since Princeton...she stared at LeGrand appraisingly...Held up...Rather...

Whoops...That's as far as I ever intend to go down that road...Again...she thought...

Hmmn...

"I can do it alone...Probably best to keep the weight down..." she hastily replied...Put on her most determined glare...The ole' bucks prominent...Her black dress grimy...Hair a rat's nest...

Never a woman more beautiful...Even the slimy Chadwick, staring...

Like he'd ever really let me go alone...she looked at William...

My partner...My never weary audience of one...My devoted Spikish minstrel singing to me forever that he cannot, will not live without me...

And one might consider whether the William of that world would accept this chin and these teeth...

The one guy worth dying for...But oh, so much better to live for...

She never looks...Lovelier...Than when she takes on the world...Angel silently nodded at her as she stood glaring, arms folded...Teeth, chin, and all...

And it could have been me...Oh...Millie...

"We'll go together or nobody's going and we do it the sane and safe way...By slow barge only..." Max stared at his Professor...Arms folded...

"We can't leave my Han..." she began, solemnly... "Together...Or nobody goes..." he glared, cutting her off...

"I know your 'copter can do it, Mil...So we both go..." he repeated... "Miss DuBois can certify that the cars are kept inviolate..."

Ok...she smiled...

Never good to break up a crack team...she noted to the others...

Absolutely...William nodded...

Even if there's no staking to be done...

***

The Sweetheart Tree

From "The Great Race"

Music by Henry Mancini, Lyrics by Johnny Mercer


Play

"They say there's a tree in the forest,

A tree that will give you a sign;

Come along with me, to the Sweetheart Tree,

Come and carve your name next to mine.

They say if you kiss the right sweetheart,

The one you've been waiting for,

Big blossoms of white will burst into sight

And your love will be true evermore."

"Where the devil did you get that song from?..." Angel eyed Buffy-Millie as she sang it gently to Max under the tree where they labored with Hezekiah and LeGrand to get her remarkable heliocopter into working order...Her phonograph playing from the Hannibal...Her own composition and recording, Max noted proudly to Miss DuBois...

"Well...Not exactly mine..." Buffy-Millie grinned sheepishly...Nudging Max...

"But lets just say it's a love song I picked up in a dream a while from now..." she beamed...Hugging Max now...

"Hey, lass...Delicate instruments on which our lives may depend here...!" he carefully balanced a gear assembly in his hand as she pulled him round...Sorry...She let go...

"Didn't say you had to leggo..." he grinned, kissing her as he set the assembly down gently...

"It's lovely, Professor..." Miss DuBois smiled at her, just a bit sadly...

Just lovely...she looked at LeGrand who was still staring at the beaming Millie as she rocked William in her arms, repeating the song...A solemn, rather wan expression on his face...

Hezekiah frowning a moment as he and Chadwick looked over...Sometimes the Boss is just a foolish kid...He looked at Miss DuBois...Giving her a warm, if gruff little smile...

A foolish, foolish kid...

***


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