Original Sin...



Summary: It seems Buffy and William met even before the 1880 Cicelyverse...And pretty much have followed the same pattern in their relationship to the present day...

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

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... (meaning Anne H. S. , Ben J., and William S, are all mine...)

PG-13

***

Stratford-on-Avon, England...1588...

A tremendous crash!... from inside a modest, but comfortable-looking home of the period...As if crockery were being smashed against the walls by a rather agitated individual...

Outside, in a narrow alleyway, Anyanka, vengeance demon par excellence...Chief agent of Vengeance Lord D'Hoffryn...Winced as another loud smash from within suggested that some piece of fairly heavy and solid wood furniture had briefly become airborne...

"Anne!!!..." A faint cry from within... "Stay, dear heart...! Not the best chair...Anne!!!" Another tremendous crash...A wordless howl of anger accompanying...

She eyed her companion in the alley, who was listening intently and quite contentedly to the ongoing clamor within the home of William and Anne Hathaway Shakespeare...Ben Jonson of name... "Friend" to William in their daily contacts...Bitter rival in the swirling battle for the hearts of London's theater-loving populace and the patronage of the powerful public men who supported their efforts...and in affairs de coeur...Particularly concerning the fair, raven-haired lady within...Currently engaged in destroying her own family furniture...

"Seems the lady of the house has heard of dear Will's latest..." Ben chuckles...And turns to the foul demon in guise of a lovely young maid whose aid he has claimed as result of a fortunate error on the part of D'Hoffryn's staff...

It having been Chris Marlowe who'd wronged the young lady whose injuries Jonson had been briefly made to suffer for before D-H had caught the mistake...Much to the embarrassment of a long-standing firm of impeccable rep like D'Hoffryn's...

Naturally amends had to be made, even beyond reversing the curse that had gotten Jonson briefly killed in a tavern fight before his genius could be properly recognized....A curse for a curse...Which Ben in generous spirit had been willing to accept as more than fair...Given that his life had been restored as well as a matter of course...Easing the burdened D-H's mind considerably for a short time...

Until Jonson'd made known the scope of the curse he'd had in mind...

"You do understand, Mr. Jonson..." Ben, fair lass...he grins... "Yeah..." she frowns, remembering his last rough pass... But D-H had said to treat the fellow with courtesy..."Ben...Mistress Shakespeare must actually make the wish herself...I can't impose it without her consent..."

Ay...Jonson smiles...And that be the best part of the whole matter, girl...

"To have dear Annie...My dear Annie..." he glares at the house... "The Annie what should have been mine...Do the very thing herself..."



Uh-boy...He's gonna go through with it...Anyanka sighs...D-H hoped against hope he was joking...Would back off when he realized we really could do it...

Still...It's hard to imagine a loving wife doing...CRASH!!!!...Hmmn...Well, maybe...

"SHREW?!!!...SHREW?!!!!..." Comes a shrieking cry from within the Shakespeare residence..."You called me a damned Shrew in your play?!!!..."

Now...Dear heart...A faint attempt at a calming reply... "Poetic license, darl..."

Crash!!!....

"It wasn't you the model, dearest An..."

"Everyone in town sayin' it was me, you!!... I'll SHOW YOU A DAMNED SHREW!!!! YOU BASTARD!!!!...."

"Not Mother's favorite cup, girl!!...Annie...A little consider...." CRASH!!!...

"GET OUT!!!!...." another shriek... "OUT!!!!!!...."

"Anne, the neighbors...the children..." a faint plea to her sensibility as a mother and respectable citizen goes unheeded...

The front door crashes open and a tall, balding figure is sent sprawling across the road...Several papers, writing implements, books following in quick succession...Into the mire by the side where a young William Shakespeare lies a moment...Choosing the best part of valor in case his dear Nan should choose to continue her efforts to redeem her husband's thoughtless nature...

A violent slam of the front door suggests she has chosen not to continue her redemptive work...For the moment...

"Anne?..." Shakespeare cautiously rises...Several village boys pausing to smirk...

Jonson pulls back a bit... "He can't see us right now..." Anyanka hastily notes...

"Good, good..." Ben nods...

"Mr. Jonson...?" Anyanka hesitates...As they watch the hapless Will gather his materials, attempt to brush some mire, and stagger off in the direction of Strafford's nearest drinking place...Pursued by a number of taunting village boys... "Curst Kate...The curstest Kate in Christendom..." several older ones chant as he stumbles along, cursing back in rather colorful metaphoric language to their intense delight...

Nobody cusses like Stratford's young bard...Several take careful notes as they follow...

"Are you sure about this...?" D'Hoffryn having repeatedly stressed his desire for her to leave the client as much opportunity to back out as possible...He rather fancied young Mr. S' work...Enough so that he'd secretly...Well, secret to all his own excepting his trusted Anyanka...violated his own strictures on time-travel in order to see what the boy's enormous talent held in store...And was naturally loathe to see that potential blighted by a lesser competitor's jealously...

Unusual as her careful instructions from D-H may be, she is determined to follow them to the letter...

She having kinda liked that future performance of "Much Ado About Nothing" Lord D'Hoffryn had kindly taken her to...The kid clearly had talent...Shame to see it wasted...

"Sure as the sun's rising tomorrow..." Jonson smiles... "If your lord can do all he claims...And truly considers himself bound by his promise..."

Aye...Anyanka sighs...Sadly, D-H is a being of principle...After all, what is a successful business based on but the trust and loyalty of its customers?..



Still, D-H had managed to drive his usual skillful bargain...There was still a slight chance...If Mistress Shakespeare should refuse to fall into her old suitor's nefarious little trap...Or the potential damage to both art...Which concerned D-H immensely...And human development...Which did not...Could be minimized by his trusted chief agent's deft handling of both client and instrument...

However...As the said lady suddenly appeared on the family doorstep...Glaring out on the road in front of the house...Nostrils flairing...Crimsoned-cheeked...Fists clenched in fury...Muttering oaths as she looked up and down the road...

It seemed likely the world was about to lose one damned fine versifier...

And...Anyanka eyed the leering Jonson as he enjoyed the sight of Anne in her raging glory...This fellow, admittedly talented as he was...Was hardly likely to fill the gap...

***

The fair, dark Anne had paced, kicking the front stairs, muttering, and finally throwing rocks at the young boys dashing by... "Curst Kate..." their howls...For the best part of an hour when, sensing a slight calming...To the level where a rational conversation might be attempted...Anyanka took her current visible human form as good Mistress Jenkins, Anya by name...Young and lovely newcomer to Stratford...And materializing out-of-sight in the house across the way which she had recently taken, emerged on her doorstoop...Jonson remaining invisible to all but her in his alley...Watching hopefully...

"Good morrow, Mistress Anne...!" Anya cheerily waves...Eyeing the still-furious Anne...She comes over, a concerned expression on her face...

"Dear Mistress Shakespeare...What troubles you (Anya kindly translating the indecipherable Old pre-Shakespearian English for us) this fine day?..."

Mistress Jenkins...Anne curtly nods...

"Many things..." she returns to scanning the road...No returning Will...A wise man...His judgment in such matters nearing his artistic ability...

"And your good hus..." A savage glare cuts that "good husband" in two...

"Out..." Anne grinds this bit of news savagely between her teeth...

Ah...

"And has his new work been..."

Urg...ARGHH!!!...Anne stamps her feet in rage...Performed!...Performed!!...By the Lord's Mass, goddamnit yes...It's been performed...!!!!!

Ah...

"Was it not a suc..."

"SUCCESS...?!!..." Anne rages... "By the Mass!!!...The damned piece of ...!!!" she calms a bit...The family business, after all...

"Why yes, it has been quite a success..." she stiffly notes...Trying to regain her composure...

Very dark lady...Anya notes to herself...Quite as ravishing in her rage as her joy...No wonder three of England's finest poet-playwrites fought for her hand...Well, symbolically fought...Using their God-given gifts...Only Chris Marlowe being much good at the brawling and swordplay end...And he was at least bi at that...

But then, being a Slayer...Naturally a woman with something extra...



Oh, sweet Nan...Ben sighs in his invisible corner...

Fool to fall for that swine...That Bloody Awful...

Well, let history judge the two of us...And make the proper decision as to our immortality as artists...

Especially after my dear vengeance demon's done her work...

***

"So..." Mistress Jenkins has taken poor Nan in hand...And over for a cup or two...Or three...Of her fresh made brew...

"He called it "Taming of the Shr..." Anne rises up in rage...

"Shrew!!!...Shrew!!!!!...My own husband...How could the man humiliate me so?...Everyone in town is laughing at me...And us...The family's disgraced..." she looks down...

It may be...she pauses...That I have...Some...Bit...Of temper...she notes...At times...In me...

Especially on Patrol when I be thinking of me little ones in danger...And Will is too damned busy thinking of his next play to give me proper help as we stroll...she thinks...

"But to call me that...Before the wide world...Proclaim it even to London itself..." she tears up a bit...

"Surely not you, Mistress Anne...Did you not say the lady's name is...Kate?..."

God...!...Anne sobs openly now...

To use Kate...Kate...

Hmmn?...Anya stares...

Everyone in town knows he calls me Kate as a pet name...Anne explains...My lover name...she sighs...

"Or so it was...No more!...No! %$%^&ing More!..."

"You have been gravely wronged, Mistress..." Anya nods sympathetically...

And he'll damned well suffer for it!!!...Anne rages again, somewhat swaying as she stands, after three large mugs of new beer...

Suffer...the full measure...!...she holds out her mug for more...

"Aye!..." Anya pours and clinks mugs... "The full measure..."

"A fortnight from his bed will I be...And he may sing out his damned sonnets all night long...Call me his dark lady all the moonlit night...And read from that new one...up to our balcony...I will not take heed of his pleas..."

"New one?..." Anya eyes her...

Aye...Tis' a lovely bit...About two doomed young lovers, Anne beams...His most romantic to date...

"But not even the balcony scene will melt my heart...!" she resumes her rage... "I will be stone!...He calls me shrew to the town...Well, he'll be gettin' his shrew...Bastard!..."

A week from his bed...No less...she nods firmly...



Of course he stays in the house...No way am I letting him stay with that Ben Jonson or his company...All those ladies ahangin' round the house after the performances...And that carouser Ben...

Hmmn...50% vengeance decrease in 30 seconds...I'd better act fast unless I want to throw in the towel...Anya thinks...And while I'd actually like to...I have a reputation to maintain...

"Mistress Anne...?" she eyes Anne...Now sitting with her beer...Sobbing a bit...

Rather wish Will was here, could use a...No!...No!...I will be stone...A true Slayer...she thinks...

She tries to picture her husband a vampire...Heh, aye that'd be fine now...Dancing right on the end of me "shrew's" stake...

Be careful what you wish for...

"Anne...Suppose a fine punishment for the man who wronged you so...Could be granted you...?"

She smiles at Anne...

"No punishment could match what I'll be givin' him..." Anne glares...A gleam of pride in her...Abilities...Showing...

Won the heart of England's greatest, they did, after all...

"Well..." Anya ponders... "Suppose he were to be placed in the most horrible situation imaginable...And only you, his wronged wife...Could save him from his fate..."

Nice enough...Anne allows... But what horrible situation could compare to the loss of ...

I mean, for a whole week...

"Suppose...He were to lose his greatest possession..." Besides you...Anya hastily adds as Anne eyes her... "Lose his talent..."

Daft idea, girl...The family business hinges on Will's talent...Anne stares at her impractical friend...Even if they are just two plastered Tudor-Stuart housewives bitchin'...

"Well...Say it didn't have to happen...Just right now...Say...Just say...Your William could be reborn...A few centuries from now...?...Here in England, but a different England...And he in another body...Lacking his great talent...Aye, even..." Anya grins... "The worst poet in England..."

Ha, ha...Anne slaps her side...Yeah...That would set him up...He'd not be able to bear that one...

Ok...Anya thinks...Moving along just fine...And the world gets its "Much Ado...", etc...And Beny-boy gets his vengeance, albeit a bit later than he'd hoped for...But...D-H wants a loop-hole left...

One that might give him something in return for all this effort...A crack at a Slayer-vengeance demon...Not for some time, of course...But with Anne's loving heart...One step from mad rage to mad love...If things play right in the distant future...And nothing goes wrong with them finding each other after their mutual rebirths in the 19th century...

After all, what would lead a Slayer to despair and suicidal guilt more than causing the death and transformation of one's own husband...Even if he is a "Bloody Awful Poet..."

"And his fate dependent on you...Your everlasting love and courage...For he'd be trapped...Not only in a bad poet's body...But..." Anya hesitates...

In other, darker ways...Providing things play out correctly and Mr. Jonson does reincarnate himself on time to become Liam/Angelus...And set this cycle in motion...

After all, he wanted to play a part in this...Even if he wasn't expecting more than the director's job...

"Dependent on me...? On me love...? Nice..." Anne beams... "And we'll see if I'll be showing that love to the lil' bastard after this..."

Though...I might...she thinks, sobering a bit...I do love the lil' bastard so...

"Wish...Granted..." Anya smiles...

***