Fic – “The Heat Death of the Universe”

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Title: The Heat Death of the Universe
Author: Maia
Rating: PG for this chapter, later chapters R
Status: Work-in-Progress
Word count for this chapter: 1,838
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Warnings: Bleak and dark, though not completely hopeless…
Summary: 13-year-old Eleanor decides to try to fix her parents’ marriage by doing a spell to turn her father temporarily back into the vampire he was.

Notes: This story takes place in my Gifts-verse*, where Spike was resurrected as a human after “Chosen” in 2003 and went back to the name William. In 2008 he and Buffy were reunited, in 2009 they married, in 2011 they had a daughter named Eleanor and in 2015 they had a son named Geoffrey.
*Please note that the plot of the Gifts-verse may change drastically from what I described in that post.

This story follows from the previous story in the Gifts-verse, The Glory and the Dream.

Inspirations, references, and allusions:
-“The Heat Death of the Universe” by Pamela Zoline (short story)
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (trilogy)
The Parent Trap (1961 film)
War Games (1983 film)
Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Doctor Who
-Various fandom discussions and meta about Doctor Who

Thank you to enigmaticblues for hosting!

THANK YOU to rahirah for beta-reading!!!

“Oh, Geoffrey, we’re not trying to start World War III. We’re just trying to turn Daddy back into a vampire. It will be fine. I promise. Trust me.”

Dedicated to elisi


The Heat Death of the Universe

Eleanor couldn’t get the words out of her head. “Maybe they’d be better off if he were still a vampire.” She hadn’t meant to eavesdrop, but she’d heard Aunt Dawn say “It’s like they live on parallel worlds” and she thought of Lyra and Will in His Dark Materials and wondered who Aunt Dawn and Uncle Jason were talking about, and then she just kind of kept on listening. “They don’t connect,” Uncle Jason said, and she was wondering if the couple they were talking about did connect by the end of the novel and thinking that she’d like to read the novel (but hide it from Geoffrey because he made gagging noises whenever the subject of romance came up), when Aunt Dawn said, “Maybe they’d be better off if he were still a vampire,” and for a minute she couldn’t breathe. They weren’t talking about a couple in a novel, they were talking about Mom and Daddy.

It couldn’t be true. It couldn’t. Mom and Daddy loved each other. But she couldn’t get the words out of her head. And then she started to notice things. It was like after they learned about entropy and the heat death of the universe in science class and then all of a sudden she saw increasing disorder everywhere she looked and it was scary. And now it was like whenever Mom and Daddy were together she saw it. They don’t connect. They don’t connect. It’s like they live on parallel worlds. Mom ran an army and Daddy wrote poetry and they didn’t connect.

But Aunt Dawn had said that maybe they’d be better off if Daddy were still a vampire. That was a weird idea. But vampires were sexy, right? There’d been some issues with that, with the Slayers; there had been conversations she wasn’t supposed to hear. Not that Mom should think anything was sexy, or that Daddy should ever have been, because that was just… eww. But maybe… Daddy was a vampire when Mom fell in love with him, right? And he got his soul for her, which was so romantic. Though neither Mom nor Daddy would talk much about that, and what they did say was two… rather different things. Daddy said “I fell in love. I got my soul. The end.” Mom said, “He got his soul. We fell in love. The end.” Not the same thing at all. But asking for more information usually led to them asking if she’d finished her homework. She’d learned not to ask.

But then she watched The Parent Trap again (not the stupid one, with Lindsay Lohan, but the real one, with Hayley Mills), and started thinking, that maybe, just maybe…

So, she started forming a plan. She realized quickly that she would need Geoffrey’s help, and that would be difficult, because he was a boy and he was nine and that meant he couldn’t possibly understand about Love. But the more she noticed about Mom and Daddy the more urgent the situation seemed to be. And also, it started to be kind of obvious that it was really her fault, and Geoffrey’s. Daddy stayed home with them and Mom went off to battles, and that’s why they lived on parallel worlds. She’d even asked, once, why Daddy didn’t fight with Mom, and Daddy looked kind of…thoughtful, or sad, she wasn’t quite sure which, and said, “I’d be useless in a fight, and besides, I’ve got my sprouts to look after, don’t I?” So clearly it was their fault. And if it was because of her and Geoffrey that Mom and Daddy didn’t connect anymore, then it was their responsibility to set things right.

So, she cornered Geoffrey and explained the situation in simple terms that even a 9-year-old would get. As she expected, he just didn’t see it, at first. He insisted that Mom and Daddy loved each other just fine. But then she started pointing stuff out to him, like the time after the last apocalypse when Mom came home and just took a shower and went to bed and didn’t say a word to any of them and Daddy just took them out for ice cream even though it wasn’t vegan and told them to be nice to Mom but wouldn’t say anything else except “Your Mum goes through a lot that you can’t even imagine.” He’d been saying that as far back as Eleanor could remember. Once she’d found a book he’d been reading on combat and post-traumatic stress disorder, and so she’d quietly read it, too, without telling him, and it wasn’t too hard to put it all together. But maybe that was why Mom fell in love with him when he was a vampire? Because he could fight with her?

Geoffrey finally got it, and when he did she almost felt sorry she’d told him, because he looked kind of pale and scared and said, “So what do we do?” She wanted to reassure him that everything would be okay, so she explained her plan.

Once they started working, it was okay. Geoffrey stopped looking scared, and she stopped worrying, and they focused on action.

It was clear what they needed: the rewind spell. She’d heard Mom and Daddy talking about it once. It put a person’s body and mind back to a point in the past. Some traumatized slayer’s sister had done it, to try to save her sister’s sanity. The thing was, it was one of the most easily undone spells, so they could do it as a temporary thing. Make Daddy a vampire again, get him and Mom together, and then undo it, and the marriage would be fixed. Right?

Getting the rewind spell was a whole other problem. All spells in the Watcher Database were encrypted. Geoffrey asked if she couldn’t hack in, and she was kind of embarrassed to admit that no, she couldn’t. Sometimes she forgot that Geoffrey still thought she could do anything.

They thought some more. Then Geoffrey asked if maybe it might be like in War Games, with the “back door” thing. Aunt Willow had created the system…maybe she put in a back door.

Eleanor was dubious, but it seemed worth a try. In War Games Professor Falken used his dead son’s name – Joshua. If people used the names of dead people they loved for passwords, then Aunt Willow would use Tara. Except Aunt Willow always lectured them about how you should never use a simple word as a password, you should always include numbers. So they wrote up a list of combinations of Tara’s name and birthday and tried them all.

No luck.

Geoffrey had stopped helping after the tenth “Access Denied.” He left her to do the hard work and started reading Prince Caspian.

After another 50 tries Eleanor was starting to get frustrated. “You’ve already read that book at least a hundred times,” she snapped at Geoffrey. “Stop reading and help me think.”

“Nothing’s gonna work and you know it,” Geoffrey told her.

“Something WILL work. We just have to keep trying. Maybe it’s not Tara, maybe it’s Oz, Aunt Willow loved him, too, and – ”

“Oh, baloney, Ellie, all you ever think about is LOVE.” He made a face.

She stared at him. “Geoffrey! Baloney! The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler!”


“Don’t you remember? When Aunt Willow read it to us and told us how it was her favorite book when she was a kid and don’t you remember when Claudia and Jamie are trying to guess what Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler filed the angel sketch under, and they can’t find it and then Jamie says “Baloney!” just like you just did and they realize it’s under Bologna, Italy!”


“So? Aunt Willow might have used that as a back door! Geoffrey, you’re brilliant!”

“Are you feeling alright?” Geoffrey asked.

“Don’t you see? Only – only – it wouldn’t be only the word ’cause Aunt Willow always said never to use only a word, so… so… quick, Geoffrey, go get the book!”

To her surprise, Geoffrey did as she said. Eleanor squeezed her hands together. It couldn’t be that simple. It couldn’t be.

Please let it be that simple.

Geoffrey came back with the book. “What was the year of publication?” Eleanor asked.


Slowly, carefully, she typed in “Bologna1967.”

And that was it. It really was that simple. They were in.

Geoffrey, though, was looking worried. “Y’know, Ellie, in War Games, they got into a lot of trouble…”

“Oh, Geoffrey, we’re not trying to start World War III. We’re just trying to turn Daddy back into a vampire. It will be fine. I promise. Trust me.”

Even so, when they found the rewind spell, she was half expecting the computer to ask if she wouldn’t prefer a nice game of chess.

It didn’t.

The spell was easy. It had to be done by blood relatives, but that was fine – they were blood relatives. There was also something in fine print about undoing the spell, and that the reversal required the consent of the subject, but that was no problem – of course Daddy wouldn’t want to stay a vampire: he had them, didn’t he? It was just a temporary thing, so he and Mom would connect. And then everything would go back to normal…but better.

This would work. It would work.

Because it had to.

They gathered the materials, and sat down in her bedroom to do the spell. Eleanor would have to do it. She didn’t trust Geoffrey to get the Latin right (and for the first time she was grateful that Daddy insisted she take Latin). But Geoffrey would be there, because Aunt Willow said it was important to have an anchor if you did magic.

She started saying the words, slowly, carefully. Her bedroom seemed to wink out and she was…floating.

“What do you see?” Geoffrey asked. His voice sounded far away.

“It’s…kind of like… the Time Vortex. In Doctor Who.”

“Inspired, insane, or run away?”

“Shut up. I’m casting a spell.” Definitely run away.

But that was it, wasn’t it. The heat death of the universe. All closed systems lose energy over time. Time flows in only one direction. Down.

But Mom and Daddy weren’t a closed system. She could add energy. She saw Daddy now, in that whirling vortex, and quickly, before she could change her mind, she pulled him… backwards… upwards… earlier… younger… and then let go, and she couldn’t quite breathe, because the river of time was pulling her too, and she thought she’d be sucked down into it, but Geoffrey was above her… earlier… younger… and he pulled her back, and they were in the bedroom, collapsed on the floor, gasping.

And from Mom and Daddy’s bedroom came a yell, and it was Daddy’s voice but it wasn’t, there was something else in it, something wild, something predatory, something… scary. “What the bloody hell?”

And then Mom’s voice, saying the one word Eleanor had hoped to hear but now that she heard it she wasn’t so sure this had been a good idea after all.



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