history lesson-


Step Back In Time
by Dolores Labouchere

It was that moment you get just after sleep when the world might well have only just begun in that moment. There was nothing before and now there is something. First is touch. Hard, oily, gritty substance against her cheek and palms. And pain. Low and rumbling like a burst of thunder crashing out across her left flank.

Then there is smell, the rank odour of rotting food and burning fumes that made her crinkle her nose in disgust.

Metallic warmth on the tongue heralds taste. Blood. Hers?

Then hearing. Far away at first then closer, closer, more distinct. . .

"Kid? You ok? Kid?"


Nikki looked down at the limp body of the young woman that lay sprawled on the alley in front of her. She was breathing. She was alive. She was lucky.

Eyelids fluttered open.

"Where am I? What's happened?"

Nikki rolled her eyes. When would some women realise that it was 1977, and stop being so damn. . . girly?


The cafe thrummed with conversation.

"I was attacked by a vampire gang? But that's silly; vampires are just in stupid horror movies with Christopher Lee."

Nikki grimaced. This blonde chick was getting irritating.

"No, they're the Vampire Gang. Like, you know, a street gang? Like the Warriors, or the Blades. . ."


Okay, so it was a lie, sort of. They were a street gang, in a way. Just not like the ones she'd mentioned. But it was the easiest way to explain things to the victims - assuming they survived. Of course, she got shit from her Watcher for it, but he couldn't think of anything better to tell 'em. And people always wanted an explanation.

She took another slug from the mug of coffee that Miss Apple Pie here had bought her to say thank you for saving her life, or some bull like that. Whatever; Nikki should be back out patrolling. Still, she was grateful for the gesture. The Slayer realised that there was a pause in the conversation.

"Say what's your name, kid?"

"Oh, sorry. Joyce. Joyce Collins. Oh! I don't even know your name."


"Uh, hello."

"What were ya doin' here at this time of night anyway?"

"Oh. . . I got a bit lost. I'm just here for. . . I study art at college, and I needed to come to New York for one of my assignments. Well, I didn't need to, but if Shirley's parents were sending her to Paris, y'know, I was. . . uh, well, I basically wanted to do some sight-seeing. I was on the subway trying to get back to my hotel and I think I must have got off at the wrong stop, and then well, I don't really know. I remember that man asking me for a light, and then. . . well, thank you again."

"You ain't a native then?"

"No, I'm from California."

A nod. "That makes sense."

"I must seem incredibly naive to you."

Nikki chuckled. "Yeah, you do."

"Sorry." Joyce reddened, and looked into her mug of coffee.

"Look, it's not your fault. We women, we're supposed to act all dumb, just let the men tell us what to do. You're just trained to let someone else do your thinkin' for ya."

"Hey! I go to college! I'm not stupid!"

"Yeah, I know, but you're still Daddy's little girl, I bet. You're not stupid, just docile. Like a cow." Joyce's mouth opened in indignation. Nikki shook her head in exasperation. "I ain't saying you are a cow, you just act like one. That's what men want you to do. Like. . . I bet that hair wasn't your idea."

Joyce reached up to her blonde curls, which were scraped back behind her head, apart from a frizzy fringe. "Well, Dad always liked this movie called "Gidget" and. . . hey! I like my hair!"

The woman opposite her snorted. "But you'd look so much better with it down."

Joyce was hesitant. "I don't know. . ."

"Daddy might not like it?"

The blonde eyed Nikki's hair carefully. "I don't think I'd suit that sort of style."

"I don't mean my hairstyle! Look, my apartment's just a few blocks away -- I can show you if you like."

"Well. . . I suppose. . ."


Joyce looked in the mirror at the reflection of Nikki brushing her hair. It fell loose, but light, fluffed around her shoulders. She almost hadn't realised how long it had got, that hairstyle had been in place so long. She wasn't sure about this, though. It was too much like rebellion, and well, she'd never quite understood the attraction of that.

Unlike this Nikki. She so obviously had a problem with men. Maybe. . .

"Nikki, are you a feminist?"

The other woman paused in her brushing. "Yeah, I guess so."

"Oh. Um. . ."


"Well, it's just something my Dad said once."



Nikki chuckled, and Joyce watched her breasts shake in the mirror. "And if I was?"

Joyce opened her mouth, but couldn't think of a reply, but just sat looking into the mirror, heart trip-hammering, and the blood pounding in her temples.

Suddenly Nikki's deceptively smooth hand curved around her jaw and tilted Joyce's head up, covering her lips with Nikki's own. Joyce jerked back, breaking contact, shock written across her face.

"No! No, I can't. . ." She stood up, panicked, turning to face Nikki, who leaned on the chair, a tired expression on her face.

"Why not? If it feels right, honey. . ." A sultry smile spread across Nikki's features.

"But. . . but. . . I've never thought of women in that way!" Joyce waved her hands in emphasis.

"But you thought of me that way."

"Did not!"

"Didn't you?"

"I didn't think of you at all. . . well, I mean, I did, but I just. . . I don't know."

Nikki pushed herself off the chair and swaggered the three steps to be almost touching Joyce. She was taller by a few inches, staring into Joyce's face, the black leather coat that she had yet to take off swirling around both their ankles. She moved in to kiss Joyce again, who just stood still, arms rigid at her sides, not really reacting to the kiss.

The leather coat suddenly slid to the floor, and bare arms encircled Joyce's waist, pulling her tight to the all-too-warm body in front of her, coffee skin on cream.


Joyce found it was Nikki's breasts she was most fascinated in, round and smooth and peaked, large, dark nipples erect and. . . it was so strange to touch another's. Nikki seemed to enjoy it though.

For her part, Joyce found physical pleasure certainly -- Nikki knew what she was doing, even if Joyce didn't. She hadn't even known what an orgasm was until tonight! As for the emotional rewards -- it was bliss to be this close to another; it wasn't something she had had much experience of. But everything was tempered by the thought of the reactions of her friends -- her family! to the thought of her doing this -- forbidden act.

She'd said as much to Nikki.

"Are you gonna tell them? Cos I ain't."

She always had an answer, did Nikki.


Nikki came on the subway with her to the hotel. They spent the journey talking about their taste in music. Joyce hadn't heard of most of the bands that Nikki enjoyed.

She paused before she entered. "Well, thanks again. For everything."

"No problems, kid."

"Keep in touch?"

Nikki smiled. "I'll try."

"Good," said Joyce, swallowing the strange feeling that they wouldn't.

"See you around." Nikki called, and then walked away.

"Bye!" Joyce called after her.


Back in the alleyway, a white haired punk stirred amongst the trash.

Spike had missed his dinner that night. Again. And all because of that bloody Slayer. Enough was enough. This time, she was going to get it.