Chapter One: Baubles and Bangles and Beads
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing. Joss owns the Buffyverse; Top Cow, Dark Horse and other entities whom I know nothing of (or can't remember) own the Witchblade, Sara Pezzini, and any other characters related thereto.
Buffy Summers was Bored with a capital B. She wandered languidly into her mother's art gallery in downtown Sunnydale, casting cursory glances at the new pieces on display. Some were graceful statuettes; others were landscapes, or scrimshaw, or...she blinked.
"Ooh...shiny!" breathed Buffy, as an ornate dagger caught her eye. The hilt was inlaid with what appeared to be sapphires, in a pattern that drew the gaze to follow it. The blade was slightly curved, and gleamed with a faint patina of oil. Good on Mom,
thought Buffy, she really knows her stuff!
The beautiful weapon sat proudly on a polished wooden stand, with a sign beneath it proclaiming its origins as being Damascus for the steel, and South America for the sapphires.
"'Reproduction of a ceremonial knife found with the tomb of Philip of Macedon,'" Buffy read out under her breath. "Huh. Fancy," she concluded, and, hearing the tapping of high heeled shoes approaching, turned to see who was there.
"Hi, sweetie," greeted Joyce Summers, with a smile. She squeezed Buffy into a hug, and slung her purse over her shoulder. "Ready for lunch?"
"Born ready," grinned Buffy. "Are we still going to Arturo's?" The Italian restaurant had become a favorite for the Summers women; Buffy favoured the chicken Parmigiana, and Joyce adored the vegetarian lasagne.
"Absolutely!" replied Joyce, as they passed through the front doors. "Ian has the lunch shift, and he's got our usual table for us," she went on, unlocking the doors of her forest green Jeep and climbing into the driver's seat. Buffy fastened her seatbelt, and they were off. Later...
"But Mom, it's so shiiiinyyyy...
The 'pretty knife' was the subject of discussion, and Joyce wasn't having an easy time of it.
"Buffy, you may not have the 'pretty'," Joyce admonished her. "It's a consignment piece, and the seller wants a pretty good amount for it."
Buffy leaned against the doorframe of Joyce's office and crossed her arms over her waist. "Okay, Mom," she pouted, her eyes twinkling. She plunked into the visitor's chair, giving it a spin, then stopped. Her eyes narrowed as she looked at Joyce's desk. Right squarely in the middle of it sat a medium-sized, oblong box, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string.
"Hey, Mom, you've got mail," she announced.
"What's this?" Joyce was intrigued. The package hadn't been on the desk when they'd left for lunch, and upon closer examination, didn't have any note on or near it explaining its presence.
The hairs on the back of Buffy's neck prickled. "Uh, Mom?" she began, "might wanna be careful, cause, Hellmouth?"
"I'm not going to open it, Buffy," her mother replied absently. "I just want to see if it has a return address..."
Joyce leaned closer to the package, using her page magnifier to peer at the mailing label.
"It's from the Herzog Gallery, in New York City," Joyce blurted out, her eyes widening.
"The Hotdog Gallery? Who are they?" Buffy wanted to know.
, not Hotdog, and they're one of the largest private museums in the country," her mother replied. "Why would they have sent anything to me?"To be continued...