Chapter Forty Eight
Disclaimer. As before…Only the bits you don’t recognise are mine..
A/N. Thank you for all your kind reviews. It certainly gives me impetus. This chapter came up extremely long because there’s so much going on. So I’ve split it into two sections. Hope it doesn’t spoil your enjoyment of the story.
Chapter Forty Eight.
Belgravia Police Station
Chief Superintendent Clewley sat at his desk and yawned, smothered it with his hand and then stretched. He had arrived early, even before Sue Porter was in. that had to be some sort of achievement. There had been a distinct lack of sleep. The return journey from Westbury had been undertaken by himself and Alison without the company of Buffy and Daniel, partly due to the planned departure of the newlywed Rupert and Olivia to Rio, and partly because Buffy was needed for a fitting session with Eve Thompson for her own gown this fine bright Thursday morning.
They might have stayed a little longer, but Alison’s curiosity had been piqued because Xander had unfortunately made some comment about ’Willow Airways’ to Derek and Kate during a conversation, and his wife had overheard. Then the questions had started…
All the way home she had nagged at Edward, annoyed for the way that he suddenly remembered an urgent appointment that he needed to be in London for, necessitating their sudden departure.
Sometimes he wondered why he just didn’t tell her the truth. In fact, why didn’t he? Maybe then the questions would cease….
Rio was only the first stop for Giles and Olivia. The favour that Olivia had asked of Willow and Kennedy involved them caring for Natalie for a few days whilst she and Rupert were in the Bahamas. Kennedy said yes even before Willow had thought about it, surprising the redhead somewhat, even though she was intending to also give her approval, and so the matter was settled.
Edward was thinking about calling Buffy to put his query to her when the phone rang.
“Clewley.” He said, irritably.
“Edward. It’s Harry Pearce. Have I caught you at a bad time?”
“No. Sorry. Late night, early morning. What can I do for you?”
“Yes, the wedding. How did it go? I called yesterday afternoon, and your secretary told me where you were.”
“It went very well, thank you. It’s just that my wife’s very suspicious of what she thinks is all the cloak and dagger stuff surrounding them.”
“Ah, I take it she doesn’t know about all the, er, other activities they get up to then?”
“Good lord no. it would be all round the W.I before you could say Jack Robinson.”
“You should have her sign the Official Secrets Act then.” Replied Harry, wryly.
“Now there’s a thought. That might just work. Thanks Harry. Now what can I do for you.”
Harry told him of Jo Portman’s discovery the previous day, and the pair discussed what to do about it. The conversation lasted only as long as it took Ed to jot down the information.
A few minutes after that he had rung the WSC and passed the information on to David Peterson. His next call was to Buffy…
The meeting at the house had gone well the previous evening. The two slayers and the six WIT’s had searched for anything that would lead them to Richard and Hayley. They’d called it a night at about eleven as most of them had lectures early next morning, those who did, promised to return as soon as they were able. Stefan and Sarah were the only two who could make it, and agreed to start again at nine.
Stefan’s computer hackings into Electoral Records had thrown up an address in Leeds registered as the home of the Headlam family, now belonging to Richard. There were also several bank accounts in his name that didn’t have that much money in them, but no mention of an uncle or any other known relative from payments made into the accounts. The deposits always appeared to be in cash, and made at different branches up and down the country.
“Do you think it might be demons or vamps?” Asked Michelle.
Di looked at her sideways. “Doubt it. There’d have been reports of a mess somewhere. You know what Hayley’s like when she gets going.”
“No, I mean, remember that story Dawn told us about when Buffy was in college and those vamps were eating the students, raiding their rooms, then leaving a note to say they’d left and gone home.”
“Yeah, I remember. But this different. Richard’s records have been wiped. Demons or vamps wouldn’t bother with that. ”
Michelle agreed and went back to making tea for the group. Sarah shut the book she’d been reading with a snap.
“I’ve got my report on the handwriting if you want it.” She said
“Fire away.” Said Di.
She removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes.
“Okay. The writing is definitely a mans, between eighteen and twenty five, right handed, and probably a student.”
“Is it Richard’s?” Asked Michelle.
“Don’t know. This is as close as I can get without an example of his writing to see if they match.”
“You said, ‘probably a student’.” Queried Di. “How do you come to that conclusion?”
“The way it’s been written. It’s in note form, as though someone’s dictated what they wanted to say to someone else. Stefan’s notes look much the same when he’s been in a lecture.”
“And yours don’t?” Queried Diane.
“No, I use Pitman.”
“What’s Pitman?” Asked Michelle.
“Shorthand.” Replied Sarah.
She turned her notepad toward them and showed her notes from the book. There were squiggles, dots and dashes along the lines instead of words or letters.
“So what you’re saying is that a student, not necessarily Richard, wrote and someone told them what to write.” Said Diane.
“Possibly.” Replied Sarah.
“Okay.” Said DI. She looked around the table at the other three. “Leeds. How do we get there. The van’s ready to roll, but Justin’s in a lecture.”
“Wait for Justin. He should be here about one.” Said Sarah. “There should be more of us able to drive. We all need to learn.” She added.
“There is one other thing we need to find out, before we leave.” Said Stefan.
Di gave him a puzzled look. Stefan explained.
“Someone wiped Richards records. It wasn’t Betty, we know that much. Who else has access to that office and the pass codes for the computers. Find that person, and we might have the answer to these, and a lot more questions.”
Around the breakfast table Horace Bateman was telling his nephew the story of Wilma ‘Billie’ Jean Bailey.
“So after she killed her foster father she took off, and ended up prostituting herself, working out of a truck stop just outside Melbourne. From what I’m told that’s where they found her, changed her name and got her out of the country, right under the noses of the authorities.”
“But surely it was self defence? He‘d raped her and put her on the street since she was fourteen. Not to mention the constant beatings.” Said Richard, trying to defend her actions.
“Apparently, the local police didn’t see it that way. He’d always put it about that she was a handful, and violent with it. There were instances from previous foster centres that backed that up, and the fact that she ran away more than once.. So when he turned up with his skull smashed in, and her missing, they just followed their noses.”
“So Hayley’s a wanted woman.”
“Billie Jean is a wanted woman.” Corrected his uncle. “Hayley McDonald is a made up name.”
They got up from the table. Bateman issued instructions to Thompson and Levi to bring some food, warm water, soap and towels down to the cellar. He didn’t want their captive smelling too much.
“And nothing sharp, or anything that she might be able to use as a weapon. She may be weakened, but she‘s still a slayer.” He added.
Bateman picked up the black case from the sideboard as he passed, and went down the stairs to the cellar, Richard following like a dutiful apprentice.
She looked up as he switched on the light. There was a bruise on her face where he’d hit her the previous evening, and her bottom lip was swollen and split.
“And here’s me thinking that it was all a dream.” She said.
Bateman said nothing but proceeded to administer another dose of the Cruciamentum serum. As he stepped back and closed the case he spoke.
“As soon as you tell me what I need to know then it will all stop, and you’ll be freed.”
She snorted a laugh. Then winced at the pain. She didn’t believe him.
“Ah, not a believer in that statement I see. Alright ask yourself this. Why would I need to lie. You can’t go to the police because you’re wanted in Australia for murder. False name, passport, etcetera, need I go on?”
“I don’t have to go to the police. What about the other slayers and Dawn? I daresay they’ll want to speak to you about all this.”
“Oh, I’m very good at covering my tracks, and after today young Richard won’t be traceable either.”
“You gonna let me use the dunny?” She asked. “Otherwise it’s gonna get messy in here.”
He thought for a moment. “Yes, if you behave.”
He instructed Richard to clear everything except toilet paper from the ground floor toilet. Richard went away and came back a few minutes later reporting that he’d one so.
Levi brought the items Bateman had requested , and after the two henchmen had escorted her to the toilet and back she set out the things for washing.
She looked around at them.
“So I get an audience then? What am I going to do with some water, a towel and a piece of soap?”
Bateman shrugged and ushered the two guards out of the room, indicting that Richard should go too.
“No. I’ll keep an eye on her. She might try and do herself some harm with the soap or the towel.” He said.
“Alright, he can stay. But get me a clean set of undies will you. They’re in my bag.” She said.
Bateman tutted as he left the room, closing the door behind him. They heard the sounds of the three men climbing the stairs and waited until they’d gone before either of them spoke.
“I’m sorry….” Richard started.
“Don’t!” She snapped back. “Don’t apologise. What the hell did you think you were doing?”
“You don’t understand…I owe him. Big time. He’s paid for all my education since my parents were killed.”
“So you thought a little kidnapping was alright then, did you?”
“He never mentioned kidnapping. Not until he’d drugged you. All he said he wanted to do was ask you few questions about the WSC.”
“So he lied to you then?”
“Hayl…Do I call you Hayley, or, Wilma. What do I call you?”
“Miss McDonald.” She said sharply. Then she changed her mind. “Hayley’s just fine.”
Hayley, I swear to you, I knew nothing about demons and vampire slayers until yesterday afternoon. Is it all true?”
“Demons, vamps, witches. Yep. The whole nine yards.”
“What about you. Did you murder your foster father?”
“Technically it would be manslaughter, with grounds for diminished responsibility, or self defence. Something like that.”
“Then why did you run away?”
“At the time I never thought they’d believe me. He’d been raping or beating me almost every night since I was fourteen. I was only sixteen, up until that night I felt like I was a hundred. Some of the stories I’ve heard from girls who got their powers at the same time would make your hair curl.”
“I don’t know about that. I think killing someone with one punch is high up on the list. What about the rest of it? The prostitution…”
“How’d? Never mind…Yeah, but you try getting a job, with no papers or insurance number when you’re on the run. I made money the only way I knew how.” She grumbled.
She’d washed herself as they’d conversed, not once looking directly at him. The manacles clanked as she rubbed the corner of the towel over her teeth in an effort to clean them. She winced as the cloth caught the side of her mouth where Bateman had punched her yesterday after she’d spat at him.
“Shall I see if I can get you something for that?” He asked.
“Nah. I’ll live.”
“Look. Why don’t you just answer his questions. Then we can all get out of here.”
“You don’t think for one minute that he’s gonna let me out of here alive, do you? When they catch up to you lot though I‘ll be watching.” She smirked, indicating skyward with her head. “Besides, I’ve already answered his questions. He just don’t believe me.”
“You mean, about Dawn Summers?”
“Christ, what do I have to say. She ‘s Buffy’s sister. She’s a Watcher. That’s it!
“Uncle says that slayers don’t have sisters.”
“Bullshit. Kennedy’s a slayer. And she’s got a sister! That I do know.”
“So he’s wrong then?”
“Bloody too right! Where does he get his info from?”
Richard shrugged. “Don’t know. Hayley…If…If I help you get out of here. Will…will you, you know…” He said cautiously.
“…..Will I what…Forgive you?” She finished, without even looking at him.
He shook his head. “No, although it would be nice. No, I mean put in a good word for me…with the others. Dawn and all?”
She eyed him suspiciously. “We’ll see. Just help me get out of here first….”
Upstairs Horace Bateman’s face had been going through a mixture of emotions as he almost willed the boy to get the information out of the slayer. He’d been listening and watching the scene on a screen hidden behind a picture, transmitted from the room below. As the last sentence was uttered his fist crashed down onto the table.
Damn you Richard, you stupid little bastard!” He growled. “Levi. Get in here!”
Levi entered. “Sir.”
“We have a problem.. Richard’s decided to change sides. I think he’s just outlived his usefulness.”
Levi glanced at the screen. “Yes sir. What do you need done?”
Buffy’s telephone conversation with David Peterson had become an ego bolstering pep talk on her behalf.
“No don’t do anything. Don’t let anyone else near her. There’s gotta be a reason that she was a no show yesterday. Danny and I will be back later this afternoon and we’ll take her on ourselves.” She said, not wishing to lose the chance of catching Emily.
“Have you spoken with Chief Superintendent Clewley?”
“Yeah. Ed agrees that if we go in heavy handed, innocent bystanders will get hurt. I want this done quietly. You’ve done great David. Sometimes these things just don’t go to plan.”
“It doesn’t seem that way to me.”
“Don’t worry about it. Look on the bright side. No-one‘s gotten hurt, or killed.”
“True.” He didn’t sound convinced.
We’ll see you later. When this is all over, how about you and Mary Ann coming out for a celebratory meal with Danny and me. Just the four of us. My treat.”
“Well I, er…”
“Not taking no for an answer, Davy.”
“Alright then. Thank you.”
“Good. That’s settled. See you later. Bye.”
She replaced the phone. Dawn twirled in Giles’ padded leather chair as she read the book in he lap.
“If you break that chair Giles will have a dickey fit.”
“A what?” Queried her sister.
“You know, a dickey fit. A cow. Get mad.” Buffy explained.
Dawn grinned. “I know what it means, it’s just, hearing you say something so…. So, British, is kinda funny.”
Buffy paled. “Oh, god no, no not yet. Next I’ll be having tea, and scones, or muffins….”
Dawn giggled. “Too late, you’re marrying a cop! Just think. In a couple of months you‘ll be Buffy Carter.”
“Yeah, I know….Do you think I should change it?”
“What? Dan become Mr Summers, or you keep your own name, like the celebrities do?”
“No, ‘Buffy’. Should I keep on being Buffy?”
“It’s your name. Buffy Carter. Buffy Summers-Carter? Buffy Anne Summers-Carter?” Dawn sounded out the variations.
“How about…Anne Carter?” Queried Buffy.
Dawn thought about it for a moment. “Like a professional name, you mean. This is the hiding in plain sight thing again, isn’t it? Cool. I like it…. But you‘ll always be Buffy to us, right?”
“Of course. I’m just thinking about the future. You know, in case there are any children.”
Dawn smiled. “You really are starting to get over it all, aren’t you?”
“You’re considering the future, what might happen, what might be. That’s good. I’m glad.”
Buffy smiled enigmatically. “Yeah, I think things are finally starting to work out…..”
“Come on Josh. Look, you can’t hurt me, so give it all you’ve got.” Said Dan, as they circled each other on the mat. “I’ll only defend, so you can hit me as hard as you like.”
The two were in the gym with Vi and Xander practising with swords. Dan was trying to get Josh into the frame of mind that he could take on something that was stronger and faster than he was.
Vi stepped up. “Want me to show you how?”
Josh shrugged. “I don’t know what’s up with me? I’ve been practising okay with the girls in Oxford.”
“Yeah, but you get too used to sparring with the same people all the time and you get complacent, and that‘s bad.” Commented Vi.
“Want me to put a scary mask on?” Offered Dan.
“Imagine he’s Bateman.” Suggested Xander.
That did it. Josh launched an over arm attack that Dan barely managed to parry. After that blow after blow came in quick succession, Dan moving around the floor defending and blocking the blows. Within a minute Josh sent Dan’s sword spinning away and thrust forward at Dan’s torso. The blade glanced off Dan’s personal shield and Josh overbalanced, falling over in a heap.
Xander helped him up. “You okay?”
Josh nodded, panting from the exertion.
“Well, I think we found your trigger.” Said Vi.
“I’d agree there. Who is this Bateman?” Asked Dan.
Xander explained briefly about their encounter with the ex council member at Warwick, and of Bateman’s derogatory remarks that earned him the punches.
Dan listened, waited for Josh to recover and made a suggestion.
“Okay, that got the power into your attack. Now you have to control that power, and channel it with technique, otherwise you’ll be exhausted before you’ve done any damage. Ready to go again?”
Josh nodded and tempered his attack, this time it flowed more easily, Josh focussing on the technique rather than pure anger, and they danced around the mat for several minutes, again Josh getting inside Dan’s defences and striking what would be wounding or killing blows in any other circumstance.
“Norcan Electronics Incorporated. How may I direct you call?”
“Hello. Yes. My name is Richard Wolsey, and I’d like to speak with Mr. Leonard Norton please.”
“I’ll see if he’s free sir. Can I say what it’s about?”
“I’m with the Federal Government’s Oversight Committee, and it’s appertaining to your company’s government contracts.”
“Certainly sir. One moment please.”
Wolsey heard a click, as the telephonist put him on hold, and some classical music played whilst he waited. A nice piece, he noted, one of Schubert’s better pieces.
Then another voice came on the line.
“Mr Wolsey. I’m sorry, he’s in conference at the moment. I’m Beth Gentry, Mr Norton’s private secretary. Can I help you at all?”
“Perhaps. I need to make an appointment to see him regarding the progress of the government projects your company is involved in. When would it be convenient for us to inspect the paperwork and the premises?”
“Yes I can help you with that. How soon would you like to come?”
“Would next week be convenient?”
“Yes, of course. Which would be better for you. Tuesday or Wednesday?”
Wednesday would be fine.”
“And how many will be in your party?”
“There will be five of us. Myself and four associates.”
“Very good. The laboratories can be available from eight a.m. but Mr Norton won’t be available until ten, I’m afraid. I would be able to assist you until that time if you wish?”
“Certainly. That would be most acceptable.”
“Will you be requiring accommodation? Or any special requirements?”
“Accommodation won’t be necessary, thank you. Do you have a helicopter pad?”
“Yes. Our co-ordinates and facilities are logged with the FAA.”
“Thank you. You’ve been most helpful. See you on Wednesday at eight a.m. then. Goodbye Ms. Gentry.”
He replaced the phone and turned to Hank seated next to him.
“Nice lady. It’s a pity there aren’t more around who are that helpful.”
“Let’s just hope the visit goes as smoothly. You okay with doing this Richard?”
Wolsey nodded. “Of course. It needed attending to anyway, we can’t have a repeat of the Colson Industries fiasco, can we?”
“Colson was set up. By the Trust. Let’s just hope they haven’t got their hooks into Norcan.” Said Hank.
“What are you looking for exactly?” Asked Wolsey.
“Can’t say. It’s classified.”
“My clearance is of the highest level. I’m sure you can tell me.”
Hank looked at the bureaucrat cautiously. “Sorry, can’t. All I can say is that it does have Presidential consent.”
“If it has anything to do with the Stargate Programme then I need to know. It may affect the nature of the visit.” Insisted Wolsey.
“It doesn’t, and if it ever did, I wouldn’t be the one to tell you.” Hank said, firmly.
Wolsey let it go. He wasn’t happy about it, but for the time being he had no choice.
Bateman slammed down the phone. He was livid. Richard could almost imagine the steam coming out of his ears.
“Those bloody idiots have put your things at the house!”
“They weren’t supposed to? I thought the plan was to put it all there and me to go there after…” Richard stopped. ”You changed it while we were en route here, didn’t you?”
“Yes, but Smith and Wilson decided they needed to be elsewhere.” Lied his uncle. “You’ll have to go to Leeds and retrieve it all.”
“No buts. Do as you‘re told. Take Levi with you, he‘ll be able to keep watch whilst you go in.”
“I thought no-one would be looking for us until tomorrow or Saturday at the earliest?”
“I’m not taking any chances. That house is the only thing that’s traceable to you. That’s why you need to get everything out of there. Now get going.”
Richard said nothing but nodded and made to leave. At the door he turned.
“Don’t hurt her anymore, please uncle. I think he’s told you all she knows.”
“I’ll be the…“ He paused and thought better of it. Right now he needed Richard to be pliable. “Alright. I’ll not question her any further until you get back” He said as convincingly as he could.
As the car pulled out of the driveway a few minutes later, Bateman watched from an upstairs window. He rubbed his chin in thought, then left the room.
When he got downstairs he called out for Thompson. Then the two of them set about preparations for leaving themselves.
Thompson went about his task silently. A bed roll and sleeping bag were brought out of a cupboard along with a portable toilet, the sort used by campers.
These he placed by the door to the basement in preparation. Next Bateman arrived with a box of food, all dry goods in packets, along with some bottled water, a bowl, a polystyrene beaker and a plastic spoon.
In the cellar, Hayley was dreaming again. The recurring one. As her fist smashed into her foster fathers skull for the umpteenth time, she watched as the body slowly fell to the floor. As it did this time, a figure stood behind the body; a figure dressed in animal skins, with a shock of dreadlocked hair, wild eyes, and war paint daubed across her face.
The First Slayer.
As Hayley watched she crouched by the body, sniffed at it, then looked up at her.
“Death is your gift.” Was all she said. Then the scene cut to black.
Hayley awoke with a start. She felt cold and clammy. She heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs and prepared herself for another round of question and answer.
The door opened and Bateman walked in with the box of food. He said nothing as Thompson followed him in. carrying the bedroll and sleeping bag.
“Makin’ me feel more at home then? See. I knew you weren’t all bad.” She quipped.
Bateman still said nothing, Thompson went back out and returned with the toilet.
Then Bateman produced the case and pumped another two syringes full of the Cruciamentum drug into her arms.
“What, no questions? Why two doses?”
“Not for now. I’ll be back later. There’s something I need to attend to.” Said Bateman.
She looked over at the box of food. Realisation spread across her face.
“You’re going to leave me here, aren’t you.”
“For a while. Possibly a couple of days. You‘ll be quite alright. I‘m leaving you some basic things so that you don’t starve.”
“You’re not scared that I’ll escape. Where‘s Richie?”
“Not really. Don’t concern yourself with him. He won’t be helping you to escape either.”
“Bastard. What have you done to him!” She exclaimed.
“I’ve done nothing. I’ve merely sent him on an errand.”
Thompson held her whilst he released the ropes that bound her to the chair, leaving the manacles in place.
Taking a short length of chain Bateman looped it through the leg chains and then through the wrist chains, fastening it with a sturdy padlock to a ring embedded in the floor.
She stood up and tested the length of the chain. Thompson pushed everything within reach of her restricted movement.
“It’s been measured. So you won’t be able to reach the walls or the door. Can’t have you wiping the protection sigils off, now can we.” Said Bateman.
“If I get out of here, I’m coming looking for you. And when I find you….”
“You’ll do nothing. Because you’re not getting out.” He retorted.
With that they both left the room, locking the door behind them.
Hayley sat, stunned by the situation she found herself in. For a moment she closed her eyes and the first slayers words came back to her
“Death is your gift.”
When she opened her eyes, there was a determined look there.
“I’m not going down…Not like this.” She muttered.
End of Chapter Forty Eight.