Chapter Fifty Three
Disclaimer… I don’t own it, except for little bits…
A/N. 1 Don’t bash me if I’ve got the terminology and use of processors wrong in the first section. I’m not a computer engineer. I needed a description and this is what formed in my brain…
A/N. 2. This is turning into something of a saga rather than a story. Perhaps it should be entered under a new section. It will conclude at some point soon, I promise. However, for now I need to show the process and thoughts behind the action, not lay one incident on top of another. Stay with it…..
Chapter Fifty Three.
Willow’s explanation of what she’d discovered about the true purpose of the 1928 Oversight Committee, the connection to Alec Colson’s disappearance, and what she’d discovered in Nevada had taken some time.
Leonard’s initially shocked state had turned to one of concern for the safety of his daughter and her girlfriend if the government found out exactly where the original idea and specifications for the processors now used in its space program came from….
“So when the government approached you with their requirements for the multi-interface processors, you didn’t tell them exactly where you got the specs from.” Said Willow.
“God, no!” He exclaimed How could I. If I’d mentioned anything about you, or Sunnydale at the time they’d have gone looking for you. They were pretty insistent on full disclosure of the company’s accounts and structure, after what happened with Colson.”
Willow gave him wry smile. “So, now we know what they wanted such a high spec processor for, to interface between all the alien devices. Huh, that spaceship has a lot in common with the Buffybot . It’s kinda funny when you think about it.”
Leonard laughed, got up and poured himself a glass of water.
“We’ll have to keep them away from that section then. I’ll have it quarantined as a precautionary measure.”
“What will you tell them?”
Leonard thought for a moment. He snapped his fingers and grinned at her.
“I know. I’ll tell them that there’s been a problem with the air conditioning, and the building’s been sealed off for cleaning and sanitisation.”
“Legionella pneumophila. Good idea, but, won’t they want to call in the CDC?”
“No. We can deal with it internally. I have a team specifically trained to cope with these things. I’ll put it in motion later today. You go and see Dr. Singh, and leave it to me….”
After her delightfully normal day, Buffy and Dan were headed for an equally delightful and normal evening out with his, no, their friends. Dan parked the car and they entered the Rose and Crown.
Jack Tarrant looked up from his glass cleaning and a broad grin split his face as he saw the couple.
“Danny. Good to see you.” He called. “And this beautiful young lady must be your fiancée.” He added, glancing at the petite blonde.
Buffy held out a hand over the bar and she and Jack shook. “Buffy Summers.” She announced, smiling.
“And the smile says it all. I’m Jack Tarrant, landlord extraordinaire . Welcome to the Rose and Crown.“ He replied. “What’ll it be. First one’s on the house.” He added.
“White wine, please.” Requested Buffy.
“Thanks Jack. Mine’s a pint.” Said Dan.
There was some banter between Dan and Jack as the landlord poured their drinks, and Buffy took in her surroundings. She still couldn’t break the habit of looking for the exits, potential attack zones, and objects that could be used as weapons when she entered a strange place. Her assessment satisfied she re-applied herself to the conversation.
“I hear you’re leaving the police, going into teaching.” Said Jack.
“I see the lads can’t keep a secret then.” Replied Dan.
“Actually it was Sandra who told me.” Continued Jack.
Jack drew her into the conversation by asking where she was originally from and how they’d met etcetera. Buffy answered all his enquiries, after all, he knew nothing of her and she was in a pleasant place, one where Dan and the others felt comfortable and relaxed.
There was the sound of laughter from the doorway and two couples entered the pub, Jack excused himself and began serving them drinks. Soon more people came in and Dan indicated to a table where they sat and chatted whilst they waited for the others.
They didn’t have long to wait. Sandra and Gemma arrived first, the latter carrying a plain folder under her arm, which she slid across the table to Dan.
“You’re spending too much time with Steve.” He said, eying the folder suspiciously. “What’s this? Another arrest you’ve made, or a juicy plot to kill the Queen?” He added jokingly.
“Neither. It just came in. The Guv’nor asked me to pass it to you. Seems an Oxford student got himself stabbed to death in Leeds, and they think the person they’re looking for might head for London.” Gemma replied.
Dan gave her a puzzled look. “How can they be certain of that?” He asked, automatically flicking open the folder. He snapped it shut again when he realised he was supposed to be off duty.
“No. I’ll look at it later, or tomorrow. We’re supposed to be on a night out.” He said.
“We’ve got to keep our eyes open. Apparently, she’s Australian, and they think she might turn up in the Earls Court area.” Explained Sandra.
“And that just happens to be where we’re heading tonight.” Buffy chipped in, dryly.
“A policeman’s lot is not a happy one.” Sang a trio of voices from behind them.
Pete, Tony and Steve had arrived. They got drinks and sat at the table with the others. The folder was passed around, the newcomers familiarising themselves with its single sheet content as they chatted and joked.
Basically it was a wanted poster. There was a photograph of the person the police were looking for, a brief description, and the nature of the offence the person was alleged to have committed. This was an information poster for officers only, not for the general public.
It eventually came back to Dan, he sighed and gave the contents a cursory glance. He spotted the photograph. Buffy took little notice of the folder until Dan began reading the notes.
“Wilma Jean Bailey. Wanted for unlawful killing of her foster father in Australia, 23rd May 2003.…”
He paused as he sensed Buffy stiffen. From that point the rest of their conversation took place telepathically ….
~”That photo’s old. It’s nothing like her now….”~
They’d moved from the pub soon afterwards, and the folder had been placed in the boot of Dan’s car for safety. The car was left in the safety of the pub car park, as Dan didn’t want to drive if he was having a couple of drinks. He still wasn’t putting his healing abilities to the test when it came to alcohol.
Dan managed to keep the others busy whilst she slipped away to call Dawn and question her about the contents of the file. He hadn’t made any real comment about it, all he’d said was that they should discuss it as soon as possible. Somewhere private…
“Buffy. How was your day?” The younger Summers sister effervesced.
“Good. Normal even. Yours?” Replied Buffy.
“Really. So how come I’ve just found out the police are looking for Wilma Jean Bailey in connection to a death by stabbing in Leeds?” There was a vexed tone in her voice.
“Remember that fiancé of mine…the one who’s a cop?”
“Crap…Look, we were going to tell you, but…”
“The guy’s in Oxford have everything covered. Xander, Vi and Josh are here with me….”
“In Oxford, safe. Buffy she didn’t do it…”
“Uh huh. So who did?”
“Bateman… We think…And he’s put Hayley in the frame for it.”
“Buffy, just hear me out. Okay…”
Dawn went on to explain what had happened to Hayley, and Buffy’s concerns and initial anger abated. At the end of the conversation Buffy asked if she needed anything, and to keep the others close. At all times.
Dawn told her that they needed everything to stay as normal as possible, at least until Sunday, technically that being the first time that Hayley would be missed, so that they had time to try and gather intel on the numbers they’d extracted from the sim card.
Ending the call Buffy caught up with the others and hung on to Dan’s arm as they walked to the club.
So much for her perfectly normal day.
Earls Court. London.
Sandra and Gemma were discussing the steady shuffle that Dan and Buffy were performing on the dance floor. Their body language demonstrating that their heart’s and minds weren’t on the job in hand.
“Is it me, or do I detect tension.” Said Gemma.
“There’s tension. Definitely tension. She’s off her form tonight. They both are.” Replied Sandra.
Steve made his way through the crowd to them, and handed them their drinks.
“What’s up with the lovebirds? You haven’t been getting too nosey again have you Sandra?” He accused.
Sandra gave him a hurt look. “No. Actually we were just saying that there’s tension. You got any ideas?”
Steve shrugged. Then he grimaced. “I know what it is. It’s that bloody wanted poster. I’ll bet she’s worried about her sister.”
“Two puzzled looks were directed at him.
“Dawn’s at Uni in Oxford. I’ll bet that’s what the phone call was about.” He explained.
The two grimaced. “Shit.” Said Gemma. “I didn’t know. Otherwise I’d have left it. She must be worried. We’d better go and apologise.”
Over on the dance floor a different conversation was taking place….
~“Crap. I think there’s a vamp in here.”~ Thought Buffy.
~”You sense it too, then. I thought it was just me.”~ Replied Dan, glancing around.
Buffy tensed. ~“Uh oh. There might be more than one then. I’ll scout around. See what’s the what. You might have to deal with any that are still in here if I take it outside. You gonna be okay?”~
~“Yes. I’ll be fine. I’ll let the lads know what’s happening. Buffy….”~ He started, as she gave him a peck on the cheek and turned to go.
~“…I know, be careful…”~ She responded.
Sandra and Gemma started making their way through the crowd towards Dan and Buffy.. They saw her give Dan a peck on the cheek and move toward the toilets. They followed at a distance, after all it was her they‘d obviously upset. Near to the door Buffy paused, cocked her head on one side slightly for a moment, then changed direction.
Ahead of her were two other women who were linked arm in arm as they made their way to the exit. She followed them outside.
Puzzled by the sudden change in direction Sandra and Gemma did the same, just in case they’d cocked it right up and Buffy was making an early night of it, although they couldn’t understand why Danny wasn’t accompanying her.
Outside it was dark, and had been for some time. The two women walked off into the night with Buffy not far behind, and the two female officers gaining on them quickly.
An alleyway came up on one side, into which the girls saw Buffy disappear. As they rounded the corner themselves, Gemma and Sandra heard the unmistakeable sounds of a fight somewhere in the darkness.
Their training took over and they ran into to the alley, Gemma pulling a small Mag-Light torch from her bag as they entered.
She turned it on and pointed it into the darkness, just in time to see one of the women being flung into the wall by Buffy.
Sandra was surprised to say the least. “Police Officers!!….Buffy..?” She started.
They both saw the illuminated woman’s distorted face as she rebounded off the wall, straight onto the pointed piece of wood that Buffy thrust forward with deadly accuracy.
The woman just exploded into dust, shocking them into silence, but Buffy wasn’t standing still. The stake disappeared back up her jacket sleeve and she dropped to the floor, gathered up the second woman into her arms effortlessly, and came towards the two gaping officers.
“Sandra. Close your mouth, there’s a draught. Help me. Apply pressure to the wound, she’s losing a lot of blood.” Buffy ordered.
Sandra looked down and saw the pale form in Buffy’s arms and the bloody stain spreading from her neck onto her clothes. She automatically obeyed the instruction given to her and crouched beside the stricken woman that Buffy held at their feet under the streetlight.
At that moment Dan and Steve came running towards them. Steve scanned around for any onlookers as Dan knelt by the limp form in Buffy’s arms and placed his hands an inch or so from her neck.
Gemma and Sandra were just coming out of their stupor when they received their second shock of the night. There was a glow from beneath Dan’s hands for a few seconds before it faded, the blood flow abated, and the woman coughed, her eyes opening.
She came round with a crowd around her and was startled by their presence.
“It’s alright miss, we’re police officers. There’s no need to panic.” Said Dan as she stood and tried to make a bolt for it. .
“Then leave me alone! Where’s Donna? What did you do to her?”
Steve gave the woman his best innocently puzzled look. “There was no-one else here. We found you unconscious on the floor. Where did the blood come from?” He replied, indicating to her bloodstained blouse.
The woman pointed at Buffy. “She ran after us and attacked her. What did you do?” She accused.
Buffy shrugged, but said nothing, making a tipping motion with her hand, indicating that the woman might have had one too many drinks.
The woman stared into the darkness of the alley for a moment as her brain recapped the events.
“She bit me, on the neck….”
“I so did not!” Said Buffy, indignantly.
The woman touched the affected area with her hand. There was no injury. A puzzled frown adorned her face. “Not you, Donna… I-I don’t understand…” She trailed off.
She stared into the darkness for a moment. “Can I go home now?” She asked, weakly.
“I’ll get you a taxi.” Said Gemma. “Do you need someone to come with you, make sure you’re okay?”
The woman nodded vaguely. Gemma tugged at Steve’s arm and they escorted her away in search of a taxi.
Sandra, who had been silently watching the events unfold, now chose to speak out.
“So what did we just witness?” She asked.
Dan and Buffy shared a look. Dan kept silent.
“Trick of the light?” Suggested Buffy.
Sandra laughed derisively. “No way! I saw Danny’s hands glow. She’d have been dead from that neck wound if he hadn’t done whatever he did. She was right, it was a bite mark. That woman did bite her. Why?”
Buffy deflated. “I knew this was too good to last. It was a vampire, and before you go saying that they don’t exist, they do. Deal with it. Vampires are real, so are demons, and I’m the slayer, yadda, yadda, yadda.” She huffed.
Sandra blinked several times and processed the information. “Okay. So what are you Danny? You a slayer too?” She queried.
Buffy smiled and snuggled into her fiancé‘s waiting arms.
“Nope. He’s my little piece of heaven…”
Westbury. Slayer School.
Later that night Dawn readied herself for bed. She sat at her dressing table brushing her hair and pondering on the events of the day. Donning her robe she peered out from behind the curtains for a few moments looking beyond the floodlit area of the car park into the darkness.
Buffy’s words from their earlier conversation came back to her..
“Don’t be alone Dawn….”
A smile graced her lips. Checking her appearance in the mirror she, added a little of the inexpensive, but pleasant perfume she always wore, and slipped out of her room onto the hallway. Moving a few doors down she stopped outside one of them.
Josh was just dozing off when he heard the tapping on his door. Puzzled, he got up and threw on his dressing gown. Quietly he made his way over to the door, and opened it.
He squinted slightly as the light from the hallway pierced the room. Dawn leaned in and planted a kiss on his lips. Slightly shocked, it was a moment before he reciprocated. When they parted he glanced up and down the hall to see if anyone else was there.
“Dawn? What’s up? Is there something wrong?” He whispered.
“No, well apart from the fact that I… I missed you.”
He smiled at her. “I missed you too. There is something, isn’t there?” He said, incisively.
“Josh, remember our conversation on the way over here.”
“We have a lot of conversations. Which one?”
“The one about Hayley and Richard, and how we thought…”
“Oh, yeah. Vaguely. What about it?”
“This is me, Josh.”
“Yes Dawn, it’s definitely you.”
“This is me… Not beating about the bush….”
“Oh!” He said, catching on.
“Is that all you have to say. Oh?” There was a slightly miffed tone in her voice.
Josh grimaced at his faux pas. “Sorry, no. What I meant was, it’s a bit sudden, isn’t it?” He said, apologetically.
“This is sudden?” She thought about it for a moment. “Yeah, you’re right. It is… But I don’t want to sleep alone. Not tonight. Not anymore…”
He smiled and stepped back, opening the door fully. For a moment she paused, waiting for an invite. He didn’t offer one and she smirked at him for remembering the protocols even when he was obviously half asleep, and surprised by her actions. She stepped inside, and the door closed….
End of Chapter Fifty Three.