Chapter Sixty Three
Disclaimer. I own nothing…
Chapter Sixty Three.
Friday Fight….Meet Saturday Mourning!
Whilst the events in London were in full swing, Oxford was having a somewhat quieter night.
The pair DCI Bart had chosen to follow were back in the house by eleven p.m. He’d followed them to the fair that had arrived in the town to attract more custom to the regatta. The Welsh girl and the American girl that the Hartnell boy was dating had stopped to converse with several of the stall operators. Some of them were an ugly lot, their facial features were not quite right in several cases, he could have sworn that one of them actually had green skin; or was it the lighting on the stall. He wasn’t sure. Probably why they worked on the fair…A right bunch of misfits.
He didn’t want to get too close, consequently he couldn’t overhear what was said, but the fairground workers all looked more relieved when their conversation was over and the pair had moved on than at any time during. Tense. That was the only way to describe the looks they gave.
Other than that there was nothing to observe. Eventually, the pair had met up with the Hartnell boy and the three of them had walked back to the house.
Maybe he should have followed the other two, but he couldn’t be everywhere. It was two a.m. before they returned. “Probably been out clubbing.” He noted in his diary.
The chase across the city had turned into a drive. The undead chasers were now the chased, drawn out by the slayers and now being driven by the seconds. Towards the Millennium Dome.
It hadn’t been used since the year long exhibition held in celebration of the new millennium. There was talk of demolishing it and redeveloping the site, but public outcry had quashed that as the place had become a landmark in the city.
More recently there had been a move to re-establish it as a venue for exhibitions and concerts by a group of people, but at this moment, there it stood, empty and lonely; ready to host a showdown that needed to be kept from public view.
The interior was empty save for some stored waste bins and scaffolding. Their voices and footsteps echoed as the twenty strong group made their way into the building.
Several doors were opened up around the perimeter by Dan and his colleagues, who then moved outwards to cover the approaches, ostensibly to keep the public and any nosey journalists away.
“Okay, once they’re in they don’t leave!” Instructed Buffy.
“‘Cept in a dustpan.” Commented Mel.
~“Incoming!”~ Came Dan’s telepathic message to his fiancée.
“Here they come.” She announced to her squad.
They formed a loose circle.
The first groups of vamps burst through the doors and almost skidded to a halt as they saw the black clad group that awaited them. One or two turned to head back out but were driven back in by their pursuers brandishing axes and swords, and dusted if they attempted to force their way out. The others had no choice but to move towards the centre.
They snarled and hissed at the assembled group as they focussed on them. Then they spotted Buffy as she stepped ahead of the rest, and unhooked the veil covering from her face, and hoisted the Scythe above her head.
It was a beacon to her daughters, the symbol of their power. Her statement was simple.
She levelled the Scythe at the nearest vamps, and as one, they attacked…
As the shots rang out, there was a moment of hush in the room and the recovering journalists ducked for cover again. Royce couldn’t see what had happened from where he was lying but he suddenly felt his assailants extroadinarly strong grip slacken on his arm. He relaxed, then forced himself up and away, the grip released and the man fell off him.
Rolling away, Royce scooped up his gun and let off a burst of rapid fire himself. They hit home and Gardiner fell in a heap in front of him. As the body hit the floor Royce’s reaction was to assist his comrades and he missed the cloud of darkness that emitted from the dead body, hung for a second or two, then dissipated.
As they saw first their boss fall, then their cohort, Ellis and Smith glanced at each other. In their turn Parker and Davies couldn’t let the opportunity pass. They kicked out at their respective opponents, knocking them away as Royce followed through and put bullets into both of the security men.
There were more screams from the body of cowering journalists whose eyesight had recovered enough to see what was now happening and for their next thoughts to be one of self preservation and escape. Royce and the others recognised this, and though they had no intention of harming the paparazzi, If escape occurred, more people would be hurt in the panic, and they themselves might get caught in the melee. What they’d set out to achieve had been taken care of, even though it hadn’t gone exactly as planned…
Royce silently signalled for them to retreat. Davies and Parker rapidly collected their own weapons and dashed out of the doors covering each other and passing the slumped concierge on the way. Royce brought up the rear, giving one last cursory glance at the scene. As he did, several thoughts flashed through his mind..
He saw the thin woman who had taken their target out. She was still standing there, as if in a daze, the gun pointed at the last standing place of Arthur Maguire. Part of him considered pulling her out of there, but that would give them another problem. Maguire lay half way across the dais, most of the back of him splattered across the rear wall. Damage like that could only have been caused by hollow points. Having seen that, he too left the room. Here and now was not the place for speculation.
After a moment the silence returned to the room. All eyes turned to the thin jaundiced woman who stood there, the smoking gun still in her hand, the clip empty.
Slowly, it seemed that her energy, possibly the adrenalin brought on by the act of despatching Maguire, abated, the gun lowered, she sank to her knees and then collapsed. Her breathing was ragged and pain etched her face, yet her eyes were open, calm, at peace.
“Who is she? Asked one of the journalists, as they began to recover from the shock of the last few minutes..
“Don’t know. She doesn’t look at all well. Somebody get a bloody ambulance. And the police…”
Slayers. One hundred fifty three….
It was well after midnight as Dan’s Audi pulled into the cul-de-sac. The evening had been a total success for the slayers, there were a couple of injuries, but nothing so serious that Dan’s powers of healing couldn’t cope with.
At the subsequent debrief, one or two of the girls had pointed out that this particular game plan wouldn’t necessarily work a second time. Buffy had taken the time to answer any questions they’d had, and her response was that, like Sunnydale, it had worked when it needed to. It had also served as a message to the master vampires not to mess with the new order and to leave London alone.
The two lovers fell upon each other as soon as they closed the door to the apartment, and apart from the sounds of their lovemaking, a trail of discarded clothing was the only clue to their whereabouts…
Just after five a. m., a dark coloured car pulled up outside Dan’s apartment block. It shone with a high wax shine under the early morning sunshine that was just peeking over the rooftops. Two smartly dressed men got out of the front of the car and made their way towards the block.
At the same time several similar cars were making house calls across the city’s suburbs, to the homes of Dan’s team mates, and Ed Clewley. Almost to the minute, the doorbells were rung.
Steve Hughes mum answered the door. Two smartly dressed men stood there, one held out a warrant card.
One of the men spoke up. “DS Leake, DC Joiner. New Scotland Yard. Is your son in. we’d like to ask him a few questions.”
Sheila Hughes squinted at the card. Her lack of reading spectacles, the early hour of the wake up call, and the bright sunny morning combining to create the beginnings of a headache.
“Do you know what time it is!” It wasn’t a question.
“Five a.m. Madam.” Replied Joiner, a little too cheerfully. It earned him a searing glare.
“I know. Some idiot has just knocked me up.” She replied through clenched teeth. Joiner wrinkled his brow slightly.
Leake wasn’t so easily thwarted. “Can we have a word please. It’s important."
“He’s not here. Try the station dorm. I think he was working last night.”
“No he wasn’t. Please check.” Insisted Leake.
Sheila folded her arms. “No. I don’t need to. His bedroom door was open as I came down to answer this one. He’s not there. Satisfied!”
“Can we check?” Said Leake.
Sheila’s lips pursed. She took a breath. “Got a warrant?” There was a pause. “I thought not! Now leave, before I really lose my temper.”
Leake tried one last time. “Mrs Hughes. Do you have any idea where he might be?”
“Not a clue. I’m his mother, not his gaoler. Try his friends, his colleagues. Pete Edgerton, Danny Carter, Tony Bayliss.”
Leake opened his mouth to ask another question but the door was closed firmly in his face. Sheila had had enough.
The two coppers looked at one another then turned back to their car. Once inside, Leake reported back to his senior officer, DCI Yates. The reply he got wasn’t what he expected. He looked at Joiner.
“I don’t think the Guv’nor’s too happy.” He said.
Buffy’s dream was coming to her in flashes. From what she could tell, she was standing in a clearing by some woods. She didn’t recognise the location. Suddenly there was a wailing sound and raggedly dressed people with terrified looks on their faces came running into the clearing from the woods. They began scattering left and right, their voices calling out for help.
One by one they disappeared into thin air as a diverging beams of light shone down from the sky and passed over the spot where they ran. There was another inhuman wailing scream and another light passed over the ground depositing a demon; a demon dressed in a black leather coat. The hair was almost white, matted and long. It’s skin was pale grey and shiny, its high forehead face had piercing eyes.
Another of the ragged people, a woman, came running into view. She was looking behind her as though she were being chased. By the time she saw the demon it was too late. It shot out a hand and caught the young woman. She screamed, the demon let out a triumphant bellow and thrust its hand to her bosom. She screamed, her face twisted in pain, and Buffy could see her age visibly, gaining sixty or seventy years in a few seconds.
The demon dropped the desiccated body and gave a sated sound, as though it had just had a good meal. The look on its face didn’t last long. Turning towards the direction she was standing, it rushed towards her rapidly and thrust out a hand….
The sound of the outer door intercom buzzing woke her with a jolt. Instinctively she thought of the Scythe that was lying on the floor at the bedside, and it flew up into her hands.
Dan let out a groan as he looked at the clock. “It’s bloody five o’clock, who the hell is calling at this time in a morning?”
He turned over and saw her sitting bolt upright, clutching the Scythe. If it hadn’t been for the look of horror on her face, the sight of her pert breasts would have given rise to a more flippant comment.
“Bad dream?” He asked, worry etching his own features.
“Scary.” was the only word she uttered.
Dan was out of bed in a flash. “Anything to do with who that is?” He asked, pulling on jeans and a tee shirt. The buzzer sounded again.
She shook her head. “Don’t think so. See who it is. I’ll tell you later.”
Dan left the bedroom and closed the door. Picking up their discarded clothing as he traversed the room, he dropped them into the linen sack in the bathroom on his way.
“Who is it?” He asked, pushing the communication button. He saw the two men on the screen but didn’t recognise them.
“Police Officers. Open up!” Said the taller one.
“Yeah. Me too. Got a warrant card?” Retorted Dan.
“Yes, Constable we know you are. Open up!”
“If you are then, you know the drill. Then I’ll decide whether the door gets opened or not.” Dan replied.
A card was produced and held up to the camera. The camera took a second to focus and Dan scanned it expertly, looking for all the pointers that said it was genuine. He pushed the button to open the outer door.
It took the pair a little time to ascend the stairs to Dan’s floor. Once there they knocked on his apartment door.
Dan had taken the time to splash some water on his face in the bathroom and warn Buffy mentally that they had company, so that she could make herself decent. As they knocked he opened the door.
“Constable Daniel Carter?” Asked the one who had produced his warrant card.
“I think we‘ve established that. What’s the problem Detective Sergeant Solomon?”
Solomon was slightly taken aback. He hadn’t expected that Dan would be able to read his name on the card. “This is DC Wright. We’re from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit, New Scotland Yard.” Said the taller of the two. “Can you tell me your whereabouts yesterday evening between nine and eleven p.m?”
“Out, with my fiancée. Why? And what are the S and O doing asking that at this time of the morning? shouldn’t you be waking up some bank robbers or drug dealers.” Dan was thinking that this was a waste of someone’s time
“Just answer the question please. Out where? Specifically.”
“East end. Millennium Dome area. Why, what’s going on?”
“Can you corroborate that. Were there any other witnesses who can vouch that you were there?”
Dan was glad that they hadn’t asked exactly what he was doing there. “A few dozen, some of my colleagues from Belgravia nick. What’s all this about?” He replied.
As yet, Dan hadn’t allowed them across the threshold. Across the hallway a neighbours’ door opened the length of the security chain, enough to allow the elderly lady to peer out at the three of them.
They weren‘t demons, or vamps, he‘d have sensed it by now, so he invited them in.
“Shall we take this inside please gentlemen. You’re disturbing my neighbours.” Said Dan giving the elderly lady a friendly wave.
She waved back on recognising him, smiled, and the door closed.
Buffy appeared from the bedroom, barefoot, hair freshly brushed, wearing one of Dan’s rugby shirts, a pair of pedal pusher shorts just visible under the hem.
She said nothing to the two men and headed for the kitchen. Playing the role of hostess, she pulled mugs, tea and coffee from the cupboard; and switched the kettle on. She was hungry so she pulled out an energy bar from the cupboard, and unwrapped the end ready to take a bite whilst she was preparing. She wanted to know what they were doing there, and also wanted to bolster the impression that Dan had nothing to hide.
“Tea, or coffee?” She called out.
“Er, tea, please.” It had had the desired effect. Solomon’s tone had softened in surprise.
“You’re American?” Came Wright’s voice.
Buffy’s head appeared around the door. She flashed him a tight smile. “I can see why they made you a detective.”
Wright looked a little embarrassed at his ability to state the obvious, and got a sharp look from his superior. Dan took the opportunity to get the question back on topic.
“Okay. With all due respect, sir. Enough of this. What’s going on!?”
“Information has been passed to us of certain irregularities at Belgravia nick. We were preparing our investigation when things took a more significant turn yesterday evening. I take it you haven’t heard the news at all?”
Both Dan and Buffy shook their heads. “Irregularities?” Queried Dan. An alarm bell went off in his head.
~”Careful what you say. Lets find out more.”~ He messaged.
“No. Why what’s happened?” Asked Buffy, fearing another bombing. ~“Okay, you take point.”~ She added mentally.
“Arthur Maguire and his three security guards were gunned down at the Marriot conference.”
For a moment neither Buffy or Dan said anything. They exchanged a puzzled glance, then Buffy asked. “They’re dead?”
“Yes. All of them.” Said Solomon.
“They were shot?” Asked Dan.
“Who by?” Asked Buffy. “Sorry. By whom?” She corrected herself.
Solomon shrugged. “Well, that’s the sixty four thousand dollar question. Witnesses say that three policemen wearing balaclavas and riot gear burst in, set off a thunder flash, and got caught by his security guards.”
“So, if they were caught…How did all four of them get shot, and why are you here?” Dan was confused, Solomon wasn’t making sense.
“Because the three policemen escaped, and shot the guards on the way out.”
“So they didn’t shoot Maguire?” Buffy was just as puzzled.
“Because Maguire wasn’t just shot…He was executed. By June Manning!”
Kew. Clewley residence.
“What the bloody hell is going on?” Asked Giles as he put his head around the lounge door.
The two senior detectives looked at him in surprise. They hadn’t expected anyone else to be there. They stood in the middle of the lounge as he walked in.
“Rupert. You’d better hear this. Have a seat.” Said Edward. “This is DCI Yates and DI Tabley from New Scotland Yard.”
Giles nodded to the pair, unsure of heir purpose.
Allison appeared from the kitchen with a tray of teacups in her hands and a worried look on her face.
“Ah, Rupert, you’re up. I’ll get another cup.” Her voice was thick, as though she was barely holding back the tears.
She placed the tray down and bustled back into the kitchen.
Ed indicated to the men to take a seat on the sofa and to continue.
“As I was saying. Arthur Maguire was shot dead last night during his media conference….”
“Good lord!“ Came the comment.
Giles’ glasses came off and he began polishing as the tale unfolded. He stopped polishing when he heard the part about the three police officers that had allegedly attempted to carry out the murder of Arthur Maguire, but after initial thwarting of that, the fact that June Manning had completed the action.
When it emerged that Edward and some of the officers under him were being investigated for certain irregularities…
“Irregularities?” Questioned Giles. He gave Edward a puzzled look.
“Some of our unsolved cases.” Said Edward. There was emphasis on the word ‘cases’; which Giles took as a coded reference to those involving Buffy, and or the WSC.
“Why don’t we both get dressed and take this down to the station.” Suggested Edward, standing up.
“Can’t do that I’m afraid Chief Superintendent. Some of your officers are being questioned as we speak and I have a team going through your office right now. I’m afraid you are suspended until the outcome of the investigation.
Edward looked pale. “What! You can‘t! Who‘s authority are you acting upon. Out with it. Now!”
“The Chief Constable’s.” Came the reply.
There was a gasp from the doorway as Alison heard the last sentences. She disappeared back into the kitchen and they heard her sobbing. Edward followed her to give comfort. He shot a glare over his shoulder at the two detectives.
Giles remained seated and calm. As the senior of the two opened his mouth to speak, Giles fixed him with a glare of his own. “I think our Chief Constable has overstepped his brief this time.” He stated.
“Excuse me. What do you mean? Who did you say you were?” Asked the DCI.
Giles remained calm, but there was steel in his voice as he started polishing his lenses again.
“I didn’t. However, I will offer this. Have hope that none of your colleagues have upset the wrong people by taking the actions that they have this morning. It may very well be the last mistake they make.” He paused. “I am now going to make a telephone call, after that conversation has taken place, you will receive new instructions, and I expect everything to be returned, untouched, to it’s rightful place by the time my friend has dressed himself and travelled to Belgravia. Is that understood?”
“You don’t have the right…” Started the senior officer.
“I have every right. Did I not make myself clear!” Confirmed Giles more forcefully.
The two men nodded, but it was a puzzled look on their faces.
Giles picked up the phone, dialled, and put it onto speakerphone.
“Prime Minister’s residence” Came a voice at the other end.
“It’s Rupert Giles here. I apologise for the early hour. Is he there perchance?”
“One moment, Lord Giles.”
All of a sudden the two detectives didn’t know where to put themselves. A voice came on the other end of the phone, they didn’t need to ask who it was, they’d heard it enough times on the radio and television over the last few years.
Giles quickly explained what had happened, and it appeared that Downing Street had not been made aware of the action, or the murder of Maguire. When Giles got to the part about Edward’s suspension, there was a loud WHAT! from the other end that made both the detectives jump.
Allison and Edward appeared in the doorway again, having heard the conversation. Alison’s demeanour was a little more confident now she could see that someone was on her husband’s side.
The call ended with a promise from the other end. “Give me half an hour please Lord Giles. I’ll have this sorted out immediately.”
“Thank you Prime Minister.” Giles replaced the receiver. “It would appear that your action is over. Now if you would be so kind as to leave, quietly, some of us would like to get another hour of sleep.” He added, calmly.
The pair stood, flummoxed by the turn in events, and headed for the door, mumbling apologies to Alison and Edward as they did.
The front door closed behind them, Alison threw her arms, first around Edward, then Giles squeezing for all she was worth.
“Thank you. Thank you.” Was all she could say.
Giles patted her on the back. “When I can do something, I will.” He said.
Edward watched as the car pulled away. He turned to Giles. “Okay. We know it wasn’t any of us. But someone did set out to kill Maguire. So who was it, and why?”
“He was a demon, and the report from Heidi and Helga tells me that his security men were some of this new type of possessed humans. Whoever these three were, they were lucky to get out alive. As for Mrs Manning, I only know what I‘ve been told, but she doesn’t sound like the sort of person that could instigate this sort of action. And to use hollow points without any knowledge of what you’re up against is highly unusual. It’s probably the only way to ensure success, other than decapitation.” Replied Giles.
“I agree. June Manning must have acted alone. I must say, I didn’t see it coming, she’s been in and out of hospital for months. The last I heard was when Daniel saw her about four months ago. He said then that he didn’t think she had long to live.
“That poor woman.” Interjected Allison. “She’s gone on for almost year hoping that the police can tie her daughter’s murder to Maguire and give her some sense of justice. Then the CPS drop everything as if to say that Amanda’s death was nothing. So she feels that her only course of action is to do take it upon herself. Eye for an eye!”
“We were going to deal with him when the time was right.” Said Edward.
“You could have told her that.” Allison looked from her husband to Rupert and back again in astonishment. “Surely you could have told her something!!?”
“June?!!” Dan couldn’t believe what he’d just heard. “There’s got to be some mistake?”
“There isn’t, I’m afraid. We’ve got her in a secure ward at St. Thomas’s. If she ever wakes up, she’s got a lot of explaining to do.”
“You said she wasn’t well the last time you saw her.” Said Buffy, she could see that Dan was in a state of shock.
Dan nodded still trying to fathom why June had done this. Blow that. How had June done this?
“The gun, what sort of gun was it?” Buffy fired at Solomon, to keep him on the defensive whilst Dan recovered.
“A Glock. She used hollow points as well. Emptied the whole clip into him. Made sure there was plenty of mess.” Replied Solomon, a hint of satisfaction in his voice as he told her. He was trying to shock her as well. It didn’t work.
“That’s just gross! You enjoy your job too much.” Commented Buffy.
“June doesn’t know anything about guns. Not even how to get hold of one.” Dan said.
“Then we have to wonder if these three were in league with her, don’t we?” Said Solomon.
“I don’t think so. Why didn’t they take her with them when they left.” Pondered Dan.
“And why dress up to look like cops?” Asked Buffy.
“Probably because they were.” Answered Solomon.
“Can you say set up!” Buffy’s eyes were wide in disbelief.
“I beg your pardon miss?” Replied Solomon.
“Granted, I’m sure.” She gave the man a tight smile.
Dan smothered a grin as she continued. “Danny was with me last night… All night. So were his colleagues and about thirty of my students, showing them London’s sights. They didn’t do it! Look somewhere else!”
A light came on in Wright’s head as he realised what was happening. He opened his mouth to comment, but got no further, as the phone in Solomon’s pocket rang. He excused himself, took the call, listened for a moment, then stiffened as if someone had pushed a rod up his back. He paled and stammered out an apology, then offered the phone to Buffy.
“Someone…someone to speak to you. Miss Summers.” He stuttered.
Coming down from her rant, she took the phone, listened for a moment, and a grin spread across her face. “…Can I ask how the Prime Minister found out?” There was a pause. “Oh, he was. He did. I see. Uh huh. Barely, your call saved them.” She looked at the two detectives as she said it. There was another pause as she listened again. “About a hundred…. Really! He will! … Oh that’s great! Tell him I look forward to seeing him there. Thank you…. Bye.”
She snapped the phone shut and handed it back to Solomon. Dan couldn’t hide the grin any longer, as she messaged him the last piece of information.
“Brilliant. Mum will be chuffed to bits!” He replied, out loud.
Solomon looked at his sidekick. “Did you understand any of that?” He asked.
Wright shrugged. he had lost track of what was happening as soon as the name Prime Minister had been mentioned.
Dan opened the door, he didn’t need to elaborate, he just smiled and indicated to the exit. “I think that’s your cue to leave gentlemen.” He said.
The two shocked detectives stood up. Solomon was still talking as they did. “You’ve got friends in some very high places Miss Summers.”
Wright posed a question to Dan. “If it wasn’t you who was there, who was it? And where did June Manning get the gun. There were no serial numbers on it, and it’s ballistic print isn’t on any of our lists.”
“What will happen to her?” Buffy asked, distracting him and avoiding the question.
“If she lives, she’ll be charged, and tried, but the doctors are doubtful she‘ll last much more than forty eight hours.” Replied Solomon.
They left. Dan returned to the lounge to see Buffy pensively staring out of the window. He was about to ask her about the dream she’d had when something occurred to him. He dashed into the bedroom and keyed in the code on the gun safe.
“Oh shit!” He called out.
“What?” Buffy whirled around, pulled from her thoughts.
“The Glock that Xander gave me from the WSC armoury, before we went to Paris. It’s missing!”
End of Chapter Sixty Three