Chapter 9: As My Vampire Softly Weeps
See Chapt. 1 for disclaimers, warnings, timelines
Secrets: A Father Goose Tale
A BTVS-SG1 Crossover
Chapter 9: As My Vampire Softly Weeps
Denver, Colorado, Monday Evening Oct 2007
“Are you sure about this, baby?” Faith said as Xander turned the Jag south on I-25.”
“No, of course not. I know Dawn and Giles’ crew of big foreheads are going through the files as fast as they can. But you know it’s not the same, what’s in the files and what you learn getting your hands dirty.”
“Yeah. Gonna piss Jennifer off though.”
“No, we’ll hang back, have dinner or something, let her take care of it. When she checks in I’ll just tell her I came down to have a chat with Werner. She’ll be cool.”
“And what….?” “And…..
? Baby, don’t play poker with me. You know better.”
“And my leg itches.” “Your
leg itches. “
“Yeah. You know, in the spidey sense, gravewalkingover, oh, shit, something ain’t right way. ‘Course no one needs to tell Jennifer that.”
They rode in silence for a few miles, then Faith reached in the back and opened a backpack and pulled out a thick paperback, Xander glanced over and winced.
“Faith, the Zinn? Why not the Ann Bonny? Then we can go and have a drink in the Thirsty Parrot and chill. The Zinn just makes you mad.”
“Xan, I’m gonna finish this if it takes all year.”
“Okay, okay. But this time when you get pissed and want to heave it open the window first, okay?”
Colorado Springs, Colorado Monday Evening 2007
“Ardy, leave the guns in the car….” Leticia said.
“No. I mean it. All you’ll do is piss them off. Promise me.”
“All right, all right. I promise.”
“Not even the derringer.”
“Letty! I’ll feel naked.”
“No. No guns. That goes for you too, Ben. You left the sidearm at home, right?”
“Good boy. Okay, I’m going in. Give me ten minutes, if I don’t show, get the hell out of here. If I come to the door and I’ve got my hat on, get the hell out of here. If I’ve got my hat off and I wave, come on and take a table as close the back door as you can and we’ll play it by ear.”
She started to open the jeep door but Ardyce reached across, touched her arm, then held out a black gloved hand,
“Letty, if it goes wrong…. These last hundred years, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I love you.”
Leticia took her hand, held it hard. “I know Ard. I love you too. See you in a few.”
The Sweet’n’Hot was ice cream and pastries, and especially various combinations of the two served generally with coffee, tea or hot chocolate for the really sweet of tooth. It smelled of sugar and cinnamon and cardamom and a hundred other wonderful things and if they ever added a nice warm cup of o-pos to the menu Leticia would consider the place true paradise on Earth. If she was going to be staked she wanted it to happen here. Who knew? She had never believed in vampires until she was turned, perhaps the next stage was ghost. This was the place she wanted to haunt.
She stepped inside and sensed them, more accurately she saw them sense her, two girls sitting at a table, blocking the back door, of course. One dark-haired, one white blonde, Leticia paused, feeling a chill run down her back as their eyes measured her for the stake. Then the blonde nodded slightly and jerked her head toward the far wall. Leticia turned and saw them there, waiting in a booth, the short girl, curly cornsilk blonde and the tall, solid built Indian woman.
The blonde girl was digging happily into one of the Sweet’n’Hot’s specialties, the Le Monstre Apple ‘a la mode’, more or less half an apple pie covered in French vanilla ice cream. She looked up suddenly, spotted Leticia and smiled widely, waving for her to come over. This Leticia hadn’t quite expected. She saw the Indian woman smile and shake her head ruefully, then motion for her to sit.
She slid cautiously into the booth and waited,
“Leticia, I presume?” She nodded. “I’m Jennifer, we spoke on the phone.”
“And this is Renee.”
“Hey, there, ‘Ticia,” the blonde burbled, “this is great. You’ve got total bonus points for the location.”
“And your friends?” Jennifer asked.
“We didn’t want to crowd you,” Leticia said and saw Jennifer smile. Not fooled, but wasn’t going to call her on it. She felt a wave of relief. It was going to work. She had never actually met a slayer before, she hadn’t really known what to expect. A chirpy little girl with French vanilla smeared on her chin certainly wasn’t it. On the other hand, the girl’s complete lack of fear in the presence of one who was after all a fairly old and experienced vampire suggested there was more there than met the eye. Still, it appeared the transaction would be handled in a civilized manner.
“Okay, Leticia, smile for the camera.”
“How are we going to know not to dust you if we don’t know what you look like?”
“Renee, please,” Jennifer said and the blonde hopped up and stood between Leticia and the rest of the room. “And one in game face,” Jennifer added.
“Must you … It’s not exactly how I prefer to picture myself.”
“Sorry. It’s not like to you have to frame it and put it on the wall. Thank you. Now, if you’ll have your friends come in we’ll finish up here and get on with the big show.”
“If I may … what exactly happens next? The details. I haven’t actually done this before you know.”
“Of course. I take your friend’s mug shots. I read you all the riot act. No more human blood, ever. I look you in eye and use all my skill and experience to decide whether I’m going to take a chance on you. Thumbs down, I give you a twenty-four hour head start. Thumbs up, you give me the information as promised and go hang out in Ardyce’s …. Of course we know, Leticia, it wasn’t hard….. You hang out in Ardyce’s town house. The girls and I go out and clean your town up for you. If your information was good we slide by and give you your ID cards and leave you alone. From then on, if you happen to run into a slayer… in a bar say, or in a place like this, having a coffee, show the card, stay dust free. …. Remember, if we catch you in the act …. You’re dust. Period. From time to time we may swing by and test you. We have a little machine that tells us if you have human blood in you. Test positive and you’re dust. …That’s about it. Any other questions?”
“No. That’s quite clear. I‘ll just go and signal my friends. She took her hat off and headed for the door.
Jack trotted up behind the surveillance van, knocked and was admitted, he eased forward to look over the driver’s shoulder,
“Give me a sitrep, Lieutenant,” he said.
“Subjects drove around the block a couple times then parked across the street from the restaurant. They appeared to engage in a brief conversation, then female one went inside… that was… seven minutes ago. Hang on…. There in the door way, sir.”
Jack saw Leticia appear and wave. Across the street doors opened and two people …using, Jack reminded himself, the term loosely, got out of the jeep. After a brief double-take he recognized Ardyce wrapped in the ankle-length duster, beside her the man had his hat pulled down and his coat collar turned up.
“Waddya think, Lieutenant, that look like Werner?”
“Could be, Colonel. Same height. Hard to tell weight with that coat.”
“It’s almost certainly him, sir,” a voice behind him said. Jack turned and saw one of the technicians pointing to a couple images on a computer screen. “Couldn’t get enough of his face for a hundred percent match, but the nose-chin, nose-ear, and nose-eye ratios all match Captain Werner exactly sir.”
“Good old nose ratios, huh?” He spoke into the two way, “Carter? You and Daniel got your civvies on?”
“Yes,sir,” Carter answered. “And the microphone.”
“Good, remember with the small mic like that you have aim precisely…”
“Sir, if I remember correctly, I was the one who explained to you how it works…”
“Oh, right. Okay then, go for coffee. Official business so don’t forget those receipts. The peach fritters are good.”
“Good to know, sir.”
“Lieutenant, have your men surround the building at a one block radius as discreetly as possible. Remind your men there are civilians in play, they are to fire only, repeat only, if in immediate jeopardy.”
They watched Daniel and Carter cross the street and go inside.
“Sir,” the technician said, “we have audio,” and handed Jack a set of headphones. “…..and then by ten the pork bellies were already up three points, but I knew, and this is the really cool part, I knew….”
“I think you’ve got the wrong conversation, there, Carter,” Jack said.
There was a bit of ambient noise then a woman’s voice. “Very nice work, Leticia, if this is at all accurate, it’s a deal. Before I let you go, I have to ask, Captain, what’s it like going through a wormhole?”
“Oh, for crying out loud,” Jack said. “Carter, sitrep?”
“Targets in booth on east wall, fourteen civilians, scattered, four more behind counter, possible single target alone at table near rear entrance. Sir, I’ve been made, in fact I think they’re listening to every word…”
“Sit tight, Carter, be ready to back my play,” Jack said, doffing his bomber jacket and draping it over his P-90, “Lieutenant, have your men surround the building and prepare to evacuate civilians.”
He was out the back then and running across the street, he slowed as he hit the door so as not to make too dramatic an entrance. He saw Carter and followed her gaze to the booth where he saw Werner and Leticia sitting across from an alert looking blonde girl and a black haired woman talking on a cell phone. He strode quickly across the room and discreetly as possible displayed the P-90 to the table,
“Put the phone down, ma’am,” he said.
“In a minute, Colonel,” the woman said.
“Ma’am, I have a gun.”
“How exciting for you.”
“It’s just that it’s traditional to, you know, do what the man with the gun says. Now, put the phone down.“
“Whistle when you’re ready, Jun,” the woman said, then placed the phone carefully in the middle of the table with a smile. “Well, if it’s traditional.”
“Ms. Kearny,” Jack said.
“Colonel,” Leticia replied coldly, “This really is very rude of you. I’m very disappointed, I must say.”
Jack restrained the “sorry,” that came almost automatically to his lips. He turned to Werner.
“It’s me, Colonel,” the man said, pushing his hat back and turning to look up at him, “and I never realized until just this moment how much I’ve always wanted to do this,” and then to Jack’s horror and amazement his face began to change, his eyes turn yellow, he grew….fangs. He moved.
Mèze, France, July 2007 L'ordre fraternel du serpent gaucher
had offices in an old building with a nice view of the waterfront. The front rooms were clean if unprepossessing, but once Willow had followed Shad back through a long narrow corridor with guards at attention at regular intervals the space opened up into a large, rather ornate room. A long table ran three-quarters of it’s length, at the far end was an open area and beyond that a raised dais furnished with plush sofas suitable for royalty to lounge in.
Willow followed Shad into the open area and paused as Shad did. Shad spoke something in a language Willow did not understand, but clearly it was a summons. Shad motioned for her to sit and she sank obediently into a full lotus and watched as after a few moments the curtains behind the dais opened and a plump man in a rather foppish suit appeared, flanked by two bulky men holding the staff weapons Willow recognized from the Haiti expedition.
The plump man spoke and Shad replied, back and forth, the conversation growing slowly more heated, both Shad and the man’s voice taking on strange deep tones. From behind, Willow could not see Shad’s face, but the plump man’s eyes began to glow with a strange pale light that seemed to grow brighter as his anger swelled…until the plump man raised his left hand … Willow caught a glimpse of some sort of jewel in his palm ... and with slayer swiftness that clearly stunned the plump man Shad leaped up on the dais and befuddled him further by cutting his head off in single smooth stroke, then twirling the blade and slicing the torso in half to make sure the snake inside was dead as well. A swift kick sent one of the guards flying, Shad’s blade found its way to tease the neck of the second guard who stood rigid, then sank slowly to his knees and prostrated himself.
“Willow,” Shad called, “come.”
She stood and walked up the steps, carefully avoiding the blood and gore oozing from the mangled body.
“Wait there,” Shad said, pointing and Willow stood by the curtains and watched as Shad bent down to take a gold glove-like thing off the dead man’s hand and slide it on her own, then she picked up the man’s severed head and held it high, waiting as the room slowly filled with the remaining guards and other workers from the front offices. Shad spoke and after a moment of silence the assembly sank as one to their knees and then into full prostration. Shad tossed the head contemptuously into the open area below the dais and imperiously turned and walked through the curtains.
Willow followed and waited patiently as Shad stood in a small heated pool and allowed attendants to bathe her, then she ordered them to bathe Willow in the same manner while Shad ate idly from a bowl of fruit and a plate of cold meat.
Ablutions completed Willow took the oil one of attendants gave her, added a pinch of powder from her pouch of useful magical ingredients. For a moment the oil foamed, then settled down to a quiet gold glow. Shad smiled beatifically and rolled on her stomach and stretched languorously as Willow knelt at her side and began to gently but firmly massage the oil into the slayer’s thick skin.
“Leave us,” Shad ordered and the attendants disappeared. “A waste,” Shad said, “it is foolish of the Gods to fight amongst themselves. Still, the hierarchy must be respected and maintained. You must remember that, my child. When I raise you to full Godhood, you must not become intoxicated and forget.”
“Yes, Shad,” Willow said.
“When we are alone, you may use my true name.”
“Yes, my lord Geb,” Willow said.
Colorado Springs, Colorado Monday Evening 2007
And things had been going so well, Leticia thought. Ardyce and Ben had come in and taken a table as planned. Ardyce had come over to get the mug shot and the lecture and been all nervous and formal until Renee had asked if she could try on the duster and of course it draped around her in folds and made her like a little kid in her mother’s coat, and then Ardy showed her the trick release pouch where she, usually, kept the derringer in her sleeve which Renee pronounced “Wicked,” with approval and Leticia had realized she was having fun.
Then it was Ben’s turn and there had been a tense moment with Jennifer staring at her,
“So, you made yourself a new boytoy and then
called us,” and paused, then sighed. “Well, too late now. He’s your responsibility, he kills, we dust all three of you, got me? Okay, what have you got for me?”
Leticia had opened the map on the table and showed the watcher all the nests and lairs and feeding grounds she’d marked, along with brief notations about times and weapons she’d observed. While Jennifer was looking over the map and nodding her phone rang and she answered, then looked up, Leticia felt her staring.
“There seem to be some gentlemen from the air force outside,” she said and Leticia felt a sudden horror. They hadn’t fooled them after all, they would interfere, the slayers would think it was a setup….. but apparently the horror showed sufficiently on her face so that Jennifer seemed to accept her bleated claims of innocence. She nodded.
Jennifer spoke into the phone, “It’s okay Jun, better late than never. Can you clear a path out the back door? I’ll stay on the line.” She began folding up the map. “Very nice work, Leticia, if this is at all accurate, it’s a deal. Before I let you go, I have to ask, Captain, what’s it like going through a wormhole?”
But before Ben could answer Renee raised her hand for silence, then Leticia could hear it as well, the blonde woman at the center table talking sotto voce
about targets on the east wall.
And then Jennifer was speaking low and quiet, “Okay, listen, you two be good, stay cool and we’ll take care of you. We don’t want any shooting in here, okay? You guys go vamp face and who knows what hell breaks loose, so be cool.” Then she’d raised her voice just enough, adding “Ardyce, go with Sassa and Mari, out the back door when you hear the whistle. Be cool, we’ll take care of Letty and bring her back, I promise. As long as everybody keeps their fangs to themselves it’s gonna be okay.”
And then suddenly the Colonel was there with his gun and there was the back and forth about the phone and then she felt Ben tense and rise, she grabbed at his arm, said,
but knew she couldn’t stop him.
Leticia saw the Colonel stepping back, readying his weapon…. And there was a quicksilver flash and out of nowhere Renee had produced an evilly gleaming sword that she was pressing against Ben’s neck, pushing him down, the blonde woman of the target talk and a bespectacled man at the counter had both brought out guns and taken up positions at the Colonel’s back.
There was a momentary tableaux as silence settled, then the Colonel spoke, “Ma’am, put the sword down, please.”
“Colonel O’Neill, you do realize she just saved your life,” Jennifer said.
“Ma’am you do realize it’s not a good idea to bring a sword to a gunfight?”
“Point taken. Put it down, Renee.“
“And how do you know my name?” The Colonel asked.
“It’s on your shirt.”
The Colonel glanced down. “No it isn’t.”
“Made you look.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Jack winced.
And then there was piercing whistle, the Colonel’s two backups suddenly made muffled noises and fell over and Leticia saw Ardyce glance back once, her face unhappy as she allowed the two other slayers to drag her away down the back hall.
Then suddenly the room was filling up with men with guns and body armor, Leticia tensed and thought of making a run for it, she might take a few bullets but she figured she could fight her way to the door and out ….but she thought, then what? And she saw Jennifer giving her the eye and she sighed and sat back and accepted her fate.
Colorado Springs, Colorado Monday Evening 2007
“A cinnamon roll?” Jack said.
“Yes, sir,” Carter mumbled.
“You were taken out by a cinnamon roll?”
“Moving at a very high rate of speed, yes, sir,” Carter responded, a slight touch of irritation edging into her voice. Then she added, “Daniel got taken out by a jelly donut.”
“Lemon,” Daniel agreed coming into the room. “Quite good actually.”
“And not nearly as aerodynamic or as dense as a cinnamon roll,” Carter noted.
“I’ll bear that in mind the next time I plan an assault with pastries,” Jack said.
“Colonel O’Neill,” an airman said.
“Sir, I’ve been requested to inform you that Captain Werner would like to speak to you.”
Werner was sitting on the padded floor of the unfurnished observation room, the airman opened the solid steel door leaving the barred gate in place. The Captain leaped easily to his feet and saluted,
“You want to speak to me?”
“Yes, sir. I wanted to apologize for attacking … or attempting to attack you earlier. I think from time to time we all have a desire to attack a superior officer….”
“We-ell maybe once or twice…”
“But we restrain ourselves. It’s just that in my current condition I am having a little trouble with impulse control.”
your current condition, Captain?”
“I’m a vampire, Colonel. I vant
to suck your blud.
That should seem weird, but it doesn’t. It’s just instead of thinking about getting a nice steak at O’Malleys, I think about biting a nice neck. Even yours, though I’d rather have Carter’s, but then, who wouldn’t, right?”
Jack turned away.
“Colonel, wait, I didn’t mean that. Or I did, but it wasn’t a threat or anything. Colonel, I didn’t ask for this,” he added, his voice losing the hail-fellow tone and turning plaintive. “I met these nice ladies. They took me to bed. And then they killed
me, Colonel. Ask Fraiser. And when I woke up…. I was a vampire. It could have happened to you, when you came out to the house. They are strong and fast Colonel, they could take you and Teal’c down without breaking a sweat. Remember that when you’re looking at me like I’m some kind of monster. It could be you. ….”
“But it’s me, Colonel. And I’m still me. Captain Benjamin Werner, SG19. I want you to tell Hammond I still want to be part of this program. Think about it, Colonel, I’m strong, fast, I don’t need to breathe. I can stand heat, cold, and, I’m told though I haven’t tested it yet, bullets. I might well be immune to the Goa’uld. Those are useful qualities, Colonel. Just ask him to think about it.”
“Colonel,” Hammond said, “you seem disturbed.”
“It’s been a disturbing day, sir.”
“That it has, Jack, that it has.“ They were in the conference room, General Hammond and a pensive SG1, watching the monitors that had been mounted on the wall, displaying the newest residents of the secured observation units. They looked up as one as a harassed looking Dr. Fraiser joined them.
“So, Doctor, what to we have here?”
Fraiser sighed. “Let’s start with the easy one,” she pointed at the first monitor which displayed a black-haired women sitting in a meditation position, half-lotus, hands on knees, eyes closed. “According to her ID, Jennifer Redwolf of Denver. She refuses to speak, although she is able. Apparently there was a map found in her possession….”
“Yes,” Jack said, “I have it. And I got your message.”
“She warned me, and she was emphatic that it was a warning and not a threat, that sending men to those locations would endanger their lives. Other than that she resists passively, complying with my requests only when I make it clear that she will be physically forced to comply otherwise. Obviously, there’s been no time for lab results beyond the basic, but she seems normal. Pulse and blood pressure slightly elevated, she’s not quite as calm as she looks, but she’s not panicky either.”
She moved to the next screen, where the blonde girl was involved in a rapid series of martial arts exercises. “This is a girl, approximately 15 to 16 years of age, no ID, self-identified as Renee,
she’s actually quite talkative, but ignores questions. She said to tell you, General Hammond, and she did use your name, sir, that when this was over she would really like a ride on the stargate thingy and it would be totally cool if she could go to a purple planet….. Are you all right, General?”
“I’m just… I’m fine, Doctor, carry on.”
“She’s also annoyed that she didn’t get to finish her pie and is very insistent that the Colonel owes her a new one. She seems incapable of staying still, and I would be inclined to diagnose her with a fairly severe form of ADD if her pulse and blood pressure weren’t at levels an Olympic triathlete would envy.” She moved on to the next screen, where Captian Werner was visible, pacing.
“Captain Benjamin Werner was fully compliant with all requests, seemed to be familiar with all the staff, as one would expect him to be normally. Biometrics, fingerprints and so on, confirm his identity. EEG has a few anomalies but is very similar to past recorded EEG’s. He walks, he talks, he’s not actively decomposing. Outside of those few details, he is quite dead.”
“His heart’s not beating, he doesn’t breath, his body temperature matches and fluctuates according to the ambient room temperature. If he didn’t insist on talking to me I would feel perfectly comfortable in recommending embalming and burial. I’m not totally against it now, frankly. I and the other staff have noticed that he does seem to have become somewhat more … extroverted …since his……. death.”
She sat heavily in one of the chairs, and threw her notes on the table in disgust.
“And our fourth guest?” Hammond asked gently.
“Identified herself as Leticia Kearney, age none of my damn business. My impression is that she is in much the same condition as the Captain. She was initially polite but quite resistant to any detailed examination, becoming quite violent. She is extremely strong and fast and I think it was only self-restraint, often quite visible, on her part, that prevented serious injury. I swear at one point her face began to …change, her eyes, her brow…. And then she seemed to concentrate and return to normal. Frankly sir, we gave up. We’ll try again later, but I felt both I and my staff needed a break.“
“I defer to your judgment on that, Doctor.”
“What is she….” Daniel started, stood and moved closer to the monitor, “Doctor, can you enlarge the image….”
“Just a sec….” Fraiser pulled a cell out and dialled, spoke, “Kim, can we get a close-up off the subject on camera nine…. Thanks.”
The camera closed in on Leticia sitting with her legs drawn up and her chin resting on her knees…
“Oh, “ Daniel said.
“What is it?” Carter asked.
“Oh, it’s … I thought I saw a light in her eyes, but it’s just a reflection. Off of her tears. She’s…. crying.”
“Now, gentlemen, ladies, as to interrogation,” Hammond said, “obviously, physical anomalies aside, the first thing we need to find out is how much they know about the stargate, and where they got their information, and how far it has spread. We can only hope that Captain Werner is the sole source but given recent events we clearly need to explore other possibilities. Major Carter, Dr. Jackson, Dr. Fraiser, go home, get some sleep. Colonel O’Neill, Teal’c and myself will begin interrogations tonight, Carter and Jackson will relieve us in the morning. Dr. Fraiser will see to her normal duties, which will include monitoring the health of the prisoners. We will maintain the interrogation twenty-fours a day until such time as…. Yes, what is it, airman?”
“Sir, there is a man and a woman at the gate who insist on speaking to you personally…”
“I’m a little busy at the moment….”
“Yes, sir. They said you would find this convincing, sir. It’s been checked for explosives and chemical agents, sir, it’s clean,” he held out a manila envelope.
Hammond opened it, said, “Son of a bitch.” -30-