Everything either belongs to Joss or it should, no infringement is intended and no profit is to be made. When you get right down to it I’m not really worth suing anyway unless you want a share of an underpaid civil servants wages and it just wouldn’t be worth the hassle trust me.
* * *Hyperion Hotel - Los Angeles - October 2003
Buffy had considered just dumping the pair of swords she’d been training with Faith with on some random passing slayer and telling her to return them to the armoury but after Illyria had described the girls as Buffy’s “minions”, and praised the way she was starting to treat them as such, Buffy was trying to appear less boss-like and more like just another one of the girls. It already irked enough that the majority seemed to be more friendly with that unstable partially-reformed psycho Faith than they did with her.
The armoury was an extension of the basement, though you would never know it was there unless you already knew it was. Its heavy steel security door, with a set of extremely sturdy locks courtesy of Xander was disguised by a spell of Willow’s devising and looked no different than the rest of the wall, only a small, almost insignificant mark on the floor in front of the cloaked doorway indicated where it was. If the LAPD, ATF or some other Law Enforcement related abbreviation ever showed up looking for a stockpile of very illegal weapons they’d draw a major blank, which was good because Buffy really wasn’t that desperate to find out whether Faith’s horrific prison stories were true.
It was usually kept unlocked and open during the day, if necessary it could be remotely closed from the reception desk, push a button and it locked down tight, but despite knowing it should be a clear passage Buffy stuck her hand forward through the illusion to check the door actually was open before she stepped through. Unlike the still ghostlike Spike it hurt if she walked into solid objects and it would be embarrassing having to explain that she’d broken her nose or something walking into a closed door. Dawn would be making cracks about it for weeks.
‘Well if I had to guess who would be in here you would have been my number two choice after Angel’ Buffy announced, finding Wesley sat at the workbench that was situated in the centre of the armoury surrounded by walls full of racks of swords, crossbows, battle-axes, rifles, shotguns and numerous pieces of what she guessed was military hardware that she didn’t recognise. Well except for a rocket launcher like the one she’d blown the Judge to pieces with, she knew that one.
Wesley looked up from the dissembled gun-like thing on the bench he had been methodically cleaning and directed a look her way. He was wearing that intense look he seemed to have these days when he was concentrating, or killing something and Buffy fought back the urge to shudder. She could beat Wesley to a pulp without breaking a sweat but somehow he was still unbelievably scary, it was the clinical, ruthless way he could do something incredibly vicious that did it, Buffy hoped she was never going to end up anywhere near that cold-blooded.
He looked good though, not Buffy’s type but he definitely had a sex-appeal that was badly lacking in the clueless, prissy watcher he’d been when they first met. ‘Hello Buffy’ he greeted her. ‘Social call?’ he asked.
‘Just putting these back in the rack’ Buffy told him, holding up the swords. ‘Having fun with guns?’ she asked with a half smile.
Wesley sighed. ‘Contrary to popular belief I am not
some firearm obsessed sociopath’ he told her curtly. ‘I am merely making sure this tool, and that’s all it is, a tool
, is in proper working order’ he stated and returned to his work, cleaning and lubricating what Buffy having gotten a proper look realised was one of their grenade launchers.
‘No need to act defensive Wesley’ Buffy replied. ‘I wasn’t judging’ she told him, ‘it’s just that as a former school counsellor I should tell you that the first step is admitting you have a problem’ she deadpanned.
Wesley looked up again and narrowed his eyes. ‘I get enough of this from Gunn thanks’ he told her.
‘I’m just playing with you Wes’ Buffy told him with a smile before placing the swords neatly back in their proper position on the weapons racks. ‘You’re grumpy today’ she observed.
Wesley opened his mouth to snap back a terse reply then thought better of it eventually smiling instead. ‘I’m sorry’ he apologised. ‘I am a tad cranky I suppose’ he admitted. ‘Illyria kept me talking all night, she often forgets that us mortals need more than thirty minutes sleep.’
‘Talking?’ Buffy queried, fighting back a grin.
‘Yes Buffy talking
’ Wesley replied, ‘if I’d been kept awake all night doing something else I assure you my mood would be considerably better at this point’ he told her with a chuckle. ‘Although I would likely be even more tired’ he added.
Buffy laughed. ‘I’ll leave you to your act of worship to the gun-gods’ she told him. ‘See you at dinner’ she said, heading back out of the armoury.
‘I am not a gun-nut’ Wesley called after her. ‘It’s a foul slander and only the fact I decapitated my lawyer girlfriend in this very basement prevents me from suing’ he told her.
‘Pretty sick Wes’ Buffy told him, disappearing from sight through the illusion once more.
Wesley returned to work and began reassembling the six-barrelled grenade launcher, testing the firing mechanism on an empty chamber before he rose and replaced it on its own position on the rack. The watcher carefully tidied up the work space, mopping up any traces of gun oil and putting the tools back in their proper places before he left, he might look considerably scruffier than he had a few years ago but he was still just as fastidious in other ways.
Before he walked out Wesley turned and looked around the armoury, G-36K Carbine Assault Rifles filled half the far wall next to racks of SPAS-12 pump/semi-auto shotguns and a pair of light-machineguns. To his right a mortar was resting on the floor beside crates of grenades and a flame-thrower and handguns of various types were lined up to his left in shelving that reached to the ceiling.
‘Oh God’ Wesley moaned, ‘they’re so beautiful
!’ he declared, voice thick with emotion.
‘Um Wesley, we might need to talk’ Angel said nervously, a horrified looking Wesley spinning to find him standing directly behind him. It wasn’t healthy for a man to have that reaction to a load of inanimate objects the ensouled vampire decided, as poor Wes went bright red and looked like he was hoping a portal was going to open right underneath him.