On the Hunt
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognizable characters. I receive no profits from this. It is just for fun.
Archiving: Please ask.
Feedback: Constructive Criticism desired.
Summary: Faith doesn’t join the Mayor.
AN: Thoughts are between slashes (//Thought.//)
Of course where else would a young woman on the run from the law and the Council head to?
The fact that the city itself interfered with most magic due to an apparent natural resistance that seemed to accompany such centers of gambling throughout history. Not to say that magic couldn’t be used there, just that any spells would have to be conducted by skilled practitioners within the area itself and be of a nature that did not tip the balance of natural luck on a wide scale.
This of course meant that while Buffy could determine that Faith was probably in Las Vegas based on the strength of what she felt during the spell, she couldn’t get a fix on exactly where she was. There was also the fact that the locator spell channeled through her to find Faith only lasted about 5 minutes and they then had to wait 8 hours before trying again made getting a good bead on their target in a city of almost any size nearly impossible unless she cooperated and stayed in one place all the time. Knowing a bit about Faith’s restless nature pretty much assured them that that wasn’t going to happen.
The fact that there were so many places ‘where the action is’ also wouldn’t help narrow their search.
Since they were on a budget, they checked into a small, but relatively respectable hotel. It at least had security cameras in the elevators if not the hallways. Luckily the credit card they were using, one Xander had gotten from the forger Giles had pointed him towards, had a high limit and the bill wouldn’t come due for another month. With maybe another month before the credit card company declared it void for new transactions. At that point they might have to switch identities if they hadn’t located Faith by then.
They settled into their room, double beds of course, and talked about how they were going to try and search the city. They still had about 6 hours before they could try the locator spell again as they had used it earlier to be confident that Faith was indeed in Las Vegas. From that they had been able to determine a 30 degree wedge from where they did the spell through the city based on the feelings Buffy got as she had slowly turned from East to West.
That was still a lot of territory to cover and while the next attempt might narrow that down a bit, the fact that they had to do the spell outside of the city limits would mean they would need more than three ‘readings’ from different locations around the city to make their search area a reasonable size.
All this presupposes that Faith hangs around long enough for that to work. Even if all she did was move where she was staying every day or so, they could never really localize the search area. A needle in a haystack would be easier to find using that method.
Though they would pursue that course, it was not the only one they were counting on to find Faith. They would be on the lookout for some demon hangouts, because it was doubtful Faith could keep from making some kind of ripple in the demon community for any length of time.
The same could be said for just the seedier side of human society, so they’d be looking into some contacts there as well.
Of course they didn’t know if she’d been in town for some time or if she’d just arrived. They weren’t even sure if she intended to stay or was moving on through.
Of course, Vegas being a party city, they had their hopes she was planning on sticking around for a while.
Their investigations would entail changing their identities to carry them out so that their traveling personas were not tied to their inquiries should the Council get wind of someone nosing around the supernatural world looking for a Slayer that wasn’t part of their own endeavors. It also meant Buffy having to continue impersonating a male so that even if the Council found out about the inquiries they wouldn’t make the leap to the fact that it was one of their wayward Slayers doing it.
All things considered, Buffy had made the adjustment to acting male fairly well. Not that she was happy about it.
The hardest part was using public restrooms where she had to remember to enter the correct door. So far she’d been able to catch herself, but there had been a couple of close calls where she had actually opened the door to the ladies’ room before she remembered and turned around.
What really surprised him was the easy way she seemed to adjust to having him as a roommate. He, himself had found it a bit awkward as his imagination would take flight at times about them ‘living together’, even though she wasn’t flouncing around in her underwear or negligee’s like he had usually pictured her in such a situation. Keeping those images out of his head and thus being the cause of a potentially fatal case of Foot-In-Mouth Disease took a lot of effort on his part.
It had been especially hard the evening after her ‘run-in’ with Gerard in the hotel lobby. She sat with him on his bed as they watched TV rather than her own the previous nights. While it wasn’t so close that they were touching or might accidentally bump into each other, it was closer than had occurred during most Scooby movie nights. Thus he’d had to spend most of the time they watched, concentrating on things other than Buffy or the romantic comedy they were watching.
As for their plans for the current evening, they decided to go to dinner as their ‘Japanese selves’ and then change the glamours in some out of the way place just before heading out to locate both demon and human sources of information.
Karen was getting really, really frustrated with the investigation into Summers’ escape. First, she still couldn’t recall anything about what happened after picking Summers up at the Sunnydale jail. Next, Gerard and his team had had left Sunnydale two days ago to chase down leads that were starting to come in, leaving her to continue the investigation in Sunnydale itself.
Then there were the family and associates of Buffy Summers. Though it had been the Sunnydale police that did the initial check after the escape, her own subsequent interviews led her to believe they’d known about it before the police had told them. The fact that they all had solid alibis for the time of the escape just meant someone else pulled it off and not that they weren’t involved in the planning.
That was why she’d been trying over the last four days to get at least one of them to break down and talk. None of the tactics she’d tried had worked. The fact that Summers’ Mother and the three friends of hers, Rosenberg, Osbourne, and Chase, all said basically the same thing:
‘They didn’t know Summers, or anyone else, was planning her escape.’
‘They had no knowledge where Summers was or who she was with.’
Her instincts told her that the first statement was true, regardless of how improbable her training told her to suspect otherwise. But her instincts also told her that the wording of the second was too precise so that what they said would be true but would also hide that they knew or suspected something. Something they were determined not to divulge.
The fact that she had concluded that Harris and Chase had been the actual ones to carryout the theft of the rocket launcher, that Summers had allegedly used in the mall incident, meant that there was more to this group than meets the eye. It also made her wonder exactly how incompetent the Sunnydale Police Department was not to have come to that conclusion within days after the theft to begin with. Granted her conclusions were based on evidence even more circumstantial than what had convicted Summers, but there was nothing in the SPD records of the theft that indicated they’d even interviewed Summers at the time let alone those two.
Since it was their testimony that cleared Summers of murder charges of a young woman at the school earlier that year, she concluded the whole group seemed to have the solidarity and loyalty to each other that was exactly what was found in the most dedicated of gang members, yet they didn’t act or even look like what a criminal gang would. Nor like someone in a cult would either. These people were a definite puzzle.
Unfortunately it was a puzzle that was going to become more difficult to unravel in that all four of them now had legal representation in the form of Leland McKenzie, former boss for both of Summers’ attorneys. He was also one of the most respected and eminently competent lawyers in the country. There would be no more talks with them without his presence and even then he probably wouldn’t let them say anything at all.
Even the one person she was certain knew something had lawyered up, though with a Jonathan Rollins instead of McKenzie. This indicated to her that Mr. Giles knew something that would put McKenzie in an ethical bind as far as being able to fairly represent the interests of all his clients. Whereas the other three being handled by the same lawyer would not cause such a problem.
Of course Rollins was another alum of McKenzie’s firm who’d branched off on his own, but the fact that Rupert Giles had retained separate council from the other four told her that he had the information she needed to make sense of this case. His answers to her questions did not mimic the ones from the other four.
First, he never stated that he wasn’t aware of the plan for Summers’ escape. Second, while she kinda believed him when he said he didn’t know where Summers was, he never denied knowing who she might be with. Again, his answers were truthful in what he said and the lies were in what he adroitly was able to avoid saying.
Then there were the two things he did say that had her considering subscribing to ‘Conspiracy Theory Monthly’ as a way to get insight into the case.
“Buffy Summers would not have escaped to avoid serving her sentence nor to avoid prosecution for the alleged theft of the rocket launcher, as you have not so delicately implied,” he had told her a bit testily in response to a question she’d asked during the third hour of a four hour interrogation. After that outburst, mild though it was, he had just began repeating his earlier answers no matter how many different ways she asked the same question.
It was his parting statement that really set her wondering about exactly what the hell was going on with this case.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” he had said.
AN: Giles was quoting “Hamlet” Act I, Scene 5, Lines 166 & 167 to Karen. Don’t own Shakespeare either.