Chapter Eleven: Home Again
Disclaimer: Xander, Buffy, and anyone or anything else that pertains to BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon. Dracula belongs to the estate of Bram Stoker, or Francis Ford Coppola, or someone I think.
Larry Talbot, the Frankenstein Monster, and some others may belong to Universal Pictures.
NCIS belongs to Belisarius Productions, and CBS.
Ghostrider belongs to Marvel Comics, Dimension Films, Crystal Sky Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, and Sony (Whew!), and was played to perfection by Nicholas Cage!
This Disclaimer is getting longer than some Chapters I’ve read!
OCs belong to me, and as always I remain…the man behind the curtain.
Chapter Eleven: Home Again
Lyrics Breathe - Reprise (Home Again) lyrics
Home, home again
I like to be there when I can.
When I come in cold and tired
it’s good to warm my bones beside the fire.
Far away across the field
the tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
to hear the softly spoken magic spells.
Artist (Band): Pink Floyd
The second camp and the nursing home were just as bad as the first camp, and only reinforced their original findings. They spent the next few days assisting the local law enforcement and the national guard in cleaning up the camps and the nursing home, packing up their gear, and patrolling the city for random creatures of the night. The number of vampires, zombies, and ghouls in the city surprised everyone, except Marie. When they were satisfied that the number of beasties was down to a manageable level they headed for home. Stopping in Jackson, Mississippi the drove to Jackson-Evers Airport Where they were met by Pete Fisher. Mina had decided to be considerate rather than frugal and had sent two aircraft, one passenger, and one cargo, there to pick them up. Both planes were registered to a company called Heartsblood International Publications, Inc.
During the flight to Atlanta Vlad explained that while they were in England before the war they had taken the considerable wealth that had been hidden in the hidden bowels of Poenari Fortress and invested it in ship, and aircraft companies. After the war they used the profits to start a publishing corporation, Heartsblood. When they came to the United States the decided to branch out into stage productions, and recently into motion pictures.
“I initially found the thought of being involved in entertainment…umm…repulsive, but Marie and Larry talked me into it! How, you may ask,” he paused as if waited for someone to ask `How?’, and when no one did he continued. “She quite simply appealed to my vanity! Am I not, she asked, as handsome as any film star? Is my voice not more appealing than any recording artist, and most of all, is my ego not larger than any producer?” He laughed merrily at his own self depreciating jest. I knew that his words were more than half serious, so the entire team laughed with him, rather than at him.
“I was able to convince Mina though she was very reluctant, she finally admitted the reasons. She was resisting because she grew up in an age when actresses were considered little better than whores. Indeed theatre folk in general were considered to be of a lower social order than even her own secretarial class. That changed, of course, within her own lifetime, but as was once said to me old prejudices die hard,” once again he laughed. “Now when she has time she involves herself in every aspect of the theater, and motion picture productions, once even going so far as to take a walk on role in a Broadway play to cover for an injured actress! Mine is NOT the only large ego.” Once again everyone laughed with him.
Xander had to admit it he was becoming quite fond of the prince, and had even begun to think of him as a friend.
Two and a half hours after takeoff the planes were cleared to land at Atlanta Municipal Airport.
Disembarking they were met by four black and red Heartsblood owned Checker stretched limousines with darkened windows. Mina and Buffy were waiting by the cars and and both gave their men a very warm passionate welcome.
Surprising even him, Gibbs was given nearly the same kind of welcome by the woman known in America as Bethany Grace (aka Elizabeth Bathory)!
Victor and Pete stayed to supervise the unloading of the cargo plane, and the rest drove back into town. They did not; however return to the underground. They were taken instead to the skyscraper headquarters of Heartsblood Publications. Once inside they went to the cafeteria first. The living members were treated to a wonderful dinner, and the undead members to a few rounds of warm pig’s blood. When everyone’s appetites were satisfied they were led to the boardroom. Various projects were on display, as were storyboards for new ideas. One of the later caught Xander’s attention.
The storyboard was for a children’s book for ages 8-10 called ‘Muffin, and the Monsters’ the heroine looked suspiciously familiar! In point of fact she looked like a 10 year old Buffy, and her companion was a living stuffed pig called Mr. Gordo!!! Buffy was writing out some of her adventures as a children’s book, under the name Anne Winters. True she had to tone down a lot of the violence, and make the monsters more comical than horrific, but it looked like she was having fun with it. What’s more Bethany was acting as her illustrator. Who’d have thought that The Vampire Slayer would ever be able to collaborate on a children’s book with the Blood Countess of all people.
“The reason I have brought you all here is because the underground has been invaded,” Mina began, dropping this bombshel she continued, “It was not a serious attempt I am certain. However, until new wards can be placed and new security guards selected, I don’t think it is safe to meet there, or for that matter stay there.”
Buffy spoke up, “the invaders were disgustingly vicious wererats, and a few of them were our security guards!” You could hear the anger in her voice. “Shade, Mina, Oz and I were able to deal with the invaders, but we don’t know how many other guards have gone over to the other side. That plus we found several bugs had been planted, and at least one was attached to a tape recorder in one of the Underground Atlanta shops run by someone that we had trusted.”
“We have also received an anonymous tip that the enemy’s forces next target is London, England.” Mina sounded more than a bit suspicious, but continued. “I don’t like anything given anonymously but we must of course respond. The information was delivered on rice paper, in Chinese, mandarin no less.” She passed a hand over her eyes, “Tomorrow morning we must decide who will be needed in London. Buffy and I will be going, as will Xander, and Vlad. The rest of the team will be chosen tomorrow. We will be leaving the day after. We have secured through reliable sources the assurance that we will have the full cooperation of both the British, and the American governments. We have this on the highest authority.” She gave a rueful laugh, “It seems that the Nighthunters have become an open secret within the circle of most of the Allied governments, and the member nations of the Ring of Steel Treaty Organization.”
“The what?” asked Gibbs.
Pete Fisher answered this one, ”After the war many of those who fought the Axis signed a treaty of mutual protection even some of the neutral powers signed on. The United States of North America, the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, United Free Poland, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Rumania Principality, the Persian Caliphate, the Egyptian Empire, and Imperial Russia were the first signatories. The Kingdom of Scandia and the Anglo-Boer Republic of South Africa signed later. The name was coined by the post war American President Tom Dewey. He and Sir Winston were not great friends at the start, but they did espouse the ideas.”
Then he said, “I don’t know about you folks, but the traveling has me a bit worn out. Lady Mina, I love you dearly, but if I don’t get some sleep soon I’m gonna be cranky, and argumentative.”
The Lady laughed, “Now you see why Peter is one of my favorite authors. He cuts to the chase without extraneous bullshit!” She smiled at the young man fondly,” If rest is what is called for then rest you shall get. Let’s see it is now 6:30 pm. How about we leaders meet back here at say 2:00 am, with a general meeting at 7:30 after breakfast.”
Fisher shrugged, “I was shooting for 9:00 am, but ya’ can’t always get what you want.” He smiled at Mina.
Vlad may be the one that many of the group looked to as the leader, but Buffy knew that Mina was really the one calling the shots, and she appeared to be doing so quite well.
Xander noticed Pete’s wistful boyish crush on the vampiress, but Mina seemed to ignore it. She was probably hoping he would find a living girl in his own age group. Xander realized that it was the same gaze he had bathed Buffy in since high school.
Two hours, and forty minutes later Buffy once again found herself in Xander’s arms, both of them were satiated, and content. They knew that if they stayed together nothing could harm them. Buffy fell asleep with a smile on her face.
##She found herself standing in a conservatively opulent hallway. She saw Xander and Drusilla at the other end. Drusilla was dressed in a bright red Edwardian gown her teeth were in Xander’s neck She was sucking the life out of him. She started to run to them but she felt like she was running through quicksand. She shouted "Noooo!" but even that came out in slow motion. Even as she neared them she heard a voice say,”It is not for you to rescue the Knight; his savior will be unexpected, and unwatched for!”##
“Master I have returned, and I have the item that you demanded,” said the old wizened voodoo bokor.
“ The Staff of Baron Samedi, Place it on my desk, and leave. Know you have done well Shengo, and you will be rewarded, for now though I need you in London. The fools will perform their attack on the palace, and the damned ‘heroes’ will stop them. You must obtain the item I desire from the British Museum with your undead minions. Send many to aid the fools, lest they understand that they are the diversion before it is too late. A small force of the stronger Juju zombies is all you will need at the museum. My wererats will take care of the alarms, and your creations can easily over power the guards.” The Chinaman showed a thin smile, “Go and prepare your minions.”