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The Call

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Summary: In the future, someone makes Xander a job offer he can't refuse.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-Centered
Literature > Horror > Author: H.P. Lovecraft
Stargate > General
poeFR1819101,33755292181,27917 May 0929 Jul 14No

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

A/N First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone that has taken the time to review this story. Your encouragement and suggestions are highly valued. As always, I have no proprietary claim to BTVS, the works of HP Lovecraft, Stargate SG1 or the works of Tom Clancy; and even if I did I'd probably just blow all the money. Just a warning, there is a character death coming up, so keep your tissues handy.

WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION


Part I

Unknown Place

“Sir, are you seriously considering accepting the contract?”

“Of course.”

“Why, how can it possibly benefit us?”

“The fee aside, the prestige it will bring us is incalculable and we must also consider our reputation, we have never refused to accept a contract.

“But accepting this one will mean war with the slayers.”

“Very likely.”

“And how is this a good thing?”

“They will weed out our less accomplished members, making us a stronger organization; then, after watching too many of their young girls die, then council will back off. They will not admit defeat, of course, and the conflict will flare from time to time, but in the end, we shall remain and all will know that the slayers warred on us and we remain, for them that is a defeat indeed.”

“And if they decide that eliminating us all is worth the price?”

“Then we shall target their command structure until they get the message.”

“And if they decide to ignore our field workers and come after us directly?”

“They have no idea where we are and this place is heavily warded.”

“True, but what if they demand the name of the contractor in exchange for leaving us be?”

“We will not provide it.”

“Ever?”

“Ever, there are some rules we cannot violate.” He looked at the underling, “why all the questions, this is a contract, nothing more. We will deal with this as we have in the past.”

“I am not so sure.”

“Why not?”

“Because whether you pass it off as luck, skill or a combination of both, every enemy they’ve encountered is dead and they remain. I do not wish for the order to perish because our foe was more powerful or resolute than you expected; therefore, I would be prepared to surrender the contractor.”

He looked long and searchingly at the underling, “should I be concerned about your loyalty?”

“Never, but remember my loyalty is to the order, not to you. I believe that this is a mistake and I will not be silent while you do something that imperils this order; I cannot sit and watch.”

“I understand and your concerns are noted, but the contract goes forward.”

The underling forced down a surge of foreboding. “As you direct,” she said with a bow. As she turned to go make the contract known, she couldn’t help but think that this wasn’t the kind of mistake you walked away from.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Miskatonic University

Faith walked in while Xander was on the phone, this wasn’t an unusual thing. Casually Faith wondered if it was a slayer thing, she remembered Jeeves always complaining that B never knocked; she slumped down into her favorite chair and waited for him to finish.

“No Mr. Clark, I don’t feel that a face to face meeting is necessary right now.”

………………..

“I understand that you’ll have questions from time to time, but that’s what the web site if for.”

…………………………….

“Yes, I realize that you’re taking all of this on faith, although you should be able to fact check nearly everything that’s posted; but there are some things that need to take place before I’m prepared for an up close and personal.”

……………………

“I’m not sure, before the end August, but I can’t narrow it down any better than that.”

…………………….

“Well of course you’re not the only people we’re talking too.”

…………………

“You know I can’t tell you that.”

…………………

“I know, and if you’re trying to stretch this call out in order to trace it, well all I can say is don’t waste your time.”

………………….

“Yes, I understand that you have to try, so if there isn’t anything else I’ll talk to you later Mr. Clark; oh, and tell Dr. Ryan to watch out for Liz Elliot, she’s poking around in stuff he’d probably want to stay private.”

………………….

“Of course I can’t tell you my source but if you’re smart you’ll take this seriously.”

…………………..

“Goodbye Mr. Clark.”

As Xander hung up the phone Faith spoke up, “you think he’ll be a problem?”

“Nah, a bit of a challenge, that’s all.”

“How’s it going with the others?”

“Pretty well, a couple just refuse to believe it but we’ve gotten a lot of hits on the site and about two dozen E-Mails a day.”

“So how many we got left to contact.”

“Dawn figures about twenty more, mostly here and Australia but a few scattered around Europe.”

“So is that what we’re gonna be doing over the summer?”

“Mostly, unless something serious comes up.”

“So what do you want to do tonight?”

“Well I know this really hot girl that likes the Red Sox, and there’s a home game tonight.”

Faith just gave him a smirk, “think I could tag along.”

Xander just grinned, “I don’t think that’ll be a problem.”

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

LONDON

Andrew Wells felt adrift. He still held to his ultimate goal of redemption, but he was no longer certain that he was going about it the right way. It had all seemed so clear in Sunnydale; he would fight along side the slayer and die while doing the right thing. But it hadn’t worked out that way; he had survived; Anya giving her life for his. After that he had stayed with the slayers more out of inertia than anything else. He had tried to help where he could, but the core Scoobies would never trust him, and he had drifted from job to job in the slayer organization without really feeling like he was getting any closer to the redemption he sought. He did his best at every task they gave him, Dawn and Mr. Giles were kind of nice to him and he felt like he had helped some of the younger slayers, but it just didn’t seem like he was doing enough, or doing what he was supposed to do. Take today for example, he and Mr. Giles were meeting for lunch to put together a new team of two slayers and a watcher. Mr. Giles liked to do this in an informal setting where everyone was a bit more comfortable, and Andrew’s job was to be an extra set of eyes for Mr. Giles; to notice things that he didn’t like how the girls reacted to each other and the watcher. Honestly Andrew didn’t know what he could see that someone with decades of experience couldn’t but he went along mostly because he had nothing else to do. It’s kind of ironic, but as often as Andrew thought about redemption, when an opportunity presented itself it was honestly the last thing on his mind.

He was sitting with Mr. Giles at an outdoor café with Vi and an younger slayer named Ivana, Andrew knew her a bit and they were making small talk as they waited for the watcher that the two of them would be paired with when Andrew noticed the red light. Being the geek that he was, he immediately recognized it as a laser, the kind you used for a pointer, or on a gun. He was dumbfounded as he watched it track over Mr. Giles body; apparently no one else had noticed it. The thing seemed to settle over the center of his chest, only then did Andrew’s brain kick into gear and he acted or at least he tried to. His plan had been to jump up and push Mr. Giles out of his chair and under the cover of the table, but somehow Andrew’s legs got tangled up with his chair and he sort of fell on top of Mr. Giles, looking and feeling rather foolish. That was until it felt like someone hit him in the back with a hammer. Suddenly all he knew was pain and that Mr. Giles was OK, for whatever reason that was the only thing he seemed to be able to focus on, the fact that Mr. Giles was OK. Andrew knew that he was not OK however. There seemed to be a problem with his body somewhere because the signals just weren’t conducting right and he couldn’t quite seem to get his body to do what he wanted it to do. He was half laying on Mr. Giles and trying to get himself untangled from his chair. The two girls just sat there and looked at him strangely; for some reason this angered him and he yelled, “you find the shooter,” as he pointed to Vi, “and you, get him to safety,” as he pointed at Ivana, for his part Mr. Giles just sat there with an odd look on his face.

Vi left, she had finally noticed the blood, but Ivana seemed frozen in place when Andrew saw the damned red dot again. It seemed to be zeroing in on Mr. Giles head, and try as he might, Andrew just couldn’t get himself free enough from the chair to cover that part of Mr. Giles body. Desperately he waved his hand into the path of the red dot, then he felt his arm jerk. It was odd that he didn’t feel any pain, especially with his arm now gone at the wrist but all his focus was on Mr. Giles. The older man now had a bloody furrow along the left side of his head, but it didn’t look serious to Andrew. Ivana was still sitting there, motionless; seemingly frozen in place when Andrew saw the dot yet again. With a kick born of desperation, he finally freed himself from the legs of his chair and surged forward, covering all of Mr. Giles body with his own. It was then that he felt like someone had slapped him in the back of the head (something that Tucker had seemed fond of doing). It didn’t really hurt, but it had obviously done something because he lost what little bit of control over his body that he had. Despite his best efforts he slid off Mr. Giles body to one side and crashed into the pavement.

Only then did Ivana move, she leaned forward and jerked Mr. Giles out of his chair and bore him to the ground and rolled him underneath a table. Andrew was able to note that the older man seemed to be wounded in the abdomen in addition to the graze on his head. Andrew considered thinking about what had happened to him, but he didn’t seem to be able to do that or maybe he just didn’t care; Mr. Giles was OK and that was enough for him. He closed his eyes and tried to re-group his strength, but he didn’t open them again.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

At first Ivana Mendeleyev thought she must be dreaming or something. Actually it was more like she was sitting inside a movie while it was playing. She had been expecting a quiet lunch with Mr. Giles and Mr. Wells and they would introduce her to her prospective watcher. Mr. Wells had been very clear that if she didn't like the person, that they would find another watcher for her, but she did have to give the first one an honest chance. Ivana liked Mr. Wells, he was funny and kind of goofy, but he never talked down to her or anyone else that she knew of. But now bullets were flying, people were screaming and blood was spilling but for some reason, she just couldn't seem to move. It wasn't until she saw the back of Mr. Wells head explode in a spray of red that whatever seemed to be holding her down, let go. She dove across the table and tackled Mr. Giles out of his chair. She then rolled him under a nearby table and tried to cover as much of his body as she could with her own. Considering her diminutive size, she was fighting a loosing battle. She lay there, protecting Mr. Giles as best she could and watched as the blood flowing from Mr. Wells shattered head slowed to a trickle. She lay there, tears rolling down her face, hoping that Vi got whoever did this. She looked into Mr. Wells dead eyes and hoped the red head made it hurt.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Malcolm Anderson had been with the Order of Teraka for fifteen years, and he was one of their best. When the contract had been posted he had jumped on it immediately. His family had a history with the Watcher’s Council, and the opportunity to take out the current head of that organization was just the kind of pay back he’d been hoping for, and he got paid for it as well. But then the kid had interfered, three shots, and only a graze to show for it. He looked through the M82’s scope and tried to figure out what was happening. The kid was dead, finally, and the blond had gotten the target under some cover. He searched carefully ….. there, it wouldn’t be the best shot he’d ever taken, but in this case it looked to be the best chance he’d have to finish the job right here. He was settling the butt of the rifle into his shoulder when something moving caught the corner of his eye. He turned his head and just had time to think, ‘bloody hell,’ when the parking meter caved in the side of his head and he fell out of the third floor window he was perched in. As he hit the ground, Vi darted forward to make sure he was dead. She was kind of freaked about killing a human, but she figured better him than Mr. Giles. Once she was sure the target was dead the red head pulled out a cell phone and called Watcher’s central and explained what had happened, then she called an ambulance as she wiped her fingerprints off the shaft of the meter. As she was cleaning up Vi noticed the ring the wanna-be assassin had on, she didn’t know at the time that it was significant.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Vi had never expected to be in this situation and now that she was, she never wanted to be again. With Giles in the hospital and Andrew dead, for some reason everyone was looking to her to take charge after all she was the senior slayer on site and all the experienced watchers were in the field and she was a Sunnydale survivor which meant that she had more experience in a crisis than anyone. Everyone was looking to her and all she wanted to do was run and hide, it gave her an enormous amount of sympathy for what Buffy had gone through during their fight with the First. She took a deep breath and looked at the assembled watchers and slayers, “alright, until we know how serious a threat this is, call all stations and have them lock down for the time being. The trigger man was wearing a fairly distinctive ring.” She pointed to a couple of watchers in training, “you two go research the possibilities and come back here when you’ve got some ideas. As for the rest of you, I want you to look into who would gain from Mr. Giles death, let’s see about narrowing down the suspects and try to figure out what their purpose is.”

“What about you,” asked Mr. Deshpande, the man who was her new Watcher.

“I’m gonna call in the Cavalry,” Vi replied.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Miskatonic University

Xander put the phone down, his face was ashen.
“What’s up babe?”

“We’ve gotta cancel tonight and get to London.”

“Why, what’s up?”

“Giles got shot, and Andrew got killed keeping him alive.”

“We know who or why?”

“Nope, that’s the first order of business after we get there.”

“Who is ‘we’?”

“Me, you, Buffy, Al and Wills, not to mention whoever’s already there.”

“So you’re pulling in all the big guns.”

“Most of em, I’m gonna have Dawn and Oz stay here in case we need them to go through our warehouses and research.”

“Cool, so when are we going and how heavy are we packing?”

“One hour, we’re gonna jump to Cleveland and pick up Buff and Al, and then the four of us are headed to England, and as for packing,” he paused a moment, “as heavy as you want.”

“Five by Five; you want me to pack anything for you?”

“Just clothes and stuff for me, I’ll take care of the rest of it from what we’ve got here.”

“Sure thing X, see ya in a bit.”

Xander sagged back in his chair and relaxed for a moment; he figured it would be a while before he would have a chance to relax again. Then he sat upright and hit the intercom for Dawn’s office; he wanted to explain what was going on and have her and Oz start researching possibilities, there weren’t that many groups that had the stones to try and take out the head Watcher, and the more they knew about the ones that existed, the quicker they’d be able to respond.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

LONDON

It still seemed surreal to Vi, according to the Watcher Council rules, she was in charge as the senior slayer on site in a time of crisis; she really didn’t want to be in charge. She was sitting behind Giles desk, having just discussed Giles condition and funeral arrangements for Andrew when her hackles went up, something had set off her slayer senses. She looked around and noticed that one corner of the room was glowing; just as Buffy had said it might, so she relaxed, but just a little. Suddenly she was aware of a sound, it was like speech, but there was a weird Doppler effect like someone trying to talk to you as they passed in a car.

“. . . . . . . did you have to bring that thing, it makes my slaydar all tweaky?”

“Don’t worry B,” Faith replied, “you’ll get used to it soon enough.” Then the dark slayer turned to Vi and asked, “Giles still OK?”

Feeling a little intimidated with Buffy, Xander, Faith and the chief watcher from the Hellmouth all looking to her, Vi just nodded and collapsed back into Giles’ chair.

The others followed her example and sat, Xander leaned forward in his seat, “so what exactly is the situation here?”

Vi proceeded to recount the shooting, her reaction and Andrew’s heroism.

“So who’s guarding Giles?”

“I’ve got one team in the hospital, one patrolling outside and I’ve had one of our mages cast protective wards on Giles, his room and the hospital.”

“Excellent job Violet, you’ve covered every contingency and done so efficiently,” Al chimed in.

“And you’re sure Giles is OK,” Buffy asked again.

“Yeah, they operated on him because one of the bullets nicked his liver and they wanted to make sure everything was cool, but he’s out of surgery and should wake up in a couple of hours.”

There were relieved noises then Xander spoke up, “since we’re doing nothing except waiting on Willow,” he shifted his gaze to Vi, “do you think you could go over the incident again, very slowly and see if we can figure anything out.”

“Sure,” and Vi told her tale yet again, only this time everyone was questioning what had happened, what she had heard and what she had seen. “ . . . . then I checked the body over and made sure there wasn’t anything that could trace it to me.”
“Did you notice anything unusual about the killer,” Al asked.
Vi thought for a moment, “nah, he looked human, there weren’t any of the usual giveaways like different colored blood or an odd number of fingers or joints that bent the wrong way.”

“Was there anything on the body, tattoos or something like that that caught your attention,” Xander chimed in.

“He had a weird ring, but that looked like it.”

“Ring,” Buffy said straightening up, “what kind of ring?”

Vi’s brow wrinkled, “well, it was copper, there was no stone and the flat part had some kind of groddy spider on it.”

Glances were exchanged and Xander sat back and said one word, “Teraka.”

“What’s Teraka,” Vi asked.

“It’s an order of assassins,” Al replied. “They are very good and very single minded, if one fails they will next send two and keep doing so until their target is dead. They care only for the hunt and kill, nothing else matters to them.”

“So how do we keep Giles alive,” Vi asked.

“I can only think of two ways,” Xander said. “Destroy the order completely or convince them to give up whoever contracted their services and we convince him or her to call it off.”

“Both of those are impossible,” Al said with some finality.

“Not impossible, just very difficult,” Faith shot back.

“We’ll never kill them all,” Al retorted, “and they’d never give up the contractor, their reputation wouldn’t allow it.”
“Splainy,” Buffy asked.
Al looked at her and gave a very British sigh at her butchery of the language, “if they tell us who the contractor is and that fact ever got out, then no one would ever use them again, so to try to convince them to tell you who contracted to have Giles killed is pointless because it is something they cannot do.”
“I’ve gotta disagree there Al,” Xander said. “These folks are business people, if we make the cost of doing business too high; they’ll give the name up.”

“And how do we make the cost too high?”

“Kill off a bunch of their assassins,” Xander answered simply.

The room was completely silent as everyone looked at Xander, the looks ranged from Buffy’s utter incredulity to Faith’s look of almost eager anticipation; Vi was somewhere in the middle. “Are you serious,” Buffy finally managed.

“You can’t be serious Xander,” Willow insisted, having just arrived with Kennedy. “You’re willing to have an open conflict with some of the best killers in the world?”

“They attacked Giles, Willow. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make sure he stays alive,” Xander answered, “but we’ve gotta make contact with em first, and maybe we can get it out of em without bloodshed, but my guess is we’ll have to sting em before they cave.”

“So are we going to send slayers after known assassins,” Al asked; he did not like the direction this was going in and that was clear in his voice.

“NO,” Xander replied. “I won’t have slayers killing people, even hired killers like these, no I will take care of the killing if it’s needed,” as he was saying this he pulled out the Necronomicon and everyone understood what he meant.

“Well,” Al said after an awkward silence, “our first order of business is to find these tossers so we can get what we need.”

Vi, Buffy and Xander all started dialing, and soon the word was out, the Slayers were interested in the Order of Teraka.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Unknown Place

The ringing of a phone sounded out of place, but it held everyone’s attention. The two that had argued earlier had been joined by three others; together they were the command structure of the Order. They knew that their first assassin had failed, and they had heard that the Watcher’s knew that they were responsible for the attack that had wounded Mr. Giles. They had been discussing their possible courses of action when the phone rang. Considering the resources the Watcher’s could bring to bear, the call wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it was still disconcerting. After three rings, the head of the Order picked it up.

“Yes”

“May I assume I’m speaking to the decision making section of the Order of Teraka?”

“You may, and who is this?”

“This is someone who would like to discuss the contract that currently exists on Rupert Giles.”

“I’m sorry, only the person who contracted our services can alter the agreement.”

“Indeed, and for that to happen, you would need to tell me who that was.”

“I cannot do that.”

“You can, but you choose not to do so,” there was a sigh. “I must warn you that if you do not give us what we require then action will have to be taken. Personally I have no animus for your organization and the thought of all the death and destruction that will occur if our organizations collide sickens me, however, that name is something we require. Once provided, we will take no further action against you in this matter, but we do need that name.”


“I understand your position,” the head replied, “but I cannot provide what you ask. I’m afraid you’ll just have to come and take it.” The last was said with just a hint of gloating, he knew that there was no way the Council could seriously hurt the Order.

“Very well,” the voice answered, “your organization consists of 247 members does it not?” There was a pause as if an answer was expected; but no answer was coming, the five of the Order were too stunned to respond. There was no way that such information could have been amassed in such a short time, their contemplations were interrupted as the voice continued. “I have been instructed to tell you that in ten minutes one tenth, or twenty five members will die. Please reconsider your position.”

“You’re bluffing,” the head replied automatically, “you don’t have the resources, the intelligence necessary to do what you claim.”

“I would remind you that our intelligence has given us this number and the number of individuals in your organization in a very brief time. Are you willing to risk the possibility that we know even more?”

“We are.”

“If that is your final word then…..”

“It is.”

“Good day and I expect we will be speaking again.”

The five of the Order just stood there as the caller hung up, some were confident, others less so, and at least one was frightened.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Al hung up the phone, he closed his eyes and clenched his fist in frustration; they hadn’t gone for it. Now it was time to make good their threat. “OK Xander, they said no so get it set up.”

Xander just nodded and left the room, the others watched him go, looking resigned but worried; finally Willow broke the silence. “I’ll go keep an eye on him.”

Faith stopped her, gently, “you sure about that Red, it ain’t gonna be pretty.”

Willow regarded the younger woman for a second, “I know it’s not going to be pretty, I’m almost sick to my stomach thinking about what Xander’s going to do, but I know how seductive that kind of power can be so if something goes wrong I want to be there.” Willow’s voice dropped but its intensity went through the roof, “I owe him that.”

Faith looked at the red head; in some ways Willow would be closer to Xander that Faith could ever hope to be, the two were part of each other. It could almost be said that some of what she loved in Xander was there because of Willow. They had never gotten along, Faith knew that things had been done and said on both sides of the equation but it occurred to her that maybe they could put some of that behind them. “Come on, we’ll both keep an eye on him, cause if things go south, you can’t handle the book, I can.”

For her part, Willow was surprised at Faith’s suggestion at first, but then she understood that they both loved the same man, just in different ways. She also realized just how similar they were, both had walked on the dark side and paid for it, both had been helped back by the same guy and both were very protective of that guy. Willow decided that holding on to past grudges was a bit childish, and that if Xander cared that much about Faith, then she was someone Willow would enjoy spending time with. So she put the past were it belonged and extended her hand, “sure, lead the way.”
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

For her part, Kennedy had remained quiet. She didn’t like what Willow was doing, working around dark magic, but she understood that sometimes you had to risk a lot for the people you cared about. And when it came right down to it, she owed Xander everything as well. “So what’s the deal with that book,” she asked the room, “it was making my slayer sense twitch?”

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Xander looked up when the door opened; he hadn’t been expecting any anyone so he was really surprised to see both Faith and Willow walking through the door. “Red and me figured you could use a hand there X.”

“Why.”

“Just in case you go all Sith on us ya big dummy,” Willow supplied. She smiled at her friend but the smile was tinged with worry.

“Figured Red could shield everything, just in case this shit goes south, and I can handle the book if you get stupid on us.” Like Willow, Faith was worried about what Xander was going to do, and it was evident in her posture and voice.

For his part, Xander actually blushed, he didn’t know why but having two people who were so close to him put their differences aside because he needed them touched him deeply. “Thanks guys, I was a little worried myself there.” Then he looked at Willow, “just let me know how much time you’ll need to set everything up and I’ll get started after you’re ready.”

“It shouldn’t take more than thirty seconds,” Willow responded. Xander just nodded and started drawing a rather complex diagram out of the Necronomicon, Faith noted that it was centered around the ring that they’d retrieved from the assassins body as it lay in the morgue.

Xander finished his drawing and looked at Willow and nodded. She began chanting softly and soon Xander and Faith were encircled in a faintly glowing cylinder of blue/green energy. When she finished, Xander started his chant. While Willow’s had been soft and lilting, Xander’s was in a much harsher language and not nearly so pleasant to listen to; but then Faith remembered that there was nothing pleasant about what they were doing.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Knowing that where they were was safe, the five used the time to try and determine if there had been an increase in slayer activity; and if not, how the Council might carry out their threat, all the while each was surreptitiously checking their watches. About nine minutes after the call, one of the five; the one with the most business sense, grabbed his head, as though it were about to explode. He stood there shaking and holding his head while the others watched in impotent horror as his eyes filled with blood. After thirty seconds he went rigid and collapsed; it was clear that he was dead before he hit the ground. Less than a minute later reports started coming in from those partners and co-workers that had watched members of the Order collapse in death. That was when the phone rang again.

“You weren’t bluffing,” the head answered as soon as he picked up the phone.

“No, and it will continue to happen until we get the name.”

“That we cannot do.”

“That’s foolish, your Order will continue to be decimated every half hour until you are no more, you will have no chance at serious retaliation or vengeance, your Order will simply cease to be because of your stubbornness. Give us the name and the death stops.”

“You ask for what we cannot give,” the Head said finally.

“Then enjoy what you have wrought,” came the reply.

As soon as the call cut off the Second stood in front of her superior, “give him the name, to resist is pointless.”

“We have never surrendered a contractor before, not for any threat; I do not mean to start now.”

“But before they were threats that we could parry or avoid; now they do not even need to know where or who we are to strike. And if their magic is strong enough to get through the wards here, then nowhere on this earth is safe.”

There was almost a minute of silence, then the Head sighed and said, “then we shall perish and the Order will perish with us, but we will hold to our ways.” He felt a sudden pricking sensation in his chest, but as he looked down he couldn’t see the source, he felt around and his hand came back red, blood red. He looked over at his Second and noticed the bloodstained stiletto in her hand. “How,” he managed to ask.

She laughed but it wasn’t a pleasant sound. “I knew all of the restrictions,” she held up the knife and flicked the blade; a ringing tone answered. “Obsidian,” she said, “the Aztecs certainly got that right.”

The Head collapsed and not wasting any time the Second darted forward and removed the Head’s golden ring. “I now claim leadership in the Order,” then removing her ring and passing it to one of the two left. She said, “you are now my Second, serve me well and contact them, when you do give them these GPS co-ordinates so that I can stay this madness and save our skins.”

“You would give up the contractor,” her new Second asked.

“Unless you know of another way for the Order to survive, yes.”

The new second just nodded and went to make the call.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Faith and Willow came back into Giles office half supporting half dragging Xander. They were just in time to hear the last bit of the conversation. Al hung up the phone and turned to Xander “think you can do it again in half an hour”?

Xander simply nodded but both women looked nervous. Seeing this, Buffy asked “can anyone else do this Xand, just in case you get too tired?”

Xander thought for a moment “I suppose Buff, but it can’t be slayers and they have to have lost some body part or else the book’ll kill em.”

Vi and Al started going through the list of personnel, seeing who might fit the criteria when Kennedy interrupted them. “Don’t bother, from what they’ve said, I can do it.”

“Are you sure, honey,” Willow asked.

“Yeah, I’ve been around enough magic rituals with you to know the dos and donts, and I’ve lost a body part or two, so the book wont kill me.”

“What did ya loose,” Faith asked, her curiosity overcoming the mild dislike she held for the younger slayer.

For an answer, Kennedy just took off her shoe, it was instantly clear that she was two toes short.

“Demon do that,” Buffy asked.

“No,” Kennedy replied, turning a bit red. “When I was about ten, my brother and Kenny Galicky decided that they would Trick or Treat together. Kenny’s dad had this old musket, so he decided to be Daniel Boone and my idiot brother went as Mingo, his Indian guide. Well Steve, that’s my brother, decided he should have a tomahawk, but the only thing he could find that was close was a hatchet my dad had in the garage. So he took it and used it. Well later, Kenny was pointing out how Mingo could throw his tomahawk and wondered how hard it was to do that. So of course my idiot brother pulls the hatchet and throws it at this Oak tree about fifteen feet away. Meanwhile, I’m just standing there in my ‘Princess Jasmine’ costume; waiting for these two to stop being stupid because they’re supposed to take me with them. So the hatchet just bounces off the tree, goes straight up in the air, then comes down right through my left slipper; and it was goodbye toes.”

Everyone stood there in silence, until Vi broke up laughing. Her gales of laughter set off everyone else, including Kennedy, and soon most of them had tears pouring down their faces. It went of for some time, releasing some of the stress that had built up in the room over the day’s events. Everyone stilled though, when the phone rang. The entire room stared at it a moment before Al picked it up. “Watcher’s Council”

……………………………….

“I’m glad to hear that.”

……………………….

“Yes I’ll pass that on, expect three.”

……………………………….

He started writing, “yes, I have all that; they will be there in one hour.”

……………………………………..

“Yes, thank you and good day”. Al hung up the phone and looked at Xander; “they folded, I figured you Faith and Willow would want to go get the information.” He handed over a set of GPS coordinates, “here’s where the meet is and it’s in one hour.”

Xander just looked at the slip of paper and muttered, “Thank God."
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