Chapter Twenty Two
Buffy scratched her nose, sighed and placed her still handcuffed wrists back down on the interview room table. “Hey, getting kind of bored here,” she yelled to the empty air, “Any chance of some entertainment?”
Watching from next door, Gibbs glanced at FBI Agent Elizabeth Summers beside him. “Don’t think you’re going to get a straighter line than that,” he said dryly, raising one eyebrow.
Elizabeth Summers pulled a face for a moment, before also sighing. “Let’s do it,” she said briefly, nodded once to Gibbs and exited. Thirty seconds later, she strode into the interview room.
From Gibbs’ perspective, the look on Buffy Summers’ face was almost worth all the trouble she’d put him through that day.
~ + ~
“Whoa,” Buffy breathed, and blinked repeatedly for a few seconds. “Freaky. At least, well, that hasn’t happened for a while.” She leant forward over the desk, caught Elizabeth’s eye and said in very earnest tones. “You’re not a sex robot, are you?”
This time, Elizabeth Summers was the one thrown off balance completely, which was not the plan she and Agent Gibbs had come up with at all. ‘Buffy’ here was supposed to be the one left stuttering and stammering for words. “Um, er, not the last time I looked,” she managed to get out.
Buffy tilted her head and considered her carefully. “Well, the vocabulary’s different, and the lack of perkiness is reassuring, so yeah, I’ll take your word for it.”
Elizabeth blinked repeatedly herself, before a growing anger rose inside her. Fine. If that was the way they were going to play... “So, you’re used to being mistaken for a sex worker then?” she asked coldly.
“Ow!” Buffy pulled a face of hurt, and leaned back in her chair. “Saucer of milk, table two.”
Striding around to the opposite side of the table, Elizabeth dropped the file on the desk and leaned over towards Buffy. “As you may or may not know, and let the record show this, I am FBI Special Agent Elizabeth Summers, here to interview one Buffy Summers on the charges of arson, assault, kidnap and trespassing on Government property. Have you anything to say in response to that?”
Buffy pursed her lips. “Wow. I mean, where do you start after that?” She scanned up and down Elizabeth Summers. “I mean, really... Elizabeth
?!? And the FBI? How on earth would I... oh. That damned career questionnaire back in High School.”
Elizabeth’s eyes narrowed. “This from a woman named Buffy
, which is a derivative of Elizabeth in the first place.”
“To quote a very close friend of the family; bollocks
,” declared Buffy, leaning forward herself. “Mom picked it specially. It’s a name that’s been around for years.” She smirked and sat back in the chair. “Same close friend once told me it’s Olde English for ‘Beaver-stream’, so stick that in your tweed!”
Elizabeth Summers stood back up and started to lean against the wall. “Speaking of Mom, I like to think she’d have told me if I had a twin around the place. Care to explain why we have the same fingerprints, and why I suspect Miss Scutio’s tests are going to confirm the same DNA?”
Buffy shrugged. “I was going to go with the whole twins, separated at birth thing. Guess you’re not going to believe that one, huh?”
“Nope,” Elizabeth said, still studying Buffy intently, looking for a crack. “Though I did call her up just to check after I first saw you.”
There! There was something! Some kind of trace of unguarded emotion flashing across Buffy’s face, buried as quickly as possible. Press in, get the advantage. “Mom said even under local anaesthetic she’d have noticed twins.” Buffy twitched now, every time Elizabeth said ‘Mom’, not ‘twins’. Interesting.
“Spoken to your mom recently?” Elizabeth tossed out there, apparently casual. Buffy said nothing, but blinked hard a couple of times, her mouth pursing into a tight line.
Going with her instincts, Elizabeth Summers pulled out her cell phone, opened it and pressed a few buttons. She then placed it down on the table in front of Buffy, who unwillingly leant forward to look at it.
The clock in the corner of the glowing screen was approaching midnight, but the picture of her mother was clearly visible, as was the single word “Call” across the bottom of it. “Don’t believe me?” Elizabeth said softly, “Ask her yourself.”
Buffy swallowed, and stared at the cell phone before her. She still didn’t say anything.
“Sure, it’s getting late here, but it’s still early in CA, so I don’t think she’d mind,” Elizabeth said, leaning in close, still speaking softly.
Buffy stared at it as though hypnotised. “It’s...” her voice broke. “Family’s kinda a sore point for me.” Convulsively, she straightened up and shoved the cellphone away from her in one motion. The cell flew across the room, and crashed into one wall.
Buffy sat there for a moment, and took several deep breaths. “Okay,” she said eventually, “Let’s just keep family off limits for now, shall we?”
Elizabeth Summers picked up her cell from the floor, and studied it. It looked like it was still going to work, which put her one step up on McGee at least. “Any reason why we should? Both you and Lehane have fascinating backgrounds when you look deep into them. I’m the skeleton in your closet or vice versa, while she’s dead.”
“Meh,” Buffy said, apparently back to flippant once more. “Been there, got the T-Shirt. She’s still catching up.”
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow. “So, you and her, just how close are you?”
Buffy spluttered as the innuendo registered. “What, no! No! We’re just partners. Professional partners! Nothing like that!”
Elizabeth nodded slowly, smiling slightly. “Yup. Okay. If you say so.”
“Thanks... Wait! No! No way. Nuh-uh. We’re just here to do our job, clean up and get out again. No hanky-panky involved. Professionals!”
“So you keep saying,” Elizabeth commented mildly. “And yet, you’re both here in custody.”
Buffy pouted, and sat back again. “Seemed like a good idea at the time.” She stretched, leaned back and studied the ceiling above her for a moment. “What time is it?”
Elizabeth checked her wristwatch. “One minute to midnight.”
“Heh. The witching hour,” Buffy commentated, a small, sad smirk crossing her face for a moment. “Okay. Let’s do this.”
“Get Gibbs in here. Cards on the table. It’s time for him and me to have a long talk about stuff.”
~ + ~