Chapter 9Disclaimer: Some of the characters are mine, but most belong to CBS or to Joss Whedon and co.
Note: This story takes place in AU BtVS season 8.
When Lindsay saw Jo’s face, her initial rush of babbling abruptly died. “What has happened?” she asked, instead.
“There was another attack, this one in broad daylight...on TV,” Jo said tiredly, “by the same giant lizard. Danny called... Don’s out for blood, Danny and Mac will be checking the security tapes-“
“Um, about that,” Lindsay said, somewhat sheepishly. “Ruth Limo’s notes also contained a mention that she tended to turn the security systems off in some parts of the museum’s building – primarily where she was: in part for privacy, in part for economy-“
“She was that stupid?”
“More like cheap,” Lindsay said, slowly. “It’s off the record, but while Rachel Straw may’ve been the guilty party, she’s still more likeable and humane than Ms. Limo-“
“Let’s not go there,” Josephine said, wearily. “This wouldn’t be the first time when the victim of a crime was barely more likeable than its perpetrator-“
“Well, who is the perpetrator of this crime?” Lindsay asked, pointedly getting into an argument – after several hours of working practically on her own, she was happy for any sort of human contact. “So far, I cannot quite get an idea-“
“Well, neither can I, but so far the most common thing the three victims had was this ill-fated expedition/publicity stunt in Australia,” Jo admitted, “because I know I hadn’t mentioned it to you, but it was the museum’s PR specialist who got killed this time, and since Danny mentioned a PR disaster earlier, well-“
“Really?” Lindsay said, thoughtfully. “Well, maybe it’s time we focus on the initial deceased, Mr. Tim-something.”
“My thoughts,” Jo nodded, almost happily, “are exactly the same.”* * *
“Why are we here? Are we going grave robbing?” Genevieve asked Faith as the two Slayers stood in a small, rather forgotten- or abandoned-looking graveyard. “’Cause it’s still daytime for the latter, and-“
“Hush, G,” Faith said quietly. “We’re here for something else.”
Something in Faith’s voice caused Genevieve to fall silent and take a second look at their surroundings.
It was quiet. It wasn’t a threatening kind of silence, when everything is tensed up, waiting that one particular eruption of sound, when someone is going to walk away from the confrontation, and someone else is not; rather, it was a wary kind of silence, as if dozens of unseen eyes were watching them, waiting for their next move.
Askance, Genevieve looked at Faith to see what the older Slayer was moving, and saw that Faith was looking around them, in a rather odd poise, watching everything from the corners of her eyes. Out of curiosity and sheer confusion, Genevieve decided to copy her – with unexpected results:
A smallish-looking creature was sitting on a tree branch close to the ground, approximately at the same level as their heads. It was the size of a chicken or a rooster, but it looked more like a tiny dragon, or even a mutant dinosaur, complete with a bony, half-crescent ridge on its head. It was eyeing the two Slayers in a way that made Genevieve uncomfortable.
“Ah, there we are,” Faith actually smiled, straightening her poise, but keeping her gaze on the winged thing, and instinctively, Genevieve did the same. Immediately the view before her seemed to shift, and the younger Slayer found herself looking at an owl instead.
“So, there you are,” Faith smiled again, approaching the not-owl directly. “Now, little e’enathie
, where are your keepers?”
“Right here,” spoke a distinctly unfriendly voice. Faith and Genevieve turned around, and found themselves staring at a woman of approximately Faith’s age, her hair as black and shiny as the wings of some beetles. “What do you want from us?”
“We want you to loan us this e’enathie
for the next twenty-four hours or so,” Faith shrugged, “and are willing to pay for its use.”
The woman’s eyebrows rose slightly, as she seemed to be surprised by Faith’s statement. “Do you know how to handle it?” she asked, clearly surprised.
“In theory,” Faith admitted, “but we need it. In case you didn’t know, a primeval spirit is haunting the city’s museum of Natural History, and we need to exorcise it. However, there will be people in the way, and we need to get them out-“
“And an e’enathie’s
song is a good way to do that, but one of us could do it just as well,” spoke yet another voice.
Genevieve whirled around, followed by Faith, and got confronted by a more elderly woman, whose hair was done in alternate bands of grey and black instead. The newcomer was standing by the not-owl, which made Genevieve suspect that their interlocutrixes were not human as well.
“True,” Faith didn’t seem to be concerned by the shifting of odds. “But that would be rather presumptuous of us to ask, wouldn’t it?”
“True enough,” the elder woman agreed. “But before we loan you one of our companions, we want to speak to your leader. Where can we find him or her?”
“At 12 Cartwright St.,” Faith said, stiffening slightly. Before Genevieve could add something to this conversation, talons grabbed her shoulders, lifted her off the ground – and then she found herself airborne.To be continued...