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The agent

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Summary: Nobody knew what happened that day in Sunnydale, at least, nobody knew and came forward with the tale. Until one of Riley's leads unexpectedly turns up, just begging to wrap things up.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Criminal Minds(Past Donor)solunvarFR1515,704193,27213 Apr 1113 Apr 11Yes
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Criminal Minds, nor do I profit from writing this. Except perhaps in a creative manner.

First in the Broken Glass series.

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The agent

A bus drives out of a town named Sunnydale carrying nineteen persons, four men and fifteen women. Three hours later, that same bus arrives in Los Angeles, charred and covered in an echo of foam. Eleven tired young women accompanied by two men, one old, one young, and a reluctant older woman disembark from the vehicle outside a motel. An hour later, an LAPD officer files one missing persons report, jots down the time of dead on another form and makes a request to the central to locate the paperwork of a newly hospitalized woman.

One day later, four men and twelve women seemingly disappear off the face of the planet. Later inquiries, both internal as well as through Interpol, confirmed the identities of seven individuals. Finger prints identify the body as belonging to Buffy Anne Summers of former Sunnydale. Facial recognition identified one of the men as Rupert Giles, of British origin, and another as Robin Wood.

Careful digging reveals tenuous connections between both men, mainly through the latter's deceased mother and the former's suspected ties to an international group of vigilantes, whose presumed headquarters were bombed only months before Sunnydale's collapse.

Coincidence identifies one woman, when a passing LAPD officer recognized a close-up while passing by as belonging to Faith Lehane, a convict. That proved to be a dead end however, blocked by the rather bothersome lawyers of Wolfram and Hart again and again.

It was about that time that LAPD called upon the FBI, whose Criminal Investigations Division eventually tracked down Riley and Sam Finn, employees of the Department of Homeland Security. By the time that happened, however, nearly all traces were dead and gone. All Riley had been able to do was say that yes, the woman wasting away in County General is Willow Rosenberg and that did indeed look like Xander Harris - yes, I think that's short for Alexander. Faith Lehane? Well, he'd make a few calls, wouldn't he? And no, he really hadn't a clue what the story is with that bus and those people, but thank you for clueing us in, now we can include this in our investigation. Excuse me? Of course we have our own investigation. Homeland Security does handle natural disasters. Oh, you didn't know? Well then, now you do. If that's all?

And for a long time, that's where the investigation stalled. There wasn't an awful lot Riley Finn could discover that the combined resources of the LAPD and the FBI couldn't. Even in demonic circles, the ones Riley and his compatriots had access to, not a lot was known. Consensus was, something big went on the old Hellmouth. Sunk the entire town into the ocean as if it was Nyarlathotep himself who farted that day, a feat humans naturally were incapable of.

Sometimes, interacting with demons was like teaching accounting to the Pirahá: ineffective and hopeless.

Suspicion isn't however proof. It isn't even a theory worth following up. Except that it was. Riley knew Buffy, intimately. He knew what she was capable of, the kind of opposition she could overcome. Anything that could kill a woman like her wasn't someone Riley wanted to encounter. More to the point, a being capable of that deed posed an enormous danger to his country and its citizens in particular. If Buffy's front line defense failed, if her rather powerful circle of allies couldn't cope, then it was up to Riley and his team to come up with a final offense.

So he'd kept the investigation open throughout the years, hoping to one day get a heads up as to what's lurking in some secret underground base. He'd kept his ears open all the way from Brazil, where Amazon tribes were calling up demons left and right to defend their land from the people cutting the forests to pieces. Throughout the entire Kendall versus Fox law case - which had really blindsided all of the former Initiative employees - he kept going through federal and not-so federal databases, always running through the same parameters. Afterwards, when vampires became legal citizens and Riley's taskforce were joined into a special Homeland Security / Justice hybrid and given the label of FBI, he'd argued in favor of keeping the investigation open.

These people, that last bus leaving Sunnydale: they were significant. They were people they needed to know about, they were people who mattered. Even if their significance lay in the past. Even if their importance was past perfect rather than past continuous.

And then, out of the blue, the phone call had come.

"Hello?" the voice had said.

"Hello," he'd responded. "Who am I speaking to?"

"This is Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner of the Behavior Analysis Unit. Are you Special Agent Riley Finn of the Paranormal Division?"

Riley remembered leaning back in his chair and frowning. BAU, they were the guys dealing with serial killers, he could hear himself thinking all over again. So he'd verified his identity and asked whether the BAU needed help with something.

Turned out it wasn't a case of us helping them, but them helping us. He remembered the rather dry, factual way Agent Hotchner had stated: "You have flagged several names in the database, seemingly without reason." Followed by a refrained half-statement, half-question, the kind you ask when you're asking you'd rather not know, but have to because the answer's important for your job. "I presume you did so with ulterior motive?" the other man had said, trailing of at the end.

After that, it was a simple matter of organizing transport out of the division's headquarters, a quaint little former mining town near the three-way border between Nevada, Utah and Arizona that had, up until two years ago, been invaded by the Serquñuz. If Riley had been part of the management, he would've lobbied for a different location: massacred towns just didn't inspire the same amount of faith in people than an office in the Pentagon did. Unfortunately, having everything - from a special prison to the division's servers - centralized had been part of the deal between Justice and Homeland Security. As a former Army officer (also part of the deal) he understood the logic somewhat. As a survivor of Margaret Walsh's little experiment however, he had his... concerns. The problem with his arguments was that all of them were ambiguous. Open to interpretation. One man's handicap is the other's strength and all of that strategic balderdash.

In any case, having an entire town as your headquarters did have its upsides. There was, for instance, always a plane at hand in case of an emergency. Bureaucracy being what it is, those planes rarely lifted off and you still ended up driving all the way to Las Vegas, Salt Lake City or Phoenix - usually depending on whichever city's airports matched time and budget the best. Something about how the division's assets was focused on construction and infrastructure for the next decade or so.

This time it wasn't any different. Luckily, there was a last minute available in Las Vegas that his boss said was 'an agreeable price', saving him the extra hours of driving to any of the other cities. The flight to Washington DC wasn't anything special, aside the usual discomfort you had to deal with in economy class. Nobody tried to hijack the plane, no dragon showed up for a game of chasers, his neighbours weren't too annoying - even if that one guy kept looking through the window as if he'd left behind the greatest treasure known to man and wasn't looking forward to the second half of his life. Vegas did that to people, the same way Walsh had given him the best thrill a man could get, only to end up losing it in the end. Hopefully, the man with the minus thousand look in his eyes wouldn't end up the way Riley had, begging vampires to be preyed upon.

There was a higher chance of that happening nowadays. With most vampires being recognized as official citizens, there had been a steady increase of suckhouses around the country. Word was, the DEA was reconsidering their name. Nearly everybody who used to be a drug addict, nowadays suffered from a vamp addiction. So much so that the only drugs still thriving was cannabis, thanks to the reggae movement and all the white people who tried desperately to be black. According to the legal department, laws were in the works that would make suckhouses entirely illegal. At the moment, they were still just a dubious melange of donor center, whorehouse and public playground: a rather unfortunate classification.

It was in the elevator taking him to the Behavior Analysis Unit's offices that he imagined Hostile 17 and Harmony Kendall, the first ever 'legal' vampire, teaching basket ball (or cricket, in 17's case) to a bunch of poor kids in some neighborhood sport center. A slightly disbelieving smirk graced his expression up until the elevator pinged and he couldn't distract himself anymore.

Xander Harris, serial killer. Who would've thought?

Sunnydale must've really done a number on him, that a man like that could turn into this.

"What did he say?" Riley wanted to know. Agent Reid, a thin guy his age with a penchant for reciting obscure facts and statistics, shrugged.

"Nothing."

He looked at the agents of this unit, belatedly recognizing the Rossi guy who'd written that one book. Riley recalled referring to it several times in his doctorate study. Academical research into demon psychology wasn't exactly his forte anymore, mostly because it wasn't exactly plow science. Without fail, demons tended to have either of three psychological frameworks. If they were of the first type, they had animalistic instincts. The second type was what he called the humanoid type, since their behavior most closely matched that of humans. The third type was that of beings that went beyond human comprehension and thus impossible to accurately understand. Like most academic research, none of it mattered ethically speaking. In the end, everybody's a monster in their own way. The distinction was however important since it pertained to how you deal with specific problems. Type one, you just eliminated, withouth hesitation. Type three, you either didn't bother or you eliminated as quickly as possible. Type two, the psychology of humanoids, was where you started looking for alternative solutions. Imprisonment, immigration courses, banishment, isolation,... That was were ethics started to become important.

He would have figured however that these people, who tracked down one serial killer after the other, would at least interrogate their suspect. It wasn't like Harris knew how to remain quiet. "What do you mean, nothing?" he'd asked. "You have interrogated him, haven't you?"

"We tried, multiple times," the blond female agent said. "So far we haven't managed to get any reaction out of him."

"That's actually part of why I contacted you," a dark-haired agent said. His formal speech, the suit and the look in his eyes suggested that this was agent Hotchner. "We were hoping you could shed some light on the unsub."

Unsub. These guys were psychologists all right. "We'll see what kind of help I'll be." He walked to the whiteboard that had been used to make a timeline. "What can you tell me about the case?"

Then they told him, everything. From the first murder in Los Angeles in 2003, to the thirteenth in Annapolis two month ago and the attempted murder in Glenarden, Washington DC only three days before. How each victim had been male, between their twenties and their sixties, all very respected members of society, all pedophiles who'd gotten away with sexual abuse and murder for years. Throughout the entire explanation, a vague realization was happening in Riley's subconscious. He didn't have the words for what he was thinking, but somewhere in his mind things were starting to make sense.

"What you're saying is that Harris has been doing the whole vigilante gig," said Riley.

"You would think so." Rossi seemed to agree. "Except that his MO doesn't match what seems to be his motivation. The unsub exercises an enormous amount of cruelty while murdering his victim, almost as if he's punishing these men as if he was one of the victims themselves. It's that element, combined with the different locations and the unsub's random sense of time that has confused a lot of investigators, including us."

Riley nodded, understanding the trouble. Profilers of any level have a great understanding of the human mind, but their profession was one built around the ritual behavior of mankind. Their strength lay in finding that one tendency that betrayed a perpetrator, like smoking a particular cigar after a crime or getting rid of the murder weapon exactly that many yards from the murder scene. The curse of profilers then was their dependency on their target's need for repetition. "How did you find him? I know I've been looking all over the country for years now."

"We've been investigating some of these murders for months now, trying to find any pattern. About two months ago, we saw the underlying connection between each murder and create a profile of the unsub. When the searches into the system turned up blank, we decided to think like a vigilante would and went looking for men that matched the description. We kept an eye on the ones we found and managed to intervene when the unsub started attacking one of them."

"Impressive. So you only knew who you were looking for when you already had them?"

The blond woman inclined her head.

"So, Agent Finn," said Hotchner, "what can you tell us?"

Riley regarded them all cautiously for a moment, wondering how much he should say. That they knew his division and acknowledged it in full said a lot about them already; there were many agents within the corps itself that simply refused to think of them as a serious department that did more than track down overzealous vampires. Another reason why the Paranormal Division was based in the middle of nowhere.

"Can I have a look at the dates all these murders were committed?" he instead asked. Agent Reid gave him a list. "Hmm..." he commented when he saw three of the dates. "Hindsight 20/20 being what it is, I could have helped you a lot earlier if I'd known." At their curious look, he elaborated: "The 19th of May, that's the day Sunnydale imploded. The 20th of January was Buffy Summers' birthday, a good friend of Harris. The 9th of October, Dawn Summer's birthday. The 28th of June, Anya Jenkins's birthday. Anya had a relationship with Harris."

The black agent was nodding. "So all these dates are significant."

"Probably," shrugged Riley. "I only lived in Sunnydale for less than two years, not all of which I've spent in their company."

"You know the unsub, personally?" asked Rossi.

"Yeah. Harris and his friends used to have this vigilante group going in Sunnydale; they dealt with what you might classify as paranormal crimes. Vampires, demons, the whole shebang. He probably learned how to identify his victims that way."

"The government allowed this?"

Riley grimaced. "You have to remember, times were different then. The FBI didn't have a paranormal division for one, just random agents who knew some of the underworld. Homeland Security didn't exist then either, so the DRI - the agency who used to investigate these things - wasn't under any real civil authority. Trust me, things are better organized now than they were then. If it weren't for groups like Harris's, a lot of bad stuff would have happened."

That seemed to soothe their worries somewhat.

It was Rossi who focused on something else: "What happened to change that then?"

"Sunnydale," answered Riley. "And that's about all we know. I flagged his and other names because most of this group disappeared the same day the city became a sinkhole. We're pretty sure they're the only ones who know what really went down that day and if its something my group has to deal with."

"You want to interrogate him?"

Riley flicked his eyes at Rossi, then at Hotchner. "That would be ideal."

The unit's leader caught his gaze. "You think you can get him to talk?"

He nodded. "Do you guys need a confession or is the case strong enough without it?"

The BAU exchanged looks. "A confession would help the case immensely, if we don't have that none of the thirteen murders would make it in court."

"I do have one question," Rossi said. "The brutal way he murdered his victims, would you know where that comes from?"

It was about the easiest question he could answer. "I told you he dated a woman called Anya, right?" They gave affirmative answers. "Well... Anya used to be something that's called a vengeance demon. For over a thousand years, she slaughtered men who'd cheated on their wives. At one point, she must've tried something in Sunnydale that backfired on her. She reverted from a demon into a human form. She was quite harmless as a human, except that she liked to talk a lot about her past deeds. Harris must have picked up a lot more than nightmares from her."

"And this Anya," the blond agent asked, "where is she now?"

Riley shrugged. "Nobody knows. Probably never made it out of Sunnydale, but you never know with these things."

Explaining Anya to these people seemed to have triggered something, a feeling of trust or a decision in favor of his competence, since the next thing Hotchner said was: "I'll take you to interrogation, hopefully you'll have more luck than we did."

He was already sitting there, at the single iron table in the room, when they arrived in the observation room, looking through the single see-through mirror. Riley studied the other man for a moment, psychological concepts floating around his head. Observing what he saw, comparing with what he remembered of the past. Who Xander had been, his function in Buffy's support group, his relationship with Anya, the way his mother used to scream at his father and the separate buckets of empty alcohol bottles. Tequila - Jessica Harris. Cheap Scotch, the kind they didn't sell in auctions and specialized shops - Tony Harris. Thoth's magic at work: two Xanders, two sides of the same coin. Confident and competent. Down trodden and reliant of his closest friends. Show off to Buffy, beg for a hug from Willow. Anya's direct observations of the world as she saw it, Xander's occasional cringes. Two people trying to fit in without realizing they were already part of the furniture.

The Harris sitting in that room wasn't anything like the one Riley knew. The nervous ticks the man used to show, the constant need to be in motion, it seemed to have exchanged itself for something else. The fixation of a crocodile, the introspection of an Indian stick, that's who Riley saw now. There was a familiar hunch in Harris shoulders as well. Not quite defeat, but heading close to it.

Riley walked out of observation and towards the door of the interrogation chamber itself. There was a guard on this side as well. Apparently, Harris was a dangerous individual. Before he opened the door and came into the Sunnydaler's perception, Riley decided on a tactic. Focus on Sunnydale, that last day, when the Pacific Ocean did its act of reclamation. Everything else... Well, people changed, but they didn't change that much. Harris was a talker, always would be, it was just a matter of getting him started.

He opened the door, let the guard inside step outside and walked over to the table. He seated himself opposite the other man and looked him in the eye. "Hello, Xander," he greeted.

Something changed in Harris's expression, too subtle for Riley to define. He recognized the brief glance at his badge for the implicit question it was, however.

"You're not imagining things," assured Riley. "There's been some changes over the past couple of years. You know Sam and I were doing small scale operations for the Initiative, right?" He paused for a moment, giving Harris the opportunity to interfere, then continued when nothing came forth. "Well, that all changed not too long after Harmony's case against Fox. Suddenly, everything pertaining the Initiative was being evaluated by Homeland Security. Then the Bureau started lobbying for jurisdiction... To make a long story short, I'm a federal agent this days and part of a division dealing with demons, magic and everything in between."

He stopped speaking, waiting for the other man to take the next step in this game of interaction. Hopefully, he'd given even information to enlighten a spark of curiosity that would lead to a more meaningful conversation. Lighting a fire with flintstone was a lot harder than when you could use lighters and matches, but it worked just as well.

Just like he imagined, there was a touch of curiosity to Harris's expression. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. The curiosity was intellectual, like a person pondering a certain situation or concept internally. What he needed was for Harris to feel; the man had always worn his heart on his sleeves, always caught up in what he felt right then and there instead of thinking rationally and logically.

What would do the trick though? Riley only had so many cards to play, too little intel to seduce. Should he let something drop about Rupert Giles's activity, the little his inquiries were able to reveal? Would that be enough? Visa records had shown fluctuating movement of the man in the couple of years before Sunnydale's collapse, indicating that not everything had been well between the Englishman and Buffy's gang. Since then, immigration hadn't caught a whisper of the man entering the US again. Giles knew magic however and he knew demons, for all the government knew he travelled daily in between continents. Which was improbable, but not impossible - there was a lot of evidence suggesting that teleportation and portals was quite common. Too complicated for the couple of scientists in their research department to figure out though. Most magic users weren't keen on working for any institution, preferring their service to their pantheons. Honestly, Riley thought they had the right idea, as long as that service stopped at harming others. (Humans, naturally.)

Giles had on the other hand been present at the hospital, accompanied by Harris, when they dropped off a delirious Rosenberg and a dead Buffy. So whatever happened between both parties, it must have been resolved up until a certain point that they managed to do that.

No, decided Riley abruptly. This isn't how this needs to be done. You're not a politician, you're just a worried agent looking for an answer.

"You know," he said, "I had this all prepared real carefully, but I think I'm just going to be direct with you: I need to know what happened in Sunnydale that day." He raised his voice and started talking a little quicker, finally giving voice to what had been worrying for so long to a person that would understand the gravity of his worry. "I've been trying to figure this out for a long time, trying to find out whether whatever or whoever killed Buffy, made Willow incurably crazy, made Anya disappear and turned Sunnydale into a bay is still out there. I need to know if there's some being out there I should start looking for that needs elimination." He flicked his eyes at the one-way mirror, then continued. "I could pretend," he said, "that I could help you out with what you've been doing since then, but I'm not going to lie to you. These guys here have enough evidence on you that my meager influence would amount to nothing. But I need that answer, Xander, if only so I can focus on other threats."

Silence settled after his improvised monologue. Despite the sound-proofing, he imagined the people in observation had quieted as well, perhaps faintly realizing the importance of it all.

Then, sounding as if he'd been smoking for decades, Harris spoke. "You don't have to worry about anything out there, none of the major threats survived Sunnydale. And if it they did... Then they're beyond anyone's power to affect."

Riley searched Harris's gaze, looking for a sign he didn't entirely comprehend. "You mean that?"

Harris nodded as if contemplating a dilemma. "We were fighting a war we couldn't win," he said quietly. "Against an enemy that... well... nobody quite understood. Mostly we dealt with its minions." With a rough snort, Harris pointed at his missing eye. "Its high priest did that, a couple of days before it all came to a head."

Riley nodded patiently. "What happened?"

Harris shrugged. "A battle. Willow did some magic, making several girls into Slayers. Then Spike was there with an amulet that could close the Hellmouth. That stopped the First and its minions."

He took notice of the reference to something called "the First", putting it in his mental 'to investigate'-pile together with the supposedly powerful magical artifact and thought about what he'd been told so far. The old Harris would have used a lot more words, described the event with more grandeur and bravery. Riley was starting to understand that pride and the need to impress were beyond the other now. The need to protect was still there, obviously considering who exactly he'd been murdering, which did explain why the other mightn't share any of the relevant details. Turning random girls into Slayers did kind of point at the gray zone that existed between ethical and unethical conduct.

"So what happened to Buffy, if the Hellmouth was closed?" he asked.

"Turns out," said Harris heavily, "that closing a Hellmouth is a lot like flushing a toilet."

The comparison went right over his head. "Like a toilet?"

Harris just inclined his head.

All right then. This, this required some thought. What did he know about magic and hellmouths? He knew that magic existed, that it could be very powerful in ways that only its followers and users understood. He knew that Sunnydale had been a Hellmouth, which was a "weakening in the fabric of reality". A place where the metaphysical walls between dimensions were at their lowest. It was ridiculously easy to open a pathway to any hell dimension in such a place, which was sufficient motivation for a lot of demons to hang around the place. Hellmouths weren't just one place though, it was an entire area that had a central weak point. Riley didn't know where Sunnydale's was, but he could guess.

Riley mentally nodded to himself. In his head, he had a rought sketch of what a computer model of a Hellmouth might look like (the thermal image of an erupting volcano on an undefined Pacific island through the eyes of a satellite). And now, he needed to imagine how this picture would move as if it was a flushing toilet. The color indicating 'Hellmouth influence' would start to swirl, like a tornado. It would form spirals, like he'd seen on pictures of the Milky Way and other galaxies. And then it would turn, rapidly, sucking up all 'Hellmouth power' out of the area until, with a burp or whatever you called it, nothing was left of that power.

He stared at Harris in confusion. This still didn't explain anything about Buffy or how she'd come to meet her end.

"Willow," Harris said the name with a hint of longing in answer to his confusion, "was born and bred in Sunnydale, like I was. She was also a witch. What do you know of witches? What do they all have in common?"

A hint of knowledge was starting to bloom in the back of his mind, an idea he didn't yet have words for but was thinking of anyhow. He looked at Harris, the wall and the table. He thought of flushing hellmouths, witches preaching to Azathoth and Dazhdbog and sweet little Rosenberg whom helped eliminate Adam. "Rituals," he said, "they all use rituals to perform magic."

Harris nodded. "More specifically, they use rituals to appeal to gods whom then grant their power to the witch."

"Except?"

"Except," the other acknowledged, "at one point, Willow developed the ability to do magic independent of any divine being. She still did the rituals, but she didn't really need the power those rituals usually bring."

This had something to do with the hellmouth, but what?

"Can you just say what happened?" he finally asked. "Because I'm not getting it."

"When the hellmouth flushed out of existence," revealed Harris, "it didn't just disappear. It grabbed onto anything it could, any kind of magic through which it could remain in place."

Oh. "It took Willow's magic," concluded Riley.

Harris nodded. "Her magic and any magic she'd performed, like empowering those girls, that was still... active." Harris leaned back in his chair, looked about the investigation room once and then focused back onto Riley. "At least, that's how we figured things must have happened afterwards. The moment it happened, a lot of stuff went down."

"Buffy?" wondered Riley. "How does she figure into things?"

Harris looked away as if in shame. "Buffy died... several months after you left Sunnydale. Willow brought her back, resurrected her with our help."

"She died again," he stated. He certainly hadn't expected this.

Harris bowed his head. "The moment Willow started freaking out, she was gone."

And just like that, the man in front of him started making sense again. How a friendly guy like Xander could become the killer that was Harris. Psychology 101: 'What doesn't kill you, strengthens you. What doesn't strengthen you, breaks you.'

"What about Anya?" asked Riley, his tone softer now. He almost didn't want to ask, but knew, just knew, that the answer to this question would make the BAU's case. Harris was the kind of guy who existed by the grace of his friends, whose friends were his reasons and motivations. Take those friends away from him, and you get a person without boundaries or limits. As much as Anya depended on Xander, Xander depended on Anya.

"She died during the battle." Harris had watery eyes, but spilled no tears.

"Dawn?" he suggested. By now, he had enough information to finish the Sunnydale investigation with an answer that, while maybe not as detailed as some might like, was enough to satisfy the research department.

"Disappeared," said Harris, "not long after our bus left Sunnydale, right before Willow started... I searched for her for weeks after Sunnydale's fall, but I... found no trace of her. It's like she just vaporized without any reason at all."

They just looked at each other after that, taking in the past and the present. Eventually Harris's eyes drifted off towards the mirror behind Riley. A decision seemed to be made right then.

"I might as well tell the rest," said Harris. "It was... Now that I've talked about this to someone who knew the people... It seems silly now, why I did it."

Riley didn't ask about what the other had done, he just prompted: "Why did you do it?"

Harris hesitated, seemingly reverting to someone he used to be right in front of Riley's eyes. "I thought... Anya'd been a demon for so long... Thousand years worth of ruining men's lives, punishing them. Then she became human once more... I know she got better, was as human as you and me, saw the joy in human life. But she still carried around those years as a demon. There's no way she would've ended up in heaven. So I figured... I figured I could just make sure she wouldn't be alone down there."

It had all the markings of a Hollywood chick flick in the making, in a noir kind of way. "Buffy gone, Dawn permanently missing, Willow gone crazy,... There was nothing to keep you going, was there?" Riley concluded roughly.

Harris shook his head. "Nobody to live for anymore," he agreed. "Seems silly now, doesn't it? Yet I can't help but think... Those men, they deserved to die. Some predators just shouldn't get away with what they've done, you know?"

"What about you?" he wondered aloud.

"I'll probably end up in hell," Harris agreed. "Even if I saved dozens if not hundreds of kids by killing those men, I still killed. And that should, hopefully, suffice for me to go to hell."

It was Riley's turn to shake his head in dismay. "I really don't know what to say to you right now," he confessed. "I want to find fault in your little theory, convince you that you're wrong, but it's too late for that now, is it?"

Harris smiled. It wasn't pleasant.

Riley stood from his chair. "I have what I need. Thank you for helping me and I really... I hope... Well... Goodbye, Xander."

He walked out of the room, not looking back even once. The members of the Behavior Analysis Unit came out of observation. They exchanged glances, shared their feelings of discomfort through subtle gestures and poses and then fell back onto routine.

Riley caught a plane back to Las Vegas that very day, late at night, and spent the first few hours at his bureau filling in numerous reports. The day after, two boxes worth of paper were moved from his locker to the division's archives. Two months after the initial request had been made, a whole range of beings whose description began with 'First' were added the division's knowledge base. Tucked in between folders marked 'First Esper' and 'First Extinction' was a brief summary about the 'First Evil' that concluded with the following line:

Last manifestation: 05-19-2003; Sunnydale (cfr. Memorial Bay), California, United States of America.


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I hope this suffices as an introduction to this AU. The Broken Glass series will feature following stories: The hacker (Oz-centric), The traveler (Dawn-centric), The scientist (Stargate Sam-centric) and The fifty year plan.

This story is known on FFN as The visitor, TTH suggested using an alternative, so I am.

Grammar and spelling errors will have manifested themselves despite my attempts at revision, you're welcome to report them.

The End

You have reached the end of "The agent". This story is complete.

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