Wesley usually had a remarkable amount of patience for the supernatural. He knew that it generally worked at a different pace than the ‘normal’ world and that you had to allow for that. Even if you were working on a deadline, as was often the case, you could only do so much to speed of the process.
However, in the case Philip Michael Gerard, a.k.a. Mike, he was beginning to wonder if it had been to their advantage to find this…whatever he was, at all. While it could be argued that ‘Mike’ was aiding them immensely, it could also be argued that he wasn’t doing anything that they couldn’t figure out by themselves.
When they had led Mike to the room where Windom Earle had attempted to kill Buffy and the others, he had no reaction -- until he reached the window.
“Bob was here.” Mike had said. breathing hard.. “He told the other one to come to this room and fire.”
Gunn recovered first. “Did he tell Earle who to shoot?’
A long pause. “No. He just told him not to hit the girl.” Wesley didn’t need an interpreter to know who ‘the girl’ was. “He has big plans for her.”
Wesley had never actually heard the message that Earle and Bob had left for Buffy, but this gave him chills even though it was what he had expected. “Do you know where he has gone?”
For several moments Mike did not respond. Then he began to walk towards the exit of the room. The others followed him slowly, not sure if he knew what he was doing or was in a fugue. No one quite had the nerve to ask.
“He has gone to a place nearby.”
Wesley resisted the seemingly primal urge to say: ‘Duh.” and merely asked: “Where?”
“The sickness there is deep -- but not nearly as deep as it is in him. No bromide will cleanse his soul.” It didn’t take a genius to figure out that he was referring to Saint Elegius -- the hospital where Giles had been taken to after being shot -- something that made even more sense when they received a phone call from Willow telling them that Earle had paid them a visit.
When they got to Saint Elegius, there was little reaction from Mike even after they had led him into the lobby of the hospital and into the ICU. Occasionally Mike would say something along the lines of “The trail is cooling” or “Darkness has passed close.” Wesley was beginning to think that this spirit was little more than a police psychic found at the scenes of some crimes -- people seeming to have all the answers but really just whistling in the wind.
Wesley was far more concerned about Buffy’s reaction to Earle’s visit. He knew that both Earle and Bob had gotten under her skin somehow. She said that she could deal, but Wes knew that she was wound pretty tight. Now he was not only concerned about what Bob would do, but how Buffy would react. He wasn’t a great deal happier when Buffy decided to leave Giles at the ICU and follow Mike around. The sun had begun to set and Angel, who had been in the hospital most of today, decided to go with them. Willow and Xander both said that they understood but Wesley could see that they were also concerned about whether Buffy should be on the prowl and aiding Mike.
If they could be said to be helping him.
Finally, after nearly half an hour of nosing around the floor Giles was on, Mike turned towards them and said in as a subdued a manner as he could manage. “Too much evil. They are both such vile entities. The odors are too close.”
Wesley felt like giving Mike a very hard slap in the face. “What you’re saying is that you’ve lost the scent,” he managed without raising his voice.
Perhaps seeing the eventual fight, Angel stepped in. “Are you saying that Bob was never here?”
Mike looked at Angel as if to say: ‘Foolish vampire.’ “He was here. But he only stopped here long enough to leave off a small part of himself.”
“Ah. So Bob left Earle here,” said Buffy. “Do you have any idea where Bob went after that?”
Mike paused. “Outside. He was in the parking lot.” Wesley was about to make a sarcastic remark at finally being deigned worthy enough to get a direct statement when Leonard put his hand on his shoulder.
“I know that it feels like we’re being jerked around but I honestly believe that he will lead us to Bob. He just has to do it this way.”
Wesley restrained himself and kept quiet as they followed Mike to the parking lot. It was there that things truly got strange. Mike had seemed all right until he reached a certain area. Then he had grabbed his head and fell to his knees. Buffy and Angel had rushed over to him.
“Mike? What’s the matter?” Angel asked. For several long moments it seemed like Mike would not be able to answer. His eyes had rolled to the back of his head and his breathing went from rapid to hyperventilation. Wesley again considered the possibility that he was having a stroke and for the first time wondered if Gerard could take the demands on his body.
“Do you need a doctor?” asked Willow. For a long moment there was no answer and Wesley was just preparing to get someone to help when Mike finally said: “No. The host has been a strong one but too much activity weakens even the hardiest.”
“Maybe you should go back?” said Leonard.
“That is not an option. Bob must be found and defeated.” There was such firmness in the voice that not even Wesley dared dispute it.
“Do you know where he is?” asked Angel.
Mike breathed deeply, finally gathering the strength to speak. “Bob has gone to a place of evil. A place where darkness once filled every nook and cranny for ages, before light finally began to break through.”
Suddenly the feeling that Gerard was jerking them around disappeared. In its place came a feeling that maybe they had been blind after all and that they were only now beginning to see clearly. Wesley looked at the others. Angel seemed to get it too, but the others seemed a little unsure.
‘“Where is he talking--” said Faith.
“Bob has gone to Angel Slayer Inc.” said Buffy, cutting her off.
“Are you sure?” asked Angel. But Mike seemed incapable of further speech. All he could do was nod.
The first thing to do was call the building. Lorne answered his page. Even though he had never been much of the action type, he told them he would seal off the building immediately and have security do a sweep. No one was entirely sure how Earle or Bob could manage to get into a building as secure as the former law firm was, but no one was sure that they could put it past either of them.
The next thing to do was get back. Since the six of them could not all fit in one car, Wesley and Faith decided that they would take Mike in their car while Angel, Buffy and Leonard would go back in Giles’s. Under other circumstances Wesley might have been concerned about the arrangement of the passengers but with time of the essence he just let things ride.
During rush hour traffic in downtown L.A. it would normally take half an hour to get from the St Eligius Hospital to Angel-Slayer Inc. Both cars made it back in fifteen.
Mike remained quiet throughout the car ride. This surprised Wesley who was concerned whether or not he would be in any condition to help when they got there.
He wondered whether or not Mike was even still present.
When they finally reached the Wolfram and Hart building, Mike remained silent -- up until they had almost made it to the entrance. He stopped short and began breathing hard.
“What’s the matter?” Wesley asked. “Has he gone?”
“He’s near. He’s very close.”
For a moment Wesley was frustrated. “We know that. He’s in the building.”
Mike shook his head. “No. Not that close.”
By now, Buffy, Angel and Leonard had reached them. “What the hell is he doing now?” Buffy asked.
“He’s not going back and saying that we’ve missed him again, is he?” asked Angel, frustration written on his face.
Leonard, however, seemed calm. “Where is he Mike? Do you have his scent?”
Mike nodded. “There is a lot of darkness here, but his stench -- his decay stands out like a lighthouse in the fog.” He struggled his way past the front door.
“Yes, but is he in the office?” snapped Buffy.
Again Mike shook his head while moving forward. “He has gall and anger for many, but not even he would be foolish to put himself directly in the lion’s den.”
“Then where is he?” asked Faith.
By now Mike had ambled so that he was standing at the property line of the old Wolfram and Hart main office building-- over to a somewhat smaller building. Technically, this building was Wolfram and Hart’s property as well, but it had never been a part of the law firm. It was operated by a skeleton crew and nothing of real importance was in it. Wesley didn’t think that he had been in it more than once.
It seemed to hit all of them at once. But it was Angel who put into words what they all were thinking: “Bob is in this building.?”
Mike didn’t answer. Instead he reached out a trembling hand and pointed towards the building.
Buffy grabbed Mike and walked over to his other side. She didn’t quite yank on his arm and start pulling him, though Wesley could sense that she had seriously considered it. Walking beside him, she began guiding him towards the building.
Angel moved to her other side. “Buffy, are you sure that we should go in by ourselves?’
She stopped. “Are you saying that you think the five of us can’t handle two people?”
“Well, what if Earle has an AK-47 and he’s preparing to take target practice
That got through Buffy’s armor in a way that no one else had managed to.
She turned to Wesley and Faith. “All right. Wes, call one of the security officers. Tell them that we need a team to scope out the building. Maybe we can narrow down what floor he’s on.”
“Hold it.” said Faith. “If we do a room to room search doesn’t that give away the game? He’d probably try and run.”
Buffy sighed. “Okay. Talk to Fred and the guys in the science department. Tell them that I want them to use the computers to do a…heat concentration test—
“Body Thermal Units.” supplied Wesley.
“Whatever. Tell them to look for any concentrations that could be people. Then very quietly get some guards to do a search according to what that tells us.”
Wesley pulled out his cellular.
“And when they begin the search Angel, Faith and I are going to be looking too. ” When it seemed that one of them might object, she added: “No debate.”
Wesley made the call hoping that this plan would help flush out the killers without much incident.
His hopes were not born out.
The heat scan revealed that there were sixteen people in the building and that was basically all that it could tell them. Angel put a slayer and a security guard on both the front and back entrance into the building, then he gathered half a dozen slayers and told them to sweep the entire building floor by floor. He didn’t even try to talk Buffy out of taking part in the search, but he did insist that he was coming along with her.
Buffy agreed -- and spent the next twenty minutes moving at a pace that no man and very few demons could have kept up with.
The third time that he caught up with her, he pulled her over to the side. “Buffy.”
“We’re not going to get into this now.’ she said, brushing him aside.
He blocked her path with his arm.
“You know that’s not going to stop me.” she said pushing his hand aside.
“You’re going to have to deal with this, Buffy.”
“I’m handling it fine,” she spat.
“You trying to convince me or yourself?”
“We don’t have time for this. In case you’ve forgotten, we’re tracking a killer.”
“Who shot Giles. Who tried to kill you. Who’s been screwing with your head since you started looking for him.”
Buffy’s face hadn’t given anything away yet. “You know how many…things have tried to mess with my head.”
To an outsider it would seem like Buffy sounded fearless and defiant. Angel knew better. “This isn’t a thing. This is a man. A man who gets his rocks off by raping and torturing girls your age.”
“You call that a man? He’s no better than a demon. No, he’s worse because a demon doesn’t have a soul. “
“That’s not the whole story and you know it.”
“Bob may have no remorse, but Cooper did. He should have tried to stop them but he let it take over. He gave in to the darkness. That makes him no more than a monster.”
Angel put both his hands on her shoulders “All right. He’s a monster. What are you going to do when we find him? Put a stake through his hear? Cut off his head?”
That seemed to penetrate her reserve and Angel jumped on it. “He is human. Barely, but a human being. You really think you can kill him?”
That threw her still more. “I never said that I was going to do that.” She spoke without meeting his glance.
“Then why can’t you look me in the eye?” When Buffy didn’t answer, he went on. “It’s because you don’t want anyone to see that you have the look of someone who intends to end another person’s life.”
“I do not look that way.”
“I know that look, Buffy. I’ve worn it often enough. You don’t want to go down this road. You almost never come back from it.”
For a moment he thought he might have reached her. Then she looked up. The killer’s look was still in her eyes, but now it was mixed with resignation.
“I’ve already gone down this road, Angel. I may not have killed a man with my own hands but I’ve done nearly everything else. I’ve let my friends die. I’ve ordered strangers to their death. I’ve let myself die. Death is my gift, Angel. It’s all around me. It is a part of me, whether I or you or anyone likes it.”
Angel knew there was a flaw in her reasoning, but he wasn’t sure how to express it. “Buffy--“
“You don’t want me to kill a man. News flash, I already have. A vampire may already be dead, but he used to be a man.”
“Why? Because they don’t have a heartbeat? Or reason? Or a soul?” For that last one, she looked right at Angel. “They exist before I fight them, they don’t afterwards. That’s killing no matter how you slice it. So don’t worry about be losing my murder-cherry. It’s been gone for a long time.”
With that she walked away from him to the next door on the floor.
For the second time in twelve hours, Angel felt a flash of awareness go through him. When he finally had time to analyze what had happened during the whole ugly mess, he would wonder what, or who, was behind these precognitive flashes. Maybe it was some kind of bond that had been formed between them. Maybe it was some other force working to balance out the evil that Bob represented. Or maybe he had just heard the sound of a man loading up a rifle.
Whatever it was, he nearly didn’t react in time. Like the last time, the next few seconds seemed to stretch out. He saw Buffy reach for the door. He heard himself yell, “Buffy!” as he raced to the door. He saw the door open a split second before he knocked her to the side. And then he turned and saw a man he had only seen in pictures stare at him, madness in his eyes. And he thought -- he thought that he saw the bullet leaving the rifle, even though he knew that it would take less than a fraction of a second. Even if that wasn’t true, he certainly felt the bullet pierce his chest and knock him back.
Then time resumed its normal speed. The next moment Angel was thrown against the wall. Earle was a hell of a shot. If Angel had been human, he would have been dead before he hit the wall. As it was, it was going to be a few minutes before he could stand on his own power. “Buffy’ he tried to say, but it came out a gasp. It was obvious that she hadn’t heard him. It was also clear that she wasn’t going to call for help.
“You sonofabitch!” Buffy charged into the room with a speed that would have done Jesse Owens proud.
Either Earle was stunned that he’d missed or for some reason he didn’t want to fire. Whichever it was he didn’t get off a second shot. Buffy reached him and kicked him squarely in the balls. She stood over him as he fell.
“Like torturing girls, do you? Well, let’s see how you like it when one of them hits back!” She lifted his face up and started to punch him viciously. “Let’s see how tough you are without your big gun.”
Angel made a monumental effort and managed to get to his feet. “Buffy.”
The blonde gave no sign that she had heard and continue to beat the shit out of Windom Earle. Angel had never seen her attack a man --or most vampires for that matter -- with such ferocity.
“Buffy, stop. The police…”:
“The cop’s will think that this bastard got what he deserved,” she said as she kicked him in the ribs.
“Buffy. You can’t do this.” The source of the voice managed to penetrate Buffy’s consciousness. Angel was surprised. He hadn’t heard Faith’s approach.
“You’re kidding.” Buffy said—but she stopped attacking him. “You’re lecturing me on violence. Where are the irony police when you need them?”
“I’m not going to tell you that he doesn’t deserve it, B. Five years ago, same situation, I would have gone medieval on him.” The dark-haired Slayer approached the fair-haired one. “But then I always did have a problem with impulse control.”
“I suppose this is the part where you lecture me about the code of the Slayer and how we should protect people not kill them.” Buffy spoke sarcastically, but she moved away from Earle.
“You really want to go down this road, Buff? Because I can tell you where it ends. The darkness swallows you whole. If you’re lucky maybe you come out the other side. Or maybe you don’t. Either way, you’ll be alone.”
“Faith’s right.” Angel had recovered enough of his strength to start. “You go down this road, you’ll lose everything: your friends, your sense of right and wrong, your hope. It almost happened to me. You really want to lose every good thing to that atrocity?”
For a moment, it seemed like Buffy really was considering doing just that. Then, after seconds that seemed like an eternity she began walking towards the door. When she passed Faith, she turned around and said: “Get this piece of filth out of my sight.”
Faith walked over to Earle. “I hope you’re not claustrophobic, Earle, cause I’m betting that you’re not going to be in a room this large for a long time.” She lifted him to his feet. “Now do yourself a favor and tell us where Bob is.”
Earle looked at Faith for a moment and began chuckling. Faith rolled her eyes .”Great. Does every villain we face have to get hysterical when we’ve beat him up?”
“Silly girl.” Angel had been looking at Buffy, but the second he heard those words he whipped his head back to Earle. There was something in his tone that troubled him.
Buffy heard it too. “What’s so damn funny?”
“Tough girls. Fearless vampire hunters. Defenders of the good and pure.” Earle chuckled again. “You won’t be so high and mighty when he comes for you.”
“You just don’t seem to get it. You’re finished and when we find your body-hopping friend, we’ll kick his ass too,” said Faith.
Earle continued to chuckle. “No, you don’t get it. You may find Bob, but even if you do he’s already beaten you. He will have destroyed the thing that you value the most. And when he’s done that, you’ll wish I’d finished you off.”
A cold feeling went through Angel. A nasty idea had just occurred to him. “What are you talking about?”
Earle was now convulsing with laughter. “Sorry old sport, my lips are sealed. And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a flight to catch. “
Moving with a speed that would have done Buffy proud, Earle hit Faith with a vicious head butt and started to run. Angel stood in his path but he was still stunned from the bullet in his chest and Earle ran past him, knocking him down.. Buffy might have been able to stop him but she was frozen as the horrible idea occurred to her too.
“Stop him!” shouted Angel. Faith started running after Earle. She was fast enough to catch him, but Earle was crazy and he ran with the speed of madness. And as he ran he continued to laugh.
Right until he reached the plate glass window at the end of the hall -- and went right through it.
Angel was sure that he was still laughing even as the ground rushed up to meet him. Right now that didn’t concern him as much as what he thought Earle had implied.
“Buffy.” The Slayer didn’t react and Angel knew why. A look of abject fear had appeared on her face. Not for herself, no. Fear that something far more precious to her had been violated.
For a moment she didn’t answer him. She seemed to be fixed staring into the room that Earle had just vacated. Inside the room were three television monitors. Though he couldn’t be sure of it, he was willing to bet that they were all video feeds into Angel-Slayer Inc. He recognized some of the people walking by on the monitors.
He still wasn’t sure he understood what was going on. Then he saw that one of the TVs had a VCR under it. Hanging out of it was tape (Angel would have been willing to bet that it was left out on purpose) and on the label was a single word
“Find her.” Was all that Buffy seemed able to say.
“Buffy, we don’t know…”
“FIND HER! Get on the phone and find her!”
Angel began dialing Dawn’s cell phone, and as he did he said a prayer to the powers he was no longer sure he believed in that he wasn’t too late
Dawn had expected that she would feel a lot of things as she waited in the van one block away from Ground Zero. Nervous , excited, angry, sad-- the whole gamut of emotions. She had not, however, expected to feel this way.
. To be fair Fred had warned her that this was likely to happen when they had begun to set up shop. “This is probably going to feel like standing lookout near a vampire nest before sunset. We’re going to spend a lot of time waiting for some kind of action, but it’s probably going to be a while”
And that was indeed what happened. They had spent the last two hours examining every inch of the coffee house that Andrew and Ida were covering with their miniature cameras. Every time the door opened they did matches to see if any of the adults who entered the place were either of the men they were looking for.. Right now, they were 0 for a million or so it seemed.
Dawn was at least partially consoled by the fact that Andrew and Ida were as bored as she and Fred were. Andrew was covering it with the nervous energy he brought to almost everything, and Ida was on full alert with all her Slayer powers on neutral, but Dawn could tell by their voices that they were starting to lose interest. They actually had it worse because in order to keep the proprietor from throwing them out they each ordered another latte every half an hour or so. The idea of Andrew on a caffeine high was pretty scary, but so far he was doing a pretty good job of keeping it together. At first, Andrew had interrupted the dullness by checking in every five minutes, but either he realized how conspicuous that was, or he realized that it was getting on Dawn’s and Fred’s nerves. Whichever it was, he had shut up about an hour ago.
Since then Fred and Dawn had spent their time talking about more or less unimportant matters. Dawn wasn’t exactly sure what the protocol was in a stakeout, but considering that Fred was a babbler by nature and Dawn was a sixteen year old girl going on seventeen, it was probably inevitable that they would be having a drawn out conversation. It wasn’t very intense (mainly because they were spending part of their concentration on the monitors) but it had a kind of adult quality that Dawn was grateful for.
At first they had talked a little about Andrew’s story which was rapidly becoming bigger and bigger in scope. By now he had gone back as far as Buffy’s freshman year in college and he was probably going to have to go back still further before he was done researching. Fred was curious about whatever Dawn had been a part of (apparently Andrew hadn’t told her about Dawn’s origins) and the view from the Summers’ home. Conversation had then drifted to how their parents had gotten used to the idea of what they were each doing, respectively.
“You’re telling me that your parents not only know about what you’re doing here in L.A., but they’re actually supporting you?” Dawn was finding this harder to believe then the concept of Spike being a poet when he was human.
“I’m pretty sure that they would have been happier if I’d taken that physics scholarship at Texas A and M, but they seem to understand that this is what I’m good at.” Fred paused. “They called me and asked me to consider leaving when they heard about the rain of fire and the sun turning black, but they understood when I told them I had to stay.”
“Well, I wish my mom had shown more cool about it.” Dawn paused as she remembered, even though that wasn’t real either. “I mean I admit that it came as shock to both of us, but Mom really should have been more lenient at first. But I guess when she had enough time to process it she did okay.” Another pause. “I just wonder how she would have dealt with our house being the headquarters for the forces of good.”
Dawn half expected Fred to offer some kind of soothing statement like “She would have dealt with it fine” But Fred didn’t say that. Instead she thought for a moment and then said: “My guess is she would have done everything in her power to get you and your sister out of there. And when she realized that she couldn’t make Buffy leave, she would have tried to keep you safe.”
Dawn thought about it. “Yeah. I guess she would.”
A not entirely uncomfortable silence fell. Then Fred spoke again: “When Cordelia was helping raise Connor when he was still a baby, she said that she didn’t want to be like her own mother. I mean Mrs. Chase loved her, but she did a lot to separate herself from raising Cordy. Left it to nannies and such.”
“That sounds like her.”
“Once she said that the only really good maternal figure in Sunnydale was your mom.” Off Dawn’s look of surprise, Fred added: “Cordelia said that none of the other parental units the guts to face what was really going on in town. They just took it and hoped that it would go away. Joyce knew Buffy was the only thing keeping the world from ending, that it would probably kill her yet she let Buffy do what she needed to do. That was brave and compassionate.”
Dawn took all this in. “Cordelia Chase said that?”
“Well, she also said it wasn’t like Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Rosenberg were Mother of the Year candidates. I believe her exact words were: ‘Those two could watch their kids turn into buffalo and they’d say it was just a phase.’”
“That sounds more like her.” Dawn was about to add something about Sheila Rosenberg but then Andrew’s voice spoke through her ear.
“Still no sign of anything. I’m beginning to think that maybe I was wrong.”
Fred was back to business. “You don’t think that he’s going to show?”
“Maybe he’s rethinking his strategy. Have you heard anything from the others?”
“I don’t know. “ Fred took out her cell phone and dialed. “Damn. I’m just getting noise. Anything on yours, Dawn?”
Dawn took out her own phone and did the same. “Nothing. Maybe the electronics is making the phones all wonky.”
“Maybe.” Fred headed towards the car door. “I’m going to try and see if walking a couple of blocks will improve the reception. Keep an eye on things here just in case.”
By now Fred was outside the car and walking. Dawn could still hear her speaking as she walked away.
“Do you think Ida and I should leave?”
Dawn thought for a moment. “It’s only five of eight. He may not show until later tonight.”
“Maybe. Or maybe I’ve made a miscalculation.”
“Your idea seems sound, Andrew.” She could tell by the angle of the camera that Andrew was walking to another side of Ground Zero.
“But I didn’t take into account the interest that and Earle, and Cooper for that matter, seem to have put into targeting Buffy and the others. Maybe that caused them to adjust their sights somehow.”
“And change them to who?”
Andrew paused. “Willow. Faith.” He paused again. “Maybe even your sister. ”
Dawn had already considered this idea. “If he was going to…” She still couldn’t quite stomach the concept. “.. kill Buffy, why didn’t he just shoot her at the motel?”
Another pause. “I can’t figure that either. But then we don’t know who was behind the decision to pull the trigger there-- Earle or Bob.”
Dawn was about to ask why it mattered so much which man had pulled the trigger when she heard a rapping at the back of the van. “Fred, is that you?” No response. She shrugged. Probably someone who wanted to wash the windows. “Is this back to your theory that Bob wants to make his victims suffer more?”
“If you wanted to hurt the whole group, Giles would probably make a perfect target. I don’t know him nearly as well as the other Scoobies and I still feel like I’ve been punched in the gut.”
Another rap. This time near the front of the van. Dawn was beginning to realize that she was probably going to have to tell whoever this guy was to get lost. So she moved into the front seat.
And saw him.
Dawn had had to face a lot of horrible things in her life though she was only seventeen. The sight of Dale Cooper looking at her through the windshield shouldn’t have even rated compared to being tortured by an insane hell-god or seeing her mother’s body. So she couldn’t understand why she was frozen with fear. Maybe it was because of the small fleck of blood that was on his shirt sleeve. Or the fact that he had a smile on his face that could only be read as absolute madness.
Whatever it was, Dawn remained frozen for nearly three seconds. Long enough for him to shatter the side window with his left hand.
Dawn threw herself to the back seat, looking for a weapon. It took her another second to reach a broad sword that she could barely handle. She lifted it and pulled herself back into the front seat, bringing it down.
The sword was big enough that it would probably have cut Cooper in two had it connected. But somehow Cooper blocked it with both his hands and managed to yank it, blade first, into the front seat. It cut through his hands but he didn’t even seem to notice that he was bleeding.
“Dawn! Dawn! What’s the matter?” Andrew’s voice seemed to be coming from a different galaxy.
“Children shouldn’t play with knives,” Cooper admonished.
Dawn was preparing to defend herself -- she’d be damned if she let him take her without a fight -- when she looked in the driver side mirror. Dale Cooper was reflected there. But suddenly she saw another man’s face. He had stringy gray hair and a messy blue jacket on. His eyes were filled with madness. The only thing that he had in common with the dark-haired young man who was in the car with her was that they were both laughing maniacally.
This wasn’t even close to the scariest thing that she had ever seen and it only held her attention for less than five seconds. But it was just long enough for Cooper to grab her by the shoulders and push her into the wall of the van. She was still primed to resist him but somehow the force was far greater than she would have expected from one man. She hit the wall. Her last thought before falling into unconsciousness was: Please don’t let him touch me there. God, please don’t let him—