Back in the castle, the Englishman there smirked towards the computer monitor at the ensuing silence coming from his phone. Finally, a woman’s resigned voice spoke, “Okay, just give me the whole story.”
Michael allowed himself a chuckle, only to then regretfully inform his listener, “Unfortunately, there isn’t all that much more, Faith. After their first encounter with him sometime in the mid-nineteenth century which reads between the lines that something very embarrassing happened then, that was as far back as the Council could trace him. However, he’s remained a milkman every time they cautiously rechecked, which was every twenty to thirty years, while also bearing the same name and appearance. How and why this is possible, including the point that nobody else remembers him remaining physically unchanged, has stayed totally unknown. The whole file is filled with numerous conjectures about this: someone blessed or cursed by a god, being a wizard, demon, a combination thereof, but again, no one knows.”
“What about the Hunter stuff?” Faith managed to ask.
“Oddly enough, you’re the only one who’s ever witnessed this at first hand. But no vampire or hostile demon has ever come out of his territory, and any one of these that goes in there never appears again or is even rumored to have survived very long.”
“Huh,” a thoughtful Slayer responded to that. Faith then tried, “Is there anythin’ else about this Louie guy?”
Tapping away at his computer, Michael absently replied, “One more thing. Over the years, that person has always had several young boys helping out on his milk route. They also don’t seem to have ever noticed anything odd about their employer, but in the main, these apprentices had gone on to very successful lives and careers, many times much further up in society. In one particular case, this lad became a Watcher.”
Faith burst out with, “You gotta be kiddin’! What happened then?”
“As you might expect, the Council at the time then asked a great many questions, but to no avail. Paul Higby, which was this man’s name, was totally unable to remember anything different about Louie Lay, and when the former employee went back to his hometown to confront that person, he returned to the Council and firmly refused to discuss whatever had happened. There’s nothing else in the Lay file concerning this, but in the Watchers’ historical records, Mr. Higby kept his Slayer alive a record four years, with her being one of the few after fighting so long to never undergo the Cruciamentum. They died at each others’ sides defeating a potential apocalypse.”
“Good for her, and him, too,” huskily whispered Faith.
There was a moment of shared silence between the pair on the phone, united in their respect for their predecessors. Eventually clearing his throat, Michael said, “Well, Faith, if there’s nothing further, it might be a good idea to depart from that place. There’s no telling what Mr. Lay, if in fact that is his real name, might do if he becomes aware of your continued presence in what he’s evidently claimed as his territory.”
Mentally chewing that over, Faith at last gave a resigned shrug. “Guess so. Still, you can bet that Giles is gonna want to know about this. Might as well as drop in at the castle tomorrow or after, spread the word.”
At his work cubicle, Michael nodded at that. “Quite right. I’ll have my report done about this, including anything else that I find. You can pass it along to Director Giles.”
“Gotcha, Mike. See you soon.”
After those farewells, the Slayer absently turned off her phone and she returned this to her pants pocket. Staring straight ahead, Faith spent the next minute or so thinking over all that she’d just learned. This woman’s contemplation lasted right up to the point when an exceedingly irascible voice coming from directly behind herself grumbled, “Yer finished gassing about me?”