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Lonely Souls

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Waifs and strays". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The second (much longer) installment in the Waifs and Strays AU. Covers season 1. Please READ THE SERIES INTRODUCTION!

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Joyce-Centered(Current Donor)vidiconFR1598780,1331571479387,45428 May 115 Jul 14No

His demonic visage

Author’s Note:

 

Thanks very much to my Beta, Letomo.

 

The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. And you can thank Twilightwanderer for the Abbott and Costello.

 

Speech: “Who’s on first.”

 

Thought: *What’s on second.*

 

Vision: #I-don’t-know’s on third.#

 

I own none of the used properties; The Mummy was created by Stephen Sommers and most likely the property of United Artists.

 

StarGate was created by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin and Stargate SG-1 by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner. I do not own, not claim ownership, to either.

 

 If I owned Buffy, season 8 and 9 would be way different. (And the rest of the series too…)

 

NCIS, Timothy McGee and Abigail Sciuto are the property of Donald P. Bellisario and Don McGill. Criminal Minds and Penelope Garcia are the creations of Jeff Davis.

 

WarGames, a United Artists movie was written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes and directed by John Badham. David Lightman and Stephen Falken are characters from that movie.

 

Nerdanel is the wife to Fëanor and mother to his seven sons and appears in the Silmarilion. She comes of a family of artists who are the only known red headed elves in Tolkien’s legendarium. The legendarius is protery of the Tolkien Estate.

 

Thanks to the latest to recommend me: Alynambered and malkome

 

Reviews are much appreciated, they inspire me.

 

Chapter 50: His demonic visage

 

 

“Ah…Lord Carnahan?” The woman in the Captain’s uniform rather diffidently asked.

 

“Yes?” Jon was not feeling particularly accommodating. He’d been sitting in the reception room at NORAD, alone, and without anything to read or do, for half an hour. Half an hour alone with his thoughts was quite enough, thank you. Ten minutes would be too much, really. And there was a Mummy somewhere in California, with his name on it. Again. *Why can’t the ruddy things stay dead?* He lamented. Then he saw just how pretty and blonde the young captain was and smiled winningly.

 

“My apologies, Captain, It’s been a trying few days. How can I help you?”

 

“Captain Samantha Carter, sir, err…Your Lordship. We’ve got a security badge here for you, sir, Your Lordship. Would you please come with me?” She leaned forward to hand him the badge and Jon regretted once more that US armed forces BDU’s did not allow for cleavage. A most terrible oversight in his opinion.

 

“Thank you, captain. Please, lead on.” He moved his wheelchair after her, making certain to stay on her rather attractive six.

 

“Can you tell me where we are going?” He asked quietly, his voice just slightly louder than the buzz of the elevator they were in.

 

“Errr. Down, Your Lordship.”

 

Jon eyed the level indicators of the elevator, and then raised an eyebrow at her. “Captain…It may interest you that by Her Majesty’s gracious permission I never actually retired. That means I hold the rank of Colonel in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. And as a result of that rank I do not appreciate flippant answers to serious questions. Now, unless this elevator is bugge…malfunctioning, and unless my memory deceives me, we are already well below the usual levels of NORAD. Admittedly, I’ve not been here since the Cuban Missile Crisis…but this much digging could not have been hidden since initial construction. So what were these spaces used for, and what are they used for now, and why do you twitch every time I look at you.”

 

His voice never rose above the soft, near whisper and it never was anything other than polite and, almost kind. Sam relaxed slightly.

 

“Errr. I work with Colonel O’Neill, Si…My Lord.”

 

“Yes? From what little my wayward grandson has told me, he is second in command of this base, I would assume you would work with him more closely than with the commanding officer.”

 

“Errrr….Yes, Sir, err…My Lord. Err. Just…Errr. Is it true what you did to that man near Inchon?”

 

“Oh, the teeth and fingernails thing?” Jon asked offhandedly. “Really, Captain, do I look like a man who would tear a man limb from limb and rip the flesh of his bones and gauge and rip out his eyes and tongue with nothing but my teeth and fingernails?”

 

Sam smiled. “Sorry, Sir…Your Lordship. It’s just he seemed so ser…” The cane was below her chin and hand hovered just before a very painful nerve point near her sternum.

 

“Never underestimate anyone merely because of their looks or actions. They may be false.” The cane twisted, and the cold metal of the silver dog-head touched the hollow of her throat. “And that may mean your death.”

 

The old gentleman’s voice held none of the joking affability of earlier and Sam swallowed and nodded. Flying fighter planes was not the same as black ops, as a few hours with Colonel O’Neill had made her realize. The cane dropped. The hand once more rested on the little table above his knees.

 

“I assume these levels were the Top Secret atomic bunker even the Allies were not allowed to know about? And since this elevator goes down all the way from the top, I assume it is the Presidential one? Did Kennedy ever use it for any of his assignations?”

 

For the third time Sam Carter reassessed the old gentleman with the dog headed cane in the wheelchair. He moved from lethal killing machine to slyly humorous in an instant and it unsettled her far more than any notion of a Goa’uld or fear of captivity by Iraqi soldiers had ever done. *The old man is more confusing than Colonel O’Neill…And more annoying too…*

 

Sam carefully kept her face straight. “Yes to the first, Si…Your Lordship. I can’t honestly say yes or no to the second, but there are rumours.”

 

Jon looked musingly around. “Well I wouldn’t be surprised. By far your most entertaining president this century, young Jack. Excellent taste. Jacqueline as well.” 

 

“Ah. You knew Mrs. Onasis?”

 

Jon lifted an eyebrow at her, his lips quirking slightly.

 

 Sam flushed bright red and wisely kept her mouth shut for the rest of the journey down.

 

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Dave quietly wandered away, muttering something about taking a leak to Tim. He went into the bathroom and took out the mobile phone Dr. Meier had given him. If anything happened to Willow, he had to be able to call after all. A phone for emergencies. And this was one. He dialled the number and a soft feminine voice spoke.

 

“Anna Kirby, good evening.”

 

“Mom? It’s Dave…Mom…Mike…I know how he got that scratch. It wasn’t a rock. Or a tree branch.”

 

“Well, that doesn’t surprise me. Who saw him this time?” His mother’s voice sounded resigned.

 

“Buffy Summers and her grandmother. The Witch of Imperial.”

 

There was a momentary silence. “A-are they hunting him?”

 

“No. He picked up a vamp and dropped him on a fence. They’re curious and wonder what he is, but the entire family knows about neutral and good demons.” Dave took a deep breath. “It might be best if we told them and introduced Mike.”

 

“T-they won’t hurt him?”

 

“No. They know about Cheila who can change…”

 

“And they don’t mind? Willow doesn’t mind?” Anna Kirby sounded surprised.

 

“Errr…No.”

 

“David…What exactly does Willow know? And how do you know she doesn’t mind?” Mrs. Kirby asked suspiciously.

 

“She…errr…she kept looking for, you know, the physical manifestations of the change…in errr…me.” Dave could feel the heat rise up his cheeks.

 

There was an intake of breath. “Oh. I see. David…” His mother’s voice now held a different kind of worry.

 

Dave winced at the unspoken question. “Mom, nothing happened. And we’ve talked about it. And she got the book she got the information from from her Dad and Mr. Giles, so the family knows about it too.”

 

“Ah. I’ll talk about it with your father and Mike.”

 

“Mom, it might be good for him to be able to talk to other people than the family and other Cheila.”

 

“Yes, Dave. I know.” Anna Kirby let out a breath. “I’m just wondering how detailed that book of Dr. Meier’s is about our culture…”

 

“I don’t know mom, I didn’t see it…” Dave shrugged. “I doubt it will matter to them. They’re Americans.”

 

His mother sighed. “Very well. How are things over there?”

 

“Pretty good. We’ve got some tracking worms and stuff running and a decryption node is running from MIC Tower…”

 

“Dave! I meant with Willow. Is she still afraid…” Her voice trailed off.

 

“She says her mom will have words with her later, but she will definitely remain a part of the family.” Dave smiled to himself

 

“I take it she’s relieved?”

 

“Very. Mom, I’ve got to go, I told them I was on the can.”

 

“Very well. Take care David.”

 

“Yes, mom. Always. I’ll talk to you later. Love to Dad and Mike.” 

 

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The large car carrying the San Francisco contingent arrived just before the late dinner was going to be eaten. Piper obviously had been driving like a demon. Prue got out of the car with a look of total defeat on her face. Phoebe emerged groaning and Penelope, who had been riding shot gun, looked quite chipper, even if she did cast a concerned glance at Prue. 

 

Dawn, who’d been hovering on the porch for half an hour, shot out of the seat and jumped her oldest cousin, hugging her fiercely.

 

Prue blinked and then returned the hug, leaning down and burrowing into her youngest cousin. “Hello, Dawnie.”

 

“Hello Prue. Come on, you’ve got to meet Kit and Evy. And then we can eat, I’m hungry.” Dawn grabbed Prue’s hand and dragged her up the steps to the porch.

 

Phoebe laughed. “Yup, right to the important parts.” She followed but was swept into a hug by Buffy and then Xander.

 

Piper looked around, expecting a red head to show up and introduce the new boyfriend she’d mailed about. “Where’s Willow?”

 

Cecilia, who had been hugging Penelope, scowled. “Come inside and I’ll explain.”

 

Piper looked fearfully at her great-aunt’s dark expression. “She wasn’t hurt?”

 

Cecilia shook her head. “Inside.” Exchanging glances the San Francisco group went inside. 

 

A strange auburn haired woman was holding a scared and uncertain looking teenage girl, her own auburn hair only beginning to grow back in. A dark blonde girl was dozing on a bed in the corner. It was obvious who these people were.

 

Penny walked to the woman and girl and put a hand to Evy’s face. “Goddess…Cece, have you ever seen that picture of Granma Warren when she was young?”

 

Cecilia shook her head. “If I did, I don’t remember it.”

 

Penelope smiled at the pair. “You’re Evy and Arlene. I’m your aunt Penelope. And you Evy, look the spitting image of our grandmothers.” She gestured at Cecilia and herself.

 

“Oh…Is that good?”

 

Cecilia nodded. “She was…wonderful. A wonderful woman.”

 

Penelope smiled at Evy. “Yes. She was.” She put an arm around her sister and gave her a hug. Then she turned towards Kit, but it was obvious that she was sleeping.

 

“Shall we let her sleep?”

 

Evy nodded. “Yes. She was tired. She tried to keep awake, but Uncle Simon gave her something for the pain and it made her even more woozy.” 

 

“Understandably.” Penelope smiled at Evy. “Want to sit?”

 

They sat on the couch. Clarice, smirking, handed Prue a letter. “Here. That should cheer you up.”

 

Prue opened the envelope, struggling with the thick, creamy paper. A monogram was pressed into the corner and she extracted a single sheet of paper, also with a monogram. It was a short letter and her eyes widened as she read it. She looked at Clarice.

 

“Seriously?”

 

“Very. You will have a supervisor from the Foundation though.”

 

Prue’s face fell. “Oh.”

 

“Nothing to do with trust, Prue.” Clarice grinned. “Just imagine the kind of trouble Simon would be in if Joyce was not allowed to oversee this…”

 

Prue pursed her lips, desperately trying to suppress giggles. “He’s whipped.”

 

Cecilia nodded, almost proudly. Danielle gave both of them a glare.

 

James shook his head. “No. He loves her very much. I doubt either of them actually holds the upper hand.”

 

Piper cleared her throat. “Interesting as all this is…and I have no idea what all this is…Where’s Willow?”

 

Cecilia took a deep breath and looked at Arlene. Evy burrowed deeper into her mother’s embrace and shuddered.

 

“Someone tried to kidnap Evy. Willow and some others Simon flew in are trying to get into their computers and find out who they are, and who they are working for.”

 

Prue looked shocked. “Son of a bitch…”

 

“Prudence! Language!”  Penelope’s scold was more automatic than reproving, her own expression showing her shock and disgust.

 

Piper shook her head. “She told me she liked computers, but I had no idea she could do stuff like that.”

 

Phoebe looked interested. “There was that documentary on last week, you know, about hacking? They had this list of hackers with these really weird names, like Dark_wrecker and Elflord Dark_daemon and Witchqueen and stuff.”

 

“Yeah.” Prue nodded. “If they need hackers, why not get the best?”

 

Buffy grinned. “I didn’t see it, but was someone on there called Nerdanel?”

 

Piper nodded. “Yes. I remember because Willow has a poster on her wall of a red haired elf and she said…” Piper’s eyes widened again. She looked between the grinning Buffy and the grim looking Clarice. “Willow? Willow is one of the world’s most wanted hackers.”

 

 Dawn nodded, almost bouncing in excitement. “Yeah, isn’t it cool!?”

 

Clarice cleared her throat and eyed her youngest niece severely. “No, it isn’t. She’s very lucky that she’s not currently in juvenile prison. The US Government does not take hacking lightly.”

 

Buffy and Xander, who had looked rather happy before suddenly sobered, as did Dawn.

 

Cecilia nodded. “Yes. Very lucky. But at any rate, Willow and her boyfriend are both working on that and Joyce and Simon are out on a date. We’ll eat as soon as Willow and Dave get back, Joyce was rather insistent.” She grinned. “She found out that when Willow is at her computer she tends to live on pizza and Skittles. And put her foot down, very firmly.”

 

Clarice sniggered. “Willow Danielle! That is not proper food for a growing girl!” She intoned in an almost perfect imitation of her younger sister’s ‘annoyed mother voice’. 

 

There were concerted giggles and sniggers from the younger generations and Arlene grinned. “Practicing, sister mine?”

 

Cecilia lifted an eyebrow at her second eldest and then turned her gaze to Clarice. “I do hope you’re being…careful…dear?”

 

Clarice blushed a fiery red and whined. “Mom!!!”

 

James chuckled. “Cece, don’t tease.”

 

A car came softly to a halt outside and Buffy smiled. “That’s Willow and Dave. Horst took Blackie 3 to pick them up.”

 

“Horst? Blackie 3” Piper asked, wonderingly.

 

“Blackie 3 is the third BMW. Horst is a new bodyguard, he’s from Austria. He’ll teach me how to ski if we ever get to a place with real snow.” Dawn supplied happily.

 

Phoebe snorted. “I hear Aspen is nice this time of year…”

 

Piper glared at her sister. “Don’t go there, Phoebe.”

 

“Aspen? But Aspen is a beautiful spot, so scenic and wonderful…”

 

Penelope gave Phoebe a repressive look. “Phoebe…”

 

Phoebe grinned evilly. “Oh come on Grams, You’ve always said you love Aspen…”

 

Piper’s eyes flashed and her fist thumped Phoebe’s upper arm, hard.

 

“OW! PIPER!!” Phoebe rubbed  her arm and was about to speak when she noticed her sister’s very angry eyes. “Sorry, Piper.”

 

“It’s not funny, Phoebe. It never was.” Piper’s voice was cold.

 

The door opened and Willow came in, trailed by Dave. They were talking rapidly in near incomprehensible computer shorthand.

 

“Yay! They’re here!” Buffy grinned at her younger sister and her boyfriend.

 

“Yeah. Can we eat now?” Dawn asked anxiously.

 

Xander nodded vigorously to support his youngest sister. “Time for Gran’s pasta made by Gran!”

 

Phoebe’s stomach growled loudly. Piper let out an involuntary mewl of desire. Prue licked her lips.

 

Penelope sighed. “You never got that enthusiastic about my cooking.”

 

Prue looked apologetic. “We’re sorry Grams, but…errr…”

 

Penny eyed her sister with amusement. “I never thought when I saw your soufflé explode all over the kitchen that you’d actually one day become a better cook than me. I could do with a plate of pasta

myself. Come on.”

 

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George Hammond rose to receive his visitor, pushing back his chair at the head of the conference room table and walking to the door. The President had been kind enough to supply a short list of beverages and confections the older gentleman liked. Colonel O’Neill had unaccountably flushed when asked about what his grandfather liked, shut his mouth firmly and closed his eyes as if to drive away terrible memories. Hammond had not pressed the matter.

 

Jon Carnahan was not quite what George Hammond expected. He rose from his wheelchair with rather more ease and grace than Hammond thought a man in his hundredth year would have. He had a high brow, the hair swept back in an old fashioned style that suited him well. His eyes were a piercing dark brown under his white brows. His mouth was quirking into a grin in his long, mobile face.

He wore gold rimmed glasses and his long-fingered, lean hands rested upon his silver dog-headed cane. He had been shorter in his prime than his grandson, of that Hammond was certain, and was even shorter now, as advancing age had shrunk his frame.

But the wiry musculature of a swimmer and runner still was visible under the well cut shirt and coat. He wore a dark red silk cravat, white shirt and light khaki suit over brown Oxford brogues. Jon smiled kindly at Carter who was standing next to him, looking flustered, and then mustered the others at the table. His eyes fastened upon the symbol of Apophis on Teal’c’s head and then flicked to Jack.

 

He extended his hand and took Hammond’s as the General held it out. “General George Hammond. A pleasure to meet you, Sir. I understood from the President that you prefer that mode of address?”

 

“Jon Carnahan.” He smiled slyly at Carter. “I take it Jack told you to ‘My Lord’ me at every possible turn, hmm, Captain?”

 

Carter nodded. Then she glared at her superior officer, who merely smirked. Hammond resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He then had to hold in a chuckle when Carnahan winked at him, unseen by the junior officers.

 

Jon cleared his throat as Carter sat next to Jack. He noted the careful way in which both avoided touching each other and filed the information away for later use. *So Jack has gotten over Sara sufficiently to take an interest in the opposite sex again. I wonder if they realize it yet… *

 

 “Interesting as it is to visit this place I doubt every family member who comes knocking is granted a high level security visitor’s pass and a tour of the facilities.”

 

Hammond cleared his throat and began to speak. “You are correct, sir. However we are waiting for another… “

 

The door burst open, interrupting the General’s speech and a harried looking young man burst in, carrying a pile of books and loosely stacked papers, held precariously in his arms and pressed down with his chin. This resulted in him having to look slightly upward, as the pile was larger than was comfortable. Jon noted the young man’s spectacles were askew and that he was not wearing any rank insignia. The titles of the books made him smile, just a tiny little bit.

 

“Is he here yet?” The young man asked, breathlessly. “I couldn’t find all my copies of The Gods were False…I had some first editions…” He fell silent as he met the amused eyes of Jack and Sam and then he very carefully turned to look at the older gentleman standing beside the General.

 

He blushed so hard his glasses fogged up. “Err….Doctor Carnahan.”

 

“Dr. Carnahan, this is Dr. Daniel Jackson.”

 

Jon pursed his lips and nodded, and then leaned forward slightly and looked at the now trembling pile in Daniel’s arms and then the young scientist’s red face and tightly shut eyes. “Put those down young man, they look heavy.”  

 

Daniel moved the pile over the table and gently let it down, using his chin to keep it stable. It wobbled despite this and Jon put out a hand to steady it. He turned his head slightly and read the titles of the books, more carefully. <br> <br>

“I take it Jack did not tell you before that we were related?” His voice was amused and Daniel opened his eyes.

 

“Err…no Dr. Carnahan…”

 

Jon looked at his grandson, then at the ceiling. “Now why would a promising, but discredited young Egyptologist, who is supposed to be dead by the way, be in a top secret underground facility of the US Air Force carrying a pile of books about False Gods…” He turned an icy stare at Jack, who paled and swallowed.

 

“When did you open the Gate, General? And did my Grandson tell you the US had it?”

 

The frosty tones and eyes made the hardened colonel twitch. *Great. Just great. Now I feel like I did when I broke his Hamunaptera Canopic Jar when I was eight and he’d told me never to open that display cabinet…*  Jack winced as he remembered the punishment his grandfather had meted out for that particular stunt.

 

Hammond cleared his throat. “The project was started by Dr. Catherine Langford. It was successful last year, but Colonel O’Neill was only called in late…”

 

Jon turned his gaze towards the commanding officer. “Last year? You called my grandson in from Compassionate leave? A suicide mission I take it?” His voice was no longer frosty, it was scathing and furious.

 

Hammond, who’d felt no more pleased with General West upon hearing that particular fact, kept his face carefully composed and chose his words carefully so as not to publicly disparage his fellow officer. “I was not in command here then, sir.”

 

“It was the first swift kick, sir.” Jack said calmly. “My Grandfather administered the second.” Jon narrowed his eyes at his grandson and inclined his head, accepting the explanation.

 

“You had better tell me what happened.” He thoughtlessly took several of Daniel’s books and put them on a smaller pile, grabbed a writing pad that had been between them and sat down to listen.

 

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Dinner was over and the dishes done. Willow and Dave had left again, but Cecelia and Danielle had made it very clear that neither of them would be spending the night on the camp beds set up at the newly dubbed Sunnydale Research. Piper was not talking to Phoebe and Phoebe’s attempts to do so had led to glares and two more punches to her arms. Prue and Grams avoided the angry middle sister. To Xander’s eyes Aunt Penny looked slightly guilty. Dawn was visibly distressed by the anger between her cousins.  

 

Xander sidled over to Piper who was glaring at her knees, sitting on the back porch swing. “Hey. What’s wrong?”

 

”What’s wrong? Whatever could be wrong?” Piper snarled.

 

“You’ve been in a seriously bad mood since Phoebs made that remark about Aspen. So, care to explain before Dawn starts to cry? You’re scaring her.”

 

Piper groaned. “I’m sorry…It’s just…my middle name is Aspen. Our father had just made a huge property deal there, and Mom liked the name.”

 

Xander grinned understandingly. “Just a sec. DAWN!”

 

Dawn rather cautiously stuck her head around the door. “Yeah?”

 

“Dawn…Would you mind telling Piper your second name?”

 

Dawn scowled. “Why?”

 

“Dawn, please?” Xander smiled at his youngest sibling.

 

Dawn rolled her eyes and plumped herself down next to Xander. “Florence.”

 

Piper looked at Xander and then Dawn. “So? It’s a nice name.”

 

“Dawnie…would you please tell Piper why you have that name?”

 

Dawn’s scowl, already formidable, became even blacker. “Why?”

 

Piper blinked. “Dawn…are you named after the city?”

 

Dawn crossed her arms and let out a grunt. “Yeah. It’s mom’s favourite city. ‘The most beautiful, wonderful, magnificent, magical place in the world.’” She snarled, obviously repeating her mother’s words.

 

“Well at least Florence can be called that. Try Aspen, Colorado.” Piper said dryly. “And Grams thought it was a wonderful idea.”

 

Dawn looked at Xander, who raised an eyebrow.

 

“This porch is for people who got rotten middle names. What are you still doing here?” Dawn asked pointedly.

 

Xander sighed. “Lavelle. Your point, so-not-a-baby sister?”

 

Dawn blinked and then started to giggle. “Lavelle? Seriously?”

 

Piper let out a cough that sounded suspiciously like a laugh. “Welcome to the porch swing for the middle name impaired.”

 

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Buffy hummed as she prepared for patrol. She’d changed in her own room; most of her clothes were still there after all, despite Kit sleeping there until she was recovered. There was a knock at the door and Cecilia stood there. “Want me to go patrolling with you again?”

 

Buffy grinned. “Sure. If we leave together you won’t have to cycle so fast to catch up.”

 

Cecilia grinned back. “And maybe we can find out what that white bird is. Your grandfather doesn’t know any legends about it.” 

 

Buffy nodded. “Yeah. I want to know if I should ask Simon to invest in some ground to air missiles.” Her fingers twitched as if anticipating the feel of the trigger of such a weapon.

 

Cecilia sighed. “No, Buffy. Now, are you ready? Then you leave first. I’ll meet you outside.”

 

Buffy eyed her grandmother with amused suspicion. “Does granddad know you are going patrolling?”

 

“Your grandfather, after more than forty years of marriage, really should know better than to think he can lay down the law.” Cecilia answered in a suppressing tone.

 

“Uhuh. And that is no doubt the reason you’re gonna be climbing out of the window.” Buffy smirked. “On your head be it.” She picked up her bag and left.

 

Cecilia heard the rest of the family wishing her luck and then quickly climbed out of the window, across the roof, grabbed the nearby tree and swung down tot eh ground with far more agility than most women her age. Her hunting bag was already stashed in Willow’s bicycle basket. She grinned. It was hard to deny she had missed the thrill of the hunt.

 

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The meal was finished and they were talking over coffee, lingering in the candle light.

 

“You do realize everyone at school thinks that at the very least we’re banging in a broom closet whenever I’ve got a free period?” Jenny said dryly, sipping her coffee.

 

“Oh indeed. There even have been inquiries about it.” Giles said disapprovingly. “Most rude and highly unpleasant.”

 

Jenny snorted. “What? What sort of inquiries?”

 

“I do not intend on telling you.”

 

“I’m a big girl, I can take it.” She said with a teasing smile.

 

“And that was exactly what they wanted to know about.” He answered dryly.

 

Jenny felt her blush rise in spite of all her attempts to stop it. “Ah. I see.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Um. So we’ve talked cars, and school and the horror that was last night…So what now?”

 

“Books?” Giles said hopefully.

 

Jenny grinned. “I think I can manage that.”

 

“Ummm…do you want to repair to one of our abodes?”

 

Jenny lifted an expressive and well groomed eyebrow. “Really, Rupert. It’s only the first date. Don’t you think it’s a bit early to ask ‘your place or mine?’”

 

Giles sputtered. “N-No…I meant…the waiter is hovering and clearly wants to be rid of us! Nothing of the sort crossed my mind!”

 

Jenny grinned. “I don’t know whether I should be offended or be grateful. Your place. Mine’s a dump.”

 

“Hmm.” Giles beckoned the waiter who arrived quickly with the bill. He paid, helped Jenny in her coat and led her to his car, driving off swiftly and smoothly to his house.

 

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Buffy and her grandmother were moving smoothly through the darkness of the early California night. Giles and Willow had provided Buffy with the usual list and Buffy wanted to swing by a few hot spots. Her grandmother had looked the schedule over during the afternoon and had marked a few places to check on as well.

 

“Gran? How did you start out doing this? You know, hunting?”

 

“It’s a family thing dear. We’re supposed to keep innocents safe. I’m not entirely certain why we’re supposed to do so, but we are. We’re also supposed not to use our powers for personal gain.”

 

“Personal gain? What’s that supposed to mean.”

 

“Well, I’ve always interpreted it to not use our powers to unduly or wilfully influence others to do what we want. To get more money or better jobs. Not to use my power to freeze a bank teller and run off with what he’s counting.”

 

“Have you ever done anything…”

 

“Yes. While I was a run-away. I needed money, quickly.”

 

“Oh. Can I ask…”

 

Cecilia smirked. “There was a man who was the courier for a local gang boss in San Francisco. Not a very nice man. A rather grabby, obnoxious one.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“But I picked the wrong day, so all I got was his wallet, which had barely enough to get me to Boston.” Cecilia grouched.

 

Buffy started laughing.

 

“Something funny, Buffy?”

 

Buffy waved a hand. “Just…the idea of you mugging someone…”

 

“It was hardly my day job, Buffy. Here’s the cemetery. Pay attention.”

 

Buffy stuck out her tongue and led the way to the newly dug grave of one John Phelps, who Giles and Willow expected to rise that night.

 

BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS BtVSBtVS

 

Giles parked his car in his usual spot and gallantly opened the door for Jenny Calendar and the young woman got out, smiling impishly. “I see you have experience with that.”

 

“I was raised to be a gentleman.”

 

“Really? And an officer too?”

 

“No, not quite…I’ll explain that to you inside, shall I?” He said, locking the car.

 

Jenny nodded and accepted his extended arm. There was a noise and the couple froze.

 

“Nice wheels. Nice babe to go with it too.” The pale young man in the sports coat who came out of he shadows lit a cigarette. “Pity you won’t be using them anymore. But don’t worry; they’ll be in good hands: Mine.” He inhaled deeply and leered at Jenny.

 

“I’ve got news for you, skippy, touch me and you die.” Jenny replied.

 

The man chuckled. “I’m already dead.” His face twisted into the demonic visage of a vampire.

 

Giles reached into his coat pocket and retrieved his stake. He might not be Buffy, but he had faced vampires. Vampires tended to underestimate humans.

 

The vampire grinned at the stake. “Fortune favours the well-prepared, eh, Watcher? Pity for you I know that saying as well…” He made a gesture and two more vampires stepped out from the shadows.

 

Giles cursed softly. *I can’t stay behind and let Jenny run ahead into my home…if they kill me, it won’t be a home anymore, no-one but me lives there. The wards won’t keep out Vampires. Bugger. I hope they don’t send out some nitwit to help Buffy next. Oh lord…If these vampires know I’m her Watcher…maybe that attack yesterday was more than just a young vamp trying to make a name for himself.* 

 

He’d taken up a defensive position while thinking and was trying to cover Jenny. The technopagan had taken a tazer from her purse as well as a bottle of mace.

 

The lead vampire grinned. “Oooh…girl wants to get tough.” He moved quickly and grasped Jenny’s hand, squeezing hard, making her drop the mace. The two others moved in on Giles as he jumped to drive of the vamp attacking Jenny. Both of them slammed a fist into him, one slapping his stake from his hand as if it was crayon from a child’s grip. A fourth shadow appeared behind the leading vamp and Giles cursed again, this time painfully as he felt his ribs move. *Another vampire, wonderful, just wonderful.*

 

The vampire holding Jenny suddenly burst into dust and the two behind Giles halted in their use of him as a punching bag.

 

Angel grinned, his fangs gleaming. “Hello boys. Playing with my food?”

 

The younger vamps stood staring in confusion at the new arrival. “Your food? I don’t see your name on it.”

 

Jenny took the momentary lull in the fighting to pick up her mace.

 

Angel lunged forward, his hand streaking out and plunging a stake into the thing’s heart. Giles took the opportunity to stake the other, with his spare stake, surprised as it was by the turn of events. He placed a delicate hand to his ribs, wincing.

 

Angel looked down at the settling dust as his face assumed his human features once more. “You know, I may hate what Angelus did…but at least he was smarter than these guys.”

 

Giles grinned, gasping for breath. “A veritable disgrace to the species.”

 

Jenny eyed the vampire warily, her tazer in hand and her mace aimed at him. “One step closer and you’re electrically charged dust.”

 

Angel raised an eyebrow at Giles. “You’ve got a feisty one there.” He turned to Jenny. “I’m not affected by mace, no vampire is.”

 

“I got this from an old priest in Boston. He tells me one can have interesting results mixing chemistry and blessings.” Jenny pointedly aimed the small aerosol at him.  

 

Angel blinked. “Very feisty. Errr…Giles, we should be leaving now…this did not look like a chance encounter…” He gestured at the still settling dust.

 

Giles nodded. “Quite right. Buffy is at Suncrest Cemetery right now. Or should be.” He pulled out his mobile with some difficulty and dialled her number. After five rings it went to her insufferably happy voicemail.

 

“Hi! This is Buffy’s voicemail. Leave your message and I’ll do the call back thingy, if you’re cute and polite.”

 

He snapped the phone closed and drew Angel aside and lowered his voice well below the ability of men to hear. He knew the vampire would hear it easily. “She’s isn’t picking up…Look, I’m in no shape to go with you, those two got my ribs. Do you have a car? Transportation?”

 

“No, I walked, sorry.”

 

Giles nodded and handed his keys to the vampire. “Don’t damage her, please.” He said, his volume normal and his tone warning. 

 

Angel took the keys, nodded in return. “I’ll treat her like a baby, don’t worry.”

 

Jenny looked at Rupert as Angel drove off. “Why is Buffy at Suncrest Cemetery? Why does it worry you? Why do they set traps for you and did you just refer to your car as ‘she’? And why in hell did you just give that vampire your keys and her location?”

 

Giles winced. “Errr…Why don’t we discuss all of this inside. It would really be more appropriate.”

 

Jenny eyed him suspiciously. “Okay…but I’m keeping these ready, buster!” She gestured at him with her mace and tazer.

 

Giles sighed as he let Jenny into his home, wordlessly gesturing but making no overt invitation for her to precede him. He sat her on the couch and she eyed him warily, her weapons at the ready. He dialled a number and heard the cheery teenage voice at the other end.

 

“Xander here, what’s up Giles?”

 

“Miss Calendar and I were just ambushed. We were saved by Angel…I fear yesterday’s attack was not just a common vamp looking for errr her…Buffy may need help, more than her bodyguards can provide.”

 

He heard Xander’s intake of breath. “I’m on it. I’ll let you know.”

 

He leaned against the kitchen counter, crossing his arms to try and contain the pain in his chest and started his attempt to convince her. “The world is older than you know…”

 

End note:

 

The Gods were False is the series of books Jon Carnahan wrote as a diversion from the reality of the Stargate, at least as far as he knew it.

 

Canopic jars were used in Ancient Egypt to store the organs and entrails removed from corpse that were being mummified. They were stored in decorated cabinets and placed in the tomb.
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