Disclaimer: Not mine, though sometime I wish I owned them.
Scully exited the elevator and walked down the hall towards Mulder’s office. She might be his partner but it was still his office. She opened the door and Mulder looked up from the pile of papers he’d been invested in just a moment ago. He wore a smile that bordered on a grin. Scully knew that look. It meant they’d be traveling somewhere, most likely getting on the wrong side of the local LEOs and probably have to justify everything to Skinner by the time they got back. She let out a breath and set down her briefcase.
“You’ve got a case?” she asked, though she already knew the answer.
Mulder gathered the papers, pushing them haphazardly into a file before handing it to her. She glanced at the front. This case had been opened long before Mulder’s time and what she had in her hand was just a portion of it.
“Heard of Sunnydale, California, Scully?”
She closed the file for a moment, trying to remember. “Wasn’t that the town whose high school blew up in a gas explosion a few months ago?”
“That’s the one.”
“Mulder, that’s not a case, the Bureau did a preliminary investigation and that’s exactly what it was. How is it an X-File?”
“I got this over the weekend,” he said, handing her a large envelope.
She put the file on the desk, taking the envelope and opening it. It was a copy of the Sunnydale Herald, dated the week of the explosion. The headline was focused on the event in question.
“Mulder,” she began.
“Check out the obituaries, they start on page ten.”
Scully thumbed to that page. The obits covered three pages, many of the dead school aged.
“It was an explosion, Mulder. The death toll is to be expected.”
His grin grew even wider. He pulled another pile of papers from his desk. “But if you look at the medical examiners reports, most of those deaths were not a result of the explosion.”
“Exsanguinations, missing limbs, bites, crossbow bolts, slashing wounds,” she read before looking up. “Mulder, this almost reads like these students were in a medieval battle!”
Mulder was practically bouncing now. “Sunnydale has a history of mysterious deaths,” he said, picking up the file and opening it. “As far back as the founding of the town by one Richard Wilkins, Sr. Gas leaks, earthquakes and gangs have all been blamed. What is in this file only covers the last five years. There’s almost an entire drawer dedicated to the goings on in Sunnydale, Scully. There are twelve cemeteries and almost quadruple the number of churches,” he said, handing her the file.
“Forty-three? Mulder, I don’t think I could even name forty-three different denominations,” Scully admitted. “Other than the unusual deaths, I still can’t see why we need to go out there.”
Mulder didn’t bite. “We’re looking for one Rupert Giles, the former high school librarian. His name shows up frequently in these reports, starting in early 1997. There’s also another name, a student. Buffy Summers.”
“Buffy?” Scully said, raising an eyebrow.
“We’re on the twelve thirty flight, Scully.”
“I’ll pack the sun block,” she sighed, closing the file and handing it back to Mulder.
Giles saw them as he was returning from his morning jog. He slowed a bit to assess his options. The day wasn’t hot yet, but he was still sweating. The two strangers looked to be suffering more than he was in their dark clothes and long coats. His first thought was Council but he dismissed it instantly. Whoever they were, they undoubtedly meant trouble. He jogged on, ready to face them.
“May I help you?” he asked, slightly out of breath.
They simultaneously withdrew slim card holders, flipping them open to show identification. It was a movement born of many repetitions. The man spoke.
“Agent Fox Mulder, FBI, this is my partner Agent Dana Scully. Are you Rupert Giles?”
“I am,” he answered cautiously. “What can I do for you, Agent Mulder?”
“We’re here about the explosion.”
“I was under the impression that the local office hand already done an inquiry.”
“Mr. Giles,” Scully began.
“Just Giles, or Rupert if you prefer,” he said automatically.
“Mr. Giles,” she said again. “We’re looking a little deeper into the deaths of some of the students. You don’t typically find crossbow bolts or cuts from a sword in an explosion. Also, further investigation into hospital records show that you have been a frequent visitor. As have,” she stopped to consult a notepad, “Buffy Summer, Alexander Harris and Willow Rosenberg. Can you explain this?”
Giles mopped the sweat from his face with the hem of his shirt. “It’s a dangerous town,” he said, addressing the woman who seemed less than convinced. “Gang activity, drugs, what have you. The student body had a disgracefully high mortality rate. I took several of them, including those you mentioned, under my wing. Taught them basic self-defense, there were still a few injuries.”
He gave them an appropriate regretful look, one he’d long ago honed, but neither of them seemed persuaded. Agent Scully’s face was blank and she was looking at her notes rather than at him.
“I also have here that Miss Summers was accused of murder.”
“Those charges were dropped,” he said defensively. “Unless you have a warrant or anything more than past events, I would ask you to leave.”
“We’ll be in touch,” Mulder said.
They left and Giles went straight into his flat. He went to the fridge for a bottle of water. After drinking that, taking a shower and changing his clothes, he felt better. He was ready to call some contacts to inquire about these agents when the door opened and Buffy breezed in.
“Hey, Giles. Who’s the hottie in the car outside?”
They were watching him. “FBI. They were asking questions about the school.”
“Damn. Didn’t buy the explosion answer?”
“No, nor did they seem to buy the standard gang explanations.”
“This calls for a Scooby meeting. Why can’t people just leave us alone?”
“I have no idea, Buffy.”
Scully had gratefully left Mulder to do surveillance while she got motel rooms. Dark car, dark clothes plus hot California sun didn’t really appeal to her. Unfortunately her room wasn’t much better. The ceiling fan just pushed the hot air around as she sat on the bed with her laptop to do background checks.
Mulder had called around five asking what she wanted him to bring to eat. They had terrible Chinese while he told her that several young people, the students Scully had mentioned, had shown up at Mr. Giles’ apartment and stayed for several hours before leaving.
“He’s hiding something,” Mulder said. “There’s definitely something more going on here, Scully. I can just feel it. How do you feel about scoping out one of the cemeteries tonight?”
“Like I should have brought better shoes,” she said. “I don’t know what you hope to find, Mulder.”
“There’s got to be an explanation for all the deaths, Scully. I just don’t buy into it being gangs. Other than the deaths and the occasional property damage, there’s nothing to indicate serious gang activity. Got anything?”
She tapped a few keys on her laptop. “Rupert Giles, born in England, studied at Oxford. You’ve got something in common, might be an in for you if the cemetery doesn’t pan out. He worked for the British Museum before coming here. Is affiliated with something called the ICW but I can’t find out what that is.”
“Why would someone give up a job with the British Museum to come and be a high school librarian?”
“I really don’t know, Mulder. His visa is still valid. Had a small rebellion with a bit of a record but he’s clean otherwise.”
Mulder paced. “Anything on the others?”
“Harris and Rosenberg are clean. She was recruited for some of the top schools in the country and a few outside. Summers, the murder charges of course, a few other skirmishes with the locals here. Oh, you’ll love this,” she said.
Scully turned her laptop so Mulder could see. “Before she transferred to Sunnydale, Buffy Summers went to school in Los Angeles. There she was accused of destroying the school gym. Though she recanted it later, in her initial statement she claimed there were vampires.”
“Really?” he said, reading. “I knew there was something here. Why’d she recant?”
“It doesn’t say, but I’ve got feelers out.”
He stood, stretching. “We should rest. We have a cemetery to check out later. And twelve to chose from.”
“I can’t wait,” she muttered.
Willow had done some, what had she called it? Hacking? She’d gotten into the FBI database and had found out what they needed to know. It seemed Agent Mulder had a penchant for cases involving the supernatural. Which explained his interest in Sunnydale.
Giles had rubbed the bridge of his nose in frustration and sent the children off with his thanks. He told Buffy to do a normal patrol. Hopefully the summer weather that had been keeping the vampire and demon population depressed would continue for a few days more. Just until these agents realized there was nothing here and returned to Washington D.C. Maybe he should join Buffy on patrol just in case.
He did not need this. It was bad enough that Buffy was hardly coming to him for advice or training and that he didn’t have a job. He didn’t need to be watching out for curious government agents as well. Giles sighed. There was just…something about this Agent Mulder. It had him striding towards the weapons chest to check his supply of stakes and holy water.
Scully had chosen a cemetery at random from the ones on Mulder’s list. So here they were checking out Restfield cemetery. It was like all the other cemeteries she’d frequented in her line of work. There wasn’t anything strange or odd about it. She followed Mulder as they passed family crypts and ordinary tombstones. When this turned into a bust, they’d go home, no harm no foul.
She was about to suggest turning back when they heard a scream. Weapons were drawn immediately as they both ran towards the sound. Another scream as they rounded a large crypt. A man was holding a girl, his head bent to her neck.
“FBI,” Mulder shouted. “Let the girl go.”
Scully took a moment to glance around. There was a freshly dug grave nearby, the dirt upturned. She turned back, the man still held the girl, but his head was up. Scully gasped as she saw….
“Mulder, his face!”
“I said, let the girl go,” Mulder repeated, cocking his gun.
The man…growled and released the girl. She ran, disappearing into the night. Scully kept her weapon trained on the man as Mulder slowly stepped forward.
“What are you?” Mulder asked.
“Your end,” the man replied, lunging forward.
Both of them shot, the man falling to the ground. Mulder approached the body carefully, bending down to turn the man over. An arm popped up and grabbed Mulder by the throat, tossing him aside. Scully brought her weapon up again as the man stood.
“Stop or I’ll shoot again.”
“That’s not gonna stop him.”
They both turned and Scully recognized Buffy Summers from the picture in Mulder’s file.
“Stay back, Miss Summers, I’ve got this under control.”
“I don’t think so, Ms…?”
“Agent Scully, FBI,” she said, reinforcing her stance and cocking her weapon at the man who was looking for a way out. “I said stop.”
“Screw you, I’m hungry,” he said, lunging again.
Before Scully could squeeze of a shot, Buffy had closed the space before them and grabbed the man, punching him in the face. She followed with a left hook to the jaw and a roundhouse kick to the stomach.
“I’m sorry, government officials are off the menu tonight. Can I offer you something from the death section?”
Scully gaped in amazement as this slip of a girl stood over the man with only what appeared to be a wooden stake for a weapon. The man kicked upwards, knocking the stake from Buffy’s hand.
He leapt to his feet, fighting her off with moves Scully had only seen in martial arts movies. Mulder groaned and Scully holstered her weapon to go and look at him. He’d missed hitting his head on a tombstone by that much and he’d have bruises for weeks but he’d survived worse. She turned her attention back to the fight. Buffy had the man on the defensive. Scully thought about throwing her the stake but couldn’t see where it had landed.
Scull glanced across the cemetery to see Mr. Giles running towards the fray. Buffy did a spin kick that made the man stagger, turning towards Mr. Giles. He brought out a sword, tossed it to her. Buffy caught it deftly, swinging it around and detaching the man’s head from his body. Scully gasped as the corpse instantly turned to dust.
Buffy came over offering a hand to Scully. She took it just as Mr. Giles came over to help Mulder up.
“What were you doing out here?” Buffy asked.
“Looking for the truth,” Mulder coughed.
“What was that?” Scully asked.
“A vampire,” Buffy said.
Mulder shook his head. “They’re a myth. Trust me, I’ve looked into them.”
“Then you’ve not looked hard enough, Agent Mulder,” Mr. Giles said.
“You got this?” Buffy asked him. “Cause I should check out the docks before I head home. Mind if I borrow the sword?”
“Go ahead. I believe we’ll be fine, Buffy. Do call me when you’re finished.”
“Will do, bye, Giles.”
She scampered off leaving the three of them alone. Scully was about to ask something, but Mr. Giles stopped her.
“You’ll have your answers. Let’s get Agent Mulder back to my flat; I have a first aid kit there.”
She nodded as they supported Mulder between them and left Restfield cemetery.
Giles, with Agent Scully’s help, managed to get Agent Mulder back to his flat without any further incidents.
“If you’ll set him there on the sofa, Agent Scully, I’ll bring the kit.”
“Dana, please,” she’d said.
He’d nodded and patched up the man, who insisted it was just Mulder. Giles then began to explain about vampires and all the various other demons that wandered the Earth. He brought out some of the more obscure texts, something the Council would have frowned on, but he no longer answered to them.
“So they all exist, they’re real?” Dana said.
“Very much so, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever encounter one in your day to day life.”
“Why here? Why Sunnydale?” Mulder asked.
“The town is situated on something known as a Hellmouth. It draws evil to it, which is why we must protect it, keep it from spreading.”
“And Buffy Summers? That wasn’t just defense training I witnessed,” Dana said.
Giles stood, put away the first aid kit and returned. He waited until he was sure he had the full attention of both agents.
“Buffy,” he paused. “Buffy is The Slayer, The Chosen One. She has the strength and the power to defeat demons and vampires. When one Slayer dies, another is chosen. It’s been that way for thousands of years.”
“I’m her Watcher.”
“Anything to do with ICW?” Dana asked.
“The International Council of Watchers. They find girls who could become Slayers, Potentials. We train them, help them and ultimately watch them die.”
“That’s….” Dana sputtered.
“The way it is. Or perhaps the way it was. Buffy quit the Council last year when they refused to help. She slipped through the cracks you see, didn’t know what she was until the powers came to her. As for myself, I was fired for bucking the rules. The Council even sent a replacement, but it doesn’t work that way. Buffy and I…we’ve bonded. So I stay. I’ll be her Watcher until one of us, mostly likely her, dies.”
Giles took a breath to forestall any tears. He didn’t want to break down in front of strangers. Instead he stood and went to a nearby bookshelf. He took down one and went back, handing it to Mulder. The man took it and began to flip through it.
“It’s a guide,” Giles said. “Most of the common demons are listed there. You’ll find a majority of them are harmless. It also lists ways to kill those who are not. I’ll drive you to your motel. If you need a ride to the airport, just give me a call.”
“We’ll be fine, thanks,” Mulder said. “And don’t worry. I don’t think our assistant director will buy any of this so we’ll just back the gang and explosion theories. Your secret is safe.”
“Thank you,” Giles said.
Dana called him in the morning. Their rental car had been vandalized and they needed that ride he’d promised them. Mulder openly admired the Citroen now that he was more cognizant. The ride was quiet after that. As Giles let them out at the terminal, Dana leaned back in and held something out. Giles took it, her business card.
“In case you need or friend, or a better cover story.”
“Thank you, again. And good luck,” he said.
As he drove away, Giles smiled. He suspected that he might not have heard the last of Agents Mulder and Scully.