And Now For Something Completely Different
A/N: I don't own anything, please don't sue me. I did try to make this chapter longer, but the Muse was very firm that this is what happened and nothing more. *shrug* I just work here.
Adam and Giles leaned over the large tome, talking animatedly. They looked around in alarm as the room started shaking and books fell off the shelves. Adam swore and threw Giles towards the doors as the library floor cracked under their feet. They waited a moment after the earthquake stopped before they stood, looking around warily. Giles looked at Adam, ashen. “It’s closer than we thought.”
Adam nodded grimly. “Two days, maybe three.” Giles ran his hand through his hair, frustrated. “And we still haven’t located the Hellmouth.”
“He’ll gather his minions there, as a last resort we can always follow the large group of bloodsucking demon around.”
Giles managed a half smile. “That’s not exactly the healthiest idea, even for Buffy.” He surveyed the mess.
“I’ll tell Buffy and the others first thing in the morning, we’ll, umm, ‘rally the troops’ and see if we can at least narrow down the search area.” Adam nodded agreement. “Are you going to include that cute techno-pagan of yours?”
Giles blushed and sputtered. “She, she, she’s not my anything. Really, Adam!”
Adam laughed, making Giles blush harder. Adam headed toward the door. “Rupert, she is good with computers, and might be of help. I’ll be searching my own sources. Call me if you find anything.”
* * * *
Adam sat down on the roof edge next to Buffy. After a few moments of silence, she spoke without looking at him. “Pep talk time? Here to tell me I’ll be fine? That I’ll kill the Master? That we’ll save the world?”
Adam looked surprised. “Oh, heavens no. I was looking for a quiet place to eat lunch!” Buffy laughed so hard she almost fell off the ledge. Adam grinned. “It wasn’t that funny.”
“I know, but I needed it.” She sighed. “I’m scared. This Master guy, he’s really old and powerful, and I’m supposed to fight him. I’m 16 years old, I don’t want to die.”
Adam nodded, looking out over the town. “You’d be a fool if you weren’t scared.” She looked at him, surprised. “You’re good. Strong, fast, and well trained. But he’s killed Slayers before, and they were just as good or better. Only an idiot would feel no fear. Courage is not the absence of fear; it is doing what we must in spite of it.”
Buffy looked thoughtful. “If you’re right, and Death is Methos, do you think he’ll help me?”
Adam looked at the young girl beside him, smiling fondly. “I think he might.” They sat in silence a moment, lost in their separate thoughts. “So, do you have a date for the spring fling yet?” Laughter rang out over the school.
* * * *
Adam watched from the shadows as Buffy walked down the front steps to the school, approaching the little boy. They spoke briefly; then she took his hand and let him lead her away.
Adam waited, hoping Giles would keep everyone in the library as she had suggested. He still had trouble believing they hadn’t figured out the location of the hellmouth, it was as obvious as a nuclear bomb to him. Unmoving, he waited until Buffy and the Anointed were out of sight and followed them into the sewers. Ghosting from shadow to shadow, he kept close on their trail; several times taking shortcuts that brought him back to the main line ahead of them.
When the Anointed One pointed down into the cavern, he slipped into a shadowy depression in the wall and closed his eyes, waiting. He listened to Buffy banter with the Master, listened as they circled the cavern, and started toward the cavern as he heard the Master reveal that it was the power in her blood that would free him.
His face was calm as he walked down the ramp, looking as relaxed as if he was just out for a stroll. The Master looked up, angry at being interrupted. Buffy looked dazed, her eyes unfocused. “I do apologize if I’m interrupting something,” Adam drawled, “I hope it wasn’t important.”
The Master snarled. “How did you get down here?!”
Adam leaned against the cavern wall, looking bored. “I’m afraid you need some new guards, the old ones weren’t much of a challenge.” He kept his expression steady as Buffy clenched her fists. “It’s so hard to find good minions nowadays.”
The Master cocked his head to the side as he studied Adam. “You’re the researcher the council sent, aren’t you.” He smiled slowly. “Did you get a little attached?” He tightened his grip on Buffy’s neck. “Isn’t she a little young for you?”
Adam smirked. “You have no idea.”
The Master shook his head. “A pointless gesture. You will die with her, I will be free, and Death will be my right hand.”
Adam raised an eyebrow in surprise. “You sound very confident of that. I take it you know him?”
The Master look annoyed. “I know all I need to. When I offer him the destruction of the Watchers’ Council, he will join me, and nothing will stand in our way.”
Adam nodded thoughtfully. “I doubt that.”
The Master snarled again, loosening his grip on Buffy. She reacted by head-butting his face, slamming an elbow into his ribs, and then flipping him over her shoulder. The Master rolled, coming up with Buffy’s crossbow pointed at her heart; he never saw the sword coming.
Buffy watched him disintegrate into black dust and bones, revealing Adam. He looked down at the pile of bones at his feet and frowned. “That was rather anti-climactic.” Buffy giggled a little hysterically. After taking a deep breath, she walked around the remains to throw her arms around him.
He hesitated a moment before carefully hugging her back. “Are you alright?”
She nodded against his chest. “Just shook up.” She sighed and leaned back. “He had me. I knew what was happening, knew I should do something, but I couldn’t move. He was going to kill me, and I didn’t care- it felt like a dream.”
Adam squeezed tighter. “We’ll work on that. Buffy, . . . damn.” He frowned toward the entrance. “Don’t tell anyone I was here, please. I’ll explain later, alright?” Releasing her, started up the ramp at a trot, pausing at the opening to speak, “Don’t worry, friends are coming.” With that cryptic comment, he vanished into the shadows.
A second later, Buffy heard footsteps approaching. Picking up the crossbow, she watched the hole carefully. Recognizing the voices, she relaxed, smiling as they came into view.
Giles, Xander and Angel looked around the room, but saw only Buffy and the Masters’ bones. They glanced at each other, puzzled. Buffy sauntered up to the group. “World’s saved. I say we party. I got all dressed up and prettified.”
* * * *
Buffy stood in the doorway watching Adam pack. He spoke without looking at her, “Lurking in doorways to watch people is usually considered creepy you know.”
“You feel human.” He paused and cocked his head to one side.
Buffy’s eyes widened as she felt it- a 10,000 volt lightning bolt slamming into her head. She wavered, holding onto the door frame for dear life. After a few moments deep breathing she straightened and opened her eyes. Adam was watching her worriedly.
Seeing she was alright, he relaxed again. “Holy sh*t. That was like getting kicked by a mule.”
He smiled wryly. “The older you get, the stronger you are. I learned how to hide my quickening a while ago. It’s one of the reasons no one can find Methos.”
He gestured her to a chair. “Why didn’t you tell us?”
“Oh, several reason. My past is not something I am especially proud of. And there are a lot of people looking for the ‘oldest living man’, some of them for less than pleasant reasons. Not to mention the fact that I am a suspicious and cynical bastard.”
“Less than pleasant?”
“The prestige of taking my head.”
She nodded. “Are you going to tell Giles?”
He looked thoughtful. “I’ll think about it. I don’t like the idea of you keeping secrets from your Watcher. I just don’t want it getting back to the Council.”
She shifted in the chair then bounced up and over to the suitcase on the bed. “Where’re you going?”
“Washington state. There have been some rumors of rogue Watchers hunting Immortals up there. I’m supposed to check it out and report back.”
“Ah.” She bit her lip.
“I’ve asked Rupert to look into finding me a bigger place while I’m up there. Apparently the owner of this place doesn’t want to rent it permanently.”
She whirled to face him, face lit up with hope. “You’re staying?!”
He grinned. “I thought that was what I just said?”
“So, you’re going to train me?” She couldn’t hold still, finally throwing herself at him and hugging until his ribs creaked. “Sorry.”
His arms settled around her. “Don’t worry. I heal fast.” She snickered. “Yes. I’ll help Rupert train you. We’ll begin when you get back from visiting with your dad, alright?”
She hid her smile against his chest. “Sure you’ll be able to tear yourself away from your books for that long?” He razzberried her.End Part One