Riley and the Surprise
A/N: Disclaimer, spoilers, notes on the minor AU issues, and relevant backstory points (from the first story in the series) are listed in chapter 1.
The phone went off. Not the regular house phone, but the
phone. The one that Sam had behind the clear plastic door so little Theresa couldn’t touch it. It was programmed for eight different ringtones, and…
He didn’t recognize that one. He knew the tune okay. It was “Monster Mash”. But he hadn’t programmed that one in. And he didn’t think Sam had changed the ringtones without alerting him first.
Okay, there was only one group that would have “Monster Mash” for a ringtone, and they had people who could easily change his phone’s ringtone without his permission. Maybe it was Willow calling.
He liked Willow and the rest of the Scoobies, but when they called it was never a good thing. The last one had been a request for an anti-tank weapon to stop some ‘indestructible’ demon that was causing a crisis in a neighboring dimension where the Slayer Scythe didn’t want to go. How horrible did a dimension have to be if inanimate objects were afraid to go there?
“Please don’t be an apocalypse,” he whispered. “Please don’t be an apocalypse, please don’t be an apocalypse, please don’t be an apocalypse!”
He opened the biometric lock with his thumbprint and answered the phone. “Finn here.”
Andrew’s tones filled the receiver. “Umm, Riley, I know it’s getting late, but we have an eensy beensy problem here and Giles told me to call you.”
Riley carefully asked, “Just how eensy beensy?”
Andrew said, “Xander found a humanoid demon in Colorado Springs…”
Okay, that didn’t sound so bad. Even if Colorado Springs was close to some U.S. Defense Department assets. Not as bad as finding a human-looking demon in downtown D.C. Granted, some of the politicians and lobbyists he had run into were probably at least half-demon, in his opinion, given what self-serving slimeballs some of them were. Or at the least, they were cherished clients of Wolfram and Hart.
Andrew kept going. “He’s getting her to talk…”
Riley checked, “Just how is he doing that? I don’t want to find out he beat up a U.S. citizen who just happens to look weird.”
“Oh, we wouldn’t let you find that out!” Andrew gulped, “Wait, that’s not what I meant. We’d never do that. I mean, well, we try not to, even if there was this one thing in Moscow with this guy running guns and he was part demon, and someone who will not be named – but her name isn’t Hope or Charity and you still don’t like her – thought he was about to shoot these schoolchildren, but he was really there picking up his own kids who are also part demon, and he just happened to have a case of AK-47’s open in his van at the time, and it was a good thing the police were already looking to arrest him, so she didn’t get in trouble with the Moscow police, who really aren’t nice to strangers. Even if a bunch of the other Moscow police were looking to make sure he didn’t stay in jail or go to trial.”
Riley thought for a moment and said, “It would, however, be useful to know who the guy was, and that he’s part demon. There are international efforts toward stopping that kind of thing.”
Andrew sighed, “Umm, yeah. That’s what she did. She waited until he got out of the hospital a couple hours later, and she sort of kidnapped him and dropped him off somewhere they really wanted to talk to him and they wouldn’t ask questions about how he got there. So you can ask the Mossad about him. Just don’t tell them how he got dumped in one of their Moscow safehouses.”
Riley made a couple notes on his secure PDA so he could look into that the next day. He said, “Okay, we’ll skip that. So how is Xander getting this demon to talk?”
Andrew sounded embarrassed as he admitted, “He’s… buying her dinner and drinks. Lots and lots of drinks. For some reason she’s trying to learn about alcoholic drinks with little paper umbrellas in them.”
Riley managed to keep his laughter down to several snorts.
“It’s not funny!” Andrew protested. “Okay, if no one gets hurt, it’ll be really hilarious about next week, when Rona starts teasing him about it.”
Riley thought about an old saying his grandmother used to say. “It’s all fun and games until someone puts an eye out.” That just wasn’t funny to him when he thought about the Scoobies. Not after what happened to Xander. Even if Xander had his eye back now, thanks to a frighteningly powerful witch. At least the Scoobies had given him enough intel that he had been able to get the FBI to close several ongoing investigations into Caleb Clyde Collyer, aka ‘The Preacher’, who was suspected of somewhere around forty to sixty murders of young girls, going back to ten years before Sunnydale collapsed.
Riley checked, “So if this is Xander dating another demon-”
“-what’s so important that Giles wanted you to call me?”
Andrew said, “Well, there’s this really old, really evil artifact called the astria porta which is a doorway into a bunch of demon dimensions. It was lost back in ancient Egypt when a Slayer led a revolt against a bunch of demons who were trying to enslave a ton of humans. Xander’s demon said she came here through the thing. And she said it’s being opened by a military base.”
Riley didn’t curse very often, but right then he said a few things his ma and pa would wash his mouth out with soap for. If this was another NID screwup…
He said, “Andrew, I need to make some phone calls. As soon as I have intel I can give you, I’ll call back.”
He hung up. This was going to require some connections a lot more secure than his house phone. He slipped into the bedroom. “Sam? Sam honey?”
Sam sleepily rolled over. “Again? Now? Didn’t we just…”
Riley made himself not smile. “Sam, it’s not that. I have to drive into HQ and make some secure calls. The Scoobies may have found another rogue NID op.”
Sam groaned, “Do those guys just have magical demon magnets in their heads or something? Everybody else goes their whole life without even seeing a demon, and they’re running into them when they go to the grocery store.”
Riley grinned. “Something like that. I’ll write a report up afterward and you can see the parts that aren’t Need To Know.”
Sam rolled over and muttered, “Drive carefully.” She was asleep before he was out of the room.
Riley checked on little Theresa. Then he grabbed his coat and his keys and his ID. He managed not to flinch when he thought about who he was going to have to wake up in the middle of the night to get some reasonable answers on this one.