Chapter Twenty by Genuka
Yes, I know, I disappeared. Bad Genuka. Sometimes though you just need a break from writing, and physical therapy for back damage...
You also would have gotten this sooner if I'd realized that I accidentally flowed (or stumbled) straight into Ch. 21 while writing.
If you want to go straight into the chapter rather than reading the refresher look for the chapter title.
"Before you go storming off, Colonel O’Neill, I think that it would be wise if Rupert acts as a liaison with your group. That way, whatever problems or issues may come about regarding the Council, you have someone on hand along with Alexander's guardian in case of any difficulties," Whitby ground out. "I hate to see Rupert go, but this is important."
Jack and Rupert obediently nodded in unison, mesmerized by the elderly man’s air of absolute authority. SG-1 plus their two latest strays then followed Rupert out of the conference room, with the door closing on its own behind them all.
However, just before the panel clicked shut, the person with the best hearing there managed to catch a menacing, “Right, you bloody lot, I hope your wives, husbands, and mistresses aren’t expecting you back in their beds anytime soon, because we’re going to settle this here and now if I have to rip off your—”
Teal’c allowed himself a flash of an actual approving expression.
The Right to Protect
"Oh! I just remembered I didn't take a taxi this morning. I parked my car a few blocks this way." Rupert told them as they left the building, leading them down the street toward where he parked his precious classic
car. As they approached the car the group finally got a look at it and stopped in their tracks. It took a moment for Giles to notice that he'd lost his little entourage and turned back to look at them.
"Is there a problem?" Rupert asked honestly puzzled.
"Even in this universe you drive tha.. that... Can we even call it a car?" Xander asked in astonishment before turning his puppy dog eyes on the man full blast.
"I.. uh.." Rupert stuttered.
"Unless that's some sort of strange clown car we aren't all going to fit." Jack pointed out.
At the word clown Xander immediately dropped the puppy dog routine and started looking around frantically for the clowns. Jack noticed that, he even groped for hidden weapons that simply weren't there for Xander to grasp, much less use.
"Clown?!? Where?!" Xander demanded in an almost complete panic, immediately refocusing everyone from the car to Xander's reaction.
"Its okay, Xander. There are no clowns here." Daniel soothed as if gentling a skittish horse. "No clowns, no mimes, no circus, you're safe."
Xander started to relax and smiled at them sheepishly. "Sorry, I've hated clowns since Tony and Jessica paid for a clown for my 5th birthday party. The clown decided that it was a good idea to bounce around me most of the time and occasionally shove cake in my face. I actually broke my arm trying to get away from him and I'm not entirely sure he was human." Xander admitted.
"There does exist a species of demon that looks rather like a clown. It feeds off of the happiness of human children and the truly young at heart. Its not normally dangerous, in fact they are often drawn to abused and neglected children and try to heal them in some way. If it was one of the Slonack then the fact that you were injured trying to get away from him probably bothers him badly." Rupert explained softly, trying not to spook his new son.
"Come on, kid. Let's get something to eat, maybe some ice cream, while your Dad and Sam get us some wheels that will carry everyone." Jack told him earning a bright grin from Xander and an understanding nod from Rupert.
"There's a lovely little Italian place just up the street. We will join you after renting something more suitable. I'm terribly sorry for not thinking ahead." Rupert told them apologetically.
"That's fine G-man! I'm in the mood for 'getti any way." Xander agreed amiably as they set out for the restaurant.
Back in the Sunnydale Universe...
The second magic freeze in 24 hours ended and Ethan Giles stumbled off of the curb he had been standing on. Ethan glanced back at the curb slightly puzzled and warily continued on his way, hoping that magic and reality honestly weren't "glitching". He completely ignored the vampire that was shadowing him, or trying to at any rate.
Angel had seen the man enter Buffy's house carrying Spike's prized trophy leather duster alongside Giles but he didn't know the man, nor did he trust him with Buffy
. Hadn't he
been the one assigned by the powers? Wasn't he
the one who was tasked with guiding and helping this slayer?? As much as he loved the girl dearly, and that she fought demons every night, Buffy just wasn't as worldly as she believed herself to be. He needed to keep her as safe as possible.
Angel continued stalking the man who looked suspiciously lkie a much
older version of the damned whelp. At least there had been enough shade earlier to get on the bus behind the man back in Sunnydale without getting scorched and the buildings in LA were tall enough in this area that it wasn't a concern until closer to mid-day.
Suddenly the older Xander look-a-like ducked down a narrow ally, causing Angel to curse and scurry, trying to catch up enough not to loose the man, only to recieve a vicious blow to the head and a splattering of holy water in his face. Going down on one knee and rolling away from his attacker despite the pain, Angel managed to avoid the nasty kick to the gut and the follow thru that would have litterally had him by the balls and at the man's mercy.
"Why are you following me vampire?" Ethan demanded harshly, his suspicions of his tail actually being a vampire having been confirmed by the distinct acid-like hiss of the holy water on undead flesh.
Across the ally Angel looked up at his opponent from one knee, ready for a fight and hissed back. "What interest do you have in the girl you visited the other night?!"
Ethan's eyes narrowed. "Stay away from her if you know what's good for you vampire!" He spat. "My business with her is no concern of yours."
Angel's own eyes narrowed. "She is under my protection. Touch her and you'll find out why my name is still feared in some circles!"
Ethan stared at Angel incredulously. "Why would a master vampire protect a slayer? And by what right do you dare offer a Daughter of Sineya protection?" He demanded, silently starting to fume.
Angel shifted his kneeling position slightly to a fighter's crouch and informed him smugly. "By right of courtship and command of the Powers That Be."
Ethan's face took on a thunderous cast. "I see." He said coldly. "And her Watcher allows this?"
"He doesn't have a choice." Angel bragged smugly, completely certain that Buffy would choose him over the rest of the Scooby gang, and certainly over this Berk!
Ethan's eyes only got colder. "Just out of curiosity, by what name are you called?" He asked softly.
Ethan wanted to get enough information to counter any possible spells on Buffy and her friends before he dusted this demonic waste of space. He very much doubted that this was a natural infatuation if it was truly present at all. Slayers and vampires were natural enemies to the point that if a slayer refused to slay the only saving grace was that a vampire or other demon would kill the girl before she literally went insane with the need to hunt. It was only mildly alleviated by sparring, training, sex, and other workouts. Ethan dearly hoped that when the hostile demon population dropped far enough that the need to hunt, at the very least would either drop to more manageable levels or go dormant entirely. Of course, that was if the slayer gene itself didn't go dormant, even a partial dormancy would be better than slayer after slayer being activated and driven insane by the need to hunt what was no longer there.
Angel, oblivious to Ethan's thoughts, practically smirked at the man before him before answering. "Angelus, childe of Darla of the Aurelius line, Sire of Druscilla the Mad Seer, Grandsire of William the Bloody, member of the Scourge of Europe." Angel's eyes narrowed almost to slits. "Out of curiosity, how did you get my Grandchilde's trophy away from the berk? I've been trying to get that bloody coat away from him for years."
Ethan's eyes flicked toward the side where he had quickly tossed Nikki's beloved jacket out of the way in preparation for the fight. "That coat belonged to my slayer." He told the vampire coldly. "As for your grandchilde, he's dust. He didn't expect the unexpected and reacted like a fledge. You need to take more care with your line or it will all fall to dust, or rather your sire does since you wont be around to do so."
Moving quickly Ethan tossed powdered Elder wood into Angel's face to blind him followed rapidly by stepping aside and smashing a large bottle of holy water into Angel's back as he blindly charged forward in an attempt to trap the man against the wall at his back. Running face first into that same wall, stunning himself long enough for Ethan to drive a stake through his back and into his heart.
Ethan scowled as he watched the once mighty master vampire known as Angelus disintegrate into dust before his very eyes. Calmly he reached into his pocket and took out the pre-paid burn phone that the Scooby gang had helped him acquire and called the local version of his brother. The moment that Giles picked up he asked coldly. "Why didn't you tell me that she was being stalked by a master?"
There was silence at the other end for a moment as Rupert processed this, before he cleared his throat sheepishly. "Ah, yes. I take it you've met Angel?"
"If you're referring to the creature known as Angelus, met and staked. What I want to know Watcher
is why he wasn't dust as soon as he started taking an interest in your slayer?" Ethan asked calmly, rage simmering beneath the surface as he carefully picked up Nikki's coat from where he'd placed it out of the line of fire.
"Ah, yes." Rupert's unease was nearly palpable through the phone connection. "Ahem, he... he approached Buffy at the local club, the Bronze, and offered her cryptic hints that occasionally proved useful. he also gifted her with several pieces of jewelry, all of them with an effective religious motief. By the time any of us had discovered he was in fact a vampire Buffy had completely fallen in love with him, encouraged by young Willow. She disregarded my warnings and forbid me to act on my concerns about the creature. Since our relationship was still on shaky ground I was unwilling to loose her over this, thus I didn't press the matter when I perhaps should have. She still dismisses my continued concerns over him as the inconsequential concerns of an adult, part of which I have come to believe is in fact an act of rebellion from the council's authority and a silent comment on their lack of assistance. Xander also expressed his concerns over the vampire but was mostly dismissed as jealousy by both girls and vampire alike. It was mentioned that Xander accompanied Angel to the Master's cave and helped rescue Buffy after her attempt to confront him. Apparently she fulfilled the Codex prophecy by drowning and being resuscitated via CPR. I overheard Xander mutter something about Angel getting all of the credit when the creature hadn't helped beyond being forced to show him the way to the cavern. To my shame I dismissed it as a combination of jealousy, youthful exaggeration, and fear over approaching a pretty girl."
Ethan stopped dead at hearing this, having only managed to walk a little further beyond the ally in which he had fought Angel. He sighed and rubbed his forehead. "You're telling me that not only has he been stalking her but that your new son, my nephew, revived Buffy after her death thus becoming a prophecy breaker and possibly splitting the slayer line, or at the very least likely activating the next slayer and that rat bastard Quentin Travers is the one in charge of the Watchers Council?! Damn-it man! Don't you think that you should have told me this when I first debriefed you?!"
"Ethan, I.. I don't know what to say." Rupert stammered, nearly speechless.
"You will say nothing." Ethan told him viciously. "What you will do
is get everything you need for a cleansing ritual, collect the rest of your group, and come to LA. Bring their families if possible. We will be performing the strongest cleansing and disenchantment rituals and spells that we can lay our hands on for both ritual and ingredients. You will not
perform it alone or in the school library, much less over the damnable Hellmouth!
Do I make myself clear?"
"I hear and obey my liege-lord." Rupert said quietly. Ethan was well and truly furious with every right to be. Giles could not believe how stupid
Calming down a bit Ethan started towards the nearest hotel to use his shiny new debit card to pay for a suite for them to perform the rituals and spells in. "I will collect the ingredients necessary for the disenchantment rituals and the basic detection spells. Just get them here Rupert! I suspect that there is at least one enchantment involved in this mess if not more. I dearly hope I'm wrong with at least some of my suspicions, but the bastard claimed right of courtship
and under command of the Powers That Be
to confront me over visiting Buffy." Ethan almost spat courtship
and Powers That Be
sending Rupert off on a cursing fit of his own over the situation.
Giles sighed an confided. "Her mother doesn't know. I was absolutely forbidden to inform her family under pain of threat. Lord only knows it would have been safer and simpler to tell Mrs. Summers and deal with the fallout. It might have even prevented an incident or two."
"Alright, I'll plan for a little show and tell. I'll also prepare a counter for any compulsion spells that might be in place. Might as well go the whole way." Ethan grumbled wearily. "Just get them here quickly, and we'll work from there." He ended the call, still heading for the motel 6 down the street.
"Forbidding a Watcher from informing a slayer's family? Threatening our own people? What next? Actively sacrificing the slayer and the potentials? No wonder magic responded so strongly to my vows!" Ethan grumbled disgustedly, hoping against hope that he wasn't too late to at least start
making repairs on this utter disaster.
Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Reader input is as always welcome! Flames will be used to make scones and cookies!