Title : Sunnydale
Author : Nemainofthewater
Disclaimer : I don’t own anything you recognise. It all belongs to Joss Whedon and the BBC.
Notes: This a crossover with the radio play 'Cabin Pressure' which I strongly recommend if you haven't heard of it.
“Good morning, and welcome to this MJN flight. My name is Captain Hercules Shipwright, and I’ll be your pilot today. Today we’re going to Sunnydale at a height of thirty thousand feet and a speed of four hundred knots. Thank you.”
“I’m sorry Buffy. We haven’t had any contact with him for two weeks now. I think we may have to accept that he’s-“
“Andrew, if you value your existence, you ought to shut up right about now.”
“Xander! Look, Andrew, the thing is that Giles is an experienced Watcher. He might be under cover, or he might in a region of Scotland that doesn’t have any cellphone coverage, or he might even be in a plane right now on his way back.”
“Willow, I know it, you know it, Xander knows it and Buffy definitely knows it! We’ve lost four people to this demon infestation already. If Giles hasn’t returned yet, then it’s unlikely he ever will.”
It was simple enough. A demon infestation in Scotland, that was using an airline as a cover for some of Wolfram and Hart’s more… unsavoury… deliveries.
Giles was certain that he would need at most a week to find the airline that the law firm was using as a cover, before calling in the cavalry in the form of a few supernaturally augmented yet somehow still hormone driven teenage girls.
(He was also secretly hoping that getting the chance to blow something up would stop some of the more… mischievous… Slayers from spiking his tea again. They all seemed to find his expression when confronted with coffee hilarious. Something about him resembling that actor from the Nescafé adverts…)
In fact, maybe while he was out here he could drop by Torchwood House and peek through their legendary Grimoire collection. It would be a nice break from all the teenage girls littering his flat in Bath, which had somehow become a Slayer safe house despite only being a few square feet.
And so, humming gently, he decided to use Air Caledonia to fly up to Edinburgh. If he could vet the Agency on the way up… Well, more time for the pleasurable parts of his journey.
“Yeah, hi Dawn. Could you put your sister on? That’d be great. Uh huh, yeah, missing you too. No, of course we’ll be back soon. Yeah, okay, good luck with that math’s test.
“Buffy? Are you alone? No! It’s not that sort of call, I just don’t want you to freak anyone out… Well last time you got some bad news, you did kinda end up destroying the kitchen… I didn’t say it was bad news! … okay, it sorta is…
“I’ll just get straight to it then. I’ve got good news though! Yeah, we found the four missing Watchers, they were all working for this small charter firm called Air Caledonia, yeah, I think they must have been mind whammied. But they’re fine now! We got the demons that were controlling them…yeah, sorry, we did kill them… well you got to slay them last time! How am I supposed to stay in shape if you guys get to do all the slaying? I still need to practise my magic!
“Anyway, um, the bad news is that we didn’t find Giles. We thought he’d be a mind whammied pilot as well, but he wasn’t there… Well he did fly Air Caledonia to get up there in the first place, so I kinda hoped… We’ll keep looking.
“No! Don’t come out here! Xander and I can handle it, you need to concentrate on cutting off the source. Look, we’ll look for another week, and if we can’t find anything, we’ll fly back over and hit the books with you.
“Don’t worry, we’ll make sure the airplane isn’t secretly evil this time. You know there’s proof! Yes, okay, we’ll avoid Ryanair.”
Captain Herc Shipwright had never felt so alive.
He had always loved flying of course (he’d wanted to be a fighter pilot in his youth. Well, that or a greengrocer), but he’d never felt anything that could match the ecstatic freedom he felt when he was with Carolyn.
Of course, she insulted his constantly, and mocked his completely rational fear of sheep, but that was what he loved about her. He knew that she was independent, and capable, and strong, and whenever he looked at her, he felt a bizarre tugging in his heart, as if she reminded him of someone…
He had never felt this way about his other wives (he’d married Diedre straight out of flight school, before discovering what she was like. Olivia and he had parted amicably, agreeing that they were better off as just friends. And Jenny… It still hurt to thing if her, pale and cold on the bed, surrounded by rose petals (wait, no, that was wrong. She had died of cancer, in the hospital.))
Herc had felt the most alive dating Carloyn. As if nothing had been real before her.
“I’m sorry Willow, we have to fly back today. We’ve found absolutely nothing; hell, even your tracking spells don’t work! We need to regroup, and come up with a plan. And to do that, we need Buffy.”
“It just doesn’t feel right, leaving here. It feels like we’re already admitting defeat.”
“We can’t help Giles if we don’t know what to do! We have more of a chance of finding him together. I’ve already booked us a flight. A small charter plane, MJN. I can’t find anything that screams ‘demons!’, and I can’t see Wolfram and Hart employing them.”
“Well, for starters, the plane looks as if it’s going to fall apart…”
“Did you hear that?” Willow whispered excitedly, ignoring the pre-flight video. “It sounds like Giles! And he’s a pilot as well.”
“Wills, what would he be doing here? If he was working anywhere, wouldn’t he be at Air Caledonia? Anyway, if it is him, that would mean that the plane’s under Wolfram and Hart’s control, and that we have bigger things to worry about.”
“Herc? He’s brilliant! He’s helping mum out for a bit while Skip goes to an interview. Not that Skip’s not brilliant as well! But he’s really clever, and I’m sure he’ll get the job, only I don’t know if I want him to go. I mean, I sort of do, ‘cus that’d be great for Skip! But, then I don’t want him to because then he wouldn’t be here anymore. Not that I don’t like, Herc, he is brilliant too! But I don’t think he’s as brilliant as Skip!
“Air Caledonia? Yeah, I think that’s where he was. Or was it Air Cameldonia? I know it sounded sort of camel-y, because I love camels. Actually, I’m an expert on camels. I learnt all about them when we went to Timbuktu, only it wasn’t really Timbuktu, because it was Sardinia. But it was great! It had a Welcome to Timbuktu sigh and everything!”
“Look, it’s a ten hour flight. He’ll probably come out and greet us at the end, that’s what the Captain does, right? We’ll be able to see then. But don’t get your hopes up. I have a feeling that that steward was a few sandwiches short of a picnic.”
“Xander! He seemed very nice.”
“Hey, I never said he wasn’t! Just that he was a little, er, confused. I’m just saying, I’d have never thought that Timbuktu was on an Italian island!”
“Thank you for flying MJN air Madam. Thank you Sir, I hope you have a nice day. Thank you for flying MJN.”
Herc nodded politely at the passengers as they exited the aircraft. With any luck, he’d never have to see any of them again in his life. There was a small child in particular, whose vomit they’d probably never get out of the carpet.
He smiled at the next passengers, a young red-haired woman and her friend (boyfriend?) who seemed to be wearing an eyepatch.
“Have a nice day, and thank you for flying MJN.” He said firmly.
“Giles?” the woman whispered.
Herc stared at her in confusion.
The name seemed strangely familiar…
The young woman seemed to be muttering something under her breath, and Herc reared backwards as her eyes turned black.
And then he remembered.