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Tomb Raider 2 – Unfinished Business

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Lost Raiders of the Well". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: There are a number of beings who don't like the changes which the Scoobies have gone through lately, and they've decided to do something to resolve the situation to their satisfaction.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > GeneralGreywizardFR18210,7360226,27123 Aug 138 Nov 13No

Chapter Two

Order of Dagon monastery
Near Pardubice
Czech Republic

Monday, June 7, 1999


"M'lord Abbot, Brother Radek just informed me that the Beast was spotted entering town, just a few minutes ago," the middle-aged monk informed his superior as he burst through the doors and into the Abbot's office, an expression of grave concern on his face. "His last words were that he will attempt to distract the monster and lead it away from us here, for as long as he can manage."

"No! The Beast cannot possibly have learned of our location so quickly!" the elderly monk declared, alarm and apprehension filling his now pale face. "We have only been here for a few weeks!

"There is no possible way for the Abomination to have learned that we transported the Key here! At least... not without some sort of demonic assistance!" the Abbot trailed off, his thoughts already turning to more important matters. He truly hoped it was demonic assistance, and not the Powers turning against them.

"Summon the brethren, Brother Jarmil," the head of the Order instructed the younger man after a brief moment's consideration. "Instruct Bother Samuel to initiate the cloaking ritual as quickly as he can possibly do so, and tell the others to meet us in the main chamber in fifteen minutes.

"I will begin the initial preparations for the invocation ceremony," he said hurriedly, as he turned and opened the doors of the cabinet behind him.

As he began removing various arcane objects from the cabinet, the Abbot warned his brother monk, "Prepare yourself, Brother. It appears that we may have to enact the ritual far sooner than we had believed necessary.

"And if that is, indeed, the case, then the cost will be far greater than we were told it would be."

~/~/~

Summers residence
Sunnydale, CA

Monday, June 7, 1999


{ Hmm. I wonder whether Buffy is still interested in keeping her 'Care Bear' and 'My Little Pony' collections, } Joyce Summers mused to herself, as she evaluated the various storage boxes taking up space in the unused third bedroom they'd been stored in when she and Buffy had first moved to Sunnydale, before basically being forgotten about and left there.

{ After all, from what I can remember, both sets are not only complete, with every character that was made in them, but all of the pieces are still in excellent condition. I suppose that's one benefit of Buffy having been such a 'girly' girl as a child, } Joyce smirked to herself, as she reminisced about her daughter's childhood.

{ I'm also pretty sure I could get a good price for that 'My Little Pony Dream Castle' from one of the hobby collection specialty dealers, if she was willing to part with it, } Joyce thought to herself reflectively, as she shifted several of the boxes into a more convenient, space-saving pile. College tuition being what it was, options had to be kept open – even if the kids did insist that they 'had things covered, thanks to Mayor McSnake.'

{ And I also have to admit – one of the more useful, and unexpected, benefits from that empowerment we all got is that not only do I not have to wait for Buffy to get home to move the heavy boxes, anymore… I don't have to open any of the boxes to check what's in them, either, } the Summers matriarch let a pleased smile slide across her face as she used her X-ray vision, as Xander had referred to their new sensory ability (although she realized that it really didn't involve the use of X-rays), to scan and inventory the contents of the various boxes.

{ And, of course, that's not even considering the fact that now I look twenty years younger, and could easily pass myself off as Buffy's older sister, either, } the Summers matriarch's smile grew even wider as she caught sight of her own reflection in the small vanity mirror that was on the desk, leaning against the wall. { That alone would make the empowerment process completely worthwhile. Not to mention the fact that Rupert is even better-looking than I ever imagined he was, as a younger man. I always did have a thing for musicians… }

{ Adding in all the other superpowers we've all gotten is simply a bonus, } Joyce reminded herself with a grin. { I don't have to worry anymore about Buffy possibly not coming home from patrol, or that any of the children might be hurt helping her out with the Slaying, so I have to say that this is all pretty much a dream come true, now. }

{ And now that I have the time available, maybe I'll finally get around to turning this room into a home office, the way I've been meaning to do for the past three years, } Joyce mused to herself as her thoughts turned back to her original reason for coming into the room, and she considered the various potential advantages and disadvantages of a possible room renovation.

~/~/~

Resolution Island
New Zealand

Just outside the caverns comprising the Deeper Well

Monday, June 7, 1999


{ I still can't believe I'm really doing this, } Cordelia Chase thought to herself as she followed Giles and Xander towards their destination. All three of them were flying a bare twenty feet above the thickly-growing grasses and brush which covered this entire section of the island, towards the cave entrance now barely visible at the foot of the small hills set a short distance away.

{ Six months ago, if anyone asked me what I'd be doing right now, I probably would have told them that I'd be in Hollywood, taking the first steps in what would undoubtedly be a fast rising career as a movie star, } she reflected thoughtfully.

{ Even though if Xander hadn't offered me a chance to be empowered like the rest of his tweak-o friends, I'd most likely be working as a waitress somewhere, I'd be... oh God... a nametag person, in some smelly diner! Not to mention living in some cockroach-infested dump, while desperately waiting for some sleazebag producer to call me with an offer to be cast as a hooker in some Grade-Z sex-ploitation, straight-to-DVD crap-ass movie, } Cordy ruminated with a frown as she and Xander each carefully followed Giles' fight path. The two teens trusted that the older Englishman's knowledge of any potential alarm wards would help them avoid being spotted by whatever sort of beings would be guarding this Deeper Well they were currently trying to invade.

{ So now I'm here, helping the Doofus and Giles try to rob the sarcophagi of a bunch of eons-old demons, who'd make any of the things we've gone up against in the past couple years look like Mr. Rogers and the cast of Sesame Street, } Cordelia thought to herself with a sense of mixed wonder and disbelief. { And I'm acting like I'm a superpowered Lara Croft, Super-Tomb Raider Girl. Not to mention all three of us are on a mission that sounds like the plot for an Indiana Jones movie, and trying not to get caught by whatever sort of demonic security guards are certainly going to be hanging around! }

{ And I’d make a kick-ass Lara Croft, too…} she reminded herself, batting a bug away with enough force to splatter it against a tree twenty yards away.

{ After all, even *Harmony* would have been smart enough to set up some sort of burglar alarm to keep people away, to prevent anyone – or anything – from coming in and looting what's supposed to be a cemetery-type place for some of the biggest Big Bads that had ever walked – or crawled, or slithered, or whatever – across the face of the planet, according to Giles, } Cordy reminded herself, a small shiver running down her spine, as she contemplated the possible consequences of meeting up with the Well's wardens.

Even as that thought flitted through her mind, Cordy allowed a stray thread of curiosity to wonder what her former best friend might possibly be doing at the moment. After all, the hurt she'd initially felt when Harmony had informed her that she couldn't hang around her anymore ("I'm really sorry, Cordelia, but associating with someone whose parents have been arrested by the IRS for tax fraud is just something I can't afford to do," was how the blonde bimbo had phrased it way back when) had diminished a good deal.

Granted, the fact that Harmony had actually seemed completely sincere as she'd apologized throwing away their friendship like yesterday's newspaper had made the blonde's explanation feel the slightest bit less harsh. But it had still hurt Cordy's feelings a great deal.

However, the pain had faded to near non-existence since the Scoobies had not only accepted her and maintained their friendships when pretty much all of her former alleged 'friends' had dropped her like she was a secondhand knockoff of a Louis Vuitton purse, but those friendships had all deepened considerably, too, Cordy reminded herself.

Of course, given that, thanks to their now greatly enhanced technological capabilities (courtesy of Ship), the Scooby Gang had also been able to go in and electronically transfer ownership of all of Hizzoner McSouless' assets to themselves and the various holding companies they'd set up in the hours following Hizzoner's death – well, that had helped her feel a lot better about things, too, the young woman readily admitted.

{ Actually, all things considered, ever since Daddy got arrested and Mother ran off with her current boytoy of the month with whatever stash of money she'd hidden away – without even a goodbye or a 'watch out for yourself, dear' to her darling daughter – I'm probably a whole lot better off now than I was six months ago, } the statuesque brunette decided as she considered her current situation.

{ I not only have more money now than Daddy or Mother Dearest ever dreamed of having, I have people that I know care about *me* and what *I* want to be, and I don't have to worry about trying to match up to expectations of whoever they want me to be. And the toughest choice I've got to make, anymore, is who do I want to sleep with at night – Dork-Boy, Faith, Willow or Oz? }

{ But the very best part of it all has gotta be that Buffy has absolutely no idea just what she's missing out on! } Cordy smirked to herself, before abruptly realizing the three of them had arrived at the cavern's entrance and she refocused her wandering attention on the task at hand.

"All right, then," Giles said as they each hovered a foot above the ground and just beyond the overhang forming part of the entryway into what was the resting place of several thousand – beings – who, if they were still alive, would have considered humanity as just another dietary option. Humanity, the other white/brown/yellow/red meat.

"According to the locator system that Ship provided us, this cavern is the entrance to the antipode to the Deeper Well entryway located in the Cotswolds," the former Watcher noted as he examined the exterior of the opening before them. "Although, as you can see, it is far less convenient to access than the entranceway in England is."

"Any specific suggestions as to what we should do once we get inside, Giles?" Xander inquired, the goofy façade he typically displayed to the world having disappeared the instant they'd left the shuttle, to be replaced by a much more focused and disciplined persona. It certainly appeared as though the responsibilities thrust upon him by Ship's acceptance of him as its commander had forced the youth to begin to mature and become far more self-disciplined than he would normally have been at this point in time.

"Because I'm thinking that whoever – or whatever – is guarding whatever's left of those Old Ones you mentioned earlier, they're probably not gonna be real keen on our stopping by and picking up a few souvenirs to bring home and show the Gang what we saw on our little visit here," he noted.

Granted, the armored bodysuits they were all wearing, which Ship had created for them after they'd reviewed the various counterintelligence equipment files it contained, should enable them to remain undetected from any guards they might run into. But, even though the suits could actually bend the ambient light around them – and thus make them effectively invisible – all three knew they couldn’t count on that to keep them safe, since they knew for certain that there were any number of demon races existent which didn't depend on the visible spectrum to locate their prey. Hell's bells, the best hunters used scent.

And while none of them probably had anything to worry about, if they should be discovered and it came down to a physical confrontation, it was always better if the beings you were trying to rip off never found out anything at all about your intentions – or your hoped-for successes.

"All I can suggest, at this point in time, Xander." Giles sighed as he acknowledged their complete lack of relevant information regarding the objects of their quest here, "is that we maintain a low profile and play things by ear, as you would say."

"Well, that's good to hear, Giles," Cordelia immediately snarked.

"'Cause that's *always* worked so well for us in the past."

~/~/~

CRD Facility
Sunnydale, CA

Monday, June 7, 1999


"Hey, Red, whatcha working on now?" Faith Lehane inquired as she nonchalantly drifted in through the doorway of the newest section of the physics research lab the group was in the process of establishing.

"Oh, just setting up some equipment for a new experiment that occurred to me while I was reading a physics article online, Faith," Willow Rosenberg explained in a somewhat absentminded tone of voice as she shifted the multi-ton electrical transformer over to the left and a few feet closer to the equipment she needed to connect to. Darn cables were always just a little too short to connect properly.

"I'm trying to duplicate the chronon particle readings which form the basis of Vendas Yat's elementary table for temporal mutability charts, but by using a setup incorporating a new style of flux capacitor which Dr. Emmett Brown described in the latest issue of 'Progress of Theoretical Physics'," the redhead explained as she described the experiment she was setting up.

"Why something as simple as Dr. Brown's approach was never considered before has me thinking that we should be examining all of the information available to us, to see if there might be other, alternate methodologies available that we should be looking at using, too," she added

Faith nodded, comprehending immediately and completely what the redhead had just said. Her own forehead furrowed as she considered the multitude of other possible alternatives to Willow's proposed experiment which had flooded through her mind after hearing her friend's experiment, while a smaller portion of her thoughts reflected on the events that'd led them all to their current circumstances.

After Xander – whom Giles now tended to refer to as "a vastly more suitable avatar of Change than Ethan could ever have aspired to become" – had undergone his own transformation into a hybrid incorporating both his human aspects and the characteristics of the humanoid 'Da'acks'omaat' species responsible for the creation of the ship he now commanded, the younger Scooby male had done two things:

First, he'd ensured that Buffy survived the injuries she'd received from the cave troll they'd unintentionally encountered earlier that fateful day. And then, he had requested that Giles and whoever else he deemed appropriate to help, examine him as thoroughly as possible for any indications of possible demonic or alien mental influences.

It was only after the formerly 'merely human' member of the group was assured that he wasn't at risk of being manipulated or controlled by any outside power that he'd then offered the other members of the Scooby Gang the same opportunity for enhancement that he himself had received.

Learning that part of the proposed enhancement package included what amounted to a complete reconstruction of the recipient's brain had been more than a bit daunting to everyone offered the opportunity, at first. Which was only to be expected, really, since it basically involved meddling with everything that made you, well – 'you'.

But once Willow had witnessed her previously mathematically-challenged friend effortlessly and flawlessly performing complex particle physics equations in his head – ones which she had been unable to complete without the aid of a desktop computer with modeling software – the redhead had been quite adamant in her insistence that she, too, would undergo the transformation.

Once Willow had made that decision, though, her then being informed by her childhood friend that she, and everyone else choosing to undergo the transformation, would then also have the opportunity to have the sum total of all of the Da'acks'omaat civilization's knowledge downloaded into her restructured brain – an experience which Xander had already had undergone – had simply increased the young woman's exuberant determination that she would undergo the entire transformation, while simultaneously bringing a wide smile of anticipation to her face.

And it had been only a very short time following the redhead's decision until Buffy and Faith had both quite enthusiastically voiced their own agreement to the enhancement.

Having already witnessed for themselves, under extreme combat conditions, just how much quicker, stronger and resilient their friend had become, as well as seeing how much faster he now healed when compared to their own Slayer-based healing (Xander having used his laser vision to burn his own wrist as an example of his recuperative abilities), both young women had immediately recognized the advantages being offered to them. Especially since it essentially guaranteed that both girls were now going to have the chance to survive far longer than any of their Slayer predecessors had ever had the opportunity to do in the past.

Adding in the greatly enhanced sensory acuity and the several new senses the empowerment bestowed, as well as flight and the pyrokinetic and cryokinetic abilities which would, quite literally, make the recipient superhuman, had merely made Harris' offer all the more alluring to everyone involved.

As Xander had informed Giles in a discussion a few days later, the smiles on Buffy's and Faith's faces, when they realized that they would now be able to actually have a chance to have a full and unrestricted life, had made every bruise, sprain or other injury he'd ever suffered on their behalf eminently worthwhile.

Of course, both Giles and Joyce had initially protested, quite volubly, what they had viewed as an impetuous, overexcited rush towards what could be considered an unnecessary – and possibly dangerous – power-up. (They were both older and thought they knew better, after all.) But after a long and exhaustively detailed discussion of the procedures involved, as well as a subsequent demonstration by Xander to both adults of the full extent of what he was now capable of doing, both adults had somewhat hesitantly given their blessing to the procedure taking place. (Not that it would have really mattered, one way or the other, if they hadn't done so).

For her part, Faith thought that it had been the sight of her and Buffy vigorously attacking Xander with swords, while he stood motionless and casually endured their assault, which had been the major impetus for Joyce's finally agreeing to allow Buffy to undergo the process. The Summers matron's witnessing her daughter's sword shattering after a particularly forceful strike by Buffy, without leaving even the slightest scratch on the smiling youth who'd been her target, had most likely been the clincher sealing the deal, Faith had decided with a smirk.

Clearly, after having personally witnessed the Watchers Council's obvious disregard and indifference regarding the welfare and safety of the Slayer during Buffy's Cruciamentum only a few days earlier, Joyce had finally realized just how much support either of the girls could expect to receive from that particular group of power-obsessed, controlling old men.

And the answer, to be completely honest, was – none, whatsoever.

It was also readily apparent that that knowledge had unquestionably exerted a major influence on the Summers matriarch's final decision regarding her children's (both natural and adopted) empowerment.

Of course, the fact that the Council had never sent a Watcher to replace the renegade Gwendolyn Post, in the months following the woman's exposure as a traitor and her death while attempting to seize control of an evil artifact, should have already alerted everyone involved with the Slaying to the Council's utter lack of interest when it came to truly supporting either of the two Slayers.

Moreover, the only recently discovered news that Faith's empowerment had apparently Called another young woman to replace her – without any ensuing inquiries, whatsoever, from the Council regarding the younger former Slayer's apparent demise – together with the realization that the now-empowered brunette's successor had subsequently *not* been deployed to the Hellmouth, had provided the group with yet another unmistakable indication of the degree of unimportance which the Watchers Council ascribed to the Hellmouth and the people stationed there to guard it.

Utter insanity, if you thought about it, and it truly made you wonder if the Council had been taken over by shape-shifting evil demons or something, given that the portal to Hell underneath the high school library could, once open, destroy the whole freaking world; but then, strictly speaking, that was none of the Gang's business anymore. All ties had effectively been cut, and if the British old boy organization had been infiltrated and taken over by the bad guys... well, no doubt they'd be taken care of in due course.

Anyway, taking advantage of their currently non-existent relationship with the Council, the Scoobies had had decide to exploit the town's widely acknowledged 'Sunnydale Syndrome' concerning unusual occurrences to both excavate the area above Ship and to then transport the freshly unearthed vehicle to the newly purchased CRD Facility, which would provide them with a much more easily accessible location within which to work in.

{ I gotta admit, } Faith reflected to herself as she moved to help Willow set up the redhead's intended revisions to the lab's equipment, { as much as my life improved after being Called as the Slayer, I never really thought I'd live more than a year or so, given what Diana first told me about Slayers and demons. }

{ And then, even after I escaped from Kakistos, I figured I probably only had a couple months or so before he found and killed me, } Faith reminded herself, as a small phantom shiver ran down her spine when she remembered those desperate days following her Watcher's death.

{ So, I gotta say, for me and B and Red and Missus S, and even good ol' Queen C, to all end up powered up like that Ms. Marvel character from the X-Man's comic books, and for X and Jeeves and Guitar-man to end up like Captain Marvel, or maybe that Wonder Man character, would probably be the most unbelievable thing I could ever hear of happening, if I didn't know that it was true, } she pondered her situation as a wide smile took up residence on her face.

{ And I never woulda thought, in even my wildest dreams, that I'd ever be helping some hot, sexy girl genius set up an experiment that even Rube Goldberg woulda wondered at – let alone that I'd understand exactly what it is Red's doing and that I'd be enjoying helping her do it, } she decided.

{ Especially since, once the day's experiments're done, the fringe benefits with Red and Guitar-man sure as hell make things even more fun! }

~/~/~

Resolution Island
New Zealand

The Deeper Well

Monday, June 7, 1999


"My God, but even an abandoned coal mine has got to feel warmer and cuddlier than this place does," Cordelia emphatically declared in a near-whisper (which was still quite easily heard by each of her companions, thanks to their new abilities) as they carefully made their way down one of the dimly-lit (at least to anyone with merely normal vision) passages which had been carved – or judging by the marks of the walls, possibly chewed – out of the stone surrounding them.

"Given that this is a mausoleum, filled with the remains of creatures which typically regarded humanity and any other species they encountered as little more than potential food sources, it is not at all surprising that we would feel an inimical reaction to being around any remaining relics of their presence, Cordelia," Giles responded to her comment in his usual, scholarly manner, albeit in an equally low voice.

The statuesque brunette had the feeling, though, that their mentor was just as creeped out as she and Doofus were, and Giles was dealing with his own feelings of dread and foreboding by lapsing back into his old librarian-ish persona.

"Putting problems with the local décor aside for the moment, Giles, do you have any idea exactly which of the hundreds – or possibly thousands – of these chambers we should be checking out, to find exactly which particular baubles are the ones that we're looking to burgle?" Xander asked in an equally quiet voice as they paused by an ancient-looking railing encircling a gigantic, shadow-shrouded crevice. A crevice which bored so deep into the earth below that even their enhanced vision couldn't see the bottom of the shaft.

"Unfortunately, Xander, the answer to your question is 'no,'" Giles replied with a small frown. "At this moment, I have absolutely no idea which foci we should be looking for, or in which tombs they might be stored."

"Greatness," Harris muttered under his breath as he, along with Cordelia and Giles, gave their surroundings another careful inspection. "I guess we'll just have to go with the good ol' gut feeling-type inspiration, then."

Not hearing any disagreement with his observation, Xander began to carefully make his way down the eons-old passageway in front of him, checking each vault, tomb or sarcophagus as he passed with a wary eye. The youth's actions were carefully mirrored by the other two Scoobies as they moved forward in a very attentive and vigilant line.

~/~/~

Order of Dagon monastery
Near Pardubice
Czech Republic

Monday, June 7, 1999


The being who currently resembled a middle-aged, bearded human male (and who had phased himself just slightly out of sync with the local spatial-temporal framework, so as to be able watch events unfold without disrupting the scene) observed intently as the half-dozen monks began the ceremony which would claim at least some, if not all, of their lives.

{ I have to give these guys credit for one thing, } the onlooker thought to himself as he observed the goings-on. { Even knowing that they're going to die – either because of the ceremony's demands, or because that ditz who's looking for the interdimensional essence will rip them apart in her search – none of them hesitated for even an instant to do what they gotta do. }

{ These poor sods – and the rest of their species – are worth so much more than those bastards who have been shepherding and manipulating humanity for the past few millennia. And yet the only reward they're going to end up with, for all their efforts, is a very painful death, } he reflected. { Yeah, this is the real reason that I'm really gonna enjoy seeing those arrogant, scheming pricks get taken down hard! }

The being who had at various times been identified as Gilgamesh, Prometheus, Janus, Raven, Eshu, Lugh and a myriad of other titles over the ages sat impassively and watched. He did not have to wait long as what appeared to be a young, blonde-haired human woman kicked in the massive steel-and-ward-reinforced wooden doors guarding the ritual chamber and strode in, indifferently brushing aside the monks who tried to confront her with blows that sent them smashing into the stone walls of the chamber.

An instant before she could breach the ritual circle, though, a dazzling torrent of emerald green light exploded outwards from the epicenter, even as all of the remaining monks collapsed to the chamber floor. Smiles of satisfaction and contentment graced each of their clearly lifeless faces, while their attacker started screaming with impotent frustration.

Nodding to himself with his own measure of satisfaction and approval, the being who had informally adopted the human race as a ward over a hundred millennia previously allowed a small smirk to twist his lips before he disappeared completely.

~/~/~

Resolution Island
New Zealand

The Deeper Well

Monday, June 7, 1999
A fraction of an instant following the preceding scene


No one, whether guardian or intruder, within the vast otherworldly series of arcane and preternatural burial chambers noticed the pulse of transcendent energy which passed through them. The mystical energy subtly and imperceptibly altered them, their memories and everything else about them, too.

An instant after the pulse had washed through them, Cordelia Chase pointed at one of the bizarrely inscribed portals which closed off the various sarcophagi from the myriad tunnels comprising the Deeper Well and said, "There's something about that particular door that really seems to be pinging at my wiggins-meter, Giles."

"Ah? Well, since we don't have any other potential avenues to pursue, I see no reason why we shouldn't at least investigate and determine what it is that might be producing such a reaction, Cordelia," Giles replied, and the trio cautiously approached the threshold which had caught the brunette's notice.

After examining the framework surrounding the door and finding no indications of any sort of alarm wards or spells, the trio entered as surreptitiously as they could manage and began intently examining the interior.

Inside, an altar, which appeared to be formed from either obsidian or some similar material, occupied the center of the rather small chamber, and lying atop the altar was an iridescent crystal short sword.

Noting else was visible within the room, and a detailed examination could find nothing else present.

"Well, if nothing else, Buffy or Faith would definitely love getting their hands on something like this," Xander declared as he carefully picked the sword up off the altar and deposited in the bag he had brought along to carry whatever spoils they might find. "They both like stabbing stuff *way* too much."

"We better get moving, guys," Cordelia suggested. "Based on what we've seen so far, I'm thinking that we've got a lot of tombs we need to check out."

***

Approximately five and a half hours later, the trio had procured a total of a dozen items, each of them acquired from a crypt which had given one of the three 'the wiggins,' as Cordelia had termed the feeling engendered in them by the presence of one of the purloined artifacts.

"Uh, I have no idea why, guys – but all of a sudden, I'm kinda feeling like we've found everything that we needed to get, in here," Harris announced as they carefully exited the tomb in which they discovered and then grabbed a pair of bronze-colored metal bracers. "And I'm thinking that maybe we should get the heck out of here, before someone or something finds us. No point in pushing our luck, and all that."

"Yeah, I'm feeling like maybe we shouldn't push our luck anymore, either, and that we should leave, too, Giles," Cordelia agreed with Xander's comment as she looked at their mentor an equally uncomfortable expression. "I dunno why, I just do."

"Well, oddly enough… I, too, now have the impression that we have obtained everything we need to acquire on this foray," Giles agreed with a hint of a frown on his face.

"Very well, then. Let's depart as quickly and as quietly as we can," the ex-Watcher suggested, as he nodded his own agreement with the teens' comments. "As both of you have already pointed out, there is no need for us to take any unnecessary chances, now that we have apparently successfully accomplished the reason for our mission here today."

So saying, Giles very carefully examined the areas adjacent to the doorway opening onto the hallway for any indications of new guards or alarms before he then began heading back to the entranceway, which was now located approximately a score of levels above their current position.

Moving just as stealthily as the ex-Watcher, Cordelia and Xander followed, barely daring to breathe and maintaining just as wary an eye on everything around them as their father figure was doing, the trio flying as quickly as they thought prudent up the central shaft forming the main axis of this supernatural burial chamber.

Scarcely an hour later, and against all of the expectations their previous experience had engendered, the trio were securely strapped into their seats and giving heartfelt sighs of relief as Xander piloted their shuttle up into a suborbital flight path intended to get them home as quickly as possible.

~/~/~

Summers residence
Sunnydale, CA

Monday, June 7, 1999


"Mom, I'm outta here," Buffy announced as she paused in the hallway and peeked around the doorframe into her mother's bedroom. "I'm going over to Willy's bar, so I can check up on the vamp I was telling you about, earlier – the one who was bragging about how she and her friends targeted incoming college kids for dinner.

"Willow and Faith and Oz are all busy setting up another one of Willow's experiments, and Xand, Cordy and Giles aren't back from checking out that Deeper Purple Well place Giles was talking about, yet," the blonde explained, "so I'm just gonna head over there by myself."

Spinning around suddenly as she heard the faintest whisper of sound behind her, Buffy confronted a beautiful, long-haired brunette, who was staring at her with a frown on her lovely features.

"What are you doing here?" the blonde instantly demanded, scowling at the other girl, who glared back at her.

"If no one else is available to help, why don't you take your sister with you, Buffy?" Joyce asked in a reasonable tone of voice as she stood in the door of her room and looked at the pair.

"Mom!" the girls exclaimed in unison, as they each turned their head to look at Joyce with outraged indignation.

"Honestly, Buffy. You too, Dawn," Joyce sighed with exasperation, her hands on her hips, as she stared back at the pair.

"I have to say, even for fraternal twins, you girls are such complete opposites."

The End?

You have reached the end of "Tomb Raider 2 – Unfinished Business" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 8 Nov 13.

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