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Summary: A response to Jinni's five song challenge- Asher is sent by the council to investigate reports of military activity near the Hellmouth

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > Willow-Centered > Pairing: AsherdulcineaFR1855165,32913100123,8432 May 043 Sep 06Yes

Bad Boy - 7

~Giles Residence, Monday, 9:20 a.m.~

“Hello, you have reached Rupert Giles’ residence. I am not here to answer your call right now, so please leave a message after the beat.” Beep.

“Hey G-man, it’s Xander. Were we supposed to meet today or something? I couldn’t remember if today was the commando-research party, or if we were putting it off for tomorrow. Oh well, I’ll call Willow to find out.”

~Initiative Room 314, Monday, 9:30 a.m.~

Maggie Walsh was tired. She had been at work for nearly 48 hours straight, and it looked like today would be another long one. Her number one agent was currently being held in quarantine under charges of treason, and she wasn’t quite sure if he was innocent. She had two civilians being held in quarantine, and had yet to decide what to do with them. And, as if that was not enough to make this a bad day, she still had no accounts of Hostile 17’s whereabouts. Sure, they had tightened up security, but it was still troubling to think of a hostile loose with information of their operation. She had thought coming down to her lab would help her focus her thoughts, but she couldn’t concentrate.

“Mother, what is troubling you?” A deep voice spoke through the white sheet covering the body. The only exposed part was the left arm, which looked mostly human except for the orangey-green tint and webbing between the fingers.

“Many things trouble me, Adam, but nothing for you to be concerned with.” Maggie’s voice was calm and methodical, the voice of scientific authority that she had practiced during the late nights at lab in grad school. “Why do you ask?”

“I can sense your nervousness.”

“Interesting.” Maggie muttered, adjusting the electrodes on the finger tips. “How do you sense my nervousness?”

“I believe it is your pheremones that I am detecting through my sinus cavity, however the sensilla on my hand are giving me contradictory input.” Adam sounded truly puzzled.

“Which sensilla?” Maggie held the hand up looking for any patches of vibration receptors.

“I believe they are located about a centimeter below my wrist.” Adam answered.

“What message are they sending you?”

“That you would make good prey. You get me so excited.” Adam answered flatly, not at all concerned with alarming his so-called mother. “But then, that may also be a sign that you are nervous, and therefore vulnerable.”

“I will take that into consideration.” Maggie answered, hiding the distaste from her voice. Carefully, she unhooked the electrodes, putting the arm back under the sheet. She pulled off a printout from the E.A.G. recorder, frowning at the triple set of peaks with every stimulus. The polarization was all wrong; it should be polarization, depolarization, flat line. Where was the third peak coming from? It may not mean that the arm was capable of independent thought, but it was enough to warrant another look at possible replacements. What was that file that Doctor Angleman had left on her desk, a polgara specimen? Perhaps that would be a better replacement. Maggie threw her latex gloves in the biohazard bag, and headed to the doorway. “I need to return to my office now, Adam. Doctor Angleman should return in a few hours to check on you.”

“Good night mother.” Adam called out as Maggie hit the light switch. Yet another problem to think about, but at least thinking of Adam brought out her creative side and let her mind think freely. She wished she could discuss things with Riley. Sure, Riley was not cleared for project 314, but usually when she couched things in general enough terms he came up with some of the most interesting theories. Of course Riley was being held in the quarantine chamber. There was nothing preventing her from speaking with him. Yes, that was what she would do.

Having resolved her next course of action, Dr. Walsh made a beeline for the couch in her office. She checked her watch and set the small digital clock on her desk to ring in three hours. She needed her REM sleep, and Riley would still be waiting for her, whether she rested or not.

~ Giles Residence, Monday, 9:50 a.m.~

“Hello, you have reached Rupert Giles’ residence. I am not here to answer your call right now, so please leave a message after the beat.” Beep. Pause.

“It’s Angel. Call me. It’s an emergency.”

~Initiative Exam Room, Monday, 10:00 a.m.~

Riley found himself in one of the doctor’s offices adjoining the quarantine cells. Sitting on the patient’s table, he was left alone with his thoughts while the M.P.s that brought him in were out guarding the hall. He hoped he wasn’t wrong in assuring Buffy that he’d be back with her soon. His hopes began to fade when he saw the door open, and Dr. Walsh walk into the room. He thought he knew Professor Walsh reasonably well, and she definitely did not have on her happy face.

“Riley.” Dr. Walsh nodded, as she sat in the doctor’s chair and settled a clipboard in her lap.

“Dr. Walsh, how are you?” Riley tried to use that polite friendliness his mother had drilled into him as a boy.

“Riley, you know I’m disappointed.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am.”

“I know you are. The question is how sorry are you?”

“Excuse me?”

“Do you understand that you were put under house arrest as well as quarantine? I believe Agent Miller’s report charged you with …” Maggie flipped a sheet on the clipboard, double checking her notes, more for appearance sake than anything else. After all, she was always on camera, “… assault of an officer, conspiracy, and violating direct orders.”

“Yes, ma’am, I am aware of the charges.”

“I was surprised to hear of this.”

“There were extenuating circumstances. I’m sure if I have a chance to explain to a board of inquiry, I’ll be able to get those charges dropped, ma’am.” Riley answered sincerely.

“Well, Agent Finn, as your commanding officer, I do have the authority to dismiss these charges from your records, but first I need you to answer the charges. What exactly occurred?”

Riley spoke for nearly an hour, trying to remember ever single detail from his day, hoping that it would be enough. He would hate to go back to Iowa, drummed out of the army, a disgrace to his family.

“Are you sure about all of that?” Maggie eyed Riley suspiciously. Either there were major holes in his story, or there was something highly suspicious going on. “I find it hard to believe that one girl could do so much.”

“Yeah, I know. Buffy really is amazing.”

“Are you sure you aren’t letting your affections cloud your better judgment?”

Riley looked up shocked. Sure he thought Buffy was hot, what guy wouldn’t, but he would never perjure himself for her sake. Walsh saw the reaction, and nearly chuckled at the flabbergasted look on Riley’s face. “No, ma’am. I assure you, I am in very clear control of my senses. She just is something else. I mean, I can outrun all but maybe three guys on base, and this girl could easily lap me.”

“Anything else?”

“Well, like I said, she managed to throw a wooden stake nearly twenty feet and impale an H.S.T. directly in the heart. That may not sound like a lot, but to get both the aim right and the strength behind the throw so that it managed to lodge through the flesh; that’s pretty impressive.”

“What about the old man?”

“Giles? He’s just a nice old guy.”

“What’s a nice old guy doing with a coed?”

“He was her librarian?” Riley offered. Somehow when Giles had explained it, it had made sense, but now it just sounded really sketch.

“You said he had books containing information on H.S.T.s?”

“Something like that.” Riley offered, a bit worried by the gleam in Walsh’s eye.

“And Hostile 17 was listed in these books?”

“Yeah, he had pictures and everything. It was like he spent his whole life researching these things.”

“Are you sure he isn’t one of those things?”

“That’s impossible, ma’am. He was active during the day and had no problem with the daylight. Besides, most H.S.T.s recover from blasts much faster than Mr. Giles has.”

“Ah, that’s right. So how did Buffy manage to recover from her hits so quickly? According to your testimony, she was hit by several blasts at close range in the back.”

“Yes, ma’am. I don’t know how she did it.”

“Do you stand by your statement that you fell on Miller and Gates as an accident, and not as a deliberate attack?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And do you stand by your statement that you were incapacitated, and thus your method of contacting base was forcefully removed, preventing you from following orders?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And do you stand by your statement that you were not conspiring with any H.S.T.s?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Riley watched as Walsh scribbled something on to her clipboard. “Does this mean I’m free to rejoin Alpha unit?”

“I’m sorry Riley, but that’s not possible right now.” Walsh offered Riley a false smile. “I need you to stay in confinement with Miss Summers and Mr. Giles until we can get complete statements from them and make sure they are safe. I think they would panic if your presence were removed. Your standing orders are to stay by their sides no matter what, until we find out what makes them tick.”

“Ah. I understand.” Riley nodded, knowing that there was something Walsh wasn’t explaining, that he probably wouldn’t understand even if she could explain. Walsh knew that if Riley was at all correct, she would have to keep Summers under surveillance. If she was anything close to what Riley was describing, she could be very useful. If Buffy trusted Riley, and Riley trusted the Initiative, then she would be even more useful. Maggie had a lot to think about, but the thoughts were much more interesting than they had been twelve hours ago.

~ Giles Residence, Monday, 12:00 pm~

“Hello, you have reached Rupert Giles’ residence. I am not here to answer your call right now, so please leave a message after the beat.” Beep.

“Hey Giles, me again. Look, I can’t get a hold of Willow or Buffy. Is there something going on? I’m going to Anya’s for a bit after work, so if you guys are doing the research powwow thing, you can have Wills call me over there.”

~ Initiative Quarantine, Monday, 1:30 pm~


“Giles are you awake?” Buffy was immediately at Giles side.

“Mmph arrgh mphh?” was all that Giles could understand. It felt like herds of elephants were dancing in his head. He tried to open his eyes, but it was too bright so he shut them quickly with a wince. “Raurrgh?” Giles tried to speak, but his throat was parched and it hurt too much to think straight. Damn, he hadn’t gotten this drunk since that night at the circus when… ouch, the elephants weren’t about to let him continue that thought.

“Eww, you’re drooling.” Buffy frowned, backing slightly.

“Water?” Giles finally managed to get out.

“Oh! Yeah, that would be good. They haven’t slipped any trays in here for awhile.” Buffy glanced around anxiously. How exactly did one go about getting a glass of water in a military confinement room?

“Riley told me there were cameras and stuff, so I know someone’s listening. Whoever you are, can you please get a bottle of water for Giles? He’s not feeling well.” Buffy called out loudly.

Giles winced at the sound of her shrill voice. “Buffy?” he whispered

“Shh, it’s okay. We’ll get you some water, and that’ll help.” Buffy patted Giles’ shoulder nervously. Giles, feeling ill, wanted to slap her hand away, but found that his hands weren’t responding to even the most basic thoughts.

“I can’t move my fingers.” He whispered, wondering if now would be a good time to panic. Since becoming a full time watcher, he had woken up in some strange situations, but this promised to be one of the weirdest.

A small panel opened, a bottle of water was dropped into the room, the panel quickly closed before Buffy had reached the water bottle. She quickly brought the bottle to her watcher, and sat him up against the wall. He took a few gulps from the bottle that Buffy had to hold. Slowly the feeling was coming back to his limbs and he found he could flex his fingers, although it felt like a million tiny pin pricks any time he tried.

“Where are we?” Giles finally was able to ask.

“We were taken hostage by the army, and are being held captive by my psychology professor.”

“Now Buffy, I know you think the woman is a bear and treated Willow rather cruelly, but that is no reason to think she would take us hostage. Not all your teachers are out to get you.”

“I know that, but she’s really the one holding us here. Besides, have I ever accused a teacher of being out to get me before?” Before Giles could answer Buffy added, “And I mean, the teacher wasn’t really out to get me after all?”

“Madame Brown.” Giles answered.

“Okay, so I was wrong about the French teacher, but I was right on all other counts, and hey there were a lot more rights than wrongs. Besides, you’re British, aren’t you always supposed to think the French are out to get you?” Giles managed to roll his eyes and groan. “And I know it sounds crazy, but I saw her here.”

“In this room?”

“No, they took me out to shower and stuff awhile ago.”

“How long have I been out?”

“I’m not completely sure, but I think a good twelve hours.”

“Well, I suppose as far as concussions go, that’s not so bad.”

“I don’t know. You have more experience with the whole getting knocked out thing than I do.” Buffy teased, inwardly relieved to have her watcher back to normal, or at least able to converse.

“So why exactly are we in this god awful white room?” Giles had to ask. It was still so bright, he could only squint.

“Maybe Riley will tell us that when he gets back here.”

“The psychology T.A.? He was captured as well?”

“I think he’s part of the capturers.”

“Ah, hence the professor conspiracy theory.” Giles nodded understandingly.

“I’m not kidding Giles.” Buffy pouted. “I’m completely right, and as soon as you get feeling better again, you’ll see that I’m right.”

“Very well.” Giles agreed on the principle that it was bad to argue with a slayer when you were injured and trapped in a room with her. “Can you pass me the water?”

Buffy handed him the bottle and he took another gulp, swishing it around in his mouth. Much to Buffy’s disgust, he spit it out.

“Ew! That’s gross Giles, do you have some sort of swallowing problem?”

“It’s not just water.” Giles answered, coughing slightly.

“What are you talking about?”

“Trust me, as someone who actually lived through the seventies, it’s drugged.”

“Hi Buffy! Oh Giles, you’re up, that’s great.” Riley entered the room, the door slamming and locking fast behind him. If looks could kill, Buffy would be sending him to his funeral right now. “Are you guys okay? What did I do?”

~ Giles Residence, Monday, 1:45 pm~

“Hello, you have reached Rupert Giles’ residence. I am not here to answer your call right now, so please leave a message after the beat.” Beep.

“Look, it’s about Willow. I’m worried about her. Call me back. Oh, it’s Angel.”
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