Bad Boy - 9
~Initiative Quarantine, Monday, 6:18 p.m.~
“Come on Giles, it can’t be that drugged. Riley and I have been drinking the water since this morning.”
“I fail to see how that is convincing logic. How do you know your judgment has not been altered by the water? How do you know there won’t be a delayed effect?” Giles countered, his throat still scratchy but unwilling to compromise.
“Under other circumstances I’d agree with you Mr. Giles. However, I’ve been at this base for a year, and that’s just how the water tastes here. Maybe this town’s water supply is tainted, but it’s not the military’s fault.” Riley added, concerned that the old man was being so stubborn over something so simple.
“I know what I tasted. That water is not safe to drink.” Giles shook his head sadly and moved to the corner to sit down against the padded walls.
“So what do you want us to do?” Buffy sat down next to her watcher, and rested her head against his shoulder.
“I’m not quite sure. This wasn’t exactly in the watcher’s handbook.” He answered quietly, hoping that Riley and whatever spy devices surrounded them were not able to eavesdrop on their conversation.
“You know, if being taken hostage by your own country’s military isn’t in the handbook, what exactly is in the handbook?” Buffy asked her watcher.
“Well, a great deal of information on proper calisthenics, history, ethics, and protocols. Oh, and recently a new mission statement was adopted.”
“Was the mission ‘Save the world, and try to stay alive while you’re at it’?” Buffy had to ask.
“No, I believe it was ‘maintain the proper decorum expected from an institution of higher learning and purpose, while providing guidance and training to those who engage in the ultimate struggle of all that is worthy.’ There was more of course, but it was rather poorly worded.”
“Ah.” Buffy answered knowingly. “No wonder I’ve never missed it.”
“Yes well…” Giles muttered.
“So how are we going to get out of this situation? We need to find Willow.” Buffy muttered. The two watched as Riley paced nervously across the room.
“I’m not quite sure.”
“We could try to bust out.”
“I’m not sure we would make it very far. I am guessing that we are underground which means that we would not only need to find a way out of this room, but also out of this entire facility, which is likely to be highly guarded. It’s not like we could just hurl ourselves out a window.”
“Hurl ourselves out a window?” Buffy smiled wryly at Giles words. “That sounds like something I would suggest.”
“Yes, well, I knew you would, and figured I should rule it out before we even mentioned it.”
“Fine, so what now?”
“Do you trust him?” Giles nodded towards Riley.
“I don’t know. What do you think?”
“I think he is being played as a pawn, but as far as pawns go, he is an honorable one.” Giles mumbled.
“Yeah, I guess that’s true. I mean we haven’t really been on any dates, but he’s always been polite, and I get this feeling that he’s a good guy. Like, if we were dating when he drives me home, I would feel safe at night. Unfortunately dating isn’t the same thing as being taken hostage; I don’t know if we should trust him here..”
“Well, we need an ally with inside information.” Giles muttered. “I don’t see any other options.”
“I don’t know… he did drink the water.” Buffy shrugged.
“Yes, well, we all do some experimenting at that age.” Giles answered flippantly. “I think he is relatively safe to confront.”
“Maybe, but there are also cameras and things watching.” Buffy whispered.
“Fine, I will try to be subtle.” Giles assured his slayer. “Riley, do you plan on pacing for the remainder of the evening or will you join us for a moment?” Giles spoke up.
“Huh?” Riley glanced up from his glaring at the floor. He had spent the last few hours replaying his meeting with Walsh, wondering what exactly his duty was now. Did Walsh seriously expect him to follow Giles and Buffy around indefinitely? Would she keep him locked up forever as well?
“Come on and join us… I think Giles wants to start a rock-paper-scissors tournament, and we need a third person.” Buffy teased. Riley walked over and sat down in front of Buffy.
“What’s up? Are you feeling better Mr. Giles?”
“Yes, thank you.” Giles answered quickly, letting his voice drop down to a quiet mutter. “I’m afraid Buffy mislead you; I have no intention of a paper-rock-scissors game.”
“I didn’t think so.” Riley winked at Buffy. It was nice to see that the two civilians were approaching this with a fair amount of dignity and grace. It gave Riley hope that they would cooperate so that he could get out sooner.
“Buffy mentioned that you have means of communicating with the outside. Would it be possible for you to request a short exercise for me?”
“Excuse me?” Riley observed the Brit, who seemed a bit flummoxed, like he was trying to find the right word in a foreign language.
“Well, both you and Buffy have been able to use the facilities. I was wondering if I could look forward to such service.”
“Oh, I get it.” Riley blushed at what Giles was hinting at. “I’m sure if you say something to that effect loud enough, some one will answer.”
“So there is someone listening in all the time, or do I just have to hope someone comes by when I’m yelling for assistance?”
“People are watching us all day to make sure we don’t have any medical emergencies or anything, so go ahead; it won’t take long.”
“Watching, as in we’re on camera?” Buffy asked then covered up her curiousity with the stereotypical valley girl act “But that’s so not fair! I haven’t gotten to touch up my makeup in at least a day, and my hair must be awful.”
“I wouldn’t worry too much about it.” Riley shrugged. “The reception’s not the best in the watch room anyway.”
“It’s still inhumane to not even provide any moisturizer.” Buffy whined, but something in her eyes made Riley question if she was really that vain, or just acting for the cameras.
“Yes, well, maybe if you ask, they’ll bring you some lotion too.” Riley offered, trying to make eye contact with Buffy to let her know he understood.
“Well, then, I think it’s about time I had a walk about.” Giles replied, standing up and walking to the center of the room. “I would like to request the use of your facilities.” He announced
in a loud clear voice.
There was a slight click, and then a voice came over the intercom. “Is this an emergency?”
“Well, I suppose I can hold it for a few minutes, but when you get to be my age…” Giles looked around the room uncomfortably. He hoped his acting was convincing. He couldn’t begin plotting with Buffy until he had a chance to see what lay beyond the cell.
“I’ll have to run that by my superiors, but we’ll see to your request soon.” The voice replied.
“Lieutenant, while you’re at it, could you please get some lotion for Ms. Summers, and perhaps some M.R.E.s?”
“Yes, sir,” Riley couldn’t help but wonder if the solider even saluted with his snappy response. There was an audible click, and then silence.
“I suppose we wait to see if I get permission to use the little boys’ room.” Giles answered wryly.
“It shouldn’t be a problem. They’ll probably want to run you by all the doctors while you’re out there.” Riley was glad to see the older man recovering well. Hopefully the doctors could convince him to eat or drink something and get over this ridiculous paranoia.
“Alright. While I’m out there, I want you to behave.” Giles eyes met Buffy’s and it seemed to Riley as though they had an entire conversation in those glares. Giles hoped Buffy got his intentions. Buffy understood that he wanted her to lay low this time, even though the door would be opened, but she thought it was a waste of an opportunity. His warning glare let her know he wouldn’t be impressed by her improvisation this time. Reluctantly she backed down, she could see Giles was still tired and she was in no position to arrange a prison break and free Giles at the same time if he wasn’t in top condition.
“Don’t I always behave?” Buffy smiled winningly at Giles, then gave him a quick hug. Moments later, a door opened up on the far wall, and several soldiers entered, indicating that Giles should follow them. He followed them out the door, giving Buffy a brief wink and nod to let her know he wasn’t worried; if only he could believe that himself, life would be grand.
~ Hyperion Hotel, Monday, 6:20 pm~
Asher had moved into checkmate position when the front doorbell rang. “That shall be your meal.” He announced and gracefully headed for the front entry. Willow followed behind him as quickly as she could without crutches, but had trouble catching up with his strides. He had already paid the driver and locked the front door by the time she had reached him.
“Would you like to eat in the kitchen?” He offered.
“I suppose.” Willow shrugged, looking longingly out the lobby windows. “I don’t suppose it would be possible to eat out on the courtyard? I miss fresh air.”
“I don’t see why not? It is fully encircled.” Asher allowed Willow to get her way on this little detail, hoping she’d feel less like a captive, and more like a companion. They made their way to the little garden in the center of the hotel, where a small square of starlight was visible overhead. The plants had been neglected far too long, and only a small patch of weeds managed to survive in the old soil, but Willow still preferred it over the sterile kitchen.
Willow straddled the lone bench amongst the weeds and began to unpack her dinner onto the polished marble surface. “I believe I would like a glass of wine to go with dinner. Would you care for something to drink?” Asher asked politely.
“Ooh, anything bubbly there?” Willow answered.
“I do not think our host has any champagne.” Asher answered with a smirk.
“I meant soda.”
Asher disappeared into the dining room only to peek his head out quickly. “There is red wine, or there is tap water.”
“Oh.” Willow frowned. It was a tough decision, but she had read too many exposés on the L.A. water supply to trust anything straight from the tap, or so she told herself. “I suppose a glass of wine wouldn’t hurt. Spike and Angel won’t be getting back any time soon with the computer, right?” Willow glanced up at Asher, who was lingering in the doorway to the dining room.
“Oui, and even if they were to arrive immediately, I have heard from other sources that interacting with your technology works better after a glass of wine.”
Willow chuckled. “Actually, I could believe that.”
Asher disappeared into the dining room, leaving Willow alone for the first time in days. She allowed herself the luxury of letting her mind wander as she got the flimsy plastic fork out of the plastic wrapping. Absently, she shoveled the food into her mouth, surprised that she was so hungry. Staring up in the sky, she caught sight of the moon, and immediately thought of Oz. Where was he right now? Would she ever see him again? If so, could she go back, or would she have to admit that Oz’s mistress was the moon?
She was so lost in thoughts, that Willow missed Asher coming up behind her. He lightly draped his hand over her shoulder, offering her a glass of wine. “The stars are beautiful, no?”
“Thanks.” Willow murmured, taking the glass of wine from him, and setting it down on the bench. Asher left his hand on her shoulder and she debated shaking it off, but then felt that she rather liked the weight on her shoulder, holding her down and grounded. “I wasn’t really thinking about the stars. The moon’s so much bigger; it tends to attract my attention more.”
“Ah is that so?” Asher whispered, sitting down directly behind her. “He will not return.”
“What do you mean?” Willow asked, dropping her fork in the lid of her takeout box.
“You think of your past lover. It is unhealthy to dwell on those thoughts.”
“That’s not true.”
“You do not think obsession is unhealthy?”
“I wasn’t dwelling on him.” Willow pouted, but one glance back at Asher’s arched brow let her know he wasn’t buying it. “Alright, maybe Oz was in my thoughts, but I don’t see why you should care.”
“I care, is that not enough?” Asher replied, staring up at the sky. “See how many other stars there are in the sky? There are so many other options for you to look at.”
“But the moon’s still bigger.” Willow picked up her dinner again, taking another bite.
“Oui, the moon is bigger.” Asher agreed, letting the moment of silence settle as he stared up at the sky. “But only because you are here now. If you were to pursue any of those stars and then turn around, you would see the sun and maybe the earth, but the moon would be too small to see.”
“But I’m here now.” Willow replied sadly, her eyes on the small window of heaven.
“We shall work on that.” Asher gently leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on her neck. “After all, we wouldn’t want to keep the stars waiting.”