Court and Spark - 4
~ Giles’ Residence, Tuesday 11:52 a.m.~
“Oh, I know this one! You need to have donuts.” Anya beamed up at her boyfriend.
“What are you talking about?” Xander turned away from the dark house. He’d already tried Willow and Buffy’s dorm room, and was now resorting to looking for Giles.
“Willow was telling me about this. She says when there’s an apocalypse, you guys have this little ritual. Giles brings the books, Buffy brings the stakes, Willow brings the laptop, and you bring the donuts.” Xander arched a brow. “Oh don’t look at me like that! Rituals are tricky things. Maybe if you don’t have donuts then the whole averting apocalypse ritual falls apart. If we go get donuts and return, then they’ll all be here and we can avert the apocalypse.”
“Anya, it’s a sign that I’ve been living here way too long that that almost makes sense.” Xander answered. “Sadly, I don’t think that’s the answer. We need to get inside.”
“But nobody’s home.” Anya pouted. “Come on, let’s go back home and practice some of our own rituals.” She tugged lightly at his sleeve.
“Not right now Ahn.” Xander frowned. He crossed the yard and knocked hard on the door. Not surprisingly, no one answered. Xander took a step back and surveyed the front porch. “Come on G, I know you must have a key around here somewhere.” He mumbled.
“Try the rock.” Anya rolled her eyes at the tacky sculpture that was obviously a key hidey-hole.
“Anya, why would he put his key in a rock?” Xander frowned, picking up the welcome mat and shaking it out.
Anya picked up the plaster lump and slid the panel out from the bottom. She fished out the house key and handed it to Xander. “You were saying?”
“Right.” Xander took the key and opened the front door. “Thanks Anya, you were right, again.” He apologized to appease the ex-demon. Quietly. he entered hoping that whatever had chased Giles off wasn’t still around.
“So what are we looking for?” Anya followed Xander in and locked the door behind her.
“Any clue as to where Buffy, Willow, and Giles are.” Xander frowned, looking at the pile of books on the table. There were several still laying around from Willow’s research on Asher the week before and there was one book open to a page that looked like a family portrait taken back in the 1800s. Looking closely, he noticed that it was a portrait of Angel’s vampire family. Well, he guessed that answered the question whether Spike was a natural blonde.
“I don’t think we’re going to find anything here.” Anya flipped through a journal resting on the arm of the couch. “Oh, listen to this.”
“Are you sure you should be reading anything out loud? Sometime Giles has spells that…” Xander’s warning was cut off as Anya began quoting.
“Dark eyes, dark hair, dark life, the gypsy woman comes to me at night. She fills my dreams with promises never kept, dancing up a river in the dark…”
“What the…?” Xander frowned, eyeing Anya suspiciously. That didn’t sound like a watcher’s journal, and it sure wasn’t a spell.
Anya flipped to the front page. “Songbook of Ripper Giles. Private. Keep out. That means you.” She read then shrugged.
“He wrote that?” Xander winced at the image of the tweedy librarian composing song lyrics.
“They’re not that bad. I mean, I wouldn’t suggest he perform them in public or anything… but I’ve read worse.” Anya sunk into the couch, flipping through Giles’ collection of love songs. “Man, is he obsessed with brunettes.” She muttered. “Listen, here’s another one about the gypsy.”
“Ahn, honey, I don’t think you’re supposed to be reading that. He did write private on the front.” Xander politely pointed out as he flipped through Giles’ little black address book.
“You search your way, I’ll search mine.” Anya shrugged.
“Look, why don’t we check upstairs; I’m not seeing anything here. Let’s see if he packed anything like he was expecting to leave.”
“Oh all right.” Anya followed Xander to the stairs, bringing the songbook with her. They had just reached the upstairs landing, when there was a pounding on the door. Xander grabbed Anya and dragged her into the first room on his right, which happened to be the master bathroom. Xander’s instincts screamed at him to hide, so he pulled Anya into the tub with him, and drew the shower curtain closed. “Ooh, this is exciting.” She wiggled underneath him. “We’ve never tried this in Giles’ house.”
“Shh. Someone’s coming.” Xander whispered. Anya rolled her eyes. Xander was just no fun sometimes, but she figured she may as well let Xander play spy.
~Giles’ Residence, Tuesday, 11:56 a.m.~
“Are you going to explain this to me now?” Forrest stared at his C.O. who was walking up the driveway of a residence. “Because I don’t think the rest of the guys were too keen on the splitting up plan, and this is not our normal patrol area. Don’t tell me we’re following one of Finn’s crazy schemes.”
“It’s the librarian’s house.” Graham shrugged, walking up to the front door.
“The librarian? As in the old guy in quarantine?”
“We know he’s not in, so why are we here?” Forrest followed after Graham, getting an eerie feeling about this.
“Look, Riley said the guy knows stuff and it’s one of the few addresses we didn’t check in Buffy’s address book. I’ve just got a feeling it will be useful.” Graham knocked on the door to make sure no one was in. The lights were all off, and from the stack of newspapers on the porch, it had been a few days since anyone had used this door.
“I don’t know man, this just seems a bit off. Maybe we should double back to the high school.” Forrest frowned, watching Graham slide a lock pick out of his belt. “Hey, where’d you get that?”
“Officer’s privilege.” Graham smirked focusing on undoing the front lock. The door opened with little fuss, and the two soldiers stepped inside. “Geesh, talk about taking your work home with you.” The two stared at the bookshelves stacked two books deep, lining every wall in the living room and wrapping into the dining room. “Okay, you take table, I take desk.”
“What are we looking for?”
“We are looking for a woman by the name of Willow Rosenberg, and Hostile 17, or any evidence connecting them to the attack on Beta and Epsilon units. You were paying attention at briefing, weren’t you?” Graham muttered sarcastically, riffling through the desk calendar that had every upcoming astronomical event highlighted in orange. “This is the best lead we have.”
“Okay, but let me go on record as saying this is a dumb idea.” Forrest muttered, shifting through some of the old books.
“Comment noted, Daisy One.” Graham answered teasingly.
Forrest was about to respond when he noticed a book in the corner opened to a sienna portrait. “Oh, hello! I think I’ve found something.”
“Yeah?” Graham drifted over to peek at the book.
“The guy on the left, if you were to give him a hair cut, add bleach, and a leather jacket…”
“Holy mackerel, it’s Hostile 17.” Graham muttered.
“Holy mackerel? You’ve been hanging out with Iowa.” Forrest teased.
“Let me see that.” Graham took the book from Forrest, ignoring the jibe. Quietly, he began reading. Forrest shrugged and moved over to the desk. “Hey, he’s got phone messages. Wouldn’t it be just our luck if Rosenberg called?”
“Could you save the messages if you listened to them?” Graham asked quietly reading some history of William the Bloody.
“Sure, it’s your standard answering machine.” Forrest replied, glancing at his C.O. As far as he knew military phone taps of suspected hostiles were legal, so it wasn’t like listening to some librarian’s message would get them in trouble even if they were traced.
“Damn, listen to this- William the Bloody was the fourth member of Scourge of Europe, a vampire gang famous for decimating many European towns in the 19th century. Several historians have claimed that the hacking style of William the Bloody’s executions served as a pattern for the murderer, Jack the Ripper. Reported to have a falling out with his sire’s sire, Angelus, sometime in the 1870s, William the Bloody attempted to make a name for himself by impaling his victims with railroad spikes…”
“Do you want me to play the tapes, or would you rather have story time?” Forrest interrupted.
“Oh, right. Let’s hear it.” Graham set the book down. They listened to four messages play out, two from Xander and two from Angel. “Well, it looks like we can cross Mr. Harris and this Angel character off the suspects list. They obviously don’t know anything.” Graham muttered, glancing back at the book.
“I don’t know. We should probably assign a detail to them, since they’re looking for the same thing we are. What if they find Hostile 17 first? And what was that about a commando research party?”
“Damn.” Graham scowled. “I should talk to Walsh about this. Do you remember if there was an Anya in the addressbook?”
Before Forrest could reply, their radios came on. “All units! Come in all units!” A static voice shouted. “Old high school is under attack. We need backup. At least twenty H.S.T.s, some armed.”
Graham whipped out his radio. “Pansy One and Daisy One are about five blocks away, E.T.A.: 3 minutes. Pansy One out.” Graham and Forrest ran from the house, barely taking time to slam the door shut.
“Damn. Do you know what that means?” Xander muttered as soon as the door shut.
“Yeah.” Anya frowned. “They started the party without me.”