Ducks in a Row
Title: Tomboy in Trouble
Part Title: Ducks in a Row
Summary: Giles makes a request and the gang makes preparations.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer through “Chosen”. Everwood through the end of Season 2.
* Timeline for this installment:
* Season 9 of BtVS and “Season 3” of Everwood.
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I don't own this stuff. Joss Whedon and Greg Berlanti do. No cash made, just fun had. I promise I won't break 'em, and I'll put 'em back in the case when I'm done.
Faith’s last name, for the purpose of this fic, is Summers. I will explain later.
For those of you who don’t know, the time zone in England is called “Greenwich Mean Time” or simply “GMT”. Other time zones are referred to in terms of hours plus or minus GMT. (IE, Colorado is on Mountain Time, which is referred to as “GMT-7”. Italy is in GMT+1.)
From: Rupert Giles <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Buffy Summers <email@example.com>; Willow Rosenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Xander Harris <email@example.com>; Faith Summers <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Dawn Summers <email@example.com>; Robin Wood <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Andrew Wells <email@example.com>
Subject: Conference Call – 10:00 AM GMT
There will be a compulsory conference call at 10:00 AM GMT. Faith, Xander, and Robin, I apologize for the early time, but I feel that it is extremely important that we act immediately on the Everwood issue.
Head of the Watchers’ Council
10:00 AM (GMT)
“You know, Dad, this is starting to look more and more like demon possession.”
“Nah. With demon possession you get projectile vomiting and that weird thing with the head rotating three hundred and sixty degrees.”
With that, the Brown boys chuckled and went back to bed, neither knowing just how close to the truth Ephram had been.
Meanwhile, a timezone to the west, a one-eyed man stumbled into the newly renovated lobby of the Hyperion Hotel. The council had purchased it from Angel for use as their North American base of operations and primary training facility. It was ideal for “Slayer School” because there were numerous places that slayers could live (and each one could pretty much have her own room) and there were two ballrooms that could be retrofitted into gymnasiums. The fact that the hotel housed a commercial grade kitchen and a sizable dining room didn’t hurt much, either.
He made his way to the front desk where he met a former high-school principal. He picked up a line on the newly installed operator’s console. He dialed a number and waited for the other end to pick up.
He heard Willow’s voice. “You have reached the Watchers’ Council’s teleconferencing center. Please enter your six digit access code.”
He heard a beep, then Buffy’s voice. “... What do you think, Dawnie?”
Dawn’s voice came next. She spoke in mock anger. “WHAT?! We’re moving back? I just got fluent in Italian!”
“Oh yes,” Giles said, drolly, “and you have such command of the *English* language.”
“Shut up, Giles,” Dawn pouted.
Willow asked, “Who just beeped in?”
“It’s me and Robin,” Xander replied drowsily.
“Hey,” mumbled Robin Wood.
“So, all we’re missing is Faith,” Willow announced.
And at that exact second, there was a beep on the line.
“Yeah?” Faith didn’t sound any more awake than Xander or Robin.
“Excellent, we’re all here. First, to sum up, we have a problem. As we feared, there is a situation developing in Everwood. Faith, could you repeat your assessment for the rest of us?”
“It’s bad, G. We definitely got some serious shit starting. I think we’ve got some time, though. I went on patrol earlier and didn’t find anything.”
Xander knew that if Faith was saying that, then it confirmed that there was trouble brewing. The coven in Devon was seldom wrong when it came to detecting “disturbances in the force”.
Giles inquired, “Did the slayer enter Doctor Brown’s house?”
He muttered something under his breath; if Xander had been more awake, he’d be able to identify the curse the older man had just uttered, but he wasn’t, and hadn’t. “Our slayer,” Giles stated, “Is a ten year old enrolled at Everwood Elementary school in the fifth grade. Her name is Delia Brown, and is the younger child of Doctor Andrew Brown, the noted neurosurgeon. Because of her extremely young age and the nature of the developing situation, I would prefer to have a team in the area. Faith, what did you find out at the Realtors’?”
Faith spoke up again. “We’ve got about twelve places within a ten mile radius of main street. The best place is two blocks north and a half block west of Delia’s pad. It’s kinda run down, but we can get it for cheap. I haven’t seen it yet; the realtor was getting ready to go to the high school – she teaches ballet or something – so all I got was the listing sheet. It’s got six bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a living room, a den-type room, and a full basement.”
“Excellent. Now comes the part of our conversation when I ask you all to do me a favor. I would like the core team and Faith to take up residence in Everwood, Colorado. Buffy, Dawn, and Willow have already agreed.”
Xander had to pause to think what that meant. Buffy, Willow, himself. Dawn would, of course, be coming...
Wait a minute.
“Uh, Giles,” Xander began, “What about – ”
The older man cut him off. “The Hyperion renovations can be seen to by Robin. I will send Vi and Rona to replace Faith. Buffy tells me that her business in Rome is completed. Willow can work from anywhere, and I will attempt to make periodic visits.”
Xander had to grudgingly admit that the plan, as stated, would work. And it would be great to see everyone again. “Okay Giles, I’ll go.”
“Can I go too?”
“Well, we will have an extra bedroom,” Dawn stated.
Buffy asked, “But where will Giles sleep?”
Xander declared in a tone that spoke of the early hour, the lack of coffee in his system, and his desire to return to his bed. “We can convert the den into a guest room.”
“Come on, B,” Faith – who was more awake now – cajoled, “Don’t think of it as bringing along a nerdy scifi freak, think of it as bringing along a two star chef who will be doing all of the cooking.”
“Hey!” Andrew sounded affronted. “Three stars!”
“I do not have a problem with it,” Giles responded, to cut of any further discussion along this tangent. “Andrew may go with Buffy and Dawn.”
Buffy did exactly sound happy, but she didn’t really sound mad, either. “Okay. We’re gonna need a day or so to pack up our stuff and ship it somewhere.”
“I’ll swing through Rome on my way out to Colorado to help you out,” Willow offered. “Xander, if a big pile of Buffy, Dawn, and Andrew’s stuff appears in the lobby, can you bring it with you?”
“Sure, I’ll rent a U-Haul.” He replied, curtly. He really wanted to get back to sleep.
“Very good. Please keep me abreast of your progress. Goodbye.”
Everyone returned his goodbyes and hung up. Xander and Robin were making their way back to the staircase when a bright flash of light and whooshing sound gave them pause. They slowly turned around and were greeted by a small mountain of boxes labeled “Books” and “Willow”.
Robin looked at Xander and declared, “Looks like you’re gonna need a bigger truck, man.”
3:00 PM (GMT)
“Good morning, Edna,” Doctor Brown cheerfully greeted his gruff nurse. “How are you today?”
“Just fine, boss,” she said, gritting her teeth.
He approached her and asked quietly, “Harold?”
“Got it in one,” she grumbled back.
“Do you want me to say something to him?”
“No, no... I’ll take care of it. Any word yet on Delia?”
“You know, Sarge, It seems to me that my pain in the ass son could be of some assistance.”
“I’ve already asked him. He doesn’t know anything either.”
It was at that point that Dr. Harold Abbot strolled through the door. “Good morning Andy, Mother. Andy, I heard back from one of my contacts regarding that case you mentioned to me.”
“It’s okay, Junior,” Edna wearily imparted. “I know all about it.”
“Ah. Well then. Most of my contacts – indeed, all but one – have never seen anything like this. The one who had ran into this about twenty-five years ago while treating a mugging victim. She came in unconscious, with a puncture wound to the abdomen – he said it was strange, the wound looked almost like it had come from a sword. They went in, repaired the damage to her G.I. Tract, and sewed her back up. The next night, she almost killed a nurse with her bare hands who tried to wake her while she was thrashing around during a nightmare. Apparently, she was afraid that the girl would pop her stitches.”
“Exceptional strength, Nightmares, it all fits,” Edna Harper stated.
“The thing is, Mother, this young woman’s strength wasn’t exceptional, it was super-human. She shattered the nurse’s sternum, broke some ribs and stopped her heart with one punch that propelled her out of the room.”
Doctor Brown and his nurse exchanged shocked looks.
“You think that’s impressive,” Doctor Abbot declared, “That’s nothing compared to what she did next. She went to the nurse’s station, picked up a pair of regular office scissors and removed her sutures.”
“The wound was completely healed. The nurses that were cowering in the corner said that where the surgeon went in, the scar looked several years old. Then she asked where her clothes were. They told her, she dressed, and left.”
Andy was becoming more concerned by the second. “Did your friend ever find out what was going on?”
“He had no idea. He did, however, receive a visit a few days after by two Englishmen from an organization called the Council of Watchers. He wouldn’t tell me what was said, but he warned me to drop the subject.”
Andy’s response was cut off by Louise’s arrival at the office.
Los Angeles, California
5:00 PM (GMT)
Xander and Robin had all of Xander, Faith, and Willow’s things in the back of the U-Haul. He looked at his watch, and saw that it was nine o’clock in the morning. Which meant that it was dinnertime in Italy. Which meant that Willow was in Rome. Which meant that he and Robin should probably get back to the lobby, because in about fifteen minutes, a whole new pile of boxes was going to magically appear.
They got as far as the door when the familiar bright light and whoosh stopped them.
The two men turned around. Boxes labeled “Buffy”, “Dawn”, and “Andrew” were loaded into the back of the truck behind the ones they had just loaded.
“Willow’s early,” Robin observed.
“Why couldn’t she just have done that with her own stuff?”
“That would have been too easy,” the former principal quipped sardonically.
Detroit Wayne County Metropolitan Airport
1:00 AM (GMT)
The four travelers had reached their departure gate, and surveying their surroundings. It still being dinner time here in Detroit, the restaurants were all still open.
Buffy flipped open her cell phone and turned it back on. She then dialed the number for the LA Office.
“Council of Watchers, Los Angeles Office,” answered a crisp, upper-crust British-accented girl.
“Hello, Miss Summers! Make it across the pond all right?”
“Yep. Any news on the others?”
“Faith checked in about eight hours ago, said that had an appointment with the realtor. She called back in four hours later and asked for Mister Giles. Mister Harris called to report that he was on his way about seven and a half hours ago.” Buffy could hear a map crinkling. “According to my calculations, he should be nearly across Nevada by now.”
“Cool,” Buffy Replied. “Willow, Dawn, Andrew, and I are in Detroit right now. Our Connection leaves in ,” she consulted her watch, “Two hours and ten minutes. “It’s a three hour flight, so we should be in Denver at six your time. We’ll grab a hotel, and then drive up to Everwood in the morning.”
“Very Good. I will tell Mr. Giles when he checks in next.”
“Thanks, Annie. We’ll call again when we get to Denver.”
“Goodbye, Miss Summers.”
She snapped her clamshell phone closed.
“Well,” Willow asked, “What should we do for the next two hours?”
Buffy pointed down the terminal. “There’s a Bar.”
This was fine with the redhead; she wanted to know why Buffy wasn’t kicking and screaming about having been reassigned to Colorado. She had found over the last year or so that the slayer was much more forthcoming after a drink or two.
“Dawn’s not twenty-one yet,” Andrew reminded them.
The witch thought mean, mean things about Andrew, and his making things more difficult than they needed to be.
Apparently, Dawn was like-minded. “You know Andrew, it’s not like I haven’t ever had alcohol.”
Andrew replied calmly. “That was Italy. This is Detroit. They probably won’t let her into the bar, ‘cause she’s not old enough.”
“They won’t let her sit at the bar, but they’ll let her sit at a table,” Willow explained. She defended herself when they all gave her strange looks. “What?! We flew through here when Giles, Vi, Rona, and I checked out Cleveland. Vi and Rona weren’t old enough, either. The Bartender said that we could all sit at a table. ‘Cause you know, they were minors. And if you’re a minor, you can’t sit at the bar.”
“Well, shall we?”
They picked up their carry-ons and meandered down the terminal to the bar. As they sat down, Buffy asked for drink orders.
“Copperhead,” Willow responded, “With Vernor’s.”
Dawn’s brow furrowed. “What kind of liquor is Vernor’s?”
“It isn’t. It’s Ginger Ale,” Willow explained.
“I’ll have a Captain and Coke,” Andrew replied.
Dawn opened her mouth to speak, and her sister cut her off. “I already know what you’re getting.”
She went up and got the drinks.
She came back and placed a glass of amber liquid in front of Willow, a dark colored drink in front of Andrew, and pink drinks in front of herself and Dawn.
“What’s this?” Dawn asked.
“Shirley Temple,” the older sister replied.
“What’s that?” The younger sibling indicated the older’s glass.
“Shirley Temple Black,” Buffy replied.
“Dork,” Dawn snickered.
They sat there, discussing their assignment and drinking their drinks for a while. After the first refill, Willow decided that it was time for her to begin the interrogation. Buffy always had been what Spike used to call “A Cheap Date”.
“So, What happened the other night?”
“What do you mean?”
“With the Immortal,” Dawn Prompted. “’Cause you were really pissed.”
She sighed heavily. “Well, I was waiting for him at the club – and I waited until eleven. I was about to leave, when Riley and Sam and their whole squad show up.”
“Yep. They say hi, by the way. Turns out they were working with the Church on something, and now that they were done, they needed to let off a little steam.”
“Anyway, we had a few drinks, and Sam, the other girl on the team, and I talked.”
“What about,” Andrew asked.
“Guys,” she answered. “Anyway, I was starting to get worried, and at about twoish, I went over to the Immortal’s.” She paused for a moment to take a swig of her drink. “Looks like he has a thing for Ménage a trois.”
“No!” Willow gasped.
“Yes,” Buffy replied in kind. “And after I yelled at him, he had the audacity to ask if I’d like to participate in a ménage a quatre.”
Dawn covered up a snicker with her hand.
“What,” the slayer demanded.
“Well, he IS kind of a horndog.”
“Anyway,” she continued, “By this point, I was really getting mad. And he just laid there, smirking at me.”
“He smirked?!” Willow was amazed. “Doesn’t he know that that’s the quickest way to ‘Wrath o’ Buffy’?”
Buffy wore a smirk of her own. “He does now.”
1:00 AM (GMT)
Faith was watching Doctor Brown’s house. His black foreign SUV backed out of the driveway and headed downtown.
She started the rental and followed them at a discrete distance.
Somewhere in Utah
1:00 AM (GMT)
Xander Harris drove the U-Haul down the highway. He was making excellent time. He had a sneaking suspicion that Willow had added something to her things that made him invisible to the police and their laser and radar detectors.
He’d have to ask her when he got to Colorado.
To Be Continued.