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Forever and a Day

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Forever Is A Very Long Time". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Buffy's resurrection in the Master's cave may have had another explanation.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Highlander > GeneralGreywizardFR181375,80457556,20515 Oct 0423 Mar 08No

13

Disclaimer: They’re not mine. Deal with it. I have.

{ } indicates character thoughts.

:: :: indicates mental communication.

Yes, I know it's been quite a while since I posted the last chapter, but my muse has finally deigned to work on this again, so I just nodded my head and wrote what she wanted. ;-)

~~~

The Magic Box
September 19, 2001


“Are you sure you’re up for this, Giles?”

Buffy’s question voiced the concerns that currently filled the minds of the others present as she looked at their mentor as he stood outside the front door of the shop in which he had been shot only the day before, key in hand and a look of disquiet on his face.

Xander chose to remain silent and let his soulmate do any talking that might be necessary, not wanting his father-figure to feel pressured to respond one way or the other to the decision before him.

“Yeah, Giles, we can put this off for another day or so, you know,” Willow chimed in, the current silence making her nervous as echoes of the feelings of fear, horror, dread and anxiety that had filled her yesterday caused her stomach to roil and feel more than a little queasy even as the horrible memories of seeing the Watcher lying in a pool of his own blood on the floor of the shop made her the least bit lightheaded. “There’s no real rush for you to do this.”

Seeing her lover’s obvious distress, Tara merely squeezed the redhead’s hand a little tighter as she stood next to her and waited for Giles to make the next move.

“No, that’s not necessary,” the Englishman said as he shook his head in disagreement.

“While I do greatly appreciate all of your concern regarding any anxieties returning to the shop might cause to arise, this is something I need to do now,” he stated firmly as he slid the key into the lock and turned it to disable the security system. “I want to find out who the bloody hell it was who shot me, so that I can thank him properly.”

It was quite clear, even for someone who had never met him before, that the expression visible on the Watcher’s face most certainly did not belong to the usually genteel and proper Rupert Keith Giles, but to the infamous ‘Ripper’ Giles, who had terrorized a significant portion of the darker side of London’s punk and magical underworld some two and a half decades previously.

“I must admit, though, I never would have thought that this would be the reason I’d be grateful to Anya for insisting that we install security cameras,” he murmured with a thin grin.

While the Watcher retrieved the VCR and its hopefully enlightening surveillance tape, something which the Sunnydale PD had neglected to check for during their investigation – thus proving that there had been little actual improvement in the quality of the department since the late Mayor Wilkins’ unlamented departure – Willow and Tara quickly used their magic to clean the shop and remove all traces of blood and any other indicators of the previous day’s events.

Once she had connected the VCR to her laptop and captured several useful images of Giles’ assailant, the hacker-turned-witch took advantage of some new facial recognition software she’d recently acquired and, after hooking up to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Los Angeles branch computers, began running a comparison check program against photos of all tourists arriving within the past week, based on the group’s conviction that Giles’ assailant had some connection to the Watcher’s Council and had only recently arrived in the country.

If nothing panned out from an analysis of the L.A. branch’s files, she’d move on to the San Francisco and San Diego branches, and ultimately onto a general search of the entire system, should none of her previous efforts provide them with any candidates.

While they waited for any possible results of Willow’s interrogation of the Custom’s computers, Buffy and Xander provided the others with a detailed summation of their meeting with their former fellow Sunnydale demon-fighters and a general update of the situation in Los Angeles, along with various suggestions that had been made for possible future avenues of investigation and research.

~~~

Summers residence
September 19, 2001
10:37 am


Procedure wake up (reason) {
if reason is sound
examine sound;
if reason is disturbance
examine disturbance

Procedure examine sound
Initiate household protection;
check location
check sound cause

RESULTS FOR CHECK SOUND CAUSE
Sound from door, opening door
Body Temperature: +20 from norm
Pheromones: non human, high degree of sulfides
Appearance: human - Caucasian, middle-age, High BMI
WARNING visible/non-visible mismatch. Treat as suspect.
Engage in dialogue to verify.
Call vocalize response – greeting

"Good morning. How can I be of service?"

***

The Deevak demon generally known as Garlnash to his clan was most definitely quite pleased with himself. After all, despite the general low opinion the majority of his clan members had regarding his intelligence, his plan to kill, eat and then replace the Fed-Ex delivery person normally serving this part of town seemed to working out just fine.

He'd not only managed to get a decent meal and find a place to stay while passing through this Gy'url-damned town, he'd also found a way to get the normally cautious and vigilant residents to invite him into their homes, whereupon he could then transform and kill the unsuspecting humans before looting their homes and moving on to his next unwary victim.

This petite redhead standing before him would serve as a nice appetizer for him. The unsuspecting expression on her face as he spoke to her meant that breakfast was only a few minutes away.

"Good morning, ma'am," he smiled back at the clueless human smiling at him, as he gestured towards her with the small package he was holding. "I have a delivery for a Mrs. Elizabeth Harris at this address. Could you confirm for me that there is someone by that name living here?"

***

Question input received:
Call Reply to Question
Call threat analysis
Call vocalize response true

Procedure Reply to Question
Current listed owners of residence: Elizabeth Anne Summers (F),
Alexander Lavelle Harris (M)
Current relationship: Engaged
Effect of relationship: Elizabeth Anne Summers // Elizabeth Anne Harris
Return true; 78% match

Procedure threat analysis (Non-human=true)
threat level = 0
if threat action detected
threat level++
check [threat level]:
case 1:
Note: Optimal household protection measures require subdual and incarceration of intruder attempting entrance into residence for accurate determination of intentions towards household members.
Note: Household protective measures require non-public subdual whenever possible
Enable: taser use;
break;
case 2:
Enable: Lethal force;
Break
end check

"Yes, there is, but she isn't available at the moment. I expect she'll be back in a few minutes. Would you like to come in and wait?" Daphne invited the faux deliveryman in.

***

"Thank you, ma'am. I can only wait a few minutes; after that, I have to complete my other deliveries."

{ Thank Gy'url, humans are stupid! } Garlnash silently exulted to himself as the redhead stepped back to allow him to enter.

The door closed and a moment later, faint sounds of a scuffle might have been heard by someone with acute hearing, followed by the abruptly cut-off beginning of a scream, which disturbed some of the robins perched on the branches of the massive oak tree occupying most of the side yard.

After several additional moments of quietude, the birds resumed their former perches and melodious songs again filled the neighborhood.

No one else even noticed; the neighbors had long ago learned to ignore anything that happened in or around THAT house.

~~~

Summers residence
September 19, 2001
12:37 am


“Good afternoon, Buffy. Good afternoon, Xander. Good afternoon, Dawn. I hope you had a pleasant morning helping Rupert prepare his store for reopening,” Daphne smiled pleasantly at the trio as they entered.

“Would you like me to suspend my housecleaning chores and prepare a nutritiously suitable lunch for you all?”

“No, thank you, Daphne,” Buffy shook her head at the robot’s question, her mind preoccupied with reviewing the information Willow had winnowed from the Immigration and Naturalization computers during her unauthorized review and interrogation earlier that morning.

Willow had managed to identify Giles’ assailant and had also ferreted out the fact that he had arrived in L.A. in the company of six other travelers bearing a suspiciously virtually identical history of visiting foreign cities and countries, to judge by the visa stamps imprinted on their passports.

A quick interrogation of each of the seven men’s past history had shown all of them to be either retired or former European military personnel, with all of them exhibiting a rather impressive record of participation in innumerable conflicts, both officially and off the record. And four of the seven also had criminal records detailing a predilection for inflicting serious injury on anyone that might incur their ire.

All in all, the seven not only matched the criteria usually sought by the Council for their unofficial field agents, they appeared to be nearly perfect fits – hardened military veterans who exhibited a willingness to follow virtually any order that might be issued in the pursuit of the Council’s purposes.

Buffy and Xander’s matching trains of thought were abruptly derailed as they heard Dawn scream, a sound that instantly triggered an instinctive dash towards the source of the noise, along with the reflexive appearance of whatever lethal implement that happened to be available. Which meant that Buffy entered the kitchen holding a mace and Xander with a Steyr TMP.

Rushing out to the back porch, the source of the scream, the duo discovered their exceedingly agitated daughter standing over a large black trash bag holding the less than fragrant, decomposing remains of a demon.

“Daphne, please tell me how the incredibly smelly remains of what looks to be a Deevak demon ended up on our back porch, please,” Xander directed his question to their new housekeeper/ cook/major domo, who was standing off to one side and viewing the furor with a nearly British level of aplomb, while Buffy reflexively reaffirmed Dawn’s safety and well-being.

“Certainly, Xander,” Daphne nodded with her perpetual luminous smile.

“You see, after the three of you left the house this morning, a delivery man who was actually a Deevak demon showed up at the front door with a container addressed to a Mrs. Elizabeth Harris…”

~~~

“When I picked that box up, after I opened the shipping box, I felt a kinda shiver run down my spine,” Buffy elaborated, indicating the smaller container with Giles’ name on it. “It made me feel like I didn’t want to touch it anymore than necessary,” she added. “It didn’t feel dangerous, just uncomfortable.”

“From your description, Buffy, it sounds as though the package might have had an ‘Aversion’ spell cast on it,” Giles noted, looking at the container currently under discussion. “The spell is quite specific and is normally keyed to one, or in unusual circumstances, two individuals. It is completely harmless, but it instills in everyone except the intended recipient a strong unconscious disinclination to handle the object upon which the spell has been cast, thereby providing a more reliable and less obvious level of security and protection. Think it of a magical version of a SEP field.

“It is somewhat unusual to see this spell being used since, as I noted, it can normally only be keyed to permit a single individual to handle the spell’s target without evoking a strong repugnance to touching it,” he continued. “It was typically only used to enable the safe conveyance of important or valuable items to another individual personally known to the spellcaster.”

“Well, don’t just stand there looking at it, G-Man. Open the box up,” Xander directed, both his and his lifemate’s curiosity stirred up by the box’s existence and Giles’ explanation. “For all we know, Ed McMahon has been magically stuffed inside, and wants to give you the Publisher’s Clearing House check.”

Throwing a somewhat exasperated look at the taller brunet, Giles picked up the box and somewhat cautiously opened it, to reveal three polished reflective discs about five inches in diameter, which appeared identical to any other DVD recordable discs that could be found in any electronics or consumer goods store. In addition to the discs, each of which was numbered ‘1’, ‘2’ or ‘3’, there was a small laser printed note included inside.

“Watch, learn and do what you must,”

was all it said.

“Do you have any idea who might have sent this stuff to you, Giles?” Buffy asked, her brow furrowed with concern at the enigmatic items.

“At the moment, none whatsoever, Buffy,” he replied

“Somehow, Giles, I don’t think one of your old buddies is sending you a pirated copy of “Dr. Who,” for your viewing pleasure,” Xander said, after a moment’s quiet contemplation of the box’s contents.

“Give me a moment to boot up the laptop, and we’ll see just what’s on these things that justified the cloak and dagger precautions,” the brunet advised, as he headed towards the storage cabinet in which they kept their non-lethal equipment.

~~~

The Magic Box


The entire Scooby Gang was once again gathered together around the large wooden table that usually supported the numerous books and tomes that they would typically consult when researching any questions concerning the latest Big, or even Medium-sized, Bad. Dawn’s laptop was the only thing currently occupying pride of place on the table at the moment, however, with the attention of everyone present focused on its brightly-lit screen with a degree of interest that an outside observer might find more than slightly disturbing.

The grim expressions on the Scoobies’ faces were more reminiscent of those one would expect to find on the faces of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon or in a White House briefing, as they debated the possible alternatives to and consequences of particular strategies in the war campaign they were developing.

Scarcely five minutes into viewing the first of the discs that Giles had received, Xander had stopped the display and had pulled out his cell phone to call Willow and Tara as Giles contacted Spike, to request their presence at an emergency meeting, while Buffy called both Dawn and the high school to arrange for their imminent pick-up of the younger Summers.

Buffy and Xander had then immediately proceeded to the school to retrieve the teenager, while Willow and Tara had headed towards Spike’s crypt to pick him up before continuing on to the shop.

Once everyone was gathered together at the shop, the window shades were lowered and the ‘Closed’ signs put in the shop windows, and the discs’ presentation had been resumed for all present to watch.

The discs’ contents appeared to be copies of video records of closed meetings by the governing board of the Watchers’ Council, the first disc’s time-stamp indicating a date a week earlier, during which discussions of the current situation regarding the Council’s control (and the lack thereof) of the two current Slayers had been held.

It had been during one of these meetings, involving a discussion of Buffy’s support by the Scooby Gang, that Dawn’s name had been mentioned in conversation by Quentin Travers, only to be met with blank stares by several other members of the Board, who professed a complete lack of knowledge of both the girl’s existence or her relationship to the Slayer. After a heated discussion between Travers and other Board members, a full-scale investigation into the situation in Sunnydale had been ordered.

The remaining two discs documented the findings by the Council’s investigators, and the resultant furor in the Council upon the revelation that, once investigators traveled outside of a one hundred fifty mile radius centered on Sunnydale, there was no evidence to be found of the existence of a second Summers daughter. While this, of course, was inconclusive based on Dawn’s only residences being L.A. and Sunnydale, the fact that she was not publically recorded in Sacramento and Washington was not.

The subsequent reaction of the Board members to the disclosure of the news regarding Dawn’s existence came as no surprise to any of the Gang as they witnessed the prolonged arguments between various Board members as to the ensuing course of action they should follow, before ultimately agreeing to dispatch a retrieval team to ‘request’ the appearance of the younger Summers woman before the Council’s investigatory committee, to explain the apparent anomalies regarding her existence that their agents had discovered.

As the presentation ended, both Immortals could feel the fear, anger and gut-wrenching terror now enveloping Dawn which the rest of the Scooby Gang could also see as she huddled in her chair, staring expressionlessly at the now blank screen.

Dawn’s immediate reaction to the discs had been to turn white and jump up to rush out of the room in tears and lock herself in the bathroom, closely followed by both Buffy and Xander, who had spent the next ten minutes reassuring her of the reality of both her existence and of their and the other Scoobies’ love for her, before they could persuade her to return.

While she and Xander continued to pour their love, reassurance and support down their links to the younger girl, Buffy sat down at the research table next to the trembling brunette and slid her arm around her shoulders, pulling her close and wrapping her in comforting hug.

As Buffy was discussing the various options open to them with Willow and Tara, Xander and Spike exchanged glances and both headed directly to the cabinets in which the group’s heavy weaponry was stored.

“Well now, Rupe,” Spike broke his silence as he addressed the former librarian as he and Xander carefully placed several of the Jackhammer shotguns and MP5-PDW submachine guns on the wooden surface, “looks like the first thing you, me and the Whelp need to do is drop by and have a word or two with these wankers and discuss their health plan's hospitalization benefits with them while the ladies hold down the home front, wouldn’t you say?”

The vampire’s eyes held a cold, focused gleam as he looked across the table at his fellow countryman, a gleam he saw matched in both the ex-Watcher and former carpenter’s own.

“That sounds like an excellent idea to me, Spike,” Giles nodded, his face no longer that of the refined and civilized British gentleman he normally appeared to be. The expression currently controlling his features would have been considered completely at home on the face of a general who had lived centuries before, one who about to launch an attack on hostile forces and who would allow no quarter or even the consideration of clemency towards his foe.

Simultaneously as he and the Bleached Bad began checking their weapons, Xander was discussing the various options facing them with his lifemate.

:: I think that we’re going to have to pay Travers and his buddies a little visit and discuss matters with them in detail, once we get things straightened out on this end, honey, :: Xander stated, as he broke down one of the H&K sub-guns and began a meticulous check of each component. He also happily noted that the case of high velocity armor-piercing 9mm ammunition that had accompanied the last arms shipment would come in quite handy now, since all of the Council’s men would probably be wearing Kevlar.

:: They’re showing signs of terminal stupidity, and I’ve long since passed my quota for tolerating assholes. ::

:: No argument from me, there, sweetie, :: the Slayer answered him in the same manner, as she moved her chair directly next to Dawn’s and pulled her sister/daughter into a hug. :: As far as I’m concerned, they’ve just moved up into second place on my ‘Things I’m Looking to Stake’ list, and they’re rapidly becoming a contender for the top slot. ::

“Well, at least now we know exactly who those guys Dawn and Tim met were, “ Willow had noted as she pulled her laptop from her backpack and began typing away. “I’ll check out the Council’s system and see if we can see if they’ve sent any other teams and, if they have, get some photos so we can all recognize them.”

“Thanks, Will,” Buffy smiled their appreciation at the witch’s efforts as she turned to Tara.

“While she’s doing that, do you think you can whip up some kind of magic emergency signal and locator thingy we can all wear, so we can all keep track of each other, Tara?” she asked the usually reticent blonde.

“I’m thinking that if the Council’s team does try to take anyone else, they’re probably not going to let us keep our cell phones with us, so we should all have a back-up way to be able to contact and keep track of each other,” the Slayer elaborated her reason for the request.

“S-sure, Buffy,” the taller Wicca nodded. “I c-could put it on a ring or necklace or a t-talisman,” she explained. “It w-won’t even be detectable until y-you activate it.”

“Great!” Buffy smiled at the blonde’s assurance that they would be able to reach the others under any circumstances if an emergency arose. “Can you get started on that, right away then, please?”

“Giles, you should try to get in touch with some of your Council contacts, the ones you know you can trust and see if they can tell us anything new, okay?” she requested her surrogate father, who absently nodded his agreement even as he was keying in a series of numbers on his cell phone.

Spike had dropped into the seat on Dawn’s other side and was speaking reassuringly to the frightened teenager even as he began examining the autoshotguns for signs of wear.

“No need to worry, Nibblet,” he smiled at her as he disassembled the weapons and carefully laid out the components on several sheet of newspaper he had spread on the table. All the L.A. papers were good for, he reflected disparagingly – not a single Page Three girl in sight.

“You just need to sit back, put your feet up and relax,” he instructed, as he checked the numerous pieces spread across the table.

“Once we locate where these ponces the Council’s sent around are staying, Rupe, the Whelp and I will just nip over to see them and explain the situation to them, help get them on their way home, and everything’ll be fine again,” he told her as finished his examination and began reassembling the shotgun.

“What? Nothing to worry about? Are you crazy, Spike?” Dawn looked up at him with a wide-eyed expression indicating that she certainly believed he was spouting gibberish.

“Once the Council starts checking things out, sooner or later, they’re gonna realize I’m the Key, and they’ll either kill me or lock me up, so no one else can ever try the same thing Glory did!!” she half-screamed, pulling away from Buffy’s embrace and leaning forward in her chair to address the vampire she had believed cared for her.

“Dawnie, like Spike said, calm down and relax,” Buffy told her sister/daughter, as she pulled the brunette close to her again to reassure her. “Everything’s gonna be all right. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you.”

“What do you mean, relax, Buffy?” the teenager pulled away from the Slayer again, her expression one of outrage and disbelief. “Have you been paying any attention here? These are the same people who nearly killed you and Mom with the Cruciamentum, just to see how good you were at Slaying!”

“She means exactly that, Dawnie. Just calm down, and don’t panic,” Xander chimed in as he got up and circled around from the other side of the table where he was sitting.

“Nobody’s going to be taking you anywhere, so you can stop worrying about that right now, okay, honey?” he promised the frightened teenager as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her stiffened form to his chest.

:: We need to explain everything to her, :: he spoke to his lifemate while the two of them continued to flood their links to the younger girl with love and reassurances, referring to the realization that all of the others present had immediately come to upon hearing Spike’s words. :: Do you want to, or should I? ::

:: I’ll do it, :: Buffy replied. :: You just keep on trying to reassure her. ::

“Then what did Spike mean when he said you guys should go talk to these hunter team guys, huh?” Dawn demanded angrily, ignoring the emotional reassurances the two were sending her.

“Do you really think that they’re gonna listen to anything you have to say, agree with you, and then head back to England?” she half-shrieked, semi-hysterically.

“Spike didn’t mean for all of us to go, Dawn,” Buffy cut her off before she could say anything more. “He meant that him, Giles and Xand should head over there, while the rest of us stay here with you and figure out what we should be doing about the guys in charge back in England,” she explained.

“What good will that do? These hunter guys aren't gonna listen to anything they say! They’re just gonna try to take me with them back to England, like they tried to do last year with Faith!” the younger Summers answered, refusing to calm down.

“The guys aren’t going to find the team just to talk to them, Dawn,” Buffy told her quietly. “When they find them, they’re going to make sure they won’t be coming around and bothering you or any of us again. Any way they have to.

“And once they take care of the immediate problem, then we'll all figure out how best to deal with the Council’s Board members,” she promised.

“But – but, Spike can’t hurt humans,” Dawn immediately protested upon hearing her sister’s words. “The chip won’t let him. And the retrieval team is human. How can he do anything to stop them, like that?”

“He can’t,” was the short and unexpected answer she received.

“He’s going to set himself up as a distraction, Dawnie,” Xander elaborated for his daughter, realizing that despite the fairly extensive tactical experience she’d gained while battling with demons here on the Hellmouth, the teen was lacking in any form of strategic thinking. “With the retrieval team focused on him attacking them, they won’t notice me or Giles, until it’s too late for them to do anything about it.”

“But – but he could get hurt doing that! The chip could hurt him bad! Real bad!” the teenager said, looking over at Spike with an uncomprehending expression.

“Hey, what’s a bit of mind-numbing pain between friends, eh, ‘Bit?” the vampire grinned roguishly at her. “It’s not like it could kill me.”

“But, but, you wouldn’t be able to protect yourself against those hunter team guys when the chip kicks in,” Dawn protested. “They're definitely going to try to dust you as soon as they see you!”

“Yeah, they probably will,” Spike agreed, smiling reassuringly at her. Seeing her eyes flare open wide as she finally began to understand some of the unspoken subtexts of the earlier conversation, he quietly added, “It’s my choice, Nibblet. You don’t get a say in what’s happening. Not this time.

“These ponces've pissed off the wrong people and stuck their noses in business that doesn’t concern them for the last time,” he gently informed her. “Now they're gonna find out, first-hand, what happened to all the would-be Big Bads that have come around here, trying to take over, for the past five years.”

He smiled at her, as he gently put his finger across her lips to quiet her as the teen opened her mouth to speak.

“Like I said, Nibblet, it’s my decision to make, not yours," he said.

"So you just sit back and do what Big Sis tells you to do, and Giles, the Whelp and me-self will deal with the other details.”

~~~

Angel Investigations Offices
Hyperion Hotel
Los Angeles, CA


“Oh no! That’s just not fair! Couldn’t you guys have waited another four hours?”

Angel looked into the office Cordy was currently using as her own as he was passing by and found her looking up at the ceiling, her face a mixture of annoyance and concern.

“What’s wrong, Cordy? Dennis and Lindsey decide to re-paint your place again?” he grinned, recalling the occasion when his co-worker/comrade in arms/pipeline to the Powers That Be had returned from an extended weekend vacation with Wes to discover that, in her absence, the two ghosts had painted her bedroom suite in the hotel a brilliant flamingo pink, with mahogany trim. Her ensuing diatribe had demonstrated that the brunette’s grasp of the English language included far earthier elements of speech than any of her friends had ever believed her to possess.

“Don’t you start with the smart-aleck remarks, Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Broody,” the Seer warned him, as she swiveled her captain’s chair around to face him. “I’m still not completely convinced you didn’t know anything about that whole scheme, so don’t push your luck with me.”

The sunlight-unfriendly detective tried to look innocent, while wondering what would happen to him if Cordy ever found out that he’d been pushing the ghostly duo to replace the pink in their color scheme with ‘international rescue orange’.

“So what is it you are complaining about, then?”

“I do NOT complain! I merely point out any injustices that may be occurring when events are disrupted and forced to veer from a pre-existing, and painstakingly worked out, schedule,” Cordy patiently explained, as she glared at the ensouled vampire.

“And for your information, I had an appointment at the spa for a massage and exfoliation treatment scheduled for an hour from now, Mr. I-Fight-the-Darkness-Without-Any-Complaints-(Much),” the brunette informed him in a very put-out tone of voice.

“Andre was very annoyed with me the last time I had to cancel my appointment, and it took me the longest time to reschedule, so you’re going to have to call him this time and explain to him WHY I absolutely HAD to cancel, AND you’re going to get him to reschedule me for a complete body renewal sometime sooner than the end of the world,” she continued, as she got up out of her chair and opened the door of the closet behind and to the side of her desk.

“Uh, not to try to change the subject or anything Cordy, but why do I have to do that?” he asked, watching as she pulled a set of ballistic body armor and a combat harness from their storage rack and slipped them on over her shoulders, then secured it around her lushly-filled figure.

“Uh, never mind, just let me guess. I have to do that because you just had a vision that’s going to make you cancel your appointment, and you’re just a little bit upset, right?” he asked, as the Seer removed a 9mm Walther P99 semiautomatic pistol from a locked desk drawer, released the magazine, checked to make sure it was full and then replaced it and stowed the pistol in its holster on the vest, along with two other magazines she had removed along with the pistol.

“Well, DUH! Of course I am!” Cordy glared at him, as she checked to make sure the double-edged combat knife was firmly fixed, grip down, in its sheath on the side opposite her pistol. It was the knife, Angel mused, that had most changed his level of respect for Xander Harris; the custom-made blade’s larger fuller was inlaid with hardwood, making it a stake as well as a knife.

“If some all-powerful sources of goodness and light would give me just a LITTLE more advance notice,” Cordy had meanwhile continued her rant, “it wouldn’t be as much of a problem, but NO! I was just notified that we have to go keep this couple from becoming lunch for a nest of vamps they’re about to run into, courtesy of the Vision News Channel, and because of that, I have to cancel, and Andre is going to be so aggravated that he’ll go into a snit and won’t want to schedule me for about a hundred years. And it’s all YOUR fault, mister! So you’re going to make sure that Andre knows it wasn’t my fault I had to cancel, and if Wes makes any remark to me tonight that is anything less than completely and totally complimentary because I didn’t get to my appointment, I’m going to make you wish you had never met me!” she promised, as she grabbed hold of her hair and twisted it into a pony tail before picking up her medium blue leather duster, along with a crossbow and quiver of bolts, on her way out.

“I already do,” Angel muttered under his breath, as he turned to head down to the underground garage.

“What was that?” Cordy demanded, her eyes narrowed with suspicion as she followed him out into the corridor, shrugging on her coat.

“I asked if you thought we needed Wes or Gunn, too,” Angel immediately replied, straight faced, as they hurried along.

“Well, I only saw four vamps in the vision, but extra backup never hurts,” Cordy told him as they made their way over to the dark blue Ford Aerostar van with the dark tinted windows, and she slid behind the wheel. “Why don’t you call Gunn on his cell and see if he can meet us? Wesley won’t be back from that artifact auction until at least three this afternoon, and it’d take him at least an hour to get to the docks from the auction house.

“We need to hurry, because these guys’re down near that bad section of the docks where we fought those really disgusting combination frog-and-shark demons last year. I think these guys might be some kind of cops or something, because I could see they had pistols and I caught a glimpse of some kind of official looking ID cards, but that was all, and I got the impression that they’re from out of town or something, and that they really don’t have any idea what they’re about to meet,” she said, worry edging her voice.

“Wonderful,” Angel grumbled as he buckled his seat belt and made sure it was secure. He might be dead already, but with the way Cordy drove, there was no point taking any additional chances on possibly ending up in a morgue again.

“I hate tourists.”

~~~

AN1: SEP field – Someone Else’s Problem, thank you Douglas Adams.
AN2: Styr TMP - http://world.guns.ru/smg/smg11-e.htm
AN3: Anthony Head (Giles) guest stared in an episode of the new Doctor Who.

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The End?

You have reached the end of "Forever and a Day" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 23 Mar 08.

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