Disclaimer. As with the other chapters. Buffy and Da Vinci Code characters are owned by others. Onlythe add on plot and the minor characters are mine.
London U.S. Embassy.
A figure in a hooded sweat top crawled from the archway and onto the pavement on the busy London street. City workers walking past gave disdainful looks and muttered things like. “Kids! and Drunk! and At this time of the day!” No-one noticed that the person had a stomach wound that was bleeding profusely A car pulled to the kerb, a rear door opened and the man was dragged inside. The car sped off with a squeal of tyres. Several people looked over and shook their heads, but then it was gone, and they carried on with their daily routine.
Mary Anne pulled her cellphone from her pocket, hit a speed dial and spoke briefly to someone at the other end. “Ok, five minutes.” She ended the call. “Medevac and cleansweep teams in five and ten.” She called over to Giles. He thanked her and went to assist David with Luc.
Xander was watching over Andrea whilst she sat cross legged on the steps meditating her way to recovery.
Dan was helping Sophie back towards the Embassy steps, warily picking their way through the bodies in case there were any left alive. Robert had Marie cradled in his lap, trying to stem the flow of blood from her wound
“Where’s the other flask!” Mary Anne called out.
“We’re on it.” Replied Vi.
Buffy, Vi and Carly were going through the bodies searching for the flask. They weren’t having any luck. Buffy moved towards the arched entrance of the car park. She was following a trail of blood on the floor. Her eyes saddened at the sight of the dead security guard hanging halfway out of his sentry box, resolving to find out if he had any family and to make sure they were provided for. She knew that no amount of monetary compensation would be enough to replace the loss of a loved one; but they had all this money now so they might as well put it to some use. As she followed the trail to the street she hid the Scythe behind her back, not wanting it to be seen in public. She reached the entrance and noticed that the trail stopped at the kerbside.
Mary Anne produced a First aid kit from inside and the group started treating the injured.
“Do you guy’s get attacked like this often.” Asked Robert.
Xander rolled his eyes. “Man. If I had a buck for every time that‘s been asked.“
Buffy came back into the car park. She spoke with Vi and Carly briefly, and indicated that hey should remove their car from the rear end of the one they had hit. Then she made her way over to where the rest of the group had congregated.
“Did you find the other flask?” Questioned Giles.
“No, but I found a nice trail of blood that led to the kerbside and then disappeared. So my guess is that someone was waiting out there to collect our escapee.” She replied.
“You were right about it being their blood though, Buff. But why only cut them, why not kill them or kidnap them?” Asked Xander.
“Well, if they were killed wouldn’t that negate the connection to the power.” Said Giles. At Xander’s puzzled look he continued. “All right, bear with me on this for a moment, it’s just a theory. They went after Luc and Sophie, and not Marie because they’re the strongest link to the grail. Yes.” Everyone nodded. “They drew blood and left them alive because if they were dead; the link would then pass to the next in the line and render the blood useless in any ritual.” More nods.
David interjected. “It would have been too difficult to kidnap them without a major incident being highlighted in the media. Not even the First wants that sort of attention.”
“Exactly, the First wants control over this dimension, but on its terms.” Finished Giles.
Marie tugged at Robert’s sleeve. He caught Giles’ and Sophie’s attention, and they crouched down next to the old lady.
Monsieur Giles, Sophie. There is something you must have.” She whispered. She was obviously weak and was having difficulty in keeping her eyes open.
“This.” She offered. “It was given to me by Jacques following his appointment as curator of the Louvre. He said it was significant in its information and was part of the identity of the Grail. It would be needed if things ever got out of control. I think that this now is such a time.”
She reached inside the neck of her blouse and pulled out a gold locket on a chain around her neck. Sophie unclasped it and handed it to Giles.
He examined it carefully. On the front was engraved a Star of David, and on the reverse was a tiny inscription written in French. Sophie translated.
“What you seek is written within.
”The resting place given by the Pharaohs whim.”
"More clues? Cryptic much." Complained Xander.
Just then they felt a wave of air pressure from above and large shadow swept over them. They collectively looked skywards to see the underbelly of a large helicopter in silent mode hovering over the car park. Rappelling tapes snaked down towards them and six black clad men slid down the tapes and landed a few feet from them. One set to assessing the requirements for the cleanup crew whilst another called to the helicopter for stretchers to be lowered. The remainder of the team ushered the scoobies out of the way and started trauma assessment on the wounded. In what seemed like no time at all Marie and Luc were strapped to stretchers and were ready to be airlifted out.
Giles spoke briefly to one of the medics. “Where are you going to take them?”
“Brise Norton, sir, we have full hospital facilities and surgeons waiting. It’s only a twenty minute flight for us.” He replied. “The young lady’s hand shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Make sure she has the dressing changed tomorrow, any pain, give her paracetamol. Same goes for the professor. He’ll have a headache for a while, but he knows what day it is etc, so there’s no concussion. That bolt needs to be surgically removed, I think it’s lodged in the ligaments, an X-ray will tell us for sure. The elderly lady is my main cause for concern. Her blood isn’t clotting. I’ve checked for thinning agents and she says she isn’t haemophilic or on any tablets so I’ve put a coagulant on the wound for now.” He paused and put his hand to his earpiece. “We need to go, now. We’re being asked some awkward questions by air traffic control.”
Giles called Sophie over. “Will you take Ms. Neveu also. We need her safely away with her brother and grandmother. When you arrive and know more of their condition, call me and I’ll have some people sent over to guard them. I know you’ re a secure base, but what might be sent after them won’t fall within your jurisdiction.”
The medic nodded. “Cleansweep will be here in about five minutes. Looks like you did some damage yourselves.”
Giles grinned. “Yes, slayers do tend to leave rather a mess in their wake.”
Sophie and the two cradles were winched into the helicopter along with the medics and they then flew out over the rooftops heading west towards Oxfordshire.
“We’d better leave too.” Said Buffy. “Give the cleanup guys room to move. You gonna be ok with this, Mary Anne?”
“No problem hon. All in a days work.” She said grinning like a Cheshire cat. I needed the practice anyway.“
“Yeah, nice shooting, by the way.” Added Dan. “Who taught you; army?”
“Special Ops, and you’re not so bad yourself. I was with the Initiative until two years ago, when I got this.”
She lifted the hem of her blouse to reveal a huge ugly scar across her lower abdomen, and part of a catheter tube.
“And I was concerned about a few bruises.” Commented Dan. “Demon?”
“Polgara. Gutted me when I wasn’t looking, lost half my intestine, and got peritonitis. Can’t do the moves with hand to hand anymore, but I like to keep useful.”
“Mary Anne is our inside woman here at the Embassy.” Added Buffy, with a smile. “Come on. Lets go get the professor safe.”
Vi and Carly pulled up at the steps in their dented car.
“Vi can you, Xander and Carly take Mr Langdon back to the hotel and get him a room. We’ll follow in a minute.”
As they loaded up she briefly studied the damage to the front end.
“Our insurance premiums are gonna go through the roof. And just what do we put on the claim form. ‘I was driving along when the hood ornaments got in the way!’” She sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. “That’s the third this month. I can see us having to set up our own repair centre.”
“I know a man with a body shop who might repair it, cash, no questions asked.” Said Dan. “Though washing the blood off first might be a good idea.” He commented wryly.
“Sounds good to me. I’ll mention it to Giles, first though. He likes things in nice neat little boxes. No come back and bite you in the ass, an‘ all.”
“What about the other car?” He asked.
“Cleanup crew will take care of it, we usually find that a cash incentive and the words National Security Operation, stop most complaints.”
Vi drove away as the rest headed down the steps. Buffy collected her cases and stowed the Scythe away. Dan operated the central locking on the car and they all chose a door. Just as Giles was about to open his Dan happened to stoop down to retrieve a knife that had been dropped by a Bringer.
“Hold on. Don’t get into the car.” He said firmly. “Leave the doors and back away.”
At their puzzled looks he added. “There’s a bomb attached to the underneath!”
Somewhere in the Nevada Desert. (Area 51)
Riley was having a better day. Willow had turned up and was most likely taking the pain in the ass that was Ethan Rayne off his hands. For good. When the Initiative had taken him on in the first place they had only really seen the aftermath of what he was capable of. This incident had highlighted that only the council were able to deal with such a person.
Willow was right, he was human; you couldn’t just shoot him; but you couldn’t charge him with anything either. No legal court would convict him and if you could somehow organise a supernatural court; half of the main members of the council would be behind bars as well. Catch 22.
The interview was going quite well really. After his initial outburst he had become fairly co-operative; nice even, although Riley wasn’t going to be all buddy, buddy with the smarmy git, although he did feel that there was a certain amount of sincerity in what he was agreeing to do. Willow had released him from the mystical cage he was in, and they were sitting having a coffee in the cell, not that Riley was worried about him trying anything. Two armed SF’s, Willow and Rona were more than able if he did.
Willow was coming to the crux of her point. “So, if we were to get you out of here there would be no magic. Ever again. You do realise what I’m getting at, don’t you!”
“Yes I do. Really to be honest it would be a relief. This last lot has taken so much out of me, and finding out that it wasn‘t Janus I was serving; has really messed me up. I’m not as young as I was and it doesn’t matter how much magical muscle you have; it’s a case of use it or lose it. When you get to my age you’ll realise what I’m saying. Ask Ripper if you don’t believe me.”
“Oh, I will.” Replied Willow. She downed the last of her juice. She hadn’t had coffee for obvious reasons. “Look it would be easier to finish this in Avebury, Althenea will be able to assist me, she’s already done the research from when they thought they might have to remove my powers. Also it’s closer to the Manor so that when we’ve done this we can go get your Grandfather’s books. From what you‘ve told me I‘d pretty much have to destroy the place to get in there. Your mom must‘ve had some serious power.”
“Not when she was alive. It’s a death kind of thing, it’s quite a heady experience. We found that out with Eygon.” Said Ethan.
“I think Buffy might disagree with you on that one, she still gets a kinda sad look in her eyes when we try to talk about it with her.”
“That’s because she wasn’t expecting to come back. She was done, finished; and you left her in her coffin. From what I hear she still needs to find her balance, her equal, and sorry to say, but a vampire, even one with a soul; forced or otherwise, isn’t her equal. Their power still comes from darkness.”
Willow nodded deep in thought. This was profound even for Ethan. There was no malice or sarcasm in his statement. It was simply an observation, and Willow accepted it as such.
“Alright.” He continued. “How do you want to do this?”
Willow thought for a moment. “I need to make a couple of calls to set things up and I’ll be back.” She looked at Riley. “You gonna trust him for a few minutes or do you want me to lock him up again.”
Riley opened his mouth and looked as though he wanted to say let him stay loose. Then his look changed. “Sorry Willow. S.O.P. He has to locked up again.” He said.
Willow gave Ethan a shrug and her body language said ‘sorry’. “Look, it’s not for much longer, and I’ll have to secure you for going to England anyway, otherwise you wouldn’t get past the wards at Avebury.” With that she replaced the barrier and Riley breathed a little easier.
Rayne Manor, Clavering, England.
“The good news is that we have the blood we will need. The bad news is, almost all the Bringers were slaughtered by the Slayer and her gang.” The first was pacing up and down in the guise of Ethan’s mother.
“Well; just make a few more then.” Answered Caleb. “You can make more?” He added.
“Oh, yes I can make more, however the quality seems to be slipping just lately. It’s as though there’s less dark evil in peoples minds; supernaturally that is.”
“Venting their anger in other more human directions, you mean.” Proposed Caleb.
“Yes, Iraq, America, Al Qaeda, Bush, Blair. Anger directed everywhere, but where we need it.”
“That will change when we release the power of the grail. I‘ll have the power to open your dimensional gateway and you will be corporeal in this and any other dimension you choose to be in. Now, shall we be heading to Rosslyn to see if there is more information there.”
The First winked out and Caleb, intending to teleport from outside; headed for the exit, collecting the book from the table in the process. As he walked down the steps into the sunshine outside, there was a rumbling from the house behind him.
A woman’s voice boomed out. “THIEF!!”
The book under Caleb’s arm shot back into the house and the doors and shutters slammed shut. Caleb stared in amazement for a moment. Then his features darkened and he leapt towards the door throwing energy bolts at the house as he did so.
End of Chapter Nineteen.