Chapter Twenty Two
Disclaimer. I don’t own the Buffy or the Da Vinci Code characters. I’m only borrowing them to play with.
Chapter Twenty Two.
City Inn. John Islip Street. London.
It was an untidy group that emerged from the car park into the Foyer at the City Inn some half hour later. As he was the least dishevelled, Giles headed to reception to retrieve their keys whilst the others waited near the lift. They tried to be as inconspicuous as possible, but still managed to attract some strange looks from other guests. They stared at the Head of the Council as he returned.
“Alright, what’s the matter?” Asked Giles, wearily. “Did I grow another head?”
“Why are you so clean, Giles?” Asked Buffy; searching for even a dirty mark on the Senior Watcher’s clothing.
“Why do you think I always wear tweed, Buffy?”
Buffy shrugged. “Coz you’re a Watcher.”
“No, well; yes; but also because it doesn’t show the dirt as easily and it’s almost as hard wearing as Kevlar.” He said.
Vi and Xander emerged from the lift.
“How’s the Professor? Did you get him a room OK?” Asked Buffy, changing the subject.
“He’s asleep. Carly’s in the room keeping an eye on him and doing homework of all things. Reception were a little concerned that he didn’t have his passport or luggage, but they saw the bump on his head and I told them he’d been mugged on the way here. We’ll have his things here in an hour or so anyway.” Explained Xander.
“Isn’t Carly supposed to be in school this afternoon?” Asked Giles.
“Study leave.” Said Vi. “She’s got her GCSE exams coming up.”
Buffy looked curiously at Giles. “Who are you? What have you done with Giles?” At his taken aback look she continued. “Now is the time you think of classes and school. Where was this side of you when I was cutting classes to save the world.”
“Oh, very droll, Buffy. As I recall, you cut the classes regardless of an impending apocalypse.” He said.
“Only to save me from terminal boredom, and the joy of seeing the look on Snyder’s face when he tried to work out where I was.” She huffed. Then her face brightened. “Now if we’d had the Buffybot in high school, Snyder would have thought I was the perfect student.”
“What’s a ‘Buffybot’?” Asked Dan.
Xander raised a hand, a wicked gleam in his eye. “Long story. You buy the beer, I’ll tell the story.” He said. Then catching the look on Buffy’s face he deflated. “Or not.”
“Oh, one of ‘those’ stories.” Said Dan, realising that she was probably sensitive about the subject. “You do realise that there will be many, many questions later.”
“Yes Chief Lazzars.” Said Buffy, grinning at the reference, and giving him a mock salute.
The conversation was interrupted by Buffy’s cellphone ringing. It was Ed Clewley.
“Hi Ed. What’s new?”
“Hello, Buffy. Two things. Firstly, I’ve had an meeting with DS Gorman this morning. I must say, initially, I was shocked when he told me his secret. He’s promised faithfully that it won’t get in the way of his job, and he’s also said that he promised you that you won’t need to use him for target practice. The problem is that he’s been looking for a post as a DI for a while now, and as Paul Cunningham is taking early retirement due to ill health, I was originally planning to recommend Gorman as his replacement. Do you have any objection to that?”
“No, I don’t. As long as his diet is non-human and he doesn’t get involved with the clans, then I say live and let live.” Said Buffy. “Also he could be useful.”
“Alright. Secondly. The Mondeo that Teabing stole from Hertz yesterday turned up on the GPS system half an hour ago, then promptly disappeared again ten minutes later. Any ideas why?” He reported.
“Magic?” She said, nonchalantly.
“I meant one that I could offer to the team investigating the murders.” He said.
“Hey, you asked, I told. Rayne probably cloaked it with a spell and the spell’s worn off or…..Whoa. “Was it on the move?”
“No, it was stationary.” Said Clewley.
“Where was it?” Asked Buffy.
“Just outside Clavering, Essex. The screen marker appears to place it in the middle of nowhere.” Said Clewley.
“Clavering?” She caught Giles’ Sleeve and directed the question to him. “Isn’t that where Ethan Rayne said his house was?” Giles nodded.
“Ed; talk to Giles, he can give you a lot more information on that place than I can.” She handed the phone to Giles.
“Edward. It’s Rupert. How are you?” Said Giles as he put the phone to his ear. Out of habit he stuck a finger of his other hand into his ear to block any extraneous noises, turning away with the phone and began appraising Ed Clewley of Rayne Manor’s unique status.
Andrea looked as though she was about to collapse, leaning on David for support. The expenditure of so much energy had really drained her. David motioned that they should get her up to her room.
“She need’s some rest, food and a nice cuppa.” Commented Dan. Andrea smiled weakly.
“Add in a shower and a change of clothes for me. I see you two didn’t waste any time changing.” Said Buffy, indicating Xander and Vi’s clean clothes. The two just looked at one another and grinned.
Dan looked himself over. “It’s alright for you lot, I’ve got to go back to the station to get my clean clothes.” He thought for a moment. “Actually, if I’m not needed for a while I’d like to get that C4 to a mate of mine in SOCCO. He might be able to tell us where it was manufactured, and we might be able to stop them getting any more.”
“It’s a plan.” Said Buffy. “OK. Go play nice with your detective buddies, and I‘ll see you later.” She paused. “Where are you taking me tonight, anyway?” She added.
“Coz I need to know what to wear.” She said, rolling her eyes.
“Oh, right. Sorry. Smart casual.” He answered.
“You ok, you seem a little distracted?” She said.
“Brain’s still processing all the bits and pieces. I’ll be ok, see you later. Seven o’clock. Here. Yes?”
“Uh, huh.” She nodded. “You did good today. Y’ know, back there. Thanks.”
“There’s an old saying that I remember from somewhere. ‘It’s a dirty job and someone’s got to do it‘.” Said Dan. “Anyway, I’d better go, see you later.”
There was a flitting of eyes and a twitching of hands from the pair as though they didn’t know what to do next.
Xander recognised the awkward situation at once. God knows he’d been there enough times himself. His mind flashed through the various images. Willow when they were five years old. Cordy, Willow, again. Faith, Anya, Vi. He rolled his eye, and reached out to her with his mind. [‘OH FOR GODS SAKE JUST KISS THE GUY BUFF’] He thought.
Buffy inclined her head slightly and glared at Xander for a second. He flinched in anticipation of the impending slap but it didn’t come. Instead she turned, reached up and cupped Dan’s face in her hands, pulled him to her and planted a soft kiss on his lips. He took the hint and returned it.
As she released him he cleared his throat, smiled, and straightened his torn and somewhat grubby jacket. “Later.” He said, hoarsely.
“Oh Yeah.“, she smiled back at him. “Right now I have someone’s very busy mind to deal with.” She said, glancing at Xander.
“Shit. I didn’t get away with it” Thought Xander.
Dan laughed at her comment. “Rather you than me mate.” He said to Xander as he passed him on the way out of the door.
Wolfram and Hart Building 17 State St. Manhattan. New York NY
Clayton Chambers the Fourth was staring out of his office window on the fortieth floor. Considering that the building was of late eighties design the office reflected the mans garish taste for the over-opulent. Antique furniture was prominent in the room, most dating back several hundred years. On the walls of the huge office were several old masters. The previous Wolfram and Hart office building had been on the same site as he stood now and had also housed his precious antiques. All from a period when he was in his first incarnation of himself. After all Clayton Chambers was part demon, he owned the land that the building stood on and part of his essence was infused into the structure. The part he played now would take him a step closer to his goal…….. Ascension.
The intercom buzzed. He crossed to his desk and pushed the button.
“Sir, you asked to be informed of her arrival.” Came a voice over the intercom.
“She’s here, already. Where?” He asked.
“She just walked in through the front door sir.” The voice answered.
Clayton was slightly mystified. “Walked in? No showy magic?”
“No sir, she just walked in.” Explined the voice.
“Has she been checked for weapons.” Queried Chambers.
“Scanners show her to be clean and there’s no other magical signatures, apart from her natural abilities, sir.” Replied the voice.
“Alright, show her up.” He ordered.
“Yes, sir.” Came the answer. Chambers released the call.
A few minutes later there was a knock on his door. His P.A. opened it and ushered Willow in.
“Miss Rosenberg, welcome to our humble establishment. Do have a seat.”
His forced smile said it all. She hadn’t seen a smile like it since Mayor Wilkins.
He came around the desk and placed an Queen Anne carver style chair in front of her. She sat, glancing around the room in mild horror at the sheer audacity of the man to flaunt his wealth so openly.
“Something to drink, perhaps?” She declined. “Now, what can I do for you?” He asked.
“I was wondering if you could explain to me why one of your lawyers was at Norcan Incorporated offices this morning, accompanying the Senate Appropriations representatives.?”
“Really. One of mine, you say. Who was it, may I ask?” He lied.
“And where is this Richard Johnson now?”
“Safe, where you can’t get to him.”
“You’d be amazed where I can get to, Miss Rosenberg. May I call you Willow.”
Her look darkened. “No, you may not. Look Chambers, let’s cut the crap out here. You sent him, I caught him, tell me why before I get angry. And you wouldn’t like it if I got angry!” She said through gritted teeth.
“Are you threatening me Rosenberg.” His look changing to match hers.
“I don’t make threats, just promises.” She responded.
“And just what do you think you can do to me in here. You walked in, unarmed, and without your pet slayer. You can’t do magic in here because of the wards we have set up and my sources tell me that you were in Rio this morning. Did you come from there and through customs that quickly. Shall I call the police or will you. No I don’t think so. I think I‘ll keep you hostage for a while ” He said, smarmily.
His hand had slid beneath the edge of his desk to a button which he now depressed. A cage of dark beams formed around the chair that Willow was sitting on, crackling and spitting as she looked around her.
“You think this will hold me forever, because it won’t.” She said.
Chambers got up and came back around the desk.
“I don’t need it to.” He said. “I only need it to hold you until the First has achieved its plans to take the power of the Grail. Then it will have the power to rip the souls from all the slayers and we’ll have our army back. You know, the one we lost when Angel took the L.A branch out. Replacing the Horde would take so many years otherwise. You, on the other hand have power that the First wants to study. It wants to know how and why you can do what you can. You will be a nice little lab rat, ready to be cut open and examined.”
“So you did do a deal with the First.”
“A special arrangement. The Senior Partners did the negotiating; I get the recognition and a step closer to my Ascension.”
“So. You wanna turn into a big snake, huh.” Commented Willow.
“Oh, I think you’ll be much more impressed with my demonic form. Let’s just say that it won’t be as easy to kill me with a few hundred pounds of homemade explosives.” He said, importantly.
“When’s this gonna happen then?” She asked.
“It’s a couple of years away yet, but you won’t be around to see it I’m afraid.” Said Chambers. “You and your little gang will be a distant memory. Caleb will control the slayer army and will do as he pleases with them.”
“Caleb’s dead. Or hadn’t you heard. Buffy added a new definition to the phrase split personality.” She said.
“Not as of twenty four hours ago.” Chambers said, looking at his watch. “Although he does have a new body now, doesn’t look quite as handsome as he did before. But then again they do say that beauty is only skin deep.”
“So, there was an essence waiting to take over the shell.” Said Willow. Now, is there anything else you wanna tell me before I leave?”
“Why do you think you are leaving? You’re not going anywhere.” He said, confidently.
“Oh, I think I am.“ At that she stood up from the chair and walked through the cage with ease. Chambers eyes nearly popped out of his head, and his jaw dropped open. Willow moved right up to him, literally two inches from his gaping mouth.
“Oooh, nice bridge work, who’s your dentist. Shame you’re not gonna get dental like that where you’re going.” She commented.
“H-How did you do that.” Stammered Chambers.
“Magic, Clayton, good magic that you just couldn’t comprehend. You can’t hold someone prisoner who was never really here.” Smiled Willow.
With that, she simply faded out, leaving Clayton Chambers in shock. A few seconds later there was a rumbling from beneath him and within five minutes the whole building had collapsed in on itself. Obviously, the Senior Partners were not at all pleased with Clayton Chambers the Fourth.
Willow sat in the circle of Slayers and one sleeping lawyer in Battery Park. As her astral self returned to her, her body shivered slightly and a non existent breeze wafted her hair around. They all watched as the building folded in on itself and crumpled to the ground.
Willow stood, a little unsteadily. “Anyone for Bagels and Mocha-y goodness.” She said with a huge smile. “My treat.”
End of Chapter Twenty Two.
Authors Note. I do not know who owns the building known as 17 State Street, Manhattan NY; but I’m pretty sure they aren’t an evil lawyer firm. Google Earth ™ gave me the location I was looking for, and the building looked like what I had pictured in my mind as the W&H offices.