Chapter Twenty Seven
Disclaimer. The Buffy and Da Vinci Code characters are owned by other people. Other people who are not me.
Chapter Twenty Seven
City Inn, Suite 423.
The door opened enough for an arm to get around the edge. There was a woman’s giggle from the far side of the door and a mans hand appeared with the ‘Do Not Disturb sign. The hand hooked the sign onto the doorknob and snaked back inside. The door slammed as the weight of a body pushed it shut. Xander’s voice was heard from inside. “Jeez, Vi. I need to breathe, please!”
City Inn Suite 427.
Robert Langdon was in the bedroom talking to Sophie on the telephone. David Peterson had given them some privacy for a few minutes to allow them to reconnect. Giles had given David the task of finding out if and how the locket opened. As there had been no physical catch to unfasten; the conclusion was that it had to be of the mystical kind. Andrea was still asleep and he didn’t want to disturb her until the morning unless it was absolutely necessary. Robert came out of the bedroom looking much more at ease than he had in the last few hours.
“Sophie has asked if we can meet soon. Do you know if that will be possible?” He asked.
“I don’t see it as impossible, however, we do have to consider the fact that there might be another attack if a protection system isn’t in place. Either by magical means or physical.” Said David.
“You mean slayers.” Said Robert. David nodded. “Great, just great. I can just see myself lecturing at Harvard with a bodyguard. Dammit, a female bodyguard! The faculty would have nightmares!”
“For what it’s worth, I don’t think that a bodyguard for yourself is the issue here. It’s the Saunier family that are in need of the protection. We will probably need to give them new identities and relocate them. I take it from your demeanour that the conversation with Sophie went well?”
“Yes it went well.” Said Robert. Then he gave a sarcastic snort. “This is going to look really good. Me, trying to date a woman who isn’t supposed to exist, and not being able to tell anyone.”
“If it’s any consolation, Buffy has had the same sort of problems with dating anyone other than people in the know. Consequently, almost all of her previous relationships have ended badly in one way or another. “
“So that cop, Dan Carter. Is he her current boyfriend?” Asked Robert.
“I wouldn’t go as far as to say that, not yet, anyway. However, he is taking her out to dinner tonight, and they seem well matched. From what I’m told she favours the athletic type.”
“And what about you David. Who is your type? Is there a lady in your life?”
“Not per se. My watcher duties keep me fairly busy. Mary Ann Blake and I try to meet for dinner at least once a week. I suppose she’s the closest person you could refer to as a girlfriend.” He said.
“How did you get into all this, anyway? Was it by accident or were you picked for it?” Robert’s questions were getting more investigative. David gave him the relevant information.
“I was at Oxford studying the Celtic Mythology. One afternoon I was visiting my cousin and her parents. Carly was nearly fourteen. She stood up, said she felt funny, went to go to her room for a lie down; and promptly ripped the lounge door off it’s hinges.”
“Carly?…. Oh the first girl! She’s your cousin! A slayer. Yes?”
“Yes. When we were contacted by Mr. Giles. Her mother thought that if I came along she would have at least one familiar face to connect with; and to be perfectly honest I know more about myths and legends now than I could ever have learned at Oxford. The remuneration package isn’t bad either.”
David thought for a moment. “There might be a way to have the best of all worlds here.”
“Sorry, I don’t quite follow?” Said Robert.
“A way for you to be with Sophie, protect her and her family and benefit the council at the same time. Of course it would have to be sanctioned by the directors, but I don’t think that there should be a problem.” Said David.
“Are you suggesting that I…. we join your organisation!” Said Robert, slightly shocked. “What about my students, my lectures. Good god, my books even.”
“I didn’t say my idea was perfect. Actually, Sophie and her family were already part of our organisation; like us, they just didn’t know it. There would need to be some of the wrinkles worked out. Our biggest problem is that we are short on teaching staff who are aware of the true nature of the girls’ abilities. Throw a normal teacher into a classroom full of slayers, without knowing who or what they’re dealing with, and you have a recipe for disaster. We have a dedicated college in Cleveland and we are shortly opening a similar school here, near Westbury.
“What about normal schools? Isn’t opening you own school expensive?”
Mainstream schooling isn’t always an option. Buffy found that much out. Slayers by their nature are often labelled as troublemakers, or prone to violence in pursuit of the enemy. Physical education in schools isn’t an outlet for them because of their enhanced abilities. Most of the girls you’ve seen can out pace an Olympic gold medallist in any discipline you care to mention, and not break a sweat. It’s a little like taking a thoroughbred racehorse and putting it on Blackpool beach as a donkey ride.”
“I see your point.” Said Robert. “But, what would I teach?”
“Personally, I’d say more or less what you teach now. Albeit that you may have to adjust it for the various age groups.” He paused, lifting the locket from the table. “Look, let’s not jump the gun here. I’ll mention it to Mr. Giles in the morning and we’ll take it from there. I need you to take a look at the locket. It appears to open but we can’t seem to find a catch. From what Marie told Mr. Giles, there’s information inside that we need to be able to locate the Grail.”
Clewley Residence Lichfield Road, Kew London. 21:45 hrs
Rupert Giles sat back in his seat and browsed the pathology report on Amanda Manning There was nothing in there that could be attributed to a supernatural occurrence. Then again, the pathologist who performed the post mortem wasn’t looking for the indicators that a watcher or slayer would. The conclusion was that her fatal injuries were consistent with the those of being hit by a large vehicle with bull bars on, probably a four wheel drive.
“This Maguire character, is he human?” Asked Giles.
“Yes, definitely.” Replied Edward.
“All we have then is conjecture.” He said, rubbing his eyes.
“I’m afraid so Rupert. It’s been almost twelve months since it happened. Even if we could get permission to re-examine the body, we probably wouldn’t find anything new. Her mother wouldn‘t give her permission anyway. She was devastated, still is, and she‘s not in the best of health. Daniel was determined to do more for the investigation at the time but June wouldn‘t let him, she just wanted to let it go. She eventually managed to persuade him to as well, it took a few months before he settled down, some counselling, and a lot of nagging from his parents.” Edward said, there was sorrow in his tone. He looked at his watch. “Alison will be back soon.”
They tidied the files away and sat in the lounge with a brandy before Alison returned at ten p.m. They were talking about rugby when she opened the front door. As she entered the room she was talking to someone behind her. She looked a little surprised to see Giles still there.
“Rupert, you’re still here I see. I didn’t think you would be. Oh well the more the merrier. I’ve brought our guest speaker back for coffee. Do you mind.”
“No not at all, Alison, it’s your home.” He said.
“Good.” She called out behind her. “It’s alright he doesn’t bite, he’s quite harmless really.” She said, cheerfully.
The door was held open for the woman to gain access as both men stood to greet the newcomer. Alison introduced her. “Olivia Harland. My husband, Edward, and an old friend of ours, Rupert Giles.
Giles face went pale. “Good lord. Olivia“.
Stag Restaurant, Windsor 22:00 hrs
Dessert over, they sat chatting. Dan was explaining Rugby to her, whilst they were waiting for their coffees to arrive. She understood it better when he put it in terms of a strategy for winning a battle, something she was more familiar with.
Buffy excused herself for a visit to the ladies room. Dan was sitting with his thoughts. He pondered on what Buffy had said about changing the rules, having a choice. Strangely he felt as though his life was changing direction, again. There was still the chance to help people. A different kind of help, not so constrained by rules; although there was a need for some control.
No sooner had she disappeared from view than a weasel-faced man approached him from the bar.
“You Danny Carter? He asked.
“Who wants to know.” Said Dan, cautiously.
“No names, no pack drill. I got information, if you wannit.” Said the man.
“Here we go.” Thought Dan. “Another hanger on trying to get his hooks into a copper.”
“What do you want,” He said out loud.
“Me, nuffink. What I got might ‘elp ya nail that scumbag Maguire.”
“Why would I be interested in nailing Maguire?”
“Coz, I knows ee ‘ad yer girl done in.”
“Now tell me something I don’t know.” Said Dan, sharply.
“Wot ‘appen’d to the car wot ‘it ‘er. Names of afletes who’re usin’. Ow ee gets it to ‘em, an‘ uvver stuff.”
“Why would I believe you? I don’t know you?” Questioned Dan.
“It’s on the up. You don’ affta believe me. I got proof. Concrete proof.”
“Papers, names, dates, photos. Envelope in me car, ahtside.”
“What’s all this going to cost me. No-one does something for nothing.”
“Told yer. Don’t want nuffink. Just put the bastard away.”
“OK. Bring it in here.” Said Dan.
“Nah. Too many eyes.” He hitched a thumb in the direction Buffy had gone. “Outside. Now.” He said.
The waiter chose that moment to bring the coffees. The weasel edged away as Dan spoke to the waiter telling him to inform his companion that he would be a few moments, should she return before he did. Weasel made a move for the door. Dan’s training was saying ‘trap, watch it’, as he warily followed him.
The car park was dark and empty, save for the amber floodlights that lit the building. Their ground level position casting long eerie shadows from the two men.
Weasel led the way to a small car parked away from the others. He opened the boot and took out a fat A4 jiffy bag. Dan kept a slight distance between himself and weasel and tried to scan the shadows in case anyone was hiding beyond the lights.
Weasel closed the boot and held out the package at arms length to Dan.
“Open it and show me the inside.” Demanded Dan.
“Oooh, clever copper, ‘aint ya.”
“Let’s just say I’m cautious. It’s been a funny week so far. Open it!” He said, more firmly.
“Awright don’t get yer knickers in a twist. Gawd, talk abaht paranoid.” Weasel opened the bag and showed Dan the contents.
Dan visually checked the contents quickly to make sure there was no booby trap and almost snatched the bag from weasel’s grip.
“Right we’re done. I’m gone. Use this to get Maguire sent down, an’ I‘m ‘appy.”
“Why are you doing this?“ Said Dan, still scanning for accomplices.
“Let’s jus’ say ee didn’t pay up when ee should ‘av. So I nicked this lot from ‘im.”
“Right. Now we‘re getting somewhere.” Said Dan.
There was a dull thud somewhere off to Dan’s left, in the shadows. Weasel rocked on his feet and slumped. A red stain appeared on the side of his face. Dan’s reaction was instantaneous. He twisted toward the car trying to get some cover, whilst simultaneously drawing his weapon. There was a brief second; Dan caught sight of a flash and a sharp pain hit him in the centre of the chest as he fell backwards hitting the car, Then nothing.
Clewley Residence. Lichfield Road Kew London.
There was a brief pause as Olivia and Giles stood with shocked looks on their faces.
“Rupert. Er….how are you?”
“I take it that you two know each other then?” Asked Alison.
“Yes, er, well, er. Oh, dear.” Giles was at a loss.
“We sort of dated for a while several years ago.” Said Olivia.
“You sly old dog, Rupert.” Said Edward, grinning.
Alison indicated that they should sit before someone fell down. “Well this is a turn up. So, how did you two meet then? She asked.
Giles recovered quickly and jumped in before Olivia could say too much of the wrong thing.
I was in Bath, there was an art exhibition, some of Olivia’s work was on display, we got chatting and it went from there.”
He flashed a warning glare Olivia’s way as he spoke. Alison either didn’t see it or didn’t suspect anything.
“Edward interjected. “Alison, don’t be nosey. I’m sure they don’t want you gossiping to your W. I. group about their past events.”
“It was a few years ago now, we could only see each other occasionally. Rupert’s lifestyle and mine didn’t really mesh.” Said Olivia, catching Giles’ glance and trying to explain without giving anything away.
There was an uncomfortable silence. Alison broke it. “Well I invited you for coffee, so you’d better have some. Edward. Kitchen, now!” She ordered.
Edward gave Giles a shrug and dutifully followed his wife into the kitchen. Sounds of coffee making activity ensued.
“Giles lowered his voice. Sorry Olivia. I didn’t know you were coming tonight.” He whispered.
“It’s quite alright. I didn’t know myself until Alison invited me. I was a surprised to see you. How are you?. When I heard about Sunnydale I feared the worst. Did everyone make it out? What was her name, Bunny, no Buffy. And the others.” She whispered back
“Most of them, yes, and Buffy is well. She’s here in London too as a matter of fact.”
“Does Alison know about you know what?” She asked, cautiously.
“No, but Edward does. He’s a Chief Superintendent in the Met. Look, I‘m sorry, can we do this later. I‘d much rather not have to talk in whispers.”
“You’re quite the James Bond, aren’t you. What with all your secret society and all.” She said smiling.
“James Bond would quake in his bloody shoes at some of the things we’ve seen.” Thought Giles. “Yes, quite.” He answered out loud, modestly.
Alison’s smiling face appeared around the door frame. She called back into the kitchen. “No Edward, they haven’t eloped yet dear. They’re still sitting in the lounge.” She entered, carrying a small tray of condiments and biscuits for the coffee. She set them down on the coffee table and sat in an armchair.
“Right then.” She said. “I’m no detective, that’s Edward’s field of expertise. But I can spot an excuse a mile off. There’s no reason that I can see why your lifestyles couldn’t mesh. Rupert’s got his museum and artefacts, and you Olivia, are an excellent and sought after artist. Where’s the problem?”
Neither of them could come up with an answer.
Edward saved the moment by entering with another tray. He cleared his throat.
“Ahem. Alison. Stop matchmaking will you please. Or are you trying to make Rupert so uncomfortable that he doesn’t come to see us for another five years.”
Any further questioning was halted by Edward’s cell phone chiming; he Gave Giles a ‘come with me’ type of nod. They excused themselves and, adjourning to the hall he took the call. Alison looked a little surprised. Olivia sensed that something was wrong.
A few moments later they returned. Edward spoke to his wife.
“We have to go out dear. I’ve just had a call from there‘s been an incident. A shooting.”
“Of course Edward, you must go. Who was it? What‘s happened” She asked.
“It has to do with Daniel Carter, and I can’t speculate yet, I don’t have all the details.”
“Oh dear.… Wait a minute. Why does Rupert have to go too?” She asked.
“Daniel had taken one of my colleagues out for the evening. She was there when it happened. I need to get to her.” Said Giles.
“Oh poor woman. She must be going through hell. Said Alison. “What’s her name?
“Summers, Buffy Summers.”
Olivia’s hand flew to her mouth to cover the shock.
“We’d better get going. We’ve got to get to Windsor. Come on Rupert, I’ll get my keys.
“I’m sorry to spoil the evening Alison. Do excuse me.” Said Giles.
“No Rupert you must go, she must be so distressed.
Giles pulled out his wallet and extracted a card. Offering it to Olivia he said. “Call me please, tomorrow. Perhaps we could talk.”
She smiled and nodded. “Yes, that would be nice Rupert. I hope Buffy’s alright, and her friend too. Now, go Edward will be waiting.
Giles followed Edward out into the night; and the two women sat in silence. Each with their own thoughts.
End of Chapter Twenty Seven.