Disclaimer. The Buffy and Da Vinci Code characters are owned by other people. Other people who are not me.
Westminster Bridge London
At six thirty a.m. the sun was just poking its head above the city’s buildings. The River Police launch bobbed against the flow of the Thames as the Fire Brigade retrieved the bound, naked man, suspended by his feet some fifteen feet below the bridge. The anonymous call to the newspapers had alerted everyone and the media were already ensconced along the Embankment, getting their catchy headlines in, and reporting on the incident for the morning editions. No-one could explain how he had got there, he certainly hadn’t been attempting a bungee jump. The only deduction that the police could arrive at was that it was a stag party stunt that had gotten out of hand. That was, until they found the plimsoll bag with the gun and the note inside. DS Gorman read the note and pocketed it. Looking downstream he grinned to himself muttering, “bloody slayers” under his breath. He turned to the now blanketed and cuffed man and read him his rights.
The coven were all early risers, they had to be. Some of the rituals for their warding spells had to be performed at specific points during the day, usually first light.
Willow felt refreshed. She’d missed her snuggle time with Kennedy, but you can’t have everything, can you. It was always fun catching up, anyway. She padded down the hallway to the coven room to check on Ethan. She opened the door and stood there in a state of shock. There, lying on the pallet, where she knew that they’d left Ethan the previous night, was a youth of about sixteen.
“ALLIE!” She shouted. “Come quick. Something’s happened. “ALLIE!!”
Althenea heard Willow’s shouts and dashed from her room. Mor joined her in the hallway as several of the others took up defensive positions, expecting an imminent attack.
The youth woke up with a start and began screaming too. Althenea burst into the room. She saw the panic on Willow’s face, an expression shared by the boy, and her own panic flared, briefly. Collecting herself she pulled her friend into the hallway and closed the door.
“What did we do?” Asked Willow, worriedly.
The teen shouted from the room. “Who the bloody hell are you lot, and where the hell am I?” His bellow muffled by the thick door.
Willow’s brain focussed and began to solve the riddle. Her eyes widened as she realised what had happened.
“I think the power drain also took his age away, so he’s what, sixteen, again. Ohmigod. Ohmigod.” She gasped, leaning on the wall for support. “Will he even know what year it is?”
“The first thing to do, is calm him, and you, down.” Said Allie. “Now, breathe, and focus Will. We need to work out exactly what we did and why this happened.”
Willow nodded and took a couple of cleansing breaths. Allie opened the door and they re-entered the room.
Young Ethan opened his mouth to start his tirade again, Allie held up her hands.
“Hold on, before you get any answers I need to know what you’re aware of. Do you know your name.“
He let out the breath he‘d been going to use for shouting, and answered. “Ethan Rayne. Are you doctors?”
Not exactly, but we are taking care of you. She said calmly “What was the last thing you remember, and where were you.”
“I was at school, boarding school, we’d got back and gone to bed.” Said Ethan.
“Which school, and who’s the ‘we’.”
“Hurst House, it’s a private school, and it was just me and Ripper, er Rupert, Rupert Giles.”
Willow caught her breath. Althenea gave her a raised eyebrow but continued her questioning.
“Why only the two of you. Weren’t the rest of your class out as well?”
“Are you thick. I don’t want six of the best for being caught outside after lights out. …… Hey, you’re not going to split on us to old Squeaky, are you?”
“I wouldn’t dream of it. Why were you out there?”
“We sneaked out to meet a couple of birds from the local youth club. They didn’t show up.” He said, dejectedly.
Willow interjected. “Stood you up eh. What a bummer.”
“You’re not English, you’re a Yank, aren’t you. Where are you from. You’re pretty. Fancy going out sometime.”
Heeyyyy. First, we’re askin’ the questions. Second. Ewww, I’m way too youn…old for you, a-and, third I’m seein’ someone. She said furrowing her brow.
Not to be put off Ethan tried again. “Don’t worry luv. I’ll soon sort him out. So how about it?”
Willow didn’t need this. Ok he had asked. His funeral. She smiled broadly at him. “Never said it was a ‘him’. And, I doubt you could sort her out.”
Ethan frowned at first, then his trademark lecherous grin beamed out at them. “Bloody hell. You’re a ruddy great Lezzy.”
Willow groaned loudly and shook her head. Where was Buffy or Cordy when you needed a verbal put down. ‘He’s got a one track mind‘. She thought. “At least I‘m gettin‘ some.” She muttered, out loud.
“Alright, that’s enough, you two.” Said Althenea, firmly. “Ethan. Behave. Now. Or else we leave and you can sit and stew until you’re ready to co-operate. Or should I tell ‘Squeaky’ what you were up to.”
Ethan looked at her as though he was trying to determine whether she was bluffing. He gave up. “Okay. Okay. ” He said.
“That’s better. Now, do you know what the date is?” She said, calmly.
“Twenty First of April.”
“Alright, what year?”
Ethan frowned. “What! You really are thick! Any fool knows it’s nineteen seventy one!”
Clewley Residence Kew, London.
Alison had waited up for her husband to return home the previous night, well, earlier that morning. Consequently they had slept in later than they usually did. At eight a.m. the telephone rang as she was in the middle of a nice dream. Without opening her eyes or lifting her head she reached for the phone and clamped it to her ear.
“This had better be important, or you’re in trouble.” She growled into the phone.
“Alison. “Oh, dear. Did I wake you, I’m terribly sorry. I assumed that you’d be up by now. Is Edward there, please?” Said Giles on the other end.
“Rupert.” She said perking up a little. “Sorry I thought it was the station calling him in or something. Hang on, if you’re up, what time is it? Did you get any sleep?”
“It’s eight o’ clock.; and I did get a few hours sleep. I have some information he might need if it’s possible to speak with him please.”
She nudged her husband. Edward grunted a sleepy ‘morning dear’ greeting to his wife and sleepily took the phone from her. By the time Giles had filled him in on the events of the previous few hours Edward was wide awake. So was Alison. She was dying to know what had gone on whilst they had slept. All Edward did was shoo her away so that he could talk to Giles in peace, so she went downstairs to make some tea. When she turned on the television to catch the morning news she caught the story of the ‘Swinging Hit Man’ or Dangly End meets a Crinkly Bottom as the newspaper headliners were calling him; the connection to the shooting in Windsor, and she put two and two together. When Edward finished his call with Giles he came into the kitchen.
“I suppose this means no shopping trip today then.” She said. “How did Rupert’s colleague find it all last night?” She asked.
“She took it all in her stride, actually.” He replied. “Why?”
“There’s just been a report on the TV about another gunman found hanging under Westminster Bridge this morning. I might not be a detective Edward Clewley. But I can smell a rat a mile off. Olivia was cagey about her and Rupert last night. She hardly said two words after you both left and I could tell she was worried. Why did Rupert call you this morning, he would have called the station if he needed to give further information, not you. Just what is going on, if there are gunmen out there after your officers and now possibly Rupert or this woman. What’s to say that you won’t be next on the list; and I don’t want that. I want to know. Now!”
“Sorry Alison, I can’t tell you.” He took a breath. “It‘s not for me to say.”
“Then I‘m going to call Rupert at the Museum and ask him. Can he tell me?” Her voice was a mixture of anger and worry.
“If he wanted to, yes.” He sighed. “But don’t call the museum. He’s not there. He hasn’t worked there in over ten years.”
“What!“ Alison sat down on the kitchen stool in shock.
City Inn Suite 421 Same time.
Dan woke with a start. Where was he. He dropped his head back onto the pillow. Oh right, hotel. He was suddenly aware of the fact that he was being watched. Buffy was lying on her side, her head propped up by her hand and elbow, watching him intently.
“Morning sleepyhead.” She whispered.
“Morning gorgeous.” He blinked at the light. “Did we….”
“We did.” She smiled
“It was. Very. ….. Yummy.” She purred.
“So I take it you don’t hate yourself, or me, then.”
“Surprisingly, no. Although I do think some other people might have something to say about it.” He said.
“Giles, Xander. The guv‘nor. I can just hear the lectures now.” He grimaced.
“I’ll slay ‘em if they open their mouths.” She grinned.
“Yeah. Right. Like that’ll stop them. Did anything else happen last night that I should know about?” He asked.
“Heidi and Helga had fun.” She said, brightly. We’ll find out what their imaginations cooked up in a while. She paused. Hungry?”
“Good. I know a great place for breakfast.” She bounced out of bed. “Race you to the shower.” She giggled.
Dan threw back the sheets and tore after her.
Atrium Cafe 09:00 hrs.
Xander sat in the Atrium Cafe drinking his second cup of coffee and mulling over the previous nights events. He was happy but at the same time sad. He’d told Vi as much when they’d talked over dinner, she’d said she’d understood, but that Anya wouldn’t have wanted him to be alone. Given the choice Anya would have wanted to be there instead of her but that was the whole point, wasn’t it.. No-one was to be alone, again, ever. That’s what they had fought for in Sunnydale and since. Not to be alone. He smiled to himself and thought of some of the witty comments Anya would have had for this sort of situation.
He was pulled back to reality as Vi sat down opposite him and began tucking into the full english breakfast she had ordered. Xander smiled at her exuberance and the twinkle in her eyes that he hadn’t noticed really until a day or so ago. He reached over and snagged a sausage.
“You should have said that you wanted one, but I’ll share if you want.” She smiled. I need to keep my strength up, I’ve got a training session with the girls later. You should come as well, the exercise will do you good.”
“Hmmm. Go round the realtors looking for suitable places for apartments, or get sweaty with a bunch o’ slayers. There‘s a dilemma.” He mused.
“As long as it’s only exercise sweaty that’s Ok.” She said, grinning and waving her fork at him.
He gave her a lopsided grin. “Oh, so last night doesn’t count then? …….Knew I was doing something wrong.”
She rolled her eyes at him. “No, actually, I know now why Anya was so obsessive. There was this little smile she had when she….” She saw his sad look and stopped. “Sorry. Look, you have to move on, really Xan. I liked her too. I mean, she was blunt, but you knew where you stood with her. She helped keep us potentials alive in Sunnydale. Ok, some of it was really gross and she scared the crap outta us with her stories, but she made sure we weren’t in any doubt what was needed to survive.”
“Yeah, she did kinda have a way with words, didn’t she.” Said Xander.
“Unlike any other; and I‘m not gonna try and compete.” Replied Vi.
Xander looked past Vi towards the entrance at the couple who had just walked in. He gave a nod in their direction. “Now, there’s hope when you see a couple like that. They just fit together like, well, a couple. Don’tcha think.” Vi didn’t even look around, her senses telling her who had just entered. She just grinned at Xander. “Hey Buffy. Daniel. What’s new? How‘d your date go last night?” she said, as they sat down next to them with their coffees.
Buffy raised an eyebrow. “Oh y’ know. Nice meal, good company, easy conversation, informer got killed, got shot at, Daniel died, I saved him, the police came…Oh yeah, and Heidi and Helga took out a second hit man at the hotel, while we were asleep.”
“WHAT!!” The other two exclaimed.
Dan’s grin got bigger as he looked at Buffy. “I wish my police reports could be that short.” He glanced at the other two. “Haven’t you seen the news this morning?”
Not yet.” Said Xander. “Why?”
“Here.” He said, slapping the morning paper on the table. “We made the front page?” He said, with a grin.
“Do I get anything to eat! I‘m hungry. And I need the loo, unless you like it messy in here.” Shouted Ethan through the open door. The Wiccas had left him temporarily so that they could discuss what they were to tell him. Mor Llewellyn put her head around the door.
“Of course you can have something to eat. What would you like ?”
“A fry up would be nice.” He grumbled. “Can you tell me why I can’t leave the room. There seems to be some sort of barrier here.” He put out his hand and touched the air in front of him. There was a ripple in the air as though there was a skin, like the surface of water, which his hand couldn’t pass.
“It’s a safety bubble.” She wasn’t lying. Though It was more for their safety than his. “I’ll get someone to open it for you; back in a moment.” She left quickly before he could ask another question.
She found Willow and Althenea returning. Allie reached out with her mind to her sister witch and Willow joined them in the silent conversation.
“We don’t know if it will convince him, but we’re going to tell him that he had an accident and hit his head. We tell him he’s had memory loss due to it and that he’s obviously been dreaming. Giles says he was interested in science fiction back then, so a dose of the twilight zone won’t be disregarded.” Said Allie.
Willow continued. “We don’t want to give him any clues that the reason he’s so young is because of magic. The spell appears to have taken him back to a point in his life before he knew about its existence. Giles also said that a few days after that incident with those girls, something happened to make Ethan take an interest in the occult; and we all know where that led.” . “If we need to discuss magic we do it telepathically if he’s around. Ok.”
“What about his records if he asks?” Asked Mor.
“I can deal with that. Hurst House is still there, I’ll just hack into their systems and input his details as necessary. Obviously he won’t be returning there. Looks like we’ve got another student to educate, or re-educate. Whatever.” Said Willow.
Mor agreed to the planned deception and went to inform the rest of the household, whilst Allie and Willow set about the task of releasing the young Ethan from his bubble.
WSC Headquarters below Tate Modern. London.
Robert Langdon was silent as David Peterson escorted him through the security procedure at reception and into the lift. Giles was waiting at the bottom as they exited.
“My god. I was just getting used to the idea of the whole demons, vampires and magic deal, and now this. How do you keep it all secret from the public.” He asked.
“Fortunately, most people aren’t that curious, and those that spot something they shouldn’t tend to dismiss it as a trick of the light or their imagination working overtime. Our biggest problem is the seedier aspect of the media. They are the one per cent, of the one per cent, who are inquisitive enough to follow upon what they think they might have seen. When it was just Buffy and Faith the problem wasn’t that severe, and we were localised in Sunnydale. Now we are globally active we have to be extremely cautious.” Responded Giles.
As Giles had been explaining this they had crossed the cavern to the offices. They entered the conference room to find Buffy, Dan, Xander, Vi already there. Andrea sat slightly apart from the others looking rather nervous.
“Willow just called.” Said Buffy. “She’ll be here in five minutes. She’s just putting the finishing touches to Ethan’s school background.”
”Excellent. Hopefully we won’t have a repetition of the previous course of events. Though I will admit that it’s going to be difficult for me to acclimatise to him being a sixteen year old again.” Said Giles.
“Look on the bright side Giles, at least we all know what to expect with a teenager. Y’ know. Been there, done that kinda thing.” Chirped Xander.
“Yes. Quite.” Said Giles, with a slight glare in his stare. “I would expect that he will be completely out of sync with the modern world for a while, if Althenea‘s plan works, and he knows nothing of the supernatural or magic, so I suggest that you keep it simple if you ever meet up with him.
“So you’re planning on sending him to the new school in Westbury then?” Said Buffy. “Coz with all the girls there, I’m thinking that it might not be a good idea. Will says that he made a pass at her almost as soon as he woke up.”
“It’s called rehabilitation Buffy, and we are responsible in some way for the situation, so we will do our utmost to rectify the problem. The Local Education Authority are expecting a normal school, so the curriculum will require that we conform to their standards, just as we have to in Cleveland and Rio.”
“Just so you know. I’ll be watching him, real close.” She said.
“I’m glad of that, in fact I’d like to speak with you afterwards on that subject, if you will.” Said Giles.
Buffy nodded her assent and Giles called the meeting to order. Robert sat on the sidelines as he listened to the group discuss where they were at with the locket, giving his own input when requested. Having had a day to get used to the idea of this group having saved the world so many times he could see how they worked and that collectively they were a formidable team. Should he be offered a post he would certainly consider accepting.
Buffy was examining the locket when she paused and looked at Xander.
“Willow’s coming.” She smiled. A second or two later there was a flash and a slim redhead just appeared in the room, standing at Buffy’s side. Robert’s mouth dropped open as did Dan’s, both managing to collect themselves as the group welcomed their friend and introductions were made to the newcomers.
Robert was pleasantly surprised that Willow had read some of his work and hoped he would have the opportunity to discuss some of their mutual theories at a later date. For now though there was the business of opening the locket to attend to.
“I don’t think it’s a magical construct, I’m not getting any vibes off it. Did anyone else?” Asked Willow. The question was directed mainly at Buffy and Andrea. Both shook their heads.
“So it must be a logical or cryptic mechanism.” Said Robert. “Which continues in the vein that Sophie and I were engaged in before all of this came about.”
“There’s something we’ve missed in all of this.” Said Giles. “Something so blindingly obvious that we can’t see it.”
Willow passed the locket to Andrea who in turn, made to pass it to Giles. As she held it a wave of nausea passed over her as the vision came to her.
She saw the scene in the Embassy car park from Sophie’s point of view. She was being held by the Bringers against the wall; the knife flashed, there was pain, and the blood was dripped into an earthen flask.
The next thing she knew was Willow’s voice and an ice pack being pressed against her forehead. She opened her eyes to find she was lying on the Chesterfield in Giles’ office. David and Giles were there also, looking more than slightly concerned.
“Nothing like waking up with a crowd around you, is there.” She groaned. How long was I out this time?”
“About fifteen minutes. Are you okay. Do you need anything?” Asked Willow.
“Cuppa wouldn’t go amiss.” She said. “Plenty of sugar, please.”
David went over to the tray and returned with a steaming cup of tea.
She thanked him and took a few sips before she spoke. “It’s Sophie’s blood that will open it. I saw, or rather felt her blood being drained into that flask by the Bringers yesterday.”
“So it is a mystical lock.” Said Willow. “So, why didn’t you get the vision earlier?”
“Perhaps I was trying too hard. From what I remember all I was doing was passing it from you to Giles.” Said Andrea.
“With Andrea’s powers being more passive rather than active as yours are, Willow, it must have triggered the vision.” Offered David.
“There must be some sort of benign protection on it to deter a magical assault, which also hides its mystical construct.” Willow concluded. “Neat. You gonna be alright to come back to the meeting now.”
“In a moment. Willow, can I have a word with you.”
“Sure, what is it.”
Andrea looked at Giles and David. “It’s girl talk, chaps, if you wouldn’t mind.” She asked. The two men left them alone.
“Ok what’s up?” Asked Willow.
“Two things, actually.” Said Andrea. “I’m concerned about these visions I’m getting. Some of them are pretty vicious; and I’m a bit worried that might end up like Cordelia Chase.
“Ok, We’ll look into it, but I don’t really think you have too much to worry about. Her visions were a little different to yours, in that they were passed on from Doyle. They weren‘t meant to go to Cordelia.” Said Willow. What’s the other problem?”
“There are two people in the meeting who are red hot and it’s driving my empathic senses nuts.” Said Andrea.
Willow looked puzzled. “Red hot? I’m not with you.”
Andrea heaved a heavy sigh. “I mean sexually red hot.”
“Oh. Who? Xander and Vi? Great!” She grinned. “Buffy and I have been pushing them together for a few months now…..” She stopped in mid sentence when Andrea started shaking her head.
Andrea laughed. “No silly. Xander and Vi are simmering nicely, I can handle them. It’s Buffy and Daniel. There’s so much heat from them it’s a wonder they haven’t spontaneously combusted.
“Really. I am outta the loop. When did this happen?” Asked Willow.
“Yesterday. Last night, and some of this morning. I’ve got to keep away from them, otherwise I’ll explode.” Said Andrea. “This is why I’ve been in my room a lot since yesterday afternoon.
“It’s also probably why you didn’t get a premonition from the locket earlier. You’re too frustrated.” I’ll have a quiet word with Buffy, try to cool them down a bit. You go have a lie down, if you know what I mean. Said Willow with a nod and a grin.
Andrea almost ran out of the office and over to the lift. Willow went back to the others.
“How is she.” Asked Giles.
“She’ll be okay. She’s gone for a lie down.” Said Willow with a smile.
They continued the meeting.
“There are two things that now need to be accomplished before we can go any further.” Said Giles. “Firstly. We must open the locket to see what is inside. If it turns out to be another clue, we’ll need to decipher it. For that we may need Sophie’s help anyway. Secondly. We need to acquire the two books from Rayne Manor, and we may as well remove all of the supernatural books and equipment, whilst we can. Ethan can’t know any of this, however his physical presence will be required to gain access, and we can‘t use any magical means to transport him there. Any suggestions”
Willow spoke up first. “Althenea and I can deal with Ethan. We have the entry incantation and we have a car. Getting past the curse may be a little harder but we could always put Ethan to sleep while we deal with it.” She paused to see if anyone else had any suggestions. “I can probably deal with the other problem too. If you get me a GPS location I’ll collect Sophie for you. Anyway, I’ll need to know what’s inside the locket before I go to Rayne Manor, so I get a better idea how to deal.”
Heads bobbed around the table, acknowledging the plan. Giles called the meeting adjourned and the group broke up. Xander and Vi headed for the training area. Giles went to call Edward to get an update on the Maguire situation and David took Robert on a tour of the facility, intending to meet with Giles after his phone call.
Buffy and Dan waited for them all to leave. Willow had put a message in her head as the meeting broke up.
“Ok Will, what’s the what?” Said Buffy.
“You two. You’re the what.” Said Willow
Dan groaned inwardly. He was just getting used to Buffy speak, but this was shaping up to be something truly cryptic.
“Stop. Please!” Said Dan, interrupting. “Could I have this in English.” He pleaded.
“He’s right, Will.“ Said Buffy, grinning. You’re gonna have to breathe. Dan’s not used to Willow babble like Giles is.”
Willow explained Andrea’s situation more slowly. When they got the message there were two red faced people in the room, and one calmer witch.
“I think we should apologise to her.” Said Dan.
“Darn right ya should.” Said Willow, setting her resolve face. “Just don’t get too near.”
“Then we say it with either flowers or chocolates. Which do you think.” He looked at Buffy.
She shrugged. “How about both.”
Belgravia Police Station
Edward watched the hit man they had recovered from Westminster bridge on the monitor. His lawyer had arrived and DS Gorman was conducting the interview.
“So all you are able to charge my client with is a breach of the peace and unlawful possession of a firearm.” Said the lawyer. “I believe that the second charge is illegitimate and should be dropped. My client was obviously the victim of some sort of hoax or prank. As he has told you, he was out walking when he was hit over the head and he woke up naked and swinging under the bridge. I suggest that you drop these charges and start referring to my client as the victim rather than a criminal.”
Gorman smiled at the lawyer. “I’m terribly sorry, I’m unable to do that. You see, one of our officers was targeted at the incident in Windsor last night and we know that the said officer was temporarily staying near to the location where Mr. Jones was found. The fact that Mr. Jones’ car was found parked in Atterbury Street, also near to the officers location, and a set of clothing was also found very close to the location; I for one refuse to accept this as mere coincidence Our forensics people have them now and if we discover that these were Mr. Jones’ clothes, I shall be looking to upgrade the charges to one of attempted murder.”
“What of the people who did this humiliating thing to my client. Are you looking for them too. Perhaps they are the real culprits and my client is being used as the patsy.” Said the lawyer.
There was a knock at the door. A uniformed officer entered and handed Gorman a package. “Video and stills.” He said. Gorman spoke up for the recorder.
“Eleven Twenty Two, a.m. PC Williams has entered with a package containing photographs and a cctv tape.” Said Gorman. He spread the photo’s on the table and described them for the benefit of the recorder. They showed clips taken from the cctv footage of Jones parking his car in Atterbury Street, taking the rope and a bag from the boot, and then the scene from a location at the rear of the City Inn as a figure abseiled down the outside of the building. There were no photo’s to account for his removal from the scene to the bridge, as the lawyer noted. Jones put his head in his hands, and spoke.
“I want to change my plea, in exchange for immunity from prosecution.”
Up in the observation room Edward’s cellphone rang. “Rupert. I have news, some good, some bad.”
Giles replaced the phone just as Buffy and Dan returned from arranging flowers and chocolates to be sent to Andrea’s room.
“Ah, there you are. Their imagination was working overtime last night, wasn’t it!” He said, indicating to Heidi and Helga who were sparing on the mats outside the window.
“Sorry, my fault. I told them to use their initiative, but not to kill anything that was human.” Said Buffy. “You gotta admit though, they do work well together.”
Giles grinned. “Brilliant idea, I thought. Total humiliation.” His face became more serious. “It seems that the threat my not be over though. Edward has just informed me that the second man has asked for immunity from prosecution if he tells what he knows. Edward is inclined to give it to him as long as he gets enough evidence against Maguire. As yet he hasn’t been located, although he does have several properties in the UK and overseas. The bad news is that both hit men have indicated that the contract will be renewed until someone kills you Daniel. As yet they don’t know your identity Buffy, but they do know that Daniel was with a woman at the restaurant and the hotel last night.
Dan groaned. “It just gets better, doesn’t it.”
“Look on the bright side.” At least they’re not the Order of Teraka.
Dan grimaced. “The demonic assassins!” He said.
Giles looked surprised. “You know of them!”
“Only what Buffy told me last night. Cyclops type thingy and a bug man and someone posing as a police officer? If I remember correctly.”
Buffy smiled. “See Giles, I said he learns quick.”
“I’m told I have a good retention, that’s all.” He said, modestly.
“Actually, talking of retention, there’s something I have to ask the both of you.” Said Giles.
A shiver went down Dan’s spine as he speculated. He noticed that Buffy looked a little uncomfortable too.
“Really, what is it?” Asked Dan, innocently.
“I’d like you both to consider taking teaching roles at the new school.” Said Giles. “Daniel. I’ve spoken with Edward. He has nothing but praise for you as an officer and although he doesn’t want to lose you, he feels that you may be better suited to your first choice of career. Especially in light of the Maguire case moving towards a conclusion.”
“This is a bit sudden.” Can I think it over.” He glanced at Buffy who gave him one of her thousand watt smiles. “Ok. Thought it out. Yes please, although I’ll probably need to work out a period of notice.”
“Eight weeks. I already asked.” Grinned Giles. He looked at Buffy. “Buffy. I’d like you to reprise your role as a counsellor for the students.”
“Giles, I’m not qualified, remember. I quit college and then I died. I never went back!”
“Buffy, you are eminently qualified for the post. Robin tells me that you did an excellent job with the normal students at the high school in the short time you were there. The slayers will relate more to you than any normal counsellor; because you’ve been in their position. If it’s a piece of paper that’s holding you back, I’m sure Willow will be more than pleased to…..”
“No. That won’t be necessary.” She said, cutting him off. She sighed. “I’ll do it. I need to settle somewhere and Westbury seems as good a place as any. Besides, if Dan‘s gonna be there.” She finished, giving Giles a wicked smile.
“Oh, dear lord. You will behave, won’t you.” Said Giles, fear forming in his eyes.
“We will. I promise.” She said.
“Very well. Now then, back to the other business.“ Said Giles.
Buffy looked at Dan. “We need to hide you from view for a while. How about I have Willow cook up one of her famous glamour’s for you. Make you look like someone else.” Said Buffy.
“Doesn’t sound like a bad idea. What about you though. They did know what suite we were in last night, if they don’t already know who you are, they soon will.” Said Dan.
She folded her arms and gave Giles a hard look. “This isn’t fair. They can come after us, but I can’t touch them. Did you or Ed manage to find out who this…‘No Gateaux’ demon is.”
“N’Gata Demon.“ Corrected Giles. “No, But Edward says that they’ve managed to get a court order to seize all of Maguire’s assets, if he’s paying for services, there may be a clue in the accounts. Probably the best idea is to lay low for a while. Perhaps a glamour for the both of you would help.”
“I don’t hide, Giles. Confuse them, yeah, but not hide.” She said.
“Buffy, these people have so far been human. They have also used the human methods of killing. Who’s to say that they won’t have the compunction not to do it from a greater distance.” Said Giles, solemnly. Look upon it as confusing them.
“Giles might be right.” Said Dan. “Who’s to say that the next time someone won’t use a rocket launcher or something, and put a lot more people in danger. I wouldn’t be happy knowing that innocent people were going to be hurt if someone was trying to get at me, and I don’t think you’d be too happy about it either.”
“Alright, I’m open to suggestions.” She said, reluctantly.
“Willow will return shortly with Sophie. Then we’ll hopefully open the locket. Once that’s done, we can work on a safe option for you both. From what you’ve told me of the protection mark, Buffy’s proximity has something to do with it, so she should be as close as possible.”
There was a moment of fidgeting from the pair at this comment, but Giles apparently remained oblivious.
“One thing I do need, however, is for someone to go to Leigh’s place in France, and check on the situation. Apparently the police started tearing the place apart looking for clues. Some of the books there are reputedly priceless.” Said Giles.
Buffy pouted. “First teaching, and now this. Are you punishing me for something?”
“No. Certainly not.” He said calmly. “Perhaps I wasn’t clear. Would you oversee the operation. I will send some of the trainee watchers over to do the actual audit.” He explained.
“What about Maguire; or Caleb, even.” She asked.
I don’t see that Maguire will see any connection to Leigh, and the First is busy elsewhere, Rosslyn probably, trying to locate the grail. I’ve asked a local contact to check on the site. I believe that Caleb’s spirit will discount the Chateau as a refuge because of the connection to Leigh, the likelihood of recognition, and the fact that the information there is redundant. What do you think.” He said, looking at them both for input.
“Sounds like a plan to me. What do you say? A couple of days in France sounds alright to me ” Said Dan. He looked at Buffy.
She frowned deeply. “Okaay, I’ll go along with it. But I don’t like it. Something’s wiggin’ me. It’s not right.”
End of Chapter Thirty.