Chapter Thirty One
Disclaimer. The Buffy and Da Vinci Code characters are owned by other people. Other people who are not me.
Chapter Thirty One.
Military Hospital RAF Brize Norton.
Sophie Neveu was about to add another milestone to her life. In the last few days she had resolved her issues with her grandfather, albeit posthumously, been reunited with her grandmother and brother, both presumed dead, and discovered her birthright to the Merovingian Royal Line, and the family of Jesus of Nazareth. She wasn’t a boastful person, but that was somewhat the upside to her discoveries. The downside was that, demons, and true evil was also real, as were those who fought against them, and her birthright had made her and her family a target. She had tried telling herself that she’d wake up in her own bed in her Paris apartment any moment now and discover it was all a dream…..Not so.
A request had come from their rescuers in London that she return to assist with the opening of her grandmothers locket and possible deciphering of any clue therein. She wasn’t going to complain. She had found her brother and grandmother, but there was only so much conversation, so much reminiscing, so much feeling like being a captive one could take. She also had the chance to see Robert again, and hoped that he felt the same as she did.
Michelle, who had been looking after them had just received a call from someone on her cellphone and she had cleared a small area in the room. Someone called Willow was coming. She left the room to inform security of her arrival. What puzzled Sophie was, why tell them she was arriving if she would turn up at the gate anyway. That was the moment that Sophie and Luc grabbed each other in shock, and moved in front of their sleeping grandmother to shield her. There was a slight build up of a breeze, a brief flash, and a slim redhead appeared in the cleared space.
She saw the shock on their faces and flashed them a nervous smile. “Ooops. Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.”
“What?….. Who are you.?” Asked Sophie.
“Oh, sorry didn’t they tell you I was coming. I’m Willow…. Willow Rosenberg.”
“But we were expecting…..How did you do that?” Asked Luc.
“Do what…..Oh teleport. Well, it’s sorta complicated, but in the simplest terms; I think myself somewhere and it happens.” Said Willow.
Sophie and Luc let go of each other and relaxed slightly. “So, you’re a witch.” Said Luc, questioningly.
“Pretty much, yeah.” She replied. “Although, the term techno-pagan is more, y’ know, politically correct.”
At that moment Michelle came back with another person in tow.
“Dawnie!” Trilled the redhead.
“Willow!” She squealed. Then more solemnly said. “Watcher Junior reporting for duty.” She gave a mock salute. They giggled and hugged.
Beaming, Willow pushed the brunette to arms length and took a good look at her. “Have forgotten taller? Or am I, y’ know, shorter How’s Oxford?”
“Later, Will.” She giggled. Right now we’ve gotta get Sophie to London. I’m coming with. Giles wants me to go to France to look at some books.”
Sophie watched with an amused expression as the two bantered. Marie awoke to find her room had become a meeting hall. Willow introduced herself and Dawn and explained what was going to happen. Luc shook his head.
“Is it safe to travel this way? Why not go by car.” He suggested.
“It’s safe, I’ve travelled with Willow before and I’m still in one piece. Weekending in Rio is a lotta fun.” Said Dawn with a grin.
“Are you a witch too?” He asked.
“Nope, just a trainee watcher.” She replied, with an air of certainty that told Luc that there was something more, but she wasn’t going to say what it was.
Sophie looked nervous. “Does it hurt?”
“No, but the first time can be a little disorienting. You might need to sit down at the other end. Nothing serious.” Said Willow. She held out her hand for Sophie to take. Dawn grabbed her overnight bag and took Willow’s other hand. Willow took a breath, closed her eyes and they were gone.
The SF posted outside the room closed his eyes for a second. When he opened them they were glazed over with an opaqueness that resembled cataracts. This lasted for a few seconds, then the opaqueness dissipated, the connection lost. What was needed to be known had been found out……..
Althenea’s car. En route to Rayne Manor
Ethan sat in the passenger seat staring out of the car window at the countryside flashing by. The history lesson had been concluded by Althenea. She had managed to convince him that somehow, what he had experienced of a previous era had all been a trauma induced dream and that eventually, when his mind was ready, his memory would return. Weaving the tale of his counterfeit history had the added bonus of curtailing his bad behaviour, and he had been quite subdued since she had told him of his parents death in the same ’accident’ that he had survived. Coupled with Willow’s improvised computer history, enhanced with a little magical influence, gave him, or anyone who cared to look, the same information.
Althenea told him that they were on their way to his home because there was a need to start gently with reminding him of his past. As it had been closed up for the past nine months that he’d been in the coma, there was also a need to satisfy his trustees that he was able to be responsible for the property in the future.
“Why can’t I go back to Hurst House?” He asked.
“Your education is out of alignment now, and Hurst House can’t help you with reforming you memory. They don’t have the staff to help you deal with the trauma you’ve been through. We have psychologists, and the new school in Westbury will have counsellors to help you deal with any integration problems. What you’ve experienced is something fairly unique, and we need to tread carefully, otherwise you might not be able to disseminate reality from fantasy. I personally wouldn’t want that for you. Would you?”
“No, ‘course not. Bloody hell. I dreamt I was in the seventies. Freaky man!”
“There you go. There’s a phrase that no-one uses. I’m not considered ‘cool’ by any means but even I know that ‘freaky man’ isn’t a popular phrase. I’ve heard ‘saddo‘, ‘wicked‘, ‘cool‘, and ‘weird’ used, but not ‘freaky man‘. Don‘t worry you‘ll soon pick up where you left off.” She said, with a smile.
“Bloody hope so. I’ll never pull a bird otherwise.”
“And that’s another thing……..” She started. Inwardly, she cringed. It was going to be a long journey.
WSC Headquarters, London
Buffy was trying to remain calm. “Giles. I’d rather Dawn stayed at Oxford where she’s got three slayers to keep an eye on her.”
He took off his glasses and began polishing. “I fully understand your concern and I would leave her there if I thought for one minute that there was good reason to.” He said. “The fact is, the younger trainees need to prove themselves. Dawn is the most experienced of them all. That is why I have asked her to lead the group. She needs the leadership experience and there’s no-one else who can handle the texts or languages that might be there. I admit that Willow o-or even myself could perform the task, however, Willow is required here to gain access to Rayne Manor and deal with what might be there; and I am needed at Westbury to deal with the commissioning of the new school. I have to be sure that the Education Authority don’t discover the extra facilities we’ve put in place.”
“Better take a pack of cookies with you then, coz I hear school inspectors are like social workers. Sneaky.” She grinned. Ok, I give, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
Buffy’s cellphone started ringing. She answered. “Hi Ed.”
“Buffy ,is Car…..Daniel with you?”
“Nuh-huh. Next office. Why?”
“Would you get him to call his sister, please. She’s been tying up my phone line for the past hour trying to get in touch with him about last night’s events. She’s not taking my word for it that he’s alright.”
“Ok. I’ll get him to call her, don’t want to get on the wrong side of his family just yet. Boy am I gonna need a good cover story. Oh. Hey, I‘m gonna pass you to Giles I think he needs to talk to you.”
She handed the cellphone to the gesticulating Giles and left the office to give Dan the information. She pulled him away from the demonology book David had given him to read whilst they awaited Willow’s return.
“I didn’t realise there were so many different types of demon. How come people haven’t noticed them more ?” He asked.
“Down to the old selective memory. What people can’t understand, they rationalise. Hey; I mean, look at Gorman.” She said. “If I hadn’t been there you wouldn’t have known.”
“True, but they can’t all have human faces Can they? He asked.
“Some do, some don’t. the ones who don’t tend to keep away from the human population, or go out at night, and if they’re out at night, they’re usually up for hijinks.” She lifted the handset and offered it to him. “Sisterly phone call required. She’s been driving Ed nuts about you. Don’t tell her too much though.”
He raised an eyebrow at her. “As if.” He said.
He dialled, and Buffy left to let him concentrate on the call. “Hi Becks! It‘s your favourite brother. The guv‘nor says you wanted to talk to me”
A few minutes later he came back to the conference room looking slightly jaded. Buffy gave him a ‘you Ok’ look. He nodded and mouthed the word ‘later’ at her. Willow had arrived with Sophie and Dawn whilst he was making the call. Buffy pulled him over to her sister.
“Dawn, this is Daniel. Dan, my sister Dawn.”
They shook hands. Dawn beamed at him. “So you’re the guy that’s got my big sister all smiling.” She glanced at Buffy. “Hayley’s guess was right; he’s scr.. … er .. Nice.” She said, altering her terminology rapidly.
Dan grinned. “Well at least you didn’t start with the Spanish Inquisition. I‘ve just had that from my sister about last nights events, that, and exactly who was the blonde I was with.” He said, relieved.
“You have a sister too. Does she get on your case much, coz I can sooo relate.” Said Dawn, looking pointedly at Buffy.
“Not as much these days. She’s just a bit protective of her little brother.” He replied.
“Right with you there. Oh, the stories could tell.” She said, rolling her eyes.
“And that’s where we’ll leave that, thank you.” Butted in Buffy. “So, questions from your sister. Anything we should worry about?”
No. Politely told her to mind her own business, and with regards to last night she was just concerned about the fact that shots were fired at me. I assured her I was still in one piece and she let it go. No problem, although she’ll have to let mum know about the incident when they get back from Portugal. That gives us about a weeks grace.
Buffy heaved a sigh. Dawn looked at her incredulously. “What’s wrong with you. You used to have all sorts of excuses ready for mom when you came home bloodied and bruised!”
“I know, it’s like I ran out of excuses.” She paused. “Before mom knew about the slaying it was second nature, coz, duh, I practiced every day at school; and then when she did know, it didn’t matter too much anymore. Then she died and I didn’t have the need to. I just need one good cover story, without coming across as a total ditz.”
“Pffft. Piece of cake. I'll help.” Said Dawn. “Although you might wanna work on the ditz part.”
Dawn squealed laughingly, as Buffy made as if to chase her cheeky sister from the room. Grinning broadly, Dan took his seat as Giles returned with Robert.
“Right.” Giles said, as he sat down. “Edward informs me that Rosslyn is empty. Caleb and the Bringers have obviously been there searching for the grail because of the mess they’ve left. I’ve arranged for David and Andrea to take a team up there to see if they can identify if anything is missing, and to secure the Chapel. Based on this, there are two possibilities. Either he found what he was looking for and he’s acting on it; or, he got out before we could counter him.” He glanced around the table. “We need this locket open as soon as possible if we are to stop Caleb and the First achieving their goal.
He glanced at Willow and Sophie. “Would you try, please.” They nodded and left the table, Willow took an athame from the cabinet and made a small nick in Sophie’s finger. Sophie didn’t even flinch. She was getting used to being cut by people. Was that a bad thing? A small bead of blood formed on her finger and dripped onto the locket. It ran into the lines of the star, and the face took on a different perspective. They watched as the tiny etching glowed and there was a clicking noise from the locket and the edge sprang open to reveal a chamber inside with a folded piece of paper within. Dawn offered Sophie a surgical wipe and a band aid from the first aid kit and they returned to the table. Willow unfolded the piece of paper carefully in case it tore, smoothed it out and placed it under the light on the table.. There were two rows of alpha-numeric on it.
“What’s that mean.” Asked Robert. “Is it another code Sophie?” She shook her head.
Dan peered over from across the table. “No, it’s a GPRS map reference.” He said.
Belgravia Police Station
Edward Clewley sat at his desk deep in thought. The intercom beeped and made him jump. “Yes Sue.” He answered.
“I’ve got DS Gorman here to see you, sir.”
“Ah, yes, send him in please.
Gorman entered and Edward bade him sit. “So, what’s the verdict with our Mr. Jones.” He said.
“The charge of disturbing the peace will stick, but he’ll get off with a warning, maybe community service. On the plus side, we know his face now, so he won’t be pulling anymore stunts like this in the future. I’ve made sure his pictures and prints have been sent to Interpol. Regarding his contractor, he didn’t meet with him. The instructions came over the phone and a numbered account was to be credited on completion.” He reported .
“Any more news on Maguire?” Asked Ed.
His jet left East Midlands for Geneva at 22.35 hours last night. We don‘t have an extradition treaty with the Swiss, them being neutral in everything, including the kitchen sink, sir. So he‘s probably having lunch with Phil Collins as we speak.” Said Gorman, sarcastically.
“What about the accounts, anything we can use from them.” Asked Edward.
“There’s an awful lot of very boring stuff, I’ve got the number crunchers going through them now with a fine toothed comb however, I did spot one name amongst it that you need to let our Ms Summers know about. I haven’t mentioned it to anyone else sir, because I’d have to explain how I knew the name.” He paused. “Magnus Hainsley.”
“Go on.” Said Edward, quietly. Gorman pulled a folded sheet of paper from his jacket pocket and handed it over to Ed. He read the text whilst Gorman explained.
“Four years ago a lot of money, and I mean a lot of money was paid to Hainsley for what was put down as ‘consultancy services’.” Ed glanced up at him, puzzled.
Gorman elaborated. “According to what I’ve been told Hainsley was a necromancer. He had power over the dead. His main source of income was transferring the more noticeable demonic essences into corpses so that they were able to walk among humans.”
Ed was catching on. “So you think that Maguire isn’t Maguire, that somehow a demon took over his body.”
“It’s not possession sir. Maguire would have had to have already been dead for Hainsley to have performed the ritual.”
“The next question begs itself to be asked.” Said Edward. “Was it a natural death, or was it murder? Where is this Hainsley, perhaps Ms. Summers could get an answer out of him. ”Said Edward.
“Only if they’ve got a medium sir, he’s dead. Word is that he upset Angel, the CEO of the LA branch of Wolfram and Hart, and he killed him, about eighteen months ago.”
“Angel? Oh, the vampire. Yes, I know who you mean.” Said Edward.
Gorman was impressed. “You’ll pass this information on to the slayer then, sir.”
“Of course, although we will have to confirm if Maguire is the demon. All this could be a ruse by the First to distract her. So, for now we proceed with a normal investigation; we dot the i‘s and cross the t‘s. Everything by the book.” Said Edward.
The two Gendarmes who had been left to guard the property after the departure of the DCJP had very little to do. They made their patrol rounds of the chateau, mainly, though, they watched the television in the well equipped and stocked kitchen. The sound was turned up a little loud on the football match that was being shown and the two were enjoying some of the fine foods that, by all accounts, Sir Leigh Teabing would no longer be able to, due to his untimely death.
That was the point when they both turned to the doorway, each sensing that there was another person in the room. They both jumped at the sight of the eccentric Englishman standing wearing what appeared to be a padre’s shirt and dog collar. Scrambling to their feet the chairs fell over, clattering across the floor. They drew their guns aiming at the man before them.
“Levez votre mains.” Ordered the senior officer.
“Excuse me.” Said Caleb. “Sorry old chap, I don’t speak French.” He lied. Teabing’s memory told him that it was like a second language to him, but he wasn’t going to kill them without having a little fun first.
“Your ‘andz, in ze aire. Maintenant…..Now!” He said again, in badly pronounced English.
“Oh, naturally, old chap. Like this?” He raised his hands with a flourish and waved them about. “I say, this is fun, is it not.”
There was a moment when the two officers were perplexed as to what to do next. Caleb was still waving his hands around in what appeared to be a fanciful way. Far from it. The sigils he was crafting in the air were gathering his power ready to release it at the moment of his choosing; which was about to arrive. The senior of the two indicated for the other to make the call to HQ and let them know that Teabing had returned from the dead, or so it appeared.
Caleb responded in perfect French. “The accounts of my demise are greatly exaggerated.” He unleashed the lightening bolts on the unsuspecting officers, freezing the shock onto their faces to be worn as a death mask.
“Your power is building up quite nicely. If you’d played with them a little longer, we could have made them see double.” Said the First appearing in the doorway in Buffy guise.
“They’d have probably peed in their pants. That and burning flesh, not a nice smell. Messy too.” He replied.
“True. I have some help arriving soon. There’s a sect of demons known as the Claatic near here, they’re coming to assist in the search and claiming of the grail. The Bringers will arrive as soon as possible. England is one awkward country to get out of in a hurry; if you’re a demon. Hopefully they‘ll all get here before the watchers do.”
Briefly, there was a look of annoyance on Caleb’s face. Then he smiled. “If the watchers are coming here, there must be something of value here that they need. How ‘bout we let them find it for us.”
They left the kitchen and headed for the ballroom, and the vast quantity of books. They were well out of earshot when the cellphone in the pocket of one of the dead officers started ringing.
At the other end of the call Inspector Collet of the DCJP replaced the receiver. He couldn’t understand why they hadn’t answered. He picked up the receiver and dialled a number he’d been given by the US Embassy. It answered immediately.
“Rupert Giles speaking.”
End of Chapter Thirty One