Cold Coffee and Old Memories
Title: Cold Coffee and Old Memories 1/3
Author: Bastard Snow
Summary: Third in the Coffee series. The Scoobies head to Washington, D.C….
Disclaimer: I don't own any of it.
Author’s Notes: This might be the last in the Coffee series. I’m not sure, but I don’t have anymore lined up right now. If something else occurs to me, I’ll probably write it, but for now I’m going to focus on my other works.
Feedback: Yes, please!
Xander, Willow and Buffy stepped onto the escalator and looked up.
“Whoa,” Xander said.
“That’s a big escalator,” said Willow.
“I’m noticing that,” Xander said. “Did we even have escalators in Sunnydale? Other than the mall, I mean?”
“I don’t think so,” said Buffy. “Or if we did, they were hidden from me.”
The trio was carried up more than 20 feet, into the almost blindingly harsh Washington, D.C. sunlight. As instructed, they had checked into the Watergate Hotel under the false name Alexander Dumas. Seeing nothing else to do, they decided to go sightseeing, and the Smithsonian Museums was their first pick, because Willow was the only one who really had an opinion.
Having then retrieved their car, Xander proceeded to buy a map and begin driving towards the National Mall. He headed straight up Virginia Avenue, towards the Washington Monument that was visible straight ahead. Following the map, they took a left on 18th Street and headed for I Street But because the map was more than a year old, I Street now ran one way in the opposite direction they needed to go. Heading past I and on to K, they tried to find a way over to Pennsylvania Avenue. They passed 17th street twice, much to their dismay, without making any turns. Hooking a right on 14th, Xander drove down to Pennsylvania.
The map struck again, and they couldn’t turn left. Slowly making their way to 15th, they found they couldn’t turn right because Pennsylvania between 14th and 15th was closed (though they got to drive by the White House). Xander quickly found that 15th didn’t stay 15th, but instead changed to Vermont. So he turned right (back on K street, again) and passed… 15th street. Confusion quickly set in. After a few more wrong turns, Xander returned to the Watergate (saying “If we make enough turns, we’re bound to get there at some point”), charged valet parking to their room, and they just took the damn Metro, already. Because, Xander reasoned, who the hell cares how you get to Independence Avenue, anyway?
“Look at all these places,” said Willow as they stepped off of the escalator and looked down the Mall at the Capitol Building. “There’s so much knowledge, so much information, so many priceless artifacts collected on this one stretch of land… it’s mindboggling. Just think. That building right in front of us is the seat of American democracy. It’s the place where laws are made, where futures are decided. Some of the greatest political minds in American history worked in that very building.”
“What do you want to do first?” Xander asked.
“Well, what do we have?” Buffy asked, shielding her eyes from the abnormally bright Washington, D.C. afternoon sun.
“Well,” Xander said, looking up and down the row. “Looks like we’ve got the Smithsonian, the actual building not just the museum group, and then there’s Air and Space, and –”
“Natural History!” Willow said. She was almost jumping with excitement. “We have to see the Natural History museum!”
“Uh, okay,” Xander said. He consulted the map he had picked up in the lobby of the hotel. “And we are…”
“At the Smithsonian Metro Station, Orange Line,” Willow said, referencing the free-standing eight-foot column they stood next to.
Xander held the map up, using the Capitol building as a reference point, along with the metro station. “Okay,” he said. “In that case, Natural History is going to be…” he pointed almost directly to the left. “That way.”
The trio turned, and began crossing the Mall.
“Natural History,” Buffy muttered. “That sounds like a lot of fun. Nothing like a bunch of bones and rocks to keep *me* interested.”
“They’ve got the Hope Diamond,” Xander said.
“The Hope Diamond, like the actual one? The big one?”
“No, a baseball field named after Bob Hope. Yes, the Hope Diamond.”
Buffy’s eyes were fairly glowing. “Natural History,” she said after a moment. “Sounds good.”
As they walked into the American Museum of Natural History, the three friends looked up into the face of a large elephant, mounted on a pedestal that made its huge frame even more imposing.
“Huh,” Xander said. “You know, if we had split up like we were originally going to, I probably would have seen a lot of these guys in Africa.”
“Yup,” Buffy said. “But instead you got stuck with us girls.”
“Yes,” he replied. “Blast my luck for having to spend time with my friends instead of being shipped off to some hot, dry continent with a low-likelihood of air conditioning. Besides, how much would that suck? Having to adapt to the one-eyedness with nobody around to make fun of me when I bump into things? I mean, that’s no way to live.”
Buffy laughed, and Willow wrapped her arm around his waist, while resting her head on his shoulder. “You know we’ll always be here to mock you for your disabilities,” she said, sincerely.
“And this is the source of my love,” Xander said. He wrapped his arms around both girls and gave them each kisses on the tops of their heads. “Now. What first?”
* * * * *
After a long day of touristy things, Xander flopped down onto his bed. In his own room. A queen-sized bed all to himself was a luxury he had not had since… well, since ever. Even when he lived with Anya, they had shared a full-sized bed. Xander splayed out on his back on top of the covers, with seemingly acres of room to move. He rolled around a little, getting the feel of the bed. Xander sat up and looked around the room. There was a small couch, a table, a real mahogany television cabinet. The room was, strictly speaking, huge, and impressively furnished. Xander was impressed that the government had sprung for such a luxurious hotel room.
He sighed. The room was too big, and he was lonely. Xander stood to go find one or other of the girls, when someone knocked at his door. He opened the door to find a blonde and a redhead standing outside with sheepish smiles on their faces.
“Our rooms were too big,” they said. Xander smiled and waved them inside. Buffy and Willow appropriated his bed, while Xander moved the table and lay out on the couch.
“So when do you think they’ll show and tell us what they want?” Xander asked.
“I don’t know,” Willow said. “Hey, maybe they could forget about us and we could just do whatever we want. They might never come for us!”
They all turned to look at the door, waiting for a knock. After a moment, they gave up.
“Did my best,” Willow said.
“That’s okay,” said Buffy. “I imagine they’ll get around to us when they want to. Until then, we should just enjoy this little bit of vacation in between the driving around the country with no supervision.”
Xander nodded. “I’m still curious though.”
“About?” Willow asked.
“Alexander Dumas. Why an assumed name? And why *that* assumed name?”
“Well, there’s the obvious,” Willow said.
Xander and Buffy looked at her.
“Well, first, you’re Alexander,” she said, pointing to Xander. “So that’s kind of a ‘duh’ to remember. And Dumas wrote the Three Musketeers. Buncha guys who fought for what they believed in, right?”
“So who do you think it is?” Xander asked.
“Who do I think what is who…what?” replied Buffy, having managed to confuse even herself.
“The Slayer,” Xander said after a moment, having muddled through her phrasing. “I mean, there’s got to be a reason the president sent for us. I assume it was the president, what with it being the Secret Service who came to Giles. Right? And doesn’t he have a few daughters?”
“Three,” Willow said. “Zoey, Eleanor and Elizabeth, whose married name is Weston. Zoey was involved in a shooting a couple of years ago in a Virginia suburb called Rosslyn… the target was her boyfriend, Charles Young, who works for the president. He’s black, and they were white supremacists, who didn’t want him dating a white girl. But instead, they shot Josh Lyman, the deputy Chief of Staff.”
Buffy and Xander blinked at each other, then looked at Willow.
“Uh. Okay. Thanks for the family history, Will,” Buffy said. “How did you know that exactly?”
“I looked them up,” she said, a little defensively. “There’s tons of websites about the first family, and their history, and Bartlet’s administration. It’s all readily available if you just look for it.”
“Hey, no criticism,” Xander said, smiling. “You just always know more than us.”
“Unless it’s Spider-Man or melee weapons,” Buffy said.
“Yeah,” Xander said. “Unless it’s those.”
“Well, I just take the time to know about a situation before I go into it. It’s been my experience, well proven, I feel, that in our line of work, surprises tend to be bad things.”
“Can’t argue with you there,” Buffy said. “I really—”
Someone knocked at the door.
“Did you order room service?” Willow asked.
Xander shook his head. Buffy stood up and moved to the door cautiously, indicating that Willow and Xander should stay behind her. They complied by being too lazy to move. Buffy leaned up on her tip-toes to look through the peep-hole, eliciting a muted snort from Xander. She glared at him.
“Buffy,” Willow said, “I really don’t think anybody’s going to attack us in the hotel room.”
Buffy looked through the peep-hole again and saw a young, professional looking black man standing outside patiently. Deciding he looked safe, Buffy ignored the quiet comments about paranoia and ‘missing the rush’ that were coming from behind her, and opened the door.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“I hope so,” the young man said. “My name is Charlie Young. I was looking for a Mr. Alexander Harris. Is this his room?”
“That depends,” Buffy said, leaning against the door while taking in the attractive form of the man in front of her. “What do you want with him?”
“Well, if this is his room like the front desk led me to believe, then I have a matter of some urgency to discuss with him, and his traveling companions. From the file, I’d assume you to be Buffy Summers. Is that right?”
“Mmm… uh huh,” she said.
“Did ya hear that, Will?” Xander said from behind her. “You guys are my traveling companions. Who’s the big shot now?”
Buffy couldn’t tell, but she assumed Willow was sticking her tongue out at him.
“Buffy, let him in for god’s sake, he’s not going to kill you,” Xander called. “Or any of us.”
“Is that true?” Buffy asked him.
“Uh, yes, ma’am. I’m not planning on killing anyone anytime soon.”
“Oh,” she said. “Well, okay then.” Buffy stepped back from the door and let the young man walk inside.
Xander rolled his eye. “It’s a hotel room, Buff,” he said as he rose to greet their guest. “They can come in anyway. What can we do for you?”
“As I said, my name is Charlie Young. I work for President Bartlet. The president is hoping to meet with the three of you, and discuss some issues of national security. Specifically vampires.”
Buffy was surprised. “You have high enough security clearance to know about vampires?” she asked. Her impression from Riley had been that it was fairly hush-hush.
“Well, not exactly, ma’am,” Charlie said. “But the president often tells me things he probably shouldn’t.”
“Could you do me a favor?” Buffy asked, glancing at Willow. The redhead had remained silent the entire time. “Don’t call me ma’am. It makes me feel old.”
“Of course,” Charlie said. “Anyway, as I said, the president would like to meet with you. I have a car waiting downstairs. So, if the three of you could get dressed…”
Xander looked down at the jeans and sweatshirt he was wearing, and realized there was no way he could meet the president wearing that.
“It’ll just be a few minutes,” Xander said.
“Of course,” Charlie said. “I’ll be in the lobby.”
Xander saw Charlie to the door, and when it was closed, he turned to Willow.
Willow dragged her gaze up from the floor to meet Xander’s eye. She smiled. “Yeah,” she said. “Went into a bit of a shock there. Meeting the president. Wow. That’s big.”
“Willow,” Buffy said. “We beat the crap out of a hell-goddess. We went up against the First-frikking-Evil, and we came out of it alive. On the scale of powerful people? President doesn’t seem quite as high as it used to.”
“No, I know,” Willow said. “But, it’s not just… I mean, he- he’s the president. Hell-Goddesses and First Evil’s, yeah, but that’s the world we live in all the time. President is much more… he’s a bigger deal to most people. Just seems important.”
“No, I know what you mean,” Xander said. “It’s a different kind of powerful. More of a social one, and it makes a completely different kind of impression.”
“Come on,” Buffy said, patting Willow on the shoulder. “We should get changed.”
Willow nodded again, and the two girls left Xander in his room.
End Chapter 1