Searching for Ethan
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CHAPTER TWENTY – Searching for Ethan
Sunnydale – Undisclosed Location
Ethan Rayne wasn’t stupid. He knew exactly where the Slayer and her little friends would look for him. Five years in prison had given him perspective on why his past schemes had all gone wrong. He wasn’t about to make the same mistake this time around.
His first order of business on entering Sunnydale had been to find help of the magical variety. He’d felt the dark magic reach out to him like a lover wrapping its arms around him and had followed it unerringly to its source.
The power broker was a definitely one of the more unsavory characters Ethan had dealt with but beggars couldn’t be choosers. No he would use Rack for his power and then he’d discard him. Ethan wasn’t into sharing power but he’d let his new ‘partner’ think that for now.
Rack promised to help in exchange for a magical infusion of power and Ethan would give it to him and then drain him dry. He just had to find the perfect morsel. Once that was taken care of he’d move to a better place. Rack had no concept of cleanliness and Ethan well he just couldn’t stand living in a place like this no matter that it offered a convenient place to hide from the Slayer. With a look of disgust on his face and his glamour firmly in place he walked into the night in search of a witch.
Sunnydale – Docks
Angel and Teal’c moved stealthily through the various buildings on the docks. Both men were talented trackers and if anyone had been watching they would have seen only the merest flicker of shadow as they walked by. That is until Angel spoke.
“Teal’c, how long have you known Buffy?”
Teal’c raised his eyebrow and looked at the vampire, “I have only known Buffy Summers for a short time. But I find her to be honorable and a formidable leader and warrior. What do you wish to know?”
Angel desperately wanted to ask the tall black man about Jack O’Neill and his relationship with Buffy but instead asked, “I just wanted to know more about her life for the past five years.”
As if reading his true intent Teal’c began to speak again, “O’Neill has spent much time with Buffy Summers. Perhaps you should speak with him. Though I do not know why you don’t ask her yourself. You have known her many years I am sure she would speak with you about her new home.”
Angel nodded again and changed the subject, “It doesn’t look like Ethan is holed up down here. We should probably head back to the Magic Box.”
“Indeed,” responded Teal’c and they two men turned and silently made their way back to the shop.
Sunnydale – Warehouse District
Sam, Riley and Xander were having no better luck than Angel and Teal’c. So far they’d dusted five vampires a strange experience that brought out the scientist in Sam. She’d spent the last half hour questioning both Riley and Xander on the mechanics of why a vampire turned to dust on meeting its final death. Neither had been very helpful and both had suggested she speak with Giles as the expert or perhaps Angel or Spike.
Beyond that the evening had been very annoying for Sam. First Xander and then Riley had bombarded her with questions on Buffy. While she had missed the confrontation in the Magic Box the day before she knew from Jack that Xander was not pleased with Buffy’s decision not to return to Sunnydale and his attitude this evening hadn’t made her feel very forthcoming with information.
Just as she thought maybe the two men would stop questioning her Xander spoke up again. “So you’ve only known Buffy for a few weeks.”
“And now you guys are bestest buds? So friendly that she’s thinking of moving to Colorado Springs to live rather than coming back here where she belongs,” Xander whined.
Sam really hated the sound of his voice. “Buffy has become a friend. I’m not sure where she plans to live. Perhaps you should ask her what her plans are.”
At that Xander grew silent. He knew that Sam knew he and Buffy weren’t exactly on speaking terms. He wasn’t going to be getting any information from either woman and it just made him angrier. There had been a time when he’d been privy to everything in Buffy’s life well except when it came to Dead Boy and that had only led to badness. He was convinced this situation was no different.
Then in their continuing, though perhaps unknowing, tag team effort it was Riley’s turn to ask her questions. ‘God,’ she thought, ‘how did Buffy put up with this constant prying into her business?’
“Why hasn’t Buffy been living in Sunnydale?” Riley queried.
“Enough,” Sam growled out. “If you want to know something about Buffy ask Buffy. We are supposed to be searching for Rayne. Something I frankly can’t concentrate on if I have to play 20 questions with the two of you.” Sam hated the way these two irritated her. Truthfully it reminded her of Rodney McKay and all of his inane questions. She had to put up with him because of work but these two – well she wasn’t planning on ever seeing them again – so she was going to adopt a new motto in dealing with them. ‘Niceness is overrated.’
At Sam’s outburst both men quickly slammed their mouths shut and quietly fell in beside her. Sam sighed and they continued their search. She didn’t think it was really wrong of her to hope one of their cell phones would go off with the witches’ call that they’d completed the spell. The sooner she got away from these two the happier she’d be.
Sunnydale – Sixth Seedy Motel of the Evening
Buffy was disgusted. She’d thought that dealing with demons was bad but really they had nothing on the perversions of humans. She’d spent so much time in cemeteries during her years in Sunnydale that she’d never realized how many rooms by the hour motels the town offered and truthfully it was knowledge she could live without. She sighed and noted to herself that a long hot shower would be the first order of business once they finished their search.
“Okay, boys! Which of you gets to show the clerk Ethan’s photo.” She was so not going to talk with one more sleazy motel desk clerk. The way they looked at her made her skin crawl and the one time she’d gone in with Jack well the guy was lucky he’d restrained her after the comments he’d made.
“Slayer,” Spike whined, “I may be evil but these guys are disgusting. I think it’s Jack’s turn.”
“Woah, there Vampire I think not. I did my duty last time holding Buffy back from killing the clerk. That boy had a dirty mind.”
“Fine, but you’re going in next time,” Spike announced and in a swirl of leather went into the office.
Buffy giggled. “It is so easy to play him. What do you think it’ll take to make him talk to the clerk’s at the rest of the motel’s?”
Jack snickered along with her, “I’m sure we can arrange something.”
At that Spike came back out of the office. “Perverts the lot of them. No sign of Ethan here either. How many more of these sodden motels we got to go to? I’m bloody sick of dealing with these pervs. Wouldn’t have bitten them before the chip – bloody worthless.”
Buffy tried to hide her laughter, “We have six more on the list. Ugh! I have never felt so gross. We need to make one other stop before the next motel.”
“Where’s that?” Jack and Spike asked at the same time.
“Willy’s. Ethan might go there for information and luckily for us Willy is very susceptible to the more physical forms of persuasion and after all the fun I’ve had tonight I’m ready to hit something. Who knows maybe Willy won’t cooperate and help me get my violence fix.”
Buffy turned and led Jack and Spike toward Willy’s hoping that the little weasel denied any knowledge of Ethan Rayne. Jack hadn’t let her hit the clerk but surely he would let her hit Willy. Surely.