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Not So Secret Agent Man

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Summary: Fic-a-thon response for sailorvulcan. A gang of horsemen, a rash of barbecue fork accidents, and an unexplained explosion- the truth is out there, and Mulder intends to find it.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > X-Files, TheCameronFR1315,575271,4295 Aug 065 Aug 06Yes
Not So Secret Agent Man



Rating: FR13

Disclaimer: Characters and ‘verses aren’t mine. BtVS and those characters still belong to Joss Whedon, and The X-Files and those characters belong to Chris Carter.

Summary: Fic-a-thon response for sailorvulcan. A gang of horsemen, a rash of barbecue fork accidents, and an unexplained explosion- the truth is out there, and Mulder intends to find it.

Additional Notes: Fic-a-thon response. Requests were as follows:

LIST THREE THINGS YOU WANT IN YOUR FIC: A miniature dragon (real or not), well placed sarcasm, a horse (a real one)
LIST THREE THINGS YOU DON'T WANT IN YOUR FIC: deep dark helpless angst, 'on screen' character death, and deep dark helpless angst




She was an old woman, and was almost always dressed in a faded print housecoat, her hair up in curlers, and her feet wedged into threadbare slippers two sizes too small. She’d been born in Sunnydale, had married and buried her Harold – God rest his soul – in Sunnydale, and had born and buried her three in Sunnydale, and she would continue to live in Sunnydale for the rest of her life. In her eyes, there couldn’t be anything wrong with her hometown. All those odd, strange events had to be someone’s fault. And she knew exactly who to blame. An open notebook lay before her, notes written in her shaking cursive, noting days, times, and odd occurrences ever since those awful Summers women had moved into the house across from her. Her binoculars lay next to the notebook.

Hugging one of her cats to her closely, the old woman peeked furtively out of the two-centimeter gap her fingers created between the slats of her cheap plastic blinds while wedging her phone between her shoulder and her ear. She hated being put on hold, but she imagined that they were running all sorts of checks and scans on her – she’d voluntarily given them her social security number, telephone number, and driver license number. She just knew that the FBI would want to check and see that she was a model citizen before talking to her. They were the FBI, why wouldn’t they run checks? Of course they would be much more thorough than the local bumpkins she was used to dealing with. She was through calling the Sunnydale Police and the California Highway Patrol – they never did anything to handle the situations she reported. She’d called in reports on those teenage hooligans at least a hundred times, and the authorities never did anything. She thought that they’d finally done their job when the blonde disappeared for a summer and there was a rumor that she’d been arrested, but instead she was just taking a long vacation. The Mayor, God rest his poor soul, had personally written her a letter thanking her for her long-standing participation in the Neighborhood Watch, but he never did anything about those teenagers. She had just snuck over to a different window to get a better view when a strong male voice interrupted her thoughts.

"FBI, Los Angeles office. Agent Smith talking, how may I help you?"

Oh, yes, she was definitely through with dealing with the local authorities. She didn’t mind too much when the neighborhood was being infiltrated by gangs on LCD or whatever drug it was that teenagers these days were taking, but she drew the line at horse-riding maniacs. No sir, not in her neighborhood. Her next call was going to be to Sunnydale Sanitation. She, for one, was not going to be cleaning up all the horse droppings in the yard.

- - - - - - - - - -

It was two weeks before the FBI called her back. Things certainly had changed since the men her age had retired and the youngsters had taken over. The young generation just didn’t show the same dedication and diligence that her group had. She was starting to think that the FBI wasn’t going to return her call at all. The young man that she had talked to was very interested in hearing all her stories about the neighborhood, even the ones from a few years ago. Unlike the police, that nice young Agent Mulder seemed to really care and believe her when she told him about all the gang members, dark-haired tramps, and those hooligans wearing zombie masks. He had said that he would be flying right out to deal with her problems. So nice to talk to a man like that, even if he did have an odd name. Really, what type of woman would name her child "Fox"? She sighed again over young people these days, and went back to spying out the window with her binoculars.

- - - - - - - - - -

Mulder had booked himself on the first flight to Sunnydale after calling back the old woman who had made the original complaint. It was odd; he hadn’t been able to get a flight that arrived after 6 p.m. or before 6 a.m. He chalked it up to a quirk of airline scheduling. After coming back from a bad case of the flu, Scully had stayed behind in D.C. to help with the backlog in the medical examiner’s office and get some rest. Skinner had agreed that the complaint wasn’t serious enough to send both of them, but had warned Mulder to call for backup from the L.A. office at the first sign of trouble.

Mulder finished working on his list of questions as the plane began its descent into Sunnydale. He’d been amazed by the number of files the FBI had on the area. Sunnydale had a good number on unsolved cases involving runaways and bizarre deaths, including the nation’s highest rate of exsanguination due to barbecue forks. Really, the only reason that he was flying out at all was that some of the woman’s claims matched some of his unsolved cases, particularly their most recent cases about the horsemen. Maybe he’d finally get the break he needed to solve those cases.

- - - - - - - - - -

Mulder knocked on the door, and waited patiently on the porch. When he saw the woman peeking out at him, he held up his badge and called out loudly. "Mrs. Watson? I’m FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder. We talked on the phone?" She looked to his right and then to his left, and when she saw he was the only person around, he heard several dead bolts being unlocked, and the door slowly swung open. She stood to the side, silently, and waved him in. As soon as he crossed the threshold, she quickly slammed the door shut and turned all the bolts again.

"Special Agent Mulder, it’s so nice to meet you. It’s wonderful that someone’s finally going to take care of our problems. I tell you, this town is just going to hell in a hand basket ever since those Summers women moved into the neighborhood. Please, come into my parlor. I keep all my notebooks in there. Really, if everyone else would put as much effort into the Neighborhood Watch and just make notes like I tell them to do…"

- - - - - - - - - -

After talking to Mrs. Watson, he was about ready to mark the case as being solved – "crazy old woman with five cats has problem with blonde neighbor who wears short skirts." She’d even claimed the girl was the vicious leader of a murderous cult known as the "Scooby gang." Even though Mulder doubted there was anything to Mrs. Watson’s claims, he did feel there was something else to the town. Something about the area felt… wrong. He had passed five funeral homes, ten churches, and three cemeteries since he’d left Mrs. Watson’s house, and he hadn’t even driven three miles yet. She had ranted and raved for over an hour, but she had told him to go talk to a Mr. Giles in the business district. She’d not been able to answer every question on Mulder’s list, but had promised him that Mr. Giles would be much more capable.

The bell over the door chimed as Mulder pushed open the door. Mulder glanced around the store and was surprised by the number of oddities housed in the store. He’d been in a few "magic" stores before and had glanced through a few occult magazines, but he was astonished some of the supplies Mr. Giles carried. Glass bottles filled with a dark rainbow of potions and rare oils lined the shelves in neat rows. Incense sticks in a dizzying number of scents were stored in clearly labeled canisters. However, the oddest part of all was that the store managed to avoid most of the clichés seen in the typical magical shop. The windows had been recently cleaned and were unobscured by hazy black chiffon hangings, the girl behind the register was a typical Californian blonde rather than a black-haired Goth, and to be quite frank, the store didn’t smell like burnt herbs.

The girl gave him a brilliant smile. "Hi! How are you? How can I take your money… I mean, is there anything expensive I can interest you in today?"

Smiling back, Mulder approached the girl. "Excuse me, miss, I don’t think I’m going to be buying anything today. I’m Special Agent Mulder with the FBI. Is Mr. Giles here?" He didn’t miss how she blanched when he introduced himself as being with the FBI.

"Sure thing, Agent Mulder." She smiled, this time an obviously fake smile, and then turned towards the back room. He wasn’t expecting her to start shrieking "GILES!!! There’s an FBI agent here for you!" She turned back to him, pasted a fake smile on her face again, and backed away from behind the register.

A middle-aged bespectacled man came out into the store, and addressed the girl. "Anya, dear, please remember to use the inside voice."

She blanched again. "Giles, ix-nay on the ames-nay. I need to go count our money. Now." She scurried off into the back room.

"Sorry, agent. She tends to be a bit… addled… in the afternoon. Caffeine addiction, you know how those things are. I’m sorry, what did you say your name was?"

"Special Agent Fox Mulder. I had a few questions for you, Mr. Giles."

"Please call me Rupert. How may I help you?"

"Just a few things for the record first. How long have you lived in Sunnydale, Mr. Giles?"

"I moved here a few years ago."

"And you moved here because…?"

The man laughed. "I was growing tired of working at the British Museum, I wanted a sabbatical. An old friend had recommended moving to California, just as a lark."

"And you went from working at the British Museum to working in a high school library?"

"I wanted to work with children, but I’m not licensed in America to teach. I could tutor however, and honestly, the library had an excellent collection of Spanish and pre-Spanish religious materials from this area. The university didn’t have storage room, and they were housed in the high school instead. It was a golden opportunity to catalog the collection."

Mulder asked a series of trivial questions to get a baseline on how the man acted normally, and to ease him into the true questions. Finally, he had to ask. "Mr. Giles, have you ever noticed anything odd about this town?"

For the first time, Giles took off his glasses and polished them. "Odd? Mr. Mulder, this is California. I’ve seen at least ten odd things by the time I have my first cup of tea each day."

"Odder than normal? Sunnydale has a reputation for being a hotspot for strange events."

"Odder than normal, what an interesting way of phrasing things. Are you sure that these ‘strange events’ of yours aren’t just odd seismic events? We do lie on a fault."

Mulder pulled out his notebook. "I suppose that the numerous gas leaks and the destruction of the high school could be due to earthquakes and tremors. Have you ever had a fork accident?"

Even though he had just polished his glasses, the Englishman polished them again. "Have I had a fork accident? Not recently, I tend to have more spork-related problems. Dratted invention, doesn’t work well as either a fork or a spoon."

"Do you know anyone who’s stabbed themselves with a barbecue fork?"

"Stabbed themselves, as in a suicide attempt?"

"Let’s just call it an accident. Most of the forking victims around here do tend to end up dead, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt."

"What exactly are you trying to imply, Agent Mulder?"

"I’m just asking if you’ve seen anything odd or strange. That’s all. This town has a very high death rate, and I read of two forking victims this morning in the paper."

"Dreadful accidents, I’m sure. It sounds like you’re implying that we have some sort of mass murderer who kills victims via dull silverware. I’m sure it’s nothing of the sort. These people pride themselves on their beautiful weather and their non-existent alcohol tolerance. They’re just drinking too much while hosting outdoor barbecues, accidents happen. Really, they ought to do a public service announcement on how friends don’t let friends drink and grill."

Mulder moved on to the next item on his list of Sunnydale oddities. "Overlooking the seismic events and the unfortunate drinking-related barbecue accidents, have you noticed the number of people in this town who go missing?"

"There’s a very high turnover rate, the poor economy these days. They don’t want to let the neighbors know the bank’s foreclosing on the house, so they move and don’t tell anyone." Rupert took off his glasses, noticed that he was about to polish them again, and put them back on instead.

"Bad economy duly noted. Perfectly reasonable. Let’s discuss the gang problems." Mulder began making hatch marks in the notebook for every time Rupert took off his glasses.

"Gang problems? Oh, it’s nothing like L.A. has. Have you ever heard about the gang problems in London? They’re just bloody awful. Really, I’m much safer living here."

"I was under the impression that you’d been mugged several times by gang members on PCP, Mr. Giles."

"However did you hear… nevermind. Oh, those gang members. It’s horrible what a drug addiction can turn a person into."

The conversation continued for over an hour, with Mr. Giles giving wilder and wilder explanations. Mulder just stared at the man. Mr. Giles had yet to directly answer any question about the Sunnydale oddities. "Have you ever seen strange lights at night, Mr. Giles?"

"Strange lights? No." Mulder felt like this was the first truly accurate answer he’d heard since the beginning of the interview.

"Have you heard any humming or buzzing sounds at night?"

"No. I can sometimes hear the next door neighbor’s radio, but that’s it."

"Have you seen any strange patterns in the grass in your yard or in the parks?"


"Besides, the gangs on PCP, have you seen any people with distinctive facial markings or abnormal height."

"Agent Mulder, I worked at a high school. I used to see short people with bad acne on a daily basis. That’s it."

"What about the horsemen?"

Mr. Giles just stared blankly at him. "Horsemen? What horsemen?"

"The FBI is looking into a gang on horseback. We’ve been tracking them for several days. There have been some complaints from Sunnydale about this gang."

"Really? This is the first I’ve heard about them. It’s probably just… uh… erm… a Civil War re-enactment group. Alternatively, it could be a polo team. I could do for a good spot of polo."

"Mr. Giles, I’ve never heard of a sports team, polo or not, calling themselves the Knights of Byzantium. The name also makes me think that they’re not re-enacting any war that’s ever been fought on this continent."

"Knights of Byzantium? Oh, dear Lord. Um… what I mean is that is a very unfortunate name, that’s it. I’d hate to be on a team that might be nicknamed ‘The Knobs’."

"Really? Based on your first response, which I believe was actual surprise, I take it then, Mr. Giles, that you do know what I’m talking about. Can you please just answer my questions, or tell me what it is you’re trying to hide? Just tell me the truth!"

"What exactly do you want to hear? You’ve been asking me all these very leading questions, yet if I told you what I think you’ve been waiting to hear, you wouldn’t believe me."

"The truth. That’s all. I’ll believe."

Giles sighed. He knew the FBI agent couldn’t handle the real truth. Yet, he wanted to tell the man. It didn’t feel right to mislead him so very badly. How best to go about this? He wearily removed his glasses and looked the younger man directly in the eye. "You’ve got me, Agent Mulder. It’s all a conspiracy. Vampires drained those unfortunate forking victims. The former mayor was actually a snake-like demon that had to be blown up. We also have had our swimming team turn into genetic fish mutants; you forgot to ask about them. Masked soldiers did experiments on demons here. We’ve also had a giant praying mantis teach at the high school, and we had the most delightful evil mummy to host as a foreign exchange student. I’m a small business owner by day, and by night, I train the one girl in the entire world capable of destroying the evil. Yes, that’s what we’re all about here, fighting back the vile forces of evil while saving the fair maiden and making the world safe for babies and small fluffy puppies. Thank you for visiting, please take care in returning to your hotel. You’ve got a few more hours of sunlight, I strongly suggest that you get inside by then and stay inside. Don’t invite anyone in, and don’t let anyone gnaw on your neck. Good day, Agent Mulder."

"Mr. Giles, I will be back and I will be asking more questions. I’d prefer not to get the sarcastic answer next time." He didn’t wait for Mr. Giles to lead him to the door. Mulder shook his head as he left the shop. Even he wouldn’t believe the things that Mr. Giles had just told him – aliens, yes, vampires, no.

- - - - - - - - - -

His motel room was on the second level, and his balcony had a pool view. Fifteen minutes earlier, the bright Californian sun beamed down on the people in and around the pool. Joyful shrieks told the story of various water games kids and teens played in the pool. A father tried to coax a frightened toddler into jumping into the shallow end of the pool. Tourists, either coated in handfuls of tan-enhancing coconut oil or thick layers of SPF30, lounged in teak deck chairs scattered around the pool.

The last rays of the blood red sunset now highlighted the deserted pool area. As soon as a few anxious mothers noted the time and the drop of the sun, the mass exodus from the pool area had begun. In their haste to leave before dusk, people gathered their children and fled, not even paying attention to make sure they’d taken all their belongings. A bright red beach ball, left behind by a child, bobbed up and down in the pool. A pair of sunglasses and a forgotten book were the only things laying on the deck chairs.

Mulder lounged on the uncomfortable plastic chair on his balcony. He’d called Scully as soon as he had a chance, wanting to discuss his interviews. "I’m telling you, he’s hiding something!"

"Mulder, really, be reasonable. I agree with him. There are perfectly logical explanations, just like the man told you, for some of the strangeness." Scully sighed, knowing that her partner wouldn’t listen to her.

"That’s why I don’t trust him. He had a logical explanation for everything! Most people would scratch their heads and say ‘I don’t know’ at least once."

"So he’s smarter than the average American. We knew that already. I can’t believe that you have more doubts over this Mr. Giles than you did with Mrs. Watson. You haven’t said a word about her interview."

"Typical busybody neighbor. She wasn’t trying to hide anything like Giles was. She gave me all her information, more than I needed, and he was very secretive."

"Mulder, please. He answered every question, you told me that he did."

"Scully – think about this. Why would an otherwise smart and urbane man with an excellent job suddenly quit and move to No-Where’s-ville, California?"

"Mulder, I'm sure there's a perfectly good explanation why a curator of the British Museum decided to become a school librarian. It's odd but it doesn't mean he's in a conspiracy. He probably was just stressed."

"You tell yourself that, Scully. I still don’t trust him."

"Mulder, please, can we discuss this tomorrow. I’m tired, and want to go to bed. We’ve been over how unreasonable you’re being at least a hundred times. Go get some supper, I know you haven’t eaten yet."

"G’night, Scully."

"Good night, Mulder."

Both agents hung up at the same time.

- - - - - - - - - -

Mulder had just put his key in the door when he heard a scream, a scream more of horror than pain. He didn’t draw his gun as he ran down the motel stairs, but did undo the catch on the holster so he could easily draw he it if there was an emergency. A second scream helped him identify that the ruckus was happening in the pool area.

He rounded the corner, and took in the scene. A small girl, approximately 7-9 years old, was screaming as a man grabbed her by the elbow. The man was a white male, six foot even, in his midtwenties. Upon seeing Mulder, the girl screamed again. "Help! He’s a stranger! Help!"

Mulder immediately drew his gun. "Stop! FBI!"

The man ignored him.

"FBI! Stop! Put the girl down, or I’ll shoot!"

The man turned to face him, but didn’t release the girl. She had stopped screaming, but was still struggling.

Mulder fired.

The man laughed as the bullet passed through his heart, causing no damage. The would-be kidnapper wasn’t going down. The girl kicked the man in the knee, and as he started to fall, she kicked him again, only higher. He released her arm as he covered his crotch with both hands. The child didn’t wait to see what would happen, and ran around the pool to the open gate.

Mulder was glad to see her escape, and was especially glad she wouldn’t have to see what was about to happen. As he walked towards the downed man, he emptied his entire clip into the man’s upper torso and head.

He grabbed his cell phone and was about to call the police when the kidnapper lunged at him with a growl. Mulder thought he must have been imaging things when he thought he saw that his assailant had fangs. He ducked, and the kidnapper went flying over him.

The attacker growled again. It was strange, in the light put off by the cheap fluorescent outdoor lights, the man looked like his face was misshapen. "You!" The man pointed at Mulder. "You made me looth my meal."

‘Looth? What in the world was the word?’ Mulder thought.

"You thupid foolith mortal!" The man bared his teeth at him.

Mulder laughed as he realized that he had been right earlier, the man did have fangs. Apparently, he also had a bit of a lisp as Mulder finally translated what he’d been saying earlier.

"You dare laugh at me, you fool? Prepare to die!" The fanged man took another lunge at Mulder, but Mulder ducked and threw him over his shoulder. He saw a flash of red out of the corner of his eye, and turned. A slender blonde woman had entered the pool area.

"Stay back, miss! I’m a FBI agent! Call the cops!" Mulder yelled, hoping she would take his warning and not get involved. He would hate for a civilian to get hurt in this fight. He didn’t get a chance to see because the man hit him again, knocking him to the ground against one of the chairs. Thinking fast, he jumped to his feet, grabbed the chair, and hit his assailant over the head with it. The chair broke into a hundred pieces, but did no damage to the man, who then picked Mulder up and tossed him into the pool.

When he surfaced and wiped the overly chlorinated water from his burning eyes, he was surprised to see the blonde extending a hand to him. She pulled him from the pool. The assailant rushed at both of them.

The blonde sighed, and said to Mulder "you, know, it works better if you aim lower." She picked up the broken chair leg, and jammed the sharpest end into the chest of the man. Mulder was shocked to see him turned into dust.

The woman coughed, and proclaimed "See, that's not so hard, is it? I just hate it when I get minion dust on a new shirt. Laundry is such a bitca."

Mulder blinked. She’d just killed a man, albeit in self-defense, and the man had turned to dust, and all she could think of was her laundry? And what exactly was a ‘bitca’?

- - - - - - - - - -

The entire world had gone insane. It was the only reasonable answer Mulder could think of. He shook his head, and took another sip of his coffee. Why else would he be sitting in the back room of a magic store with a Californian blonde and Mr. Giles?

The blonde, who he’d learned was named Buffy, finished her explanation to Mr. Giles with a so "… and since it was teak, poof! All over my new shirt."

"Very good, Buffy. I’m assuming you want me to pay your dry cleaning bills since you’ve only mentioned your shirt ten times. By the way, dear, it is a lovely shirt." Giles turned to face him. "Agent Mulder, I’m sorry I didn’t give you a more direct answer earlier. People who haven’t seen vampires first hand tend to not believe in them. I didn’t think you would be capable of believing me."

"So that actually was a vampire?"

"Well, duh!" Buffy proclaimed. "What did you think it was?"

"That was a vampire?" Mulder had dealt with some supposed ‘vampire’ cases before, but nothing like this.

"Number one, you shot it like twenty times and it didn’t die." Buffy counted off her evidence with her fingers. "Number two, you broke a chair over its head and even I know that physics says that his skull should have broken rather than the chair. Number c, it went poof into dust when I staked it with a piece of really nice of teak. By the way, when did the motel get all snazzy with the nice chairs? Very impressive. And finally, it had fangs! Yeah, I mean it could have been a werewolf with the fangs and the growliness and the strength, but no. Definitely a vamp. And a really bad dressed vamp, just for future reference."

Mulder could barely follow the logic of that diatribe. He noticed the pained look on Giles’ face, and couldn’t stop himself from asking, "Does she always talk like that?"

"Yes, Buffy and the English language aren’t quite as well-acquainted I as would like. But she is right. That was definitely a vampire."

"And things like this happen every night?"

"Almost every night. Except for in May. Then it’s like every ten minutes. Oh, and we deal with other stuff too. It’s not all ‘grr argh’ vamps. We have werewolves, which by the way, are kinda cuddly and we only shoot with tranqs instead of slaying, and we have, um, oooh, what have we seen that he hasn’t heard about, Giles? Oh, I know! Fairytales brought to life, and demons, and witches, and… "

Mulder held up a hand. "Just stop. I think I understand. I’m sorry, can we continue this in the morning? I’m bruised, have a headache, and just want to sleep."

"We can," Giles answered, "but what else do you really need to know? I’ve told you both the official reasons and the more plausible cover-up explanations."

He had a point. Mulder had found out what was going on in Sunnydale. "Mr. Giles, you have answered everything. The only thing that I don’t have a solid answer on is this horse group, the Knights of Byzantium. Just tell me this, are they something I should be worried about?"

Buffy and Giles looked at each other. "They’re a bit beyond what the FBI would want to deal with, Agent Mulder. Let’s just say that they are on the side of good, just a bit misguided. You need not be concerned with them."

"At this point, that’s a good enough answer for me."

"Buffy, dear, why don’t you walk Agent Mulder back to his hotel, just to make sure that he gets there safely? Oh, please, take this too." Giles handed a small blue bottle over to Mulder. "Mix it into a glass of water, and drink it all. Should take care of the bruises."

- - - - - - - - - -

Three in the morning, and the streets of Sunnydale were deserted. The traffic lights were still working, but there were no cars. The only pedestrians were Mulder and Buffy. Mulder didn’t hear or see any animals, not even a cat or an owl. Buffy was skipping down the middle of the street, but going slow enough that she didn’t leave Mulder behind.

"So, Mr. Secret Agent Man, whatcha thinking?"

"First, I’m not a secret agent, and second, how quiet it is. I guess I’m used to being in D.C."

"Yeah, but it’s not as much fun to call you Mr. Not-a-secret FBI Agent Man. Much harder to say. I guess I could call you Knight-in-Shining-Armor Dude, since you were trying to rescue that little girl, but you don’t have a white horse and we’ve already got enough horse-riding men around here." Buffy grinned. "When are you going back to D.C.?"

"Since I’ve technically got all the answers I was looking for here, I should go back later today or tomorrow. No need staying, especially since both you and Mr. Giles swore there wasn’t anything I could do to help."

"Really, there isn’t. We’ve got it covered. Also, you’re trained to use a gun, which so doesn’t help against a vamp. You might be more of a liability because you’re so used to not having to fight hand-to-hand." She shrugged. "And I’m sure that there are people out there that do need you. Like that girl would have needed you if the vamp had just been a human kidnapper. Oh, this is your stop!"

He hadn’t been paying attention, and was surprised to see that they were already back at the motel. She walked him to his door, and waited for him to open the door.

He swung the door open, but hesitated before going in. "Buffy, thanks. I just have one question."

"Mr. Secret Agent Man, I’m not that type of girl." She grinned at his blush.

"I didn’t mean that! I… I just wanted to know, for my own personal knowledge, what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to fight?"

"Oooh, good question! That would make a great icebreaker on a blind date some time. Seriously, I don’t know. Maybe those creepy guys that took everyone’s voices. What I’d really like to do, though, is go up against a dragon. Those things sound so cool, and I’d bet their leather would make some awesome accessories. I’m positive I’d be the only girl in town with a pair of dragon’s leather boots. Now, you need to go take Giles’ potion and go to bed. Have a safe trip back to D.C., Mr. Secret Agent Man."

"Good night, Buffy. You stay safe too."

- - - - - - - - - -

Washington, D.C., was a dreary sort of town at this time of the year. It seemed like it had been raining for the past week. Everything around town appeared to be a waterlogged shade of gray. For once, he was glad their basement office didn’t have any windows. He didn’t have to see all the gray, mentally comparing it to the sparkling Californian sunshine he was missing. He was working on perfecting the art of balancing his chair on two legs when the door to his office opened. Scully wandered into the office, carrying a large package. Tossing it to him, she took her seat.

He turned the box over and over several times before he noted the return address. Sunnydale, C.A. Well, this was interesting. Ripping open the box, he found two small stuffed animals. Smiling, he read the note.

"Secret Agent Man: Just wanted you to have a small memento of your adventures in Sunnyhell. Hope you don’t have to slay too many monsters back in D.C." There was no signature, but he knew who’d sent it.

Scully asked multiple times, but never received an explanation for why he had stuffed toys resembling a small dragon and a white horse sitting on his desk from that day on.

The End

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