Title: Of Hunters and their Prey (8/?)
Disclaimer/Summary: see Part 1
Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling.
Betas: MJ and RHR
Any remaining mistakes are my own.
Thanks to Calia for the name of the new council. She spared me hours looking through the dictionary searching for the right word.
8. Explaining the Sunnydale-ian Yo-Yo, Part 1
“Kids, kids, kids!” Jack shook his head. “I leave you alone for…” he checked his watch ”seven hours and what do you do? You start collecting guests again.” He waved in the two MPs from outside and motioned them to point their weapons at the forming silhouettes. A quick glance at the General assured him that he hadn’t overstepped his authority. He didn’t think the weapons would do any good as long as the beings were still so insubstantial. But as they became more visible, hopefully they would get more substantial too and guns could be used as possible defence. Not that the intruders seemed to be impressed by or even noticed the weapons pointed at them. The Stargate personnel had gotten the same treatment by the Goa’uld for years, so Jack was used to it. But that didn’t mean it made it any less insulting, especially if it happened on your own home base. Jack sighed; time enough to continue his little scolding speech. “Didn’t your parents ever tell you to not to let strangers in your home?!”
Teal’c only raised his eyebrow at him.
Xander told him, “Uhh, no. Do parents do that? I think it would have distracted mine from their hobbies. Does it count if it’s your high school librarian who tells you not to invite strangers in instead?” From the phone repeated thumps and a voice could be heard “Giles, stop it. You’ll get a headache.” There was a short pause. “Look, now your glasses are bent.”
Daniel looked at Jack, confused, “I’m an orphan here, remember?! And before my parents died, we met strangers all the time. My parents also invited them – not into our home, mostly because we really didn’t have a permanent home, but we met in hotel halls, tents, restaurants, museums, or on digs.”
Sam just shrugged her shoulders, “Military brat, Sir. Dad just told us if strangers spoke to us we should start screaming, kick them in their nuts and then run away. If they still tried to follow us we should speak to the next MP or police officer we found and ask him to shoot them.”
Spike didn’t seem to want to answer but then just muttered, “We just hit them with everything on hand when they got weird.”
Xander asked, “Wasn’t Drusilla a stranger when you met her?”
“She wasn’t a weird stranger. She was a beautiful, interested in me, wanted me un-dead, frisky, touchy feely, talented with mouth and hands stranger.”
The commentary from LA (sounding suspiciously like Dawn and every female near the phone) was a unanimous “EW!!!” at the boys’ exchange… if you ignored the one lonely “YEAH!” from Faith.
Jack shook his head. Here he was, asking a rhetorical question and what did he get? The life story of nearly every damn person in the room! Suspiciously he looked at his commander. He wasn’t going to say something too, was he? Considering whom he had befriended as child… Jack was already NOT impressed. He didn’t need to know more.
Fortunately his team, and their two new additions, were professional enough to not let the newcomers out of their sight. If they had, he would have had to pull out his retirement letter, the one that had a permanent place in his desk drawer, AGAIN. It only got a fleeting thought. Because he couldn’t miss all this fun! He had already retired once and he learned one lesson from it. Retirement may be relaxing and good for your blood pressure (and over-all health and sanity) but it was also boooring!!!
Spike was glad, happy, ecstatic, euphoric... you get the meaning. Soldier boy was back, time to make up for lost time and torme-… sorry, teasing opportunities. But first they had to take care of the matters at hand, not that these nebulous visitors were more important than his romantic pursuits but unfortunately they wouldn’t wait. If Spike wasn’t entirely wrong the appearance of the two “ghosts” promised at the most action, but at the least answers. The vampire concentrated on the ever more solidly becoming beings in the room’s corner and waited.
As their appearance became more distinct the group could make out details. One was an old guy in approximately his late seventies. He had white hair and a long white beard whose tip was tied together with a bell that jingled with every gesture he made. Old-fashioned glasses sat on his nose. Over his simple brown pants and shirt he wore a robe-like coat that would have made Dumbledore proud – not that Spike knew who Dumbledore was. Not even torture of highest unimaginable magnitude would make the vampire confess that he was weak to Dawn’s begging eyes to read “Harry Potter” to her after Buffy had died. Even threats of a return to Angelus’ tender mercy wouldn’t get him to talk.
But, back to the coat. It had shiny gold stars and sheep, on a bright red background. Spike had a sneaking suspicion that if someone turned the lights of, he’d still be able to see it, glowing in the dark… but only if he was still be able to see. Spike was convinced that gazing at that coat too long could make a being go blind. The image was seared into his retinas, and he was beginning to long for one of Xander’s Hawaiian shirts. At least those had a proper pattern.
The finishing touches to the outfit were the notepad and the pen he held in his hand. The strange looking man was having an animated conversation with his companion. During the discussion he could be seen waving both items around wildly to stress certain points in his arguments. Spike couldn’t help the smothered noise that escaped his lips.. A snicker was unavoidable with the way the guy was waving and poking his pen around like a magic wand. Damn, now the whelp had noticed his amusement and looked at him, the unspoken question clear on his face.
“Nothing for you to bother about.” he grumbled. Only the insistent poking by Xander’s elbow convinced him to elaborate. “The bugger just reminds me of that lunatic of headmaster from that series of books the Bit’s so crazy about.”
Oh no, now the whelp seemed even more curious, but also a bit guilty with his overly intense staring at the concrete walls around them. A quick glance around the room showed a suspiciously high percentage of people present seemed to have understood his hint and found seemingly random things interesting. Apparently he wasn’t the only one familiar with that damn set of books, nor was he the only one who wanted to conceal that knowledge.
“Just which headmaster exactly do you mean?” Crap! It seemed as if Xander was ready to confess his sins so long as he could get Spike to own up to his too. Stupid whelp, there were too many people in the room (and on the phone) that would never let him forget this moment.
Dawn apparently wasn’t seeing a problem with it. “He means Dumbledore from Harry Potter and you do know it. He wasn’t the only one who read it to me after Buffy died. And I know you both got hooked on the series. You read the last books too. I saw them lying around in your apartment and in his crypt.” That got a reaction from almost everyone but it differed.
“Ehm-, they were your next birthday gift…? And can I just say, you too?!” Xander looked in shock at Spike… who ignored him.
“Damn, Bit. You played both of us. I should spank you for this…” Spike paused and then looked around the room slipping into game face and said, “Anyone mentioning me in conjunction with those books will learn exactly why I'm called Spike.”
“Buffy died too? Heh, Danny maybe you should start a support group with her.”
“Very funny, Jack. Should I mention who read what books to Cassandra when she was sick? With voices and everything?!”
“Dear Lord, I admire your cunning, Dawn. You told me no-one else wanted to read them to you, and that my reading them to you reminded you of Joyce and Buffy reading to you when you were younger.”
“Dawn Summers, you got Spike, Xander, Giles and by all appearances Willow, to read to you these books. I’m sooo proud of you, sister of mine. Who else did you get to do it?!” Buffy told her.
“Tara, Anya, Clem, Cordelia, Wesley, Angel…” Dawn‘s voice got fainter, the more people she listed.
“Angel read to you?! Angel and the others came to Sunnydale to read you childrens books?!” Buffy didn’t know if she was more shocked or proud about her sister’s ability to manipulate people into doing what she wanted.
“I didn’t say they came to Sunnydale! They read to me over the phone. And Giles, I wasn’t lying. I was… adapting the truth. They didn’t WANT to read the books to me but they did.” There was a short pause, and the people at the SGC could only guess at what was happening in L.A. But then a giggling Dawn could be heard over the phone again. “And now I’m pleading the Fifth. I plead my right to avoid saying anything that will get me into more trouble.”
“Damn, girl, nice job.” Hah, his lil’ bit had found a new admirer. Spike could proudly say that his mission of corruption was successful. “General, can we adopt her?”
“No, Colonel. Remember what the President said. SG-1 is forbidden to adopt any more strays unless it’s a life or death asylum situation. This isn’t one. I forbid you to even think about it. Do we understand one another?”
“But Sir, she’s already a US-citizen. It’s not as if…”
“Colonel O’Neill, the President was very clear. He said no. I say no. Besides you are enough for the whole base. You will NOT adopt her. Do we have an understanding?!”
“But General, she’s probably not even full grown up. Just needs a small place we can put her when I don’t need her to…”
The Generals frustrated, and maybe a little amused too, “Colonel…!!!” was interrupted by an outraged “Heh!!!” by the person being discussed.
“Yeah, yeah. No fun...” Jack could still be heard grumbling.
Spike decided to keep quiet rather then stir up more trouble. Once the two silhouettes became more solid, something seemed awful familiar about the second one. If he remembered the descriptions given by his sire and Buffy correctly, the two had already met one of them. That meant these two wouldn’t be any threat, except probably to his sanity. But just to be sure, he asked in direction of the phone, “Say, Peaches, you wouldn’t happen to know a guy, looking about middle thirties, dark hair, black hat and trousers, Hawaiian shirt and leather jacket, looking pretty rumpled?” It seemed like the messengers of the Powers had arrived finally.
“It was your boss who mucked up. You should tell them.” Whistler argued.
“I don’t understand why you are so insistent about that. They fall under your Master’s authority. It should be you who tells them about the situation and their new orders.”
Whistler sighed. He could feel a migraine coming. He knew this visit wouldn’t go well for him. Not only did they have to tell the two Champions that they would lose two of their associates - fortunately the Slayer and the vampire were three states away on the opposite end of a phone line - but unfortunately there were the associates themselves to consider. One violent vampire and a young man - hardly more than a boy— who tended to shred prophecies.
That was the reason why he was in a heated discussion with his fellow messenger Ailbhe. Whistler was adamant that age goes before beauty and that he shouldn’t be the one to tell them all the whole sad truth. Ailbhe was predictably of opposite opinion. Not because he was afraid, Whistler didn’t think the guy even knew who they would be talking to, but because he blamed Whistler’s boss for not doing his own work and being the cause of this entire ruckus. Whistler accepted that his boss was partially responsible but the final mistake was made by Ailbhe’s department.
“I know my boss tends to pass on his work to others, but this isn’t my fault. And in the end it was your boss who made the mistake of sending the vampire here.”
“Your Master should have explained it better. How were we supposed to known that he meant SGC as in ‘Slayer’s Global Council’ and not ‘Stargate Command’?! He didn’t even tell us to send the vampire back in a year and not now. Our domain is the universe and aliens. Yours is mystical beings like demons and vampires. If he wanted someone else to do his work for him he should explain himself better.”
“But…” Whistler tried to interrupt the rant.
“You youngsters use these horrible abbreviations for everything. It’s no wonder no-one understands what anyone else wants. If you used the full name and not only some random letters…” a loud whistle interrupted him, this time effectively. Confused Ailbhe looked around.
Xander had had enough. Discussions here, discussions there… but not nearly enough information. From the conversation that Spike and Angel along with Buffy had over the phone he figured out that one of the beings materialising was the infamous Whistler, also known as messenger of the PTB. As the figures became more solid, their conversation could finally be fully understood and Xander really didn’t like what he was hearing. Not that what they were saying explained why HE couldn’t leave but it gave some answers to Spike’s situation. If he wanted answers in regards to his own situation he apparently had to do something.
Xander put two fingers to his mouth and whistled. That effectively ended all their talking and focused their attention on him.
“You two,” he pointed at the messengers. “Get solid a bit faster, so we can sit down and talk about how the Powers fucked up our lives again.” He turned to the phone. “Buffy, calm down. You still can give us tips on how to dismember them and play football with their spleen after they gave us the bad news. And Dead Boy, I don’t care who their bosses are and I don’t think Spike does either. If we want to hit and maim them we will. I’ll probably let Spike do the actual torturing but that doesn’t mean I won’t cheer him on. Capice?!” He turned back to the messengers. “Are you ready yet?” Having stunned anyone into silence he sat down and asked “Could I get something to drink please?” Pausing to think over his request, Xander changed his mind. “Or no, coffee and Twinkies, that would be perfect! I have a feeling I will need lots of caffeine, sugar and chocolate before this is over. And then you two can tell me why more often than not our abrupt return lands us in close proximity to the Colonel and the big guy.”
“The Powers have a sense of humour?” Whistler offered hesitantly though he seemed to doubt the answer himself.