Wet and Wild
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The kiss that Riley gave her before she left was full of fire. It burned all the way down into her stomach and made her toes curl. It left her breathless and sagging against his body and he chuckled, squeezing her tight. He pressed another kiss to the top of her head and reached behind her, opening the door of her mother's Jeep. He stood outside the door, helping her in and watching her buckle the seatbelt, before he leaned in and said, “I’ll call you later. Is that okay?”
“Please do.” She smiled, forcing her body to stay relaxed when he kissed her again. When he pulled away and shut the door, she waved slightly and backed away, aware that he was watching her.
She didn’t pull off the side of the road to sob until she was two miles away. Then she slammed the car into park, leaned her head against the wheel, and cried harder than she could ever remember. Spike. Spike in a hospital gown. Spike with blood on his lip from her hitting him. Spike thinking that she had slept with Riley. Spike looking at her clothes and slumping down, looking like a little boy who had lost his puppy. Spike. Spike. Spike.
“What have I done?” She moaned, slamming her hand against the console.
Someone knocked on the window and she jerked upright, expecting to see a police officer. Instead, Giles stood on the other side, peering at her with concern. When he saw her tear streaked face, he yanked the door open. “Are you all right? I’ve been looking for you all morning!”
Buffy unfastened her seatbelt and was in his arms in an instant, burying her face against his sweater-clad chest. “I saw Spike and he looks so bad, Giles. He looks like he hasn’t eaten for weeks and he-he’s so mad at me.”
“You went underground again? Without so much as a note? Buffy!”
“Yes. We had to kill these demons near the old drive-in.” Buffy’s breath hitched as she added, “Please don’t yell at me, Giles.”
“Shhh.” Giles rubbed his palm in a circle on her back and then patted her lightly, pushing her to an arm’s length. “You’re in no shape to drive.”
“I have to get Mom’s car back to her.”
“I’ll leave my car here and come back for it later.” He led her to the passenger side of Joyce’s car and opened the door. Walking quickly, he pulled out several books and newspapers from his car, then climbed into the driver’s seat next to Buffy.
Buffy took the books he held out and put them on her lap, eyeing them with apprehension. “What’s this?”
“Newspapers from the last few years here. Some are the UC-Sunnydale Banner and the books are for Willow.” He glanced at the gears and then sighed, “Thank heavens, it’s an automatic!”
“Why do we need them?” Buffy sounded congested, her nose completely stopped up from crying. She sifted through the dash and found a box of tissue, then blew loudly, earning a look from Giles. “Sorry.”
“We need them for research, of course. I began sifting through the papers last night and discovered that four children, aged five to nine, were taken from adjoining towns. Normally, I wouldn’t have made any connections, but each of these girls were taken at night and one eyewitness claimed he saw one girl talking to someone in a sewer grate.”
“Okay, this reminds me of that movie ‘It’.”
Giles stopped at a red light and glanced over at her. “It?”
“Book by Stephen King? Became a movie? John-Boy stars in it.”
“Ah, I tend to shy away from fiction.”
Buffy shrugged. “There is something in the sewers.”
Giles stared at her until someone honked behind him and he moved forward, through the green light. “Do tell.”
“I don’t know what it is. Last night, we had to go through them to get to the drive-in. There was a body down there, Giles. A little girl and she was mauled. Riley was wigged, said something about whatever it was feeding off people now, and pretty much told me to stay away from it. I’m guessing that it, what ever it is, is pretty damn bad.”
“Really?” He narrowed his eyes, glancing out over the road. “And did this chap happen to tell you what they plan on doing about it?”
Sighing, Buffy ignored his tone and continued. “He told me that they do ‘sweeps’ and try to pull it out of hiding. Forest told me that they do it a lot and the thing can’t be found. Don’t worry, Giles, I’ll get it.”
“I think you need to worry about getting yourself out of this mess you are in first.” He applied the brakes and turned into the Summer’s driveway. “And I’m not just talking about your angry mother, Buffy. I’ve never seen you like this. Your priorities aren’t straight, you’re using very questionable tactics to string people along, and I’m worried about you.”
“I can handle it, Giles.”
“Yes, breaking down on the side of the road is definitely the way to handle things. I've never seen you like this.” He arched an eyebrow and turned the ignition off. “You aren’t to go into the sewers alone, Buffy. I agree with this Riley fellow.”
“I’m the Slayer, Giles, and it’s killing people.”
“With your frame of mind, I fear that it would kill you. We’ll do what we can on this end, but for now, it’s better that you leave the commandos to it.”
Buffy tightened her jaw and nodded. She didn’t want to argue, so she would let it go. There was no way she would ignore it though. No way in hell. That little girl had died a horrible death and if she hunted this thing down and killed it, then at least she would have that to feel good about. Making up her mind to sleep for a couple of hours and then go underground, she opened her car door and went to face her mother.
Maggie had been digging through file cabinets for over two hours, searching for Hal Walsh’s old records. She glanced at the clock, cursing her husband’s lack of organizational skills and picked up the telephone. The technician in charge of records and filing picked up and said, “Rickford, speaking.”
“Mr. Rickford, it’s Maggie. I’m looking for Hal’s old files and journals. Have you seen them?”
There was a brief pause and the man on the other side of the line could be heard shuffling papers. “Yes, ma’am. The actual paperwork was destroyed, per your order, ma’am, but we did save some of the reports and exam records.”
“Are they logged into our databank?” Maggie strode to her desk and sat down, firing up her computer before he answered.
“Yes, ma’am. Anything of Hal’s can be accessed through the mainframe, but it ’s guarded. You’ll need to use the clearance code.”
“Thank you, Rickford.” Maggie hung up the phone and followed the proper links. Soon, she was skimming through various pages of text that Hal had accumulated in his years as the head of the Initiative. What she was looking for in particular would have happened in the late early eighties, right at the beginning of the Initiative’s crusade. “A-ha!” she cried, finding the proper report.
She rolled her eyes when she realized he hadn’t written it properly and made it look like a storybook instead. Nevertheless, she began reading:
July 11, 1984
I knew he was a vampire the minute I saw him. He was walking casually down the road, eyeing the people that paraded along Venice Beach, up and down. His skin was pale, appearing even lighter from the halo of dark hair that hung around his face. I had been looking for hours; searchin for a vampire and here he was and he was beautiful.
I trailed him down through the night, watching him, judging his strengths and weaknesses and decided he was perfect. The crucifix was clutched in my hand, hidden inside my pocket, when I tapped him on the shoulder. I had waited for him to lead me away from the crowds and now he paused and said, without turning, “Why are you following me?”
His accent was thick, not cockney, but definitely Northern London. I took a step back and said, “You’re a vampire.”
“What are you, a watcher?” He turned and eyed me up and down.
I watched as his eyes went from deep blue to a steely yellow and fumbled for my crucifix, finally yanking it loose. “I have no clue what a watcher is, but yes, I was watching you.”
He chuckled and slid his tongue along his tooth, pulling a thin trail of blood along in it's wake. “Want to have a better look?”
“N-no.” I stammered, suddenly less sure of myself. I pressed the distress button on the side of my belt, praying that I wasn’t too far away to be found. “I had a proposition for you.”
“I’m not gay.” He smiled at me, letting his face go back to human. “Or maybe you wanted me to change you? Is that it?”
I was stunned for a second; baffled by the way he was talking to me, engaging me to talk. “No, I don’t want to be changed.”
He turned away from me and watched the moon reflect off the ocean for several minutes. I chewed the inside of my mouth, wondering why he wasn’t attacking me and wondering how I would get close enough to him to inject him. Finally, he spoke again. “Do I fascinate you so much you can’t tell me what you want?”
“I’m a doctor.” I replied quickly, edging a couple of inches closer. “We are studying demons and collecting specimens.”
“You think you are going to collect me?” He laughed, the deep sound echoed and almost seemed like thunder to my fragile nerves. I’ve encountered many vampires, but this one, this one was unlike any before. He wasn’t aggressive, at least I hadn’t witnessed him as such, and he was talking to me, which is unheard of.
I heard something behind me and dared to glance back. A jeep, one of our jeeps, was plowing toward us over the sand dunes. He seemed indifferent and then lunged, gripping me around the neck. I could hear his facial bones crunch as the feed came upon him and his fangs sunk into my throat. I yanked the syringe from my pocket and drove it into his thigh, expelling all the ingredients.
The vampire howled in rage and threw me forward, where I slumped onto the moist sand. He stared at the needle in my hand and said, “What was that?”
I was too weak to answer. Headlights blinded me, and I was gripped under the arms, and pulled upward by the Agents. When I was finally able to see through the smoky haze, he was gone. The vampire, and the mixture inside of him, had vanished.
I have no way of knowing if it worked, if the dosage was strong enough to inhibit the demonic impulses or free up any of the qualities that are subdued by the demon. As far as I am concerned, this demon, this vampire that spoke to me and gazed longingly across the water was as much a mystery to me as the outcome of my test on him will forever be.
Hal Walsh 1985
Maggie took a few notes and picked up her tablet. It was time to find out if Hostile Seventeen was from North London and had ever been to Venice Beach. If he had, and he was the one, then the proverbial missing link would be found and the Initiative would be ready for phase two.
The telephone trilled and Buffy groaned, glancing at the clock on her nightstand. It was almost seven that night and she had slept soundly, not remembering shutting off her alarm clock at three. “So much for going to the sewers earlier.” She mumbled and grabbed the phone. “Hello?”
“Buffy, hey!” Willow said excitedly. She had been instructed by Giles to get Buffy out of the house and take her mind off everything that was happening. “Guess who is going to be at the Bronze tonight?”
“No clue.” Buffy yawned and slumped back against her pillows. The instant she was fully awake, the memory of what had happened with Spike crashed down on her and she sighed. Instead of thinking about it, her mind wandered briefly to the kiss Riley had given her before she left. At least that part of her plan was working. Almost too well.
“Bif Naked!” Willow cried, watching Xander and Anya, who were listening intently. “I know you love them! Xander’s driving and we’ll swing by to pick you up. It’ll be just like old times! Only now we have a car and actual money and no curfew and lots of stuff to talk about that isn't depressing.”
“I’m tired, Will. I think I’ll just stay home. I saw Bif Naked a while back at that frat party with Parker, so I think it’s okay to skip it. Bad vibes and all. You guys go and have fun.”
“Buffy!” Waving frantically, Willow motioned Xander to pick up the other phone. “Please come?”
Xander picked up and said, “Hey Buff! You aren’t trying to say no are you?”
“Hey Xander!” Buffy forced cheer into her voice. “I was just telling Willow how tired I am.”
“Guess what the Bronze is famous for? Caffeine and dancing. Two pick me ups if ever there were pick me ups. And you haven't really had a chance to see me strut. Woking at the 'The Fabulous Ladies Night Club' was good for me.” Xander laughed a little and added, “Dollars, bring plenty of dollars. We’ll be there in an hour.”
“No, guys!” Buffy replied, a little more sharper than she intended. “I’m tired. I don’t want to go to the Bronze. I don’t want to dance and I don’t want to argue about it. I’m tired. T-I-R-E-D.”
Xander started to say something sarcastic, but Willow shook her head. “Okay, Buffy. But maybe later you’ll feel like it?”
“I’ll see. Bye, guys!” She cradled the phone and stood up, heading toward the shower. The phone rang again and she rolled her eyes and lifted it, “You guys don’t give up do you?”
Riley paused for a second and said, “Not usually, and I doubt this will be the exception.”
Buffy’s eyes widened and she sat on the edge of her bed, “Oh, Riley! I thought you were Willow.”
“Nope. How are you? Did you sleep?”
“Yeah, all day. Well, except for the hour that I was being yelled at by my mother. Gee, you’d think it was wrong to steal a car or something.”
Riley laughed with her and then took a deep breath. “So, Walsh gave some of us the night off and I can’t think of anything I would rather do than see you again. I hear that Bif Naked is going to be at the Bronze tonight. I don ’t usually hang out there or anything, but the band’s good and some of us are going. Would you-“
He left it hanging and Buffy bit her lower lip, running a hand through her hair. Odds are, he would have accepted her saying she was too tired, but he made it sound like a night off was rare. She could go to the sewers later, for now, she’d do what she could to keep him occupied and off her trail. “I ’d love to. I’ll meet you there in an hour.”
“Sure you don’t want me to pick you up?”
“Only if you insist.” She smiled when he insisted in a firm voice, and agreed, then hung up. Glancing at herself in the mirror, she shrieked and ran to the shower.
Almost an hour and a half later, she was dressed in tight leather pants, a skimpy backless halter-top and black boots. She had curled her hair and pulled the top back, letting the rest fall over her shoulders in soft waves. Riley rang the doorbell and she grabbed her leather jacket before she opened the door.
Riley’s mouth opened, but no sound came out as he took in her appearance. Staring over her slim body, he finally mumbled something about her being beautiful and held out a hand, taking her coat and helping her slip it on. When she turned her back to him, he got a full view of her soft skin and almost dropped her coat completely. He gripped it clumsily as she slid her arms in and turned to face him. “Buffy, you really are beautiful.”
“Thank you.” She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek, then grabbed her backpack. The plan was to party for a while, then tell him she wasn’t feeling well, and leave to go search the sewer.
She pulled the door closed behind her and Riley took her hand, leading her toward his car. Within minutes, they arrived at the Bronze and stood at the end of the line, waiting to get inside. The line moved quickly and they were ushered inside, where Riley paid the cover charges. Forest saw them immediately and waved from a table near the stage and off to one side of the dance floor.
“There’s Forest.” Riley pointed. “Do you mind joining him and some of the others?”
“Not at all.” Buffy smiled and waved at him, relieved that she wouldn’t have to find something to talk about one on one with Riley. “I like him.”
Riley seemed relieved too and led her toward the table. She was about to sit down when someone tapped her on the back and she turned, “Willow, hey!”
“Felt too tired to come out, huh?” Willow shook her head angrily and glanced from Riley to Forest. This was the first time she had ever been this annoyed with the Slayer.
Buffy shifted from one foot to the other and glanced up at Riley apologetically before she spoke to Willow. “I’m sorry. I meant to call you and tell you that I had changed my mind, but I figured I’d see you here anyway.”
Willow didn’t look convinced and crossed her arms. Forest glanced from one to the other and plastered a relaxed smile on his face, despite the tension. He leaned forward and extended a hand toward the pretty redhead. “I’m Forest and we have plenty of room here for you, if you’d like to join us.”
Shaking her head, Willow took his hand. “I’m Willow. I’m actually here with some,” she heard Anya laughing and glanced at the dance floor to see Xander doing his ‘strut’, “people who have deserted me, so I’d love to join you guys. If that’s okay?”
“Hey, a friend of Buffy’s is a friend of mine.” Forest pulled out the chair next to him and took her elbow, helping her up on the high stool. “Hey, aren ’t you into that Wicca group thing that meets in the lounge?”
“I sure am.” Willow looked a little surprised. “How did you know that?”
“I never forget a pretty face.” He smiled at her and then looked at the empty cup she sat in front of her. “Would you like another drink?”
“Sure. I’d love a latte.”
Riley pushed Buffy’s chair closer to the table and said, “How about you, Buffy?”
“I’ll have the same.” She watched the two excuse themselves and turned her attention toward Willow. “I’m sorry, Will. I really was going to stay in bed and do nothing, and then he called and I figured that I better not turn him down.”
“Is Forest in the Initiative too?” Willow whispered, watching the two men stand at the bar.
“He is. He’s really a nice guy. Both of them are.” Buffy watched them as well, noticing the way several girls who sat at the bar eyed them both up and down. “They don’t know that you know I’m a Slayer or anything, so let’s keep the topics safe.”
“Do you mind me being here?” Willow looked at her intently, almost nervously. “’Cause I could-“
“NO!” Buffy said quickly. “I love having you here and don’t think otherwise, okay.”
Willow nodded and perked a little when Forest and Riley returned. The DJ, some college kid with dread locks, began to play a slow song and Forest held out a hand. “So, Willow, want to dance?”
Buffy sipped her latte and tried to think of something to say. Sitting alone with Riley, with nothing demonic to discuss, was uncomfortable. He smiled at her and sipped his own drink, obviously thinking the same thing. When he glanced out over the crowd, she let her gaze wander over his appearance. He had on a dark blue shirt that was opened at the top and black jeans. His hair hung across his forehead, making him seem almost boyish, which contrasted with his masculine chest and arms. Finally, she leaned closer and said, “So, how did we get the night off?”
“No clue.” He smiled and sat his cup down, tentatively brushing the back of Buffy’s hand with his. “I guess Walsh is proud of us. Or you, to be more exact.”
“I take it that this is rare?” She glanced at their hands and then back up at him, wondering how his fingers stayed so soft considering his profession.
“Very rare.” The music got a little louder as a faster song started and he stood, scooting his chair closer to Buffy’s. “I’d ask you to dance, but I have two left feet and I’m afraid one of us would get hurt.”
“You can’t dance?” She asked, staring at him in shock.
“Well, I’m sure I could learn. Do you foresee teaching me anytime soon?” He brushed a lock of hair away from her shoulder and stared at her closely, drinking in the smooth planes of her peaches and cream complexion. In all of his twenty-one years, he had never seen anyone as beautiful as Buffy.
“I’m sure I could.” She replied, ignoring the cold chills that shot down her back as his thumb brushed her neck. It was ridiculous to be reacting to his touch, especially after the day she’d had. “Next slow song and you’re mine.”
“Just for that dance or for a few dances?” He asked coyly. “Some songs can play for days. Months even. I have a repeat function on my CD player if that helps.”
“I’d say quite a few songs.” Shifting in her seat, she hid her discomfort with a smile. Was he asking her for a long term commitment? She was about to say something more when she saw a familiar face. Her smile faded and she tensed as Parker sat down at a table next to theirs with a girl who looked fifteen.
“What’s wrong?” Riley glanced at her and then followed her gaze.
“Nothing, I just-“
“Parker Abrams really has quite an effect on you.” Riley sat up straighter and lifted his cup again, agitated. If only she realized how many hours he had agonized over the fact that she had wasted her time on Parker.
Buffy put her hand out and laid it on his arm. “I’m sorry. We just had a really bad … thing … and it was handled poorly. It’s just-”
“I’m not asking.” Riley sat further back into his chair and stared at Parker, who waved at him innocently. He made a show of leering at Buffy, flicking his tongue out over his sneering lips, and Riley looked away. “Look, do you want to leave?”
“No.” Buffy pointed at the dance floor and said, “Slow song.”
Nodding absently, Riley stood and pulled her chair out, then led her into the crowd of dancers. “I’m warning you, I’ve got as much rhythm as a deaf monkey.”
“I hear that there’s an entire conga line made up of deaf monkeys somewhere overseas. They dance and play.” She grinned up at him, relieved when he chuckled a little, and took his hands. Riley stepped on her toe immediately and she raised an eyebrow. “You really weren’t lying, Riley.”
“I’m a deadly weapon.” He replied, blushing a deep shade of red.
Forest moved closer, clutching Willow around the waist and said, “I don’t believe it, Buffy. You got him on the dance floor? I hope this place is insured.”
“Shut up.” Riley said, chuffing him on the back of the head.
“Buffy, are you insured at least?” Forest asked seriously. “I can call my dad, he sells it.”
Buffy laughed and then contained the giggles when Riley narrowed his eyes at her playfully, accidentally squashing her foot again. “You’re not teaching me very well, Buffy.“
“Go away, while I still have limbs.” Buffy told Forest and Willow, then smiled up at Riley. “Just don’t think about your feet.”
“Okay, can I ask you something?”
“Sure.” She glanced downward, carefully judging the best way to avoid his feet, which was easy since he had the same pattern repeatedly. Once she mastered it, she looked back up at him.
“Why do you let him get to you?” He nodded his head a little, indicating Parker’s table without looking that way.
“Don’t tell me that you don’t. I was just there with you, you know? He enjoys the fact that he bothers you.”
She lowered her eyes and then took a deep breath, searching for words. She was saved when the music was cut short and the Bronze manager walked onstage to introduce Bif Naked. Buffy clapped unenthusiastically and stepped back into Riley’s arms as they began to play a slow song. She recognized it immediately and groaned. It was the song that she and Parker had danced to and she didn’t want to go there. “Can we sit this one out?”
Riley started to nod when Parker stepped in behind Buffy and laid a hand on her shoulder. His eyes trailed a path up her bare back and then he glared at Riley over her head. “Hello, Buffy. My god, you look stunning.”
Buffy turned slowly and stared up at him. “Parker.”
“I thought I’d ask you to dance since your partner can’t.” He stared at Riley briefly, then looked back at Buffy. “And this is our song, isn’t it?”
“We don’t have a song.” Buffy replied quickly and started to walk past him.
Parker grabbed her elbow and spun her to face him. “Did you know that Finn here is only interested in you because I told him that you were good in the sack?” Buffy gasped and paled and he grinned at her. “What? You’re upset with me? Don’t be. He asked me, I didn’t volunteer it.”
Riley shoved him away from Buffy, ready to break his face, and then Forest was there, pushing him away and telling him to calm down. Parker smiled at Buffy and chucked her under the chin. “Don’t worry, he’s desperate enough that he might hang around afterwards.”
Buffy balled her fist and swung. Realizing what she was doing halfway through the punch, she pulled out and a limp slap landed across his cheek. He laughed, blew her a kiss, and re-joined his date. Red-faced, Buffy grabbed her coat off the back of a chair and snatched up her bag. Riley, still being held off by Forest, saw her, pulled free, and met her almost to the door. "Where are you going?”
“Home.” She shoved her arms through her sleeves and tossed her bag over her shoulder angrily.
“Buffy, don’t do this.” Riley pulled her into a corner, pleading with her to hear him out. “I didn’t ask you out because of what Parker said, okay?”
“God! Then he did tell you? You knew?” Buffy covered her face for a second and then slumped back against the wall, humiliated.
“Yes, he told me and I punched him in the face about three seconds later and that’s why he’s mad enough to do something like this.” Riley put his hands on either side of her, bracing himself against the wall and staring down at her. “I swear it, Buffy. That’s what this is all about and I wasn’t looking to get you in bed.”
“You punched him?”
“Ask Forest and Graham. They were both there. He said some really bad things about you and I couldn’t let it slide.”
She gazed up at him and swallowed hard, feeling a tingle slide through her body at his admission. He had decked someone for her and she didn’t know how to react to that. Telling him thank you would be appalling, so she told herself he was lying instead. “I have to go.”
“No. No, you don’t.” Riley caught her again and lowered his hands to her waist. “Please don’t. I want to enjoy this concert with you and I want to have a good time. I can’t do that if you leave.”
Forest and Willow approached them slowly and Forest stared at Buffy. “Are you okay?”
“Fine.” She replied tersely, staring at a spot on the floor of the Bronze and wishing she could open a vortex there to vanish into.
Forest nodded back toward Parker. “I don’t think he’s gotten over you knocking his lights out, Rye.”
“You hit him?” Willow asked, her features showing her delight.
“Hit him?” Forest laughed and shook his head. “Riley knocked him over a table and into the floor. All because he said some not so nice things about our favorite Buffy.”
Buffy gasped a little. So Riley really had punched him? Willow put an arm around Buffy’s shoulder and took her bag, handing it to Riley. “You aren’t going anywhere. That would just make Parker think he won. Let’s go to the restroom and you can freshen up and forget about it.”
Willow tugged her along behind her and Buffy followed dumbly, trying to sort out what she was feeling. As soon as they were inside the brightly lit bathroom, Willow pulled out her purse and handed Buffy a compact and lipgloss. “Buffy, you almost went off on Parker. You could have hurt him.”
“I know.” She patted some powder onto her nose and then smoothed a coral colored gloss over her lips. “Riley hit him.”
“Buffy, I never told you this, but Riley came to our room right after I found out about Oz and Veruca and he asked me about you. He said he wanted to know what you liked and stuff because he’d never ‘courted’ anyone like you.”
“Courted?” Buffy capped the gloss and accepted the blusher, even though her face was still red enough. “No one says that anymore.”
“That’s why I got a little pissed about you using him. Forest told me awhile ago that Riley changed his clothes three times when you agreed to go out with him and that you’re all he talks about.”
Buffy slammed the lid on the blusher and shoved it back toward Willow. “Well, thank you for complicating things even more for me. What about Spike?”
“What about him?” Willow dropped it into her purse and crossed her arms. “He ’s a vampire, Buffy. I don’t know why you’re so interested in saving him or what you plan on doing if you do, but don’t forget what he is. And don’t forget that Riley has a real, live, beating heart that you can crush in a second. You've been on the receiving end of that, Buffy, and you know how it feels.”
Buffy watched her friend slip into an empty stall and leaned against the sink. Yes, Spike was a vampire and yes, she wanted him more than she had ever wanted anyone in her life. It was getting complicated though. In order to save him, she would have to let everyone, even her closest confidantes, think that she was only interested in his well being. Not his being with her.
A toilet flushed and Willow stepped out. Buffy moved aside and watched her wash her hands, then grinned slyly. “So, what are we thinking about Forest?”
“Wow.” Willow blushed a little and applied some lipgloss to her own lips. “Wow.”
“That’s what I thought.”
Parker was on the dancefloor when Buffy left the bathroom and he wriggled his bushy eyebrows at her. She rolled her eyes and started back toward her table. Riley put his hand on hers from behind and she looked up at him. “What are you doing over here?”
“I saw him and figured he would give you a hard time if you were alone.” He replied, looking worried and unsure of his movements.
“Thank you.” Buffy slipped her coat off and hung it over her arm. “Think we still have a table?”
“Yeah.” He led her past the stage and they sat down, briefly watching the dark haired girl behind the microphone growl out beautiful lyrics. “They’re good.”
“I love their C.D.” Buffy sat her coat on top of her bag, which was in a chair next to her, then leaned her head over against Riley’s shoulder. “Do you forgive me?”
“Forgive you for what?” He asked, taking one of her hands in his and bringing it to his mouth.
“He hurt me. Bad. Worse than I’ve been hurt in a long time and that’s why he affects me and that’s why I react.” She sat up and turned to face him completely. “I’m sorry that I got so upset with you and I don’t think that you asked me out because of what he told you.”
Smiling, Riley ran his fingers over her cheek and then pressed his lips against hers. It was brief, almost chaste, and he sat back up. “For what it’ s worth, I think he’s going to be hurt just as bad.”
“What? No, Riley, you can’t-“
“Shh, not me.” Riley grinned at her and then pointed toward the dancefloor. “His date is sixteen and her brother is a friend of mine. As soon as I tell him that Mr. Abrams was all over his sister, he’ll suffer. Greatly.”
“Oh, that’s bad.”
“I’ll make sure it happens when you can see.”
“Oh, that’s good.”
Riley hugged her, closing his eyes and sighing happily into her hair. Nothing, absolutely nothing on the face of the earth, could possibly feel better than she did. Whether she meant to or not, she had tripped him and he had fallen straight into something that had to be love.
Anya moved her hips in a circle in front of Xander’s, grinding against his pelvic bone as he gripped her waist and moved with her. It was erotic, filling her senses with untapped desire. She had never imagined that dancing this way could be so stimulating. She let her hands trail down his chest, rubbing over his nipples and causing him to groan.
Smiling, Anya whispered, “Is your cock hard again?”
“It is.” He replied honestly, even though he didn't know how he managed to get hard again so fast. They had just had sex in the back alley fifteen minutes before that.
“Are you thinking about choking your chicken?” She licked her lips, pulling her tongue along the edges slowly, deliberately.
“That’s actually not what I’m thinking.” He replied, watching helplessly as she forced his erection to swell even tighter, just by moistening her lips.
“Are you thinking about my clit and carpet munching?”
“Among other things.” He caught her mouth in his and kissed her slowly, then pulled back and nodded toward Willow and her partner. “Let’s go see if she can get a ride home.”
Anya nodded and winked at him. For the entire day, he had been attentive and loving toward her and that was wonderful. She stood next to Xander as he tapped Willow’s shoulder. “Hey Willow.”
“Oh hi!” Willow turned and said, “Xander, Anya, I’d like for you to meet Forest, Forest, this is Xander and that’s Anya.”
Forest held out his hand and shook Xander’s firmly, causing the boy to go up on his toes for a second. “Owww, broken bones.”
Looking apologetic, Forest said, “Sorry, man, my dad was a stickler for a firm handshake.”
“I like firm things.” Anya announced, holding out her hand to Forest. They shook and she grinned. “Nice.”
Xander had shoved his aching hand into his pocket and then turned when Buffy tapped him. “Oh, hey Buffy, glad you made it.”
“Xander, Anya, this is Riley.” She nodded at Riley and finished the introductions.
Riley held his hand out to Xander and he whimpered slightly, pulling it from his pocket. Riley’s grip was just as firm and he smiled helplessly, “Nice to meet you, man.”
“Likewise.” Riley smiled and shook Anya’s as well, surprised at how tightly she gripped his hand. “Did you guys enjoy the concert?”
“Yeah, it was great.” Anya nodded, glancing up at the empty stage. “DJ’s are okay, but I like a real band.”
“Me too.” Riley nodded in agreement and held Buffy’s bag while she slipped her coat on. “I think we’re going to go for coffee. Is anyone interested?”
“Thanks, man, but I need to get home.” Xander shrugged a little and turned his attention toward Willow. “Do you need a ride, Will?”
Willow paused for a second and then glanced at Forest, who grinned at her. “I’ll drive you home. How does coffee sound to you?”
“Sounds great.” Willow blushed a little and looked back at the floor.
“How about you, Anya?” Riley draped his arms around Buffy’s shoulder and shook his head when she reached for her bag. “I’ll carry it.”
Anya considered the offer and shook her head. “Normally, I would say yes to the coffee drinking ritual that young people seem to be so fond of. However, my cunt is wet and I’m about to cream my jeans, so I’m going to go with Xander and make him cum with me.”
Riley’s smile faltered and he reddened slightly, “Okay then.”
Buffy was shaking all over with silent laughter and Willow leaned against her for support, giggling like mad. Forest stared at the girl in shock and then looked at Riley with raised eyebrows. Xander held up a hand and said, “I can explain this. See, she's-no-we-no-.”
Willow, still laughing, motioned for them to leave. “No, please, just go. Have fun.”
“Coming is fun.” Said Anya, wondering what joke she missed.
“Going is better.” Buffy had collected herself, but she knew she could collapse into hysterics again if she had to keep looking at Xander’s shocked face.
“Anya, are you ever going to get past part ‘C’ of the slang dictionary?” Xander asked, leading her away and wishing he could drop off the face of the planet.
“I’ve been reading part ‘D’, Xander.” She announced loudly. “And I have a few questions. Where can I buy a dildo and why haven’t I already gotten one?”
Several people tittered and Xander’s dick was not only soft, he figured it had withdrawn into it's shell for good. Embarrassment just did not factor into what he considered foreplay.
Almost an hour and several cups of decaffeinated coffee later, Riley pulled up to the curb in front of Buffy’s house. He sat with her for several seconds, and then leaned across the seat, staring at her intently. “Did I remember to tell you that I like your hair curly like this?”
“No.” Buffy replied, staring anywhere but his face.
“Buffy, I like your hair curly like this.” He said seriously, then broke into a huge grin.
“I think Forest really likes Willow. When you two had gone to freshen up, he asked me all sorts of things about her.”
“And I think that I really like you.”
“Then I’m extra glad.” Buffy unbuckled her seatbelt and slid closer, kissing him softly on the lips. He slid his hand up her back and settled it at the nape of her neck, deepening the kiss. The same familiar current passed through her and she pulled back, allowing guilt to replace the delicate tingling.
Riley traced the curve of her jaw and said, “I guess it’s time to say goodnight. We’ll be meeting at ten am for a debriefing. Do you need me to call you and wake you up?”
“That would be nice.”
“Come on.” He nodded at his side of the car and opened the door, pulling her across the seat and out with him.
“You don’t have to walk me to the door.” She said, grinning.
“Well, I want to.” He took her hand and stopped walking when she stepped up onto the porch. Handing her the bag, he stayed one step down and they were almost eye level.
“Thank you for a really nice time.” Buffy said sincerely. “And thank you for not being mad about the whole Par-“
“Don’t say his name.” Riley wrinkled his nose and then put his hands on her hips. “Thank you for not being mad about the whole jealousy thing.”
“Jealousy?” Buffy raised an eyebrow. “You were jealous?”
“Yeah, I confess. It makes me crazy to think of him having you and not cherishing that.”
“Aww.” She put her arms around him and hugged him, leaning against his neck. “You’re so sweet.” ~ And I’m the biggest bitch in the world for doing this. ~
“You are too.” He kissed her again, briefly- in case her mother was watching, and pulled away. “Sleep well.”
“You too.” Buffy watched him walk down the sidewalk and waved when he got into the car. He sat there, waiting for her to get inside safely and as soon as she shut the door, he pulled away.
She flipped the light on at the foot of the stairs and leaned her head back against the door. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Damn him for being so sweet and normal and damn her for being just a girl who had always wanted that. She needed to refocus and get her priorities straight. It was all for Spike. Riley was a device, right?
“Did you have a good time?” Joyce asked, peeking around the corner.
“Mom! What are you doing up at two a.m.?” Buffy asked, still leaning back against the door.
“I had company.” Joyce stepped aside and someone stepped out beside her.
Someone with a long leather coat. Someone with dark hair that stood up at the top and eyes that could penetrate the hardest soul. Someone with the face of an angel. Buffy’s eyes widened, “What is he- what are you- why-?”
“Hello, Buffy. I heard you could use some help.”
This world is older than any of you know. Contrary to popular mythology, it did not begin as a paradise. For untold eons demons walked the Earth. They made it their home, their... their Hell. But in time they lost their purchase on this reality. The way was made for mortal animals, for, for man. All that remains of the old ones are vestiges, certain magicks, certain creatures... -Giles in The Harvest
“Help?” Buffy exhaled loudly and closed her eyes. Angel stood before her, staring at her with his best tormented expression and she felt like a ton of bricks had been sewn into her stomach. Opening her eyes, she glanced heavenward and snapped, “This isn’t funny, God.”
Angel stepped forward and reached for her bag, but she brushed past him and tossed it on the sofa in the living room, mumbling as she went. “Okay, someone up there must really hate me because I doubted this could get more complicated and then there you are. Complicated times ten!”
“I’m sorry.” Angel glanced at Joyce nervously, unsure of how to act around her and unable to hide his discomfort.
Joyce seemed to take a cue and said, “I’ve got to get up early.”
Buffy watched her mother go up the stairs and turned back toward Angel. “Who called you here?”
“Is it important?”
“Was it Willow? Giles?” Buffy searched his face and then nodded. “It was Giles. What did he tell you?”
“It wasn’t just Giles. Cordelia sees things now and she saw you in a hospital gown. You were badly injured, Buffy. I called Giles myself and he filled me in on what’s been happening here.” Angel shifted his weight from one foot to the other and clasped his hands in front of him. “I had to come.”
“No.” She sat down and ran a hand through her hair, shaking her head as if she wanted to wake up from the dream. There was no way this was actually happening. “You didn’t have to come. You didn’t have to leave, you didn’t have to make all my decisions and you didn’t have to hurt me. You did it because you wanted to.”
Angel had been expecting a harsh reaction from her, but this was too much. “You think I ever wanted to hurt you?”
“You must have.” She shot back, then rose to her feet and grabbed her bag. “Dammit, I forgot about patrolling. Just, go back to Los Angeles, Angel. Live whatever it is that you call a life and let me live mine.”
“You’re in trouble.” He said, stopping her from leaving the living room. “I can’t go back to LA and leave you to handle something that can get you killed.”
“You left me so I could have a life.” She stepped back and spread her arms wide, urging him to stare her up and down. “Here it is and I'm still in danger. That didn't stop you from leaving before. It’s the exact same as it was and the only difference is that you aren’t here anymore. I’d like to keep it that way.” Scowling, she started past him again.
“Giles said that you weren’t to go out tonight.” Angel moved to the doorway and leaned against the jamb. “If you go, I go, and the sun will rise soon.”
“Me and my shadow.” Buffy sang sarcastically. “It never ends with you, does it? I get to a point where I can move on and you come along to torture me again. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t think about you today. I didn’t think about what you did to me and I didn’t think about how much it still aches.”
“I said I’m sorry.” Angel growled angrily, the words slicing through the air with finality. “I can’t say more than that. I’m here because I think you might need me. If it turns out that you don’t, then fine, I’ll go and leave you to it. But I can’t ignore Cordelia’s vision and I can’t shake the feeling that something’s going to happen.” Buffy started to say something and he shook his head. “So, if it’s all the same to you, I’ll hang around. I won’t get in your way and I’ll try my best not to *shadow* you.”
“You’re too kind. How wonderful you are to come back here. Do you think one selfless act makes up for how selfish you’ve been? How selfish you are?” She sneered, moving around him and going to the kitchen. She yanked the refrigerator door open and pulled out the orange juice, then turned to find a glass. Her coat felt heavy and she shoved it off, suddenly overheated.
He followed and sat at the bar, watching her pull her coat off and sling it onto the table. His eyes trailed over her and he frowned. She was thin, too thin. Her leather pants were snug and the backless halter revealed her ribs, which were visible everytime she moved. “You’ve lost weight.”
“Being a slayer isn’t exactly conducive to weight gain.” She replied, pouring herself a full glass of juice.
“You weren’t this thin before.” Angel replied, standing up to take his own coat off. He tossed it and watched it land on top of hers, feeling oddly affected by seeing the coats together, then opened the refrigerator door himself. “Do you like eggs?”
“Do I like eggs?” Buffy raised her eyebrow and sat her glass down. “What kind of question is that?”
“Fine, don’t answer. This morning, you do like eggs.” He pulled three from the door, grabbed the butter and milk and kicked it shut. “Where are the pans?”
“You’re going to cook me eggs?”
“No offense, but I’ve seen healthier looking refugees.” He ignored the way she stood up straighter and crossed her arms, and opened the cabinets, intent on finding the necessary utensils himself.
Buffy watched him; half annoyed and half-impressed, as he broke the shells and mixed them with a little milk. Soon, the smell of food was making her stomach growl and she accepted the plate he sat down in front of her. Shaking her head in disbelief, she looked at the fluffy scrambled eggs and toast, and smiled. “You really did cook me eggs.”
“Why don’t you tell me what’s going on around here while you eat.” He nodded toward the table and she followed with her plate. Angel put the coats on the back of a chair and watched her intently. “Let’s start with Spike.”
Between bites, Buffy told him about Thanksgiving and Spike showing up looking half dead and needing a place to stay. It progressed to her telling about Willow’s spell, which made her fall in love with Spike, and then finished with the night they were both taken in the sewers. Naturally, she left out the kiss and the way he made her weak in the knees, and simply told him how scared Spike had been. “It’s not right, Angel. What they do is wrong. I mean, it’s torture. First they make them defenseless and then they test them and then they kill them.”
Angel leaned back in his chair and digested everything she had told him, mulling for a while over the thought of Buffy and Spike kissing and being ‘engaged’. He knew Buffy better than she knew herself and since he had seen her torture a vampire, he wasn’t convinced that she was standing up for ethical treatment of demons just because. No, there was more there. “Are they actually torturing them? Moreover, why do you care?
“Well, maybe not physically, but certainly mentally. And I care because suffering, even if it’s a demon, is still suffering. I mean, they could have taken you a long time ago, you know?” She finished her last piece of toast and sighed, hoping to change the subject. “I’m stuffed. That was really good.”
“Good.” He replied absently, staring past her at the wall, his mind still overflowing. “What exactly is it that these commandos hope to do.”
“They’re creating demons that can only feed on other demons. That way, they can kill the weaker demons and then eventually just have one breed of demon. It’s flawed right now though.” She quickly explained everything Riley had told her. Starting with how the brain slows during death and finishing with how one day, they hoped to have a better chip that wouldn’t weaken and kill the Hostile.
“That’s impossible.” Angel shook his head and leaned onto his elbows. “Buffy, most demons are almost human like in the fact that they have brains and can think and register pain and die. Hell, vampires were human once and there are hundreds of other breeds that were as well. Think about it, people and demons are almost alike.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that these tests, these things that they’re doing, don’t add up. To make a demon have any human qualities, you have to either amend it magically, like a soul restoration, or you have to connect the two somehow. People and demons.”
“In every aspect of life, there are links. Every being is somehow linked to another being. Science would like to have you believe that man and ape are related, but it’s more like man and demon. Way back, before there were people, there were demons. They used their magicks, used their skills and one day, it blew apart, their reality diminished, and man was here. They inadvertently created their own enemy.”
“Demons created man?”
“Some demons claim that it happened that way. Some people believe that God, a higher power, intervened and created it, and some believe that demons don’ t exist. We know better. And the links between the two are broken in this Initiative. Unless-” He trailed off, reprocessing everything she had told him.
“Angel, I’ve never been good with reading between the lines, so can you be blunt?”
“You told me that they are doing tests on demons to make them unable to hurt people. You can’t just test one thing without the other. People have to be down there, Buffy. For them to know what happens to a vampire’s brain during the change means that they allowed someone to be changed and monitored it.”
“They quarantine people. Maybe they knew it was too late and monitored the change on a victim that they couldn’t help anyway.” Buffy offered, but her heart wasn’t in it. If what Angel was saying had truth in it, and considering the source it had to, then the implications were there. The Initiative wasn’t harmless and she would be forced to stop them.
“Do you honestly believe that they could make these assumptions and analysis based on seeing it happen randomly?” Angel saw for himself that she didn’t and stood up. He walked into the living room and returned a few minutes later with a newspaper. “These four little girls are missing. Giles told me you found a body in the sewer. Was it one of them?”
Buffy took the paper and scanned the four faces. “It was the little blond one. I actually saw her in a dream. I could hear her screaming and there was blood. It was-“ She paused and stared at the pictures more closely.
“Buffy, what is it?” Angel moved to her side and laid a hand on her arm.
“When was this paper printed?” She flipped it over and stared at the date. “It’s today’s paper.”
Heart pounding and hands shaking, she pointed at two of the girls and swallowed hard. “When I went out with the Initiative to the drive-in and pulled those people free, these two girls were there.”
“Hanging in the nets.” Buffy scanned their smiling faces and bit her lip, then pointed at one with black hair. “This one asked me if I was an angel and told me I was. Forest said that they would be transported to safety. Maggie said they bring people underground for surveillance and they simply think they’ve been in the hospital.”
“Were the girls hurt?”
“Not that I could tell. I mean, they were crying and pretty upset, but uninjured as far as I could see.”
“Buffy, do you think –“
“They’re testing the quarantined people?” Buffy nodded at him. “Hell, yes. That’s exactly what I think. I mean, you’re right. They have to be doing stuff to humans in order to learn what they know.”
Angel nodded, eyeing the paper again. “What’s the plan?”
“Somehow I don’t think that going in and accusing them is the way to go.”
“I agree.” He narrowed his eyes and then looked at her. “But, this means that this is even more dangerous now. They know you’re a Slayer and they could just be earning your trust to get your guard down. Who better to model their demon slayers after than a real live demon slayer?”
Buffy stood slowly and took her plate to the sink. “Well, my guard just went up and my defenses are on red alert.”
“Keep it that way.” Angel replied, pulling his coat on.
“Where are you staying?”
“My old apartment.” He fixed his collar and turned back toward her. “I’m here to help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it and don’t fool yourself into thinking you don’t need it.”
“Thank you.” She said, smiling slightly at the feeling of nostalgia that rushed through her. “I’m sorry about-“
He held up a hand and said, “Let’s not, okay? This is business and as soon as it’s over, it’s back to LA with me and back to school for you. When are you going down again?”
“Ten a.m.” Buffy sighed a little, wanting to say something more, but unable to find the words.
“Good luck is what I want to say, but instead, I’ll say be careful. I think you need that more. You can't be too cautious, but you can be too reckless.” With that, he turned and walked out of the kitchen.
Buffy heard the door open and shut and slumped in her seat again, staring at the faces on the paper. In her opinion, the girls had been dirty and parched. Nothing about them would indicate that they needed to be kept for this long in the facilities. It had been over twenty-four hours and that was plenty of time to get them hydrated and reunited with their families.
She walked to the back door and stared out at the night. Suddenly her life didn’t seem as complicated as those of the parents of these children. Somewhere out there, a mother was without her baby and the little girl was without her mother. Having been without before, Buffy swore to herself that come ten a.m., she’d have answers.
Sleep was something that did not come to her. Buffy tossed and turned, watching the glowing red numbers on the clock tick away the hours and finally rose at dawn. Pacing passed some of the time and writing in her journal gave her something to do briefly. Then it was almost eight a.m. and she could wait no more. Pulling on her running clothes, she trotted down the stairs, scribbled out a note and left on foot.
She jogged easily, quickly covering the five miles and arrived at Lowell House flushed, but not out of breath. Several guys greeted her when she was let in and she made half-hearted replies to their attempts at conversation. Finally, she recognized Michael, the man who had introduced himself to her the first day, walking toward the elevators and joined him. “Hi, Michael, right?”
“Oh, hello Buffy.” He smiled down at her and glanced her up and down. “Out for a jog?”
“Yeah, got to maintain this girlish figure.”
“You’re anything but girlish, honey. I’ve never seen such a woman.” He replied with a small wink. “Did you need an escort down? I know your pass isn’t activated yet.”
“I’m actually looking for Professor Walsh. Is she underground?” Buffy asked casually, letting his flirtation pass without incident.
“She should be. Is something wrong?” Michael hoped that there was something wrong. He hoped that she had discovered what a pissant Riley was and was going to request a team transfer. His team was lonely and could definitely use a hot little number like Summers for distraction.
“Well, I don’t know.” She pulled the paper out of her jacket and pointed at the little girls, which she had drawn a circle around. “I rescued these kids the other night.“
“I was there.” Michael took the paper and glanced at it nervously, wondering how to handle the situation. He doubted very seriously that Walsh would have told this girl, this new agent, much of anything.
“So you know as well as I do that they were fine and should have been reunited with their families before this paper went to print.” Buffy took the paper from him and put it back in her jacket. “I need to see Maggie.”
“I’m your man.” He pointed at the mirror and waited for the green ray to pass over them, then stepped inside with her. “How do you like it here?”
“I like it fine.” Buffy replied monotonously.
Michael spoke into the speaker and then smiled at her. “You don’t sound convincing.”
“I’m tired. No sleep.”
“Riley keep you out all night?” Michael grinned a little and wiggled his eyebrows. "Rumour has it that you two are quote the little couple. Is that true?"
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Buffy asked, forcing herself to grin at the man. She had seen the way he eyed her the first day they were there and she hadn’t forgotten the way Riley seemed to tense up when he was present. Her first impression was that he was oily enough to slither his way into most places, but her good graces would not be one of them.
“Just so you know, my team could use you if you get tired of playing house with Riley. We’re more active that the pansy squad and you’d get out a lot more.”
The elevator doors opened and he stepped through. “You know, out in the field. We cover the sewers. We’re not like the little country boys that have to hang out above ground. We get down and dirty. Something tells me you’d fit right in.”
Buffy pursed her lips like she was in deep thought and said, “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Riley was sparring with Forest in one of the padded exercise areas when he saw Buffy walk past him, followed by Michael, who was talking rapidly to her. It was only nine o’clock and he remembered telling her specifically that she wouldn’t be needed until ten. He turned slightly, watching her demeanor, and caught a mouthful of Forest’s fist.
“Damn!” Forest shouted, clutching his fist to his chest. “What the hell are you doing?”
“I’ll be back.” Riley grabbed a towel, ignoring the ache in his jaw, and climbed the ladder, following the way they had gone. He walked the main aisle, glancing down the corridors and finally saw them all the way at the end of the Implanting row.
Michael saw him coming and led Buffy to another elevator, draping his arm over her shoulders. He had purposely brought her this way in hopes of Riley seeing them together. “I guess Walsh is on the other level.”
Buffy wanted to wriggle out of his grasp but let him pacify himself instead. When they were inside, he leaned low to whisper in her ear and she saw Riley heading their way. The closing doors prevented her from stepping out to greet him, but it didn’t prevent her from seeing the look on his face. “Michael, why do I get the feeling that you don’t like Riley?”
“Because I really work hard to make sure everyone can tell.” He shrugged, leading her down another hallway as soon as the elevator opened.
“Care to tell me why?”
“I can only tell people why over coffee. Have some with me later and I’ll gladly fill you in.” He tweaked her nose and pointed at the end of the hall where Walsh stood. “Find me later if you’re interested.”
Buffy watched him as he walked away; arrogantly holding his head high, and whispered, “Don’t hold your breath.” Rolling her eyes, she headed toward Maggie.
Professor Walsh saw her coming and her forehead creased with concern. “Buffy, are you injured? Why are you coming to the infirmary?”
“No. I’m fine. I was looking for you actually.”
“You found me.”
Buffy pulled out the paper and pointed at the smiling faces on the front page. “I found them too and it’s strange to me that this paper reports them as still missing.”
Maggie was taken aback, but quickly forced herself to remain impassive. “Yes, I know. Initial examinations of the people who were rescued showed signs of contamination. We’ll need to watch them for at least seven days.”
“Contamination of what?”
“Buffy, prolonged exposure to a demon can be harmful or fatal to a person. This particular demon was incredibly nasty and every person from that night is ill.”
“I’m not ill. Riley’s not ill. Forest isn’t and neither is Michael.”
Maggie sighed heavily and closed the medical journal she had been looking at. “I said prolonged exposure, Buffy. We need to keep them here long enough for our antibiotics to kill any of the germs left on them.”
“What makes you think they need it?”
“You’re very inquisitive.” Walsh smiled and put her arm around Buffy’s shoulders, squeezing lightly, the way Michael had done. “I like that quality. If you’ll follow me, I’ll show you why they need it.”
The Story Continues...