All characters are the intellectual property of their respective creators, film companies, etc.; this story may not be sold or distributed on a profit-making basis.
I'm British, so's my spelling. Live with it.
WORK IN PROGRESS - Feedback is greatly appreciated, especially on anything that looks like a continuity or factual error; there was a big problem with the timeline in Manhunters, which I spotted comparatively late and had to cover up with some rather contrived writing, I'd prefer to avoid that if possible.
Slayer, Las Vegas
By Marcus L. Rowland
The raid was timed to the second. Four police cars blocked the side doors to the building, while the SWAT team hit the main entrance. They found it unlocked and unguarded. The first body was a few yards inside the door. The second and third, on the stairs up to the studio they'd intended to raid. The rest were in the studio.
"There's another body over here, in the jacuzzi," said Nick Stokes. "Child, about seven."
"How many is that?" asked Sara Sidle.
"Twelve. Five adults, seven children, ages about five to nine."
"Yeah. Punctures to the neck, extensive blood loss."
"Certainly sounds like it."
"I can't get Angel," said Gil Grissom. "I've tried three times now, every time someone different tells me that he's not currently available to handle cases."
"Did you explain it to them?" asked Catherine Willows.
"I don't know anything about Angel's associates, and none of them were voices I've heard before. I'll save that for a last resort."
"Left a message, hope he responds."
"Last time he was quick. It's already five hours."
Catherine's pager beeped, and she picked up a phone and called the reception desk.
"Caller for you, said it was urgent but couldn't stay on line. Said it concerned a homicide case. She left a California number."
"Let me have it.... Okay, can you pin that down more closely than California... Thanks."
Catherine hung off, thought for a moment, then said "I think we may just have a lucky break."
"What sort of break?"
"When we first met Angel and Finn I began keeping notes on our contact with them. Partly out of curiosity, and partly because I was concerned about the irregularities of the cases that involved them. It was obvious that they had some history in common; most notably, that they had been romantically involved with the same woman. When Oz was here I learned a little more, and did some research. Oz was a student at UC Sunnydale, and had previously attended Sunnydale High School. Finn was a TA at UC Sunnydale from 1998 to 2000, a period when he was already apparently involved in covert operations. Angel first appeared in Los Angeles in 1999; I haven't been able to trace his earlier movements, but he arrived shortly after Oz's class graduated from high school. Oz also told me that he had been involved with a group of unofficial monster hunters."
"The only obvious connection between Angel, Finn, and Oz is this coincidence of dates. It occurred to me that they would make sense if Angel was romantically involved with a student, or possibly a teacher, at Sunnydale High School, who later went on to UC Sunnydale and met Finn there. It would also make sense if she were one of these monster hunters."
"And that call was from Sunnydale?"
"Concerning a homicide investigation."
"Put your call on the speaker phone, I want to hear this."
"This is Catherine Willows at CSI Las Vegas returning your call."
"Just a second... Buffy! It's for you!..."
Catherine hastily covered the microphone and said "Oz mentioned someone whose name might have been Buffy."
"Hello. Buffy Summers here."
"Mrs. Summers, I'm Catherine Willows at CSI Las Vegas. You were trying to contact me."
"It's Miss, that was my sister. Okay, I hope you're the right Willows, I've spoken to three wrong ones so far."
"Would I be right in guessing that Daniel Osbourne gave you my name."
"Thank God. Yeah, Oz mentioned it, but I only remembered the Willows part cos' we have a friend called Willow. He called a few weeks ago, said Riley Finn had him working with you. Did that go okay?"
"We solved the case, and I think Oz was happy with the outcome."
"What can I do for you, Miss Summers?"
"I got a FedEx package from Las Vegas an hour or so ago. Inside were some photos... Polaroid, I think... dead children, in some sort of film studio. Looked like a vampire attack. You know about them, right? And a card saying 'Come and join the party'."
"Have you handled them?"
"The photos... yeah, I guess so, and my sister and the FedEx guy touched the package."
"Before you do anything else please put everything back into the envelope, handling them only by the edges, and put the envelope in a larger envelope or a clean dry plastic bag."
"Just a sec... okay."
"Miss Summers, please contact your local police as soon as we finish this call. I'll arrange for them to collect the package from you and have it couriered here."
"The local police are kinda useless. It'd be better if I bought it myself."
"I don't understand."
"Look, there was an invitation in there. Someone wants me in Las Vegas, and they're killing children to make sure I take it seriously. And I'm guessing they'll kill more until I come."
"Why you, Miss Summers?"
"Because I'm the Slayer. The Vampire Slayer." Even over the phone Catherine thought she could hear the capitals.
"I'll do that, if he ever picks up his voicemail."
"There's one thing, it's kinda awkward..."
"I'm kinda broke, and I'm going to have to bring my sister with me, there's nobody else to look after her. Can you recommend somewhere cheap for us to stay?"
"I'm sure we can arrange something. How will you be travelling?"
"Right, I'd better give you some directions."
"That'd help. One thing first... how long ago were they killed, and what have you done with the bodies?"
"About twelve hours. They're in the morgue awaiting post-mortem."
"This is vital. Get someone down there now, and put something made of wood through their hearts; a pencil ought to do it. Have somebody with a shotgun covering whoever does that; if the body moves shoot at the neck, you're aiming to sever the spine."
"Do it." There was urgent authority in her voice. "Call me back with the directions once you're sure that the morgue is secure."
"Buffy called you?" asked Riley Finn. The line crackled, and Grissom suspected a long-distance link.
"Yes. Someone apparently wants to involve her in one of our cases. Several deaths, a vampire attack, apparently committed to get her attention."
"If she's willing to help you, go for it. Just be prepared to stay out of her way if she has to fight something."
"What makes her so special?"
"She's the Slayer."
"What exactly does that mean?"
"It's some sort of mystic destiny - a champion against the monsters. There's always been one, since the dawn of recorded history. Always a girl, usually in her teens. She gets superhuman strength, speed, and reflexes, incredibly rapid healing, a sixth sense that detects vampires and demons, and occasional flashes of precognition. Oh, and an average life expectancy of two to three years once she's stuck with the job. Buffy's been the Slayer more than seven years. She's good, probably the best there's ever been."
"How old is she?"
"And she kills vampires?" asked Grissom disbelievingly.
"She averages two or three a night."
"I'll look forward to meeting her."
"Okay. I wish I could be there to help, but we're in hostile terrain a couple of hundred clicks from our insertion point, and we've got a mission to finish." There was a distant sound, a deep 'boom' followed by machine-gun fire. "Okay, I think things are getting busy. Tell Buffy that Sam and I say 'Hi', we'll call her when we're back in the USA." There was a click and the line went dead.
"Okay..." said Catherine. "So... we're expecting Xena."