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I own neither Buffy nor NeverWhere. I wish I did, but I don't.

Far From Home...

It was the scream that woke Giles. It was high-pitched and came from along the corridor somewhere. Grabbing his robe and slippers, he headed for the door.

The decision to stay at the Hyperion hotel had been made on the grounds that they had very little money, and they needed a place that wouldn't ask any questions about people walking around with battle-axes or broadswords.

Two of the newly activated Slayers were standing on a chair, screaming at a small rat that was sitting quite harmlessly in the middle of the corridor. Andrew had somehow grabbed hold of the light fitting and was trying to climb up to the high ceiling.

Giles shook his head: super-powers or not, some people just couldn't be helped. He picked up the rat and found the message tied to its back. Taking the small roll of paper, he put the rat back down. It scurried away, causing more screams when it rounded the next corner.

Walking back to his room, Giles unfolded the message and read it. He then swore, profusely and at great length, in several languages. Some of them had not been spoken aloud in thousands of years. More than a few where made up on the spot.

Grabbing his clothes, Giles got dressed before heading out into the cold night air.

The bar was so far off the beaten track that even the local daemon population hadn't found it. It was all but invisible to anyone who didn't know it was there, and what it was for. It was a meeting place, where the human world could interact with the underside, a shadow-world that existed below, above, and in the 'real' world.

"It is good to see you again, my Lord." A deep voice came from one of the shadow-filled alcoves as Giles passed, "It has been too long."

"Not long enough." Giles slipped into the seat opposite the speaker: he was a tall, dark skinned man. His hair was mainly black and pulled into dreadlocks, apart from the area above his forehead, which was grey and white. "I take it there is a reason for you to be here? The infamous Marquis de Carabas never travels far from home without a very good reason."

"Indeed there is indeed a good reason: your father, the Earl of Earl's Court, is ill."

"He's always ill: it's the food he eats..."

"He's dying."

"What! How?"

"I fear that the Angel Islington has returned, and has found a way to poison him."

"Croup and Vandemar?"

"Most likely: they are bound to him until they complete their commission. They are annoyingly persistent when it comes to hurting people."

"I'm not going back."

"You must!"

"My mother and I left, returned to her old life in London Above, and neither of us ever looked back. I have never told ANYONE about my father."

"Well, if you don't do something about this, I'll have to find someone who will..."

"You dare try and involve the others: this is nothing to do with them. I even think that you've been within a mile of them, I will kill you!"

"That may not help. Islington knows of the Key; he was an Angel after all, and is trying to find it. If he does recover it, he may be able to open the door to his prison, and that could mean the end of us all."

"Isn't there anyone else?"

"There is Lord and Lady Portico of the House of Arch; that's young Door and her husband, Richard Mayhew, a native of London Above. The Black Friars were all but wiped out by Glory before they could hide the Key, and haven't been able to regain their former strength."

"So it's just me and you."

"Just like old times."

"Just like White City..."

"That was a mistake: I never thought that things would go so badly."

"If I go back, it won't be for good: I'll help stop Islington, but then I'm leaving again."

"As you wish, my Lord, as you wish..."