Note: Crossover with Dan Brown's Angels & Demons, and The Da Vinci Code written for TTH's Fic for All.
Mr. Giles set the neatly printed sheet of paper down on the desk between them. "You have a very impressive resume, Dr. Langdon."
Robert smiled. "Please, Call me Robert."
"All right, Robert. You are currently a professor of religious iconography at Harvard University?"
"Yes, but I am about to take a sabbatical. Originally I planned to research a new book, but a friend at the Vatican told me that you were looking to hire an expert on symbology. My friend told me that what you do was 'interesting' but he was rather lacking in details."
"Yes, well, much of what we do is highly confidential in nature. We're still doing our background check on you. We will of course tell you much more, before we make you an offer."
Robert nodded. His friend in the Vatican had told him that these people were very secretive. He had tried using some of his other contacts to learn more about them, but every avenue of investigation had ended at a brick wall.
"So, tell me more about what happened in Rome a few years ago," said Mr. Giles.
Robert hesitated for a moment. He glanced toward the blonde woman sitting on the sofa, who had been introduced to him only as "Miss Summers." No one less than His Holiness himself had asked Robert to keep much of what had happened under his hat, but it had been through a member of his staff that Robert had heard about this job, and his friend had told him that Mr. Giles knew the true story.
"You can talk in front of Miss Summers," said Giles. "She knows all that I know about those events."
Robert nodded. He guessed it was okay to talk with these people. He would leave out a few details from the ending though. "Well, it all started with the murder of a physicist at CERN, in Switzerland…"
"Fascinating!" said Giles when he had concluded his story. "And then last year in Paris?"
Robert launched into that story more quickly. It wasn't as closely held a secret, in fact his planned sabbatical had been intended to allow him to research some of the background in greater detail, so he could write his book about it. Mr. Giles was an attentive listener, and even Miss Summers made an astute observation or two along the way.
"Well, thank you very much!" said Mr. Giles when he was finished. "I really would like to hear more, but I'm afraid that we've already gone well over the time that we had allotted for this interview. It has been a pleasure meeting you. We have a few more candidates to interview. We will be in touch." He rose from his seat, and came around the desk to shake Robert's hand. "Thank you again. Miss Summers will see you out."
Buffy returned to Giles' office after she had escorted Robert Langdon out of the Council's Boston facility. "So what do you think?" she asked him. "He was kinda cute."
"Buffy, 'kinda cute' is not a qualification for Watcher."
"But that other stuff, the Illuminated guys, and the Priority of Scones."
Giles sighed. "The Illuminati, and the Priory of Scion."
"Yeah, them. He seemed to follow those clues pretty well."
"Yes, but he missed the big one, in both cases."
"What big one?"
"Buffy, what sort of secret society would last very long, if they wandered around dropping clues to their existence like that? The whole point of such things is to remain secret. I mean, really, if the Illuminati had done what Mr. Langdon says they had done, the Church would have rounded the lot of them up inside of a week."
"So none of those clues were real?"
"Oh, they're real all right, they're just not what he thinks they are. In fact the Watchers used to use Gianlorenzo Bernini's sculptures in Rome as a training exercise for new Watchers. Anyone who couldn't navigate the puzzle in 24 hours was disqualified, as well as anyone who doesn't figure out that it was a set up."
"So what are they really?"
"Some rather elaborate practical jokes, created by a Rimbaldi demon. She sets up these overly complicated scavenger hunts, and then feeds off the gullibility of the people who discover them. She seems to find Mr. Langdon especially tasty, to have run him around like that twice now. He didn't even figure out that it was the same woman, both times, just using a simple glamour to change her appearance."
"So she was really a demon? Should I be Slaying?"
"Oh no," said Giles. "She's really no more than a minor succubus, and most of the men she feeds off, rather enjoy the experience."
"You mean she leaves them smiling, and thinking that they got lucky?"
"Precisely," said Giles. "Now, about our next interview: Dr. Jackson's early work was exemplary, but he seems to have somehow gotten the idea that the Egyptian pyramids were built by aliens…"