August 18, 2011 – The Deadmeat Job

Summary: **Part of the 2011 LiveJournal's Twisted Shorts August Fic-A-Day** series. It was a job the team would regret.

Challenge: for the livejournal 2011 August Fic a Day Challenge. And #6471 on TtH.

Timeline: post-BtVS; unsure for Leverage.

Warning: nothing really, unless you like the old Council.

Disclaimer: BtVS and AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Leverage characters belong to John Rogers, Chris Downey and TNT. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

Giles' office

Pushing his hands down on the table in an effort to fight the urge to pull off his glasses and polish them, Giles glanced around the room at the children – yes, he still thought of them as children; probably always would. He could almost hear them making mental bets as to how long it took for him to succumb to the old habit. That was alright; he made bets about certain habits they had as well. Didn't mean he wouldn't make it more difficult for them to collect on his, though.

But back to the reason for his urge.

The man sitting across from him looked to be about his age, but not as gray around the temples. Apparently his team didn't stress him out as much as Giles' Slayer and her friends stressed out the head of the new Council.

Joseph Kane, as the man claimed to be, had a decidedly Ripperish feel to him – especially where his colleagues were concerned. They had tried to run a scam on the Council in order to break in and steal the Crest of the Watchers for their client, Roger Wyndam-Pryce so he could take over the Council as its 'rightful' leader.

Fortunately, only the Queen of England – or the King in previous years – and the head of the Council knew it couldn't be stolen, Giles thought to himself, rubbing the mark on his chest. When the latest version of the charter was created, the Crown's seers would choose a successor and the Queen – or King – would brand the head of the Council with a magical mark.

The Crest this group attempted to steal was merely for show.

"So, Nathan Ford…" Giles paused, letting it sink in that he knew the real names for 'Joseph Kane' and his team, "…Sophie Devereaux, Alec Hardison, Eliot Spencer and Parker." As he said each name, he looked at the individual and the person guarding them: Faith/Sophie, Willow/Alec, Buffy/Eliot and their surprise Slayer, Gwen Raiden/Parker.

Gwen was a shock when they found out about her – no pun intended – because she was past the age that they thought a girl could be activated.

"Careful, B, that looks like one of the lawyers that hired me to kill Angel," Faith warned.

Somewhat saddened that the hottie she was pinning to the couch might be evil, Buffy leaned down to sniff his neck. The activation spell had boosted her abilities, making it possible for her to smell evil on a human being now. But only demonic evil like the kind Wolfram & Hart dealt in; the Ted Bundies of the world were still a mystery to her or she might have hired herself out to the police.

She smiled when she felt his body respond to her actions, but kept her voice calm when she answered Faith, "He's clean; no smell of Evil Inc. on him."

Back when Faith realized that Buffy had this new ability, she was worried that her freelance job for them would mark her too. Apparently it required signing a contract, though…something Faith never did. Angel and his group were a different story, however; they reeked of the smell. It didn't necessarily mean they were evil, but it wasn't exactly a sign they were trustworthy anymore either.

"If we may get back to the matter at hand," Giles interrupted before Faith could say anything crass concerning what Buffy just did. "You were explaining why Roger hired you," he prompted Nate, who was glaring at him.

Since all of his team were being held captive – something that bothered him greatly in Eliot's case and to a lesser extent in Parker's – plus the fact that their mark knew their true identities, Nate found himself in a rare position…being completely outmaneuvered by his opponent. It only happened a couple times before.

There had been times in the past when they pretended to be off balance, but sadly this wasn't one of those times.

That led Nate to the conclusion that their client – who was indeed Roger Wyndam-Pryce – hadn't been totally forthcoming with them on Rupert Giles or his associates. If that was the case, Nate's only loyalty was to his team…and the girls this smug bastard stole for whatever sick reason Nate didn't want to dwell on too much at the moment.

"You were fired from the company you used to work at with Mr. Wyndam-Pryce for inappropriate behavior towards a younger colleague…" He ignored the snickers and choking sounds from the women in the room and continued, "Then you corrupted his son, Wesley, when he came to replace you." That earned more snickers from all the women.

Nate's eyes narrowed a bit in an attempt to hide his uneasiness about saying the next part to a mass murderer. It was a dangerous choice to make. "For the next several years, you planned a hostile takeover of the company, culminating in an attack on their headquarters in England which killed a majority of the company's leaders."

"After disappearing back to the States for about half a year, you notified the survivors that you were assuming control of the company and moving the headquarters to Nowhere, Missouri. Everyone who disagreed with your cult was dismissed, barely getting away with their lives."

Even though Nate was dead serious as he spat out part of the man's crimes, the young women who worked with Rupert Giles started giggling, moving quickly into hysterical laugher, but managing to hold onto their prisoners through their mirthful tears.

Sophie asked the question first, "What is so amusing?"

Giles tried to glare at the girls, but they were still too busy gasping in laughter. "I believe they find the idea of me running a cult humorous. Presumably because I am a figurehead for dealing with the public. The rest of the time they ignore me."

His redhead took offense at that. "Hey, we listen to you all the time! It's just sometimes you are too cautious or even wrong on the rare occasion," she added with an apologetic shrug.

"What about the girls you kidnap?" Parker accused, unable to stay quiet anymore. Kids were a hot button topic for her; always had been.

Eliot swore he heard the blond holding him growl and a matching growl coming from the brunette guarding Sophie; the one who said he looked like a lawyer.

"I knew I should have broken something on that creep," Eliot's lap ornament snarled. "Spreading lies like that when he was-"

"Buffy…" Giles murmured in an effort to calm his Slayer down. Eliot was grateful for that because when she was angry, her grip tightened painfully. Turning back to Nate, Giles inquired, "Did he offer you any proof?"

"He gave me names of girls and their guardians. The guardians were found butchered and some of the girls were missing. Mr. Wyndam-Pryce suggested that the girls who proved to be too much trouble were butchered instead of taken."

Now unconcerned about the bets, Giles removed his glasses so he could pinch his nose more fully. That prat was blaming him for the work of the Bringers?

The only girl in the room without a prisoner to guard stepped forward from Giles' side. As one of the girls he had 'supposedly' kidnapped, Kennedy was especially livid that his actions were being tarnished by a guy who didn't deserve the title of Watcher. "He rescued us, you idiot! A group of psychotics were trying to kill all of us, but Giles managed to save some of us. Our guardians allowed themselves to be killed to give us time to escape!"

Sensing things were getting dangerous for the man and his team who were tricked into coming after the New Council, Giles suggested, "I think maybe you and your team should leave now. Tell Roger that the Queen gave me the Crest. Until she or her successor says otherwise, I am in charge of the Council…and the assets he is so desperate to get his hands on. And you might want to ask him about the old Council's stance on kidnapping and something called the Cruciamentum," Giles said slyly. Roger wouldn't say anything, but his silence would speak volumes to this man before him.

He then turned to the girls and ordered them, "Let them up, girls. I don't think they'll cause any more trouble now that they've heard the truth."

Nate felt a little foolish, but still had to have the last word, "For now. We will be doing some more checking. If we find that you've lied to us, we'll be back."

A/N: Kinda thought maybe some of the old Watchers wouldn't like Giles taking over. I had the headquarters in Missouri instead of on the Hellmouth because I thought maybe it would be too foolish to have it on the frontlines. As far as I know, there isn't an actual town called 'Nowhere'; that is joke to say it's in the middle of 'Nowhere'.

Tomorrow's (hopeful) fic: Graham/Lord of the Rings.