Rupert Giles was exhausted, which was evident has his hand trembling in the simple process of poring himself a cup of tea. The last four days had been nerve racking with Buffy both dying and being brought back to life. The result of which, another Vampire Slayer had been called, a school mate of Buffy’s, named Cordelia Chase.
It was now close to 3 o’clock in the morning, and he had just received a call from Angel, an ally of Buffy’s. He had been close to finally falling asleep, when a desperate Angel had phoned, insistent on seeing him. And why shouldn’t he?
Since the Hellmouth had both opened and closed, they had been trying to find out where the newly called slayer had ran off to. Apparently, the overwhelming experience of being called and only knowing instinctively about her powers had forced the teenager to flee Sunnydale.
Most likely, Angel had finally uncovered some additional news about Cordelia, or so he hoped as he went to answer the soft, but persistent knock on his door. On the other side of the door, was a phenomenon, the only one of his kind- a vampire with a soul. Still, it was quite unnerving to have a vampire in one’s home, despite being tied to humanity. Trying to stifle a yawn, Giles invited Angel to his home once again, “This had better be good, Angel. I think I’m going on a total of five hours of sleep in the past six days.”
Giving a slight smile, which was rare to show on his pale, but handsome face. “Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll want to hear what I’ve found out.” Angel slipped off his trench coat, and followed Giles into the living area. Even though he was thousands of miles from England, his apartment still held that stuffy, British air.
Taking a seat opposite the vampire, Giles took a soothing sip of his tea. “So, what’s go you coming over to my flat at this ungodly hour?”
“Information about Cordelia.”
Just what he had been wanting to hear. Leaning forward in his chair, his sleep forgotten, “Tell me what you’ve found out.”
“Well,” Angel sighed, trying to find the right words to tell the Watcher that he was under surveillance by a group of ruthless assassins. He had debated if he should have called Giles upon hearing what Julius Sandefer and Meredith Chase had told him. After waging a silent war within himself, he figured it was the right thing to do. If Giles stopped looking for Cordelia, then it kept everyone else safe. “I’ve just been given some rather disturbing news, Giles, and what I’m going to tell you can’t leave this room. Okay?”
Giles did not like the look in Angel’s eyes at all. It was as if each word he spoke was making him more and more agitated. “All right.”
Rupert Giles wasn’t the only one who was having problems sleeping. Willow Rosenberg was scrambling around in her bed, her blanket wrapping around her legs in a vise, as she tried to get into a comfortable position. It was useless. She was up and there was only one thing she could do about it- surf the web.
Grumbling about not getting any sleep, Willow kicked off her blankets and stumbled over to her desk. A soft knock interrupted her before she could turn on her computer. Willow’s heart did a flip flop. It was nearly 3:30 in the morning, who could possibly be at her bedroom door? Too bad she wasn’t a party girl. That back door would be ideal for such outings, but it did come in handy when she went on patrol with Buffy. Going over to the door, she pulled the curtain back to reveal a Xander Harris in blue sweats and ratty sneakers.
“Xander? What are you doing here?” She asked, stepping back to let him in. Her pink pajamas with bears was not the attire she wanted him to see her in.
He gave her a sheepish smile. “I couldn’t sleep. Figured school was out, go to Willow’s and have a belated slumber party!” With that, Xander flounced onto her bed, kicking off his shoes. “Come on, sit down. I’ve been having thoughts.”
“Really? That could be a sign of another apocalypse, you having thoughts.” Willow grinned when he scowled at her. “So what’s on that brain of yours?” Should my heart be beating this fast, she wondered, as she sat next to him. On her bed!
“You know what? I bet there’s mischief a foot!” Xander exclaimed, waving a finger at her.
“What do you mean ‘mischief’? And about what exactly?” Willow asked. She was having a real difficult time not looking at his mouth. Bad Willow! No kissing thoughts about Xander.
“Think about it, Will,” he continued, his eyes shining. “Cordelia goes to the airport and right after that, two employees are killed. Standard black ops stuff. Someone is trying to hide her location.” Xander nodded in a agreement to himself.
“That’s silly,” Willow scoffed. “Why- or better yet- who, would do such a thing?”
“What about that crazy family of hers? Her mom and dad are so certifiably whacked, now we learn that she has wasabi eating family in Japan! Do you think Cordy eats sushi?! Yeck!”
Rolling her eyes, Willow threw a pillow at him, which he grabbed and tucked under his head. “So you think that Cordelia’s family murdered the two women from the airport? Other than keeping her location a secret, why?”
“You believe me?” Other than his lover for Baywatch and Star Trek he had a fondness for conspiracy theories. With the whole demonisms of Sunnydale, he was sure that the government has some inside knowledge of the place too. He’d prove that one someday!
“No, I’m humoring you.”
Xander frowned. “That’s not good. Well, anyway,” he continued, draping his legs over hers, not noticing how her face flushed almost as red as her hair. “It makes sense to me, especially with this ‘oh-so-secret-and-special-family-prophecy-of-Cordelia-being-a-slayer.” Xander scrunched up his nose, thinking. “Cordy the Slayer. Vampire Slayer, Cordelia! Baffles the mind, don’t it? There could be a mistake, ya know.”
“Xander,” Willow began, “Get over it. Even though we have not seen her in action, all signs point to Cordelia being the new Slayer. I wonder what happens now?”
“About Buffy- does this put her out of commission or what?” Willow knew that Buffy had not taken the idea of Cordelia as a slayer too well. That was evident when she had stormed out of Giles’ place. Willow hadn’t even had a chance to talk to Buffy about it, since she took off to her dad’s house the next day. “It would sure lighten the slayer load a bit.”
He hadn’t thought about that- Two slayers meant less work load, which meant Buffy could do more… stuff. Like get interested in me and not the blood-philiac. Highly unlikely, but a man had to hope! “Well, Buffy’s ‘load’ should be light and airy now that she’s in Los Angeles.”
Willow’s eyebrows shot up in amusement. “Just because she’s not in Sunnydale, doesn’t meant she’s not encountering some form of the supernatural, Xande. The same goes for Cordelia.” With all the commotion that happened in Sunnydale, it was hard to imagine the outside world could be affected too. “So, other than a ‘massive conspiracy’ to secure Cordelia’s current locale,” she couldn’t help the sacrasm, “What else could it be?”
“Sarcasm duly noted, Willow,” Xander laughed, struggling to get under the covers. He was finally getting sleepy. “It could all be a coincidence, but I doubt it. Someone doesn’t want us to find her, Will. I’ll bet your fish on it!”
Giles had gone from tea to scotch during Angel’s narrative. He’d figured it would curb that chill going up and down his spine at learning he and others were being followed. Not only followed, but targeted for execution, should Angel fail in keeping them away from Cordelia.
“So she’s in Japan?” Giles pressed his fingers had the bridge of his nose, trying to relieved the tension that was steadily building.
“That’s what Sandefer said,” Angel answered, “And Mrs. Chase did mention Yoshino Village, being were Cordelia was born. I’m betting she’s with family there.” That notion gave him some measure of comfort, knowing that the teenager was with people she trusted.
“And your absolutely sure, that Meredith Chase mentioned Daniel Bellaver as being her father?”
Leaning back in his chair, Angel slowly nodded in confirmation.
Giles shook his head in bewilderment. “Jesus. I had no idea that Cordelia was connected to all of this.”
“I know he’s part of the Watcher’s Council, but what power does he hold?” Angel had been curious from the moment Cordelia’s mother had mentioned the man. He still wasn’t fond of the fact that he wanted him to stay away from Cordelia, even in light that he was her grandfather. “And why would he be so determined to hide all of this?”
“The Bellaver family has been part of the Council for generations. Highly tied to it’s cause. Many of the women and men in the family have been Watchers through the ages, and least four girls in the Bellaver branch have been slayers.” With this new development, Giles was finally able to admit to himself that he was no longer tired. Finding new vigor, he wanted desperately to get to the bottom of this. “But what astounds me, is like you asked, why would he keep it hidden if he knew Cordelia was a potential? He must have known about the prophecy that Cordelia’s great-great grandmother predicted.”
“Even so,” Angel began, trying to get on some level with Giles. “All the more reason to come forward, especially if the Bellavers have been tied to the Council for so long. What was he trying to hide?”
“I honestly don’t know.”
Silence rested between them for a few moments, each of them deep in thought. Angel leaned forward, resting his chin in his hand. Eyes narrowed he recalled his recent conversation with Meredith Chase. “Giles? When I was talking with Mrs. Chase she said ‘we may not be a close family, but we keep our secrets well hidden.’” He raised his head to meet Giles’ weary eyes, that were now alive with thought. “What if there was something that Daniel Bellaver has to keep hidden? Something not just about his side of the family, but Meredith Chase’s mother’s side as well?”
Giles could tell that Angel was getting at something, but what? “Okay, go on.”
Angel rose from his seat, and began pacing back and forth. “The Bellaver family has had at least four girls called, right?”
“Yes, there could be more, but I’ve never investigated. Didn’t need to.”
“Don’t you think that’s a high number for any family to have? I’ve never heard of specific families having a line of slayers.”
“Well,” Giles said, “It was kind of a joke within the Council, that the Bellavers carried a ‘slayer gene’ within their girls.” Giles gave a slight chuckle at the memory. “But that was placed aside when we found that two other families had a high number of girls called.” Jerking his head over at Angel, Giles narrowed his eyes. “What are you getting at?”
“What were the names of these families? The other two?”
Rupert Giles stood up, coming to stand in front of the vampire. Clenching his jaw in realization, Giles gave a grim smile. “The Dantes family in France… and the Yoshino clan-”
“In Japan.” Angel finished. Nodding in agreement both men contemplated what this meant. “Meredith Chase is from the Yoshino and Bellaver families. I’m betting that Alexander Chase is from the Dantes side.”
“Oh, my God.” Giles could not believe it. Three families with a common trait of multiple slayers. “They’ve been tying to breed the perfect slayer. Xander was right in calling Cordelia an ‘Uber-slayer’! That’s exactly what she is!” The research involved was going to be tremendous, and he couldn’t wait. “Do you think the families knew about this?”
Angel shook is head. “No. Not until recent generations. I’m betting there’s a higher purpose at work here.” Recalling Meredith and Alexander Chases’ vehement claims at being opposed to Cordelia’s destiny. “It was the last two generations that truly knew. Probably organizing a match between Cordelia’s parents. Meredith knew more than Alexander, and was probably brought in on the family secret after he married Meredith.” This dredged some sympathy, but no much.
Rupert Giles had thought he’d heard of everything. Only two things had astounded him during the past year, this being one of them! The other, of course, was the knowledge of a vampire with a soul. “So, what do you think the best course of action will be?”
“First you’ve got to call Willow and Xander tomorrow, about how we’re going to let the Watcher’s Council be in complete control of looking for Cordelia.” To be honest, he was surprised they had not found her, since Giles had called them immediately upon learning about Cordelia. Most likely Daniel Bellaver’s doing. “And Jenny Calendar, too.”
“Definitely. They won’t ask too many questions if they think the Council’s involved.” The less they knew, the safer they were from Sandefer’s men. Or rather Bellaver’s. Giles could feel is temper rising. Once this was over, he’d find a way to make sure that man paid for the death of those two girls from Sunnydale Airport. “I’ll also call Buffy in L.A.”
“No, that won’t be necessary.”
“Why not? She should know to stop looking for Cordelia as well. We’ll just tell her the same thing- the Council’s searching.”
“Fine, if you think so.” Angel knew with absolution that looking for Cordelia Chase was the last thing on her mind. “Just make sure none of them know about the assassins.”
“Of course,” Giles agreed, “The last thing we want is for them to panic. Angel? You should be getting back to your home. The suns going to rise soon.”
Angel knew that it was still hard for Giles to accept him, even with the soul. Unless it was necessary, he knew he was not welcome to stay, even from the burning rays for the sun. “Yeah.” Giving Giles a brief nod, he headed over to get is coat by the door.
“Angel?” Giles called out, stopping the vampire, just as he was about to exit. “Do you think Cordelia is safe in Japan.”
Turning around, Angel met the Watcher’s eyes. There was a gleam in there that silently warned Giles about the danger, just below the surface of the vampire’s soul.
“She damn well better be.”
Rupert Giles let out a sigh of relief as Angel closed the door behind him. Relying on senses that had never proved him wrong, Giles could only hope that Angel would remain on their side.