By Maquis Leader
Author's note: Set somewhere mid season 2 BtVS before Surprise.
"The night shift sucks."
Taking a sip from her tepid coffee, Danielle Robeson turned her desk lamp up another notch. It was spooky down in the basement with boxes stacked up and creepy stuff sitting on tables waiting to be cataloged.
As the newest employee, she was stuck with the crappy job and the crappy shift. She already regretted accepting the museum's offer and moving from LA. The money and benefits had been too good to pass up, and she had been lost in the crowd of PhDs with little chance of advancement at the Museum of Natural History. Now, however, she wondered if she'd made the biggest mistake of her life.
Since coming to Sunnydale, Danielle wondered if she'd have been better off staying in LA. There was no nightlife in this strange little town. A couple of bars that looked like they were right out of a Wes Craven movie, another place that was a teenagers' hangout, and one dumpy old movie theater that showed strange foreign films. Not strange as in the usual exotic newcomer to the movie scene making an exciting film in a totally new direction. Strange as in filmed by people locked in mental institutions for chopping people up with an axe.
And the mall? She smirked. There was better shopping in Riverside for God's sake.
Sighing, she opened a box and took out a small stone tablet. It wasn't like she was home nights anyway. After the first few days, they'd stuck her on the night shift doing inventory. "Just as well."
Sunnydale seemingly had some weird 'nobody out after dark' rule. When she had suggested a backyard party at her apartment complex, her neighbors had looked at her as if she'd grown another head. Her fellow employees were out of the door and on their way home before the sun set. "It's like living in freaking Mayberry rolling up the sidewalks after dark."
"It's experience, Danielle, and experience is good." After six months, she'd add it to her resume and start shopping herself around again. "Wonder if that Monster.com place is still in business?"
"Let's see now " She pulled up the museum's database. "We need to add you to the inventory because God knows we need more ancient freaking market talleys."
A spider dropped onto the keyboard, and she jumped up with a shriek. "Get away!" Brushing it away with a piece of paper, she shuddered and shrieked again.
The spider bounced and skipped across the desk, coming to rest against an ebony box with an ivory inlay. Quickly the spider righted itself and slipped into the crack between the lid and the top of the box.
"Oh, no! Out out!" Danielle flipped the catch on the box. "That's all I need, some icky bug jumping out at me!"
Inside the box was a onyx amulet, lying in a bed of black velvet. The spider moved across the velvet as she swiped at it with the paper again. "Crap!" Tossing the paper down, she flicked at it with her fingers.
The spider jumped onto the amulet just as her fingertips touched it. There was a sharp zap and her body began to shake. "C c c crap " Ruby light exploded behind her eyes.
"Did you hear the latest?"
"They found another one! All wrapped up in something webby."
Buffy had been trying to focus on her work. Why some verbs needed to be conjugated, she wasn't sure. Didn't they have verb conjugating counselors for verbs with issues? She'd decided it was some French thing and therefore fell into the unshaved armpits and stinky cigarettes category, when Aura's comment caught her attention.
"Was it like a big kind of web?" Buffy asked.
"Eww!" Harmony wrinkled her nose. "Freaky much?"
Aura rolled her eyes at Buffy. "Who cares? You are so strange."
"You're the ones talking about dead bodies." Buffy closed her French book with a snap as the bell rang. She got up and sailed smugly out the classroom door before they could put together a comeback. Parlez volare that.
Giles was frowning at the newspaper spread out on one of the library tables.
"You know, your face is going to freeze like that." Buffy grinned as her Watcher jumped.
"Buffy!" He frowned at her. "One of these days you'll frighten me into a heart attack."
"What's up?" She dropped her books onto the table.
"There's been a rash of strange murders although in Sunnydale one wonders what qualifies as strange." He tapped a finger on the article he'd been reading. "The victims were all wrapped in a cocoon made of a silk type of threading, and they were drained of blood."
"Ugh." She grimaced. "So do we have a vamp with a weird M.O.?"
"I don't believe so." Scanning the article, Giles found the description of the bodies. "The victims were dried husks, resembling an ancient mummy. DNA testing will be necessary to identify them."
"So an Egyptian vamp?" Buffy nodded. "They were into the whole mummy thing. Oh so were the Incas. An Inca vamp?"
"I don't believe that it is a vampire, Buffy." Folding the paper up, he sat down. "I think this is something else entirely."
"So let's call the Something Else Entirely Slayer." Plopping down into the chair across from him, she crossed her arms over her chest. "I'm the vampire Slayer I'm tired of doing everyone else's dirty work."
"I agree with you completely." Smiling, he reached out and patted her shoulder. "It's unfair to ask you to handle all the evil in Sunnydale."
"It's not like I can't handle it " She looked up as the library doors opened.
Willow rushed in, followed by Xander at his own leisurely pace. "There's weirdness afoot!"
"Afoot?" Xander questioned. "Is that actually a word?"
"The mummified dead bodies?" Giles held up the paper. "And yes, Xander, afoot is an actual word."
"Mummies?" Sitting at the table, Xander shook his head. "No more mummies. Mummies bad."
"They were wrapped up in cocoons." Willow took the paper from Giles. "Sounds more like a bug thing."
"No bugs!" Xander shook his head again, more vigorously this time, until his dark hair fell into his eyes. "No more bugs! Bugs also bad!"
"It does sound insect like." Giles agreed. "There are a number of demons who drain their victims in such a manner."
"Okay, I'll keep an eye out for a big bug on patrol tonight." Buffy shrugged. "At least until the bug slayer shows up. I'll take a can of Raid."
"And again I say no bugs." Xander told them.
"The paper says that all of the victims appear to be young men." Willow chewed her lip as she read through the report once again. "The police think that two of them are young men who were reported missing a week ago. Both are students."
"Jeff Burton and Philip Hilt?" Buffy asked. Sadly,
missing students were all too common at Sunnydale High.
"There's no names, but yeah." She refolded the paper and laid it on the table. "Rumor has it that both of them left the Bronze with a pretty girl."
"Sounds like I patrol the Bronze tonight." Buffy pointed across the table. "We'll take Xander as bait "
"No oh no!" He picked up a thick book and opened it. "No more using Xander as bait boy. I've moved on to research boy."
"Xander " Buffy protested.
"Nope, not happening." He flipped through the book. "See me? See me being research boy?"
"Come on, Xander." Willow pleaded. "We don't have any other guys to use. Well, except for Giles and he's, you know, old."
"Thank you for sparing my ego, Willow." Giles said dryly. "However, you are correct; there isn't another young man we can use as bait. Not one who knows that Buffy is the Slayer."
Getting up, Buffy picked up her books from the table. "Um maybe we do."
Angel had already laid his book aside and was standing by the door when Buffy knocked. He'd felt the familiar zipping tingle along his spine before she'd gotten to the door.
"Angel." She smiled up at him as he opened the door for her.
It was silly, this habit they had of always greeting each other by name. Angel smiled slightly and motioned for her to come inside. "Buffy." And he loved it.
I'd love it more if she was screaming my name. Preferably in pain. And ecstasy. Pain and ecstasy? Ecstasy after the pain? Angelus sighed. Too many choices.
Angelus had taken his cue to spoil the moment. "Is there something wrong?" It wasn't unusual for Buffy to drop by his apartment; it was unusual for her to drop by at three in the afternoon, however. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." She stepped closer and looped her arms around his neck. "Kiss me."
Never one to pass up a chance to kiss her, Angel slid his arms around Buffy's waist and pulled her snugly against his body. The soft lips parted under his, and he licked at the warmth of her mouth.
Get a little tit, will you? Angelus prompted. She's got firm little titties.
Ignoring the demon, Angel snuggled her closer, sucking at her tongue when she dueled past his own and into his mouth. He couldn't hold back the purr that rumbled up as Buffy tried to warm his mouth with her tongue.
"Okay okay " Reluctantly pulling away for air, Buffy laid her cheek on his chest. "Air need good "
Air is overrated. Angelus huffed. And I didn't get any tit.
Kissing the top of her head, Angel rubbed his hands up and down her back. "Not t