1: He's Missing!
Disclaimer: I have no ownership of anything beyond the plot of this story. The rest of it is owned by other people, mostly Josh Wedon and Eric Flint.
1: He's Missing.
3 days after the Grantville Disaster.
Buffy trotted downstairs towards the front door. Someone was banging on it, fit to beat the drum. When she got there, she got herself prepared in a stance, then yanked it open.
"Buffy! Buffy, Buffy,BuffyBuffyBuffy! He's missing! I think he was in WestVirginiaandIthinkhe'sgonecauseIhaven'theardfromhimin4days! We needtogettoGiles!"
Even with her special abilities, it took Buffy a moment to interpret the babbling, but she quickly grabbed her windbreaker, and went out the door.
"Okay, Willow, who's missing? Is Oz on tour again?"
"Xander? Wait, he's doing that cross-country thing, isn't he? Okay, so he didn't call you. Maybe he couldn't find a phone?"
"No, Buffy, he's been calling me every couple days since he left, even if only for a moment. But, I haven't heard from him since last Saturday."
"Um, hate to bring it up, but what if he met a girl?"
"He'd still call me! And, besides, he was leaving Chicago last time he called, and heading towards Washington DC. I think he might have been in West Virginia!"
"Uh, ok. Are we worried about a 'Deliverance'-type thing here?"
Willow stared at her friend as they walked the sunny streets of, well, Sunnydale. "West Virginia? Where Grantville is? Where the Grantville Disaster happened?"
"Grantville disaster? What happened?"
Willow's eyes bulged. "Um, you haven't watched the news? Or read a paper?"
"Not really my thing. It's the summer lull, but I'm trying to take advantage of it to destroy as many of the nests as I can - that way I won't be so overwhelmed when college starts."
"That makes sense, but still, you should keep your eye on the news. You never know when . . . " Buffy tuned out the lecture she was sure Willow was giving her. If it was really important, she'd find out about it eventually.
The pair rang Giles' doorbell, and waited. A moment later, Buffy rang it again. Finally, she leaned on it, and kept the noise up, until she heard movement inside the little house.
"What the bloody hell is it!" screamed the older man, as he yanked the door open.
"Um, Willow is worried about Xander, and now I'm worried about you. It's after One O'clock,a nd you're still in your pajamas."
"Yes, well, long day yesterday, so I was sleeping in."
"It's After. One. O'clock. You shouldn't be sleeping in - is that alcohol I smell on your breath?" Willow looked shocked at Giles' appearance, and even moreso at the latest question.
"Yes, well, as I said, it was a long day yesterday. Give me a moment, and I will be cleaned up."
"Take a quarter hour, and get dressed too. And take a shower - you stink!" The last was yelled as he headed upstairs to his room. The girls ignored the lack of invitation, that was normal enough, and went in. Every surface except a little counterspace in the kitchen, part of the table, one chair, and his easy chair were covered in either books, or boxes they knew held books.
Buffy started clearing space, emptying the table and the rest of the chairs, so they could sit at the table, while Willow started making coffee. Yes, Willow felt it was an emergency, but she also knew that certain things had to be done. It took her a while to actually find some coffee, it was mostly tea here, but she knew she had left some here a week before.
20 minutes later.
"All right, Willow, you have a concern?"
"Yes, it's Xander, he's missing,andhewasheadingthroughtheAppalachians,andIthinkhe'smissing-"
"Xander may have been somewhere called Grantville, Willow thinks," Buffy interrupted the babble, before it was totally unintelligable.
"Good Lord! He was there?! Well, that might explain what happened then."
"What?" Willow asked.
"Well, if he ran into an apocalypse, do you see Xander not getting involved?"
"Okay, enough! What happened in Grantville?" Buffy, reasonably she felt, asked.
Giles joined Willow in staring at her for a moment.
"If you don't know, the whole town disappeared. Everything. Even the land seems to have changed. It happened last Sunday."
"I looked it up online, and there's all sorts of ideas what happened, but no one really knows." Willow interjected.
"Well, then lets fly out there, and find out," Buffy decided.
"It's not that easy, Buffy," Willow answered. "There are all sorts of government officials and scientists there. I doubt we have any way of getting close enough to actually figure out what happened."
"Hmm. Give me a moment. I might be able to help there." Giles said.
He went to the phone, then opened a nearby drawer and pulled out a small address book, before leafing through it. Eventually, he found the number he was looking for, and dialing it.
"Ah, Johnson, this is Rupert Giles. Yes, it's me. I was on a private contract for the last 3 years, but it recently ended. Oh, I did, actually, managed 7 articles. Yes, that's right. Well, among other things, I got in a lot of translation work." Buffy was barely listening, while Willow was looking at the Watcher with her mouth open.
"Anyways, I heard about the Grantville thing, and wondered if you were involved. You are? Excellent! Is there any way I and a couple of my proteges can come along. No, I admit, it isn't my area, but just my name can add some prestige and give any of your article's weight. And one of my proteges is
skilled in all that science stuff. Um hmm. I see," He listened a few moments.
"Just the pair of us? Well, can I bring another pair, to watch camp and guard the information we get? I know, yes, but you know that there's going to be someone that gets to feeling larcenous. Yes. Right. Very well, we will be on the plane day after tomorrow. Thank you. Yes, see you then." Giles hung up.
"Okay, Willow, can you get 4 tickets to the nearest airport? Good," he answered to her nod. "Oh, it isn't a full moon anytime soon is it? Excellent, then, we can all go, you two, Oz, and I."