Sands of Burning Time - (10)
Disclaimer and Distribution notes are listed on the Index page of this story.'Single' quote marks surround thoughts in this story. "Regular" quotes are around spoken words.
After resting a few more minutes, Dawn, Rogue, and Alex continued on the way down the vent tunnel. When Dawn came to a T in the vent, she called back, “Left or right, guys?”
“What do you see?” Alex asked.
Dawn looked both ways before she answered. “Well, the left is lighted and the right is dark.”
“I say…” Alex grimaced. “Right.”
“Me, too,” Rogue spoke up. “Unless you want to split up. Velma, you and Freddie go that way. I’ll take Shaggy and Scooby and go the other way.”
“Ha, ha,” Dawn laughed.
“My name is Alex, not Freddie,” Alex said in a confused voice.
“Future reference,” Dawn said. “We’ll explain it to you another time. Okay, right it is.” She slithered around the bend into the vent going to the right. “You know, right now would be a great time to have vampire night vision.”
The three teenagers crawled into the darkness, leaving the lighted area behind. They moved at a slower pace than before until Dawn smacked into the wall at a corner. Farther down the vent, she could see another small spot of light.
“Let’s hope that’s the end of the tunnel and not a train,” Dawn muttered.
“I have my fingers crossed,” Rogue said.
“Me, too,” Alex echoed Rogue’s earlier words. “Is it just me or is it getting cooler?”
“It’s not just you,” Dawn said. “The walls are definitely cooler now.” Within moments she discovered that the faint light was coming from a vent. So, unless they wanted to back out again, they were going to have to go out through the screen.
Dawn crouched on her knees, and she pushed the vent screen as hard as she could. It popped off with a screech, clattering to the floor outside. She cautiously stuck her head out to find herself in a well-lit hallway. Dawn looked both ways before she declared, “Coast’s clear.” Then, she scrambled out of the vent. While she waited for Alex and Rogue, she straightened her clothes.
Alex stood with his hands on his hips. “What direction now?” He looked both ways down the white walled hallway.
Rogue wrinkled her nose as she straightened her gloves. Strangely, they weren’t dusty from the crawl through the tunnel. “Right worked for us last time.”
“Two rights make a wrong, and four rights make a square,” Dawn laughed. “Let’s go left this time.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Alex led the way down the left hallway with Rogue behind him and Dawn taking up the rear.
Dawn kept an eye on the corridor behind them. It wouldn’t do to have someone or something sneak up on them while they were exploring.
“Hope we find a kitchen soon,” Rogue said softly. “I’m getting mighty hungry.”
“Me too, now that you mention it,” Dawn replied in return. She rubbed her stomach when it growled at the mention of food. A sound behind her grabbed her attention. Dawn looked back over her shoulder, and behind her floating towards the three teenagers was a huge eyeball with tentacles growing out of the sides. “Crap,” she muttered. “We’re in for it now.”
Buffy looked up at the large granite building that housed the British Museum. She hoped that this jaunt to England would give them a lead on Dawn and the other teenagers.
“You okay, luv?” Spike came up beside Buffy, and he put his arm around her shoulders.
“Just worried this won’t turn out to be as helpful as it should,” Buffy whispered. “I’m worried about Dawn, and the others, of course. If she gets hurt, someone’s gonna be in for a world of pain.”
“We’ll find her, Buffy,” Spike promised.
Rick and Evelyn O’Connell stepped up beside Spike and Buffy. Giles and Jonathan stood behind the other two couples. Logan stayed behind at the O’Connell’s London estate. He was going through the castle closets looking for clothing for the trip back to Egypt where they would meet up with Ardeth Bey.
“Let’s get this over with,” Rick muttered. “Nobody read any resurrection spells. I’m in no mood to deal with mummies this trip.”
“The guard on duty should be Ed Preston,” Evy said. “He’s an old friend of the family.”
“Good old Ed,” Jonathan commented. “Is he still working here?”
Evy nodded. “Three of his daughters are getting married this year.” She started towards the front doors of the museum.
“Which ones?” Jonathan asked. He hurried to catch up with his sister, tucking his hand inside her elbow.
“Leona, Verna, and Imogene,” Evy answered.
“So the lovely Victoria is still free and able to date?”
“She’s not for the likes of you, you young rascal.” A big bear of a man appeared in front of the O’Connells and Jonathan. “Good afternoon, Mrs. O’Connell. I didn’t know you were back in town.”
“It’s only for a day or two,” Evy replied. “We’re here to see one of the artifacts.” She let out a sad sigh. “Alex has been kidnapped again.”
“Again?” Ed shook his head. “That boy just can’t stay out of trouble. Second time this year, right?”
Rick growled under his breath. “Gonna chain that boy up in his room as soon as we find him.”
Ed looked past the O’Connells. “Who are your friends?”
“Ed, this is Rupert Giles, Buffy Summers, and ….” Evy glanced back at Spike wondering how to introduce him.
“William Jamison,” Spike said, changing his accent to match the one he used before his turning. “Can we get the show on the road?”
“Of course.” Ed stepped back, and he held the museum door open for Evy and Rick. “I would avoid the supernatural exhibit if I were you. Professors Wyndam-Pryce and Rill are very unhappy this afternoon. Apparently someone lost something called The Acathla Stone. It has gone missing.”
“Acathla, you say?” Giles glanced at Spike and Buffy who were trying their best to hide their reactions to the name of the stone Angelus tried to use to make Hell on Earth. “Certainly glad that’s not the artifact we’re here to see then.”
Spike nodded his head in agreement. “Quite right. That one needs to be smashed to smithereens b’fore it falls into the wrong hands.” He pressed a hand to the middle of Buffy’s back. “Shall we go inside, luv?”
Buffy nodded. “Yes, please.” She gave Ed a slight smile. “It’s a good thing we’re going to the Ancient Egyptian exhibit anyway.”
Evy and Jonathan said their farewells to Ed while the group went inside. The others nodded politely to the guard still holding the door for them.
Once inside, the group made their way to the spot where the artifact they needed to examine was on exhibit.
Giles studied the stone tablet, adjusting his glasses with one hand. “Oh dear,” he said. “I was afraid of this.”
“Afraid of what?” Buffy asked.
“We need magic to reveal the information we are searching for.”
“Of course we do,” Buffy muttered. “If it’s not one thing it’s another.”
Logan finished gathering the necessary things needed for the trip back to Egypt. His thoughts were centered on Rogue and his worry about her safety. Maybe he could figure out a way to contact the X-men back home to let them know where Rogue and he were located.
Logan let out a sigh. He just hoped Charles Xavier was old enough to understand the mental broadcast he was about to send out. Logan laid down on the hotel bed, emptied his mind, and he reached out to find the Professor.
Charles! Charles Xavier! Logan called out. Can you hear me?
I’m here, a child’s voice came back, faint and faraway like a bad telephone connection. Who are you?
My name is Logan, Wolverine said. I’m a mutant, just like you.
Okay. Charles accepted the man’s words as truth. He could feel that they weren’t a lie. I’m only nine. I don’t think I can help you.
Charles, I only need you to remember one thing. Can you do that?
I’m really smart, Logan. I’m sure I can. Charles grinned to himself.
I know. Now, in the year 2001 at Halloween, two people are going to disappear from your school. Myself and a young lady named Marie, Logan said. He flashed pictures of Rogue and himself across his mind. I’m fine, and I’m trying to find Marie right now. We’re with the Slayer.
Remember the year 2001 and Halloween, two people, Logan and Marie. Does that mean you traveled back in time, Logan? Charles voice was filled with curiosity. He knew he should be surprised by Logan and the information he had gleaned from the man’s mind, but he wasn’t.
Yes, we did. Can you remember that, Professor? Logan asked.
Of course. I need to get back to my school work now.
Thank you. Logan withdrew his mind from Charles’, and he rolled over to get some rest. He hoped that where ever Rogue was that she was fine.
Oct. 31st, 2001, CHARLES XAVIER SCHOOL FOR THE GIFTED
“Professor, Wolverine and Rogue have disappeared.” Storm burst into the Professor’s office.
“I know.” Charles turned his wheelchair around away from the window he was looking out. “They’re both in 1941.”
“Yes, they will be. I’m sure of it, but for now, we need to go to Sunnydale to meet up with the Slayer’s friends.”