Author: AG (That would be moi!)
Summary: A Queen returns home to save... a Queen?
Disclaimer: Smallville and all related characters are copyright Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, DC & The CW Network. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters are copyright Joss Whedon and ME. No infringement intended. I own nothing!
Notes: A HUGE thank you to Akat and Kerry! Also a thank you to all of you who reviewed! I'm sorry it has taken so long to update but RL has been kicking my ass. I hope you enjoy this! For those of you who are reading, If We Ever Meet Again, I am in the process of finishing the next chapter!
Bart stepped forward. “I can take you,” he offered.
Buffy smiled and replied, “You misunderstand, I don’t need a lift; I need a ride.”
Chloe tossed a set of car keys towards her and nodded at Buffy. Secretly she knew that she wasn’t likely to get the car back.
“When I leave and Ollie is safe, call this number.” Buffy retrieved a folded piece of paper from her jacket pocket and handed it to Bart. “Tell them what happened. They’ll know what to do next. Don’t worry, I promise I’ll get him back.”
She nodded her goodbye to Bart and Chloe and walked out Watchtower. She headed towards the parked cars, pressing the button on the key fob a set of headlights blinked in the darkness, giving away the position of the car. She climbed in to the driver’s seat and took a deep breath. She turned the key in the ignition and the engine roared in to life. Pulling out and accelerating out of the car park, she disappeared in to the night.
As she approached the drop off point, Buffy couldn't see any lights or life of any kind. She wasn't familiar with the area but the GPS on the dashboard was keeping her right, occasionally offering directions in a bland, asexual voice.
She pulled the car into an empty car park and made her way to the far eastern corner, coming to a stop under a streetlight that was casting a hazy orange circle of light around her. As she stepped out of the car she surveyed the area but still couldn't see any movement. She reached back in to the car and pulled out a piece of paper that they had written the directions on... 'This is definitely the place, so where are they?'
She was suddenly very aware that she wasn’t alone and turned quickly towards the darkness beyond her circle of light. The first voice she heard was a man’s: he sounded like he was on forty plus cigarettes a day and was particularly hoarse, croaking his commands as if they brought him pain: “Walk forward. If you make a sound then I’ll shoot… and you really don’t want me to do that.”
Buffy squinted in to the darkness but could not make out his face.
“No games sweetheart! Close your eyes and put your hands out in front of you!” he demanded. “Oh yeah, just in case you want to play the hero, I’m not alone. If anything happens to me or my men then your pretty little billionaire will be delivered to his friends in a shoebox!”
Buffy scowled but did as instructed and closed her eyes. She held her arms out in front of her and waited. The man moved forwards and placed a bag over her head before using a length of rope to tie her wrists together. It crossed her mind to just break the ropes and beat her kidnappers to a gooey pulp… at the very least until they told her where Oliver was. The only thing stopping her, the only reason she was going through with this charade at all in fact, was to get Oliver back safely. The croaky little man had made it quite clear that would not happen if she didn’t play by their rules.
Once they had her bound, they lead her to their own car and pushed her in to the back seat, holding her head down to avoid her smacking it on the roof of the car as she entered. She landed sideways on the seat and could feel them pushing her legs up towards her so that they could close the car door. Buffy took in every smell and sound that she could, filing them away for later when she would need them. The rest of this leg in her journey was been uneventful and they made their way towards the destination in silence. After what must have been at least 30 minutes, she felt the car slowing down and pulling in. The driver stepped out and moments later the door next to her popped open.
“Get out!” he prompted, leaning in and pulling her to her feet by her left arm. “Remember, no heroics! Now, walk.”
Buffy nodded to indicate that she understood. As her kidnapper let go of her arm, she quickly regained her balance and walked forward. She kept her pace slow, careful not to fall over as she could feel the ground was uneven beneath her feet.
Buffy sensed movement in front of her and slowed down instinctively, thinking she was going to walk into someone or something. She could hear footsteps making their way towards her, three sets at least. She was suddenly very aware that they were upon her, but they passed by without making contact. The air whipped up around her as they did, and the unmistakable smell of blood wafted past on the night’s air, tinged with the equally pungent stench of sweat. Buffy tried to turn towards the sound of the footsteps as she realised that it must have been Ollie. The two men at her sides struggled to turn her back around.
Her instincts screamed at her to break free, to tear her captors apart and leave with their hostage. She battled against the urge to give in to the temptation. The simple fact was that she didn’t know if they were armed or if Ollie was drugged or even conscious. She wasn’t even sure that they didn’t have a contingency plan for that exact occurrence. All she knew was that it was too dangerous and that the risk was too high.
She felt herself getting pushed forwards and a new captor took a firm grip of her arm, just below the elbow.
She felt his breath on her ear and heard him take a deep breath as he sniffed her hair, “Let’s hope you’re everything he said you are!”
Buffy remained resolute but felt a pin prick in to the back of her neck, as the world began to swirl around her one thought resonated through her mind in response.
You have no idea!
She passed out.
Oliver Queen nervously drummed his fingers on his desk; his mind kept flicking back over the recent events. They were still no closer to finding out who had taken him, but now at least he knew why.
Chloe and Bart had explained to him about everything that had happened while he had been held hostage. They had explained how they had received a ransom call from his captors with demands for all the Justice’s Intel, including upcoming plans. The mysterious kidnappers had also made it quite clear that they knew more than they should have about the Justice League and that failure to meet their demands would not only mean death for Oliver but also exposure of the League to the rest of the world. Chloe had agreed, while Bart had been the one to drop off the package.
Oliver had been unceremoniously dumped on the steps of Watchtower later that same day; it was then that he had found out what had transpired in his absence. Chloe had complied with the kidnappers demands and had given them everything that they had wanted… and more. She had secretly installed a virus on to two of the hard drives they had taken that would destroy everything in its wake if the information on the drives was accessed. Although he had wanted to find out who had taken him, he liked knowing that his captors had failed to get away with what they wanted. Now he just needed to make sure it didn’t happen again… for all their sakes.
Oliver had tried to remember the details of where he had been held; unfortunately, as he had been drugged and tied up with a bag placed on his head, there wasn’t a lot to go on. He did know that his hosts had not been all that hospitable; leaving him with a number of bruised and swollen souvenirs as well as a deep gash down his left shoulder. He also remembered that he had been forced to swap vehicles half way through his trip home; the effects of the drug they had given him had been wearing off by then. At one point between the two vehicles, he could remember being pushed harshly and clumsily to the left; he could have sworn that he had brushed past someone being pulled in the opposite direction… but that was ridiculous. Nothing else really came to mind except…
There was the scent of vanilla; he remembered that detail with perfect clarity. He hadn’t smelled it when he had first been pulled out of the car, but he had caught it while he had been walking between the vehicles. He had to admit that it seemed insignificant in the bigger picture, but it still was bothering him, even now.
It didn’t help that Chloe and Bart were now acting really strange. He thought that it had been due to him being kidnapped, but as the days went by, they were becoming more and more hushed around him… especially when he entered a room; when Chloe’s cell rang he could clearly see the panic in their expressions.
Everyone else was oblivious to it, but he knew something wasn’t right, and whatever it was would soon come to light – he just had to be patient.
A tall man stood motionless, watching Buffy through the one way glass, her body was sprawled across the cot; a smile danced on his lips for the briefest moment. The only evidence of their previous experiment was the dried blood caked to her face and arms; the wounds had healed completely whilst she slept.
She had put up more of a fight this time around, taking out five of his men before they were able to knock her out. He was glad he had used human guards rather than demons, as he knew they would have been cleaning up more than just blood from the corridors if he had. If one thing he had learned from his previous dealings with a slayer, they didn’t kill humans. Demons, on the other hand, were fair game.
He hadn’t quite been able to believe his ears when the Buffy Summers had practically offered herself to him on a plate… who was he to deny her that? Now, after seeing her in action again, he couldn’t deny that she was truly magnificent, a perfect specimen for what he had planned; even more perfect than their original choice.
Finding out she was married to Oliver Queen had been of no use to him; his partner, however, had been more than happy with that snippet of information.
With his eyes and thoughts concentrating on Buffy, he didn’t realise his partner was standing beside him until he spoke.
“How is our subject?”
He was startled briefly but composed himself quickly. “Excellent!” he answered. “Her surface wounds have completely healed. We won’t know more until she wakes up. We have increased her dosage again as her body seems to be burning through it. I figured this would happen, but the more we give her, the longer it is taking for her body to reject it.”
“Triple the dosage. I want to see what she can do.”
“As you wish,” he nodded.
He pressed the button to turn on the speaker system.
“Wakey, wakey, it’s time to get up.”
Buffy slowly opened her eyes but reeled as the harsh light blinded her.
Throwing her arm up to shield her eyes, she turned her body to face the wall, the cot creaking as she shifted her weight. As her eyes began to adjust, she could make out that she was back in her cell; her home for the last day or so. The cell was barely six foot across and was comprised of four walls, one of which housed a metal door and another which was covered by a huge mirror from floor to ceiling. She knew that whoever had taken her stood behind it, watching her… assessing everything she did.
The voice she could hear filtered into the room through various mesh speakers built into the walls.
“Now, now, we don’t want to begin today as we did yesterday… do we?”
Buffy squeezed her eyes shut, trying to block the images and feelings that were now forcing their way through; the screams… the torture… the beatings.
“Mrs. Queen,” the voice warned.
“I’m up,” Buffy growled through gritted teeth. “Give a girl a minute… and it’s Buffy by the way.”
She turned back around and slowly eased herself up from the cot, hissing in pain as she stood up straight. She curled her hand into a fist and forced it to stay by her side; she didn’t want her captors to see she was in pain.
“You truly are remarkable… not a single mark on your skin after what you went through yesterday,” the electronic voice buzzed through the speakers.
Buffy couldn’t tell whether they were male or female or even if it was just one person; all she heard was that same monotone digital voice.
“And I bet that your ribs are just bruised now?” The voice continued. “Yet when we dumped you back in there yesterday, they were most definitely broken… yes, quite remarkable!”
“Well, look who’s gonna get a gold star in science class,” Buffy quipped. She hid her fear, knowing they would use it against her; she just didn’t want to go back to the white room again. The last time she ended up in there she had been sick for hours. She knew the changes she was feeling within herself, her strength increase and rapid healing were all due to her time spent in that room; they were experimenting on her, testing her limits to see how much damage she could endure and how quickly she healed. And they hadn’t yet shown any indication of restraint… she had no idea how far they may be willing to go with their tests, and that worried her.
“It’s nice to see you haven’t lost your sense of humour. Are you ready for what we have in store for you today?” the voice asked.
“I’m so excited, I could die,” Buffy drawled.
“Let’s hope not, we still have so many fun things planned for you.”
“Oh goodie,” she sighed.
“I don’t think I can do this, ‘Licious,” Bart whispered to Chloe, his eyes darting around Watchtower. “Every time he asks about what happened, I’m finding it harder to lie. He deserves to know what really happened.”
Chloe stopped typing and sighed; she couldn’t help but agree with him.
She had breathed a sigh of relief when Oliver had turned up at Watchtower an hour after Buffy’s departure, but it was short lived as the gravity of what had happened played on her mind; she knew it had been playing on Bart’s, too. They hadn’t wanted to openly lie to Oliver about how they got him back, but they knew they couldn’t tell him the truth; they had told Buffy they wouldn’t, but now she’d been missing for three days and they were no closer than when Oliver had been taken.
To make matters worse, she had been snapping at everyone and she knew they were wondering what was going on. Bart, however, wasn’t any better. He had taken to staying away for longer periods and doing extra solo missions so he that he didn’t have to spend a lot of time around any of them, especially Oliver; she didn’t think he was going to last much longer. She knew Bart hated keeping something like this a secret but she was keeping her hopes up that
Willow and the rest of the slayers would find out something, and soon.
“I know, but if we tell him now, he’s going to want answers and at this moment in time, I don’t have any.”
“Nothing? It’s been three days!!”
“I know, Bart!” Chloe snapped at him. Bart jumped back in shock at Chloe’s outburst. She immediately looked apologetic. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to shout. It’s just… “Taking a deep breath, she continued. “I haven’t heard from Willow since I called her, and I’m thinking something bad has happened.”
Bart looked down, nodding his head. “I think so, too… but that’s exactly why we need to tell him.”
“I will, just give me some more time,” she sighed.
“I think he knows something,” Bart warned.
“No, he knows something isn’t right, but he doesn’t know what… and we are going to keep it that way.”
“Yeah, but what if the other…” Bart stopped talking as he saw Oliver walk past them. “…slayers can’t find her either? What do we do then?” he finished, after they had made sure Oliver was well out of earshot.
“I’m hoping that it won’t come to that.”
“But if it does?” Bart asked.
“We can’t let it!” she said sternly.
“Hey, I’m ordering pizza. I know I don’t need to ask if you’ll be having any, Bart… Chloe, you want any?” Oliver asked, coming around the corner into the comm room.
Bart and Chloe jumped at the sound of Oliver’s voice. Chloe would have let out a squeak of surprise if her heart wasn’t in her throat. What did he hear?
Bart shook his head. “You know, I’m not actually that hungry.”
Oliver looked at Bart in shock; Bart was always hungry. “Are you feeling alright?”
“Isn’t he funny?” Chloe laughed. She turned her back to Oliver and glared at Bart. “Bart, you are always up for pizza, aren’t you?”
Bart widened his eyes in realisation. “Oh yeah,” he coughed. “Yeah, I was only kidding, Ollie. I can’t believe you fell for that.”
Oliver raised his eyebrow at Chloe and Bart in suspicion. “Ok, that’s it!” He crossed his arms. “What’s going on?”
“Why would you ask that?” Chloe asked, her voice rising.
“You two have been acting weird since I got back, so don’t try to tell me that it’s nothing,” Oliver glared at both of them.
Chloe could see small beads of sweat forming on Bart’s forehead. It was only a matter of time now before he talked, especially now that they knew Oliver had cottoned on that something was wrong.
“Ollie…” she began but was cut off by her cell’s ringtone. “I need to get that.” She picked it up and looked at the caller ID. It was Willow. She looked up at Bart, alarm in her eyes.
“Hey, how about that pizza? I’m wasting away here,” Bart jumped in, leading Oliver away from the comm room to allow Chloe to answer her cell. He knew from the look she had given him that it was news; good or bad, he didn’t know.
Oliver knew that something was going on, but the look on Chloe’s face when cell rang made it abundantly clear that whatever it was wasn’t good and that right now they didn’t want him involved.. Rather than making his move before he knew where all the pieces were, he allowed Bart to lead him away.
When Bart had Oliver as far away as he could get him, Chloe answered her cell. “Hello?”
“Chloe?” Willow asked.
“Yes, it’s me. Is there any news?”
“Nothing! And I’ve tried everything to find something, but I’m coming up blank. No matter where I look, she just isn’t there. It’s as if she just vanished.”
“Do you think she could be…?” Chloe couldn’t bear to finish her sentence. She had been forcing herself to not think the worst, but it was getting harder as the days went by and almost impossible with Willow’s news.
“By what you told me, whoever has Buffy didn’t sound as though they wanted her dead. No, I think whoever has her wants her for something, and they are keeping her hidden with very strong magic, strong enough to hide her from me.”
“What happens now?”
“We’ll keep trying, Chloe. We aren’t giving up.”
“I know, but is there anything Bart or I can do? We’d really like to help,” Chloe pleaded.
“You’ve already done what Buffy asked by calling us. We want to involve as few people as possible so that the rest of the slayers and the Council don’t get wind of Buffy’s disappearance.”
“You haven’t told them?”
“Are you kidding me? You don’t want them to know just yet, believe me. Faith and I are the only ones who know, and we are planning to keep it that way.”
“What do we do?”
“You keep quiet, and I’ll let you know if we find anything.” Willow paused a moment. “You haven’t told him, have you?”
“No,” Chloe said, vehemently shaking her head. She stopped, however, realising Willow couldn’t see her. Then she frowned. “Not yet anyway. If it was only me who knew, then I could handle it, but I’m worried about Bart. If we don’t find out something soon, I think he may have a nervous breakdown.”
“I’m sorry, Chloe. I wish Buffy could have come back for better reasons.”
Chloe bit her lip. “Me, too.”
She could still remember the day everything had fallen apart; it wasn’t everyday somebody close to you admitted that not only were there vampires, demons and all sorts of supernatural beings out there, but that she had been fighting them for most of her life.
It had been hard to believe at first, but after Buffy left and Oliver had shut himself away from the world, Chloe had decided to find out as much as she could. It had taken longer than she expected, but after much perseverance she had hacked into the Council’s files; she had downloaded the whole database and spent the next couple of days reading about the life of Buffy Summers and her friends.
“She was happier in Metropolis,” Willow admitted. “After all those years travelling, she had finally found a new place to call home.”
“If she was happy, then why did she leave? Why didn’t she stay and try to work things out?” Chloe asked.
Chloe heard Willow sigh. “You make it seem as though it was easy for her to leave all of you, to leave Oliver,” the witch replied, the reprimand in her voice barely perceptible. “It nearly killed her… I, for one, know she has regretted her decision every single day, but you have to realise, Chloe, there were two people in that marriage. Buffy may have left, but Oliver let her go.”
Chloe gasped as realisation took hold. It hadn’t just been Oliver; not one of them had asked Buffy to stay – they had all let her leave. Chloe had never felt so guilty.
“Look, regardless of what happened in the past, we need to keep our heads on the situation at hand,” Willow said, regaining control of the conversation.
Chloe wiped her eyes to stop the tears that were forming from falling. “We need to find her.”
A noise behind her caused her to turn back towards the door—only to see Oliver standing there, watching her intently.
“I have to go,” she said hurriedly into her cell.
“Don’t worry, Chloe. We’ll find her,” Willow promised, and the line went silent.