the bunny warren v. Faith

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Urban Warfare

Author: Mikelesq
Concept: While Riley and Sam look for the Suvolte and The Doctor, Graham searches Sunnydale for the buyer. Set during Season 6 "As You Were" episode of BtVS.
Rating: PG-13.
Feedback: Please.
Legal disclaimers: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" characters and situations are owned by Joss Whedon and the producers of the show. The story is entirely fiction. Distribute if you like.

Prologue

"Is it moving?"

"Yes, ma'am," Graham replied, adjusting the tint on the monitor. He clicked a few buttons on his keyboard, and a map of Sunnydale was superimposed over the screen.

"Where is it?" Sam asked, leaning over Graham's shoulder.

"Moving fast down Main Street," Graham replied.

"That's my boy," Sam said. "Any chance of catching up to it?"

"If you move out now," Graham said. "It's headed toward the river, so you should be able to cut it off."

"If Riley's got a tag on the Suvolte, we can track it within a fifteen-mile radius," Major Ellis noted. "Sam, get out there and back him up."

"Cool," Sam said, pulling her kevlar sweater over her head. "You coming?"

"One of us has to go after the buyer," Graham answered.

"Agreed," Major Ellis confirmed. "Hit the streets. You used to live here. First set up a relay network to link all of us to the tracking system. Then check out your sources. I'll radio HQ and update them as to our status."

"Yes, sir," Graham replied.

Major Ellis walked out of the room and climbed the stairs to the secured radio room.

"Sounds like we have a plan," Sam said, grabbing a GPS. "What frequency are we using?"

"Fourteen, oh, nine," Graham said. "Keep in touch."

"Gotcha," Sam said. "Um...you think he found her?"

Graham shrugged.

"Not that I'm worried," Sam said, wrapping her dark hair with a band. "I mean, why would I worry? I don't have any reason to worry. Do I?"

Again, Graham shrugged.

"Graham, this is no time for your trademark economy of conversation."

"What do you want me to say?" Graham asked.

"Say I don't have any reason to worry."

"You don't," Graham said.

"Gee, that was reassuring," Sam said.

"Sam, he's crazy about you," Graham said. "Buffy worked him over. I broke them up. With you, I didn't stand a chance."

Sam's eyes widened. "You tried to...?"

"Oh, yeah," Graham said. "I didn't think it was a good idea for him to date another Wonder Woman with a funny name."

"And now?"

"Let's just say Riley refuses to tell me if you have a sister."

Sam laughed. She walked over, kissed Graham on the cheek and said:

"Her name's Nicole. She's twenty, she likes horses, and she'll be at our house for Thanksgiving. You're invited."

Sam turned and trotted out of the front door of the safe house. Graham got up, opened his duffle bag, pulled out his civilian clothes, and silently wondered why Riley always saw the good ones first.


Part I.


"Hey, Randall."

"Graham?" Randall asked, standing in the front doorway of his apartment.

"In the flesh," Graham replied. "Can I come in?"

"Uh, sure," Randall said, taking a step back and gesturing for Graham to enter. Randall grabbed a cane that rested against the arm of a chair and hobbled a few steps backward. "Want a drink?"

"Coffee, if you have it," Graham said. "I've been up for about two days."

"If you don't mind instant coffee, you're on," Randall said, limping toward the kitchen. He gestured toward a recliner in the living room. Graham took a seat.

"So, how've you been?" Graham called.

"Not bad," Randall shouted from the kitchen. "I didn't expect to see you again."

"I'm just in town tonight," Graham explained. "How's the leg?"

"I have good days and bad days," Randall said as the microwave timer beeped. "It's better than it would have been if we hadn't gotten out of the Initiative. That Eituron demon really tore me up bad."

"We were all lucky to get out," Graham stated. "So, you decided to stay in Sunnydale?"

"Where else could I go?" Randall observed, walking into the room with a coffee mug. He handed the mug to Graham, and sat on the couch "The army doesn't have any use for a demon hunter with a bum leg. I got a job with a local hospital. I work in the blood lab. It's not as exciting as analyzing demon secretions, but it pays the bills."

"Well, at least it worked out," Graham said, placing the mug on the coffee table. "Look, I need a favor."

"Shoot."

"There's a guy in town," Graham said. "Calls himself The Doctor. He's trying to get his hands on some Suvolte eggs."

"Suvolte? Aren't they some kind of flesh eaters?"

"Exactly," Graham confirmed. "And they breed like rabbits. Heard anything?"

"Hell, I'm not exactly plugged into the demon doings anymore," Randall replied. "Every so often a blood sample comes through the lab that looks a little funny. If I see any vamp cells, I sneak down to the morgue to stake the corpse before it rises, but past that...."

"Any unusual characters in town?"

"Not that I've heard," Randall said.

"Well, it never hurts to ask," Graham said. "So, how's the job? You know, if you want a little more excitement, I could probably get you a job with the SubT unit at the CDC."

"I might just take you up on that," Randall said. "The job at the hospital is pretty lame. Standard stuff, lousy pay."

"Can't be that lousy," Graham replied. "You deposited twenty thousand dollars into a bank account last Tuesday."

Randall's jaw dropped. "You've been checking up on me?"

"We never stopped," Graham said. "The way I see it, whoever's picking up those eggs needs someone to help store them before he moves them. Someone, maybe, who used to guard a containment area for the government?"

"You're just fishing," Randall said.

"Cops fish," Graham replied. "I don't need to worry about due process. Of course, I'll bet that if I get this coffee analyzed, it would give me all the proof I need. What's in here? Knock out drops? Or something more lethal?"

"Nothing lethal," Randall said, pulling a small pistol out from his jacket pocket. "I didn't want to kill you. But I will."

Graham didn't flinch. "So, how are we gonna play this?"

"I'm walking out of here, and you're going to drink your coffee," Randall said. "I was planning on leaving Sunnydale after the deal went down. Now I guess I'll have to."

"I'd be careful about choosing the next town," Graham said. "If you pick one that those terrorists plant the Suvolte in, you'll be an appetizer. Along with thousands of innocent people."

"Oh, don't hand me that holier than thou crap! I did my time as a Boy Scout! And what do I have to show for it? A knee that's hooked together like an erector set! And what did I get from Uncle Sam? Two months discharge pay and a pat on the back!"

"You knew the risks."

"Yeah, well, now I really know them," Randall said, pushing himself up with his cane and inching toward the door. "And once we've picked up the eggs from The Doctor, I'll be on tonight's red eye to Rio, and I'll never have to deal with any creepy crawlies again."

"Tonight," Graham repeated. "The only way that happens is if the Suvolte's already laid its eggs. Thanks for the info."

Randall looked away for a moment as he realized that he'd given away too much. That moment was all Graham needed to snatch the coffee mug and throw its contents into Randall's face. Randall instinctively threw his hands in the air, dropping the gun. Graham sprang across the room, knocked Randall to the ground, and drew his pistol from its ankle holster.

"Not bright, Randall," Graham stated, as Randall looked directly into the barrel of Graham's gun. Graham reached into his back pocket, grabbed his radio, and said:

"This is Agent Miller."

"Go on, Miller," Major Ellis' voice said through the radio.

"I've got Randall," Graham said. "We'll need someone to come pick him up. He was in on it."

"He say anything?"

"The Doctor's got the eggs," Graham said. "We'll need to move fast."

"Faster than you think," Ellis replied. "Riley and Sam radioed in. That girl Riley was looking for. She killed the Suvolte."

"It was supposed to be a tag and track," Graham said.

"Apparently she didn't know that. Riley forgot to tell her."

"Great," Graham said.

"Riley's in your quadrant," Ellis said. "I'll have him meet with you. Anything you get from Randall could lead you to either the buyer or The Doctor."

"Affirmative. Miller out."

Graham pulled back the hammer of the pistol. "It'll go easier on you if you talk."

"Bite me," Randall replied.

Graham shrugged, then walked over and kicked Randall across the jaw, knocking him out. He holstered his pistol and began rifling through Randall's pockets.


Part II.


Graham was studying the materials he'd laid out on Randall's coffee table when he heard a knock on the front door. First one sharp knock, then three light knocks, then two sharp. That was the signal. Graham went to the door. When he opened it, Riley was standing before him.

"Took you long enough," Graham said, gesturing for Riley to enter.

"Got tied up," Riley replied, entering the apartment. He glanced over at Randall's unconscious body on the floor. "You really must've clobbered him."

"I stuck a knockout tab under his tongue," Graham explained. "Where you been? It's been an hour since you killed the Suvolte."

"We regrouped at Buffy's," Riley explained.

"Why not the safe house?"

"We need Buffy to hit the local demon haunts," Riley said. "I didn't want to give the location to a civilian."

"How is she?"

"Alright, I suppose," Riley said. "I mean, she seems a little...I dunno. She was working at some burger joint when I found her. It's like she's not in the game. I barely recognized her. I mean, I read in Buffy's dossier that her mom died, but I completely forgot to tell her I was sorry when I saw her. It's like she's a completely different person. I knew things would be awkward, but I get the feeling she's been going through something weird. Something must have really shaken her up, and I don't mean her mom. Giles would never have left if...."

"Riley," Graham interrupted.

"Yeah?"

"I was asking if she got hurt by the Suvolte."

"Oh...um...no."

"In town two hours," Graham sighed, "and already...."

"It's cool," Riley said. "I wasn't sure it would be, but it is. Sure, she still gets to me, but not that way. I'm just concerned the way I'd be over any old friend in trouble."

"Yeah, right," Graham said. "I noticed how upset you were about Randall."

"Can we just get to business?"

"Sure," Graham said. "I think I found something."

Graham picked up a sheet of paper off the coffee table and handed it to Riley.

"Hmm," Riley said, his eyes darting over the paper. "These blueprints, I know this place. Looks like they're doing the exchange at the coffee shop over by the Magic Box. I wonder why."

"They sell ice cream," Graham noted. "They'll probably need cold storage."

"To keep the eggs from hatching," Riley said. "That makes sense. At least they know how to keep the litter dormant."

"They buyer does," Graham said. "This Doctor may not. We still need to find him."

"So what do we do? I thrashed Willy, but he doesn't know anything. If we...hey, what's this?"

Graham looked at the scribbling Riley pointed out. Notes in the margins of the blueprints read:

-$10,000
-Set up storage.
-Get three guards, $1000 each.
-MUST be human. The Doctor can't hurt people.
-Charter flight, Ecuador.

"The Doctor can't hurt people," Riley read aloud.

"Yeah, weird," Graham said. "Humanitarian smuggler. Must've been absent on Career Day."

"It says can't," Riley said. "If you take that literally, it would...Graham, did you just make a joke?"

"Maybe."

Riley reached into one of the cargo pockets of his pants. He pulled out a packet of smelling salts.

"What are you doing?" Graham asked.

"Waking up Randall," Riley said. "If The Doctor is who I think he is, I need some answers."

"Who is it?"

"Remember Hostile 17?"

"The vamp? Well, it would fit, if that chip still works."

"It doesn't fit," Riley said. "Spike's done some messed up things for power and women, but to go through all this for money isn't his style. We don't have time to chase after him if I'm wrong, so we'll need to confirm it."

"Wait," Graham said. He walked over to the clock on the wall and rotated the hands until the time read 5:00 a.m. He glanced at Riley, who nodded, then knelt down beside Randall and broke a smelling salt under his nose.

"Ugh," Randall said, shaking his head in disgust. "What the...?"

"Hey, Randall," Riley said. "Long time, no see. I hear you've been up to no good."

"Go to Hell, Finn," Randall said, leaning up on his elbows. "What are you doing here?"

"I'm here to take you into custody," Riley said. "You're lucky. We were able to nab the whole gang before the deal went down. Good thing. If those eggs had left Sunnydale, the brass would want a scapegoat. As it is, you may only get twenty years."

"Lucky me," Randall sighed.

"I don't get it, Randall," Riley said. "What were you thinking? Did you really think that a vamp would play straight with you?"

At the word 'vamp,' Randall swallowed hard. There was no way they could know about the vampire, unless they'd actually caught him in the act.

"He's harmless," Randall finally responded. "I'm surprised you didn't recognize him."

Riley and Graham quickly met eyes. Riley continued:

"I thought he looked familiar. So that's why you used him? You both knew you could stake him if he double crossed you."

"Yeah," Randall said. "Professor Walsh made sure of that. The code name was my idea. Surgery that keeps him from hurting people. 'The Doctor' seemed appropriate."

"Stupid," Riley said. "He may be a vamp, but he's not the sharpest stake in the woodshed. A plan like this is way beyond him. I'm surprised he'd even try. What good is money to him anyway?"

"He said something about a human girl," Randall said. "She's hard up for cash since her mom died. He wanted to help her out."

Graham saw Riley's jaw tense.

"So this vamp thought he'd get into this girl's pants by giving her money?" Riley asked.

"He's already in there," Randall said. "He said he's been nailing her for a couple of months. He said he hoped she'd quit her job at some fast food place if she got the money, so he wouldn't have to smell the grease on her when they...ugh!"

Randall's body contracted into a ball as Riley's punched him in the stomach. Riley stood and began kicking Randall in the ribs.

"Finn, that's enough!" Graham exclaimed, grabbing Riley by the arms from behind. Riley gave Randall a last kick across the face, knocking Randall into unconsciousness.

"You take the coffee shop," Riley said, shaking off Graham's grasp. "I'll take care of the eggs. Spike's just stupid enough to keep them in his crypt."

"Riley," Graham said. "I'll take the vamp. You're not exactly objective."

"I'm fine," Riley said. "It's not like you think."

"It sure looked like it."

"I'm fine," Riley repeated. "I'll radio Sam and have her meet you at the coffee shop. You'll need backup."

"And you won't? Sam's already at the cemetery."

"I can take care of a neutered vampire on my own."

"Are you sure it's not because you don't want Sam around when you see this vampire?"

"I said I can handle it," Riley said, storming out of the apartment.


Part III.


"See anything?"

"Nothing," Graham muttered. Sam snapped her fingers, and Graham passed her the binoculars.

"Riley sounded upset," Sam observed, peering at the courtyard outside the coffee shop.

Graham shrugged.

"Don't start on that again," Sam said.

"We're on a stakeout," Graham said. "We're supposed to be silent. Your hubby's had problems with that concept, too."

"It has something to do with Buffy, doesn't it?"

"We've been through this," Graham said. "He loves you."

"I know," Sam said. "It's just...you know, I did everything I could to put up a good front. I was nice to all her friends. I tried to warm up to her sister. I even tried to connect with her while we were searching for The Doctor. It's just...grrrr! Why do I feel this way?"

"Sam," Graham said. "You graduated med school at age twenty. You went through two years of commando training in ten months. Has anyone ever told you that you don't have to be perfect all the time? So there's one problem you can't fix by doing everything just right? So what? Cut yourself some slack. You deserve it."

"Thanks," Sam said. "I needed that. It's just frustrating. I mean, seeing her. With him. I love Riley, and I trust him. But, seeing them together...knowing they're together when I don't see them...it's so...I dunno. It's stupid. Jealously is stupid. You ever been jealous like that, Miller?"

Graham's eyes didn't leave the entrance to the coffee shop. He shrugged. Sam saw a subtle twitch of his cheek, and he seemed to swallow almost....

Sam looked at Graham, suddenly reevaluating the time they'd spent together. They'd always flirted. Innocently, Sam had thought. All part of being one of the guys. Was it possible that Graham...?

"Um, look," Sam said. "If there's something...."

"Heads up," Graham whispered. "Company."

Sam looked toward the coffee shop. Four men walked past the outdoor tables and through the entrance.

"They're human," Graham said. "Watch the force level."

Sam and Graham crept toward the door. Graham looked in through the small window of the door and saw the four thugs talking with a fifth man. Graham whispered:

"I know him."

"Who?" Sam asked.

"The boss," Graham said. "Some English guy. We kept him in one of the containment units at the Initiative for a couple of weeks until the Feds picked him up. He's some kind of warlock wannabe. Ethan...something."

"Any weapons?" Sam asked.

"Stakes," Graham said. "That fits."

"Why?"

"The Doctor's a vamp."

"A vampire?" Sam asked. "Why would Riley be upset that The Doctor is...Buffy's boyfriend, before Riley, he was a vampire, wasn't he?"

"It's not what you're thinking," Graham said. But you're close, he thought without saying.

"How am I supposed to know what to think? No one's telling me...."

"Guns up, soldier," Graham said. "We're live."

Sam gritted her teeth, and nodded.

Graham took a step back and kicked in the door. He dropped to his knees and rolled into the room. The guards sprang on him. Graham kicked one in the stomach, and backhanded the other one in the same motion. As the other two approached, Sam tripped them with a roundhouse kick. Graham kicked one across the face, as Sam dropped to the ground, elbowing the final minion in the jaw. Graham and Riley left the four unconscious minions on the ground, and looked across the room toward Ethan.

"Still up to your old tricks?" Graham asked.

"New tricks," Ethan Rayne replied. "And much more profitable."

"How'd you get out of custody?"

"A little sleight of hand," Ethan said. "Something like this."

Ethan slapped his hands together and muttered under his breath. A flash of bright light filled the room, blinding Graham and Sam for a moment. When their vision returned, they found themselves standing before a group of six men, all of whom appeared to be Ethan Rayne.

"Only one's real," Ethan said.

"The rest are copies," one of the doubles continued.

"You can't stop all of us," a third completed.

Sam looked at Graham. Graham nodded. Sam pulled a round object from one of her cargo pockets. She pulled a pin from the grenade and threw it toward the group of Ethans. With synchronized timing that came from months of fighting together in the jungle, Sam and Graham simultaneously jumped backwards. Graham grabbed the edge of a table and pulled it over him and Sam for cover. They braced as the explosion drove the table down upon them.

Graham pushed the table away, and he and Sam stood and surveyed the damage. All six Ethans lay still on the floor. Then five melted into pools of flourescent pink goo. The sixth groaned and muttered:

"Alright, maybe you can."

Graham rolled his eyes. Sam pulled a pistol out of her belt and covered Ethan. Graham grabbed his radio and said:

"This is Agent Miller, do you copy?"

"Copy, Miller," Major Ellis replied.

"Buyer's in custody. Awaiting orders."

"Good work, Miller," Ellis said. "Riley radioed in about an hour ago. They got the eggs. We're sending a chopper to pick him up in front of some magic store."

"That's about three blocks from here," Graham said. "We'll rendevous with him in fifteen minutes. Better send a team to pick up the prisoners."

"Roger that," Ellis confirmed. "It may take awhile to extract you. We can only take two at a time on the wench line."

"Wench line?" Graham repeated. "Why doesn't the chopper just land?"

"Finn's idea," Ellis explained. "He said something about minimizing civilian contact. Sounded strange to me, too. If I didn't know better, I'd think he was trying to impress somebody."

Graham could see Sam's face fall.

"Never mind," Graham said. "I'll hoof it back to the safe house. Miller out."

Graham put his radio away and walked over to Sam.

"Ellis is right, isn't he?" Sam asked. "Riley's trying to look like a big man in front of...." "Yeah," Graham interrupted. "He was always trying to impress Buffy's friends. Finn spent a lot of time with that whole gang. He's probably trying to show off in front of them by floating away with a gorgeous commando on his arm."

Sam smiled.

"Graham, look," she said. "I think we should talk...."

"You'd better get going," Graham again interrupted. "You wouldn't want to disappoint John Boy, would you?"

"I guess."

"Put on your game face," Graham said. "It's only up the street."

"Right," Sam said. She walked toward the door, paused for a moment, and walked out.


Epilogue


"You let him go?!?"

"I got the eggs, Graham," Riley explained, packing up one of the radios in the safe house. "The Doctor was never an objective."

"Killing demons is always the objective," Graham said through clenched teeth.

"Keep it down," Riley said. "Ellis and Sam are upstairs. If you're going to critique my decisions, don't broadcast it to the whole team."

"I don't believe this," Graham said. "Every human involved in this mess is going to Federal lock down for at least ten years. That includes Randall. And you let a vampire off with a harsh glare?"

"He's harmless."

"He was smuggling breeder demons!"

"Ellis doesn't care," Riley said. "I'm not sure why you care so much."

"I listened to that line you fed him," Graham said. "About respecting the Slayer's territory after the Initiative fiasco."

"And it was true," Riley said. "The brass has made it real clear. Sunnydale's off limits, barring special circumstances."

"That's bull," Graham spat. "I know what you did, and I know why."

Riley glared at Graham. "And you shared that with...?"

"No one," Graham interrupted. "Not Ellis. Not...anyone."

"Good," Riley said. "Look, Graham, let's just drop it. We're headed for Nepal. After we leave Sunnydale, none of this matters, right?"

Graham didn't respond.

"Is Sam alright?" Riley asked.

"I guess," Graham said. "I'm sure it wasn't easy for her, but I think she handled it well. She suspects there was a reason you called her off The Doctor. You may have some explaining to do. She's feeling a little vulnerable, but you know Sam. She'll be fine once...."

"Graham," Riley interrupted.

"What?"

"I was asking if she got hurt by the explosion," Riley said.

"Oh, um...no. She's fine."

"Good," Riley said. "What the Hell were you...?"

"Get that radio stowed," Graham said. "We'll need it in Nepal."

Graham turned his back to Riley and started gathering up the tactical maps. Riley shot a curious glance at Graham, and then continued packing up the radio.

THE END


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