Xander looked up as Giles came into the Watchers Council’s London safe house, and said "Any word on Kennedy?"
"She's fine," said Giles. "Making a full recovery."
"Great. Want a drink?"
"God, yes, it’s been a long day."
Xander poured a Scotch on the rocks, took a Coke for himself, and said "Do we know how they got her yet?"
"Some sort of knockout gas. They pumped it into her hotel room, took her out in a laundry hamper, had her ten thousand miles away before we even knew she was missing, then kept her drugged so that Willow couldn't find her mind."
"I was half-expecting to have to deal with Darth Willow."
"Not this time, thank god."
The doorbell rang, and Xander let in Buffy and a tall man in his sixties, wearing a black blazer with white piping, who was saying "...can't believe how much things have changed." He had a British accent.
"I guess," said Buffy. "Giles is really your guy for that kinda thing, he knows all about England. I'll leave you with him, I've gotta get back to the hospital."
"Coke before you go?" asked Xander.
"Not this time. Willow needs to draw on some extra Slayer healing for Kennedy, and we want to spread the load round as much as possible." She went out, leaving the stranger looking a little lost.
"Being British does tend to help with knowing about Britain," said Giles. "What can I get you?"
"Whiskey and soda, please."
"Scotch or Irish?" asked Xander.
The stranger looked at him for a moment, and said "I'd almost forgotten there were brands. Johnny Walker, if you have it."
"Sure." Xander poured the drink, turned to Giles, and said "So how did you find her?"
"Willow just kept skipping minds, looking for someone who'd seen her. Fortunately our friend here is a good observer."
"Fortunately for me," said the stranger. "I thought it was just another trick when I heard her inside my head."
"Another trick?" asked Xander.
"They've been trying to break me for forty years," said the stranger, "everything from drugs and brainwashing to torture and fake escape plots. Usually a new arrival signaled a new ploy, something like voices in my head generally came from the interrogators. When people began to appear out of nowhere I was sure it was some sort of hypnosis."
"Not this time," said Giles. "When did you start to believe it was real?"
"When I saw Miss Summers cut one of the Rovers in two with her axe; somehow I doubt my captors would have thought of that."
"It's actually called a scythe," said Giles, "though technically I think it's more like a short halberd."
“I wish I could have been there,” said Xander, “But I guess someone had to man the phones. Trust Andrew to take his vacation when we really needed him…”
“Next time we’ll find someone else, I promise.”
"Do we know yet what they wanted from Kennedy?" Xander asked. "Or was it just the usual 'let's find out what makes the Slayer work' thing?"
"It looks that way," said Giles. "Nobody seems to have told her what they wanted, and there really wasn't anyone able to answer questions once the girls and Finn's chaps had finished demolishing the place."
"They probably wouldn't say," said the stranger.
"Why not?" asked Xander.
"That'd be telling."
"You always this cryptic?"
"That'd be telling too. Oh... sorry, bad habit. I've spent a lot of time avoiding questions; it's going to be hard to stop."
"Leave him alone," said Giles. "We don't need any answers right now, and we've hundreds of former prisoners to help. We might as well begin by making it clear that we really don't care about their pasts."
There was a warbling tone, and Giles grinned apologetically and got out his mobile phone, listened for a moment, and said "I'm sorry, I'm going to have to go back to headquarters, something's come up. Vi's on her way to pick me up. You could come with me. Or do something else of course, it's up to you."
"It's up to me," said the stranger with a smile. "Then if you don't mind I think I'll just take a walk for a while, if you could give me some money to get a taxi back when I'm ready."
"Of course," said Giles, handing him a couple of twenty pound notes. "That ought to be enough."
"Ought to be?"
"Inflation," said Giles. Vi appeared in the doorway, and he followed her out to her car.
"Right... thank you," said the stranger, looking a little lost. He put the notes into his pocket, pulled out something he found there, and tossed it accurately into the waste paper basket.
“I’ll get the spare bedroom ready,” said Xander. “Just ring the doorbell when you get back, I’m a night owl so I’ll probably still be up.”
“Thank you,” said the stranger, downing his own drink and heading for the door. "Be seeing you.”
Xander watched him go, finished his Coke, and out of curiosity looked in the waste paper basket. There was a large round badge there, and he turned it over in his hand, wondering what a penny-farthing bicycle and the number six symbolized. But there was nobody to give him answers, so he shrugged and went to make the bed.
Crossover with The Prisoner