I'm nervous, I'll admit that much. We are still vulnerable enough that I'm really not comfortable with the whole notion of bringing strangers into our lives and even though in time this young man we are now waiting for will probably grow to be an ally, right now he's still a stranger. The problem is that sooner or later we will need new blood and that is what this new recruit --a young researcher-- is: new blood. I am well aware of his story, of the irony of his life and I'm know just who --or rather what-- he is. Joe told me about it when he recommended him as 'The Guy' if we hope to rebuild the Watchers' library.
At least I am somewhat comforted by the knowledge that I am not the only one who is worried about this latest addition to our little group. No one is saying anything, of course, but the fact that most of us are here is telling enough. In fact the only two absences are Andrew and Dawn, and that's only because Andrew took it upon himself to get Dawn out of here in what I suspect was a protective move. As Xander would say, it's not that we are expecting trouble, it's just that trouble always has a way of finding us... and I can't deny that Joe's friend is a little too much of a perfect fit for my liking.
To further complicate matters there is the fact that Joe won't be coming with his friend as he had originally intended to do. Something came up and his absence leaves us without the most obvious buffer for this encounter. If Joe were here it would be easier for me to accept that this guy is who he claims to be, without him I'll have nothing but a stranger's word and that thought bothers me deeply. Granted, with a sentinel, a shaman, a couple of witches and a slayer in the room there is almost no way for an impostor to get past us, but he doesn't know that. What I do know is that if he is up to something --if this guy is not completely honest about who and what he is-- Joe's friend will be lucky to get out of here with his life. Right now we can't afford to take any chances as far as our security goes and we all know it.
Oddly enough, in spite of everything, in a sense I am also grateful that Joe won't be here for this one. It's not that I wouldn't have enjoyed a chance to talk to him face to face, especially considering the fact that so far I've been unable to share with him anything but the most general aspects of our current situation. There are some things I'm not willing to discuss over the telephone and if Willow's hacking has taught me anything over the years it's that anything transmitted through electronic means leaves a clear trail that is all but impossible to destroy. I had been looking forward to our encounter --and his presence would certainly have been reassuring in our first meeting with this guy, if nothing else it would have given me a measure of peace-- but the fact that he won't be able to make it this time around is also a small blessing. The reason why I feel relieved by his absence is of a ridiculously mundane nature: the elevator is out... again.
That I had not anticipated when I chose this building for our new headquarters. I liked it because Jim and Blair were here, I liked it because it was old enough, so that it was a location that wouldn't really raise any eyebrows, unlike what would have happened if we had chosen to build a state of the art compound elsewhere. Those were all major advantages but the thing is that --for the fourth time since we moved to Cascade a couple of months ago-- we came home yesterday to find that the elevator wasn't working and the truth is that if Joe were to come to Cascade now that would be a serious problem. For us that elevator is only a minor nuisance, though I suspect that sooner or later we will have to find an excuse to do something about it, but for the time being we just have to deal with it, just like Jim and Blair have been dealing with it for years. A faulty elevator is part of the price we have to pay if we want to keep a low profile... and unfortunately keeping a low profile also means that moving the thing with magic --while certainly feasible-- is not really an option. We are not in Sunnydale anymore --our meeting with Captain Banks proved that-- and our new neighbors still haven't raised denial to an art form.
I realize that my mind is wandering and I try to focus once more on our current situation. I am curious about the guy we are going to meet but even though I trust Joe I keep wondering whether or not this is a good idea, if it's not too soon, if maybe I should have handled things differently, if maybe I should have met him elsewhere before asking him to come to Cascade... but of course, when I issued that invitation I believed that Joe would be making the trip with him. I'm still considering all those things when suddenly I see Jim tense up and when I see his reaction mirrored by Buffy a few seconds later I know that there's no turning back. He is here and I can see that the core Scoobies are instinctively getting ready for a fight while Jim and Blair are only marginally more relaxed. I open the door and I find myself face to face with Adam Pierson.