Ok all rules apply the cast of Buffy the vampire Slayer belongs to Josh W.
Dr. Green and his group belongs to who ever writes that series, Pretender
There are a few who do belong to me, Drake and His cronies the Vampires, Billy and Michael
Thanks to Steve for putting the Wandererverse together
High School Halls
8 March 1999
Xander moved his way through the halls after the attendance bell rang letting out the first period of the day. He had only five minutes to meet his girlfriend at his locker for a quick kiss before they were off to the next class. < Math, > he thought to himself discouragingly, < sucks. >
Seeing his girlfriend at his locker, he smiled inwardly. His heart and mind soured when he thought about the time they had spent together. He knew that she was feeling out of it since she was forced to kill that crazy bitch, but he also knew that she was working it out with Dr. Green and there was nothing he could do about it but listen to her if she chose to talk about it. As he drew closer to her, he noticed that Dale Roberts from the football team was standing behind a open locker talking to her, and what ever he was saying was effecting her emotionally. Anger bubbled up in him as he moved to stand between the two, facing Dale. “Alright asshole, what is on your mind?”
“This has nothing to do with you, Harris,” Roberts growled but stepped back a pace. “This has to do with the team.”
“Nothing that has to do with the team should make Cordelia sad.”
“I was just asking her if she had heard from Larry, ok?” Roberts replied sarcastically. “We haven’t heard from him since the field trip.”
Glancing at Cordelia, Xander didn’t think it was such a big deal but asked anyway. “So?”
“It’s kind of weird since our last game of the season is Friday.”
“It’s only Monday,” Xander replied but caught the worried look in his girlfriend’s eyes. “Has anyone called his house?”
“No shit, dipstick, we all called his house, two of us went over there, nothing.”
“What do you expect Cordelia to do about it?” Xander growled stepping toward Roberts, only to have Cordelia place her hand in front of him to calm him down. “She is not his keeper.”
“She was the last to talk to him,” Roberts replied but backed up as he did.
“Hey, Xan-Man,” Faith’s voice floated over to the group from where she and Shaw was headed toward them. “Those beef cakes trying to make trouble?”
“He’s asking about your beef cake,” Xander replied, still looking at Rodgers, his lips curled up into a snarl.
“What about Beefcake, where is the stud muffin?”
“No one has seen him since the incident last week,” Rodgers replied, backing up even more from the two new girls.
“I believe he’s about to tell us,” Xander said menacingly.
“You’re fucking crazy,” Rodgers said as he turned to leave, “We’re just worried about a team mate, I don’t need this shit.”
“I’ll stop by his house on my way home,” Xander mumbled as he turned to face the girl who was trading worried looks before looking back to him.
“I’ll go to his house right now,” Faith replied spinning on her toes. “This is a little bit more important than lunch.”
“Faith, it is only 2nd period.” Shaw informed her. “I think we should at least wait until lunch.”
‘Lunch is the only class I go to and I go to it all day long.” Faith’s answer was flippantly given.
“Wait until lunch and I shall go with you,” Shaw ordered, “I am in the library next so I will try to call him from there.”
“This sucks. To be honest, I haven’t even thought about him,” Xander replied, pulling his girlfriend closer to him. “Did you?”
“No, I haven’t,” Cordy replied in a whisper. “I guess we were so busy worried about our own troubles that we never gave anyone else time.”
“He’s probably just sick or something,” Xander put in trying to get the girls to lighten the mood. “Just because someone is missing doesn’t mean….”
Xander let his sentence go on with out finishing it as the import of his own words hit him and the others. Looking over to Willow who was already getting her cell phone out, Xander turned to the Soul Sisters. Taking command, he ordered, “You two go now; we’ll stay here and cover. But no heroics. With Buffy and Steve gone, we’re going to have to take action. Where’s Oz?”
“He’s in the Library, working on a project,” Willow offered the information while still on the phone.
“Alright, let’s keep a calm front,” Xander replied as Faith and Shaw walked out the main entrance of the building. “Remember you two, straight there and back, no side trips.”
“Should we call Steve and Buffy?” Willow asked as she hung up her cell phone. “There was no answer there.”
“Let’s get all the facts together first. They both need a break and if this isn’t an emergency, Buffy will kill us all.”
Drake’s New Headquarters
North of Sunnydale
Nine vampires stood around in the living room of the old boarded up mansion that had been condemned by the city. Larry and Sam were sitting on the floor back to back their hands along with their upper bodies tied together.
“Hey Michael, can I have this one?” a vampire asked as he kicked Sam who was bleeding from the gash he had received above his right eye. “We might as well snack on him, this wound is becoming infected and he will die anyway.”
“He remains alive till Drake comes and tells us differently,” Michael growled, showing his fangs at the speaker. “Do what you’re told and leave them alone.”
.. Receiving a few dirty looks, but knowing that they would follow his orders, Michael turned to Larry who was just coming around from being knocked out. “Well, it looks like we can finally get those questions answered.”
Just as Michael finished his statement Drake and Billy walked into the room. Drake carried a small pipe which he tapped along his left leg as he moved toward Larry.
“Well Larry,” Drake stated in a very cold voice, playing with a dial on the stick “You handled yourself well enough last time, but this time I am setting the charge a bit higher. You might not live though the experience this time. Would you now like to tell me what and who this Section 7 is, and what they have to do with the Slayer?”
“Huh?” Larry asked groggy shaking his head to clear his thoughts.
Larry’s senses slowly returned to him as he woke up. His body hurt from the repetitive shocks he had taken from the cattle prod in Drake’s hand. As his mind started to register what was happening, he realized that he was about to go through another round of questions, but swore to himself he would not say anything. All the while, he promised himself that the demon using the prod was going to die a very slow and agonizing death.
“Well Larry, you have withstood more than I would have thought possible, but now we are going to see how much you can stand when it’s your brother taking the hits, not you.”
“Leave my brother alone,” Larry ground out between clinched teeth.
“It’s your choice,” Drake said as he placed the cattle prod against Sam’s inner thigh. “You can stop it now before it starts.”
“If you hurt my brother, you better kill me. If you don’t, there will be no place on earth or hell that you will be able to hide from me.”
“Shut up punk,” the largest vampire in the room said as he smacked Larry across the face. Larry had already figured this one to be the leader of the group, and the one with the cattle prod was the boss of them all. Even though he was not sure what they were talking about, he knew that somehow it had to do with Steve, Buffy and the rest of them. Sending up a silent prayer that he hoped would keep him and his brother safe until he could somehow find a way to escape, Larry decided to push the leader of the vampire group. Maybe he could get them to slip up.
“What you going to do if I don’t, ugly?” Larry taunted as the man with the cattle prod shook his head and left the room. “You’re nothing but a tamed puppy.”
“Do you wanna see how tame I am?” the vampire asked as he morphed into his game face, showing his teeth he slowly advanced toward Larry.
Sunnydale High School
“What up?” Oz asked as the group gathered at their table in the lunch room.
“Have you seen Larry lately?”
“His home is locked up tighter than Fort Knox,” Faith said as she and Shaw joined the table.
“There is a note in the attendance office that says he will be out of school for a while due to a family emergency. I got the number where they can be reached.” Willow said as she dropped her books on the table,
“Have you tried it yet?” Xander asked forming a plan of action.
“Right now,” Willow replied already dialing the number.
“I will take that,” Mr. Snyder’s raking voice said as he reached over and took the phone out of Willows hand. “You know that Cell phones are not allowed in School Miss Rosenberg. You’re no exception to the rule.”
“I bet he gets a charge out of that,” Faith snickered as she passed her own phone over to Willow so she could make the call. “Man needs a woman.”
“Are you applying for the job?” Shaw asked surprising everyone at the table. Since Faith had joined the group the two had been pretty much inseparable.
“Good one,” Xander replied as he and the rest of the group looked at Shaw in surprise.
Larry’s parents were going crazy walking the length of the living room wondering what they should do. The police have extended their search outside the immediate area and the local news had just left and was going to run a story on the missing boys that night.
“I can’t stand this any longer,” Samantha told her husband of almost 19 years.. Her voice was almost hysterical as she went on. “We have to do something.”
“But what?” her husband asked his face was etched with worry, there was a four day ragged beard growing on his face as he had not shaved since it had happened. Nor had he, like his wife, gotten much sleep.
“I am sure the boys are still alive,” an old woman replied from her wheelchair. This was the monarch of the family.. Her cold grey eyes showed an inner power that neither Samantha nor Peter had. A savage grin came to her chin as she went on. “Who ever has them, will soon be feeling the power of our family and the boys will be returned to us by the end of the month, this I promise you both.”
“What is this power you’re talking about?” Samantha screamed, tired of the woman’s raving. There was not much love between the two women. A mother/daughter-in-law relationship was not an easy one, especially with two very strong-willed women.
“Since the conception of our family here in California, we have been blessed with guardians who have always showed in time of need. This will be no different.”
“What kind of guardians?”
“It is hard to say how they will appear; once it appeared as a White Wolf, again it appeared in the form of a gun fighter. You can never tell how the guardians will show themselves, it is enough that they show.”
“I have heard enough of this,” Samantha snapped at the woman as she turned to face her husband. “Peter, call the police and find out if they know anything. I’m tired of listening to this superstitious nonsense.”
“You do and think what you like, but you will come to realize that life is not as neat as you may believe.”
Nodding his head, Peter picked up the phone and started to dial the number but between dials he heard a female voice saying ‘hello’. Shaking his head, he put the phone to his ear replying, “Hello?”
“Hello, Mr. Blaisdell? This is Willow Rosenberg from Sunnydale High school,” a young but calm and somehow authoritative voice said. “We were wondering if everything was ok?”
“Ok?” Peter replied he voice shaking as Samantha snagged the phone from his hands.
“This is Mrs.. Blaisdell,” she snapped without waiting for the person on the phone. “Who is this?”
“This is Willow Rosenburg, from Sunnydale High School.”
“How did you get this number?” Samantha snapped, her voice cracking just a little in her anger. “Larry can not talk right now.”
“We were just wondering if everything was alright.”
“Our boys have been kidnapped,” Samantha burst out crying as the steady voice of the young girl caught her off guard in its obvious concern for her boys. “We are waiting for the demands from the kidnappers right now.”
“Have you called the Police?”
“Yes, they are doing everything they can. The local news is to air the story tonight,” Samantha replied, her voice now wavering from the crying. Without thinking she handed the phone to her mother-in-law who was now next to her taking the phone.
“This is Miss Maryln Blaisdell, I am Larry’s grandmother,” the old woman stated her voice calm and just as authoritative as the girl’s on the phone. “We are taking care of the situation and the boys should be back with in days.”
“There will be agents from the Wolf’s Head investigation agency there this afternoon.. Please let them know everything that has happened and we will help you get your grandson back.”
“They have both of my grandchildren,” Marylyn replied automatically, fighting to remain in control of the conversation with the obviously younger woman whose voice never seemed to question itself. “I would want them both back unharmed.”
“Have no fear Miss Blaisdell, the Wolf’s Head investigation agency is known for finding the lost,” the young woman replied just before she hung up.
Leaning back in her wheelchair a salvage grin came to her face as she faced her Son and Daughter-in-law who were holding each other sitting on the couch. “The guardian’s are already working on the situation. I would be surprised that it will take another week before the children are found.”
“That was just the school,” Samantha cried, looking at the woman. “They were just checking because the boys missed a few days of School.”
“Oh?” Marylyn asked tilting her head as if she didn’t believe that for a minute. “Then why was it a student who called and not someone in authority, like the admittance administration office or someone like that?”
“That was Willow Rosenburg,” Peter replied wiping his tears away. “I have seen her and Larry talking a few times.. Lately, he has been hanging out with her and the Harris boy.”
“I wish he would not get involved with the Harris boy,” Samantha injected. “I hear that he is so bad that his parents threw him out of the house.”
“Who does he live with?” Peter asked automatically, more to take his mind off his own troubles than concern for the teenage boy.
“He lives alone, and don’t ask where he gets his money, probably drugs or something worse.”
Sunnydale High School
8 March 1999 – 12:30 PST
Hanging up the phone after talking to Marylyn Blaisdell, Willow turned to the group with a shocked look on her face, “Larry and his kid brother have been kidnapped.”
“Call Sonja and Gabby,” Xander ordered having heard this side of the conversation and putting what he believed Willow had in mind and approving of the plan. “Ask them to go out and see if they can find out what happen.”
“Could it have anything to do with…?” Faith started but trailed off. The group had been trying not to talk about the incident around Cordelia, who had still been having trouble dealing with the fact that she killed a woman; a woman who, although she tried to kill her, was not inherently evil.
“I don’t know, but let’s not take any chances,” Xander replied as Willow talked to Sonja on the phone.
Wolf’s Head Detective Agency Headquarters
“Hello Faith,” Sonja greeted with a tint of disappointment in her voice after checking the caller ID. “Shouldn’t you be in the Library catching up with your studies?”
“Sonja, this is Willow..”
“What’s wrong?” Sonja asked anxiously worried that something may have happen to Faith, “Why are you on Faith’s phone?”
“Snyder took mine,” Willow replied impatiently. “Never mind that, Larry Blaisdell is in trouble.. It appears that he has been kidnapped from his grandparent’s house out in San Louis Obispo.”
“Kidnapped?” Sonja asked surprised.
“Don’t know it all; I told them that someone from the Wolf’s Head Detective agency would be out to talk to them.”
“Did you get the address?”
Scribbling down the address she was given Sonja walked out of the Wolf’s Head Detective Agency office and down to the offices of VAN, where she knew her lover was buried in paperwork which had become a daily routine since the VAN site took off and the applications for membership came flooding in. As she entered the receptionist area, she noticed the new receptionist was on the phone.. She just pointed at the door marked private to indicate that she wanted in. Watching the girl reach under her desk to press a button which would allow the door to open, Sonja walked into the inner office of VAN where as she saw Gabby sat behind a computer terminal typing as fast as she could.
“How’s the paperwork doing?” Sonja asked as she took a seat in the plush couch that was on the wall across from Gabby’s desk.
“Just great, I get one page done and a hundred takes its place.” Gabby exhaled as she leaned back in her chair. “I can not believe that this turned into a full time paper job.. wish I could get away for a while.”
“Not a problem,” Sonja replied as she made to stand up.. “Are you up for a small trip?”
“Where are we going?” Sonja asked as she stood turning off the monitor.
“Up the road, to San Louis Obispo”
“Sonja, I really don’t have time for a bed and breakfast in the middle of the week.”
“No time for romance this time around, Honey,” Sonja replied opening the door.. “One of the kid’s friends is in trouble and we need to go up and find out what is going on.”
“Who is it?” Gabby asked as they left the office heading to the main door.
8 March 1999 – 13:00 PST
Amelia Renaulte entered the Espresso Pump for the first time. Her heart was racing; since she had left her home in New England, there was only one goal on her mind: to get to Sunnydale California and become part of Van. Not just the part that pays lip service on the computer, but the down and gritty part. Whatever it took, she was determined to become part of it.
As she walked up to order a hot cocoa, her favorite drink, she noticed a help wanted sign on the desk. Realizing that she would need to work somewhere, and since she had been a waitress before, she took an application along with her cocoa and went to a table in the corner where she would be able to watch the clientele as she filled the application out.
Holding her fake ID as she filled out the application, Amelia knew that she was taking a chance and hoped that the ID would fool the owner of the establishment. There were only a few changes on it that made it false; one number really, the date of her birth. Instead of 83, it said 81, which would make her 18, instead of the 16 that she really was.
Remembering back to why she had to have that change made, Amelia leaned back in the chair staring out into space with the partially filled out application in front of her.
New Haven, Connecticut
Nine Days Earlier
“Where have you been Bitch?” Amelia’s father screamed as she walked in the front door causing her to flinch. Shaking her head she moved into the living room thinking how much alike her life with the fairytale of Cinderella was. “Get in here and tell me what you been doing, bitch..”
“I just went to the library to finish my homework.” Amelia replied as she entered the room.. Noticing that the whole family was there, she knew something was wrong.
“I am tired of coming home to a mess; you should be here helping your mother.”
“Mess?” Amelia asked as she looked around to a clean house.
“Damn it, don’t question me girl,” he stormed. Standing up and advancing to her in one smooth move, he struck her with a vicious back hand blow, sending her against the wall.
Sticking out her hand just in the nick of time to save her from hitting the wall, Amelia turned to face the man, anger in her eyes. “That is the last time you will ever hit me.”
“How dare you speak against me in my house!” he yelled. As he moved closer to her, he stumbled over a foot rest, giving her time to move away.
“You will never hit me again,” she cried out, anger evident in her voice while tears came to her eyes. “I will not be here for it.”
“Girl! You get back here!” he yelled out at the closing door.
She realized that she had taken a big chance taking a greyhound bus across the nation alone.. But since she had read the Manifesto of VAN, she had felt a sense of belonging.. It was almost as if they called to her, inviting her home. She stopped at the library that night and emailed VAN, letting them know she was on her way to Sunnydale, the Headquarters of VAN. Looking down in the seat next to her, she let a smile escape from her lips.. It was a risky thing to go back into the house after everyone fell asleep to get some cloths and the one possession that she treasured, a Dell Laptop given to her by an Aunt who had died only a few months ago.
“May I see this?” a strange voice asked as a arm in a white sleeve reached over her shoulder and picked up the half-finished application. The stranger moved around to sit down in front of her.
Taken by surprise, Amelia looked up and was mesmerized by the most captivating eyes she had ever seen. They were a pure mixture of green and blue. They bored into her, reading the depths of her soul.. Eventually she was able to escape the strange hold they had on her and she took in the rest of his face. He stood close to six foot, with a strong jaw, his hair had a tint of grey, his body however, looked as if it was in top physical shape. It was easy to recognize the air of command that surrounded this man.
“Hello Amelia,” the man said in greeting as he took a seat across from her, taking a quick look down her half written application. “I am Ben Raines, the owner of the Espresso pump.”
“Good afternoon sir,” Amelia replied hoping the man would offer her a job.
“You have not filled out your application fully,” the man replied, “Where are you living?”
“Actually sir, I just arrived in town and plan on living in a motel for the first week until I can find an apartment,” She replied honestly.
“If you’re willing to work…” Ben said as he looked the girl over. She was about 5’ with jet black hair that fell to the middle of her back. The hair was neatly kept and the clothes she was wearing, while wrinkled, still looked as if they were well cared for. Glancing down at her hands he noticed that they were clean and her nails were well taken care of without any polish on them. Her dark eyes accompanied with her high cheekbones gave her the appearance of being a beauty queen without a lot of makeup. In fact he thought to himself, she was not wearing any make up at all. Liking what he saw, Ben decided to take a chance with the girl and hired her on the spot, if she would pass the test. “Would you like to start now?”
“I would like to go get a room and clean up first.” Amelia replied looking down at herself. “But that should only take about a half hour.”
Nodding to himself Ben decided that he had made the right decision and told the girl to report back in an hour for the after school rush. Giving her a card as he rose from his seat he added. “If you can’t make it, please give me a call.”
“I will be here, sir.” Amelia replied with conviction as she left the shop.
< I hope you will young lady, > Ben though to himself watching the gutsy girl leave the shop. Turning to look around, he noticed that there were twice as many people in the shop as there was last year. He had been watching his profit loss margin closely since taking over the shop from his father, and he noticed the one hundred and eighty percent increase from last years sales, he defiantly needed more help.
Warehouse on the edge of
8 March 1999 – 15:30 PST
“Get off him,” Drake barked at the vampire who sank his teeth into Larry’s neck. While talking, Drake moved in and grabbed the vampire at the base of the neck and showing uncommon strength he savagely ripped the head of the vampire off. As the dust settled to the ground, Drake eyed the rest in the room. With a growl, he threatened, “Let this be a warning to all of you; I am the one in charge here.”
Turning his attention to Larry, Drake let his lip curl into what could only be described as a snarl as he said in a condensing tone, “Next time, I will let them have you. If you don’t have any answers when I come back, I will let them have your brother; then I will have your brother change you, if you don’t tell me what I want to know.”
Feeling a small bit of pleasure at the terrified look on Larry’s face, he turned to one of the vampires who was standing in front of the small gathering of vampires. “You, go to the Slayer. Let her know that I have one of her teammates. If she wants him back, she is to meet me at Willie’s bar. Tell her that if she is not alone, I will kill one of them.”
“You.” Drake pointed to another vampire as the first one left the room; his grin becoming more evil (if that was possible). “Go to the Assassin's tell them that the Slayer is alone at Willy’s.. Let them know that the vampires will not interfere with the business they will conduct with her.”
Sunnydale High School
8 March 1999 – 16:30 PST
The last bell of the day rang out loud and the front doors crashed open, letting the teenagers spill out of the building like ants to a picnic table. As he came down the steps from the main entrance of the school, Xander paused to look both left and right, waiting for Cordelia. His eyes were drawn to the school parking lot where the football team had gathered by their cars, probably to discuss the game at the end of the week. He also noticed as the social elite, with Heather in front, headed toward them. Turning his eyes toward the other end of the parking lot, he noticed where O’Toole and his buddies were gathering. They had dwindled down to three from their original five, but they all still tried to portray themselves to be the big bad in school.. A sad smile came across his face as he thought, < If they were the only bad in this town things would be a lot simpler. >
“Hey honey,” Cordy whispered. She slipped her hand around his waist as she moved up from behind him with Willow by her side. "What's up?"
“Nothing, just looking to see what is new. Where are Faith and Shaw?” he asked seeing Amy at the top of the stairs.
“They left just before the bell. Said they would meet us at your house.”
Nodding his head, he turned back to the front of the school just as Oz pulled up front in his Van, allowing Willow and Amy to get in. Starting toward the parking lot along with Cordelia, Xander wondered if they should be worried about Larry.
“Shaw, we already know they are not home; why are we here?” Faith asked her soul sister as they pulled up into the driveway..
“I just wanted to see if anyone first came here looking for him,” Shaw replied as she looked in the decorative glass window that made up more than half of the door. “It only stands to reason that if they didn’t come here first, the people who took him just did it on chance, or…”
Shaw let the sentence die out, hoping that her summation was without foundation. If it wasn’t, and her thoughts on the matter were correct, she knew that all hell was about to break loose again. She was not sure that the gang could meet with another attack on their extended family so fast.
“You think this had something to do with that wacko bitch that attacked Cordy?” Faith accused, her voice filled with shock and surprise. “How the hell can that be?”
“I do not know. It is just a thought right now,” Hunter replied coldly. “We will know more when we hear what Sonja and Gabriel have to say when they get back from talking to Larry’s parents.”
8 March 1999 – 16:40 PST
Driving up the mile long driveway, Sonja, dressed in a dark business suit with her Flaming red hair pulled back in a French bun, looked over to her lover, who was dressed in a light grey suit which accented her shapely build. “Ever wish we were around here in the 1700’s? Who knows, we could own one of these big old places.”
“It would be nice, but I remember where I was in the 1700’s and I would not give anything to have been anywhere else,” Gabby said, as Sonja stopped in front of the house, “I don’t think it would be advisable to go in and ask the hard questions we both know need to be answered.”
“Let’s just ask them the one question that should give us a starting point; ‘Who would want the boys?’” Sonja said as they exited the car.
Both Sonja and Gabriel took in the landscape as they walked to the front door of the large home, their war-wise eyes looking for anything that might lead them to believe that they were in a war zone. Sonja stopped in a spot above a station wagon as her eyes picked up some tracks in the ground, reading them almost as if they were words in a book.
“Gabby wait, come and look at this,” Sonja called, stopping Gabby from knocking on the door. “It’s all right here.”
Moving over next to her gal pal, keeling down, Gabby slowly looked around the area reading the weeks old tracks. “Family came in driving the wagon; four or five people came at them from the bushes, clubbed the parents down then one of them moved on the parents, see the scuff marks here, looks like he went backward faster than forward, someone probably pulled him from behind. The others took the two boys and left in a large car, probably a SUV of some type.”
“Why would someone have pulled her off?”
“Let’s go ask.” Gabriel said as she straightens up heading toward the house.
“Don’t come any closer before you announce yourself,” a hard, older, voice barked out accompanied with the double clicking of a double barrel shotgun. The barrels of which were now poking out of a side window.
Both women froze, they were both immortals yet each of them knew just how much pain accompanied being shot, and a shotgun was something that neither of the women wanted to go against as they both unconsciously dusted off their suits.
“Please don’t pull that trigger, Ma’am,” Sonja called out her voice carrying a mixture of laughter and worry as she slowly raised her hands, “I just had this outfit cleaned and I am sure that my cleaner could not get the blood out.”
“Who are you?” the voice called out the barrels never wavering.
“I am Gabriel with the Wolf’s Head Detective Agency. Willow Rosenberg asked us to come up here and look into the disappearance of your grandson.”
“Come in, but keep your hands where I can see them,” the voice ordered as the shotgun followed them onto the porch. “Now then, who are you and what do you want?”
“As I have said before, I am Gabriel from the Wolf’s Head Detective Agency. Willow asked us to come up and talk to you about your grandsons, to see if we could be of help.”
“How are you going to help my grandsons?” Miss Blasdell asked as she opened the front door sitting in her wheelchair with the shotgun lying across her knee, her left hand still holding the pistol grip ready for instant use.
“Suppose you tell us what happen,” Gabriel said standing in the middle of the living room. “The tracks out there show most of the story, but I would like to hear it from you.”
Telling the story, or as much of it as she saw from her place on her wheelchair which was next to the living room window when the attack happen, finishing the story she looked at the two women and leaned back in her chair. “What do you two think?”
“So you’re saying that one of them was going to grab your daughter in law and then jumped back for no apparent reason?” Gabriel asked as she moved toward Samantha Blaisdell. Reaching out she slowly, pulled out the gold chain that carried the cross around her neck. Inspecting the cross, she went on. “Did your son give you this?”
“Yes, he did. He was very persistent that I wear it.”
“Probably saved your life,” Sonja put in, also looking at the cross. “There is a group who believes so strongly that they are vampires that they react strongly when in company of anything to do with religion.”
“Awful,” Samantha replied, disgust deep in her voice. At the same time, Marylyn looked strangely at the pair of warriors. “But why would they want my boys?”
“We will find out,” Gabriel replied as they turned to leave the house. “We will be in touch.”
“Well sis, I will wait and meet you back at Xander’s house,” Faith called out as she walked into her house. “I hope that Sonja and Gabriel have a better lead than we got.”
“I am sure that everything will work out,” the Elvin princess replied as she started to drive away. “If you need a ride, give me a call.”
As Shaw drove away, heading to her home, she noticed Oz’s van parked in an alleyway. Never having seen Oz parked this close to her house before, Shaw became curious and pulled in behind the van. The sun was still high so she was not overly worried about any vampires in the area. Stopping the car, she started toward the front of the van when she heard the mellow strumming of a soft guitar coming from the back of the van.. Captivated by the music, Shaw stood in place letting the music flow though her. Closing her eyes she realized that the song had power, more power than most music she had heard since she moved here.
Abruptly the music stopped and the van fired up. Her eyes snapped open and her eyes met with those of Oz through the passenger side window. She watched, mesmerized, as he leaned over and pushed open the passenger side door. “Get in we gotta go!”
Hearing the worry and urgency in Oz’s voice Shaw pressed the button on the car alarm that locked the doors to her car and hurriedly jumped into the passenger side of the van.
“What is it Oz?” Shaw asked worry in her voice as she felt something stir her in the van. Looking around, she didn’t notice anything different from the last time she had been in the van, yet something was different, something stirred her, something that made her want to move forward to go somewhere, she briefly wondered if Oz felt it too. Noticing that he was headed in the general direction she felt she most go, she leaned back and wondered what was happening.
Oz was not sure where the music was taking him when he sat playing his guitar in the alley, but it was so pure he had to play it out loud. Sitting in the back of the van, he started the recorder that he always carried with him and sat back, letting the music that played in his head take control of his body. His fingers danced over the neck of his guitar flawlessly.. The music was a one-eighty from what he and Dingos Ate My Baby normally played. As he played, the music started to drift away from him, moving in a solid direction, luring him to follow.
Stopping the tape he jumped into the driver’s seat and started the van, checking the rearview mirror his eyes met those of Shaw and noticed that the music had stopped almost waiting for him. Reaching over he shoved the passengers door open and growled “Get in we gotta go.”
Concentrating on the music as he drove, he noticed that Shaw felt it too, but something stopped him from talking, almost as if he was afraid that if he did talk, the music would leave. He drove following the music as it lured him out of town toward the hills that pretty much surrounded the town. Entering a pass where the hills shot up on either side of the road, Oz let the van come to a stop as he lost the sound. Closing his eyes he tried to extend his feelings and find the music that lured him this far, however it was gone and there was nothing he could do would bring it back.
Exiting the van with Shaw, he moved out to the middle of the road and watched as she sat down in the middle of the road drawing a circle around her before dropping in what appeared to him as a trance.
Looking around he almost fell over as an extremely large, snow-white mountain lion walked out of the bushes and stood at the end of the street, staring at Shaw. The cat was twice the size of Harriet when she was in her true form. Its powder blue eyes gave off the impression of being warm and very cold at the same time. This cat was a hunter, the big bad in the neighborhood and it walked out as if it owned the place. Oz moved slowly back toward the van. He was not sure what this big cat wanted, but he was not going to allow it to attack Shaw. Opening the door he was about to reach in and bring out the Uzi that was under the seat, when Shaw spoke out loud.
Exiting the van, Shaw felt a pull in nature.. Nothing evil, but at the same time it was not friendly either. Stepping away from the van, followed closely by Oz, she sat down cross-legged, attuning her instincts to the nature that was around them. She was able to feel a presence that dominated everything else in the area, something big, coming down to talk to them. Closing her eyes she called out to it with her mind. // Come and enter the circle of friendship.. Your presence is known and welcomed here. //
// I come to deliver a message from the protectors of the Blaisdell family, // the message came back to her as the bushes from the side of the road moved just a little, almost as if a strong wind had moved them, yet there was no wind present.
Shaw did not see the horrifying look on Oz’s face as an extremely large, snow-white mountain lion walked out of the bushes, just barely moving them. The eyes on the cat were close to a powder blue. On four legs, its head leveled out at 5’ 10”, which put it’s mouth at the same level as Oz’s face; its shoulders was spaced about three feet apart.
// What message would that be? // Shaw asked telepathically, speaking with the animal through her animal empathy.
// Please tell your friend that I am not here to attack, // the cat sent off-handily as it’s eyes watched Oz open the van’s door and reach inside.
“Oz leave it alone,” Shaw told Oz, while still maintaining the telepathic connection with the Guardian.
// Larry and his younger brother are being held on the edge of the Hellmouth in a warehouse on the pier. The symbols on it are a straight line followed by a curve line, it is toward the middle of the last group of buildings closest to the water, // the guardian replied almost with a chuckle, even though the seriousness of the situation called for him to be serious.
Standing up and turning around in one smooth move, Shaw started toward the van. “Let’s go. Larry and his younger brother are in trouble.”
< A straight line followed by a curved one ‘IS’, no, wait, ‘15’, has to be, > Shaw thought, turning to Oz. As they got into the car, she shook her head. “We don’t have time to wait for back up, Larry and his brother are in trouble and we have to get to them quickly.”
“Huh,” Oz replied, his eyes still locked on the spot where the big cat was only moments before.
“Oz, snap out of it. We have to go!” Shaw barked out, jolting Oz away from the spot where his eyes were glued. “Let’s go; to the pier, warehouse number 15.”
Never expecting a reply from Oz, Shaw took out her cell phone and selected a number from the phone memory. Her mind was already drawing out a rescue. The spirit guide made it clear that they did not have much time to rescue Larry and she was not about to waste any of that time waiting for the others.. If they were to show up, they had to come on their own.
8 March 1999 –18:00 PDT
The core Scoobies were sitting around the small table that was Xander’s only kitchen furniture.. The phone sat in the middle of the table. The others sat around trying to look busy as they all waited for word from Gabby and Sonja. When the phone finally rang, everyone was surprised to find out who it was.
“Shaw?” Xander asked checking the caller ID before picking up the phone. “Where are you?”
“We are at the Warf, warehouse district, warehouse 15,” Shaw replied in a very low voice. “We have reason to believe that Larry and his brother Sam are being held inside.”
“Wait for back up, Shaw,” Xander replied as he stood up followed by the rest of the group. “We will be there in 20 minutes.”
Hanging up the phone, Xander put it down as he ran out of the house, grabbing an extra shotgun. As he walked, he was checking it to make sure that he had dragon’s breath loaded. A shotgun was the best at close quarters, before the swords and pistols came out.
A slight smile came to his face as he realized the rest of the group followed him out without asking any questions. Steve and Buffy were still on vacation, having their last vacation cut short when the psycho bitch came after Cordelia thinking she had killed her brother. Liam and Robin were visiting their home for the weekend and said they would be popping in on them from time to time. However, if Larry was in trouble, then they didn’t have time to wait for the Magical duet to pop in. < Besides, >Xander thought to himself as he watched Amy and Willow jump in the back of the van that they were using, < with that pair I feel sorry for any vamp who even gets froggy. >
As he negotiated through the streets, he realized that, over the past year, the traffic in Sunnydale had almost tripled.. It always seemed to amaze him how the word got out that the town was now a lot safer than it was only a year ago. Even businesses seemed to be coming into town.. Already the shops along Main Street had doubled.. Now, instead of six there were twelve.. There was even talk about an arcade opening at the end of the month.
Pacific Coast Highway
8 March 1999 – 06:30 PST
Gabriel and Sonja had gathered all the information that they could have from the Blaisdell family and were now headed back to the office, both of them deep in their own thoughts as the miles rushed by.
“What do you think?” Gabriel asked her lover after a half hour of silence.
“I think that if Samantha was not wearing that cross, we would have been fighting vampires this day.”
“I agree; now, what about Larry and Sam?”
“I don’t like the odds.”
“Do we tell the others?”
“They are waiting for our phone call,” Sonja replied in a solemn voice. “I would much rather be there with them when we told them.”
The car fell back into silence as both women fell back into their own thoughts thinking about what they were going to tell the kids.
8 March1999 - 19:00 PST
The sun was sitting on the horizon when Oz snuck up to the warehouse and peeked into the window on the East size of the warehouse.. As agreed, Shaw would check out the West side they would be trying to get a count on the Vampires in the building.. At the same time, they were going to see if they could locate the brothers.
Hearing the hollow cry of the robin, Oz moved around the building to where Shaw was waiting for him. He had counted no less than ten vampires and wondered how many more there were. As he moved around to where she was, he noticed the look on her face and knew that she saw something that upset her. Moving next to her, he looked into the window and almost lost his lunch. Inside, there were no less than 9 bodies, all of them in various degrees of decomposition.
Lowering himself down, he turned sad eyes toward Shaw as he shook his head.. This was, with out a doubt, the largest death count they had come across since the LA incident. Sitting down with his back to the wall, he put his face between his knees as he felt Shaw sit next to him. Something was wrong, but he could not grasp at what it was. Something was pulling him down a path that he could not resist.
“I counted twelve,” Shaw whispered as she reached over rubbing his back. “Larry and Sam look pretty bad.. We have got to move before they hurt them any more.”
Standing up, Oz nodded his head, then tilted his head as his eyes passed over the skyline to the east.. As it all clicked together for him, he was amazed that he had not been keeping track of the moon cycle. A full moon was raising, it was the wolf in him trying to come out. Nodding his head as he remembered another time when the wolf in him saved his ass, he started toward the main entrance of the warehouse. Getting to the door, he did something that totally shocked Shaw, he knocked.
Larry watched the two vampires who were left in charge when the one with the cattle prod left.. They both stood just a bit taller than his own 5’9”, but after that, the similarities between the two ended.. The first one had wide shoulders that narrowed down to a slim waist before flaring out to powerful legs. His full head of hair was parted on the left side and kept neat. The second of the pair was slim, yet showed signs of having whipcord strength; this one had his hair cut very short in a crew cut.
Larry did not like the way they kept watching his brother and wondered what he could do to get their attention back on him. He still had no idea why they kept asking him the questions they did, and he was beginning to believe that they would kill him once they realized that he did not have the answers they wanted.
All day, he thought he had heard screams from a back room; however, he was not sure if it was someone else or his own screams he was hearing. Leaning his head back toward his brother, he whispered, “Sam, listen to me.. We are going to get out of here, hang on.”
“I don’t think I have a choice in the matter,” Sam cracked back at him, but Larry could hear the whine in his voice.
“We are going to get out,” Larry replied in the same whisper. “Hang in there.”
“Larry, I am scared.”
“So am I,” Larry replied when he heard someone knock on the door.
“Love it when dinner comes knocking,” the well-built vampire said as he moved toward the door.
Larry took in his breath to call out but was silenced when the smaller vampire shoved a rag in his mouth, forcing him to watch in horror when the vampire opened the door and reached out, grabbing the person who was on the other side of the door, dragging the body in. The person shot in the room, but not in an uncontrolled way. Whoever it was, ended up with his back to Larry, making it so he was facing the vampire who dragged him in.
“Welcome dinner,” the vampire said as he calmly turned to face the person he pulled into the room.
“Not going to be that easy,” Oz replied as he crouched into a smaller target for the vampire.
“It’s good to work up an appetite,” the vampire replied letting his demon face come to the front while pushing his door shut.
The door never shut as Larry watched another person walked into the room.. This one he knew without having to see her face. There were not many people who could look as annoyed as Shaw could when one of the groups she hung out with did something particularly stupid.
Looking at the back of the boy who was pulled in, Larry knew that had to be Oz and, from the way he stood there ready to fight, he knew that Oz was not caught off guard, not by a long shot.
“Dulak!” Shaw’s voice rang out just before the lights in the room went out. A heavy darkness fell in the room; Larry could not see anything but he could hear the scuffling of boots as the fight began.
Shaw was shocked when she realized what Oz was about to do, however it only took her a minute to recover from the shock. Knowing that Oz would let the wolf out when it became too heavy she figured that she would give herself and him a small edge. Pointing at Oz she barked out “Dulak!” instantly the ball of darkness surrounded Oz and everything within twenty feet of him. She was not worried about Oz, for in his Werewolf form, he was more animal than man, and his other senses prevailed over that of sight. Being the caster of the spell she was able to see as if the spell had never been cast.
Moving in behind after the vampire turned to face off with Oz, Shaw cast a protection spell over Larry and Sam then she reached under her coat and pulled out the Uzi 9mm that she had become partial to picking her targets as they moved away from Oz she had dropped four of the fifteen in the room, she also noticed that Oz was taking a toll on the vampires. Just as she was getting ready to move in with a new barrage of spells she noticed one of the vampires pull out his own 9 mm and started to aim it at Oz.
Something in her screamed out a warning but knowing that the warning would come too late she charged at Oz knocking him out of the way just as the vampire took a shot at Oz. The werewolf that was Oz stumbled out of the way just as another vampire pulled out a knife; the two of them collided and fell to the floor just as a shot rang out. Rolling on the ground the knife sank into Oz’s side and ripped out as he continued to roll then come up on his back paws.
The bullet that was aimed for Oz had found a soft place to land in Shaw’s right shoulder causing her to scream out in pain. Loosing the use of her right arm, Shaw used her left arm to bless the gun that the vampire was holding causing the vampire to drop his gun as his arm caught on fire. With her right arm out of action, she knew that there was no guarantee her spells would go off properly. So using one hand she raised her Uzi and started to spray the room keeping the gun away from Oz, Larry and Sam.
Oz was now back up on his feet, his big paws swiping first left then right, while blood ran down his side causing him to loose power in his swings. He stumbled down onto one knee but still tried to keep the fight going. Shaw’s arm was becoming numb from the shooting. She knew that they were both in trouble, but she could not stop herself from dropping the gun down to her side as the shock of the recoil was taking its toll on her.
Once he had left the residential streets, Xander pushed down on the accelerator causing the big engine in the van to open up propelling the van down the street already it was pushing eighty. It had taken him forty minutes to get to the warehouse district but now that he was there he was anxious to get to the rest of their team hoping that Oz and Shaw would wait until they arrived but something in Shaw’s voice warned him that she was not going to wait.
Even over the whine of the powerful engine Xander heard the gunshots from close and cursed under his breath, he swore they were going to give him ulcers. Stopping the van behind warehouse 13, Xander moved to the back as Cordelia pulled the false paneling down exposing a large selection of guns. Each of them took a hand gun with a couple extra clips, while Cordelia, Faith and Xander also took a couple of MP5’s.
“Amy, Willow, you’re going to be our magical touch,” Xander said as they all got out of the van, “remember Cordelia, keep your gun on selective shot, we have family in that building.”
With nothing further to be said he took off down the pier with Cordelia in the back while Amy and Willow stayed in the middle of the formation. Just as they rounded warehouse fourteen to face the opening of fifteen they heard the unmistakably sound of a firing pin falling on an empty chamber.
“Shaw! Oz! Get down!” Xander screamed out the order as he and Cordelia stepped into the building.
“Blind!” Willow called out, hearing the command Xander closed his eyes and knew that both Cordelia and Amy was doing the same as Willow cast the sunlight spell that would cut the odds down to a more manageable odds.
Giving Willow’s spell a few seconds, Xander opened his eyes to mere slits and noticed that both Oz and Shaw were down. Straddling Shaw, since she was the closest, he motioned Cordelia over to Oz as they both opened up with the MP5’s.
Even as Xander opened up after Willow cast the spell, he knew that the fight was almost over, he figured eight of the remaining ten vampires were now on fire, and he briefly wondered where Willow came up with that spell and how come she had not used it before. As the fight dwindled down to a few shots placed by Cordelia on vampires who were as of yet not dusted, he knelt down next to Shaw.
“What you trying to do girl, take all the action for yourself?” Xander joked as he looked at her wound, joking was a failsafe for Xander who was very worried for one of his family members.
“This is not a joking manner,” Amy barked at Xander as she pushed him away from her fallen cousin, seeing the large blood stain that was spreading out from her shoulder she went into hysterics as she pulled open the shirt to expose the bullet hole. She tried to concentrate on what Steve had told them all to do in case of bullet wounds but failed miserably.
“Come on Amy,” Xander told the girl as he pulled her away from Shaw to let Faith get in there and treat the girl. “Let Faith see what she can do.”
“We need to get her to the hospital Xander,” Amy replied with a wine in her voice.
“We will,” Xander replied as he pulled out his cell phone to call 411. Just as he hit the last one Shaw’s eyes popped open.
Looking down at the girl Xander hung up the phone as Shaw started to mumble, the area around the bullet wound started to glow and soon a small slug fell out of her body as the wound started to naturally close, with only the blood on her shirt showing that she was shot at all.
“What the hell were you trying to do?” Amy demanded as she watched her favorite cousin stand up. “How many times do we have to go over the matter of back up?”
“Oz is the one who knocked on the door,” Shaw replied dead pan.
Turning his attention to Oz, Xander raised his eyebrow just a tad as if to question his teammate about his tactics. When he saw the calm look on Oz’s face he knew that it would be impossible trying to rationalize the workings of the inner mind of a werewolf. Turning back to the girls, he noticed that Amy was now hugging her cousin while softly crying.
Next, his eyes went to Faith, who was looking sharply at Oz and in her eyes Xander saw something that he knew would become explosive if he didn’t do something soon. Looking around his eyes fell upon Larry and his brother Sam. Moving toward them he called over his shoulders. “Faith, come give me a hand…OOOOFFF”
The last of his statement was cut off as he walked into the force field face first, standing up and brushing himself off putting it together rather quickly he looked over to Shaw. “Hey Shaw? Wanna drop the force field?”
Knowing why Xander called attention to her, Faith pushed Xander aside to walk over to Larry where she knelt down to untie him. Speaking in a light voice even though she did not feel it she asked, “Hey beefcake, what kind of trouble have you gotten into this time?”
“Yeah, I’m ok,” Larry replied as he turned around to untie his younger brother who was still unconscious. “I could kiss you all,”
“What’s stopping you?” Faith asked with a smirk, turning the screws to Larry in the fun way that they had with each other.
“Well, uh, uh,” Larry replied, stuttering as his face started to turn red.
“Don’t worry about it big boy,” Faith decided to let the lean football player off the hook. “Get your brother and let’s blow this joint.”
“I’ll carry your brother, Larry,” Xander said as he moved over to pick the boy up. Seeing the welts on Larry’s legs he added, “Oz, help Larry will you; Faith and the others can walk guard both front and back.”
“How did you find us?” Larry asked his voice filled with confusion.
“Friend of yours pointed us here,” Xander answered the question.
“Let’s go,” Faith told the group as Willow and Shaw stood in the center of the room both mumbling under their breaths. “Something tells me that this place won’t be too welcoming to the living impaired anytime soon.”
“Got that right,” Cordelia replied as she also looked over the pair in the middle of the room. “Willow told me that they’re putting a blessing on this place that will last until the next century.”
“Hopefully it will last a bit longer than that.”
“Come on guys, let’s get out of here,” Faith called back as she helped Oz carry Larry to the awaiting cars.
The group had been sitting in the cars for about fifteen minutes when Willow and Shaw came out of the warehouse; both were tried from their casting; however Shaw was beyond tired.. She slowly made her way to Cordelia’s car and climbed in the back seat. The wound, even though totally healed, had taken a lot out of her. She was exhausted. It all came down on her when Cordelia started the car. She put her head on Faith’s shoulder and was asleep before they left the parking lot.
Willow left Shaw’s side and moved to Oz’s van.. Getting in the back without saying a word, she made herself a comfortable spot and curled up, falling asleep. Letting Amy drive his van, Oz retired and went to lay next to his mate, falling asleep almost as fast as she did.
Silently the convoy moved though the streets of town, like a large snake moving over the desert floor. As Amy drove down the street heading toward Steve’s house, she noticed Gabriel’s car parked in front of the Espresso shop. Slowing down to almost a crawl she picked up the CB mic. “Hey Cordelia, Gabby and Sonja are in the Espresso shop wanna stop and report to them?”
“Shaw is asleep,” came the exhausted reply. “No reason to report in, we can do that later.”
“Willow and Oz are both asleep here, too,” Amy replied as she drove past the shop. “I guess they will find out soon enough.”
“Head over to Xander’s, we will let the brothers clean up before we return them to their parents.”
“Sounds good,” Amy replied as she turned up Xander’s street. “We should at least call them and let them know the boys are ok.”
“At the house,” Xander snapped ending the banter on the CB.
Same time frame
Amelia was actually enjoying her first night at work; her customers so far have been placid. That puzzled her at first, since it was pretty much a given that in ten people you were bound to have at least one idiot. However, it appeared that the patrons here were the exception to that rule. As she worked, first collecting orders then delivering the drinks, she noticed that her boss, Ben, was never far from the counter. Every once in a while she would catch him slowly looking over the room.. It seemed that his eyes made contact with everyone in the room and she wondered why she had not put it together earlier. It had to be her boss who kept control of this small shop. Remembering the shiver that ran down her spine when he looked directly at her, she figured it was a good thing that he was around.
She was just cleaning up her station, preparing to go home for the night when two females walked in.. She recognized both women right away even if they were in business suits and not the bathing suit or the bear skin rug they wore in the calendar. As she moved to escort them to a table, she noticed the quick glance and nod, the one she recognized as Sonja, shared with her boss. The slight nod puzzled her. It should not surprise her that her boss knew the women; this was not a very big town. However, the nod did not seem like a friendly one.. To her, it carried a cold acceptance. She was not sure if she could put to words what that look was, but it did leave her wondering.
Taking the order from the women, she moved to her boss, hoping he would tell her something that she did not know.. However, she was disappointed when her boss just told her that he was very pleased with her performance tonight and he would make sure that she got home safely tonight; but from now on, he would delegate someone else to give her a ride home until she found her own transportation.
Taking the drinks back to the table, she asked if they needed anything else before excusing herself and going back to the counter, where she hoped to find out what was going on between these women and her boss.
“So which one of you are going to tell me what is going on here?” Amelia asked the two teenage boys who worked behind the grill her smile carried by her voice to put the boys at ease.
“What do you mean?” the older of the two asked as he turned around sipping from a cup of coffee.
“The boss and those two women; don’t tell me you didn’t see that look.”
“Sometimes, you just don’t wanna know what is going on in this town,” the other boy replied as he wiped the counter keeping his voice so low that Amelia just barely heard it. “Sometimes it’s enough to know you wake up the next day.”
“Amelia, you’re new here, so I am going to tell you something that I want you to accept without questions,” the younger boy replied with out raising his voice. “When you go home tonight, wherever that may be, close and lock your door and don’t allow anyone in, no matter who it may be.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“Doesn’t matter, if you wanna live here, do as I just told you,” the boy replied never raising his voice higher than it already was.
Puzzled by what the boy said, she walked away, collecting the now empty coffee cups from the two women and collecting the money for the bill. She watched as the two women walked out of the shop. Than quickly she helped the other two clean up the shop getting it ready to close for the night. What the boy had told her was weighing on her mind, confusing her that someone would say something like that. So, when they were done, and she waiting for Ben to finish the count for the day, she made her way over to the boy.
“Why so cryptic on the warning?”
“What you said about not letting any one in after I go to bed?” Amelia asked, getting exasperated with the boy.
“You won’t find many people who will talk about it. I would say about 90 percent of the town lives in denial about it. Some would not believe if you told them, but I will tell you what I have seen and what I have heard.. You make your own mind up,” the boy replied before telling Amelia all that he had heard and what he had personally seen. When he finished, he looked toward the door in time to see three figures slip down an alley. “So there it is, all I know. Now you make up your own mind about what is going on. Could be a gang on PCP like what the cops say, could be a pack of wolves like some idiot reporter said. Me, well I believe something more sinister is going on, but who knows. I won’t pretend to know what is going on, but you would be wise to move on if you are not tied down here; you know, if you’re not living with your parents.”
Accepting the ride from Ben, Amelia walked into her room and locked the door. Sitting on the bed she pulled out her laptop and began research on Sunnydale, trying to find something that would tell her that the boy had been lying. What he had said was just too hard to believe; deaths in town that would rival the bigger cities in their heydays of crime? That was impossible.
Sonja stopped just inside the door causing Gabriel to collide into her from behind while her hand raising to the lapel of her jacket almost reaching for her sword when her eyes locked onto the owner of the store, reading the blink in his eyes as a neutral symbol she slowly searched the rest of the room looking for what set off her instincts. She knew and expected Ben Raines to be in the shop so she was pretty sure that he was not the one who had set off her early warning system, but if not him who? Her eyes briefly walked over the customers not seeing anyone new she looked briefly at the new waitress, quickly she judged her as no one of importance she started to walk to her seat.
“Come on Sonja, we are here at least four times a week, what is the matter with you?” Gabby asked stepping back after bumping into her lover but while she asked her hand wrapped around the sword she carried, her trust in Sonja was too attuned to laugh anything Sonja felt off.
“Something different here,” she replied in a cryptic way she had. “Can’t put my finger on it.”
“Well until you do, let’s have some coffee.”
The ladies walked over to the table they always shared near a corner in the back of the room. Sonja took her seat, putting her back into the corner while Gabby sat on her left, allowing Sonja to keep her right arm free. Silently the women drank their coffee as they each watched the goings and comings of the café.. Without realizing it, Sonja kept her eye on the girl who was working her way around the tables, her movement seemed to be untrained yet with a flow that could only come with training. A curious combination Sonja realized, yet this girl seemed not to realize her hidden talent.
“We should go and find out why Cordelia don’t answer her phone,” Gabriele said as she hung up the phone after trying to call the girl yet again. “It’s not like her to not answer her phone.”
Standing up, the two women left, leaving the price of the coffee and a generous tip on the table.
A few minutes before midnight
“Put Shaw in my bedroom, Oz into the guest room,” Xander told the group as they entered his small condo. “Larry, why don’t you call your parents and let them know you’re ok.. We will return you to them tomorrow.”
“Thanks Xander,” Larry replied while putting his arm around his brother’s shoulder as he led him into the bathroom. All the while he thought of how quickly Shaw and Oz moved in then the night dropped faster than he had ever seen it before. Then, all of a sudden, the rest of them were there; this small band of heroes? Yes, that is the only word that could describe Shaw and her friends, and then there was Xander standing with them. He had to admit it, Xander had a great ass. After they cleaned up, Larry let his brother lay down on the bed while he went back into the front room where everyone else was and made his phone call.
“Hello Mother, yes Sam is with me, we are fine, we are in Sunnydale over at a friend’s house.. We’re safe, Mom.. We will come to you. Ok, we are on Ninth Street, the last house on the right. Alright, we will wait for you.”
After hanging up the phone, Larry turned to the group who was sitting around drinking sodas. Gratitude was in his eyes and voice when he spoke, “I am grateful for everything you did for me and Sam.. My parents will be here tomorrow around noon to pick us up.”
“Buffy and Steve should be home tomorrow,” Faith mentioned as Larry and she shared a smile. “Maybe your mom and dad will slap him around; that is always fun to watch.”
Her words were much needed and it showed as the whole house rocked with laughter, it was at this moment that Gabby and Sonja chose to walk in, their faces turned red as the laughter only grew harder.
The night moved swiftly as the small group sat in the living room listening to Larry as he told the story of how they were abducted and what he had witnessed in the warehouse while he was held captive. Of the strange man who demanded his questions answered, of how he was tortured until he almost broke, his voice was filled with pain as he finished his story. “I would have told him anything just to get him to leave me alone.”
“What did he look like?” Xander asked, “This man with the questions?”
“I don’t know what he looked like, he kept in the shadows. Purposely I think.”
Xander shared a glance with his girlfriend before he replied with a thought that caught them all off guard. “I wonder what that Elf would do if he realized that he left his work undone.”
“What are you talking about?” Cordelia asked, sitting on Xander’s lap.
“Just mumbling,” Xander replied lightly as he pulled her closer to him. “Larry and Sam are safe; let’s relax for now.”
A cloud of silence fell over the house as one by one they fell asleep, leaving only Ariel and Patches to guard them until the morning light.
9 March 1999 – 06:00 PST
“I can’t believe that no one is here to pick us up,” Buffy told Steve as she kissed him on the neck while they walked down to the luggage rack.
“Have you tried to call them?” Steve asked, also concerned that no one was there to pick them up.
“No, they have our schedule. Honey, I’m beginning to get worried.”
“They would have called if something was going on,” Steve replied, although he, too, was getting worried that no one was there to pick them up. “Why don’t you call once we get our bags? I will go rent a car.”
9 March 1999 – 06:15 PST
“Damn it,” Xander groggily mumbled as he woke up reaching over to look at the alarm that was angrily blinking 5:15 “Honey, wake up we lost power last night.”
“What time is it?” Cordelia asked hurriedly as she jumped up off the couch were she and Xander had spent the night, looking for her cell phone which had just started to ring.
“6:15,” Xander replied looking at his watch, realizing what he said he started toward the door calling back. “We are going to be lake picking up Steve and Buffy.”
“I swear, everything is ok, we just lost power,” Xander heard Cordelia talking over the phone. “Are you sure? It will only take us about 45 minutes to get there.”
“Alright, yes we already have a party set up for your arrival, steaks that Casey is suppose to cook, he’s not here yet but we still have a little to do.. Xander and Oz will step in if Casey don’t make it. Great we will wait for you here.”
“Buffy or Steve?” Xander asked when Cordelia hung up the phone.
“Steve, they are going to rent a car, or take the airport taxi, either way they will be home in about an hour.”
“Alright, get the others up; I will call Mr. Blaisdell to let them know we will be at Steve’s house so they know where to come.”
“Ok,” Cordelia replied as she started up stairs to wake up Shaw, Oz, Larry and Sam who had spent the night.
We Are Here To Pump (CLAP!!) You UP!!!
(Beefcake Gets The Robin Treatment)
Larry Blaisdell's Street
13 March 1999
Larry kicked at a loose rock, watching it bounce along the pavement. His hands were stuck in his pockets, his head looking down a bit, his mind deep in thought. It was understandable, given all he had been through the last few days. But strangely, it wasn't the capture and torture by the Silerwor that was bugging him. It was something else, something he couldn't quite put his finger on.
No, no, that wasn't true. He could put his finger on it, he knew what it was. He just didn't want to say it out loud. Certainly not to any of the guys, not after all they'd done for him in the last week. But, he still felt it and didn't know of any way to solve his little problem anytime soon.
"Penny for your thoughts?" a familiar voice called to him.
Larry glanced up to see a man leaning against a tree, an odd little smile on his face as he brushed at one of the brown bangs framing his face. It had taken a while for Larry to get used to the fact that Robin was actually THE Robin Goodfellow, the fairy known as the Merry Wanderer. He seemed a nice, normal-looking guy in his mid-twenties, but he did have an air of mysteriousness that hinted at his true origins, even if Robin wasn't telling anyone what they were.
"Hey, Robin," Larry sighed. "Just taking a walk, long as it's still daylight."
"Good to see you up and about still," Robin nodded as he stepped forward, his red coat flapping behind him slightly as he stepped up. Larry had to reflect on the way Robin still hadn't quite gotten the hang of what was termed a "casual" outfit; his bright green shirt and blue slacks making him look like a six-year old had taken a blank drawing and colored in whatever shade they wanted, which was pretty normal right now.
"You were put through the wringer," Robin said gently.
"Yeah," Larry said, sucking in a breath. "I was at that. But, you know, I'm recovered. Well, I'm getting there. And the guys have been good."
"Yeah, they have," Robin nodded. "Real good in bailing you out, not just then but a few other times too. Maybe too good."
The muscular young man looked up at him, confused. "What do you mean?"
"You're looking down," Robin clarified. "Let me take a shot at what's eating you. You appreciate the guys for all they did for you but you're having problems relating to them with the training. After all, we've got a bunch of Amazon women, a couple of Slayers and a bunch of guys I've empowered to an Amazon fighting level, plus Shaw and Steve. Kind of hard for you to fit in with them the way you are currently."
"Yeah," Larry sighed. "I mean, I know the guys don't mean to be overprotective and all but it's there. I do my best, I try to fight as well as I can but I still feel out of my league, you know?"
"Yeah," Robin nodded. "Well, actually, I don't, since I'm on a bigger power level than any of you but yeah, I know what it must feel to be the odd man out."
"I don't expect full and equal team status yet," Larry clarified. "I know I need a little more time. But, well, I just don't feel I'm connecting with them yet. And having them kick my ass most of the time in training doesn't help, you know?" There was a pause and he looked to Robin. "Robin?"
The fairy was rubbing his chin, a smile coming onto his face, a smile that made Larry just a little nervous. "It…. could work," Robin was muttering under his breath. "It could actually work. Yeah, that would fit very well, very well indeed."
He looked up, eyes wider and the smile broader. "Larry," he said in a light tone. "I've got a proposition for you."
Larry raised an eyebrow. "Um, I thought you were with Amy."
Robin rolled his eyes. "Okay, that was inevitable with a conversation between a fairy and a gay man. No, this is a proposition of a different kind."
"What?" Larry frowned.
Robin took a step forward, the smile still on, eyes glinting with inspiration. "What you're feeling right now is something very similar to how Giles, Xander and Oz felt when Jenny, Cordelia and Willow became Amazons. Feeling like they were being protected, that the girls were on such a bigger par than them, all that feeling of not being as good."
"Well, yeah, but that ended when you came to town and—" Larry broke off, his eyes widening as he realized what Robin was suggesting. "Whoa. Whoa, wait a minute here…"
"It solves your problems," Robin smiled. "And, it will also take a load off the team. They won't have to keep spend every mission trying to hold back and protect you, they'll know you can take care of yourself and that'll free them up to take care of the important stuff."
"But what will Oberon—"
"Ah, let me worry about that. Trust me, there's a couple of loopholes I can use that he himself set up. And I do so enjoy using his own tactics against him."
Robin looked at Larry and raised an eyebrow. "Course, that's if you want it. I can make the offer but only you can decide to take it. So?"
Larry thought hard for a long moment, looking off as he took in Robin's offer. The chance to get on the same level as the other guys, was tempting, no doubt about it. And from what he could tell, it just boosted his skills and confidence, something he could use right now too. Larry looked at Robin, took a deep breath and nodded. "Okay. I'm in. Where do we start?"
Grinning, Robin slowly raised his hand, savoring the brief thrill of his old powers as he snapped his fingers. A bright flash went out and he and Larry were both gone.
Loch Ness, Scotland
14 March 1999 (local time)
Larry's eyes cleared to behold a large lake before him. He glanced about, seeing that he and Robin were now in a totally different setting, night fallen around them suddenly. "Where are we?" Larry frowned.
"You'll be able to guess in a minute," Robin grinned as he stepped to the edge of the lake, put two fingers in his mouth and let out a loud whistle. He stepped back, staring out at the lake. Larry followed his gaze and felt his eyes go wide as a large shape floated out of the water. A head attached to a long scaly neck emerged from the surface and moved towards them.
"Who are you?" the creature boomed, its large eyes peering at Robin.
Robin sighed, used to this reaction the last few months. "Come on, Nessoi, take a better look."
The creature that had been nicknamed the Loch Ness Monster bent its head a bit to take Robin in and slowly nodded. "Sprite," it rumbled. "Being human becomes you."
"Not from my point of view," Robin shook his head. "Listen, Nessoi, I could use a little extra of those special weeds of yours."
"I don't have an unlimited supply of that, you know, Goodfellow."
"Come on," Robin said. "Look, the last bunch was put to good use, same here. Come on, Nessoi, you owe me a few anyway, remember?"
The creature looked towards Larry, who was naturally having some problems with his appearance. The normally polite man could only stare open-eyed at the Monster, trying to keep his jaw shut. Nessoi finally let out what sounded like the equivalent of a sigh, then ducked his head into the water. He popped back up a moment later and dropped a hefty pile of weeds at Robin's feet. Robin looked at it and back at him.
"He's a big fellow," Nessoi pointed out. Robin could only nod in agreement as the Loch Ness Monster moved off, starting to sink back under the waves.
"Um, thank you," Larry called out. Nessoi paused and looked back in surprise. "You're welcome," he said, obviously not used to being treated so cordially by a human. A bit slower, he moved under the Loch and swam off.
"That went well," Robin nodded, picking up the rootmeg. "Hold on tight, my friend. We're not going as far but it's still a ride." Another snap of his fingers and they were gone.
14 March 1999 (local time)
"So, you really designed this place?" Larry said, looking about the area known as Stonehenge. "That explains a lot."
"Watch it," Robin said in warning. "And before you ask, no, I'm not going to tell you for who or what originally."
"Okay, so you've got these weeds," Larry said, stepping over a loose stone. "But don't you need something from the Leprechaun King?"
"Usually," Robin nodded. "But I didn't want to call him away on such short notice. But, I do have some connections to get what I need."
There was a long pause and Robin looked up. "Okay, I just did a great set-up here, aren't you going to bite?" He looked up and away again, glancing about. "Come on! You're always a sucker for cues like that!"
Larry took a step away; looking at Robin with a bit of unease as the fairy looked about, spinning in place. "Come on! I don't have all night!" When nothing happened, he sighed and shook his head. "Late. He always has to be—"
A flash caught his attention and he and Larry looked up to see a figure appear before them. He wasn't too tall, about the same height as Robin, with unruly red hair, pointed ears poking out from underneath, wearing a pair of brown pants and green tunic, a smile on his face almost as wide as Robin's. "Sorry," he said in an Irish brogue. "Ye know I love saving it up for a big splash."
"Always with the dramatics," Robin smiled, shaking his head.
"Look who's talking," the man answered. He and Robin laughed and shared a quick embrace. "Well," the man said, looking Robin over. "This is—"
"Don't even start," Robin groaned. He looked at Larry and smiled. "Liam, this is Larry Blaisdell. Larry, meet Liam Devlin O’Shaughnessy Patrick Dillion O'Hara Paddywick McHale Thornton Danahure of the Leprechaun Glens."
"Hi," Larry said, taken aback first by the lengthy introduction, then when Liam grabbed his hand and shook it vigorously. "So, you're a friend of Robin's?"
"My best and oldest," Robin smiled, smacking a hand on Liam's shoulder.
Larry took a look at the two of them and nodded, turning away. "Good-night, everybody!"
"Not that easy, laddie," Liam smiled, putting a hand on Larry's shoulder and pulling him back. Larry decided to go along but was starting to get second thoughts on this.
"Did you get it?" Robin asked, turning to Liam.
"Right here," the leprechaun nodded, pouring a mix of dust into Robin's hands. Robin mixed it with the weeds he had gotten from Nessoi, his hands glowing a bit. He frowned and looked up at Liam. "Um… I might need a little help here."
Smiling, Liam held his hands over Robin's, magic flowing in the space between, causing the weeds to glow brightly. Robin nodded and smiled as he backed up, crushing the strange mix in his hands to do its work. He turned away, letting his magic start to flow.
"So…" Larry said, trying to think of a way to kill time. "You know Robin long?"
"A few thousand years," Liam smiled in replied. "Last talked to him around Christmas, been wondering what he's been doing on Earth."
"Truth to tell, we wonder the same quite a lot," Larry couldn't help remarking as Robin turned back to face him and Liam. Liam took a step away as Robin moved up, his hands cupped to hold the powder, his face serious.
"Okay," he said. "This is the one chance you've got to say no and decide not to do this. After it starts, no going back. So? You want this?"
Larry thought hard for a long minute, then nodded. "I want it."
"You got it," Robin nodded, blowing the powder out of his hands. Larry watched the cloud flow towards him. When it touched his face, he suddenly felt a wave of sleep overcome him, his eyes rolling up and shutting as he fell back onto the ground.
Liam looked at him, then at Robin. "Ye really are low on the power scale," he remarked. "Used to be, you could handle this on your own, no problem."
"Yeah, it sucks," Robin sighed as he raised up a hand. Larry's limp body floated off the ground and moved towards a flat bed of stone, sinking on top of it. "You don't know how much you take using your magic for granted until you can't do it anymore."
"Well, glad I'll never have that problem," Liam smirked as he watched his friend go to work.
Larry felt himself slowly come awake, strength flowing back into his limbs. He sat up, looking about and flexing his muscles a bit.
"Welcome back to the land of the living," Liam announced as Larry saw him standing nearby, leaning on a slab. "Which is always such a nice place to be."
"Tell me about it," Larry said, standing up and amazed at how good he felt. He looked at himself, trying to see if anything had changed but didn't feel it. "Um, is that…. it? I don't know if it worked, I don't feel… charged or anything."
"Hmm, might be on the fritz," Liam shrugged. "Not sure, this is mainly Robbie's gig." He looked behind Larry. "Say, Rob, what do you think?"
Larry turned to see where Liam was speaking to and saw a half-dozen knives sailing towards him. Without even thinking, he leaped up, backflipping as two knives sailed under him. His foot struck the blade of another, sending it sailing several yards across the field, slamming into a stone pillar and sticking inside it. As he flipped back down, Larry reached out and caught another two knives by the handles, twisting himself in the air, arms stretched out to knock the other blade down, the knife slammed into the dirt almost to its hilt.
Larry landed on his feet, knives still in his hands, taking a few breaths as he realized what he had just done. He stood up, staring at the knives and shaking his head. "Holy shit."
"You know, I really wish someone could say something more eloquent than that when I do this," Robin said as he came forward. "So? Satisfied?"
"Oh, yeah," Larry nodded, standing up, flexing his hands. "Oh, yeah, this will definitely work. Now what?"
Robin grinned as he came forward. "Now, my friend, we show the others what you've got."
"By showing," Liam announced. "I take it you mean to spring this on them in a way they don't expect which would mainly involved some poor lad, lassie, or combination of the above to get their asses kicked?"
"Well, Arty started it with her Amazons," Robin smirked. "I'm just spreading it out a bit."
Liam grinned and smacked Robin on the shoulder. "Well, gotta get going before the wife misses me."
"If she married you, she should be used to it," Robin smiled. Liam laughed and shook his head, teleporting away.
"He's married, huh?" Larry said as he came up, still getting used to this new strength and agility.
"If he's still married in five months, I'll be shocked," Robin said, shaking his head. "Don't get me wrong, Liam's a great guy and I love him like a brother but he's not the type to really get tied down to one woman for a long time. Well, once maybe but that's a long story."
"He does seem the kind of guy to rub women the wrong way," Larry said.
"Oh, he can rub them the right way all right," Robin grinned. "It's keeping them rubbed that gives him problems."
Larry chuckled. "Maybe we should try to get him hooked up with Shaw. Probably the only other person on Earth as arrogant and capable as he is."
"Might be something," Robin smiled. "Him and Shaw……"
He and Larry paused in thought, then turned to each other and shook their heads. "Naaah," they said as Robin snapped his fingers and teleported them away.
St. Wolf Residence
13 March 1999
Steve glanced at Larry as the young man walked into the gym, clad in gray sweats. He shared a glance with Buffy and saw a concerned look on her face that mirrored his own thoughts. He walked over to where Larry was greeting Oz and Xander.
"Larry?" the Wanderer asked, drawing the jock's attention. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm okay," he said, turning towards the team leader. "I know what you're about to ask, and it's okay. I talked with Dr. Greene; he cleared me for some light training, provided you gave the okay on your end."
Glad to hear that the team psychiatrist had already talked to the young man, Steve nodded his permission.. "Just take it one day at a time, Larry, and don't push yourself too hard."
"Got it," the jock agreed.
Larry turned to see Robin walking in with Amy, his usual smile on his face. He saw the wink that the fairy sent his way, half-hidden by him leaning into Amy and whispering something in her ear. She glanced at him with a hungry look in her blue eyes and a sly smile of her own.
"Larry?" Shaw's voice said from behind.
He turned and saw not only Shaw, but also Faith standing there, watching him. He saw the eyes in both girls, knowing what they were. From Shaw, it was protectiveness like the others had been emitting, the difference being that with her, she felt that way toward the entire team. Plus there was her experience of knowing what it was like, what he'd gone through just a few days earlier.
Faith, on the other hand, was watching him with the look that he always saw when he glanced at her; the look that said the Boston Slayer was on the prowl and, while willing to take no for an answer, would try again later if she thought the 'no' would change at any time.
Sure enough, Faith looked him up and down with those beautiful eyes of hers. "Hey, Beefcake. Just checkin' up on you. Well, sort of. White Bread here's checking up. I'm checkin' you out. I don't suppose you've changed your mind, huh? You, me, a movie, maybe some… aerobics or sparring?"
"Sorry, Faith," Larry sighed. He knew the flirting was one half, maybe two thirds teasing between friends, but if given half a chance, the teasing could easily turn into serious interest on the part of the East Coast Slayer. He hated to kill the crush he thought she might be forming for him, but… "I'm not interested, Faith."
"That's what they all say the first month," she drawled, turning away and letting Larry watch her wiggle her hips as she walked away. She called over her back, "Look, but please touch if you feel the urge!"
Larry turned to Shaw, who had closed her eyes and was shaking her head, trying not to laugh. "Gee, thanks for the support," he sighed.
"I am just wondering what will happen if and when she figures it out," the half-elf shrugged. She favored him with a smile. "And I am sure fending off her subtle advances distracts you from… thinking about what happened."
Larry nodded with a crooked grin. "You call that subtle?"
"For Faith, definitely," she confirmed with a laugh.
"Great," the baseball player groaned. He then answered her unasked question. "I'm doing okay. No nightmares, I was more worried about my kid brother than anything. That spell you put on him made him think the entire thing was a dream."
"I am glad he is not suffering," she said neutrally. Larry saw her looking at him strangely.
"What is it? Is something wrong?" he asked. He assumed that she might not be convinced about how he was handling the aftermath of the torture. "I swear, I'm not stupid enough to hold anything back. Not from you, the guys or Dr. Greene."
She blinked at his assumption. "N-no," she stammered softly, caught off guard. She licked her lips and gazed at him, smiling gently. "It is just… I look at you and I am thinking, perhaps, that you may have 'crossed' the threshold of teammate and into that of a member of the 'family'." She glanced at the ground. "I… we were very worried about you."
"You guys pulled me out of there," he reminded her. "Plus we kicked the demon's ass, plus got all kinds of info on him. We scored a big win, doesn't matter how it came about." He clapped her on the shoulder. "But thanks. It means a lot."
His running partner gave her a crooked grin. "Do not think this means you get to play 'hooky' from our workout tonight."
They both shared a laugh until Buffy interrupted them by clearing her throat. Larry looked at her.
"Larry, you up for a little two-on-one defense?" the Immortal asked, giving him a mischievous smile. "You versus Xander and Cordy, multiple opponent drills?"
Larry smiled; zero hour had arrived. "I think I can handle that," he answered. He cracked his knuckles and turned to the grinning couple he'd be facing. "Shall we?"
Larry walked out on the practice mat and faced his two sparring opponents. The match would be without weapons; the idea was to defend oneself from both opponents at once. Unlike the idiot villains in most Hollywood pictures, the Scoobies had no inhibitions against ganging up on opponents or fighting dirty.
"We'll give you one shot to just say 'uncle,' Lar," Xander joked, taking up a Green Beret stance he probably pulled from his memories. "We don't want to hurt you. After all, baseball season's just around the corner."
Cordelia added her two cents worth. "Plus we don't want you playing rabbit on us. We've got reservations at the restaurant."
"No problem," Larry chuckled. "Trust me; I'll fight you straight on."
"Good to hear," Xander said with his typical goofy smirk. "Well, what do you say, Larry? Shall we?"
"You asked for it," the Amazon said through her dazzling smile. She opened the exchange with a front kick aimed at the right side of Larry's ribcage.
The idea was to make Larry shy to his left, where Xander would meet him head on, allowing the dark-haired beauty to take his right flank. But rather than move as she expected, Larry stunned her by gripping her two hundred dollar sneaker by the ankle with his right hand. He used his own power to add to her momentum, spinning her around counterclockwise on her left foot and leaving her off balance. Cordelia extended her arms to balance herself, but Larry then launched a field goal-type kick to her derriere, sending the Prom Queen sprawling with a sharp "HEY!!"
Larry brought his foot back down and squared himself to face Cordelia's partner. Xander had hesitated at the surprise reaction from his opponent, but recovered and threw a side kick at Larry's chest. Larry ducked and spun, sending out his own kick, the muscular leg sweeping Xander's foot out from under him. Xander landed and immediately rolled backward, coming back up with a surprised look on his face. He went on the offensive, throwing a powerful one-two combo at Larry's midsection and jaw. Larry went one better, stopping Xander's punches cold by catching them. Larry then pulled Xander AT him, catching him in a bear hug and pinning the empowered man's arms to his sides. Before Xander could try to break the hold, Larry exploded into action, performing a belly-to-belly suplex that would have left an Olympic wrestler green with envy. Xander landed fully on his back, an exclamation of pain escaping his lips.
Larry turned to face the rising Cordelia, who advanced on him with flashing brown eyes. He smiled and waggled his eyebrows at her.
"I'm gonna wipe that goofy smirk off your face!!" she shouted with hostile intent. She threw textbook right cross, her fist flying forward and toward Larry's jaw.
Larry surprised her again, this time by ducking and moving forward into her body. His shoulder rammed into the woman's perfect stomach, driving the air from her lungs in an explosive exhale. He stood back up, bringing her onto his shoulders and swinging the upper half of her body to his other shoulder, a startled yelp coming from his cargo. Larry clutched Cordelia's body with both arms and spun about on a perfect cue, using Cordelia's own feet to smack the risen Xander in the jaw, spinning his jaw around.
The jock spun Cordelia around three times before lifting her up into a military press and tossing her into Xander's arms. As he caught his airborne sweetie, Larry ran up and crouched. He threw a knife-edge through Xander's legs, sending his friend sprawling back to the mat, this time with a hundred pounds of dizzy, dark-haired Amazon warrior adding to his momentum. The lovers landed, Xander underneath.
From the side, Larry heard Faith shout, "Hey, we get to watch some nookie!!!"
"SHUT UP FAITH!!" came the response from the rest of the team.
Larry suppressed some chuckles as the sore Cordelia rolled herself off of an equally painful Xander. Larry didn't give them a chance to recover. As Sunnydale's most infamous sweethearts lay there, gasping for breath, the two-sport letterman moved between the prone warriors. He reached his left arm up into his right sleeve and dug all the way up to the elbow… He pulled out an elbow pad and switched it to his right hand. With a devious smile at the shocked Slayerettes, Larry used a sidearm toss to throw the elbow pad to a startled Faith who, along with the others, watched as Larry made a motion like an umpire declaring a runner "safe."
Larry then dropped, bringing two hundred and thirty pounds crashing to the mat between Xander and Cordelia, who received elbow-smashes directly to their breadbaskets.
Two matching gasps for air erupted from the defeated Scoobies. Larry stood up as the lovebirds did their best impressions of vacuum cleaners sucking air and turned to see what the gang thought of his victory.
They were all staring in complete, slack-jawed shock, save for one person.
Larry smiled as widely as Robin and walked over, the two conspirators exchanging hi and low fives while laughing their heads off. As one, they turned to the rest of the team, only to be cowed by the glares coming from Xander and Cordy.
Larry sent a questioning glance to his benefactor. "Did I go too far?"
"If it were up to me, I'd say no," Robin responded. With a second glance at the furious Wanderer and Slayer, he added, "But maybe the double People's Elbow *was* a bit much."
Jenny was the first to blurt out, "What in Artemis' name is GOING ON HERE?!?"
Cordelia spun on her butt to face her teacher. "Oh come on, isn't it obvious?!?"
"What, Cordy?" Willow asked.
Xander glared at the smiling Robin and smacked his forehead. "Let's review, Will. Cordelia, last February. Mulder and Scully, last May. Me, Oz, G-Man, Jarod, and Mulder on you guys, last August. Guess!"
The Scoobies all turned back to Robin, who just shrugged.
"Son," Giles started.
Jenny grimly added, "Of."
"A," Buffy moaned in understanding.
"BITCH!" Amy snarled.
"Best not say that to her face," Robin echoed with an uplifted eyebrow. When the gang's looks became decidedly hostile, he rolled his eyes, "Oh come on! Look at yourselves! Do you think for a moment that I didn't specifically *ask* the big guy for his permission? Geez, give me *some* credit for caring about something besides jokes."
"You made him the offer?" Giles asked, somewhat dubious given Robin's reputation.
"Oh come on, Rupe," the sprite sighed in disappointment. "Look at what happened this week. Larry and his brother got caught and we had to rescue him. Not only does this allow him to become equal to all of you, it also prevents the same sort of emotional hijinks and insanity that you people were showing last year that got me stuck in this gig in the first place. Remember?"
The Slayerettes all sent guilty looks in Larry's direction, even Faith, Kendra and Shaw. Robin nodded in triumph.
"Now, keep in mind, it's only logical after what happened," the fairy continued, brushing his hands on his jacket. "So to prevent all kinds of mothering, cooing, and cuddling Larry…"
"Spoil my fun," Faith drawled, drawing a suffering sigh from Larry.
"Whatever," Robin continued, "the point is, this way it gives us someone else with some skeeeels, gets you to concentrate on protecting the people NOT on the team, and of course, there's the whole benefit of how this will play with…"
The fairy smiled and said to the air, "Gods, I forget how much I love hearing that sound." He turned to face the glowering High King of the Fairy Lands. "Good day, my Lord. What's shaking?"
"You will be if you don't explain yourself," Oberon promised dangerously, his eyes glowing a bit already. "I don't suppose you'd care to explain why you violated your restrictions, sprite."
"Violate? How did I violate my restrictions?" Robin inquired with false innocence.
Oberon glowered at Robin, sending the sprite back a step on reflex. In a hard voice, he replied, "Not only have you once again performed a ritual that I personally banned half a millennium ago, you have also used your magic against the restrictions that I set for you. You know the penalties for disobeying my orders, Goodfellow."
Robin sniffed. "I don't suppose you'd at least allow me to speak in my own defense."
Before Oberon could answer, Faith shot forward and grabbed Oberon's arm over the objections of the members of the team who'd met the High King before.
"Look Tinkerbell," she snapped at him, "Beefcake's had a hard time and Fairy Boy's just looking after him! You got not right coming in here–"
Her speech was cut off as Oberon's eyes flashed. In an instant, the newest Slayer was lifted off the ground and hung in midair, helplessly thrashing around in an attempt to get loose.
Robin cocked an eyebrow. "No frogs, my Lord?"
"Oh sure, *now* he doesn't turn someone into a frog," Xander muttered.
Faith shot him a dark look. "Shut up, Xander!"
Talking about Faith as if she weren't even there, Oberon said, "Goodfellow, this Slayer may be an American, but she's obviously Irish. Even I know not to piss off an Irishwoman."
The levitating New Englander looked around at her teammates. "Some help here?" She glanced at Willow, who was shaking her head and looking paler than usual. She then glanced at Shaw. "Redeye?"
"Faith, please remember that where I was born, the Lord Oberon is worshipped as a God," she said with a shrug. "I may be one-sixteenth Irish, but it is not enough to make me suicidal."
"You'd be surprised how suicidal any Irish blood can make you," Robin corrected with a smile.
He said one word. "Scorpion."
"GOODFELLOW!" Oberon bellowed.
"Sheesh, and I thought Faith and Shaw had tact problems," Robin said with a roll of his blue eyes. Facing his liege directly and placing his arms at the small of his back, he began his defense. "Very well, my Lord, here is my defense. A few days ago, a Silerwor arrived on Earth from Toril, followed shortly after by the Rainbow Archer, who I'm sure you've heard of." Oberon actually cocked an eyebrow in interest. "Right. So anyhoo, let's do Titania's Notes; Silerwor wreaks a bit of havoc. Rainbow Archer kills him or so we think. Silerwor launches attacks on the team, including my charges, and captures my newest charge. In the hastily yet very well-planned rescue operation, the team rescues Larry, but not without some risky maneuvers on the part of one of my charges and a Torilian who shall remain nameless." He glanced at Larry and went on in a softer tone. "Now it seemed to me that not only would what happened to Larry result in over protectiveness on the part of the more experienced members of the team, but keeping him out of battles would only lead to resentment on Larry's part, which in turn could lead to rifts in his friendships with my charges, not to mention the effect any injuries or death would cause. I felt that to nip this problem, similar to the one that brought me here in the first place, in the proverbial bud, I should simply even the scales or what not." He bowed his head. "Beyond the simple easing of the pressure to protect Larry and keep the team from going to lengths to protect him when they should be concentrating on fighting, it also gives them yet another teammate with their level of skill, thereby relieving some of the pressure. The more equals they have on the team, the more time they'll have to live normal, mortal lives." He frowned. "At least in what teenagers consider normal these days."
"Hey!" the teenagers shouted.
Oberon opened his mouth to speak, but Larry stepped forward before the High King could do so.
"Larry…" Robin started, but the jock held up a hand to stop him.
"Uh, look, sir," Larry began, not looking as nervous as he felt. "If it's all the same to you, why don't you just cancel the whole empowerment thing?"
"Larry!" Robin blurted, shocked like the rest of the team.
"No, Rob," he said, glancing at him before turning back to the Lord of the Fairy Kingdom. "Really. If it's just going to get Robin into trouble, then I can get by without this. He was just trying to help me out and take some of the pressure off the guys. They looked out for me, and I guess I saw this as a way to pull my own weight in the fighting." He shrugged and sighed. Facing Oberon and looking him in the eyes, he said, "But Robin's my friend, and I'd rather have the stuff cancelled than have him get into trouble because of me." He hesitated. "He was just trying to help me and the team out."
"And get some laughs at the expense of your comrades," Oberon noted.
"Well, my Lord, some habits die hard."
"ROBIN!" the Slayerettes shouted.
"Well, they do!" he protested.
"Enough." That word made Robin gulp and turn back to the powerful Eternal. Robin watched him stare at Larry for several seconds before he smiled.
"Uh oh…" Xander and Cordelia muttered.
Oberon turned to Robin. "You chose well with this one, Robin. He shows respect for others."
"I can't claim the credit for that, my Lord," Robin told him. "Though I wish I'd thought of doing that."
"Whatever." Oberon took a deep breath and announced, "Very well, Goodfellow. You've made a fine case, and yes, you've gotten away with it this time." He stifled Robin's ensuing grin in its tracks. "This is also the LAST time you will perform this ritual until the time comes when I *might* deign to consider releasing you from your restrictions. Is. That. Clear…?"
Robin nodded, savoring his small victory. "Crystal."
"Good." Oberon's eyes flared and he vanished in a burst of golden light.
Faith, no longer supported by Oberon's magic, fell to the floor, butt-first. "OW!"
"Welcome to the club, Larry," Robin chuckled.
Larry grinned. "Thanks," he said, before glancing at the empty spot. "You sure you won't get in trouble?"
"Oh, please. The Boss can't well argue when I used his own rules to do this," Goodfellow laughed. "Though now I can't give anyone else the Treatment."
"Fine by us," Buffy said, folding her arms and tapping her foot.
"Let it go," Steve ordered. He glanced at Larry. "While this is all well and good, we still have training to do. And Larry, I hope you'll understand my keeping you from the 'active' roster until you get some more time and experience under your belt."
"No problem, Steve," he said with a small nod. He sent a smile in the direction of Faith, who was rubbing her backside. "I’m just glad that no one got turned into a frog this time."
Faith glared at him. "Ha, ha, Prime Beef. Don't laugh. I remember the stories these guys have told me about…" She stopped and stared at him with unreadable eyes. A grin started to grow, slowly at first but rapidly growing wide, showing teeth. The Boston Slayer walked up to Larry and gripped his sweatshirt, looking him up and down.
"You know," she drawled, staring at him with green-brown eyes and cocking her head, "you got the Robin treatment, right?"
"Yep," Larry grinned at the woman who he considered a friend.
"Okay," she said, looking him up and down again. She smirked at him. "So you got the whole package, right?"
"I think so," he answered, not seeing what she was getting at. "Strength, speed, reflexes, some combat skills."
The Dark Slayer leaned in close. "Libido?"
Larry's shoulders slumped and he glared at the ceiling. "Don't get your hopes up."
Faith's smile faded into a lovely pout.