Willow and Charlie sat in her car across the street from the house Charlie was certain the girls were being held in. They watched as the team of FBI agents advanced on the house, bulletproof vests in place and guns raised.
"Can you sense anything?" Charlie asked, still doubtful that she could 'sense' the location of another person.
Willow concentrated and a small smile spread across her face. "It's faint, but it's there. This is it. There are wards in place to shield the girls from detection, but with so many in one place, it's strengthened their combined signal."
"You do realize that I don't fully believe you, right?" Charlie asked.
"What? Do you want to play magical Marco Polo?" Willow teasingly asked. "You go out in the city and I'll sit at home with a map and a locator spell, then call you on your cell to tell you where you are."
"And how would I know that you're not just hooked up to a GPS monitoring system?" Charlie teased back.
"I suppose you're just going to have to take my word for it," Willow said, grinning. She leaned over to kiss Charlie and he eagerly kissed her back.
The shout of "Open up, FBI" coming over the police radio sent them jumping apart.
"That's my cue," Willow said, moving to get out of the car.
"Where do you think you're going?" Charlie protested.
"The girls are going to be frightened. They'll need to see a familiar face, and that'll be me," Willow said.
"Okay, but just wait for the All Clear. Please," Charlie requested.
No sooner than he spoke several confirmations of "Clear" came over the radio. Willow grinned and hopped out of the car, running towards the house.
"Willow, what are you doing in here?" Don asked as he spotted the redhead.
"I need to assure them that it's really safe," she replied, moving into the room where six teenaged girls were huddled together.
"It's okay, it's over," she assured them. "Come on, we're going to take you home."
Slowly, they got up and one by one they gave her a hug. She had to quietly remind some of them, "Careful, remember your strength."
"Is that why we were taken?" One of the girls, Madelyn, asked.
"We'll talk about that later," Willow said, nervously eyeing Don, who was watching her closely.~~*~~
The last girl was just leaving with her parents, after having agreed to come to a meeting with the other kidnapped girls at the school the following day.
"So what was that comment Madelyn Bennett made to you back at the house?" Don asked Willow. "About them being taken because of their strength?"
Willow flinched, wondering when Don was going to call her on that comment.
Charlie stepped in and said, "Upon reexamination of the data, it would appear that I had missed the fact that these girls have all shown an increased level of strength in their physicals recently. It would appear that they all have a genetic trait that enhances certain characteristics - strength, agility, balance, etc."
"And that's what your school specializes in?" Don doubtfully asked. "Strong girls?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes," Willow agreed, grateful for Charlie's quick thinking. "In a regular educational environment, the girls can accidentally hurt their classmates due to this inborn additional strength. By attending a school where everyone has this same...ability...they are safer; not only from harming others, but also from getting into trouble for such accidental actions."
"Uh huh, right," Don reluctantly acknowledged, still not sure he believed her. "Well, good luck with that."
Don left the room to return to his desk, but Charlie caught up with him just outside the door. "Will you be coming over for dinner tonight?" he asked.
"Probably, why?" Don answered.
"No reason. It's just that I'm going to bring Willow over, to meet Dad," Charlie said.
"This is serious?" Don asked.
"I really like her, Don," Charlie said. "So please, now that this case is over, go easy on her."
"I'll do my best," he said with a wink.
Charlie went back to where Willow was waiting for him. "You ready to get out of here?"
"Yes, please," Willow eagerly responded.
Charlie laughed. "Do you have plans for dinner?"
"Not yet," Willow answered, looping her arm through his. "Why? You asking me out?"
"Well, I, uh, I was, um, hoping that you'd like to come back to my house, for dinner," Charlie nervously suggested.
"I'd love to," Willow said, loving the idea of them being alone for the evening.
"Great. That's great. I can't wait for you to meet my dad," Charlie said, stepping onto the elevator.
"Y-your dad?" Willow questioned. "You live with your dad?"
"Technically, he lives with me. I bought the house from him last year, but we both still live there. Don will most likely be joining us too. Is that okay?"
"Wow, a real family dinner," Willow said, trying not to sound disappointed.
"If you'd rather go out, we can do that," Charlie suggested, seeing her disappointment.
"No, I'd love to meet your dad," Willow said. "Besides, it'll be a nice change, eating in a real house."
"And what about the possibility of sleeping in one?" Charlie hesitantly asked, hoping he wasn't being too forward.
Willow grinned. "If you play your cards right."
"Have I ever mentioned that I am an excellent card player?" Charlie asked as they walked out of the building.