Naked in Needles
- by CaptainBoulanger
- Disclaimer: For entertainment purposes only. I make no claim at ownership of any characters or settings from the 'Northern Exposure' or 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' television series which may be used within.
Part One: Naked in Needles
They'd stopped for the night here in Needles, California because it was halfway
between L.A. and a reported supernatural attack on the tiny town of Oracle,
Arizona. The town on the banks of the Colorado River was not much more than a
retirement community, and the hotel manager had looked shocked renting the rooms
to Giles and Principal Wood and the rest of the gang in the Sunnydale Unified
The sunrise glinting off the river had woken Dawn very early, and she clicked on
the dusty television in her room. It blinked on to CNN. "This just in. A
National Jetlines flight from New York-JFK airport to Los Angeles has crashed in
Eagle County, Colorado. No details are yet available. A team from our Denver
office is en route to the crash site at this time."
Suddenly, she heard a cellphone trilling in one of the girls' purses; they'd
left all of their purses in Dawn's room because, hey, Buffy was insisting on
guarding her anyway. Buffy just rolled over in her sleep.
Dawn leaned over the pile of purses, finally fishing out the one that was
ringing - not so much by locating the sound, but because she recognized the ring
tone. Only Willow - or Dawn herself - would program her phone to ring with the
theme song from "Harry Potter". Sure enough, the ringing phone was in Willow's
purse, next to her pocket Torah. Dawn raised an eyebrow; she didn't know Willow
owned a pocket Torah. But she'd learned enough to know what Hebrew lettering
She didn't recognize the 800 number on the phone's screen, but answered it
"Hello. Miss Willow Rosenberg?"
"No... this is her friend Dawn. Can I help you?"
"I'm calling from National Jetlines, and I need to speak with Miss Rosenberg
"Just a moment, let me go find her." She ran to the connecting door, pounding on
it until a sleepy Giles opened it. "Dawn, what is it?"
"Which room is Willow in?"
"One-ten. I have the second key."
"Give... now. Phone call for her, very important." She waved toward the
cellphone, which was still up to her ear with her other hand.
"Right." Giles handed over the cardkey and Dawn rushed out into the hall, not
minding that she was wearing her Gryffindor pajamas in public.
She pounded on the door of one-ten to give Willow a bit of warning before
barging in; sure enough, Willow had had just enough time to slip out of bed and
grasp at a bathrobe on the floor. Dawn took the chance to look Willow over
before she got the bathrobe on; so *that* was what Tara had always been grinning
and stammering about. "Will.. phone. It's National Jetlines."
Slipping the bathrobe on - just to free up her hands, as she didn't tie it shut
- Willow pulled Dawn into the spacious bathroom. "That's strange, I've only
flown on British Airways, Giles insists on them." Nevertheless, Willow grabbed
the phone from a slightly-shocked Dawn, who was still getting over Willow's
apparent decision to be casually semi-nude in front of her.
"This is Willow Rosenberg."
"Miss Rosenberg, I am sorry to call you at such an early hour, but there has
been an incident involving our morning flight from New York to Los Angeles.
While we have no information at this time, we thought we should keep you
appraised of the situation."
"Why would I care?"
"Your parents, Ira and Shiela Rosenberg, were passengers on that flight. You are
listed as their next of kin. Were you unaware of their travel arrangements?"
"Yes, I wasn't aware they had gone to New York, we don't speak very often..."
"Miss Rosenberg. Do you have a pen and paper? I'd like to give you our special
hotline for these sorts of incidents."
Willow mimed writing something to Dawn, who rushed into the other room to find a
pen and paper. "Just a moment, I'm looking for something. I haven't seen the
news yet... or even a clock, it's pretty early in the morning. Could you fill me
in... just whatever is on the news will be fine."
"The aircraft has gone down in western Colorado; investigation teams are not yet
on site and we do not know the status of anyone on board."
Dawn returned with a pen and paper, and Willow smiled. "Okay, I'm ready for that
The National Jetlines rep gave the number, and Willow wrote it down carefully,
reading it back. "Should I call at any certain interval?"
"Whatever makes you feel comfortable. We will call you when any further
information specific to your parents becomes available."
"Thanks. Bye." Willow clicked off the pone, with very little emotion in her
voice, and turned to Dawn. "Thanks for the phone, and the pen and paper."
"My parents... they were in an airplane that went down. No info yet, but they
had me listed as their contact person in case something like this happened."
"Well, I'd better call their lawyer and let him know; I know he's got copies of
everything. In fact, I've been meaning to make sure he knew about the house.
Where's my purse?" Willow asked, setting her phone down on a pile that looked
like the outfit she'd worn the previous day.
"Still in my room with Buffy, and probably Giles, since he was in the next room
and I woke him up."
"Wondered how you got the key." Willow rose from where she'd sat, perched on the
edge of the bathtub, letting the bathrobe hang limply from her shoulders. "Well,
let me get dressed, and I'll go find the phone number."
Dawn grinned. "I was wondering if you'd noticed."
"Of course I noticed. I've been living in your house for years now, Dawnie, and
I've always been open with you about everything. I didn't think you'd care."
"I don't. Though... I think I understand a bit more about Tara and Kennedy now."
Dawn laughed as Willow tossed a towel at her, and watched her start pulling
clothes out of her bag. "I'll meet you in your room as soon as I'm dressed. Get
Giles up, please."
"Okay." Dawn nodded, leaving the room.
Thirty minutes later, Dawn and Giles and Buffy were still waiting for Willow,
when she finally arrived, a yawning Kennedy in tow. "What's the what?" Buffy
asked, since Dawn had refused to speak until Willow arrived.
"I got a call from an airline. My parents were apparently on a flight that went
down. They're not sure about survivors."
Giles removed his glasses, wiping them on his shirt-tail, as he often did before
he spoke. Sliding them back on, he said, "I think you need to prepare for the
"I am. I'm going to put in a call to their lawyer and make sure he knows what's
going on. I know there's a will, and I'm reasonably sure what's in it, but it
still needs to be handled by professionals. Which in this case isn't us."
"Sounds reasonable. We've got to get on the move, though. We've got that
reported activity in Oracle to check out..."
"I'm ready. It's okay, really. We hadn't talked much since high school - really,
even then. I'm okay with this." Willow nodded, sounding almost as if she was
trying to convince herself. "Even if they're dead, I can take it and still be
"I'm not sure that would be best, but I will not stop you from helping as long
as I believe you can." Giles said. Principal Wood, who had just appeared in the
doorway, nodded his assent.
"The rest of the girls, and Xander, are up and will be ready to go soon."
"Good. We should get going, then." Giles stood up. "Willow, you will ride next
to me on the bus today. I want to be there for any news."