AN- It's been almost a year since I've updated this story and there's not enough apologies in the world to make up for it. (Or cookies =-) ) My life has been one big roller-coaster from hell, and it's just now getting to where I can put my mind in the spot where I can write again. My father passed away last May and since then it's been rather hard to even function from day to day. But now that things have evened out more or less, you'll actually see updates on my stories. And I appreciate all the reviews you guys have sent my way even though I practically disappeared. *hugs* Thanks guys- I hope I don't disappoint you.
"Oh, God," Dawn whimpered and buried her face in her hands. Things had just gone from bad to unbearable. Now Willow was down for the count, Giles was missing, and her sister was being her usual selfish self. Add that to being in a strange city with strangers watching their every move with clever eyes that noticed everything. Oh, for the good ole Sunnydale police department. She felt sick to her stomach as she looked over at where Xander was holding the wet towel under Willow's nose. It was quickly becoming saturated- the red spreading to the point it was almost completely covered.
"Does she have a history of this kind of thing," the stocky detective that had been introduced as Jim Brass demanded as they waited for the ambulance to arrive. "She said she 'gets this way sometimes'. What does that mean?"
Xander looked up at him with a carefully neutral expression as he tried to think of a response. Anything he said would be checked against her medical history. Another worry to add to the already heavy load. How the hell were they gonna explain all the ER visits over the years? The cuts, the broken bones, the concussions, the unexplained comas that lasted a week. They were gonna pull the records as soon as Willow was admitted- and the results going straight to Grissom and his lab. And then the questions would start. Questions they didn't really have answers for.
"She's never been to a doctor about it, but Will has a history of nosebleeds. Nothing this big, of course," Xander said carefully after exchanging a long, telling glance with Buffy. His eye was caught by one of the officers reaching to grab up the scarf. "Hey! Don't touch that! Willow said there's something in it- probably poison or something. Besides, aren't you guys supposed to not touch stuff until the CSI people get here?"
The sound of wailing sirens caught their ears as the startled rookie backed away from the scarf. He looked to Brass who nodded curtly. "He's right. We need to process the scene carefully, people. Don't want another person down."
The paramedics arrived then and quickly took over with Willow, pushing everyone out of the way. Dawn gagged when they pulled the towel away and the thick, dark blood continued pouring out of Willow's nose. It quickly flowed around the sides of the other woman's face, soaking into her hair. The towel was replaced by a thick gauze bandage, held in place by a gloved hand.
Dawn buried her face in Xander's shoulder, not looking as they loaded her friend up into the ambulance. He wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tight for a minute. The young woman closed her eyes and enjoyed the moment despite the horrible circumstances. It felt so good to have him hold her- even though it meant way more to her than it did to him.
Rupert Giles had been held hostage many times during his rather long position as Buffy's watcher. The worst had to of been when Angelus had held and tortured him for what had to be the longest three days of his life. He'd woken up in basements, in dark, smelly hotel rooms, and there was the charming experience of the various warehouses certain demons loved to frequent. But this time had to be the first time he'd ever come to in what appeared to be a circus tent.
His one eye not swollen shut took in the interesting surroundings that included bales of hay, trunks filled with colorful scarves, and... a huge furry head with a mouth filled with insanely sharp looking teeth. His head jerked back in surprise, sending a jolt of pain from his head down his spine. The large tiger lay down on it's belly, large amber eyes looking at him solemnly. Giles couldn't tear his eyes away, not just because of fear, but because it wasn't mindless hunger he read in the clear depths. Deep intelligence peered out of the rather beautiful black-rimmed eyes. Eyes that- for a moment- looked more human than monster.
"I see you've met Anastasia," a lovely voice said, causing Giles to break eye-contact with the large cat to look over at the young blonde-haired woman perched on top of a couple of hay bales. "She's a good girl who doesn't automatically eat the guests."
"Amy." Giles said, his voice raspy. He coughed, moving his head to the side to spit. Again not very dignified, but dried blood tasted rather nasty when it was coming back up. "Thought we had seen the last of you when Willow sent you on your way."
"Not so much," the young woman grinned crookedly. "The little bitch thought she was so funny when she 'sent me on my way'. She's a killer. A murderous little witch that has blood on her oh-so-innocent hands. Not that I'm innocent, mind you. But I at least take credit for what I do. I am a murderer. I delve into the dark magic. I have killed with magic... Well, you get the point. I don't pretend to be something I'm not."
"Why now?" Giles watched with narrowed eyes as the rather young witch hopped down and sauntered towards him. Even as he cataloged the differences in the girl he used to know, his body tensed, waiting for more abuse. She was leaner, more muscular. Her blonde hair was lighter, and her eyes were darker. She was dressed in tight, form-fitting clothes that clung in all the right places, and exposed more skin than was proper. His gaze never wavered, but he tried to prepare himself for the worst.
She sat down in front of him, their faces even as she said quietly, "What better time than now? I've been keeping tabs, dear Watcher. Our lovely Willow is the daughter of the lead of a crime lab. One of the best labs in the nation- if the research is right. Who better to have around when her not-so- nice background is found out? All I have to do is stand back and watch as they all run circles trying to find you. And the little mice try to keep the past in the past."