Disclaimer: See chapter 1
Authors note: Just wanted to say thanks for all the reviews!
At Sunnydale’s Beach:
Teenagers are partying on the beach, gathering around bonfires and having fun. Oz and Kendra look across the fire at each other from their seats. “This is the first party I have ever been to,” the former Slayer says.
Oz shrugs, “Not my first, but I am usually playing my guitar instead of sitting around a fire with a friend.”
“Interesting,” Kendra nods. An unfamiliar guy walks by, but Oz brushes it off when he feels unusual chakra being used around the stranger.
Oz sets his gourd on the ground, letting the sand leak out into the beach. “Which Jonin is here?”
“Kakashi, from the feel of it,” Kendra replies with a slight smile. “You felt it too? Not bad.” Oz shrugs slightly and smirks.
Angel walks by dressed as a teenager. He sniffs the air and glances at a young man who is flirting with someone. The boy smells distinctly fishy. Probably tuna. He dismisses it as the boy’s late dinner and continues through the crowd, observing them carefully.
Angel sneaks up behind his favorite Slayer and wraps his arms around her. “Hey, Beautiful! Come here often?” She jumps and he can feel her getting ready to throw him headfirst into the ocean, before she pauses long enough to see who it is.
“Don’t scare me like that!” she exclaims, nudging him in the ribs. Willow giggles and rolls her eyes at the couple.
Willow says, “I think I’ll leave you two alone. I believe there is an Uchiha here to stalk.” This time it is Buffy’s turn to roll her eyes at her open admittance of her activities. The redhead strolls away, spying out the crowd for her ‘beloved’. As she looks, she sees a guy approaching Faith. What an idiot. She continues on.
Faith listens to the guy as he tries to brag on himself and impress her. “Dude, get lost. I’m not interested,” she states coldly.
He declares, “Do you know who I am? I’m the number one swimmer on Sunnydale’s Swim Team!”
“Yeah, I’ve been hearing about it all night. What about it?” she raises an eyebrow. He sputters and gets red faced at her complete apathy. While he is thinking about how to reply, she adds, “You don’t stand a chance with me, kid. Besides, you smell funny. I don’t date funny smelling guys.”
He sniffs his shoulder and replies proudly, “I do not smell funny, unless you’re talking about my manly cologne! And kid? We’re the same age!”
Faith looks almost sorry for the swimmer. She leans forward. He starts to close his eyes, waiting for the kiss that he obviously deserves, or thinks he does, when he hears, “Same age physically, maybe. But as for mentally, you’re still wearing pull-ups.” She pats his cheek pityingly and turns to walk away. His face goes completely red and he raises his hand to slap her. She senses a spike of weird chakra from the boy and spins, catching the hand easily. She stares at him for a long moment. Unusual chakra, but from this lowlife?
He jerks his hand away and struts off indignantly. She smirks, “Boys. They’ll never learn. Hey! I bet Kakashi is bored.” An evil grin grows on her face as she goes to torment her favorite Jonin and his pet Slayer.
Faith finally spots them and sneaks forward, a snake-like grin on her face. Oz notices it and holds up his hand around his eyes so that he cannot see what she is doing as he and Kendra talk.
Faith gets closer and is about to pounce on the loving Slayer/Kakashi combo when a blood-curdling scream interrupts her from the darkness near the water. She growls under her breath at her fun being ruined before running with the other teenagers to find out what happened.
The dark-haired Special Jonin arrives on the scene, only to find that her yellow-haired teammate beat her there. “Looks like Dodd got eaten,” Andrew says without remorse in his voice. “He was a really big jerk, but he didn’t deserve that.”
Faith gives him a look, “That’s up for debate.” She looks down at the carnage when something looks wrong. “Is it just me, or does it look like a snake that shed its skin?”
Jonathan says as he walks up behind her, “Possible, but humans don’t shed their skin.”
Faith grins at him, “I knew he was a demon! Can I go slay him now?”
“Just a little?”
She pouts, “Party pooper.” Angel arrives on the scene. “Jonathan, can you see anything in the water that might have done this?”
He slowly turns to face the Jonin with his Byakugan blazing. “Something is, but it’s getting too far away for me to track.”
“Faith, get a sample back to the Hokage,” Angel orders. “We need to get to the bottom of this before the incompetent police arrive.”
She nods and pins a piece of shredded hand with a wired knife, yanking it into her sleeve with a flick of her wrist. The ninja disperse with the exception of Oz and Kendra. As the others melt into the darkness, Oz tilts his head and extends his senses through the beach’s sand to make sure that nothing else is coming to shore to cause trouble.
He nods to Kendra and they melt into the darkness. Of course, if anyone at the party thought that they saw them disappear while holding hands, the couple would fervently deny all such claims.
Summer House Basement:
Joyce peers through a microscope at the piece of skin. “This is bizarre! I haven’t seen anything like this in all my years of medicinal practice!” she exclaims, one eye closed to see it clearer. Jenny clears her throat nearby. “Well, Tsunade’s years, but I’ve still never seen anything like it.”
Joyce moves back, crossing her arms over her green robe thoughtfully, while Jenny leans in for a look. “The cell structure seems to
look like a fish,” Jenny says to her. “I’ve never seen anything like it either. I could be wrong, but it seems to have some human cells.
They can’t get that from eating humans.”
“That’s what I thought too,” Joyce frowns. “We’ll break down what this is made of and get some idea of what it is.”
Warren steps out of the shadows and cracks his knuckles. “This is where I come in. Let’s see what we got here!” A serpentine grin slithers onto his face.
Next Day in Sunnydale High:
Kendra is pulling books out of her locker. She drops the books into her bag and her locker door is slammed for her. Cameron stands there smugly. “Hey there, babe. I’ve had my eye on you for awhile—“
“I’ve noticed,” she snaps. “Do not call me ‘babe’.”
He continues unperturbed, “and I think it’s time you went out with a real man! You could be one of the most popular girls in school, along with the luckiest, if you went out with me. So, babe, how about it?”
He frowns and puts his arms on either side of her, “Listen here! I’m trying to help you out here. You just need to experience a real man!”
“When I see one, I’ll let you know. You have five seconds to remove yourself from my presence before I castrate you,” she states solemnly. A little bit of killer intent leaks out. He feels an unusual fear welling up inside of him, but he decides to persevere! He opens his mouth to say something when an aura of pure evil surrounds him. He feels someone tapping on his shoulder. The evil is so thick that he can barely breath. Cameron turns around slowly to come face to face with a very large brown hand. It connects, bouncing his head off of the locker and sending him sprawling onto the floor. Oz stands over him, the sand hand retracting back into his oversized backpack/duffle bag.
He growls in a deep, almost demonic voice, “The lady said no. Touch her again and mother will have your blood!”
Kendra smiles sweetly and takes his arm. Looking down at the fallen swimteam member, she says cheerfully, “I told you when I found a real man, right? Found one!” She leads Oz away with a very smug look on her face. People clear the path. Probably because of the odd grin of a homicidal maniac on Oz’s face.
Principal Snyder pushes his way through the crowd towards the couple. “Hey, you ruffians! What do you think you’re doing to the head of the swim team? Get over here!” Oz and Kendra look over their shoulders simultaneously with an odd shadow over their eyes and homicidal grins on their faces. “Yes, Principal Snyder?” they chorus in demonic voices. He opens his mouth and does the only thing possible for a man in his position! He wets his pants, loses the ability to speak above a mumble, and loses himself in the crowd.
The Jinchuriki stalk forward silently down the hall. The same hallway that was a moment before bustling with noisy students is now completely empty. The locker doors bulge from the students voluntarily crammed into them. The couple walks forward, looking straight ahead. Halfway down the hall, they stop and turn their heads to the right simultaneously with those evil grins. A yellow-haired young man, who is standing in front of a pile of people hiding behind him in his locker that has two strange seals on the inside corners of it (It’s bigger on the inside), gives them a matching grin with two thumbs up. They roll their eyes and keep walking. Several people pass out from their evil presence, toppling out of their lockers in the couple’s wake.
Later that Day:
Cameron gets out of the swim team’s relaxing steam room to help his bruised body feel better. He gets his clothes on and heads for the cafeteria for a bite to eat.
Larry walks down the hallway with two girls under his arms. He senses something wrong with Cameron. A menacing aura reeks off of the swimmer. Larry frowns and follows him into the cafeteria. Cameron leans against a table suddenly and screams in agonizing pain. He claws at his arms and face, ripping them off easily and showing green scaly skin.
The girl under Larry’s left arm leaps into the air and shreds her clothing to reveal his Ant puppet. The ninja puppet lands behind it, trapping it inside easily. Blades pop out just enough to knick the creature. The creature stops trying to escape and passes out. Larry walks up to the puppet and kicks it to make sure that the creature is out cold. “I don’t know what you are, little buddy, but it looks like you are going to have a little chat with my boss. Orochimaru is going to be happy with this. Tsunade, not so much.”
He lifts the loaded puppet onto his back with ease and shushins into the library. The librarian and Jenny Calendar look up from the books they are looking over. Larry glances at them and drops his puppet onto the ground with a loud thunk. “We have a problem.” He pops open the hatch and a green creature that looks like the monster from the Black Lagoon topples out unconscious. “That was Cameron. If this is what happened to the last guy too, we need to round up the swim team before they all become sushi. Especially if Zabuza gets word of this.”
Giles picks up a walkie talkie from under the table and says with annoyance, “Orochimaru, round up the swim team please, and no experimenting before dropping them off. Don’t get Zabuza or Haku involved. The swim team wouldn’t make it back alive if they changed into monsters in transit.”
Warren says over the radio, “Very interesting!”
“We already have a live specimen for you to study, with supervision of course,” Giles replies calmly.
Warren responds, “Ah, you take all of the fun out of life. Oh well. I will drop them off shortly. I’ve been wanting to round up those losers for years.”
“Enlist whoever you want, just not those two. We need this done fast before they all change into monsters,” Jenny adds.
“Yeah, yeah, don’t worry about it. Anko and Naruto are on it. Since Anko was stalking Kakashi again, he’s helping too. We’ll be there within the hour. Orochimaru, out.”
Larry looks around awkwardly. “Where do I put this guy?”
“Just toss him in the cage. We’ll deal with him when Warren arrives,” Giles says flippantly. “Just another day on the Hellmouth. Now, Jenny, I still think this paper is worth a B.”
“It’s at least a B+,” Jenny argues stubbornly.
Location A: The swimmer Gage Petronzi strolls down the street. He notices a very hot girl in a nearby alley gesturing to him. She looks familiar, but the darkness clouds everything but the important features. He steps into the alley and she grins. “Hello, Gage. We’re going for a little trip to the library.”
“You’re that girl from school!” he exclaims. “What’s going on?”
She giggles evilly, “We’ll see soon.” Serpents shoot from her sleeves and wrap around him as he screams.
Location B: A young man pauses at a stop sign on his way out of town when the car door is yanked open and the boy is pulled out. Angel chops him on the neck once and drags him down the road, his eyes never leaving the small orange book in his hand. The only sound on the road is the car rolling into the ditch and perverted giggling as he reads.
Location C: A swimmer steps out of his shower in his bathroom and wraps a towel around him. He uses a small washcloth to wipe the fogged up mirror. Orochimaru stares at him through the mirror and grins. The boy screams for about five seconds. Three minutes later he is clothed and unconscious.
A boy walks through the park when he hears some running footsteps behind him. He turns around and sees an army of orange and blonde chasing him. “Gotcha!” they all yell as they tackle him.
Five minutes later, he is dropped onto the rest of the unconscious swimmers on the library floor.
“If they turn into Mr. Ugly over there in the cage, I almost wish they would turn,” Faith grumbles. “This was boring.”
Joyce sighs and shakes her head. She downs a large wine bottle and wipes her mouth on her sleeve. “Alright. Let’s get started. Orochimaru, secure them and keep them unconscious. We need to find out if or when they’ll turn into whatever Cameron is.” He nods and snakes slide up from the floor and carry them to the wall and secure the arms and legs. Giles places a paper seal on each of their foreheads to keep them asleep.
“Ready when you are, Tsunade,” calls Giles over his shoulder. She nods and rolls up her sleeves.
Jenny swipes the bottle from Mrs. Summers and takes a sniff. “Where did you get this?” she frowns down at her.
Joyce smirks, “A woman’s got to have her secrets.” She pulls another bottle out of her sleeve, downs it, and gets ready to work. Jenny sighs and collects the second bottle out of sheer habit.
A Few Hours Later:
The Sannin sit around the table with their apprentices discussing their finds. Warren looks around at everyone present, “There is a genetic similarity in each of the swim team members. It looks like they are mutating into our guest in the cage. Whatever is happening to them is no accident. According to their blood work, if we start now, we can reverse most of the effects on the non-scaly ones.”
“If they are turning into aquatic creatures, it makes sense that whoever is doing this to them is trying to cheat when it comes to swimming competitions. It’s a drug,” Joyce states as she flips through her medical sheets. “Who would have access to that kind of drug?”
Giles leans back in his chair and thinks, “It would have to be someone older with connections. I will have to check around.”
Larry comments from the side, “They’ve been winning a lot more this year. If they’re being changed, the nurse and coach would have to be paid off at the least to cover it up.”
Jenny frowns, “Coming from the background that I do have, I have noticed that the coach is ex-military. I went through his records while Warren and Joyce compared the blood work. He has the connections and there are notes put in by the other teachers that he has been getting more and more frustrated with the swim team’s losses in recent years.”
Angel sits at a nearby table reading a book. He inserts calmly, “I could always interrogate him with a genjutsu. We also have a Yamanaka at our disposal. Harmony can mind walk to an extent.”
Giles objects, “She does not have the experience! Ino needs further training before attempting that.”
“She needs to get experience sometime,” Jenny answers, eyeing him suspiciously. “Besides, this should be a piece of cake to do to a normal human. If she is in any danger, we pull her out. All missions carry their risks. She knew what she was signing up for when she volunteered to join our ranks.”
The librarian crosses his arms and leans on the table. “Ino Yamanaka, Neji Hyuga, and Kakashi will be responsible for capturing and interrogating him. We will deal with the team.” The other Sannin nod in acceptance of his decision.
Joyce snatches a bottle from Jenny’s arms when she isn’t ready and takes another swig. Wiping her lips, she says, “Sakura, Shizune, and Hinata will assist myself and Orochimaru in the tests. They are being trained to be able to be medical nin and need the experience too.” Warren and Giles nod in agreement.
Jenny yanks the bottle back into her own hand with a barely visible ninja wire wrapped around the bottle’s neck. “Who is going to be responsible for the students’ disappearance during school? This many students’ being absent or home sick at once is noticeable.”
Giles stretches his fingers and cracks his knuckles. He grins, “Leave the Principal to me. He won’t cause a fuss. I think that Amy and Faith will accompany me to pay him a visit.”
Joyce thinks about it, “I have a feeling that we’re missing something…Tara.” She appears next to her on bowed knee.
“Yes, Lady Joyce?” she says respectfully.
Joyce smiles, “Abduct the nurse please. If she has any co-conspirators that are helping with the cover up in the area when you find her, bring them along.”
“Of course,” Tara answers. She stands and quickly walks out the door, removing her Anbu mask and casting a henge over her uniform as she does. As she passes through the library double doors, Drusilla falls into line beside her with full uniform and mask. “I was given this mission. Go away,” she grunts.
Drusilla giggles, “Sorry, but Master Spike has told me to keep tabs on you. You’re stuck with me.” Tara growls but, without destroying the school, she can’t get rid of her.
In Snyder’s Office the Next Day:
Snyder is filing out paperwork at his desk. Someone knocks on the door. He shouts, “Come in!”
The three ninja file into the room. “Not now, Rupert. I don’t care what kind of trouble Summers has gotten into! I am not going to go lenient!” Snyder snaps.
Giles smiles calmly and gestures for Amy and Faith to sit. They sit down in front of Snyder with matching evil smiles on their face. The principal looks back and forth between them uneasily. “What do you want?”
“I am going to say this once and we are going to remain civil,” Giles explains. He places a small pile of papers on the desk. “These are the names of the students and teachers who are going on a long distance field trip. There is no definite time that they are coming back. The parents have gotten notes with your signatures on them, and you are going to ignore their absences. Are we clear?” Snyder opens his mouth to yell at him when he notices a large python sliding out of Faith’s shirt and slithering over her shoulders. It hisses at him and seems to be licking its lips. He looks over at Amy and can sense an ominous presence behind her.
He looks back at Giles who is still completely calm. Giles smiles, “If there are any complaints, talk to my assistants in charge of dealing with complaints. He gestures to the two girls in front of him. Snyder gulps.
They file out. As Amy closes the door behind them, she pauses and stares at the principal for a long moment. She lets out a mad giggle and slams it shut. Snyder lets out a breath he didn’t realize he had been holding.