Disclaimer: You know the drill.
Authores note: Just wanted to say sorry for the long delay. I was going to post it earlier, but keeped forgetting to, then I found that I had somehow missed placed the middle of the story. Then my co-author was gone for over a week. But we got it to you at last. A heads up though. One or two more chapter left in the part. Then a chapter or two for the the summer, then the next story, or when season 3 started. We got some surprises lined up for you, and I hope you will like them.
In the Basement of Angel’s Mansion:
Angel sighs and covers his Sharingan with his headband. The nurse leans over in the chains unconscious, her hands shackled above her head. The coach is tied up in a similar fashion and gagged beside her. His face is red with anger. Tara and Drusilla stand behind him with their arms folded. “That nurse was too easy to crack,” complains Drusilla. “No fun at all.”
“We didn’t even need the coach,” states Tara.
Angel replies solemnly, “It stops him from raising a fuss over the swim team disappearing and makes our cover story more believable. Relax. Tara, report to the Hokage.” He pulls a small vial out of the coach’s jacket. “Have the others analyze this. We need to find an antidote.” She takes the vial and leaves.
Drusilla moves closer to him and wraps her arms around his waist from behind, looking over his shoulder at the coach. “What are we going to do with the man, daddy?”
He absently pats her hand and replies, “I will leave that to Lady Tsunade to decide. If I had my way, we should feed him to his fish.”
“Sounds good to me,” smiles the dark haired woman demurely. “We could always say that he escaped and fell to his fish before we could catch him again. He did have military training, after all. We weren’t ready for it.”
Angel frowns, “I wish we could, but we’re ninja. Tsunade wouldn’t ever believe us. Jiraiya would punish us and Orochimaru would reward us. Two against one. Not in our favor.”
She releases him and backs away. “As you wish. If you change your mind, you know where to find me. I want him dead.” She disappears into the shadows. The coach watches the exchange fearfully.
Angel glances over his shoulder, “Want to take over, Ino?”
Harmony says loudly, “It’s about time!” She finishes painting her nails and puts the bottle away.
Jonathan looks up from his book, “Don’t go too hard on him. I don’t want to have to carry his corpse back to Tsunade.”
Rolling her eyes, she strolls up to the coach with a smile that makes the coach nervous. He squints his eyes. Isn’t that girl a cheerleader? She looks into his eyes and runs through a series of hand signs. She puts her hand on his forehead and whispers, “Relax, Neji. This shouldn’t take long. He’s just a civilian.”
Everything goes black.
In the Summers’ Kitchen:
Warren peers through a microscope at the liquid serum. “Interesting,” he coos as he intensifies magnification. “Crude but it has great potential.” Jenny clears her throat beside him, prompting him to smirk, “It was originally a military experimental drug. I will find safe enough uses for it. If we gave it to our resident Missing Nin, we could make a handsome profit on the black market. We just control who we sell it to.” Jenny scowls at the idea while Joyce has dollar signs in her eyes and rubs her hands together. Jenny clears her throat again, causing Joyce to look serious and disapproving.
“Money isn’t the object here,” Jenny firmly answers.
Warren sighs, “Moving on, Orochimaru did research similar to this drug in the past. I have some experience with it.”
“Can you change the two mutants back?” Joyce asks as she leans on the table.
“It will take time, probably a month,” Warren says slowly. “I am pretty sure I can reverse most of the effects, but the change is complete. They will never be completely normal again. They will have scales in certain places, I would guess for starters. I have no way of predicting for sure how much we can fix.”
Joyce nods. “Gather whatever equipment you need through Jiraiya or the Missing Nin and keep me informed.” He nods with a smile.
Warren continues, “However, for those that haven’t changed, we can reverse the changes before they go fishy. That should take about two weeks. They will have improvements genetically though. The swim team will be faster swimmers, stronger, thicker skinned, and much more comfortable in the water. Their breath holding capacity is going to be inhuman to say the least. They also have their chakra networks supercharged, compared to normal high school students.”
Jenny frowns and crosses her arms, “While recruiting new blood is good for the group, the situation that we’re accustomed to have changed. I just realized it myself, but nobody seems to think of the consequences of our recruitments.” She immediately has the Sannin’s complete attention. “The kids from this school weren’t raised by a village to be loyal or do what’s right with their training. They are just every day high school students with their own plans and ambitions in life. Who is to say that they will remain loyal to us or use their skills wisely?”
Joyce frowns while Warrens shrugs. The snake-like boy responds, “If they go south, we put them down like regular missing nin. It shouldn’t be a problem. Sure they’re kids, but so are we. If they cannot be trusted initially for training, we just put seals on them to prevent any chakra based abilities to be used and let them live their lives.”
“And if vampires get to them? We do not need more ninja-trained vampires. James is enough of a headache without adding to it,” Jenny counters.
Warren smiles pleasantly, “Than Temari and Yugito are very well trained on how to deal with vampires and ninjas. If you want, I can put seals on recruits that will blast their heads off should things go south.”
Joyce sighs, “I do not like this at all, but it may prove necessary. At the least, we can put seals on them to paralyze them until we can deal with them or track them.”
“Tracking seals are more reasonable,” Jenny agrees. “Only the active troublemakers should be equipped with the stun seals.”
“It’s settled them,” Warren says, leaning back in his chair. “I’ll relay all relevant data to Jiraiya. He had similar thoughts when I brought it up with him.”
Joyce interjects, “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves! Before we go around putting seals on people, we have something else to consider.” The other two pause to listen. “We can give them aptitude tests, under the guise of school assignments. They will show whether or not they have the mentality and maturity needed to be ninja. If they pass those, show an interest in our world once they catch a glimpse of it, and we decide to recruit them, then and only then will we start handing out seals.”
Warren shrugs, “As you wish. Simple enough solution, I suppose.”
The Next Day:
The three Sanin stand in front of the unconscious coach. “I think we should drop him off to a prison,” Tsunade says. “He will be out of our hair.”
“But it would raise too many questions,” Jiraiya inserts. “We should feed him to the snakes. Ino says he was planning on feeding the nurse to the fishboys soon because she was complaining too much. It would be fitting.”
Orochimaru coos, “Too messy and it sets a bad precedent. Perhaps we should drive him insane and throw him to an asylum.” Both look at him curiously. “What? It would be simple enough. Just give me and Tayuya a night with him. He will be ready for transport by morning.”
Jiraiya nods, “Doable, but we need Tayuya getting enough sleep for school the next day. She gets grouchy when she stays out too late.”
Tsunade answers, “True. Her getting grouchy usually leads to Doki in biology class and extensive flute recitals for the undead later.”
“She’ll sleep well. It won’t take long for us to break him,” Orochimaru reassures them. “Are we agreed?” They nod. “I will go fetch her.” He steps into the shadows and melts away.
The coach looks around slowly. He has a bright light on him in the middle of a dark room. He is bound tightly to a chair. He struggles but to no avail. “Where am I? This is illegal, you know! Kidnapping!” He struggles more.
A voice says from behind him, “Illegal? Let’s not be a hypocrite, Coach. We’re going to drive you insane and that will be the end of it.”
“How? Some sort of drug?” he shouts over his shoulder.
“Not at all,” a woman’s voice says from the darkness in front of him. “Tell me, how did you get here? How long have you been here?” He thinks and tries to remember. His memory is hazy at best. “Where are you?” the voice continues. Again, nothing can be remembered. He finally notices the gentle, distant sound of a flute going on.
“Where’s the sound coming from?” the coach demands.
The voice behind him hisses, “Nearby. Don’t look down.” Of course, the coach looks down. The floor drops out from beneath him into a lake of boiling lava. The ropes unravel as the chair falls, barely catching his foot. He can feel the heat. Suddenly, his hands are yanked out and held there by an invisible force. He watches as his arms start to slowly bubble and melt into the lava below. For the first time in his life, he lets out a scream of sheer terror.
One Day Later At an Insane Asylum in Wisconsin:
The nurse opens the door. She had heard someone knocking quite urgently. She looks down to see a blubbering middle-aged man with a note on his shirt. He is drooling and mumbling incoherently. He twitches uncontrollably. She carefully takes the note and reads: Please take care of the lunatic for us. Thanks!” In the distance, Jiraiya is driving away into the sunset with a smile.
Next Day Outside of Sunnydale:
Giles is driving down the highway when he notices a beautiful blonde woman leaning over the smoking hood of her car. The name Daisy Duke comes to mind when he sees her very short denim shorts and tight shirt. Being the gentleman that he and Jiraiya both are, he pulls over immediately.
She hurries over to him, “Can you help me? My car was running fine when the engine just started smoking and stopped working!”
“Of course, ma’am,” he smiles charmingly. “I know all there is to know about cars.” He leans down into the hood to get a clear look, though it takes more focus than is necessary for the Swamp Jutsu to keep his eyes on the engine instead of its owner. She leans over the engine with him, her low neckline giving him a good view. He whistles an old tune as he follows the smoke to its source. He yanks a smoke bomb out that was taped on the side of the engine. “What the…” he begins to say before the effects of the gas hit him like a ton of bricks. He collapses in a heap. She deactivates the gas. The gills on the girl’s palms fade as she starts breathing through her mouth again. Demons rush from the desert, pick up the librarian, and carry him back into the desert. Two demons put a body they had brought with them in the car, then hurry off after the others. A demon or two stay behind to pour gasoline all over Giles’ car.
The beautiful woman gets back into her car and drives away. The demons still at the site light the car on fire and hurry back into the desert.
At the Summers’ Home:
Joyce is writing a report, drinking happily without her dear apprentice to stop her. She frowns when her pencil tip breaks and her glass cup cracks down the middle simultaneously. A very bad feeling overwhelms her. She picks up her cell phone and dials. “Faith, has Giles reported in yet?”
At Giles’ Car Three Hours After the Abduction:
The Sunnydale Police are on the scene…being as incompetent as usual. The wind has blown away any tracks on the sand. The car is burning and a fire truck is there to hose it down. The police redirect traffic through the other lane carefully. A dark van pulls up followed by a limousine. The van opens and three police officers enter the scene.
Flipping open her badge to the chief, the dark haired woman states, “The mayor has given us authority to take over. Take your boys home. We’ll handle this.”
“I want to see the paperwork before I do anything,” the chief responds stubbornly.
One of the two men with her turns his head to the side, his teeth chattering madly. The other police officer behind her says, “We don’t have to show you anything, mister. We’re taking over the scene! Get outta here before we make you!” The woman raises her hand, making him instantly fall into silence. She nods to the limousine.
The door opens and a man in a business suit gets out, gazing out across the scene. “There’s our authority. Now leave,” the woman says smugly.
The police chief instantly recognizes the man as the mayor and immediately orders his men to head out. The fire truck has just finished putting out the burning car. The police cars drive back to Sunnydale. The van and limousine shimmer to a beat up station wagon and a moving van once they are out of sight. The woman takes off her hat and her police uniform fades to simple light body armor. She turns around and smacks the loud mouth in the head. “I said let me do the talking, Kankuro!”
He quickly backs off and places the extra police officer back into its wrappings on his back. “Come on, Temari! You know it was a good line!”
Buffy retorts, “No, it wasn’t.”
The mayor walks up to them, shimmering back to Warren. “Stop playing around, guys. Giles didn’t report in and his car was torched. Check the area and see if the police managed to leave some evidence intact of what happened here.” The team instantly spreads out. Warren takes a sample of tissue from the torched body and puts it into a tube, along with a sample of blood. He takes out a chemical and drips it into the blood. When nothing happens, he frowns.
Buffy kicks the sand and shouts, “Nothing! What on earth made Giles stop in the first place? He’s a Sanin! He couldn’t go down easily without signs of a battle.”
Warren rubs the bridge of his nose and sighs, “Knowing my old teammate, it was probably a trap set with a beautiful woman as bait. I don’t know who would know his weakness. We have no living enemies aside from James, and he is obsessed with Kakashi, not Jiraiya.”
Larry grins and thumbs to his puppet, “If James ever shows his face again, we will shorten the list to zero living enemies!” Buffy and Warren sigh.
Warren leans into the van and says to the driver, “Ninja Bot 2, send Tsunade a report. We found nothing that can lead us to Jiraiya. There was a body in the car, but the blood showed no reaction to my formula. If it had been him, any former chakra use would have been detected and changed color. This was a definite abduction, but there were no signs of a struggle.” The bot nods and instantly sends the information to the bot at the library.
In a Secret Location:
The weathered librarian slowly lifts his head, groggily glancing around the room. The first things he notices are that he is shirtless and covered with paper tags that have Japanese writing on them. Chains keep his hands above his head and apart as an IV slowly drips a sedative into his system. Giles groans, “This is worse than a hangover.”
James steps out of the shadows nearby. “Hello, Rupert Giles the Watcher. Or should I call you Jiraiya? Which name do you prefer?” Before the Sanin can answer, James continues, “I don’t care. I need your help with a little something. I need to know how to open that.” He points to a large statue with a sword sticking out of it. “So you’re going to tell me.”
Giles stares at it for a long moment, looks at James, and grunts, “You didn’t happen to see a gorgeous blonde around here earlier, did you?”
James slugs him in the face and shouts, “This is not a game! Tell me what I want to know!”
Giles shakes his head to clear his thoughts and replies slowly, “Then tell me what I want to know first. Where is the gorgeous blonde?”
James is about to punch him again when he pauses. “You’re serious.” Giles smiles perversely. “Oh no, you are serious. This is going to take longer than I anticipated. I would ease up the drugs muddling your brain, but that is too dangerous. However, it’s amazing what a large wad of cash can do in California. People will do pretty much anything for money.”
Giles grins wider, “When I find her again, I’ll remember that.” James punches him again out of frustration.
“Is that all you think about?!” James screams.
Giles thinks for a long moment and answers, “I write books too.”