Disclaimer: None of them are mine. Deal with it. I have.
Time Frame: Season Seven, right after the episode “Showtime,” and immediately after my earlier story, “Potential Weapon.”
Character Bashing: None. Well, maybe a little bit on Spike, but I can live with that.
Feedback: Of course!
Archiving: Just let me know where, please.
Author's Note 1: This particular timeline now differs significantly from canon, so don't expect anything to happen the same way Joss wrote them. That is the whole point of writing fanfic, isn't it?
Author’s Note 2: Thanks to Bill Haden and Drake the Archr for beta-ing this story.
A short time following the end of the preceding story
"You can't stake Spike," Buffy declared indignantly, outraged by Martin's earlier statement. "He's got a soul!"
"Listen up, Prom Queen. I'm a cop," Xander's uncle Martin immediately responded to the petite blonde's declaration. "All of the assholes I put behind bars every day have souls, and that's never stopped any of them from being scumbags. Is anything Xand told me about this guy's background wrong?"
Buffy reluctantly shook her head 'no.'
"Then if the Billy Idol wannabe downstairs," he indicated Spike's general location with a quick gesture of his hand, "makes one wrong move, he's gonna be even deader than he is now.
"And if you get in my way, I'll throw your ass in the slammer for interfering with an officer in the performance of his duties. Got me?"
"But I'm the Slayer!"
"Yeah, well, I'm LAPD. You've got a half dozen little girls backing you up; I've got 8,000 cops backing me. You really wanna throw down?"
Xander sighed – yet again – and shook his head in wearied frustration.
The pissing contest (there really wasn't any other way to describe it) between Buffy and his Uncle Martin had been going non-stop for the past ten minutes and he was really getting quite tired of listening to each of them trying to establish themselves as the Alpha of their little pack here (at least until Aunt Lorna got here and took charge), so he decided (against his better judgment) to intervene – if only so that they'd both just shut up for a minute!
"All right! That's it! Both of you – just shut up for a minute! I’m really, really, REALLY tired of listening to the two of you arguing, so just put a lid on it for a minute, okay?" he half-yelled as he stepped between the two, his hands held up, shoulder high, and glared at both participants.
"Buffy, Giles said something last night about you having to check out that old warehouse over on Maple Street, right? So why don't you take a couple of the girls with you and go do that now, before it gets dark, okay?" he suggested.
"That way, you can give them some basic instructions about how to figure out whether a building is a demon lair or a vampire nest, the way he asked you to do, and you can do it while it's still daylight so that you don't have to worry about having to keep an eye out for vamps looking to chow down on them at the same time, right?" he added as he saw the blonde Slayer open her mouth to start arguing.
"It'll make things easier for everybody all around, right?"
"Yeah, I suppose so," Buffy reluctantly agreed while still glaring at his uncle as she turned and headed towards the back of the house.
"Molly! Chloe! Kennedy! Let's get going," she peremptorily called for the three Potentials she was most familiar with. "I’m gonna show you how to check things out and see if a building's maybe a vampire lair.
"I'll show the rest of you guys the same thing tomorrow," she promised the remaining Potentials, who were looking at the three she'd named semi-enviously.
"Uncle Marty, why don't you call Rona's – I mean, Carrie's – parents and tell them you found her and that she's okay?" Xander suggested as he turned back towards his uncle. "I'm sure they'd want to at least know that you found her and that she's okay, right?"
"Yeah, okay, Xand," Martin also agreed as he nodded and began heading for the front porch as he pulled out his cell phone.
"But we're still gonna talk about what's going on around here, you hear me?" he added before exiting through the front door.
"There's no way I can just ignore what's going on around here. You should know that by now, kid."
"Yeah, Uncle Martin, I do," Xander sighed to himself as he turned to head back into the den.
"I know exactly what you mean."
"Hey, Rog, it's me. I've got some great news – tell Trish I found Carrie."
"Yeah, she's here in Sunnydale, just like we thought she might be."
"No, she's fine. Not even a scratch on her."
"No, I'm not bringing her home right now; things here are kinda complicated at the moment."
"No, I can't say. Not over the phone. 'Cause if I tried to tell you, you'd think I was crazy."
"Ha, ha. Okay, you're right – crazy-ER. Happy now?"
"Look , Rog, all I can say right now is that you gotta trust me on this, okay? I can't tell you squat over the phone – it's the kinda thing you really have to see for yourself, in person."
"Okay, how soon until can you get here?"
"Okay, that's good. The address is 1630 Revello Drive. Yeah, we'll be waiting for you."
"Okay, see ya then. Oh, uh, Rog? You know that stuff that we found in Travis' apartment after the case closed and that we, uh, kinda forgot about and never got around to turning into Impound?"
"Yeah, that stuff. Bring it with you."
"All of it."
"Yeah, you heard me right."
"Yeah. It really is that bad."
"Yeah. See ya when you get here."
Roger Murtaugh eyed the phone with a speculative eye for a moment after hanging it up as he considered the conversation he'd just had with his partner.
Yeah, while it was most certainly true that Martin Riggs would never, under any set of circumstances that he could ever possibly conceive of, be considered an easygoing, laidback, calm, cool and collected member of either the police department or society, it was also true that he was most definitely one of the best cops he'd ever met when it came down to finding out about and handling bad situations.
And, judging as much by what Martin *hadn't* said during their conversation as what he had, it was looking like whatever it was that was going down in Sunnydale at the moment was pretty bad, and was probably going to end up being one of the less pleasant memories he'd be looking back on, later in life. And after that thing with those South African assholes, that was saying a lot.
Oh well. Once you got down to business, it didn't really matter.
Whatever it was that was going on, it involved someone or something that had been, and still was, menacing his baby girl, Carrie, and that was something he just wasn't going to allow to continue.
He trusted Martin with his life.
Even more importantly, he trusted him with the lives of his family.
And if Martin thought that the situation was serious enough to ask him to bring everything with him that they'd found cached in the apartment Jack Travis had kept as an emergency hidey-hole when he headed down to Sunnydale, then that's just what he'd do.
And now that he gave it some thought, maybe he'd give Charlie Ashton over in the Bomb Squad a quick call, too.
After all, Charlie owed him a favor for helping take care of that little incident involving those strippers from Vegas a couple years back.
And one thing that having had Riggs as a partner for the past few years had taught Roger – scary as that thought was – was that there were very few problems that couldn't be properly handled if you had a large enough amount of C-4 with you.