Chapter 46: New Team
Chapter 46: New Team
Warning: this chapter may be considered a little/lot disturbing to people.
Challenge: #4472 ‘Bunny is my what?’
Thanks to my beta: AshDawnSoulmates (couldn’t bring myself to wait for the others, sorry).
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. NCIS characters belong to Donald Bellisario, Don McGill and CBS Paramount Television. Jack Ryan and his friends belong to Tom Clancy. Criminal Minds characters belong to Jeff Davis, The Mark Gordon Company and CBS. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.Posted In Honor of 100K words on TTH!
Voiceover by Anya
“After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die.” - E.B. White, Charlotte's Web
As soon as she woke up and could see the kidnapper, Anya asked, “Is this payback for Xander? What we did to the group that took him, I mean,” she clarified.
The man – who looked normal and not somebody she’d consider remotely dangerous – stared at her for a minute without blinking, making her reconsider her thought about him not being at all creepy. “I don’t know who Xander is, but I assure you it has nothing to do with him,” he told her as he moved around the room picking up miscellaneous items and putting them in a bag. “And I apologize for taking you, but I’m running out of time, so I had to loosen my requirements a bit.”
That sounded rather ominous. Anya narrowed her eyes and asked, “What do you mean?”
The kidnapper – she would think of him as ‘Ted’ from now on since his boy-next-door-hiding-a-monster look made her think of serial killer, Ted Bundy – explained patiently, “I need a baby within the next couple weeks, and you are the only woman near your due date whose baby could pass for mine and my wife’s natural child.”
“Kidnapping is your only option?”
Ted bowed his head in grief, then said, “My wife miscarried, and to get her full inheritance, we need a child. Besides, she has so much love to give a baby; she deserves the chance to give it.”
“And she can’t get pregnant again or adopt?” she couldn’t stop herself from asking out loud. On the other hand, he seemed okay with talking and the longer they talked, the longer her family had to find and rescue her.
Now his eyes turned hard and angry. “The agency said I couldn’t pass the psych profile,” he said with a clipped tone, clearly saying that any further questions in that direction would not be welcomed.
Anya muttered under her breath, “Big surprise.”
Fortunately, it was soft enough that Ted didn’t hear her because he kept talking in a friendlier manner, “But you have the same hair and eye color as my wife so we should be able to use your baby as our own. Don’t worry…I’ve gotten a lot better at home births since…the other times.”
Anya cried out silently to whatever deity might listen to former demons, ‘Please save my baby!’
She paused, then added, ‘And me, too, if possible.’ ~~~~~~Hospital
“Can’t somebody else do the locator spell instead of waiting for Tara to wake up?” Buffy demanded impatiently. It wasn’t that she didn’t care about Tara…the girl was the closest thing she had to a sister since Dawnie ‘died’.
Having expected such a question, Wes replied, “It wouldn’t work as well if anyone else tried. You see, in order to perform the spell to its fullest potential, the caster has to have two things: sufficient power and an intimate relationship with the person they are searching for.”
He continued before Buffy could focus on the phrase ‘intimate relationship’ and jump to a wrong conclusion about what he meant, “Now I have enough power to do the spell, but I don’t know Anya that well so I’d only be able to narrow it down to about a fifty mile radius. Tara, on the other hand, has been friends with Anya for several years and has shared numerous bonding experiences. Her spell could probably get you down to a couple city blocks. The only closer bond would be that of blood family or lover.”
His concern about which phrase she’d lock onto was mostly incorrect. Yes, the mental picture of the two blondes kissing flashed through her mind for a split second like a lightning bolt, but she was in Slayer-general mode and that made her hone in on another detail. “So you’d be able to narrow it down to fifty miles?” Buffy double-checked that she understood him correctly.
of fifty miles, yes,” Wes clarified, wondering where she was going with it. After all, that amount of real estate was fairly substantial to search without more information.
She ran the idea through her mind, then decided, “It’s better than nothing. Do the spell and I’ll start heading in that direction,” Buffy ordered, then turned to her housemate and said, “Oz, I’d like you to stay here and coordinate with the Council and have them pull any of our field people that are within 100 miles of the location Wes comes up with – but only if they can be spared from their current post. This attack on Anya could very well be a distraction to leave another area unprotected.”
One thing she liked about Oz was that he didn’t argue about staying behind. Granted, she had gotten better over the years about explaining why she wanted people to do things when it seemed like they were being left out. All he wanted to know was, “Who are you taking with you?”
Wes made a quick choice and offered before she had a chance to think about the question, “I’ll go with her; the spell only takes 10-15 minutes to cast. Fred can watch the children at the house.”
Buffy looked like she was going to protest but both of them shot her nearly identical looks that screamed she wasn’t getting out of the room by herself without a fight. And given some of the rumors she heard about Wes the past few years, she wasn’t sure she wanted to find out what he was willing to do to stop her. He certainly had changed a lot since the days of Wussy Wesley back in Sunnydale.
Plus they had a point about her having backup, especially of the magical variety. If nothing else, he’d be able to call down the full resources of the Council if she got in over her head.
She nodded, got up and kissed Tara on the forehead, then said to Wes, “Alright, let’s do the spell and get going. We have family to save.”~~~~~~BAU
Garcia was in her cave, tapping away at her keyboard while talking to her fearless leader and Rossi over the phone, “I couldn’t find any hidden properties in James or Nicole’s name, but when I expanded my search to family members, I hit the mother lode…literally. Nicole’s mother’s estate includes a coalmine-turned-gentleman’s ranch. Sending the address to you…now
!” she declared with a couple final strokes of the buttons.
Hotch let Rossi enter the coordinates into the GPS since he was driving. Instead, he asked about the other victim of the attack, “Any word from the hospital about Ms. Maclay’s condition?”
“Just that her vital signs are stabilizing,” Garcia replied.
Rossi was willing to state what they all thought in a corner of their mind, “Hopefully we can wrap this up before they’re able to involve themselves too much.” Ms. Summers had made it abundantly clear to them that as soon as her friend woke up, their time was up.
Before they could ask, Garcia added, “I haven’t seen any unusual activity on the FBI mainframe.”
“Let us know if that changes,” Hotch demanded before signaling Rossi to hang up.~~~~~~Kidnapper’s Lair
Sometime later, ‘Ted’ (really James) came back into the room with a black bag and announced, “It’s time for you to deliver our baby.”
“But I haven’t gone into labor yet!” Anya cried out in alarm.
“Since you’ve been having trouble with your blood pressure, I’d rather not risk the baby by waiting any longer. Now that I have the delivery area set up, I’m ready to finish this,” he told her as he prepared a hypodermic needle.
Before she could protest or put up a fight, he injected her with more drugs that made her go limp. She could still see what was going on around her, but her limbs felt like lead.
Ted moved her into another room and transferred her body to a homemade surgical bed. She had just enough control of her body to tilt her head to the side, where she made a disturbing discovery. On the bed, there were two mummified bodies: what looked like a woman and a very young baby. It was probably a good thing for her that when she tried to speak, it came out as slurred gibberish because he probably wouldn’t have been happy to hear her say what she tried to say, ‘Swell, he’s a cross between Ted Bundy/Norman Bates. I’m going to die...I just know it.’
“Anya and baby, meet my wife, Nicole Tompkins. Nicole, this is the woman who is carrying our baby. In a few minutes you’ll have your baby to love in your arms,” the quickly-devolving man promised his dead wife. Then he picked up a bottle of disinfectant, poured it over Anya’s naked torso and grabbed a scalpel.
Anya screamed as loud as she could, but it only came out as a loud groan.~~~~~~Town near Kidnapper’s Lair
Reid saw something outside the SUV that bothered him. “Isn’t that Buffy Summers heading into that restaurant with that man?” he asked the other occupants.
Morgan felt like cursing when he saw the pushy blonde. “Oh man, it is. Better let Hotch know.”
Already finishing the call, Reid started explaining when his boss picked up, “Hotch? We just saw Ms. Summers entering a restaurant in town. What do you want us to do? Okay.” He hung up the phone and said to Morgan, “He wants us to head to the ranch. He and Rossi will talk to her and make sure she stays out of our way.”~~~~~~Few minutes later…
After Buffy introduced the two agents to Wes, Hotch reprimanded her, “Ms. Summers…you should leave the investigation to us.”
Rossi was curious about how she was there and asked, “How did you find out about this place, anyway? Garcia hasn’t noticed any activity on the computers.”
Having learned about chain of evidence and whatnot from her time at NCIS, Buffy knew that part of their concern was her damaging their case against the kidnapper(s). “Don’t worry, I left the official investigation channels alone. That way your case isn’t compromised. One of my other sources told me to come to this general area. We’re hoping to narrow it down soon. How ‘bout you?”
To be frank, Hotch was both surprised and relieved that she was clear-thinking enough to act that responsibly. With the way she was talking earlier, he didn’t think she had it in her. “We’re following up on that lead we told you about earlier.” He studied her for a couple minutes, sighed and asked, “Is there any way to convince you to leave this to us?”
What surprised Buffy was that all her time playing the diplomat and peacemaker at the political parties had made her less prone to jump in without worrying about the consequences. Who knew that ass-kissing had a purpose? Not that she kissed any ass – unless you considered not beating the crap out of people who annoyed her ‘ass-kissing’. Still, it allowed her to put forth her reasons in a way these guys could understand, if not appreciate. “Honestly? No. The main reason why is that I’m worried that this is connected to Xander’s kidnapping and murder. If it is, you’ll be in way over your heads. In fact, I would feel a lot better if I could get some more of my people heading in our direction to back us up just in case.”
Recalling some of their more disturbing cases, Rossi tried to assure her, “We’ve handled some pretty nasty stuff in the past; I’m sure we can handle this as well.”
She shook her head. “Not if it falls inside my specialty.” Thinking of the female members of the BAU team, Buffy said, “To be honest, there are only three members of your team that would even remotely within the realm of having what it takes, but they don’t or I would have heard about them before this. The rest of you…I can’t be 100% sure about it, but I don’t think you have the right make-up to handle it from a different direction,” she added, considering whether or not the males on the team were fully-human or if they were part demon.
“You aren’t making sense. We’ve all completed field training, and while Garcia and Reid aren’t--” Rossi started to say.
Only to have Buffy cut him off, “This is beyond FBI field training. We’re wasting time, so just tell me now whether I have to call in my favor or not,” she demanded in Hotch’s direction.
Hotch assumed that her concern was foreign nationals, so he said, “Our suspect is an American citizen with no known ties outside the country.”
While it helped to know the kidnapper was local, Buffy knew in her world that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. “Yeah, but he could be – what do you call it?
– the front man?”
Again, Rossi had a different question for her, “Who’s the favor you’d try calling in? Tobias Fornell? I recall seeing you dance with him at one of those political parties a few weeks ago.”
Buffy smiled a rare smile since Anya’s disappearance. “Fornell’s great and all but he doesn’t have the muscle to make you do anything. For this situation, I’d call in the biggest gun I have…Jack Ryan,” she said, knowing the bombshell she was dropping on the poor guys.
“The President,” Hotch said in a flat tone like he didn’t believe her.
She nodded impatiently. “Yeah.”
Rossi paraphrased her words, “Your favor is with the President of the United States, Jack Ryan.”
“Yeah,” she said again with even less patience.
“And you feel comfortable enough with him not to refer to him by his title,” Rossi kept chewing like a dog with a bone.
She was past the end of her rope and practically yelled, “Oh my god, yes
! Can we focus on the bigger issue of saving Anya and the baby?”
Hotch knew that if she was telling the truth, they wouldn’t have a choice. Frustrated at being forced into a corner, he also knew that her favor wouldn’t matter anyway because it was better for her to physically be with them than to worry about her coming onto the scene later and risk blowing their chance to take the kidnapper alive. “You can come, but if you hinder the investigation in any way or hurt the case against the unsub because of your emotions, I’ll arrest you both myself and worry about the President later,” he bit out reluctantly.
“Fair enough,” Buffy agreed.
“One last thing,” Hotch said, “Since you’ve trained with NCIS, you can come in with us, but your colleague has to stay in the vehicle until we’ve cleared the area.”
Buffy hesitated, then replied, “Unless I need his expertise before that. He has skills that I’ve never learned and he’s the only one nearby that has them.”
Against his better judgment, Hotch nodded silently, then gestured them to follow him to the BAU vehicle.~~~~~~Kidnapper’s Lair
When they got to the secluded ranch house, Wes whispered, “Do you feel any vampires or demons, Buffy?”
She shook her head, but knew that her sensing abilities weren’t the best indicator.
Rossi handed them both walkie-talkies and made sure they knew how to use them. “If – and only if
– you determine this requires his expertise, you can get him to our position using these.”
“Call the Council and update them on where we are,” Buffy told Wes before following the BAU agents. To their surprise, she pulled her own bulletproof vest out of her bag and put it on. She saw their expressions and said, “What? I just recovered from getting shot and don’t feel like doing it again this soon.” Gibbs would trap her in the basement for months if that happened.
As they checked the exterior, Buffy mentioned, pointing to the footprints and tire tracks on the ground, “It looks like there’s only activity between the house and the barn/garage.”
Impressed at her deductive skills, the team still resented Buffy’s presence as they approached the house. They split up to surround the place, with Buffy staying at Hotch and Rossi’s side as they took the back entrance. When they tried – and failed – to kick in the door, Buffy stepped up and kicked it off the hinges, including the boards nailed to the walls on the inside meant to keep it shut permanently.
She ignored their shared look at her show of strength and peered inside. “We’d better be careful going in this way. Looks like the floor’s been torn up in places. Probably why the door was boarded up,” she called out over her shoulder as she walked across the floor joists.
Once on the other side, she allowed the agents to reestablish their lead positions. Even though she had a weapon, she’d rather not have to fire it on a non-NCIS case.
They cleared the rooms one-by-one and came across the first room Anya and the others were held in. There they found items belonging to the women…most notably, the clothes they were wearing when they went missing. From the way the clothes were piled in the corner, it didn’t feel like he kept them as trophies; more like he didn’t bother throwing them out after the women died.
“He’s soundproofed the room,” Rossi observed. “Wonder if he had a close call before or if he started out that cautious.”
“Either way, it could work to our advantage if he soundproofed the room he’s in now,” Hotch responded.
When they got to the next room, they saw James leaning down over the bed, putting a bundle on the far side of somebody laying there. His body was blocking their view, however, so they didn’t see Nicole’s corpse or that of her infant child on the other side of her body.
Buffy’s attention was drawn by the sight of Anya lying on a nearby table, her stomach cut open and blood everywhere. The pale, clammy skin on her friend’s face made her long to rush to her side, but just then James noticed his unwanted visitors and straightened up.
Hotch and Rossi tried not to react to the sight of the mummified woman ‘holding’ her equally mummified baby as well as the freshly-delivered newborn, but it was difficult.
“Stay back!” James yelled, picking up the scalpel from the bedside table.
“Put the knife down, James,” Hotch attempted to reason with the man.
“No!” James screamed back. “You can’t have our baby! Nicole can’t lose another one!”
“Let’s talk about this, James,” Hotch tried again. “Please let one of us check on Mrs. Harris.”
Buffy and Rossi took one step forward, but stopped when James also moved towards Anya with the scalpel pointing at her mutilated body.
“Stay back!” he screamed again.
“Why did you take these women?” Hotch asked, wanting to calm the situation down if at all possible.
James looked at the baby and said, “We needed an heir and Nicole’s delivery didn’t go so well. But now she has the baby she always wanted. It’s perfect,” he whispered.
Rossi took another step towards Anya, but this time James moved towards the baby, swinging his arm as if to stab it. Hotch didn’t hesitate for a nanosecond; he shot the man twice in the chest. He moved to secure the unsub while Rossi went to check on the baby.
Buffy was already at Anya’s side, pleading for her to hold on, “Help is on the way, Anya. You just have to fight a little longer.”
Anya shook her head an infinitesimal amount and answered, “I’ve been bleeding for over twenty minutes and my heart is racing faster than the first time Xander told me he loved me. I’m dying and you can’t stop that. My baby…is it a boy or a girl?”
Rossi quickly checked and replied, “A girl.”
Her speech was slurring badly at this point, but Anya continued, “Remember your promise to care for JR and Willow Joyce. Don’t be in a hurry to join us, either. You have to find yourself an orgasm friend and be happy. So tired…” she trailed off.
“No!” Buffy shouted at her. “You can’t give up! You can’t! You can’t! You can’t!” she screamed over and over again.
Hotch made his way over and pressed his fingers against Anya’s neck, shaking his head at Rossi when he couldn’t find a pulse. “Get Ms. Summers’ colleague in here to be with her,” he told JJ softly when she came through the door a second later.~~~~~~BAU
A few hours later…
“I just wish we could have been there in time to save the mother. Maybe if I had--” Garcia bemoaned the fate of Anya Harris after the team got back to headquarters.
Morgan interrupted her before she could berate herself for not finding the unsub faster, “As much as we’d like to be able to, we can’t save everyone, Babygirl. At least the baby is safe and with somebody who loves her,” he reminded the soft-hearted tech.
Voiceover by Xander
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” - Mae West
A/N: Sorry for that, everyone. Anya’s death has been planned since almost the beginning of the story; just had to come up with the journey of how it happened.
EDIT A/N: I was told by a faithful reviewer that my fake chapter at the beginning was a bit too cruel given the end of the real thing, so I have removed it. I will provide it in a PM to anyone who asks for it.