See Prologue for Rating, Disclaimer and Author's Notes.
A/N: Sorry this is so short. I've been sick lately, and my brain doesn't want to think anymore. The next chapter should be up by this coming weekend.Wolfpup~~~Wolfpup~~~Wolfpup~~~Wolfpup~~~Wolfpup
It was noon, and the end of a double-shift for Darryl Kenseth, who was very much looking forward to clocking out and going home to catch at least a quick nap before before his kids got out of school. Then he looked up, and instantly knew he wouldn't be going anywhere anytime soon. The group who had just entered Sunnydale Memorial raised all the alerts in his mind, and he could tell there was going to be trouble... he just wasn't sure what kind
Leading the pack of five was a solidly-built man in his mid-thirties, dark hair cut short in a military style and aviator shades making it impossible for Darryl to figure out what color his eyes were. That he was a more-than-capable fighter was obvious. Thankfully, since it was daylight, Darryl was assured that the group was... probably... human, which was something at least. Kenseth knew better than to class humans as non-threats, though – heck, he was one himself, and was well aware that he was still a dangerous son. Unfortunately, living in Sunnydale had also made him aware that there were things
out there infinitely more dangerous than any human opponent he'd ever faced.
Behind the man were two more people... an older man, looking out of shape, but somehow still dangerous. All-in-all, Darryl thought he looked supremely ticked off, and like he had more than a little fight left in him. And the woman right beside him... well, his mama didn't raise any fools, and he knew better than to piss off a redhead, especially one that walked like a cop. Strangely, that observation calmed him. She does walk like a cop. A good cop. Hell, never thought I'd see another good cop in Sunnydale after we buried what was left of Alex. And the other two, behind the lady-cop and the older gentleman... the white they're wearing is a deliberate distraction. Those two are every bit as dangerous as any of the other three... and there's a blade in that cane. I'd bet on it. Hell, best to bite the bullet and get this over with.
“Can I help you?”
The man in the lead took off the sunglasses, subjecting Darryl to a chilly blue-gray gaze that somehow reminded him of a Midwestern sky right before a spring thunderstorm. The minute he spoke, Darryl realized he had the voice to match. “My name is Stringfellow Hawke,” he said. One by one, he introduced the others. “This is Dominic Santini, Caitlin O'Shannessy, Marella Yates, and Michael Coldsmith-Briggs. We're here to see Dr. McNally about Xander Harris.”This could be really good... or really, really bad, and this being Sunnydale, who the hell knows?
Of course, the drunken voice that came from behind the pack of five quickly answered his mental question.
“What th' hell you want wi' the damn brat? Boy's comin' home with me. Costs too much to leave him here.”
In an instant, the former Marine saw Hawke's eyes go from storm-cloud to ice, and as the other man turned to face the speaker – without a doubt, Tony Harris – Darryl found himself almost wishing he was back in 'Nam. At least there, he wouldn't be in the position of having to defend
Harris. He didn't want to take on someone he could respect for the sake of that worthless bastard.
The look on Hawke's face sent a shiver down the spine of even that well-tested military man, and reminded him of nothing so much as Hawke's namesake spotting a rabbit. Unfortunate that Harris didn't yet realize he
was the rabbit in question. Kenseth couldn't help but breathe a slight sigh of relief when the redhead and the old duffer – O'Shannessy and Santini
– deliberately placed themselves between Hawke and Harris.
“Xander isn't a brat... and he's not going anywhere with you.
When Hawke spoke, he seemed calm, but his voice was cold. The threat was obvious – to Darryl, at any rate. Whether or not Harris realized, well, he didn't know... didn't particularly care either, so long as Hawke didn't beat the crap out of him on hospital grounds. The other woman – Marella Yates,
he reminded himself – had slipped to the new back of the group in the instant they'd turned to face Harris – solidly between Hawke and Darryl – and Darryl got her attention quickly.
“Ms. Yates,” he said, keeping his voice soft more so Tony wouldn't hear him than anything else, “truly, I don't mind in the slightest if that bastard Harris has the living hell beaten out of him. Trust me, he deserves it. However, if the altercation happens on Hospital grounds, I'll be forced to defend the son of a bitch, and I'd rather not. If you could talk Hawke into waiting a little, I'd be grateful.”
Much to his surprise, the reply came from the man himself. “I won't do anything to him here, except ask that you shove him in a locked room for a while. He has child abuse charges pending, and I'd hate for Sunnydale PD to screw that up. We've done a little investigating, Mr. Kenseth. We know you're Chief of Security here, and that you do a very good job. Unfortunately, we also know that the Sunnydale PD can't say the same, which is why this
will be taken into custody by officials of a much higher pay-grade.”
Harris finally seemed to realize what Hawke was talking about and tried to get in his face about it, only to find that... not working out for him. Darryl, on the other hand, got to enjoy the sight of Tony being shoved face-first into a wall, expertly restrained and handcuffed by the lovely Ms. O'Shannessy. Yeah, definitely a cop.
He walked through the group, took custody of Harris from the lady-cop, and marched him away from the unorthodox pack, four of whom had yet to say so much as a word. It took him a little less than a minute to hand him off to one of his most trusted men, and head back to the gang of five still waiting at the entrance.
Strangely, it wasn't
a surprise to see Hawke now with an arm around the lovely redhead. Santini was on Hawke's other side, and Yates and Coldsmith-Briggs – I wonder why that name seems familiar
– were once again guarding the rear. “Now that he's out of the way, Mr. Hawke, may I ask why
you're wanting to talk to Dr. McNally about Xander?”
“Wow... they really came. Cool!” Turning quickly, Darryl was treated to a sight that had been rare recently. Jesse was familiar – he was here every day after A.M. Kindergarten to visit Xander, and he was the one who'd spoken – but little Willow Rosenberg, and her mother, hadn't been seen in the hospital for quite a while. He had to think for a bit, but was fairly certain the last time they'd come was a couple of admissions back, for Xander, the time Tony had tried to back-hand Willow and Xander had sunk his teeth in the bastard's arm. Harris had
spent the night in jail for that one, but then SPD had shown their usual incompetence and let him go. Sheila Rosenberg had tried to keep Willow away from Xander after that, a worried mother honestly afraid for her child... and around Tony Harris, who wouldn't
be afraid for a child?
It was Jesse who'd spoken, and Darryl – as usual – went to a knee to be on the same eye level as the little one. “Who really came, Jess?”
“Xander's family. He had a dream, and his mama told him they'd come, and she was right. See, they're all here... aunt and uncle and granddad and his new mum – maybe, if his dad stops being stubborn – and his dad, too... his real one, that is, and why is everybody looking at me?”