Xander blinked as he regained consciousness, yawning sleepily as he looked around the now familiar room he was in. The infirmary at the SGC was as clean as ever and Xander wondered if it was out of fear of Janet that any trace of dirt stayed away.
“Hey,” Jack said from where he was sitting, beside Xander’s bed. Xander knew from the dark shadows underneath his father’s eyes that the older man had not slept at all the previous night.
“Hi,” Xander replied, slowly moving under the blankets. He was relieved to find that he was in far less pain than he had been in previously, although he suspected that it had something to do with the IV that was running into the back of his hand and the slightly fuzzy feeling in his head that he had come to associate with mild painkillers.
“What time is it?” Xander asked
“Not long after dawn. You were right about the werewolf. I just got told that he just turned back into a human.”
Xander nodded, pleased that after everything Willow and Xander had been through in the last few hours they had been right about the real origin of the creature terrorizing the suburbs of Colorado Springs.
“At home still. We had a talk last night and I sent her back to get some sleep and to stop me from saying something to her that I might regret,” Jack admitted. He knew he’d been overly angry the night before but seeing the two teenagers fighting something like the werewolf and then calmly talking about how they’d been doing the same thing since the beginning of the previous year... it had been a nasty shock for Jack and he had not coped with it well.
“I hope you weren’t too hard on her,” Xander said.
Jack winced. “I still don’t get why you didn’t call me for help.”
“Why? I mean, yeah, we know that you’re used to weirdness but werewolves are not your area of expertise. Besides, neither one of use are used to having parents that are overly approachable.”
“What do you mean? I mean, I know Tony and Jessica weren’t the best parents around, but what was wrong with Willow’s parents? They sounded like nice enough people from what people were saying at their funeral.”
Xander snorted. “Willow’s parents made my mother look attentive. Willow’s mother was obsessed with her career. The year before they died, Willow’s parents were in Sunnydale for a grand total of twelve weeks the entire year. The rest of their time was either spent attending conferences, doing talks at universities, or going on overseas holidays. Up until now, Willow has never been further from home than L.A. when we went there for a school trip. Willow raised herself, fighting to gain acknowledgment in any form from her parents. She busted her gut at school, she did what she was told, she never put a toe out of line, and it got her nothing except for a good view of her parent’s backs. Every single promise they made her got broken, even if it was as simple as being in town for her birthday. As far as I am concerned, Willow didn’t have parents, just people who put money into her bank account every week for food and organized for someone to pay the bills.”
A cold feeling seeped into Jack’s heart as he remembered how upset Willow had been the previous night when he’d sent her away. He’d had good intentions, the kid looked like she needed a decent sleep, but Jack hadn’t realized how much potential damage he had done. Willow, the one of the teens that Jack had thought would have had the better childhood, had been neglected and abused just as badly as Xander, just in a different way. Willow had never had anyone actually being responsible for her welfare before and had instead looked after herself and now Jack had scolded her for doing what she had done for most of her life. She must think he was a complete jerk and Jack feared that Willow would never trust him, especially if she hadn’t already begun to do so.
Jack knew that it had been necessary for him to say something to both of the teenagers but, had he known the truth about Willow’s upbringing and how up until now Willow had practically been her own parent, he would have gone about it a different way.
If Jack didn’t do something about this straight away, he knew that Xander would never forgive him.
Daniel Jackson was woken up by the sound of his phone going off. He startled awake, blinking as he tried to clear his vision enough to locate his glasses. Reaching out, he fumbled around until he found them, sliding them back onto his face before he reached out and picked up his phone.
“Hello?” he answered sleepily.
“Danny, don’t tell me I woke you up.”
“Jack, it’s early. What is it?”
“Where are you?”
“Your house, I slept on the sofa.” Daniel sat up, the blanket he had thrown over himself slipping off at the movement.
“Is Willow with you?”
“She went up to her room last night... this morning, when we got here. I haven’t seen her since. What did you say to her? I’ve never seen her like that.”
“Probably things I shouldn’t have,” Jack admitted. “Could you just go and check on her for me? I figure she is going to want to be here when our guest wakes up.”
“Yep, right when the kids said it would. We’ve got a man, I’d say about twenty-six years old, Caucasian, brown hair, beard, six foot three inches tall and weighing about 210 pounds.”
Daniel nodded. “We’ll be on our way,” he told Jack before hanging up and climbing off the couch, staggering up the stairs towards Willow’s bedroom. He knocked on the door.
“Yes,” Willow’s voice came from inside. Daniel took it as an invitation and cracked the door open. Willow was sitting up on her bed, although Daniel knew straight away that the teenager had not slept.
“Jack just called and asked us to come to the base. You two were right about the werewolf transforming back and Jack figured that you’d want to be there when he wakes up so you and Xander can talk to him.”
Willow nodded and slid off the bed, still fully clothed in the clothes she had been wearing the previous night.
“Alright, just give me a few minutes,” she told Daniel, who nodded, scurrying out of the room, wondering how much coffee Jack had in the house because Daniel was certain that he would need some to wake him up.
Willow followed Daniel into the bowels of the mountain complex, completely and utterly lost. She hoped the archaeologist knew where he was going because if he didn’t, it would take them days just to find a way out.
Alright, that was an exaggeration, it wouldn’t take that long, besides... there were quite a few military personnel standing around that would be able to point out the way back to the exit but Willow stayed close to her mentor as he lead her to the brig area of the base. They turned around a corner and Willow felt relief wash over her as she saw Xander, standing with Jack, Sam, Teal’c and General Hammond.
Her eyes locking onto Xander, she made a beeline for him. Xander pulled her into a quick hug.
“You okay?” she asked quietly.
Xander nodded. “A few bruises but nothing broken. Janet said that as long as I didn’t do anything too strenuous, then I could come down here.”
Willow nodded, staying close beside Xander, while at the same time carefully avoiding looking towards Jack. She would need her wits about her while talking to the werewolf and to do that, she needed to be focused. Willow knew that if she got too involved in thinking about Jack, then she would be useless.
“He’s already awake,” Xander told her in a hushed tone. “He didn’t know where he was and got a little aggressive. They’re putting him into an interview room for us. Jack’s going to be in there with us, just for legal reasons.”
Willow nodded, knowing that Jack wanted to keep close to Xander. It was understandable, considering everything that had happened in the last twenty four hours. Xander had narrowly escaped being killed by a creature that supposedly only lived in fairy tales and horror movies, as far as Jack was concerned anyway.
A man in uniform approached the group. “Alright, he’s ready,” the man reported. Jack nodded, and looked at Willow and Xander, who exchanged nervous looks. Xander took Willow’s hand in his own.
“Okay, let’s get this over and done with.” He led the way to a door which would lead to the room the werewolf was in. He opened the door, leading the way in, with Willow and Xander following close behind.
The werewolf sat at a table, his hands clasped on the table in front of him. There was a slight apprehension on his face, which Willow understood completely. She would be terrified if she was in the man’s position, especially if he was unaware of the fact he was a werewolf. She smiled reassuringly at him as she and Xander sat down on the opposite side of the table to the werewolf.
“Hi there, I’m Willow, this is Xander and that is Colonel O’Neill, US Air Force,” Willow introduced.
The man swallowed nervously. “I’m Tyson...Tyson Rodd.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Tyson,” Xander smiled warmly, fully aware from the mirror on the opposite wall that the rest of Jack’s team and General Hammond, were watching what was going on in the room. It was slightly unnerving and Xander couldn’t even imagine how it was making Tyson feel.
“Tyson, do you have any idea why you are here?” Willow asked softly. Tyson shook his head.
“I must have sleepwalked or something like that. I went to bed at home and when I woke up, I was here at this military base.”
“Have you been sleepwalking often recently?” Xander asked.
Tyson nodded. “Yes, every night now for a couple of days.”
“Is there anyone at you home that could support that?” Jack asked, trying to imitate the two teenagers and their friendly approach but failing dismally.
Tyson shook his head. “No, I don’t have any family... or many friends. I’m just passing through town at the moment. I’m living in my motor home.” Jack nodded in understanding at let that line of questioning drop.
“Where are you heading?” Willow asked politely.
Tyson shrugged. “I don’t know, there’s a couple of things I want to experience in California.”
“Neat, we’re from California.” Xander smiled.
“Yeah, any recommendations for places to visit?”
“Hmm, the beaches… and Hollywood is always popular,” Xander suggested.
Tyson nodded. “Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind. I don’t mean to be rude, but aren’t you two a little... young to be working for the military. You don’t look like you’re old enough to be out of high school yet.” Willow bit down on the automatic “we’re not” response that had been on the tip of her tongue. Instead she just smiled.
“We’re consulting with the military. Colonel O’Neill asked us to help out with your case. I know we look young... but we know a lot about some things.” Willow mentally patted herself on the back for the save and caught a glimpse of the glance of approval Jack sent her way. It hadn’t... completely been a lie. She’d just... bended the truth a little.
“Really, do you know how to get me out of here?” Tyson asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Sorry, I’d need to ask for directions, it’s like a rabbit warren in here,” Xander joked. Tyson snorted with laughter at the comment.
“So, what are these things you know a lot about?” he asked once he had settled down. Xander adopted a more serious face and he leaned forward.
“We can help you with your sleepwalking... we can help make it so that you wake up in the same place that you fell asleep. We know people that can help you. We know people who have the same problem as you,” Xander explained. Tyson stiffened and a tiny little voice in the back of Willow’s head told her that something was wrong.
“How long has the sleepwalking been going on?” Willow asked. Tyson turned in his chair to face her, a glint in his eye that Willow had not noticed before.
“Oh, off and on, for about three years now. Three days a month.” Tyson smirked.
“You know...” Xander asked. Tyson nodded.
“I know,” he confirmed.
“Why... why didn’t you try and contain yourself... get a cage to go in your van or something?” Willow asked. A slow smile spread across Tyson’s face and a cold feeling spread through Willow’s body as Tyson’s fear melted away.
“Why would I want to do a thing like that? I have a power... a power that no one like you could ever imagine. I can kill anyone I like and make it look like some animal attack. I never wake up hungry anymore, I’m always full. I like it, my power. It is who I am. It chose me and nothing you say or do is going to do a thing to stop it. I am going to California and I’m going to go to that Hellmouth. I heard that someone’s offering up big bucks to off the Slayer there, so I’m going to off the Slayer, collect the dough, and keep partying every full moon for the rest of my life.”
With that Tyson pushed the table sideways, hurling it through the air and into the wall. Willow and Xander jumped to their feet but before Tyson could grab Xander, Willow jumped in between the two, knowing that if one of them had to die, it should be her. Jack shouldn’t have to try and deal with the loss of another son. Tyson smirked as he looked at Willow.
“Brave but foolish, girl,” he told her before reaching out one well-muscled hand and grasping her throat tightly, grabbing her left hand with his other hand and lifting her clean off the floor, leaving her toes dangling over six inches from the ground.
“Do anything and she dies. I’ll break her scrawny neck!” Tyson yelled at Jack and Xander. Jack lowered his gun, putting it on the ground in front to him. Xander was watching on with wide eyes.
“This is just perfect,” Tyson snarled. “I know about you and Xander’s little escapades on the Hellmouth. I didn’t realize you were here in Colorado Springs, though. I wonder what the Mayor will pay me when I tell him that I was the one who killed you, the one who resouled the great Angelus.”
“Uh, in case you haven’t noticed, you’re still in a locked room in the middle of a military base. You aren’t going anywhere near Sunnydale... or the Slayer. Actually, isn’t this the part that you crack the line? You know, something along the lines of ‘and i would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids’,” Xander used finger quotes and, had the situation not been so serious with Willow being strangled right in front of him, Jack would have laughed.
Tyson, on the other hand, failed to see the humor of Xander’s comment and his grip on Willow’s throat tightened and he brought her closer to his body. Willow coughed and gagged as she struggled to take in oxygen. She was fighting a losing battle and her vision was already beginning to gray alarmingly.
“You know, Willow, you really don’t understand the power being a werewolf gives you, despite what you and your little friend here say. Let’s give you a taste of it.”
“No!” Xander screamed, powerless to do anything as Tyson lifted Willow’s wrist to his mouth, his mouth open and his teeth gleaming as he prepared to bite into Willow’s pale flesh, changing her life forever. Spurred into action by the sound of Xander’s voice, Willow swung her knee up as hard as she could, satisfaction flowing through her as she felt her knee connect with Tyson’s sensitive areas. The man let out a bellow and let go of her and Willow plummeted to the ground, collapsing in a heap on the concrete floor of the room. Her head hit the concrete hard and everything momentarily went black. Willow forced herself back into consciousness and began to struggle away from the werewolf, who had recovered from the injury to his manhood and was glaring at her, madness in his eyes that made Willow genuinely frightened in a way that she hadn’t been since before she left Sunnydale.
It was at that moment that the gunshot echoed throughout the room. Willow jumped violently at the noise and then her gut churned as, as if in slow motion, she saw the bullet hit Tyson square in the middle of the forehead. Blood splattered the wall behind the werewolf as the bullet exited through the back of his skull and Willow watched as his body collapsed, almost on top of her, never to move of its own accord again.
The werewolf was dead. A.N. Peers out from couch to make sure there are no flaming arrows coming out of computer screen. Um, yeah...what do you think. I know a lot of people with get narky about how i portrayed Tyson, but, as my Beta reader, Darkened Shadows (read her stuff...it's really good) commented, with the exception of Oz, most werewolves we met in the Buffy universe had been corrupted by the power of their inner wolves.
That being said, others of you will get narky because i portrayed Willow and Xander as being helpless in a combat situation again...but i see it this way. Xander is injured, and both are without weapons. It was surprise attack...they're allowed to be a little overwhelmed...and i know that Tyson probably should be in hand cuffs, but i took a bit of creative license with that...forgive me.
Anyway, on the story goes. The aftermath of this all will be continued in future chapters, with lots of deep and meaningful conversations in store.
Thanks for reviewing, i appreciate it