Xander and Faith glanced up from their casual conversation at the bar and looked towards the currently open and unobstructed center of the room as a group of teenagers – all of them wizards and witches, to judge by the robes and the wands they were holding, except for the two children who appeared to be about four years old – suddenly appeared in a flash of light.
It was fairly slow for a Thursday night and the place was practically deserted except for a few of the younger Watchers-in-Training who had dropped by after one of Flynn Carsen’s lectures on the possible effects of early Sumerian influence on demotic hieroglyphics, a couple small groups of regulars and the usual group of demons who’d stopped in for their customary Thursday night kitten poker game, so no one had any real reaction to the group's unexpected materialization.
The surprised expressions on all of the kids' faces demonstrated that this clearly wasn't their intended destination and that they had absolutely no idea where they’d ended up, despite the fact that several of their faces were very familiar to both the Bar's owner and its chief bouncer.
"Welcome to Nights," Xander smiled reassuringly at the newcomers as they all clearly reacted as though they were expecting to be attacked, with six of the teens all instantly moving to surround the dark-haired wizard and the blonde witch who were holding the younger kids, all of their wands up and poised to cast, and the expressions in their eyes those of experienced combat veterans.
"Before you start to get all paranoid, guys, let me tell you that no one here is looking to hurt you or anyone else," Xander informed their newest guests as he held his hands up in a gesture of peace. "This place is a sort of dimensional crossroads and we get all sorts of people dropping in unexpectedly all the time.
"Partly because of that, we’ve got all kinds of anti-violence wards on the place," he went on, ignoring the expressions of shock, distress and dismay that had taken up residence on all of the teens' faces when they saw him, "so this is probably the closest thing to a true neutral ground, where anyone can come in and kick back, that you’re gonna find. So, just relax and take it easy, okay?"
"My name is Xander and I'm the owner and the head bartender and dishwasher of this establishment," he went on with his standard explanation of 'Nights.'
But before he could say anything further, the honey-blonde-haired child who had been dozing on the wizard's shoulder pushed herself up into a sitting position and asked, "Why you wearing that thing on your face, Daddy?"
Yes, I know that this is an extremely evil place to stop this, but after going through a Tornado Watch last night, spending all day at work and having no power at all because of Hurricane Irene, I'm too damned tired to really care all that much.
The next part will be up as soon as I can finish it.