The Week of Searching.
The Week of Searching.
A/N: Nope, haven't forgotten this. Still don't own any of the concepts, save this story idea, though.
Ian finished stocking the twinkies, and carted the empty box to the back, loading it into the compacter. Kash had left a few hours before, and so Ian was running the store by himself. It wasn't the first time, but it was still fairly rare. He had, after all, just turned 16 a very short time before. He came out form the back when he heard the bell on the door ring.
A short oriental girl, and a slightly taller one wearing a fuzzy red yarn hat came in, and looked over the energy drinks. Ian looked at them, nodded, and took his place behind the counter. He looked around, and gauged how much more he had to do, and how much time it would take.
". . . Fiona? Did Willow call with any more info?" That was the oriental girl speaking. 'so. That's who's looking for her.'
He inspected the pair, but surreptitiously. Which, though he didn't realize it, made him more ignorable for the girls. They were very used to boys surreptitiously eyeing them!
"Nothing. Not yet. Well, we have a few more bars to check now. Should have found the guy, think he's the Dad? Anyway, we'll find him in a day or two."
The girls bought 3 energy drinks apiece, and emptied out half the twinkies. Which was a bit frustrating, since he would have to get another box out from the back, or get yelled at tomorrow. After getting rung up, they headed out, chatting merrily about a sander, or something like that. Ian stared at them as they left, walking, until they were out of sight, then got back to work.
Kev looked up from the register, where he was making change for Kermit, one of the regulars in the Alibi Room, the bar he worked at. Jess, the other bartender, was headed for the door, where a couple young girls were tryiing to come in.
"No, no, you can't come in here. You're both too young!"
"Oh! No, I'm not. See! Here, I have proof, I'm 23!" One of them, a red-head, from the hair sticking out of the bottom of the pastel blue cap, held out a card to the stout lady. The other, and oriental girl, took one look around, stared intently at Jess, and turned and left.
Jess took the card from the younger female, who really didn't look that old, and inspected it carefully. "Well, damn. That's real. All, right, what'll ya have?" She headed back to the inside of the bar.
"Uh, do you have coke?"
"It's a bar, sweetheart, if you can drink it, and it's cheap, we have it. That'll be $2.25." Jess expertly shot the soda into the glass, waited till the money was on the counter, then handed it over.
"Um, do you know a Frank Gallagher? I'm looking for him."
"Frank? Does he owe you money? Cause, if he does, you're kinda out of luck for a couple weeks."
"You know him?!" The redhead's face lit up. With her pale skin, and innocence shining from her every pore, she raised in instinctive feeling in every person in the bar. They all, no matter how drunk, had the same thought.'Sucker!'
Jess thought it too, but she really didn't like Frank, so decided to send this one after him. "Last I head, he was staying at this address." She wrote the address out on one of the thin napkins, and handed it to the girl. "He should be there tomorrow afternoon.
This despite the fact the man himself was in the can. If there was going to be a problem, she didn't want it to happen here. If it did, and got physical, she'd have to clean up the mess.
"Thanks ever so much!" The girl flashed her bright grin at Jess, carefully folded the napkin away, and bounced out the door.
Karen had Lip over for the afternoon. And, thankfully, Eddie, her Dad, wasn't there, so Lip could 'tutor' her in peace. Frank and Sheila were upstairs, and she didn't really want to know what they were about, but it left Lip free to read the chem text out loud, while she was busy under the table, 'paying' him.ding, dong'Damn!'
Someone at the door. Karen came off him, and he reached under the tablecloth to tuck himself back in and zip up. Karen had barely had time to get back out from under the table, and turn towards the door, when Sheila came scampering down the stairs, wearing a housecoat. She looked through the eyehole, then opened the door, still keeping the security chain locked.
"Yes? Can I help you?"
"Oh, hi! I'm Vi, and this is Julie. We were hoping we could talk to Frank?"
"Oh, I'm sorry dears. He's unavailable right now."
"Oh. Well, nuts." The girl's voice carried a tone of despair, and somehow sounded familiar to both Karen and Lip. They moved towards the door, and saw the same pair they had seen earlier, the girls asking for Frank. Lip moved closer. "Well, do you think we can come back later to see him?"
"I'm so sorry, girls, he's going to be tied up the rest of the evening." Sheila sounded so apologetic, you'd never know she was the one tying Frank up (well, handcuffing him), or that she could release him, but didn't want to.
Karen spoke up. "Uh, can I ask what this is about?"
"Hey, I remember you! Did you know Frank was banned from those bars?"
"I'm underage, so, how could I?" This, of course, was a lie. Everyone knew.
"Oh. That makes sense."
"Sorry." Karen gave a fake shrug.
"Well, we'll try back tomorrow! Do you think he'll be available then?" this was directed back to Sheila again. The oriental girl still hadn't spoken.
"Oh, I think he'll be free then," Sheila smiled at the girls.
"Okay! Thanks for all the help!" The girl turned abruptly, the fuzzy ball at the end of her purple hat hitting the other girl in the face.
"Hey! What was that for?"
"Come on! If you can't avoid. . . " The walked away, bickering gently back and forth at each other.
Lip was, understandably distracted, and worried. He finished the tutoring session then, and hurried home, after bidding Karen and Sheila good night.
Julia led Vi on their way to the address Frank had provided. He had been a scrubbly, stinky man, but he did give them directions to his house, where he kids lived. Maybe with their Mom?
Julia was in the lead because she had slightly better senses than the older slayer. Which turned out to be a negative this time. The pair was walking down the block, headed for the house at the end, the one that was supposed to be where the Gallegher's lived, when Julia started to gag. She suppressed it, tottered a couple more steps, then dropped to her knees. Vi took the couple steps to catch up.
"What's wrong?" Vi's concerned voice asked.
"Oh, oh, Kami, oh, that's, that's, Oh Kami!" Julia reached the gutter on the edge of the sidewalk, and threw up.
"Was it something you ate?"
"No, oh, kami, no, it's, blurb," she lost her lunch again. Then her breakfast.
Vi looked around, and when she saw noone, bodily picked Julia up, and carried her back the way they came.
It only took a few steps for the younger slayer to begin to look well again, but she still had a queasy look to her. Vi, in her authority as senior Slayer on site, decided to call it for the night, and they went back to their hotel room.
Once they were there, Vi gently asked Julia what had happened.
"Uh, one of the houses, not the last, but one of them, someone died."
"We've both been in places where someone died, and it didn't have this reaction on you."
"They didn't find him."
"The dead guy - they didn't find him for a while, maybe weeks, and his scent is permeating the place. It was so unexpected, so nasty, sorry."
"No biggie. Now that we know, I have a trick to take care of it!" Vi smiled, and helped Julia prepare for bed. After Julia was in bed, Vi grabbed her stake, and headed out, for a night of patrolling.
Lip looked out the window, and saw the two girls again, this time putting something (vaseline?) on their lips, before crossing the street, headed for the house. Thankfully, with the time it had taken to find them, the family had a plan in place. And, Fiona wasn't even there - she was out dancing with Steve!
When the doorbell rang, Lip glared at the other kids, muted the TV, and went to the answer it.
"Hi! Is there a Fiona Gallagher here?" Chirpy would be a good description of her voice.
"Oh, damn. Don't tell me Frank sent you here?"
"He did it again. That stupid drunk. No, this isn't the Gallaghers. It used to be, last month, but they moved. Evicted. Couldn't afford the rent anymore. It belongs to us now, the Lipton's." He reached into his back pocket, and pulled out a wallet. Flipping it open, he showed an ID showing he was Matt Lipton, 18. He had so many, he might as well find a use for them outside of taking the SATs, right? "Frank doesn't know where they are - and they don't want him to, from what I understand. Hell, half the time, I think he's so drunk he can't remember that it happened."
"Oh. Sorry to bother you." Both girls looked a bit crestfallen.
"It's okay. Not your fault. Well, I hope you can find her."
"Yeah, thanks." The pair waved at him, turned, and left.
Lip smiled at their departing backs, closed the door, unmuted the TV, and leaned back to enjoy another evening of 'Shark Week'.
"Robin? Hi, it's Vi. So, we've looked all around town, and there's no evidence of Fiona. She was living here, but moved not long ago. And, the only family member we could find was a drunk Dad, who didn't live with her anymore. Let's keep an eye out for the name, but I think we're going to have to call this a failed attempt. As a bonus, there isn't a lot of Vampire activity here, but it's not because of another Slayer being active here. The Vampires just don't seem to be coming here. Maybe something for Willow or Dawn, yeah, Dawn would be good, to research when they have the time. So, we'll be flying out Monday, okay?"
"I'll be waiting for your reports."
"See you later."
So, not the ending I expected when I started, but it felt right.