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And This Is Why We Hate Tuesdays

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Summary: A flare is a pain in in the hind end, even for those who lived before the tech fell.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > FantasyChelleyBeanFR18516,3774274,47710 Sep 1213 Dec 12No

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

After doing some oneline searching I found the timelines for Kate Daniels and Buffy. I'll have to tweak or just outright ignore some of the Buffy TL, but I do need to correct the Kate Daniel's portions. No big - just taking 'sixty years' down to thirty.

~***~

“Well, that was bracing.”

“And gore splattering. Don’t forget gore splattering.” Xander tossed a cloth to Faith so she could clean the blood from her sword. “Those guys were seriously ugly. I mean more than your average demon.”

“No argument there.”

Buffy held her sword out from her at an angle, squinting as she looked for any blood she may have missed. “I don’t think those Loup things were demons. Maybe some kind of retarded were thingies?”

“Sick ‘were thingies’.” It was the ‘Beast Lord’ again. He was back in person form and clad only in a pair of sweat pants. The man’s chest looked like he’d been carved by a master sculptor, but Buffy managed to keep her eyes on his face. “Or unbalanced, if you prefer. Their beast took over and the Lyc-V bloomed out of control, driving them mad.”

“What does that? And what’s ‘lyc-v’?”

He arched a gold brow at her. “You seriously don’t know what the lycos virus is?”

“Lycos as in lycanthrope?” Xander shrugged when the slayers looked at him questioningly. “Hey, even I can pick up some knowledge if Giles is going to recruit me for research sessions.”

“It’s the virus that causes shape shifters. Steals bits of DNA from its host before infecting the next one, and then replaces parts of the new host’s DNA with what it steals. Can bloom out of control if the shifter is in great stress or having difficulties with hormones, so gives the most trouble during puberty.” He nodded his head towards were-Oz who was helping the wolves regroup. “He didn’t clue you in to all of this?”

“Uh, that would be a big ‘no’. Oz isn’t big with the sharing, but he would at least tell Willow.”

“Guys!” It was as though Buffy had summoned her. Willow came running up, her eyes wide and with a tense expression on her face. “We’ve got trouble. Big, big trouble. We’re not in another dimension. At least, I don’t think we are.”

Both of Curran’s brows went up this time. “Dimension? This is Atlanta.”

“As in ‘Georgia’? “ Faith looked to Willow. “We were just leaving Pittsburgh after taking out that nest. How did we end up in Atlanta?”

She switched her eyes to Giles who had come up behind Willow with a newspaper.

“Not just Atlanta, but according to the date on this we’ve somehow managed to be sent more than thirty years into the future.”

“What, now?” Buffy looked from Giles to Willow and then to Faith. “That can’t be good.”

“If that’s the case, you guys are more screwed than the usual people displaced by the Flare.”

“What’s a ‘Flare’?”

“Powerful magic wave. Drowns the world in magic for a few days and causes all sorts of chaos. Gods walk the street. Monsters and strange beasts chomp down on anything and everyone in sight and fucked up places like Unicorn Lane grow for no apparent reason.” He scratched his chin thoughtfully. “You didn’t freak out about your friend being a werewolf, so you already knew about it. Thirty years ago the tech was still in control and only a very few people could change form. Random members of old were-families who were born stronger, usually, but a few victims of unusually potent virus strains on occasion. He didn’t lose his shit and go Loup on us. Your Oz has his head screwed on tight and straight. Impressive.”

“So thirty years go by and people stop with the selective memory thing?” Buffy didn’t know where to be skeptical or relieved. “No more blaming deaths caused by vamps on BBQ accidents and gangs on PCP? No more reporting magic battles as gas explosions or hallucinations from toxic fumes? The authorities work with werewolves instead of trying to capture and tag them?”

Curran smiled, and it was predatory. “That last isn’t going to happen. The Pack is considered its own governing body with the same rights and privileges as the Native American tribes. Besides, when the weird shit that the regular humans can’t deal with goes down, we’re there to pick up the slack. What threatens Atlanta threatens us as well, so we play the good neighbors and throw down.” He frowned. “They really tried to blame vamp attacks on BBQ accidents?”

“Regular folks are good at the denial thing. Or rather, they used to be. I suppose you throw enough weirdness in their faces and even the biggest skeptic is going to cave.”

The were-kitty studied them carefully before looking over to the side where a dark skinned man dressed all in black was getting down from a horse. He motioned the man over as he started speaking again. “The Flare hit less than eight hours ago. They usually last two to three days, so things aren’t going to settle down for a bit. You should get off the street. Get something to eat and rest up.” The man reached them. “This is Jim, my chief of security and head of the cats.”

“My Lord.” Jim inclined his head respectfully, but his eyes were on the gang. Buffy and Faith both recognized the look; assessing. He was looking for signs they were a threat.

“These people were victims of the Flare. Displaced by it, apparently in time as well.”

“Time? That’s new. How badly?”

“Pre-Shift.”

Jim blinked. “This must be a rude awakening.”

“Yeah, a bit.” Buffy looked at Curran. “We’re a little without a place to crash right now, let alone a kitchen for munchies.”

“You won’t want to be on your own for food anyway. The supply lines of the past are gone, so if you don’t kill and cook the meat yourself you have no way of knowing what it is until you figure out what places are trustworthy.” He looked to Jim. “They have a wolf with them; a good one.”

“Then you wish to extend Pack hospitality.”

“Yeah. Put on the company manners. Looks like he was a wolf pre-shift and he didn’t go Loup once he landed here. Good in a fight, too. Stood with our own and followed Michael’s orders without hesitation. Let’s let him know we appreciate it.”

“The closest Pack building is Cutting Edge. Bea ordered Andrea to stand down in case she fell and the Boudas needed her to step up as Alpha. She’s got Julie and Ascanio there with her and I have them acting as a supply station and field aid. Loaded them up with food, cots and medical supplies.”

“Kate?”

“On a call. Something came out of the lawn at the middle school. She’s got Derek and I sent additional backup with her so they can get the kids out.”

Curran nodded. “Take them there, then. Tell Andrea to make sure they get something to eat and fill them in on what’s changed in the world. Forewarned is forearmed.” He jerked his head to the side. “Take a Jeep. I’ll send over their wolf.”

Jim gave another respectful bow and motioned for the gang to follow. The others looked to Buffy for signs of whether or not they should go along. After a second’s hesitation she nodded. “Sure. Faith gets hungry after a good fight. I don’t want to put up with her bitching about it.”

“Love you, too, B.”

They may have been joking around, but none of them truly relaxed. Even when Oz loped over towards them, they still kept their guard up
just in case these guys weren’t as friendly as they seemed.

The Jeep was a familiar sight, but not entirely so. The hood had a massive bulge to it and the engine was near deafening. Even Xander winced. “Dude, sounds like you need a mechanic.”

“Enchanted water engine. They’re always noisy, unless you drop the money for one of the luxury models with additional padding to cut down on the noise.” Jim opened up the doors. “Load up.”

It was a crowded fit, and the roar of the water engine made conversation near impossible. Buffy kept her eyes pointed out the window, looking at the city as they drove through. Progress was slow at time, the streets crowded with carts and horses. There were crumbling buildings next to newer construction. Some shops that looked to be ‘mom and pop’ businesses, but many of them were locked up. The city was a curious mix of old world and modern, and it was battened down like a coastal city preparing for a hurricane. “Guess this Flare thing plays hell with business, huh.” She was practically shouting.

“Most people feel safer staying at home. Business owners will bar themselves inside their shops to keep out looters.”

“Spiffy.” Buffy looked back at Oz where he was leaning against Willow. He’d changed back to human and had conked out almost immediately. Faith was looking through the newspaper Giles had found. Buffy was going to make some comment, but held her tongue because it really wasn’t a bad idea to read up on the local happenings. Any intel was good. She took more interest when she caught sight of Buff, Blonde and Bossy on the front of the Society section. “Your boss is a newlywed?”

Jim kept his eyes on the road. “For two days now, though they’ve been together for a bit over four years.”

“Bet the missus is pissed about him working.”

“She’s just as guilty. Besides, desperate times and all that. He turned into a small area at what looked like a converted house. “We’re here.”

It didn’t look like much, but the building was in far better repair than most places they’d passed. And she was guessing it was newer construction. “Not big on windows in the future, are you?”

“Security risk. Too many things that can break through glass without trouble. Last thing you want is for a rogue vampire to have easy access to your family.”

“Rogue vampire? Don’t they have to have an invitation to come inside your home?”

Jim tilted his head quizzically. “No. Why would they care?”

Faith looked outraged. “Wait! Vamps can just come inside your home whenever they want? When did that happen?”

“That’s the way it always has been.”

“Like hell it has! Me and B have fought our fair share of vampires and we’ve never met one who could just walk inside your house without an invitation. What about magic flooding the world could have possibly changed that?”

Jim looked surprised by her outburst, then thoughtful. “Perhaps you should wait until you can get a full debriefing. I’m thinking Kate would be the best one to tell you about vampires. She has some… unique insights on the subject. Andrea can fill you in about shape shifters and the different power players.” He looked at Oz. “I’ll get Ascanio to come out and carry your friend in. He won’t wake up for a while yet.”

“No big. I’ve got him.” Buffy unbuckled her seatbelt and hopped out. Willow got out of her way so she could reach into the back seat and pull Oz gently out of the vehicle. Jim stood, dumbfounded, as the petite blonde carried the unconscious man without any apparent strain or effort.

~***~

“Checking up on me, Sugar Woogums?”

“Just seeing if you needed me to come bail your ass out of a fire.”

“Ha!” Kate was overseeing the dismemberment and cremation of what had been a very small Mongolian Death Wyrm. No idea how it had popped up in Atlanta, far from its native territory, but at least it had been a baby. “Been keeping busy today?”

“Unicorn Lane decided to grow again. A pack of Loups tried to get out into the city.”

“Now a pack of dismembered Loups?”

“Of course.” Curran watched as a couple of wolves in beast form tried to see who could tear apart the biggest piece. Young male shape shifters. Any chance to impress a girl.

“How much did it grow?”

“Looks like another twenty blocks. We’ll have to send the survey crew out to update the maps.”

Kate winced. “Twenty blocks. That place is a menace. The Temple?”

“Not an inch into their territory. Their wards are holding strong.”

“Good. They really should consider building a community running from the Temple and going the other direction. At least some schools and maybe a hospital. It would be good PR for the Temple and would provide a safe harbor for the locals.”

“Maybe you should bring it up next time you need to stop by and loan them a cup of chaos.”

Kate reached out to give him a punch in the arm, but he was quicker than she and caught her fist in his hand. His eyes had amused gold sparkles in their depths as he lifted her hand and kissed it. She smiled. She couldn’t help it. He turned her into a fluttery school girl at times. “Satisfied that I’m not going to get myself killed?”

“No. You’re bound to get into a real fight sooner or later. It’s in your nature.”

“You’re here to babysit me, then.”

“Not quite. The Flare pulled some shit that is weirder than normal.”

She arched a brow. “Give.”

“Strangers. Three women and three men. They apparently got transported by the shift from somewhere outside of Pittsburgh.”

“A new leyline?”

“Don’t think so. If their reaction to the local papers is to be believed, they’ve been pulled through time, too. Possibly pre-Shift.”

Even Kate couldn’t look nonchalant about that. “A half-dozen Pre-Shift people, just plopped in the middle of… where did you find them?”

“Unicorn Lane.”

She winced. “Ouch. Talk about trial by fire.”

“Not completely.”

“Oh?”

“They had a wolf with them, and from the way they accepted it he must have been strong enough to change pre-Shift. They didn’t look familiar with his beast form, though, so he wasn’t that strong. Very few shape shifters were able to manage a full beast form before the magic came back. They had a witch with them, too. A good one. I saw her throw some balls of fire and lightening as though it’s second nature to her, so I’m guessing she had practice at it.”

“I see.” Kate mulled that over. “The belief that there was no magic before the shift is a fallacy. It was there, just not in great strength. Only the very talented could tap into it before the Shift, and those practioners emerged as the heavy hitters when the Shift arrived, because their power increased but, unlike the others who woke up with power, they had the training to handle it.”

Curran nodded. “Same thing with the shape shifters. The old families had the occasional person who could change shape before The Shift. Once the magic came back, those families were the ones who had to step forward and lay down the laws. My family had shape shifters pre-Shift, we just chose not to get involved with the politics.”

“That could by why the Flare targeted them, if they’re being honest about being pre-Shift. The magic may have locked onto their abilities and just pulled them through. Anyone with them would have been sucked in with them.”

“I’m not entirely sure the others are normal. The other two women… they had swords and it was obvious they knew how to use them. And they’re fast, Kate. Strong, too. They may be as good as you. Might be better in some ways, but only by being faster.”

“Interesting. I’ll have to check into that. What about the other two men?”

“Didn’t see enough of them to know one way or another. I was a bit busy with the attempted Loup incursion.”

“Excuses, excuses.” She delivered it with a smile. “What did you do with them?”

“Jim’s taking them to your office. The wolf had to change shape to fit into the Jeep, so he’ll be out for a while. The witch was too hung up on him. Mated, from the way he was holding her when we ran across them and from how she was fidgeting over him when he shifted back. And no matter how fast those girls are, Andrea could put a round into each of their heads before they blinked.”

“So that leaves us with two unknowns.”

“It was a fight for their life. Unlikely that they were hiding any serious abilities.”

“Unlikely, but not impossible.” Kate rolled her shoulders to stretch them. “I’ll head back over there. Even if Andrea could take them, someone has to remind Ascanio to keep his pants on. Julie can only do so much on her own in that respect.”

Curran grinned. “Need me to take care of the kid for you?”

“You’re not killing Ascanio. He’s been behaving himself for the most part. He’s just an incurable flirt.”

“He’s a young male Bouda. He’s an incurable man whore.”

“Now that’s just unfair. As far as I know, he’s never made a single woman pay for it.” Kate reached up onto her toes and kissed him. “Don’t stay out too late, Your Majesty. You’ve got plenty of people to handle things so you can sleep.”

“Look who’s talking.”

Kate smiled and kissed him again before letting him walk her over to where a few of the pack horses were tethered. Magic water engines were well and good, but a horse still got you through tight spaces in a traffic jam. Derek could take the Jeep back to the office.
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