Series Title: 37 By 37
Chapter Title: Intervention
Author: Restive Nature
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to BtVS or Angel. They belong to Whedon & Mutant Enemy and Whedon/ Greenwalt respectively. I also do not own the rights to Supernatural. They belong to Eric Kripke. No infringement is intended and this fiction is for private enjoyment only.
Rating: PG-13 for language
Type: BtVS/ SPN (mentions of Angel characters)
Pairing: none other than canon in both shows
Summary: A call for help is answered by the strangest of people.
Spoilers/ Time line: For BtVS, general Season 5, but before Riley has left. For SPN, Season 2, Episode 17 “Heart”
Feedback: Always welcome!
Distribution: Ask first please.
A/N: I know the timing on these pieces doesn't match up either for years or occurrence within the seasons, so please suspend your disbelief. Also, this fiction makes the assumption that Oz is keeping the Scoobies in general, updated about his progress.
A/N2: The original title of this was simply Intervention. Due to the number of similar fictions on the TtH site, I have added to it for the sake of distinction.
A BtVS SPN crossover
“All right, let's hope we got this right!” Buffy grunted as she tensed her leg. They'd already had a few false leads on the path the Verruca had burned through the country when she was on tour with her band Shy. The damage she had caused in Sunnydale had just been the tip of the iceberg. It had been brought up a few times among the core group, when they had talked about it and Giles had promised to do some research into the matter. Something had turned up in the web of inquiries that he had cast. And it was not something good.
They'd finally received confirmation just within the last day after Giles had alerted them to another case and they had raced to Los Angeles, in hopes that they'd be in time to prevent the worst from happening. Xander and Willow, her back up in this case, were standing back from the apartment door, looking just as tense as Buffy felt. With quick encouraging nods, the other two waited and Buffy kicked through the flimsy portal with ease.
There was confusion of course, inside the apartment as the trio rushed in to see a male in his mid to late twenties staring at them tensely as they came in. There was only a moment's hesitation before he was reaching for something in his inner coat pocket. Buffy caught the glimpse of the handle of a handgun as his shirt shifted and deciding she didn't have time to argue, kept striding forward. Her left hand caught the sandy blond's hand, still in his coat and before he could react, graced him with a right cross against his temple that dropped him like a stone. She grimaced as he crumpled, her senses reaching out through the apartment.
While Xander and Willow quickly dealt with immobilizing the male, one could assume that he was the one that put out the call for help. There was more movement further into the home that told her it was just one possibility. She needed to know more. Right that second, Buffy was more worried for the girl. She could hear others, louder now and motioned to her friends to stay quiet. There had been some yelling while they had or rather, Buffy had broken in and she figured for the others being further in to the apartment, unable to hear clearly what was happening in the communal hallway of the building. Since Willow had said that it was a one bedroom, Buffy headed to the only hallway there was off the living room.
The door to the bathroom stood open, she could see that. So she turned to the other door across from it. And when she peeked around the corner, Buffy saw exactly what she feared she would see, but now what she dreaded. She burst into the room, throwing herself towards the dark haired girl seated in the chair. The momentum carried her through, knocking them both over, but she felt the burning in her back, towards her shoulder blade thankfully, as the tall brunette male bit out a startled exclamation.
“Oh my God!” he rasped. “Who are-!”
Unfortunately, the gun shot echoing in the room was heard by the others and Xander, dear blessed Xander went running straight in, tranquilizer gun at the ready, aiming directly at the male. His stunned attention turned immediately to where Xander was braced in the doorway and his hands went up immediately in a pose of surrender. Though it didn't help that he still held his weapon.
“I'm sorry,” the male stammered out, “I didn't mean to shoot your friend. She jumped-!”
“Yeah,” Xander grinned just slightly, though he didn't relax. “That's Buffy for ya. Why don't you go ahead and put the gun down.” Buffy, from her position covering the stunned female, a young woman on the corporate speedway, until recently anyways, could see the male slowly complying. When he had done so and then slowly came out of his crouch to return to his full height, only then did Xander ease up his own stance, though he by no means gave up the advantage his weapon gave him. “Don't worry though. This tranq's for her.” He gestured with his chin towards to the two females lying prone on the floor.
“I'm sorry,” the unknown male apologized again, looking tense and agitated, “but you don't understand.”
“What's to understand?” Buffy grunted as she rolled over and gained her feet under her. There was a numbness in her left shoulder so she offered the girl, Madison by name if they were correct in their information her right hand to assist her up. And Buffy was pretty sure now that they were. “Pretty sure you meant to kill a werewolf. What with the silver bullet and all.” She wiggled her fingers towards Madison, who was staring at her like she was crazy, but then took the help. Once Madison was on her feet, she turned to face the male. The one who was eying her suspiciously. “You're Sam? A Winchester, right?”
“How did you know...?” he began, but then his mouth snapped shut. Buffy offered both of the suspicious occupants of the apartment a bright grin.
“Bobby Singer was looking for information,” she informed him quickly and immediately he seemed to relax. She shrugged her good shoulder. “We tried to talk to him, but he didn't know us, so...”
“So?” Sam prompted, his eyes dark as they flickered between her and Madison and then to Xander, who still held the rifle aloft, though not aimed directly at anyone.
“So, well, my friend did some hacking and traced the calls Bobby was making and the origin point seemed to be your phone and the locations matched up to our own research,” Buffy rambled. Sam's gaze had gone to Xander when she'd mentioned her friend, but Xander had shaken his head. At the moment, he kept quiet about Willow's presence in the apartment as well.
“Your research?” Sam echoed and Buffy nodded. She gestured for Madison to take a seat again.
“You okay there Buff?” Xander wondered and Buffy nodded tiredly.
“I'll want a first aid kit in a minute or two,” she declared, “but story first.” The other two were nodding at that. “Okay, so several months ago,” Buffy began, “well, it actually starts before that. See in high school, our friend Oz was bitten by his cousin, who had been bitten by a werewolf. When he finally figured out what was happening to him, he made the decision to lock himself up with us watching over him to make sure he didn't break out.”
“Sensible,” the girl murmured, looking shell shocked still. Buffy gave her a tight grin before continuing.
“It worked about as well as you could expect,” Buffy went on. “We had several close calls, graduated and went on to college.”
“With a werewolf?” Sam blinked and shook his head. “How'd he...?”
“He was in a band,” Buffy explained, “and since they were able to, they rented a house together just off campus. Oz was able to convert a grotto nearby to include a reinforced cage for the times he needed it,” Buffy's face softened. “I mean, he's a normal guy most days of the month and we couldn't condemn him for something that was done to him.”
“Sam didn't condemn me,” Madison piped up suddenly, her eyes boring into Buffy's. “I asked him to.”
“It's okay,” Xander replied moving further into the room. “We understand. And if you still... just hear us out please.”
Madison exchanged glances with Sam and they were both shrugging at one another, which Buffy took as a good sign. “Okay,” Madison finally sighed, wrapping her arms around her waist and looking to Buffy.
“All right,” Buffy offered her a very tight smile. “College was fine, new experiences and all that. But then this new band came to town. Shy.”
“Shy!” Madison repeated, startled once more. She glanced up at Sam. “I saw them. With Glen and the girls and...” She sagged and continued in a small voice. “It was one of them?”
“The lead singer,” Buffy confirmed. “Verruca” She glanced up at Sam, who wasn't quite getting it. “She liked being a werewolf. Thought it was freeing and she had been one for a long time. She was all about finding playmates.”
“She was deliberately infecting others?” Sam gasped out and both Buffy and Xander nodded sadly. “Is she...? Did you...?” he began.
“Oz killed her,” Buffy supplied for him. “When Verruca went after his girlfriend, our friend Willow. She wanted Willow out of the way so that Oz would be free of her “leash”.” The words were cold and harsh, much like how they felt about the blond singer that had wreaked havoc on Willow's life.
“But then there was the good part of all of that,” Xander piped up, finally having lowered the tranq gun and leaning against the door frame.
“What good came of it?” Sam demanded instantly, suspiciously.
“He left Willow,” Buffy supplied and then winced and shook her head. “That didn't sound good. I mean, it was horrible for them. But he left because he needed to know more about this thing in him. And a few months ago he came back. During the full moon.”
“And?” Sam and Madison demanded as one. Sam wet his lips and continued. “Did he... is there a cure?” Buffy, feeling such a sense of deja vu really hated having to shake her head in the negative.
“There's no actual cure,” she explained and could see both immediately deflate. “But Oz was able to find help. Through a long process of herbs and monks and charms, he can refrain from becoming the wolf, during the entire full moon cycle.”
Both of their eyes opened so wide that Buffy feared they might pop out and fought a gag at the sickening visual. She might be the Slayer, but some things still made her squeamish.
“Are you serious?” Sam demanded. He looked slightly wild as both hands were thrust into his shaggy mop of locks. “How could Bobby not...? He said there was nothing anyone could do. He would have heard about it.”
“It's not common knowledge,” Xander piped up. “After all, the only people who really believe in werewolves are the werewolves themselves and the people who hunt them. And also, not people willing to fly to Tibet and climb Everest to get to the monks that can help them.”
“Wrong country Xan,” Buffy shook her head, suppressing a small grin as Madison let out a shocked chuckle.
“I wouldn't have thought to even attempt something like that,” she announced thoughtfully and then turned her gaze to Buffy. “I think... I think we need to talk about... this.”
“Glad to hear you say that,” Buffy grinned. “And also, could I get a little help? This wound is really hurting.”
“Oh God,” Sam winced again as he moved forward to inspect her back. “I said I was sorry right?”
“No worries Sam,” Buffy was caught between a grin and a wince. “All in the line of duty.”
Before Sam could apologize again though, he was startled by the appearance of yet another person in Madison's bedroom, as was the apartment owner herself. There was a flurry of red hair and then the mini whirlwind was approaching Buffy.
“I think you guys better hurry up and get out here cause I think the other one's gonna wake up and I'm pretty sure that he's not gonna be happy, since I took his,” and Sam saw her lift her hand, gingerly holding Dean pistol by the trigger guard, looking for all the world like she was holding a live rattlesnake. And he supposed, to people not familiar with guns and weaponry, she just might feel like she was. But before he could react, the blond had taken the gun, expertly flipped it open with a flick of her wrist and removed the cartridge before settling both in one hand and grinning at the other woman.
“And I'm not sure if he has more because you know usually when you have one, you might have another and I didn't think of it until just a second ago, 'cause I didn't think I'd need to search him,” the redhead continued her only momentarily interrupted babble. Sam and Madison watched, almost in fascination as the other two just nodded along with her. “And I heard the gunshot and Buffy you already have enough holes in you. I hate it when you have holes in you, but I can help with that. If Madison here has some supplies, I can fix you right up, but I'm gonna have to check. Did it go through? Cause sometimes the bullets go through-!”
“And so we should go check on the other guy,” Xander hurried forward to interrupt, wrapping his free hand over the redhead's mouth before she got much further.
“Yeah, that would be a good idea,” Sam sighed, glancing to the open doorway. “Because you're right, Dean always carries back up.” And just as he spoke and began moving to the door way to check on his brother, he heard the muted roar of his brother coming awake.
“Sam!” was as usual, the first thought on Dean's mind and the first thing verbalised that wasn't swearing.
“I'm here,” Sam called back as he hurried out into the hallway. “I'm good Dean!” He felt and heard the movement of the others behind him, but didn't pause because, just as he had expected, Dean was up, secondary pistol drawn and was heading to them. He looked a little woozy on his feet though and Sam could see the knot forming on his temple already. “You okay?”
“Fuckin' blondie got the jump on me,” Dean groused. “Hits like a damn wrecking ball.”
“Sorry about that,” Buffy piped up from behind Sam and he shifted a little, turning to glance over his shoulder to see Buffy holding hers, blood seeping from between her fingers. He shifted further so that Dean could see and noted the confusion in his brother's eyes, especially as they darted to a still living Madison.
“Oh please, don't tell me we gotta deal with some sorta supernatural PETA or something here,” Dean whined.
“No, more of a, we have information that turns this whole thing on it's head sort of group. I didn't have time to explain and you were pulling a weapon on me,” Buffy quipped with a grin and Sam was amazed at her attitude after having just been threatened with Dean's weapon and then accidentally shot. “And if it makes you feel better, I did get shot. Just not by you.”
“I really am sorry about that,” Sam winced again. He caught his brother's exasperated look and turned to explain. “They tried to go through Bobby, but he didn't know them, so he didn't get the information they had. They know a lot more than you think Dean, about all of this.”
“Yeah?” his brother, ever the skeptic on the good-heartedness of people other than his brother, demanded. “How much more?”
“Uh, like the exact identity of the werewolf that came here and infected Glen and some others,” Sam offered quietly. That got Dean's attention and with trust in his little brother's instincts, not an unusual occurrence, he slipped his back up weapon into his coat. Buffy stepped forward, turning sideways to sidle past Sam in the tight hallway. She held out Dean's other gun in the hand of her uninjured arm.
“I believe this is yours as well,” she offered and Dean took it from her quickly, checking it over. “Kinda made Wills here nervous,” she gestured over her shoulder with her thumb as Willow waved jauntily.
“So why did she keep an eye on me, instead of the dude with the rifle?” he wondered aloud, glancing at the still unknown male in the small group.
“Uh, cause tranquilizers are more effective on werewolves,” Xander shrugged one shoulder. “And Buff had already taken you out of action for long enough. Besides, Willow can take care of herself. When she isn't inclined to panic,” he teased, ribbing Willow with one gentle elbow in her side.
“Uh, this is all well and good,” Madison finally interrupted, “but it's been... really... I need coffee!” she announced suddenly, pushing through the crowd of people before her, heading for the kitchen, her eyes slightly wild. But then she paused in mid step and whirled back to look at Buffy. “Unless I shouldn't? I mean, are there certain things that make it worse?”
“Uh, not coffee,” Buffy twisted her lips up slightly as she tried to make the connection. “I mean there are obviously things that you won't be able to do at certain times and restrictions, but we have time to get through that.”
“What time?” Dean demanded as he backed up slightly to allow the overflow back into the living room. “And what the hell did they say that got you on the other side of the fence again?” he demanded of his brother. Sam watched as Madison continued shakily on into the kitchen before he turned to his brother.
“They know a werewolf that's managed to find the closest thing to a cure they have,” he informed his brother quietly.
“Sure they did,” he frowned and looked over the motley crew that was gathering before the counter that divided the kitchen from the living room. Willow, the redhead was pushing the blond, to sit on one of the stools while the male, settled the rifle against the wall to watch the two women, kind of set between them and the two brothers. Like Sam and Dean were the threat. He wanted to snort at that. As if!
“Seriously Dean,” Sam offered, but there was warning in his tone that Dean, for all that he might casually blow off, did take note of. And he had to admit, the blond girl was right, they still had a few hours that they could take Madison out if they needed.
“All right, I'll listen,” he agreed. He moved over to the stools where the blond was seated and took in her injury with an experienced eye. “Nice shot Sam,” he complimented.
“It was,” To Dean's surprise, the girl agreed with him immediately as her friends gasped and murmured protests. “Seriously guys, he was aiming for her heart. He would have gotten it, if I hadn't gotten in the way. And it only hit my shoulder. I'll be fine.”
“Yes,” Xander nodded. “Any day you don't die is a good day. So please, don't die Buff. I don't think CPR is gonna work on a bullet hole.”
“Yeah, I doubt it would either,” Willow chuckled as she reached for a bag that must have been hers and unzipped it to remove some supplies. She pressed some bandaging against Buffy's shoulder, both front and back. “Looks like it didn't go through, but...”
“I think the bone deflected it out,” Buffy sighed and then glanced at Madison. “So you probably won't have a bullet hole somewhere in your bedroom. It feels like,” she paused for a moment, her fingers gingerly feeling across her skin. The dark haired woman glanced up from where she was measuring out the coffee.
“I think that's the least of my worries right now,” she sighed, still trembling slightly. “After the damage to the closet, I pretty much figured I'd be losing my damage deposit.”
“You locked her in the closet?” Xander demanded, amusement sparkling in his eyes. Sam shrugged awkwardly.
“Didn't have much choice at the time it was happening,” he explained vaguely, but was relieved to see that they were all nodding.
“Well, better than some of the alternatives,” Buffy agreed, still pressing at her shoulder as Willow hovered with a gauze pad. She then turned to regard Madison. “We'll have to figure something better out for tonight before we try and arrange transport. If you decide you still want to go,” she offered gently. Madison was nodding, but Dean, still pretty out of the loop on everything, pushed forward.
“Go where?” he demanded, glancing around the group. It was Madison that answered.
“Tibet,” she said shortly and Dean's eyes widened, then narrowed and turned back to the newcomers.
“What's in Tibet?”
“The monks that can help her with the meditation and herbs and other things she'll need to deal,” the redhead explained as she rummaged some more through her bag. She regarded Buffy for a moment. “Do ya want me to... or?” and then she held up some medical forceps.
“What are you carrying in there?” Buffy demanded, reaching to pull the bag closer to herself and peer inside.
“The medical,” Willow shrugged. “Hey, you carry the power punch, Xan had the rifle, I didn't want to feel useless. And hey, I'm using it, so quit being a poopy head.”
'Poopy head?' Dean mouthed to his brother with an arched eyebrow and Sam had to suppress a smirk. These people that had busted in were certainly... colorful. And much, much different from what they were used to dealing with.
“I'm not being a poopy head,” Buffy grunted and then gestured to the forceps. “Don't wanna scare the locals. Feels like it's lodged right here,” she muttered, indicating an area at the front of her shoulder.
“With ya there,” Willow let out a huge sigh. The brothers could see something being communicated between the trio, easy enough since they did it without conscious thought themselves. Before they could ask, Willow had turned and looked them over. “Could one of you brace her? I mean, I love you Buff, really, but you're kind of a wimp at times like these.”
“A wimp!” Buffy exclaimed. “Oh please! Who was it that was impaled on her own stake and managed to... well, I did kind of faint in Riley's arms. But I did pull it out myself!”
“'Cause you were in shock, Buff,” Xander shook his head. “And Riley had to carry you home and patch you up so Joyce wouldn't find out about it. And he told me, you whined the entire time.”
“Stupid Riley,” Buffy grumbled softly. Sam, still listening to this all, had moved in front of the blond girl to brace her as the redhead had asked. “Xander, can I hold your hand?” she batted her lashes but the other male was unmoved.
“Only if I want it broken!” he protested. Sam started moving his free hand to let her hold it. He knew from experience how much bullet removal from the body stung, especially when there was no local anesthetic to be administered, but there was a quick shake of the redhead's head.
“She really will break your hand,” Willow grunted. She regarded her friend again. “Just, grip your knees or something.”
“It's bullet removal, not childbirth Wills,” Buffy chuckled, but did as she was told. She hissed once as Willow started the process of digging out the bullet. Since she didn't want to cut her friend open any more, she had to follow the path the bullet had made in her body, changed angle and all. Sam had barely any time to brace himself as she slammed her head against his chest, feeling in a way, like Dean had said, a wrecking ball. “Bone!” she shouted. “Bone, bone, that's bone Willow!”
“I know, I know!” Willow hissed back. “Hold still. This is gross. So not liking looking at your insides.”
“As gross as checkin' out the morgue for signs of werewolf attack?” Xander asked. He glanced up at the brothers. “First time she did that, she was totally pro, then the moment she was done, fainted in my arms.”
“Morgue duty is always nasty,” Dean agreed, watching the entire proceedings with a mixture of sympathy and amusement. At least as much as he cold muster.
“I gotta say, I thought Sam and Dean led interesting lives,” Madison piped up from the kitchen, where she was leaning back, against her refrigerator. “But I think I'm just weirded out that there are more people like them out there. No offense or anything,” she sighed, offering the last to the room as a whole.
“Somebody's gotta deal with the bad,” Xander shrugged. “And luckily enough there are people in this world that will step up and do so. Even when it sucks the big one. Am I right?” he asked of the brothers and Dean, still watching the proceedings, nodded absently. Within moments, Willow had finally located the bullet and pulled it from her friend's wound. She glanced around and then turned to Madison, the forceps aloft with the blood coated bullet pinched between the end.
“Do you have something I can drop this in?” she asked sweetly. “I don't know if you can reuse the silver or...”
“We can melt it down again after it's clean,” Dean nodded. “Thanks.”
“No problem,” Willow replied and after a second of thought, Madison retrieved a small aluminum bowl from a cupboard and then slid it across the counter, where Willow dropped both bullet and forceps. She turned back to her bag and rummaged again, coming up with several four by fours and a roll of gauze. “I'm just gonna wrap this Buffy. Should be all you need.”
“What about antiseptic?” Sam asked quickly, throwing the redhead a glance.
“She heals quick,” Willow murmured as she began applying herself to the next task. “We'll watch for infection, but I doubt... It was a clean shot, no fragments or anything. Right Buffy?” She waited, but there was no response and she leaned back to look at her friend's face before snapping her fingers. Buffy startled reflexively then glanced up sheepishly. “Where'd you go Buff?”
“Angel,” she answered shortly, causing those not in the know to exchange puzzled glances, before Sam and Dean both glanced at Xander who was muttering under his breath. Something that sounded like 'friggin' dead boy'.
“Not to be too pushy,” the young man said, louder now, “but since Riley isn't here, I offer a 'hey!' and a 'really?'.”
“Not like that Xander,” Buffy grinned. “I was just thinking where Madison could go that was safe. Angel is here in LA, they recently moved into that hotel. He's the best bet to help protect her until we can move her. If you don't mind Madison?”
The woman in question just shrugged.
“Who exactly is Angel?” Dean demanded. “Another hunter?”
“You could say that,” Buffy answered, throwing Xander a glare when it seemed he would protest. “He doesn't exactly fall into the norm for hunter's. So most hunter's don't like him.”
“Mostly 'cause they're afraid he'll try and eat them,” Xander snorted and both of his female friends rounded on him.
“Xander!” Willow snapped.
“Not helping!” Buffy barked at the same time before turning back to the brothers, who were waiting warily to hear the bad. “Angel used to live with us in Sunnydale and he was my... hunting partner for a while. But a lot of things happened that convinced him that he was better off on his own. So he moved to LA and opened up a detective agency.”
“He's a detective?” Dean snorted, his contempt clearly written on his face. But Buffy was shaking her head.
“It's just his cover,” she explained. “He routinely deals with cases that are more para than normal.”
“I think you're probably right about this,” Willow nodded. She patted her friend's knee with the hand that wasn't covered in drying blood. “I'll just wash up and call Cordy. We can make the arrangements and then get Madison over there.” She turned to the other woman. “If that's okay with you?”
“Wanna live, didn't think I could, prepared to die, and now you guys are offering me a way through this?” Madison shook her head slowly. “Right now, I'm prepared to go about anywhere you guys say. Should I pack a bag?”
“That'd be a good idea,” Willow nodded. “I don't know how many amenities Angel would be able to offer. He lives at the hotel, but the others don't.” Madison nodded and pushed herself off the refrigerator she had braced herself on.
“Well, the coffee is ready,” she offered. And then threw a tight smile towards Sam. “Sam knows where the cups and stuff are. Please, help yourself.” She moved out of the kitchen, prepared to change her life, to give herself a chance. The group as a whole watched her pass and then disappear into the bedroom. Sam let out a huge sigh before looking to the others.
“Anyone want any?” he asked as he moved out from his position near Buffy who no longer needed his help.
“I'll take a cup,” Buffy nodded. “But don't let Wills have any. You think her earlier babble was bad. Caffeine takes the babble to a whole new level of bad. Bad babble,” she chuckled as Willow rolled her eyes and then giggled as she pulled out her cell phone that was a relatively new addition.
“It really does,” she agreed and then moved into the kitchen to quickly wash and then on to the living room to make the call as she had promised.
“Xander? Dean?” Sam asked as he started retrieving cups. Xander nodded, but Dean caught Sam's gaze and the silent communication that came so easily between them was at it again. Sam knew that Dean was wondering if they could leave, since someone else had taken over the case. But with one glance, Sam let his brother know that he couldn't. He just couldn't walk out of the life of the one woman since Jessica's death that he had made a connection to, until he saw with his own eyes that she was taken care of. With a sigh of understanding, Dean turned fully into the counter and nodded.
“So, you guys are hunters?” he asked of Buffy and Xander. “Or something like that?” he amended when they both grimaced.
“We haven't had much contact with hunters,” Buffy sighed. “So our perception is kinda, no offense, rigidly narrow, in that the few we've encountered are shoot first, don't even bother with the questions.”
“Who was it that put you off?” Sam asked with interest. “Maybe we know him. Or her.”
“Gib Cain,” she answered succinctly and was startled when Dean let out a throaty laugh.
“That dick? Remember him Sam? Jesus, Dad nearly took a strip outta his hide when he tried to shoot the wrong person,” Dean reminisced and then turned back to Buffy. “Yeah, we know him. And you're not wrong about that a-hole.”
“Good,” Buffy grunted as she took the coffee cup that Sam slid across the counter. “He was a complete jerk. What with the innuendos and the snarky and the just... argh.” Dean shared a grin with his brother. They loved a good story where inept hunters got their comeuppance without dying. Maybe it would make them think twice about hunting when they shouldn't be. Buffy, obviously sensing that they wanted more details, sighed after taking a sip of the hot caffeinated beverage. “So Cain comes to my town, looking for a werewolf, obviously.” They both nodded while Xander made himself comfortable. “We already told Sam, but a friend of ours, had been bitten by his five year old cousin, who was infected. We got wind of the possibility of a werewolf in the area and were checking out leads. We, my other hunting partner,” the way she said it made both brothers think that she was, not quite lying but fudging things slightly, “is a lot older. And we were out looking for clues. Giles had the tranq gun, since we're of the opinion that there are some things you can help, right?”
Dean rolled his eyes at his brother, but Sam just grinned and shrugged one shoulder. The newcomers watched this with suppressed amusement. But Sam gestured for Buffy to continue her story.
“So Cain had set up traps and I got caught in one of them,” she admitted sheepishly. “Which was how we met him. He made assumptions about a teenage girl out late at night with an older man, pissed me off. Giles had to hold me back from kicking his ass a little.” Dean scoffed a little at that, but caught sight of Xander grinning and gesturing to his temple. Dean grimaced and tried surreptitiously to rub at his own knot of pain, but everyone saw it.
“So you were in a trap?” he asked. Buffy nodded.
“Got out of it, had words with Cain, but then we heard the werewolf,” she explained. “We went one way, Cain went another. Our friend Oz, was starting to get suspicious of himself, since he was waking up naked and in weird places, so he was prepared to lock himself up, since he knew from our research about the three nights surrounding the full moon?” she asked it questioningly, wondering if the brothers were aware as well that it wasn't only the full moon that could cause the transformation. They both nodded tiredly as Willow rejoined the group. “So anyway, Willow went over to see him and he transformed before he could get into lock down.”
“How'd you escape?” Sam asked immediately of her. Willow shrugged.
“I don't know,” she admitted honestly. “I was extremely lucky. I threw several things at him and then ran.” Her face grew pensive and then after a moment she shook it off and continued with her story. “He chased me, of course, but then something distracted him. I kept going, made it to Buffy and Giles and we tracked him down.”
Buffy, her hands wrapped around the hot mug, leaned forward, hunching slightly. “Cain had some traps set with fresh meat. I guess easy prey, fresh killed is more appealing to a young werewolf's sense of smell than prey that fights back. Anyway, Oz ran off to where Cain was waiting for him. Thanks to Willow's news and knowing where Cain was setting up, we got there, fought and she managed to shoot Oz with the tranq gun. We hauled him back to the cage we had for him and let him sleep it off. And Oz has been locking himself up when necessary and finding other werewolves when he can.”
“What does he do with them?” Sam began to ask, even as Dean was speaking.
“What'd ya do to Cain?”
“Uh,” Buffy smirked, glancing back and forth between the two males, but Sam waved his hand, conveying his desire to hear the answer to Dean's question first. “I kinda broke his rifle apart, 'cause he called me soft, then ran him out of town.” Dean's eyebrow quirked up, but then he rubbed at his face, avoiding the knot at his temple, wincing in anticipation of the pain. Buffy turned to Sam. “With the monks permission, he's formed a werewolf commune. A place where they can learn to control their powers and how to live their lives around this thing that happened to them.”
“And I bet it's all puppies and rainbows then huh?” Dean asked derisively with more than just a hint of disbelief coloring his tone. But all three of the newcomers were shaking their heads.
“Not particularly,” Xander sighed. “there are others out there that think like Verruca did. That like the sense of freedom and power being a werewolf gives them. And not everyone has such an... easy time, I guess I want to say, as Oz did.”
“What do you mean by that?” Sam wondered. There was that silent communication between the three of them and Willow was the one that came clean.
“Oz was always very laid back,” she sighed. “It took a lot to get him out of his zenny state.” Both Winchester's threw a little smirk at her odd use of certain words. “But there were still things that set him off. Of course, he didn't know until it happened that there were... trigger's.”
“Triggers?” Sam asked immediately, worry once more marring his face. The other three nodded sadly.
“Oz left because he needed to find a cure,” Buffy continued, when it appeared that Willow was a little too choked up for that. “But he still left and this whole thing was horrible.”
“Tore Wills up a little too much, you know,” Xander added gently, rubbing at the redhead's back while she grinned tightly at them. Both Sam and Dean recognized the painful signs. Force a smile or a laugh because otherwise you'll lose it. They turned away slightly, giving her a moment.
“It took some time, some bad judgment calls, and a lot of support, but Willow was eventually able to move on from it,” Buffy went on. “She did as Oz wanted and got on with her life. Which of course, included...”
“Someone new?” Dean piped up, because it was sort of obvious. They all nodded slowly. Several realizations seemed to click in his head and he had to check the urge to turn to the redhead. “And I bet the primal part of Oz didn't and I mean really didn't like anyone else being with his girl.”
“Just like Glen,” Sam sighed. He glanced down at Buffy. “Did anyone else get hurt?”
“Well,” she drawled out, “that's kinda a different story there. Oz went after Willow's other half and well, a new group of hunters were in town. They bagged him and dragged him away. But when Oz got control of himself, Riley recognized him, since Oz was a friend of ours.”
“This Riley that Xander mentioned earlier?” Sam prompted.
“My boyfriend,” Buffy supplied with a tiny smirk. “He used to work with a large group of hunters, but they've... disbanded since then. Anyway, he works with us now.”
Sam and Dean exchanged barely a glance, sensing that would be another interesting story, bu they needed to stick with the current set of problems.
“So Riley went to get Oz out of there and back to us,” she muttered. “We already figured out where they were holding him and went to get Oz. It worked out in the end, and Oz made the decision again to leave. He realized that there were certain things that he still couldn't control and figured that if he couldn't control them, better to be away from the trigger.”
“Makes sense,” Dean nodded. His eyes, instead of going to his brother, slid to the hallway where Madison seemed to be taking her time packing her bag. Buffy seemed to realize the same thing a put a hand up.
“Be right back,” she murmured as she hurried down the hall. Sam hesitated for just a moment before following her.
“Huh,” Dean grunted, turning to face Willow and Xander. “Thought you'd be the pick to go talk to wolf girl.”
“Sort of, I guess,” Willow shrugged. “But when it comes to badness in someone's life? Buffy's had it in spades. So whatever's bugging Madison, Buff's the one to...” She shrugged again.
“So,” Dean drawled, much like Buffy had earlier, though there was a gleam in his eye as he regarded the pretty girl in front of him. “This new guy, that replaced Oz. Was he worth it?” Willow and Xander exchanged glances, both smirking and Dean waved his hand, indicating the two of them, but before he could voice that suspicion, Willow piped up.
“Oh yeah, Tara is so totally worth all that,” she announced in an easy going tone that had Dean's eyes widening. “Oz was the love of my teenage life, but Tara? She's my soul mate.”
“You're...?” Dean grunted and then his grin widened into a leer. “Really? So you figured you're really a lesbian. Please, tell me how you came to this beautiful and unique understanding of your orientation... with graphic details, if you don't mind?”
His words were so hopeful and at the same time, his wide eyed excitement was disarming and Willow began giggling while Xander rolled his eyes. “Hey, he warned, “if she won't tell her bestest bud all the dirty details, no way she's gonna tell some horny, perverted stranger!”
“Yeah, but she's never gonna see me again,” Dean pointed out with a cheeky grin. “And it would be a very, very nice way to make up for taking her friend's blow to the noggin'.”
“It would be,” Willow agreed at once and Dean's eyes lit up once more as she leaned forward. “Except, if that's the way it worked, then it should be Buffy telling you about her first time with a woman.” If possible, Dean's eyes were nearly ready to bug out of his head as it whipped around to look at where Buffy had disappeared into the bedroom, Sam hovering in the hallway. He jerked his thumb over his shoulder.
“You mean...” he began.
“Of course, I don't know that she's ever had one,” Willow finished. “You'd have to ask her, but as far as I know, Buffy still likes being in boy land.”
“I can work with that,” Dean chuckled, but Xander was already shaking his head.
“Plus she has a boyfriend with Army and monster hunting training,” the younger man added. “And an ex that can and will kill anyone that she even frowns at.”
“Xander!” Willow protested.
“Wait, this ex?” Dean wondered. “The one that lives here in LA?”
“That'd be the one,” Xander grinned, his features now matching the smugness that had been on Dean's face previously. “Of course,” Xander went on, seemingly oblivious to the dirty look that Willow was throwing him. “He'd just as soon kill anyone she smiles at as well.”
“He's not that bad,” Willow protested, though to Dean's ear, it had the ring of whining and the general belief that was extremely hopeful though she had to have known this guy's history, if they were all friends. And Dean felt he had hit the head right on the money when he caught her muttering, “not now, anyway.” With an amused shake of his head, he glanced over to check on his brother and raised an eyebrow in interest. Because Sammy, who had been hovering by the hallway, half his attention on the new people, had left him completely to it. Boy was eavesdropping now. Dean mentally rubbed his hands together. Sam was gonna get an earful over that. Perhaps in more ways than one.
“Hey, I'm gonna make a quick call,” he decided, reaching for his cell phone and moving into the living room. He didn't precisely need privacy, but with who he was calling, it was better that he had the illusion of it at least. He only received a distracted nod and then Willow was turning to Xander.
“We should call Giles,” she decided. “Let him know we found Madison. Make sure no one else is looking for her.”
“Yeah, I'd hate to see the Goon Squad in action here again,” Xander agreed and then with Willow's gargled cough and glance at Dean, his eyes wide he held up a hand. “Oh not you. Different goon squad. Uh, not that I think you're goons. Anything but... I- Wills, help me out here!”
“He means the professionals that Giles old team uses,” Willow sighed, shaking her head. “Supernatural mercenaries,” she finally decided upon. “Not only shoot first, but shoot everyone in the vicinity to keep from being discovered type goons.”
“She means that they tried to kill Buffy twice already,” Xander sighed. Willow frowned, as did Dean.
“They think she's a menace?” he demanded, slightly surprised at the idea. Willow sighed, leaning against the counter.
“First time was a test of her skills,” she explained briefly. “Second time, they thought she was someone else. Someone who really did need taking out.”
“Wills,” Xander warned and Dean was surprised by the wary and pained look in Xander's eye. Willow apparently saw it too.
“Sorry,” she sniffed, but sounded anything but. “I know, Faith needs help, but she's still a- a psychotic ho-bag slut!”
“Whoa Wills,” Buffy called out from the bedroom. “Put the big guns away,” the blond chuckled, though those in the living room couldn't see her.
“Sorry!” Willow called out again and looked sheepishly in Dean's direction. “I have issues with Faith.”
“Yeah, I can see that,” he grinned and then held up his phone. “Gimme a minute.” The remaining pair nodded and Dean found a seat on the wide window sill to make his phone call. Bobby Singer picked up on the second ring.
“Is it done?” he demanded, in lieu of a greeting.
“No,” Dean replied simply. “Change of plans. We got a lead on a way to help her.”
“Oh you've got to be kidding me,” Bobby grunted, sounding not the least bit pleased. “When the hell are you-!”
“Bobby!” Dean quickly interrupted the expected tirade, his voice quiet and that immediately shut the older man up. “Did you get a call from anyone recently, strangers?” he asked while trying to recall all the last names that head been thrown at them.
“Yeah, some English guy,” Bobby answered immediately. “Called himself Rupert Giles. Why? This guy get to you. Spoutin' a cure?”
“Not a cure, no,” Dean sighed. So that was the truth they had told him and Sam. “More like new age herbalistic crap, but it might help. I need you to check out a monastery in Tibet.”
“What the hell for?” Bobby grunted.
“Because from what they been telling us, they've set up a peaceable werewolf commune there,” Dean told him, keeping one eye on the remaining duo. They seemed to be ignoring him while Willow talked on her cell phone as well. “They also claim that they know a werewolf that can stay mostly in control of himself during the full moon cycle.”
“Well shit,” Bobby sighed. “Pie in the sky, story like that...”
“I know,” Dean growled softly. “But if there's any chance. You know Sam'll move heaven an' hell to help this chick.” He heard Bobby's sigh of agreement on that point. “Now, I have no problem turning her over to someone else to deal with here, as long as I can be sure she'll be dealt with.”
“Well how the hell they gonna get her to Tibet before tonight?” Bobby demanded. Dean knew that was a valid fear.
“They're not,” he informed his friend immediately. “They're taking her to another hunter in town. Some guy named Angel. Apparently he runs a detective agency in town, but routinely deals with our type of crap. Maybe check him out first. I'll go with 'em and do some recon.”
“Got it,” Bobby declared, on point now that he'd been given a direction to run with. “You keep an eye on that brother of yours. He gets too involved, you know.” Dean was barely able to keep from rolling his eyes. It would always be the same, keep an eye on Sammy and no one knew better than he what an emo little girly girl his brother could be most days. But he was still family. Dean would go to the ends of earth and beyond to keep him safe. They hung up about the same time, not needing the closure of goodbyes. Bobby'd call back the moment he had something solid. Sometimes less if he felt it was warranted.
He hung up his phone just as Willow was doing the same with hers. He deposited his phone back in his pocket and tilted his head consideringly. “Your friend you just called. Giles? First name Rupert?”
“That's the one,” Willow nodded. “Do you know of him?”
Dean shook his head. “Nah, that's the name my friend Bobby gave me, that tried to call him. Just double checkin'.”
“Okay,” Willow smiled tightly. “Um, how do we want to get to Angel's? I mean, I'm the only one that's actually even talked to anyone there recently, since they moved,” she explained. “At least willingly. I mean...”
“No worries,” Dean assured her. It was probably better he figured, to get his own impressions on this guy and the place they'd be handling Madison in. “Gimme the address,” he commanded and seeming happy enough, Willow began to dig through her bag for the address book she had with her.
“Cordy said they moved into an old abandoned hotel,” she told him as she rifled through the book. She ran her finger down the page and then turned to where she had scribbled the address, under the name Cordelia Chase followed by an LA phone number. Dean nodded once, committing it to memory. Something about the address niggled at his memory and he resolved to check it out later, when they had some down time. Of course, that wouldn't stop him from simply asking Sam. It would have the double effect of letting him off the hook for doing the research if Sam knew anything about it and also, keep his brother's mind off of Madison. If only for a little bit.
“Okay,” the woman in question announced as she emerged from her bedroom, bags in hand. “I think I have everything I need. Are you sure I won't need...” she turned to ask Buffy and then flushed slightly as she realized that everyone and that included all the males in the apartment staring at her. “Uh...”
Buffy however, chuckled and took the larger bag from her. “Trust me, clothes you like, not an option right now. If you're not comfortable, we'll borrow something, like some sweats and a wife beater. That way, when they get torn up, you won't have ruined anything of your own.”
“Okay,” Madison nodded dubiously. “You're sure your friends won't mind?”
Buffy shook her head in the negative. “They're as committed to helping people as we all are. They've made a legitimate business out of it. They'll help.”
“And probably even have suggestions how to handle this that we might not have thought of,” Willow piped up helpfully.
“At least this way,” Xander noted as they, as a group, trooped towards the front door, “you'll have a safe place for tonight, and some time to deal with all your life stuff before you go away. Better than a bullet in your head.”
“That would be through her heart,” Dean corrected with a hint of morbid humor as they all filed past the dark haired girl. Sam was right behind him and as they turned to wait, could see both Sam and Madison look longingly back in. But the pair of them shared a smile as Madison locked the door and pulled it closed behind her, before setting the dead bolt with her key. She made a motion with her hand and Sam, seeming to react on instinct, took it with his own, smiling gently down at her. If there was one emotion that Sam had going for him, that kept things from escalating through to horrible badness, it was his sincerity.
Once they reached the ground floor and stepped out into the bright LA sunshine pouring down on them, they all seemed to breath a sigh of relief. Mostly Madison, as she had accepted earlier in the day that she would never see a day like this again. Or a night, or a sunrise or sunset, well, the list could be a little endless.
“So how are we doing this?” Xander asked as he jingled his car keys between his fingers. “I can do a lot of things, but I don't think I have crazy clown car capabilities on the Xander-mobile.”
Dean cracked a smile at the reference. They could fit everybody in a squeeze in his Impala, but since they had their own ride, the most sense meant their own vehicles and Madison could ride-!
“If you don't mind,” the girl spoke up, with a glance up at Sam as she gently shook her hand loose. “I'd like to ride with them. I still have...”
“A lot of questions?” Sam asked, though he was nodding along with her. Dean was glad to see that the distancing between them was already beginning. Knowing that she would be taken care of, in good hands would help his brother move on from this experience, a helluva lot better off than if he'd actually managed to gank the werewolf that Madison was.
Madison, looking relieved, slid into him, wrapping one arm around his waist. Sam automatically returned the gesture, but there was a stiffness to his back that Dean recognized and frowned over. He'd have to talk to his brother about that a little, okay a lot later. Since he wasn't ready for the moonbeams and rainbow, hearts and flowers talk that it would turn into. Couldn't say he ever really was.
Once they were in the Impala, Xander in his car, pulling slowly ahead of them so Dean could follow, Dean turned over the engine and while Sam situated himself, wrote out the address that Willow had given him. He tore the sheet off the pad of paper and held it out to Sam.
“Can you do me a favor?” he asked as Sam twisted slightly in his seat. “Check on that?”
“Is this the address for their friends?” Sam wondered as he took the slip of paper. His eyebrows furrowed in that way they did when he was puzzled over something. “That sounds familiar.”
“That's what I thought too,” Dean agreed smugly as he followed the silver car that held the newcomers. Sam was busy digging through the center pile of necessities that accrued in the front seat between them on their jobs and through living out of the car twenty-four/ seven. When he came away with their father's journal, Dean nodded absently in approval.
Sam found the information much quicker than Dean would have thought. But then Sam had a mind like a steel trap when it came to certain figures and dates. “Here it is,” he announced, matching the sheet up to a page in the book. “Hyperion Hotel. Lot of articles. Lot of deaths.”
“Something along our line of work, ya think?” Dean asked, picking up speed slightly now that they were coming out of the subdivision that Madison lived in.
“Dad must've,” Sam nodded, as he skimmed over the first article. “There's some stuff highlighted. A few ideas. Doesn't say he ever checked in though.”
“Well, since that's where we're heading, wouldn't hurt to know something about it, would it?” was Dean's philosophy. And it was enough of a brain teaser that it kept Sam quite busy during the drive and that was keeping Dean in a better frame of mind. They might have killed Glen, but at least Madison was getting help.
But another job looming on the horizon?
Well, that was just another day in the Winchester's life. Another story just waiting to unfold.