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Tied up in Red

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This story is No. 8 in the series "Our Roots Run Deep". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: It's their senior year and they're stronger than ever, but what sort of madness will the Pack face this year?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-CenteredcalikocatFR181163,07728012,33824 Aug 1330 Mar 14No

Heidi's Crisis

 photo TiedUpinRed04Small_zpsecf15c5b.jpg

Tied up in Red
calikocat
Heidi's Crisis
Word count: 7317

Extra Disclaimer: The A-Team does not belong to me! Please apply this for all future appearances!

A/N: Please note that at this point I haven't watched all of the A-Team. So if you need to consider this AU then be my guest, but it does take place after the series is over. And as for Martial Law, pretend the timelines match and ignore season two because people were stupid and Louis left the show. : (

Warnings: Couples are Xander/Cordy, Sammo/Louis, and Face/Murdock/Amy because I really like the fic 'The Velocity of Longing'. Go read it at AO3!

Special Note: I've only ever read/seen one story that gave Billy's breed and so far it hasn't been mentioned in the show. So I'm totally ripping that idea from an A-Team/Sentinel crossover I read over at Archive of Our Own. Google it, it’s a pretty breed. XD

XXX

“Your biological father. Hannibal Smith.”

Those words had shaken something deep inside her when her mom had spoken them. The name hadn't meant anything to her; she'd never heard it...but...her dad wasn't her father. Some stranger was. Her mother had kept talking, telling her everything, making her head spin.

“After I was born your Grandpa Jenkins couldn't father anymore kids...he just didn't tell Grandma that...and then she became pregnant in 1980...you were born in 81.”

Heidi had just stared at her mom...who wasn't even her mother...but her older sister...her half sister. Oh god, she was going to beat Xander in the family drama category this year.

“Dad loved you like you were his...but mom felt so guilty...and I'd just gotten married. Adopting you seemed to be the best option. Mom couldn't bear to give you up to a stranger, but she couldn't keep you with her as a constant reminder.” Her mom had sighed. “This doesn't change anything Heidi. You're still my daughter, your dad and I love you and that won't ever change.”

“Why?” She had glared at her mom...or should she call her Janet now? “Why are you telling me this now?”

“Because your father was in Nam with Grandpa Jenkins. It’s why he loved you like you were his. Hannibal will be at the funeral. And he'll know you're his the moment he sees you. I just wanted you to be ready.”

Heidi had glared at her mom...sister...whatever. “I'm going out.”

“Heidi! It's almost midnight!”

“Don't care.” And then she had been on her feet and out the door. Questions still buzzed around her brain, but she didn't care, she didn't want any answers. She just wanted....pack.

That was how she came to be on the roof of the Summers' home and tapping on the window. Buffy was there in an instant, lifting up the glass, and looking at her curiously. “Heidi?”

Heidi dove in the window and clung to her Alpha...and let the tears fall. Buffy, though startled, easily picked her up and carried her to the bed, tucking her in and curling up around her.

“You can tell me in the morning.”

xxx

Morning saw them at the kitchen counter with Joyce to enjoy breakfast. Joyce hadn't minded finding Heidi camped out in Buffy's room. It was better she'd staid the night instead of roaming around Sunnydale all night long. So Joyce had sat with the girls while Heidi explained what had happened and why she had spent the night. However when Heidi said the name of her biological father Joyce had choked and spluttered on her orange juice.

Buffy looked at her mother in alarm. “Mom?”

Another cough. “I'm okay.” She wiped at her mouth and stared at Heidi. “Your father is Hannibal Smith? John Hannibal Smith?”

Heidi shrugged. “That's what she said.” Her eyes sharpened and she gave Joyce an almost accusing look...which Buffy elbowed her for. She ducked her head in apology and lessened her glare. “Why?”

“Anyone who lived in LA back in the seventies and eighties knew about Hannibal Smith.” Joyce smiled when both girls continued to give her blank looks. “He was the leader of the A-Team.”

Buffy's eyes bugged a bit. “I thought they were an urban legend.”

“Nope. They were real.”

Heidi looked from mother to daughter in confusion. “What are you two talking about?”

Joyce smiled and took Heidi's hand. “Back at the end of the Vietnam war a team of soldiers were accused of robbing a bank and labeled as traitors. They were on the run for more than ten years before their names were cleared. And the entire time they were on the run they pulled off impossible jobs helping people get out of hopeless and desperate situations. For a fee...but from what I heard they waved that fee a lot of the time.”

Heidi and Buffy shared a look and Buffy quirked her lips. “Sounds like us...but we don't get paid...ever.”

Heidi gave a morose sort of sigh. “I still think Giles should provide an allowance or at least for weapon maintenance.”

“I'd rather be able to replace the clothes I lose to demon gunk.”

“True.” Heidi grimaced at the wall clock. “I'll have to go home soon...thanks for letting me spend the night.” She stood up. “I'll see you at school later.”

Buffy reached for her hand and gave it a squeeze. “Call me if you need me.”

Heidi nodded and slipped out the kitchen door. Joyce shook her head. “Poor thing. Having your world turned upside down like that.”

“It’s not easy, but Heidi is strong. She'll manage.”

Joyce looked at her for a moment with shadowed eyes. “I suppose, still, it makes a person stop and think.” The shadow disappeared and she started to clean up their empty plates. “You have school.”

“Right, gotcha.”

xxx

Xander picked up the kitchen phone on the second ring. “Hello?”

“Hey Xan.”

He blinked in surprise...Buffy never called him in the morning unless something was up. “Buff, good morning.” Cordelia gave him an odd look from the table and he shrugged. “What's the what and should I be worried?”

“Not sure about the worried part...but Heidi spent the night last night.”

“I thought she'd gone home...Everything okay?”

“She did...but she came back here around midnight...she just got some news that shook her up a bit. I just wanted to give you a heads up about it.”

“Is she okay?”

“I think she will be. Her mom told her a bit of a family secret last night...you know how those can be.”

He nodded; more to himself since she couldn't see it through the phone. “Yeah. Thanks Buffy. See you at school.” He hung up with a frown on his face.

“What happened?”

“Heidi is having an issue at home. Buffy said something about a family secret, just not what the secret was.”

Cordelia tilted her head a bit, her hands idly playing with her spirit egg. “You going to wait and see if Heidi comes to you?”

“Yeah. That's probably the way to go.”

xxx

Heidi thought she'd be able to sneak in and out without her mom catching her. No such luck. Her mom caught her on her way out...at least she'd managed to change clothes.

Her mom's eyes were red; blood shot and had dark circles underneath them. “I was up all night worrying about you. Where did you go?”

She sighed; not sure she'd ever be ready to deal with all this. Emotional turmoil was Xander's thing, not hers. “To a friend's. I couldn't stay here after that. I needed time away to clear my head.”

Her mom frowned but didn't push. “The funeral is this weekend.”

Heidi nodded. “Does Grandma Betty know you told me?”

“She does.”

“So how am I supposed to act around her?”

Her mom's frown softened. “Nothing's changed. She's still your Grandma Betty.”

Heidi didn't have a response to that...instead she asked a question. “Can I bring a friend? Or two?”

“To the funeral?”

“I need the emotional support.”

It took a moment but her mom eventually nodded. “You can.”

“I'll ride to LA with them.”

“Heidi-”

“Just...just give me some more time...and space.” And she was out the door again. It was the coward’s way...but sometimes you just had to run.

xxx

Just like he'd told Cordelia, Xander waited until Heidi came to him, the best thing to do was not push. Pushing made for irritable and uncooperative teens. She put it off until lunch time.

The pack had assembled for lunch like always, with the new edition of Amy, except Heidi kept her distance, motioning for Xander and Cordelia to approach her. When they joined her in the far corner of the Quad she slumped a bit and turned a tired gaze to them. “Can you two drive me to LA this weekend?”

Xander exchanged a look with Cordy who nodded. He reached for Heidi and cupped her cheek. “What's going on Didi? Buffy didn't give me any details.”

Heidi closed her eyes while leaning into his hand before speaking. “My life is turning in a soap opera. My mom is really my older half sister, my grandma is my mom, and you'd think that would make Grandpa my dad but it doesn't because Grandma had an affair so some guy named Hannibal Smith is my dad and Grandpa died and Hannibal is going to be at the funeral.” She took a deep breath. “And I don't wanna go into a possible confrontation with my biological parents...or stay at the house with the family this weekend.” She opened her eyes and glared at him. “I thought the family drama thing was your shtick. Why is this happening to me?”

They stared at her a bit as they processed her words and Cordelia finally nodded. “Guess you're just lucky...but you are definitely a Sunnydale kid. Only one of us could babble like that, and I will totally drive you and we will totally be there for you.” She eyed Xander. “Right?”

He nodded; not about to argue. “Sure...I'll call around LA, see if we can crash with someone for the weekend.”

Heidi blinked in confusion. “Who?”

“Sammo or Louis...or possibly the Sloans...like I said I'll need to make a couple of calls.” Without a word more Cordelia handed him her cell phone with a grin...then she handed him an address book. “We really need to figure out where the heck your magic comes from and if we can duplicate it.”

She grinned. “You just want a Mary Poppins purse.”

He rolled his eyes, which made Heidi giggle. “I do not want a Mary Poppins purse...More like a backpack for weapons transport.” He looked back to Heidi. “Go eat with the others; I'll take care of this.”

Heidi nodded and lifted her chin; exposing her throat. He didn't hesitate to give her what she needed and leaned forward, taking the tender flesh between his teeth and bit down just enough to leave mark. She sighed and the tension flowed from her. “Thanks.”

“Come on.” Cordelia pulled Heidi to her feet. “I'm starving.”

Xander watched them join the others for a moment before he dialed Sammo's cell phone. This time of day the detective was probably at lunch...or at his desk.

“This is Sammo.”

“Hey Sammo, this is Xander.”

“Xander! How are you doing?”

“I'm okay, but a friend of mine is having a tough time...which is why I'm calling you.”

There was no hesitation in Sammo's voice. “What do you need?”

“We need a place to stay this weekend, three of us. That’s me, Cordelia and our friend, Heidi. There was a death in Heidi's family...and a secret came out and she's uncomfortable with her family at the moment.”

“What kind of secret?”

“She found out she was adopted...and that her biological mom...is her grandma...and she's the result of an affair her grandma had.”

“Oh...that's a big secret.”

“Yeah, so the guy she grew up calling Grandpa just died and she doesn't want to stay at her grandma's house. Would you or Louis mind putting us up?”

“Putting you up?”

“Er, letting us stay with you.”

“Just a minute.” The following sounds were muffled...but Xander thought he could hear Louis in the background. “Okay. Louis said you can stay in his apartment...and the girls?”

“We're pack Sammo. We've all slept in the same bed before...well it was more like a pack pile after a good hunt, but yeah, no problems there.”

“Right. Louis was just uncomfortable but your ways are different from other humans. The bed in his room will be big enough for the three of you.”

“Er...so where is Louis going to sleep?”

“With me in my apartment.”

“Ah, okay. Thanks Sammo. Thank Louis for me too.”

“I will. See you this weekend...do you need directions?”

“No, I have the address. Willow can get them for us. Thanks again.”

“You are welcome.”

“Bye Sammo.”

“Bye.”

Xander hung up and looked toward the pack. Cordelia and Heidi were watching him and he smiled and gave them thumbs up.

xxx

Sammo ended the call on his phone and put it back in his pocket. Louis was sitting across from him with an unhappy look on his face. “What?”

“Are you really sure it’s a good idea Sammo? Letting three teenagers stay in my apartment without adult supervision?”

Sammo reached for Louis' hand and let his knuckles brush against the younger man's. “We will be right next door.”

“Are you sure you're okay with that? Letting me stay over?”

Sammo frowned a bit. “You have spent the night before.”

“We fell asleep on the sofa Sammo, there's a difference.”

“Yes, but what we did before we fell asleep was not so innocent.” He smiled when Louis ducked his head and blushed. “I do not mind you staying the night. I always enjoy it.”

Louis was smiling now, though the blush hadn't left. “And the kids?”

“Xander is much more responsible than men twice his age. He is honorable and will not take advantage of the girls. Especially since one of them is grieving.”

“Okay.”

“Unless they want to be taken advantage of.”

“Sammo!”

xxx

Face settled across from his former CO at the little cafe they were meeting at. “What's this about Hannibal?”

B.A. leaned back in his own chair and nodded. “Yeah man. Not that I'm not glad to see you guys.” He glared at Murdock. “Most of you anyway.”

Murdock shot him one of his crazy grins. “Awe, I missed you too B.A.”

“Shut up fool.”

“Gentlemen, if you're done?”

B.A. released the death grip he had on the front of Murdock's shirt. “Yeah, but if he starts acting crazy I can't make no promises.”

Face rolled his eyes and tugged Murdock closer to him and further from B.A. “Behave Murdock.”

Murdock practically pouted, but he did nod. “Good as gold Facey.”

Face snorted. “Right, now. Again, what's this about Hannibal?”

They looked at their former leader expectantly. It was amazing, even now, years after they'd been pardoned and their names cleared, these men still dropped everything the moment he sent for them. Hannibal let that feeling flow through him, loyalty was a precious thing. He cleared his throat. “I'm going to a funeral this weekend.”

Their faces grew solemn and each gave a nod. It was B.A. who asked; “Who was it?”

“Jenkins Malloy.”

Murdock slipped his hat off in a show of respect and remorse, his voice softer. “How?”

“Heart attack.”

Face clapped a hand on Hannibal's shoulder. “He was a good man Colonel.”

Hannibal swallowed and nodded. “You don't have to come...but I'd appreciate the support. I haven't seen Betty since...Jenkins was in that car wreck back in 1980.”

“Come on Hannibal.” B.A. glared at him. “Jenkins was your friend, so was Betty, why didn't you go see them?”

“Because I screwed up B.A.” He took a breath. “I'm not proud of this...Betty was so upset...and I wasn't thinking...and there's no excuse good enough...”

Face and Murdock's jaws dropped and Murdock shook his head. “Hannibal you didn't.”

“I did. I slept with Betty...and after Jenkins was released from the hospital...I never darkened his doorstep again. So like I said, you don't have to come.”

“We'll be there.” Face still looked a little shocked by his revelation, but it was stomped out by sympathy. “You need us we'll be there.”

“It's appreciated.”

xxx

“You sure you don't want us to go in with you?” Louis asked, looking up at them from the passenger seat.

All three of them stared at him, but it was Heidi who rolled her eyes and shook her head. “We're seventeen. Not five.”

Louis only grinned. “Right. Well we'll be back later to pick you up...good luck kid.”

Heidi gave him a nod. “Thanks.”

They watched as Sammo waved before pulling away from the entrance of the funeral home, the blue Cadillac turning the corner and disappearing into the early evening. Cordelia glanced at them. “So...are they having sex yet?”

Xander snorted. “That's really none of our business Cor.”

“Yep.” Heidi obviously had no reservations on sharing such information.

“Heidi!”

“What? She wanted to know...it’s not fair that you and I can smell them all over each other and she can't.”

He sighed and looped an arm with each of theirs. “Come on. The sooner we make an appearance the sooner we can hide in a corner...if you want to that is.”

“I wouldn't mind hiding in a corner for a while.”

xxx

Heidi made it down the aisle okay; even so far as to ever so briefly place a kiss on her grandpa's forehead. However when they turned to see her mom and her grandma, or rather her sister and her mother...Heidi blinked back tears and dashed back up the aisle and away from Xander and Cordy. Cordy started to go after her but Xander shook his head and held her back.

“Xander.”

“Give her a minute.”

“Excuse me.” They turned to see Janet Barrie eying them with concern. “I didn't realize one of the friends Heidi was bringing was a boy.”

“No worries Mrs. Barrie. I'm Cordelia's boyfriend. We just came here to support Heidi.”

“You'll be bringing her to the house after the viewing?”

He shook his head. “No, we're staying with a friend here in L.A.”

“The three of you? I don't think so...she wasn't at your house the other night...was she?”

Cordelia folded her arms and glared at Janet Barrie. “No, Heidi stayed with our friend Buffy. And really, you could have at least told Heidi all this drama during the daylight so she could have been walking on safer streets instead of running off into the night.”

Janet was about to retort when a man's voice interrupted. “Hello Betty...is there something you'd like to tell me?”

The three of them turned to see an older man with white hair dressed to the nines in a very nice suit. Betty Malloy swallowed nervously. “Hello Hannibal.”

xxx

They had arrived early, dressed for...well...a funeral, though tonight was only the viewing. The service would be tomorrow, they would wear their uniforms for it.

Hannibal wasn't ashamed to admit it...but he was afraid of going up to the casket...afraid of facing Betty after all these years. Luckily the guys stayed by his side. Waiting to follow his lead. And then...he saw her. And she was beautiful and he knew she was his.

“Colonel?” Face gulped. “She...she looks like...”

Murdock was already moving closer. “She looks like you Hannibal...but prettier. Billy says she smells like you too.”

“Shut up Fool. Can't believe you brought that imaginary dog to a funeral home.”

“Billy is not imaginary; you just can't see him because you're not special.”

“Guys cool it.” Hannibal muttered; his eyes glued to the girl. She was short, blond hair trailing down her back, intelligent but troubled brown eyes. Murdock was right; she looked like him...him when he was much younger...but the real kicker? She could have passed for his mother in her youth. “She looks like my mother.”

B.A. looked from the girl, who was between two other teens, a boy and another girl. “Hannibal...look at them. They move like...”

Hannibal nodded. “Like soldiers...let’s go.”

They moved closer, watching the three kids walk toward the casket, watched as the blond placed a kiss on Jenkins' forehead. She turned and met the gaze of Betty and her daughter Janet for just a moment...before bolting. Her eyes met Hannibal's for the briefest of seconds as she sprinted past them. He watched her go, torn. He wanted to follow her, make sure she was alright. The LA streets were not a safe place for a girl to be alone...but he wanted confirmation from Betty just as badly.

So they moved closer...and just when Janet was about to tear into the boy and his friend he moved into Betty's line of vision. “Hello Betty...is there something you'd like to tell me?”

She swallowed. “Hello Hannibal.”

The girl, a tall brunette, rolled her eyes. “Nice move buddy. You're biological daughter runs out of the room and THEN you decide it’s time for a confrontation?”

The boy beside her sighed; even as he smiled at her. “Cordy? I think the Barrie family has enough drama right now without you jumping in the middle of it.”

“Heidi is part of our family too.”

The boy nodded. “True, but this is still delicate.”

“Xander, I don't do delicate.”

“And that's one of the reasons I love you, still, let’s take a step back, let the adults have their powwow. We'll go look after Heidi.” Then boy gave them all a...very chilling look. “Can you guys behave and act like civilized people while we're gone?”

Murdock...gave the boy a salute. “Yes sir we can.”

“Good. Come on Cor. Let's go find Didi.”

“That was...a very strange conversation.” Face murmured. “And I can't believe you just saluted a kid.”

Murdock shrugged. “I think they were fun, and I know a leader when I see one.”

B.A. snorted and cuffed him a bit. “You would, that was just a kid...not a leader. Even if he did move like a soldier.”

“Guys, give us a moment?” The three of them nodded and took a few steps back. Hannibal leveled his gaze on Betty. “Well?”

“She's yours.”

“Yeah, I figured, she looks just like my mother did.”

“I...after what we did...I found out Jenkins couldn't father anymore children...he knew she was yours. And I couldn't raise her because of the guilt, though Jenkins loved her like his own.”

“I adopted her.” Janet spoke up. “I'd just gotten married, and we wanted to keep her in the family. She's my daughter, as much as if I'd given birth to her myself.”

Hannibal stared at the women. “We'll talk again.” He glanced at his men. “Let's go find the girl. I'd like to formally meet my daughter.”

xxx

They caught up with the brunette pair, Cordy and Xander, only a block away from the funeral home. The two teens walked hand in hand, almost casually in the LA night, but...the way they moved, the way they looked around them. Hannibal was sure they were entirely aware of their surroundings, that he and his men would be unable to startle him. It was disconcerting that two kids who couldn't even be eighteen yet acted like they could handle themselves.

“Are you just going to follow us? Or are you going to ask your questions?” The boy asked, stopping to face them. He and the girl separated and stood...almost at the ready, as if they were waiting for something.

Hannibal smiled. “What makes you think we have questions?”

The boy shrugged. “Maybe you don't...but I do.” Again his eyes grew cold and Hannibal wondered what could make a boy that young look like that. Nothing good certainly came to mind. “You didn't know about Heidi until tonight?”

“No, I didn't.”

“Good.”

“Good?”

He nodded. “If you'd known...and never made contact we'd be having words.”

Hannibal had to smirk at that. “Oh really?”

If anything the boy's eyes grew colder. “I have zero tolerance for worthless fathers.”

Ah, that certainly explained a few things. “I assure you son, if I'd known about her I would have made contact.” Finally he held out his hand and introduced himself. “Hannibal Smith.”

The boy watched him for a moment more, studying him; finally he accepted Hannibal's hand with his own when his gaze was warm and friendly once more. “Xander Harris.” He was surprised at the strong, confident handshake he received.

“Nice to meet you...and your lady friend?”

The girl raised a brow and flipped her hair. “Cordelia Chase. Are we done being civil? I'd like to track down Heidi.”

“Easy Cordy. Heidi's not far.” Xander tilted his head a bit as if listening for something. “She's okay for now.”

Hannibal wasn't sure what to say to that...instead he introduced the rest of his team. “This is B.A. Baracus, Templeton 'Faceman' Peck, and H.M. Murdock.”

Xander nodded. “Nice to meet you...I just have one more question.”

“Shoot.”

“Who brings their dog to a funeral home?”

Hannibal blinked, looked around them for a second, saw no dog and looked at Xander, wondering if he was as crazy as Murdock. Cordelia seemed to be of the same mind. “Xander, there is no dog.”

Xander looked at her oddly and then gestured to the ground in front of Murdock. “Yeah there is, he's right there. It’s a big black dog with curly hair, like a freaking giant terrier. You can't tell you don't see him.”

Face and B.A. exchanged worried looks; however Murdock's jaw had dropped. “You can see Billy?”

“Uh yeah...why is everyone staring at me like I'm crazy...?” Xander frowned, took a deep breath through his nose....almost like he was scenting the air. “And of course your dog has no scent. Great.” He looked at Cordelia again. “You really can't see him?”

The girl rolled her eyes and threw up her hands. “You would run into a ghost dog in the middle of LA.”

Murdock glared at her. “Billy's not a ghost.”

“Damn Fool's crazy is catching Hannibal. He's already infected these two kids.”

“Oh for crying out loud.” Xander muttered, before he knelt and put his hand out as if petting a dog...and then...there Billy was. And he really was a large black dog with slightly curly hair. “Now can you see him? Still no scent though. What kind of dog is he?”

Murdock was grinning like a...well...like a loon, a vindicated loon, “Black Russian Terrier.”

Cordelia knelt by Xander; reaching out to pet Billy who was giving them all a very happy doggie grin. “Huh...I can actually sort of feel him. Is this like the ghosts you've touched before?”

Xander nodded. “Similar. But Murdock's right. He's not a ghost...not really sure what he is.”

“Spirit Beast?”

“Nah. Martial has physical form.”

“I told you he was real.” Murdock stuck his tongue out at B.A. and then just barely dodged as the big man took a halfhearted swipe at him.

“Fool. Now we've all caught your crazy.”

Xander snorted and he and Cordelia stood, taking their hands away from Billy...who faded from sight. Hannibal stared at the now empty spot. “I take it he's still there?”

“Yep.”

“And you can still see him.”

“Obviously.” Xander's smile changed to a look of concentration, his head tilting again, listening to something the rest of them couldn't hear.

“Xander?” Cordelia's hand found its way to his arm. “Is it Heidi?”

He scented the air again. “Yeah.” The boy's dark eyes focused on Hannibal. “Do you believe in vampires?”

That was not the question he'd been expecting. “We've seen a few unexplainable things...especially in Nam.”

Xander nodded sagely. “Yeah, Nam wasn't fun.” And funnily enough...Hannibal believed the boy knew from experience, though that should have been impossible. “Anyway, here's the low down. Vampires are real; vampires are evil...though the ones from the Aurelius Bloodline are a bit quirky...Long story short. Stake through the heart kills them or beheading...or fire or sunlight. Garlic doesn't do squat while Holy objects and water are more of a deterrent than anything.”

Cordelia sighed. “Heidi went hunting.”

“Yep.”

“The girl is an adrenaline junkie...more than any other member of the pack.”

“Yep.”

Hannibal didn't bother hiding his grin. “She likes the Jazz huh?”

Both teens blinked in confusion. “Jazz?”

His team however let out a series of dismayed groans and comments like, “Not another one.” “She's definitely his kid.” “We should probably save her.”

Xander snorted. “So she gets that from you. We wondered about that. Heidi has the most stable home life...but gets into the fight more than anyone else.” He shook his head. “Follow us, try to keep up.” And then he and Cordelia...nearly disappeared into the shadows. If they hadn't been soldiers themselves they never would have been able to follow.

xxx

Only Heidi would take on a pack of ten vampires in unfamiliar territory...granted more than likely the vamps had probably jumped her first...probably. But Xander knew Hannibal and the others were watching her with...awe.

Heidi moved with grace and a natural killer instinct. Of all the pack she embraced her beast to the fullest. Enjoying the hunt, enjoying the bloodshed, enjoying the natural order that gave her a family she could always trust. Three vamps were dust before she let out a series of yips and barks, an invitation to her Alphas to join the fun.

Which they did, each with a stake in hand, Cordelia paused only to toss her clutch purse to Faceman. And they entered the fray. Cordelia moved with a more practiced grace than he or Heidi, but grace was grace and she'd had plenty of practice staking vampires. She dusted two and Heidi ripped the head off another, howling in glee...even Cordy was grinning now that her blood was flowing and she staked another. There were only three left and Xander managed to dust two of them in a second, having a stake that was sharp at both ends was rather handy.

Then he and Cordy backed off, letting Heidi take her time with the last one. They circled one another; the vampire's eyes were wide in fear. Clearly he'd never faced anything like them. Heidi gave him a toothy grin, her eyes glowing green with hyena delight just before she darted forward, kicked the vamp's feet from under him and dove in with her stake, leaving nothing but dust in her wake.

“Feel better?” Xander asked her. She made a whining noise deep in her throat as she stood and offered her throat to Cordelia first.

Cordelia placed her teeth on the offered flesh and bit with just a bit of pressure, Heidi giggled and when Cordelia pulled away with a smirk Heidi offered her throat to him. He bit down harder, just like she wanted, her eyes rolled a bit and she relaxed. “Thanks.”

“Now. You get to explain to the old men what that was all about.”

Heidi blinked, pouted, but didn't argue. “Okay.” She looked back to Hannibal and his team. “So, what do you want to know?”

“Kid...I don't even know where to start.”

xxx

They'd ended up at a small diner that B.A. was familiar with, Hannibal paid for their food, even though all three teens protested the entire time. And while they waited for their meal...Xander told their story. He spoke of the Hellmouth, vampires, demons, hyenas, Vampire Slayers, and the occasional Apocalypse.

Hannibal felt sick. And he wanted nothing more than to head to Sunnydale, kidnap all of their friends and bring them to LA where they'd be safe. Xander snorted. “You're thinking too loud.”

“Kids like you shouldn't be fighting that fight.”

Cordelia was glaring at him. “No one else will. Most of the adults don't know; the cops are useless...and the corruption goes all the way to the Mayor.”

Heidi shuddered. “He'll probably be the next Big Bad we'll have to face.”

Xander nodded and took a sip of his coffee. “We don't know what his end game is yet and until we do we're being very careful around him.”

Murdock had remained eerily silent through the discussion and Face was starting to get worried about him. He slipped his hand under the table to squeeze the pilot's thigh; however his eyes remained on the kids. “What do you know about him?”

“Not much...just that he always smells like magic.”

“I go by his house sometimes.” Heidi murmured, which earned her glares from Xander and Cordelia. “What? It’s not like I went in...but he's got wards up there...so I couldn't break in even if I wanted to. Besides, you haven't taught me how to pick locks yet.”

Xander's eyes flickered to that creepy green that Heidi's had during the battle with the gang of vampires. “I will eventually teach you all to pick locks...but you do not go into enemy territory like that alone.”

Heidi's gaze held a bit of challenge. “Is that an order?”

“Yes.” There was something in Xander's voice...that made all of them shiver.

Heidi huffed and sank in her seat. “Fine.”

“Heidi.” Xander's voice was a low and quiet growl.

Heidi ducked her head and blushed. “I hear you Alpha. I won't do it again.”

The tension immediately slipped from the two brunette teens and both reached for Heidi to give her comforting pats. They were very touch oriented this group...

“I don't like it Hannibal. These kids doing what they do.”

“Neither do I B.A.”

Xander shrugged. “You don't have to like it, but we're not stopping. We've already lost too many people as it is.”

“Is it really that bad there?” Face asked.

Cordelia snorted. “Please, our school news paper? It has a section dedicated to the dead and missing students and faculty. Although...we've made a difference. We saved Ms. Calendar.”

“We stopped some zombies the other night.” Heidi's smile was only slightly amused.

Xander snorted. “And of course we stopped a couple of Apocalypses.” His amusement disappeared. “We couldn't save Jesse.”

“Or Kendra.”

Cordelia shuddered. “You almost died twice last year.”

Xander took her hand. “The Judge didn't almost kill me. My soul just ended up in Limbo for a few hours cause my DNA hit my inner panic button and mixed what was left of my hyena with my Mazoku genes.”

“Angelus still gutted you with a knife.”

“Yeah...and that sucked. On the bright side he couldn't use my blood to suck the world into Hell with that wacky ritual.”

Heidi nudged Cordelia's arm. “And we totally got him out of there and got him healed.”

Murdock finally lifted his head up and looked at the three teens. “You mentioned Nam earlier in the alley. You're too young to have fought in Nam.”

Xander nodded his head. “Yeah...we were all born in ‘81. But I have the memories of a Vietnam Vet in my head.”

Both girls stared at him in surprise; it was Cordelia who punched his arm. “You dork! I thought the nightmares were just about...your dad...or Jesse's death...”

“Nope.”

“How the heck did...” Cordelia sighed. “It goes back to Halloween doesn't it? This year if we take a bunch of kids trick-or-treating we are all going to Party Town. No more costumes from a crazy Chaos Mage.”

Hannibal rubbed at his forehead. “Could you clarify that for us?”

Heidi rolled her eyes. “Some of us bought Halloween costumes from this guy last year. He'd just opened up a costume shop, the prices were very reasonable...but he was a Chaos Mage. And when he started his spell...we all turned into our costumes.”

Xander shrugged. “I was a soldier. I had some fatigues...bought a toy gun...and I used Grandpa LaVelle's dog tags. So I kinda turned into him...I think...”

Hannibal felt shock go through him, and he knew his men felt the same. “Alexander LaVelle?”

“That's my name...oh...you mean my grandpa...I'm named after him. I never actually got to meet the guy.”

“So that's where the LaVelle came from.” Cordelia nodded. “You should have told me about that.”

“I didn't think too. I don't have those nightmares very often...actually I haven't had any all summer. Not since that first night in Japan.” He shrugged. “Moving on, we should be talking about Heidi...or ya know, going back to the funeral home.”

“Subtle, Xander, real subtle.”

“We'll give you a ride.” B.A. told them.

Cordelia's phone rang then and she dug it out of her purse. “Hello? Oh, hey Sammo.” She listened for a bit before looking at Xander. “Sammo wants to know if we need a ride back to Louis' place...since we're obviously not at the funeral home like we're supposed to be.”

Hannibal's eyes sharpened. “Who are Sammo and Louis and why are you staying with Louis?”

Heidi cackled a bit. “They're cops here in LA. From the Major Crimes section. Louis is letting us crash at his apartment, and he'll be at Sammo's since he and Sammo are partners and all...on and off the job.” She smirked pointedly at Murdock and Face...who actually blushed. Hannibal had to snort, his daughter had no tact.

Xander groaned. “Heidi, try to be polite.” He shook his head. “I'm sure these guys can give us a ride to Louis' apartment.”

Heidi grinned. “And then Face and Murdock can give you and Cordy advice on keeping a stable threesome.”

Cordelia nearly dropped her phone and murmured into it. “Sammo we have a ride. We'll see you later tonight.” She hung up and looked at Heidi, then Face and Murdock. “Run that by me again?”

Heidi was really enjoying this too much. “They smell like sex, each other, and a woman.”

Again Xander groaned. “Heidi, again, there is such a thing as over-sharing.”

She turned a very innocent expression to him. “But they're older and more experienced and we all know the second Spike comes back to Sunnydale you and Cordy will be tying him to the nearest bed and not letting him out of your sight.”

Cordelia's voice was very serious. “Damn straight.”

Xander slumped back in his chair in defeat. “Yes, fine, we probably will...we might want to used chains though, not rope.”

Murdock was snickering...and Face was still blushing. “You can smell Amy on us? What about the kids?”

Murdock grinned. “They probably can Face. We did help Amy give them a bath before B.A. swung by to pick us up.”

Xander nodded. “Yes, but I wasn't going comment...unlike someone.” He shot a glare at Heidi.

Heidi shrugged and grinned. “I have no shame...hey, they can give you parenting tips too...for when you and Cordy decide to make little pint-sized contributions to the pack.”

Hannibal snorted. “Looks like you're going to have a busy schedule boys.”

xxx

Cordelia peered out the window watching the two figures walking down the beach in the moonlight. “What do you think they're talking about?”

Xander looked over her shoulder, watching something entirely different happening down on the beach. “No idea.”

“Are you sure she'll be okay with him, alone on the beach?”

“It’s cool. Billy is with them...actually right now Botan is playing Frisbee with him...don't ask me where she got the invisible Frisbee. But they're both down there, being invisible and keeping an eye on Heidi and Hannibal.”

She quirked a brow at him. “When did you have time to call Botan here?...and you realize you sound like a crazy person.”

He quirked a brow right back. “You realize we met someone who lived in the crazy house for more than ten years right?”

“...So when B.A. was calling Murdock crazy...?”

“Yep.”

“Wow.”

“Do you two need anything?” Louis asked from the kitchen.

They shook their heads and settled in a chair, Cordelia in Xander's lap. Sammo watched them from the sofa in amusement; Louis joined him, a beer in each hand and gave one to Sammo. Sammo accepted the drink and nodded toward them. “How was your summer?”

Both teens snorted.

xxx

They had been walking up and down the beach for a while now, talking about little things, things that didn't have much meaning. Finally Hannibal fixed a look at her and said with a serious tone; “I have a feeling a lot got left out.”

Heidi slid her own gaze to Hannibal. “A few things.”

“Like the identity of the Slayer?”

“That's not important.”

He smiled at her. “Relax kid, I get it. She's a member of your unit and you want to protect her. I get that.” He watched her for a moment more before grinning at her. “So you like the Jazz.”

“The what?”

“The adrenaline rush.”

Her eyes widened a bit and her jaw dropped. “So...that's not just the hyena? That...that actually makes me feel better.”

“Why is that?”

“The hyena...what's left of it...it was starting to scare me because of what happened to Principal Flutie.”

“I think that might have been one of the parts that got left out...what happened to him?”

Heidi stopped walking and looked up at him, she kept her eyes steady, and her voice soft. “We ate him.”

Hannibal stopped as well, his eyes just a little wide at her words. “While you were possessed. So it’s not your fault. You were not in control.”

“Doesn't make the screams in our heads go away. But what was really freaking me out...was that I embraced the beast so much after...after our relapse.”

“How did Xander get you four back under control?”

Her lips quirked. “You might not want to know that.”

“Humor me.”

“We had an orgy.”

“Come again?”

“Kyle took us hunting, some local livestock kept us sated...and then we holed up in a hotel room. Kyle...well when you're that out of your mind not much can keep you grounded. So we had our own orgy...but Kyle's not an alpha.”

“And Xander is.”

“He's our first Alpha, and if he hadn't tracked us down and reclaimed us as his...” She shuddered. “We might have...”

Hannibal put his hands on her shoulders. “But he did, and you didn't. There's no point in what ifs. Okay?”

She nodded. “Okay.”

“Good...now. You think your mom, Janet, would mind if we got to know each other better? There's a lot we don't know about each other.”

“Are you still wanted by the army?”

“No, we got a full pardon.”

“Then she probably won't mind, but I'll ask her tomorrow, after the funeral.” She wrinkled her nose. “The Jazz? Really? That's what you call it?”

Hannibal laughed and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, steering her back toward the apartment building. “It’s as good a name as any.”

“If you say so.”

XXX
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