A Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel / CSI crossover. This story is the fourth in a series, the earlier parts are Should Have Gone To Vegas..., Manhunters, and Slayer, Las Vegas. They should ideally be read in that order, since the events of previous stories are mentioned. This story is set immediately after the Angel season 4 story "Orpheus", and contains spoilers for BtVS up to "Lies My Parents Told Me" and Angel up to "Orpheus". I've no idea where it fits in CSI continuity, if there is such a thing.
All characters are the intellectual property of their respective creators, film companies, etc.; this story may not be sold or distributed on a profit-making basis.
I'm British, so's my spelling. Live with it.
By Marcus L. Rowland
"Okay," said Willow. "I forgot to ask, what did Buffy tell you when you talked to her, and what have you already done?"
"More or less the same things you did," said Grissom, "but simplified. She said that they were probably trying to kill someone, almost certainly a girl, and left it at that. We've had patrols on the lookout for these things since about eight this morning. No sign of them so far, and no human bodies have been found."
"That's encouraging. What with the Bringer's body and all, it sounds like she's got clear of them for the moment, maybe gone to ground somewhere. There's so much magical energy around that they'd have a job to find her."
"Sounds like it," said Joyce. "She had time to stab this thing three times, that probably means that it was the only one to catch up with her."
"Five times," said Grissom. "Just how strong and fast is a Potential Slayer anyway? Those wounds are deep. We've seen Buffy in action, are they like her?"
"It varies," said Willow. "Joyce is.. um.. exceptionally powerful, she could whip most vampires one on one, but all of them are strong and fast, within normal human limits. Most of the Potentials in Sunnydale have helped stake at least one vampire, it's part of Buffy's training programme. Some have done more."
"That would account for it then. I was initially thinking of this as a fairly powerful male killer. If I saw a human body with wounds like this I'd be looking for someone with severe rage issues. I'd guess that at least two of the blows were post mortem."
"How can you tell?" asked Joyce with interest.
"They didn't bleed much of this green... ah... blood."
"Ichor," said Willow.
"Presumably whatever it uses for a heart was stopped by an earlier blow."
"If that creep killed her Watcher she might be on a vengeance kick," said Joyce. "Specially if she's been training for a few years and they liked each other. When my first Watcher was killed... sorry, it was a long time ago, let's just say that I tended to hurt things before I killed them."
"So where do we go from here?" asked Catherine. "Willow, you said something about doing things the hard way?"
"Oh.. well, to be honest, most of the things I do when magic fails are basic forensic science, computer searches, that sort of thing, you're probably doing them already and much better than I could. If I take a look at the place where the body was found I could maybe try some other spells, things that won't work at a distance, but I'll have to be very careful. There's too much magic out there."
"Why would that be a problem?" asked Grissom.
"Because I'm an addict," said Willow, in matter-of-fact tones. "Like an alcoholic, only with magic. I start off small, just one little spell to make things easier, then things tend to snowball. Well, in LA I had to use fairly powerful magic a couple of times, and some spells to make things easier on the way here, and I've just done another one, so I'm well on the way to another binge if I'm not careful. I do have some control these days, but usually I'm in Sunnydale where you have to be really careful with magic, and that makes me more aware of my condition. Out here, with so much power around and no Hellmouth to screw it up I could really kick mystic ass. Only I probably wouldn't know when to stop."
"What happens if you binge?" asked Catherine.
"Depends. Reality gets distorted, that sort of thing."
"What exactly do you mean, distorted?"
"I guess you have to be there. Okay, first sign that I've gone too far is that my eyes and hair turn black and I start to levitate, then if I'm in a fight I start throwing lightning bolts and using telekinesis and stuff. To do that I have to suck magical energy from my surroundings, so anyone coming too close might get hurt by it, although here I'd guess that there's so much raw power that the first effects would be quantum events on a macro scale..."
Willow noticed their blank and slightly awed expressions, then said "Sorry, I started out as a science nerd. Magic and the most extreme parts of theoretical physics have more in common than you might think. What I'm talking about is luck. Weird coincidences, slot machines playing out ten jackpots in a row, all the air in a room moving to the corners leaving a vacuum in the middle, that sort of thing. All of the background magic here comes from attempts to manipulate probability, if I start drawing on that power it's going to do weird things to cause and effect."
"Okay," said Grissom. "We wouldn't want to upset the Gaming Commission. Let's try and avoid binges."
"Don't worry," said Joyce, "I'll make sure she keeps it cool. Besides, I think I know a way to get those guys out into the open without much magic."
"How?" asked Catherine.
"Easy. They want a Potential to kill, and the one they're looking for seems to be unavailable. Let's go out on the town and give them someone else to hunt."
* * * * *
"Okay," said Willow, talking into apparent thin air, "Do you read me, Catherine?"
"Loud and clear," said the tiny earphone.
"Are you guys ready if we run into trouble?"
"We're thirty seconds away."
"Okay, I think we can hold out that long if we have to. Are you ready, .. Joyce?"
Joyce nodded, then remembered her own radio and said "Five by five."
"Okay, we clear on the plan?" asked Willow.
"Pretty much," said Joyce, "one look at your aura and most things will know who you are, so they won't think it's strange you have a Potential with you. I'll play it as a wimp who's scared of the big bad monsters, and we'll take it from there, see if anyone tries to take the bait. If that doesn't work we'll go back and you can turn them into frogs until someone answers your questions."
"Ugh, not frogs. Rabbits? They're cute, and okay so long as Anya isn't around."
"I'm cool with that. Might be kinda funny."
"Yes, with the hopping and the little twitching noses and... got over-enthusiastic there. We'll save transformation spells for a last resort, they need a lot of power. Sorry, Catherine, wasting time. You guys ready?"
"Yes, we're fine," Catherine said a little sharply.
"Okay, let's go." They walked to the door of a run-down looking bar and went inside. Both of them stood near the door and had a good look at the occupants, while they stared back.
Eventually Willow said "Okay ..Joyce, who's here."
"Well," said Joyce in a nervous voice, "I make it a couple of balancing demons, one l..lesser succubus, a Miquot d..demon, and something I don't recognise with the f..feathers instead of hair. Oh, and five humans. At least they l..look human."
"Anything that needs immediate slaying?"
"N..no, Willow, maybe the Miquot d..demon if it gets violent, the rest no."
The Miquot demon looked up as she mentioned Willow's name, took a good look at her, and hastily scuttled to get a hooded coat and ran out, giving her the widest possible berth.
"Non-violent, I guess," said Willow. "Very good. And how do you know the humans aren't vampires?"
"Mirror behind the bar. They h..have reflections."
"Excellent. We'll have you up to Slayer standards in no time." She walked towards the bar, Joyce followed.
By now most of the customers in the bar were staring, mostly at Willow although one or two were casting nervous glances at Joyce.
"Excuse me," said the minor succubus, an attractive brunette in a leather catsuit, with small horns and a barbed tail, "did the young lady just call you Willow? As in Sunnydale Willow? The Wicca?"
"That's right," said Willow with a smile, eying her curves appreciatively.
"Could I have your autograph?"
"I guess. Provided you give me a lock of your hair and some nail clippings, so that I can return your spell threefold when you try to enchant me."
"Errr.. never mind then."
"Nice try, dear."
"It was a pleasure meeting you."
They reached the bar, and Willow said "Seen any Bringers here lately?"
"Bringers?" asked the barman warily.
"Little guys with brown robes and scars instead of eyes."
"Those scumbags. Yeah, there were five of them in here last night about two, came sniffing around the customers then suddenly ran out, didn't even buy drinks."
"See much of them?"
"They've been in a couple of times before, never seen them buy more than a couple of bottles of mineral water and they don't tip."
"Thank you. I'll have a decaff coke, please, and for you, Joyce...?"
"Um.. the same, I guess, but I need the l..ladies room first."
"Through that door, first on the left," said the barman, pointing. He turned back to Willow, hardly paying attention as Joyce went out. "So... you really a hotshot witch?"
"I've always been attracted to powerful women," he said, leaning closer to give Willow an opportunity to sample his halitosis.
"I'm gay, and you're about ten seconds away from going 'ribbit'".
"Point taken." He hastily moved back, and started polishing glasses. There was an awkward silence, broken by a loud thump from the direction of the ladies room. A few moments later Joyce came out, dragging a brown-robed figure behind her. Most of the customers hastily vacated the bar.
"Looky what I've got, Willow. A Bringer."
"Very. Opened the closet by mistake, it fell out. Smells like it's been there a good few hours. Stabbed, same as the first one."
"Listen lady," said the barman, "You want to stab those creeps, you go right ahead, just dump 'em with the garbage outside."
"That's not the way it works, I'm afraid," said Willow. "Catherine, you'd better get in here, we've got another customer for you."
To Be Continued