“So did they impound our car?” Kate asked.
The group was in Gunn’s van heading back to the Sutter’s house.
“You got lucky there,” Gunn answered. “It’s still parked in front of the Sutter’s house. Public street, they arrested you on the Sutter’s property, so they had no exigent circumstances to search the car and they had no warrant. I assume there’s some stuff in there you don’t want to explain to cops.”
“Just the usual stuff,” Amy replied. “Some weapons, a few stakes and some bottles of holy water. We’re covered as a martial arts school so the weapons are easy to explain. We keep an old tent in the trunk so we can say the stakes are for that.”
“And the holy water?” Gunn inquired.
“I’m very devout,” Amy answered with complete seriousness.
Gunn shook his head.
“Thanks for help Gunn,” Kate said.
Gunn’s faced hardened. “Just so we understand one another. Faith asked me to come and I owe Amy, but I’m going to be sending the Council and Giles one very big bill. I had to call in marker with a Judge from my Wolfram and Hart days to get you two out so fast. Don’t do that much any more. Too many strings attached.”
“Gunn?” Kate was confused by the sudden bitterness in his voice.
“Nothing personal,” Gunn said. “You weren’t there when the shit hit the fan. Neither was the Council when we asked for help. I’ll get a Slayer’s back if she asks for it, but I don’t do favors for Watchers. Besides most of my work these days is Pro Bono. You guys can afford a seriously padded legal bill. Man’s gotta cover his expenses somehow.”
Amy’s cell phone rang. She quickly answered. “Amy here … Hey Faith, how was the flight … Downside of being a chick with superpowers … We’re with Gunn. He sprung us in record time … We’re heading back to the Sutter’s home … Traffic this time of night probably about forty-five minutes to an hour …Checked in right after we left the station they haven’t found anything yet … we’ll see you then … Bye Faith,” she clicked off the phone. “Faith will meet us at the Sutter’s.”
“I got no beef with Slayers,” the vampire said. “You think I’m stupid. I don’t kill.”
“Of course not,” Barb replied keeping the vampire pressed against the wall.
“There’s a goth club a few blocks over,” the vampire said. “Idiots there give it up for free. No fight. Stupid kids think it’s a game. I might feed off of a dead body or two, but the scum here do the killing. I just take advantage.”
Barb shook her head. She believed the vampire as far as was possible given the circumstances. There hadn’t been any serious signs of demon activity in the Farmington area since the Council opened up shop. And there was no shortage of idiots in the world.
She had hoped by keeping an eye on the few demons in the area she might find Lucy. It wasn’t uncommon for newly called Slayers to be drawn to the demons. She nearly got herself killed that way after her powers awoke and before Amy found her. Instincts only take you so far against a centuries old vampire. And she was one of the lucky ones. Far too many of the newly called Slayers went into battle before they were ready and before the Council could get its act together to find them.
They had pretty good track record of getting to Slayers in North America and Europe and the more developed parts of Asia. But other parts of the world, particularly third world countries where travel was difficult at best (especially given the Council’s limited resources those first few months), far too often they didn’t get there in time.
Unfortunately, Barb’s strategy wasn’t working. So far she hadn’t seen any sign of Lucy. Neither had Maria or Cameron. There were too many places to hide and they didn’t know the streets.
“I’m telling you, I haven’t done anything,” the vampire said.
Barb gave the creature a look, remembering why she had stopped following him and moved in. “Yet. Why were you shadowing the girl?”
“What girl?” he replied a little nervously.
“The girl with the braids,” Barb answered. “You’ve been tracking her for about four blocks. Planning a late supper?”
Suddenly the vampire put on his game face and tried to break Barb’s hold. Barb’s free hand darted into her jacket. She pulled out a stake and plunged it into the vampire’s heart. She pulled back to keep from breathing in the dust. Scared of the Slayers or not, very few vampires could control the bloodlust for long. The demon inside them demanded fresh kills.
A good Slay usually improved Barb’s mood. But she was no closer to finding her sister Slayer and she was running out of ideas.
“So how do we handle this?” Kate asked.
“I don’t know,” Amy answered. “Our basic rule has always been to let a Slayer figure out how much she wants to tell her family. With the police involved,” she shook her head. “Anything we tell them they might repeat to the police. But after that display this afternoon they’re not going to buy the ‘study program for girls’ story.”
“We’re going to have to tell them something,” Kate said. “’Mrs. Sutter your daughter went crazy because she just became a mystically empowered warrior destined to fight vampires and the forces of darkness.’ That should go over well. What do we know about them?”
“My office pulled together a few things,” Gunn interjected. “Mother works as an office manager at a bank. Put herself through community college after her husband was killed. When I spoke to her she was real suspicious of why someone like me would take her daughter’s case out of the blue. And she has no idea what’s up with you two.”
“And the brother?”
“Good kid,” Gunn replied. “He’s on scholarship. Planning on majoring in chemistry. No record, not even as a juvenile. They look like a good family.”
“And then we show up,” Amy said.
“There’s the house,” Kate said. “Patrol car parked a little ways down.”
“Nothing they can do,” Gunn said. “I’m a lawyer consulting with clients. They get in the way I’ll ram so many lawsuits down the LAPD’s throats their grandchildren will be shittin’ legal briefs.”
Gunn spent the first half hour going over Lucy’s legal options with her family. He was fairly certain that if they could locate Lucy in a reasonable amount of time and bring her in peacefully the worst she would get is probation.
“Mr. Gunn,” Mrs. Sutter began. “I appreciate all the help you’re giving us. But I still don’t understand why. I’ve seen your name in paper a couple of times. This doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you normally deal with.”
“I deal with a lot of things,” Gunn replied. “Most of which I don’t advertise. I’m not in this for the publicity. As for why I’m here. Amy needed my help and I owe her. So I’m here.”
“Then why are you two here?” Terrance asked. “What’s your business with my sister?”
Amy and Kate exchanged a look. Amy shrugged. She had the most experience dealing with families. Although she would much prefer to have Lucy here for this. However freaked parents got actually seeing their ‘little’ girl break a two by four with her bare hands left very little room for doubts.
“Lucy has very unique gift Mrs. Sutter,” Amy began.
“What kind of gifts?” Mrs. Sutter asked. “She’s a smart girl. But she’s not a genius or anything. I don’t know why you would want to recruit her for a private school. And even if you did I don’t how we would pay for it.”
“Forget gifts,” Terrance cut in. “What the hell is up with you two? No one drops from a tree like that. Not my little sister.”
Amy pursed her lips. Ok the little stunt this afternoon may have been a mistake. But one the best ways to bond with another Slayer was to flex their muscles, so to speak. Running, sparring, dancing, hell even tidily-winks worked. Something that showed her what she was and that she wasn’t alone. The cops breathing down her neck left her with no time to do her usual spiel or bonding techniques. Hence, jumping out of the tree. It had worked until they tried to get her in the car.
Maybe a different tact with the family.
“Have you noticed Lucy behaving a little differently the last couple of days?” Amy asked. “Jumpy, like she reacting to sounds only she can hear? Maybe she’s picked up on who’s about to walk into a room before she sees them. Or knows who is walking up behind her.”
Mrs. Sutter paused in thought. “She’s been jumpy, real fidgety. Like I told the detectives, I thought she was just excited about her birthday. But … the other day when I picked her up at Leticia’s house after work. She was in the backyard. I went around the house to get her. Before I even saw her I heard her say ‘hi mom’ and then she came around the corner. I didn’t really think anything of it at the time.”
Terrance spoke up. “When I came back last night. She opened the door before I reached it. I gave her grief for not checking out the window to see who was there. She just shrugged it off. Said she knew it was me.”
Amy nodded. “It’s her senses. Her hearing, her sight, they all started to get better.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Terrance demanded. “How do you know what happened to Lucy?”
“Because the same thing happened to me about three and half years ago,” Amy replied.
Faith was watching the house from a safe distance. Darlene had dropped her off about a
block back and Faith had sent her back to office to help coordinate the search for Lucy.
She could see the patrol car a little ways down. She made certain the two officers inside couldn’t see her. Pardon or not she preferred to keep her distance from cops. Ex-cons and cops do not a good mix make.
Observing didn’t do a thing to help her find her missing Slayer and she had no idea how long Amy and Kate would be.
She could sneak up on the house from the backyard. Amy would pick up on her pretty quick. But that might freak out the Sutters. So go with option two and have a little fun with the police instead.
Inside things were going about as well as could be expected. So far all Amy had told the Sutters was that Lucy was physically superior to most people. She had left out the term ‘Slayer’ and the whole demon thing. Families had a hard enough time accepting that their girl was a ‘freak.’ Tacking on demon fighter tended to make things very ugly.
Besides she wanted to leave Lucy as much room as possible to make up her own mind about what her family got to know. That was one of the reasons she kept to the bare-bones explanations.
She felt a slight twitch. A Slayer. A strong one. Faith was here. Amy relaxed a bit. Their chances of finding Lucy just went up significantly. She glimpsed at Kate and gave a quick motion with her head.
Kate nodded. “I think a friend of ours just arrived. I’ll be back in a second,” she got up and headed to the front door.
“You’re telling us my sister and you are some kind of superwomen?” Terrance said.
“No,” Amy answered. “Just different. Special.”
“Then how do you change her back?” Mrs. Sutter asked.
“We can’t,” Amy replied. “It doesn’t work that way.”
Mrs. Sutter started shaking her head. “No, this is not right. Lucy is not some freak. She’s going to go to college. She’s going to make something of her life.”
“No one said she couldn’t do that,” Amy said. “But we need to find her. Help her control her abilities. After that she can make her own choices.”
“You expect us to buy this shit,” Terrance said.
“You saw what she can do,” Amy replied. “How many people have you seen who could flatten two trained police officers in less than ten seconds? How many fifteen year old girls can put four people in the hospital, two of them football players? And that’s just what she can do on instinct.”
“If you’re like her, why the hell didn’t you stop her?” Terrance demanded.
Amy took a breath and looked away for a second. She turned back. “I could have. If I’d gone full out, I could have taken her with ease. But you were there and cops were there, with guns. How would you or they have reacted if I’d hurt Lucy? Things were already bad enough. If that officer hadn’t gotten in the way I might have been able to wear her out and gotten her under control. But once he got involved the only option was to let Lucy go or take out the police and make myself a felon. Even Charles here would have had a hard time springing me if I’d taken out a couple of cops. And then there wouldn’t be anybody who could help Lucy.”
“But why Lucy?” Mrs. Sutter asked. “What made her attack people?”
“When the change happens, it can hit pretty hard,” Amy explained. “You said that Lucy use to suffer from claustrophobia. Combine that with her enhanced senses and a lot of excess energy and she needed to get away. Once she had a chance to calm down she got better. I wish I had understood about the claustrophobia before. I might have been able to keep her from loosing control.”
Kate opened the front door, looked around and didn’t see anything. For a second she thought she had misread Amy’s signal. She stepped out into the yard. Then she saw Faith just appear out of the shadows.
Kate took a step back. “Damn it Faith,” Kate said.
“Sorry,” Faith answered. “Wanted to make sure it was you. So how’s it going?”
Danny and Julian were still watching the house.
Danny had been surprised when the Captain had authorized overtime for this case. It was one thing to authorize overtime for a major drug bust or a murder investigation. But this was (a least at first glance) a simple assault case. But something had Rawlings tweaked and when Julian had pressed to stay on the case Rawlings had agreed without a fight.
Of course nothing about this case was turning out to be simple. The way those two girls dropped out of the tree like it was nothing. The way they both moved and fought. Danny had no doubt that Abbott had been holding back when Lucy attacked her. She also had no doubt that if Abbott had wanted to make a fight of it she could have gotten away from them with no problem.
And now things were getting even weirder.
“Is that Lockley?” Danny asked.
“Looks like her,” Julian replied. “Wonder what she’s doing outside.”
“Maybe she smokes,” Danny paused and her eyes went wide. “Where the hell did she come from?”
“I don’t know,” Julian answered shocked at the sudden appearance of the dark haired woman. “I didn’t see her come up to the house. Did you?”
“No, she just came out of the shadows,” Danny said. “One second nobody, next second she’s in the driveway. I think she came from behind that lawyer’s van. But there is no way in hell she could get that close to the house without either of us seeing her.”
“So what do we do?”
“She isn’t breaking any laws,” Danny said. “Nothing illegal about appearing out of nowhere.”
Damn this case was weird.
Kate was giving Faith a close look. She still dressed the same. Tight pants, tight shirt, little left to the imagination. But when she got to the eyes Kate paused. Those were different. The last time she had seen Faith, her eyes were empty. Nothing there. For all her power, she was a lost little girl.
But now, there was fire in her eyes. She wasn’t a girl any more. This was a woman. One who was certain of her place and her calling.
“Planning on answering my question in this century?” Faith pressed.
“Amy’s giving them the basics,” Kate replied. “So far she’s told them that Lucy is different, physically superior. She’s leaving out the stuff dealing with Slayers, magic and demons.”
Faith nodded. “How are they taking it?”
“Better than I expected,” Kate answered. “But it’s early. Give it another hour to sink in and they’ll start to freak out.”
Faith nodded. A few seconds of awkward silence passed between them.
“So what do you want to do now?” Kate asked.
“If we’re going to have any chance of finding Lucy before the cops I need to know everything about her,” Faith answered.
“Then I suppose you should come in,” Kate said. “We won’t tell the Sutters about your past.”
Faith’s eyes narrowed. She was about to say something. But Buffy’s little warning about working with Kate popped back into her head. “You’re lucky B told me to be nice to you.”
“She told me the same thing when she hired me,” Kate noted.
“Then let’s get to work,” Faith said heading for the door.
“Try to make a good impression,” Kate said.
“If there’s one thing I can do, its make an impression.”
A/N – I know, I know. It’s been way to long between updates. Again, the life thing has to come first. Between work and some major family stuff my schedule is pretty weird these days.
I’ve also adopted a new rule for posting. I’m only posting new chapters to my already published stories. I won’t publish any new stories unless they are either complete or until one of my ongoing stories is finished.
In addition to the five ongoing stories currently published, I’ve got six other multi-chapter stories I’m working on. I’ve also got four or five one-shot single chapter stories that will probably pop up in the next month or so.
The upshot of all this is, relatively long waits between new chapters of my current stuff. I am trying, but the muse is scattered and life still has to come first. However the good news is, when do publish something new, it will be a completed story. So you won’t get stuck waiting for new chapters on anything new.