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Don't feed the Plants

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Summary: In Sunnydale, even gardening can be hazardous to your health. x/over with 'Little Shop of Horrors' Buffy/Angel, Giles/Willow

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Miscellaneous > Musicals/PlayspythiaFR15916,088162,7297 Mar 067 Mar 06Yes

Chapter One

Disclaimer: I don’t own any of them – Buffy and the gang belong to Joss, and Audrey-II was originally cultivated by Roger Corman before being set to music by Howard Ashman.
Note to self: Watching ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ late at night can be detrimental to one’s muses!

On the twenty-third day of the month of September, in an early year of a decade not too long before our own, the human race suddenly encountered a deadly threat to its very existence. And this terrifying enemy surfaced, as such enemies often do, in the seemingly most innocent and unlikely of places …

{Da do!}

It was getting late. The corridors of Sunnydale High were practically deserted. Only a few students lingered on the premises: there was a small group making their way out of the detention hall, intent on getting home as soon as they could, and one or two more helping the gym coach pack up after a late practice. There was almost no-one to see the slightly built blonde girl as she slipped warily in through one of the outer doors; she glanced round a little furtively, then reached back though the doorway and dragged in a handsome looking young man in a dark coat. He also took a furtive look around, then pulled the girl into a shadowed corner and bent his head to meet hers. They kissed, a hungry coming together of lips and desire, each seeming to inhale the other as they sought to get close – and then even closer still.
A little further down the hallway, three uniformed cheerleaders were busy stuffing pom-poms into a locker, joking and chatting about their classmates and blithely unaware of the ardent encounter taking place only a few short steps away. They were discussing the way a well known school bully had failed to appear in class that week. His girlfriend, a timid and shy type, had been seen sporting a broken arm, and their gossip savoured the possibilities that suggested, the ideas flying between them, thick and fast.
“I heard that Orin was the one that broke it,” the plumpest of the three declared with relish. The girl in the middle looked suitably shocked.
“No,” she said. “Really?”
“Really,” the plump one affirmed. “Maybe Snyder’s expelled him.”
“Just for that?” the tall one at the end drawled. “I doubt it. I mean, he didn’t expel Buffy after she and her gang trashed the library at the end of last term. So why would he expel Orin for slapping Aubrie? It’s not like he could prove it.”
“Snyder doesn’t need proof to push folk around,” the middle cheerleader pointed out. “He does it because it makes him feel big. And the way I heard it, the only reason he didn’t kick Buffy and her sidekicks out of school is because the librarian threatened to quit if he did.”
“Mr Giles threatened to quit?” the plump girl squeaked with distress. “He can’t do that! He’s the best librarian … well, ever.”
“He reads poetry.”
“He quotes Shakespeare – and Dillon, and Thomas Hardy and he’s actually read Jayne Eyre.”
“He’s got that accent …”
“He’s got that smile …”
“And the most amazing green eyes …”
“Oh yeah,” the three of them sighed, in a moment of utter synchronicity.
“You know,” the tall girl said, shaking herself out of her brief reverie. “I think there’s some pretty weird things going on around here. Aubrie getting beat up.”
“People disappearing.”
“Like Orin.”
“And Simon.”
“I heard that Frank, the assistant janitor, hasn’t seen for a couple of days.”
“Really? Makes you wonder who’s going to be next.”

{Shing-a-ling what a creepy thing to be happening!
Shang-a-lang, feel the sturm and drang in the air…}

“I don’t like the look of this,” Giles murmured, studying the door to the biology laboratory– and the trail that led up to it, a dark ominous staining where something had been dragged across the floor. He reached out and cautiously tried the handle.
Of course it was.
“Willow?” he requested softly, conscious of the way the young woman was practically pressed up against him – and had been ever since they’d found the start of the blood trail.
“Yes?” she squeaked nervously, then swallowed. Hard. “Sorry …”
“It’s all right. I want you to go back the way we came in, get to the library and find Buffy. You understand? Find Buffy. Send her here. As quickly as you can.”
“Find Buffy.” The redhead nodded. “I can do that. W-what if – Angel’s with her?”
He pushed her away from the questionable safety of his side, firmly but gently turning her back towards the entrance to the science wing. “Then send him, too. Willow – we have a missing janitor, two missing students, and a trail of blood leading to a classroom no one’s been in for months. Now, Snyder might be right about the earthquake damage, and have had a perfectly legitimate reason for locking up this part of the school, but … something is living here, and I don’t think it’s friendly. Find Buffy – and hurry.”
“Okay,” she nodded, taking a few steps in the right direction, then turned back. “What are you going to do?”
He sighed, shooing her away. “Take a closer look. Now go.”
She went, her cautious pace along the blood-stained floor quickly turning into an anxious run. Giles watched until he was sure she’d turned the corner and was well on her way to safety before he returned his attention to the door. The bunch of keys that he tugged from his pocket were one of his prized possessions: a set of master keys for the entire building complex which he’d obtained by judicious gifts of Jack Daniels and a willingness to provide a sympathetic ear to a man’s personal troubles. He and the deputy janitor had moved from passing acquaintances to comrades in adversity fairly soon after his arrival at the school; they were often the only inhabitants of the place, one working late shifts and maintenance, the other spending hours researching, long into the night.
The gift of the keys had been obvious, once Bob had realised that they meant he didn’t have to hang around until the librarian went home – and Giles had repaid the favour many times over since, sharing the occasional cup of tea and a little banter, comforted by tales of the kind of family life he suspected he’d never have.
It was entirely possible that Frank – the assistant deputy janitor – was never going to have it either. The man had been at work earlier in the week, and yet had failed to report for two evenings in a row. He’d sent Bob to check on the man’s lodgings and recruited the Scoobies to search the school for clues. Judging by the signs he and Willow had encountered once they’d realised the sealed-off annex’s outer door was open … well, Frank had certainly passed this way, and it looked suspiciously as if at least one of the students who’d also been reported missing that week had also been wandering around in the condemned building.
“Main door, second floor classrooms…ah.” Giles sorted out the appropriate key, one with a tiny white label declaring it to be ‘labs-ab.’ The annex housed three biology labs, all of which shared a common greenhouse – one of the reasons for closing the whole place down until Snyder and the School Board could get it properly inspected. The greenhouse glass had cracked during the Master’s attempt to open the Hellmouth, and Bob had told him that even a minor tremor – let alone a major disturbance of some kind – was likely to bring the whole thing crashing down.
The Watcher made a mental note to avoid making any kind of disturbance if he could. He hadn’t told Willow, but the blood trail they’d been following was uncomfortably fresh – no more than twenty-four hours old. It was likely that whatever had taken the janitor and the students was using the abandoned labs as a lair, something Giles was determined to do something about if he could. Building the school over a Hellmouth was bad enough – but to have something with decidedly carnivorous tendencies lurking on the premises was totally unacceptable. There were just too many vulnerable – and tender - students that it put at risk.
The key turned easily enough, and he managed to slip the door and open it without making any noise. There was light – artificial light he assumed – shining on the far side of the cluttered room, and it threw stark shadows across his face as he cautiously peered in, looking for signs of life.
Or unlife, for that matter.
“Good Lord,” he exclaimed, taking in the unexpected sight that awaited him. Last time he’d been in the room there’d been rows of benches, a number of crowded shelves, the obligatory fake skeleton and one or two tanks of fish parading along the side-bench under the windows. The tanks were still there, albeit empty, as were the benches – but the whole place was draped with vines, long twisted things with dark, ugly-looking leaves, some of them the size of dinner plates – and bigger.
His presence in the doorway seemed to trigger something deeper into the room; the door to the greenhouse was wide open and curtained with more of the huge leaves. It was through those that the light was shining – and they had begun to quiver, to rustle with a trembling movement as if something, or someone, were hiding behind them.
He walked cautiously in that direction, stepping over the sprawling vines and registering the way they’d anchored themselves to both floor and benches with a growing sense of anxious suspicion. They were clearly not normal vegetation; the colours and textures were wrong in a way he couldn’t quite explain.
Besides – nothing grows that fast in a few short months; the place looked as if it had been occupied by this weird jungle for years.
There was a noticeable rise in temperature as he got closer to the hothouse door. The soft warmth of a California night was replaced with a much deeper, tropical heat; the air felt moister too, and a rich, cloying scent, like damp earth and decaying vegetation wafted out to greet him. There was something else lingering in the air too – a warm metallic tint.
The taint of old blood.
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