Title: This Year’s Girl
Author: Cooper_666 aka Paulette
Disclaimer: not mine
Fandom: AB and BtVS xover
Challenge: #1410 by littleoleme at TtH
Summary: Faith gets sucked into another dimension while in a coma, and is transformed into a child. The dimension? Anita Blake’s.
The Mayor closed the hospital door quietly behind him, “Have you begun yet?”
The witch fumbled with her sole candle. “Well, actually, sir,” She placed the candle on the side table and stared at the girl lying on the bed, “I’ve already finished.”
“It didn’t work?”
“Well, we don’t know for sure, it could take a while for the magick to respond…” She drew a deep breath.
He frowned at her. She had promised him that her spell would send Faith’s consciousness back to them. “You said it would work.”
“Well, I’m afraid sir, that it’s possible that,” The witch cleared her throat nervously, “It’s possible that her consciousness was sent somewhere else.”
“Where?” He asked, trying to ignore how irritating her ‘well’s were becoming. Faith had been in a coma for too long already. It was time she came out of it.
The witch cleared her throat again, “Well, anywhere, sir.”
Richard stood in line at the gas station patiently. Today had been parent/teacher interviews, one of his least favorite events. Talking to parents rarely helped, usually because they already knew the problems their kid had, or their kids were nice enough. Every time it was the latter, he got irked. Boasting to a parent how great their kid is, isn’t helping anything but said parent’s ego. It’s the kid that needs to be told.
It was nearly six, and already, it was dark out. He glanced out one of the side windows and nearly dropped his wallet. A little girl was standing outside, beside his car, crying. Suddenly, an older man came into view and headed straight to the girl, an angry look on his face.
By chance, another costumer of the gas station, opened the door on his way out, and Richard could hear what the man said.
“Hey, kid, get over here! I said, c’ere! I’m not going to hurt you.”
Richard frowned as he watched the scene unfold through the window. The girl was obviously upset already, and much too young to have anyone speak to her like that.
He jerked his gaze from the window. The station attendant looked at him expectantly.
Quickly, he paid for the gas, all the while watching the girl outside. She was walking away from the man, continually glancing back at him and nearly tripping over her own feet in the process.
Richard strode out of the station, “Hey!”
The man looked over at him, but didn’t respond. He walked quicker towards the girl and grabbed her arm roughly, “C’mon!”
“Hey!” Richard said, marching up to them and blocking the man’s path, “What do you think you’re doing?”
“None of your business,” The man spat, tugging violently on the girl.
The girl screamed loudly, and suddenly, she wretched her arm out of the man’s grasp. She cried loudly and then abruptly, she stopped crying and ran at him fiercely, punching his stomach. The man keeled over violently, and she angrily kicked his shins.
“Woah,” Richard said, grabbing onto her arms. She was so tiny that he hardly had a chance to get any grip before she was pulling from him already. He managed to hold on just long to bend down to one knee on her level, before she hastily stopped fighting. For a moment, she stood, half facing Richard while staring wide-eyed at the other man.
The man swore profusely, holding onto his shin. “Little slut!”
Rapidly, the girl whirled around to Richard and threw her arms around him, sobbing loudly.
Richard held her lightly as the man stumbled off, cursing. As his heart slowed back to normal, reality dawned on him. What was he supposed to do with a little girl?
“You want me to what?” Anita asked in disbelief.
Richard stood just inside the doorway, a child hiding behind his leg.
“I know, it sounds odd, but the gas station claims that she’s not their problem even though it was on their property, and I have to go to lunapar. Please, Anita, just for the night.”
Anita blinked. “I suck with kids, Richard, I’ll—”
“—You’ll do fine, she’s quiet, she’ll probably go right to bed.” He said, hoping she’d believe him.
“But Richard, why didn’t you just take her to the police? Someone’s bound to be looking for her.” Anita protested mildly, “And what is she wearing?”
Richard glanced down at the girl hugging his leg. “When she fought that guy, Anita…She’s strong. She hasn’t told me her age, but she can’t be more than five or six, and she shouldn’t have that strength.”
“So she’s a lycanthrope? But then she needs to go to the lunapar, I can’t help her.”
“I never said she’s a lycanthrope,” Richard countered, “I can’t sense a beast. I don’t know why she’s so strong, Anita, but,” He shook his head, “She’s in a hospital gown. Tomorrow I’ll try locating her parents, but if we tell the police and they do think she’s a lycanthrope, or if she was in the hospital getting checked for lycanthropy, she could get sent to a secure facility.”
Anita sighed, “What am I supposed to do with her?”
He grinned widely. He knew she’d crack eventually. He bent down and pushed the girl forward, “Faith, this is Anita. Anita, meet Faith.”
Nathaniel was having a ball. To him, Faith was adorable. Anita wasn’t as convinced, but both him and Richard were hanging around until they absolutely had to go, long after the rest of the pard had left for the lunapar.
They’d gone upstairs to try to find clothes for her, which proved a difficult task. Finally, she donned Anita’s smallest pajama shirt, which was still much too large for her, and boxer shorts.
Faith had ended up spotting some of Anita’s dresses and so they’d spent a while dressing her up, pinning the fabric up with safety pins. Jean-Claude probably wouldn’t be too impressed if he found out that several of the dresses he’d given her had holes in them. If he found out, that was.
“Faith,” Richard said, bending down to her level, once she’d changed out of the dress, “Nathaniel and I have to go now, but I’ll be back tomorrow morning to pick you up, alright?”
She frowned, “You’re going?”
“Just for now. Be good for Anita, okay?”
“No!” Faith cried loudly, looking desperate, “No!”
“Noo!” She wailed, latching her arms around him. “I wanna go too!”
He glanced over a Nathaniel, who’d frozen in the door, and gently tugged her off, “You need to stay here for now, but tomorrow—”
“NO!” She screamed again, beginning to cry.
Anita walked in the room after putting the dress away, took one look at the scene unfolding in her living room, and promptly walked out again.
“Faith,” Nathaniel said suddenly, “Have you ever gone to a circus?”
Anita had not been overly pleased with the change in events. She was only going along with it since Richard had been the one to call Jean-Claude.
Her earlier plans had been to take a long bath and get plenty of sleep. She’d taken the night off of work and decided not to go to the lunapar. It would be the first night in a while that she’d have the house to herself. Now she’d be babysitting a random child with the aid of two vampires.
Nathaniel and Richard had dropped Faith and her off at the Circus—mainly because Anita was uneasy about being in the car alone with Faith after her temper tantrum—and then headed off for the lunapar.
“Aneeeeeeta,” Faith said, as they walked in the back entrance of the Circus, “Why is everything black?”
“That’s an excellent question, and in a moment, you’ll be able to ask the decorator.” Anita said hastily. They entered the main room and Asher stood at attention.
“Ma chèrie,” Asher greeted as they walked in. He donned a sky blue silk shirt that was nearly the same shade as his eyes, and tight black pants and boots. “And this must be the infamous Faith,”
“Hey, Asher,” Anita said quickly, “This—”
“—Why is everything black?” Faith cut in, walking past Anita.
Asher smiled widely, “Not everything, ma petite poupée, but it is a most somber scheme, I agree.”
Anita glanced between the two of them. It would probably be her only chance, and Faith was safe with Asher, “I’m going to sneak off to the washroom, I’ll be back in a minute.”
“Bye-bye, Mommy.” Faith said, not bothering to look back.
Anita froze, nearly at the door. Slowly she turned back around to face them and found Asher grinning full heartedly. Quickly, she twisted around and half-ran out of the room.
“Ma petite,” Jean-Claude said, kissing her lips lightly. “How are you this evening?”
She kissed him back, “I’m stuck babysitting. So not good.”
“And where is our petite fille?”
She blushed and glanced down at the floor, “I dumped her on Asher and hid in the bathroom.”
His eyes widened. “You hid in the bathroom?”
“It seemed a viable excuse.”
He laughed heartily and led her down the hallway. “Ah, ma petite, you cease to amaze me.”
“Amaze you, amuse you, what’s the difference.” Anita said wryly.
They could already hear Asher laughing as they neared the curtain door. They walked through to door to find Asher sitting on the sofa with Faith giggling on his knee joyously.
Quickly, introductions were made and Faith became equally enthusiastic with Jean-Claude.
“Maa poo-pey,” Asher sounded out.
Faith frowned, “What does it mean?”
“You’ll have to guess,” Jean-Claude said, stretching out against the sofa, one arm gently wrapped around Anita’s waist.
She pouted lightly, “It sounds like Canada!”
Anita chortled. Figures she’d recognize the ‘eh’.
“Just do it.” The Mayor tightly.
The witch drew in a deep breath and began the spell.
Faith giggled, “Maa pa-teeeee-t!”
Jean-Claude grinned at her, “Petite. The accent is on the end,”
“Pa-tight!” She exclaimed happily.
Suddenly, something caught Anita’s eye. Just behind where Faith was standing, something blurred. A tiny waver, distorting the fireplace behind it. “Jean-Claude…”
Jean-Claude glanced over at her, “What is it, ma petite?”
Both Jean-Claude and Asher followed her gaze towards the blurred fireplace and went still staring.
Slowly, the blur widened from a thin vertical line to a long rectangle slowing getting bigger and bigger. Suddenly, the image widened some more and something appeared in the blur, a vague grey outline and then more solid, shoulders, a full body. Too small to be an adult, even compared to Anita, with tiny hands and feet.
The boy landed on the floor on his knees with a thud.
“AHHH!” Faith shrieked, jumping onto Asher’s lap hysterically.
Anita had her gun out even as Jean-Claude was stepping in front of her as a shield.
The boy glanced up innocently at them. “What happened?”
Faith screamed loudly again and dove into Asher’s lap.
Anita lowered her gun slightly, “What the hell are you?”
The boy caught sight of the gun and his eyes went wide. His voice wobbled, “Don’t hurt me, please,”
“Who are you?” Jean-Claude demanded in a whisper.
The boy stood up slowly, his eyes still wavering on the gun, “I’m Richard,”
“Not another one,” Anita deadpanned.
Faith screeched again, tearing Asher’s sleeves frantically.
The boy jerked over and stared at her in stunned silence for a moment.
Then suddenly, the boy blurred and he glanced down at his wavering body. Quickly, his image began dispersing much like it had when he’d appeared, until he’d gone completely.
“Let me be the first to say it: What the hell was that?” Anita exclaimed angrily, her gun pointed high to where the boy had been.
Asher left to switch shirts, since Faith had violently tore off one arm, and they all ended up following, since Faith didn’t want anyone to be alone.
“Are you feeling better, ma cher?” Jean-Claude asked Faith, who was sitting on the golden bed, swinging her legs back and forth.
“A lil,” she mumbled.
Anita leaned against the wall. She murmured under her breath, “Safe with the vampires alright,”
Faith jerked towards her abruptly, “Vampires?”
It took another twenty minutes until Faith was calmed down again. Anita didn’t budge from her place at the wall. Jean-Claude and Asher were much better at the soothing part than she was.
Asher ended up cheating by baiting Faith about the actual circus-circus. Didn’t she want to go see it? Faith suddenly brightened up then; she wanted to go.
They managed to make their way into the genuine circus. It was packed tight alright, with plenty of young families wandering around to the different attractions.
Asher went off for a moment and returned with cotton candy. Faith was ecstatic: apparently she’d never had pink sugar before. Anita was also given a bag. She wasn’t as ecstatic, but awkwardly thanked him nonetheless.
“Panda!” Faith cried suddenly.
An extra-large stuffed panda bear was hanging off the ceiling of a stand. The far wall, maybe two meters away from the front, was covered with little blue balloons, and periodically red ones.
“Would you like to play, ma poupée?” Jean-Claude asked, scooping Faith up into his arms and edging closer to the stand.
“Yay!” Faith shouted enthusiastically.
The game was to throw three darts and hit at least two red balloons for a prize. All three had to be red for an extra-large prize, like the panda bear.
When their turn came, Jean-Claude gave the dart carefully to Faith, who was still in his arms. “Let me guide—”
Before he could finish, Faith threw the dart at the nearest red balloon.
Her aim was perfect.
Jean-Claude slowly glanced back at Asher and Anita, before giving another dart to Faith silently.
Faith giggled excitedly, her eyes set on another red balloon. With her eyes knit in concentration, the dart sliced through the air and popped the balloon, lodging itself solidly in the wood board behind it.
“Bravo,” Jean-Claude said, smiling widely. He handed her the last dart, “One more, ma poupée,”
“Then panda!” She said breathlessly. She grabbed the dart and tossed it hurriedly at the farthest red balloon. The balloon burst easily.
“And we have a winner!” The man behind the stand came out grinning. “Pick your prize!”
“Panda!” Faith cried joyously.
The man took the giant panda bear down and handed it over to her, “There you go, little lady!”
Faith grinned wildly, hugging the bear tightly. Jean-Claude put her back on the ground and handed her her cotton candy had again.
“Congratulations,” Asher told her lightly.
She giggled, as they began to wander past the other stands. Suddenly, Faith stopped walking.
“Faith, you coming?” Anita called, pausing to see what she was doing.
Faith looked at her oddly. She glanced down at herself, practically hidden in Anita’s old shirt and shorts. She looked back at the Anita, Asher and Jean-Claude, who all stood watching her.
Her body began blurring slowly but surely. First a ripple in her arms and torso, and then her whole body got hazy and wavering. And then, she was gone.
“What the fuck!” Anita swore, running to where Faith had stood.
The clothes, the cotton candy, and the panda bear laid in a small pile on the floor.
“Richard’s gonna kill me.”
The Mayor sipped his drink slowly. The witch had been a complete failure. She hadn’t been able to wake up Faith, nor successfully send him anywhere after her. She had said that her spell would send him to wherever Faith was, if she wasn’t in her proper body. It hadn’t worked.
Although for some reason, he had the strangest image of a two beautiful men and one woman staring at him wildly. And someone shrieking.
But that was probably just the wine.
With a gasp, Faith woke up and glanced around frantically. The hospital bed. She was in the hospital. How had that happened? Quickly, she ripped off the little tubes attached to her head and arms and threw off her cover.
She had to get out.