HOOTS! THEM!by Dave Turner.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Buffyverse or the movie ‘THEM!’; neither do I claim authorship of any script/canon words used. I write these stories for fun not profit.
Crossover: The Buffyverse with the 1954 Sci-Fi classic ‘THEM!’.
Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation; Written in glorious English-English. English and American idioms are used throughout this fic.
Timeline: Post BtVS 7, no comics.
Words: Nine chapters of 2500+ words.
Warnings: Minor femslash, minor violence.
Summary: Willow and Kennedy on the verge of breaking up? Monstrous wild Haggises roaming the Highlands? Will the bagpipe music prove too much for our heroes? Confused? It gets grimmer the further north you go.0=0=0=0Slayer Central, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Cleveland, England.
The rain beat a steady tattoo against the window of Buffy’s office. The wind howled like a being in torment as it whipped the sea to a frenzy; waves crashed and broke upon the beach to the east of the old holiday camp. Buffy stood looking out the window at the grey, rain-heavy clouds; she hugged herself and shivered. Sighing despondently she turned to survey her tiny little office.
Although the money from the old council accounts was starting to flow into the Slayer Organisation’s own coffers, so far there was little to show for it. There wasn’t even a PC on Buffy’s old battered desk, Willow said the new computers would arrive next week along with the internet connection. Sighing heavily she sat down on her squeaky chair and looked glumly at the few slim folders on her desk.
Everyone seemed to have something to do except her, she’d never thought it was going to be like this when they’d first set up in England. Everyone had work to do; Willow and Kennedy were up in Scotland investigating rumours of Highland vampire clans. Giles was in London interviewing prospective watchers and researching at the British Museum. Faith (with help from Violet) was happily slaying anything that popped its head above the parapet in northern England. Dawn was at school in Middlesbrough and Xander was working for a local building contractor and helping out whenever he could.
Everyone had something to do and someone to be with, everyone except Buffy or so she told herself. She longed for a renewed purpose in her life; she longed to feel someone’s arms around her, their lips on hers someone to… With a sudden feeling of dismay, Buffy realised she’d not dated once since the fall of Sunnydale the thought almost brought tears to her eyes. Her hand drifted down to open the bottom drawer of her desk. Opening the drawer to reveal the half full bottle of vodka and the glass that lay there, Buffy looked up at the clock on the wall; half-past-ten it said. Slowly Buffy reached for the bottle and glass and put them on top of her desk; was it still too early for a drink?
“What the hell,” she told herself; no one would see, no one would care.
She poured herself a stiff half glass of vodka, raising the glass to her lips she sat back in her chair and took a sip. Looking around her bare little office she started to feel sorry for herself again, deserted by her friends; she doubted anyone felt as lonely and dispirited as she did just now.0=0=0=0The Scottish Highlands, Scotland.
The Scottish Highlands rolled past the window of the hire car at a steady fifty miles an hour. The road wound between the heather clad crags rising and falling as it past over the undulations in the valley floor. The interior of the car was silent except for the sound of the motor as it purred soporifically under the hood; neither Willow or Kennedy had spoken for miles.
Glancing over to the driver’s seat Willow watched for a moment as Kennedy drove them on through the snow peaked mountains; her eyes glued to the road and her hands riveted to the wheel as she tried to ignore the woman sitting beside her. Willow sighed sadly and looked out at the heather that sped by in a seemingly endless sea of purple dotted here and there with patches of snow. Okay, thought Willow, we can’t go on like this; we need to start talking this through.
“Let’s talk this over,” Willow pleaded, “its not like we’re dead…don’t leave me hanging here sweetie.”
“You messed with my mind, Willow,” Kennedy’s eyes glanced away from the road and towards her one time lover, “I’m still trying to decide whether I can forgive you for that.”
“But honey,” Willow felt her lip began to tremble as tears started to burn her eyes, “I thought it was for the best.”
“That excuse is wearing pretty thin,” Kennedy interrupted angrily as she struggled to control her temper, now was not a good time to get into a yelling match, “You just went ahead and did it; Willow knows best; don’t bother the little slayer with things like whether she wants her mind fucked with.”
“I’m sorry,” Willow sniffed quietly and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, “I only thought...I’m sorry.”0=0=0=0
Withdrawing into herself, Willow looked once again at the passing countryside and wished she’d never gone to that Christmas party. The room had been hot and crowded and she’d walked out onto the balcony to get some fresh air. Maybe she’d had a little too much wine, maybe she’d been feeling pissed at Kennedy because she’d seemed more eager to go out on patrol with Vi than stay and keep her company.
Whatever the reasons she knew now they were only excuses; she was a grown woman, she should have known better. She’d let it happen, she could have said ‘no’. If the guy had pushed his luck she could have snapped her fingers and he’d be sitting on a lily pad eating flies. But she hadn’t, she’d let this happen, so when Kennedy returned from her patrol she found Willow in the arms of some anonymous watcher wannabe checking out his back teeth with her tongue.
Then, to make matters worse, she’d tried to wipe the memory of it from Kennedy’s mind, but she’d dropped the crystal a couple of days later and everything had come flooding back like some evil, malignant tide. If it hadn’t been for the fact that they’d already planned to investigate some old vampire stories in the Scottish highlands. Willow felt sure that Kennedy would have walked out already. As it was they’d hardly spoken a word over the last few days. 0=0=0=0
Watching the road in front of her Kennedy tried to sort through her jumbled thoughts. What was she to do? She tried to concentrate on the road but her heart was near breaking point. Did she love Willow enough to forgive her? Or would there always be that nagging doubt that she’d been manipulated in some subtle way and she’d been fooled into forgiving her?
It wasn’t as if this was the first time either; there’d been that time back in Sunnydale when Willow had sucked the energy from her. She’d been able to forgive her then because it had been an emergency and there’d been no time for explanations. She’d felt weak and sick for a little while afterwards, but Willow had seen her through it and Kennedy had decided that life was looking to be way too short not to forgive her.
But this…this was too much just to forgive without there being consequences. This was like being abused or even raped, she’d had no choice in what happened to her and if it happened once it could happen again. She’d read an article in Cosmo once about spousal abuse and she didn’t want that to happen to her. She might be the big tough, strong slayer, but if Willow could mess with her mind there was no knowing what she might do to her.
Stifling a sob, Kennedy realised that it would have to end, she’d tell Willow when they stopped for the night. It’d been good for awhile but it had to end now, she glanced over at Willow, how could she ever trust her again? Turning away quickly so Willow didn’t see the look on her face, Kennedy happened to look out of her side window. She caught a glimpse of movement as something pink darted between two clumps of heather. Realising what she’d just seen Kennedy stood on the brakes and brought the car to a shuddering halt.0=0=0=0
Deep in her heart Willow knew it was all over between her and Kennedy; how could it not be? She’d done the same thing to Tara, and then to all her friends. She didn’t seem to be able to learn; magic and relationships just didn’t mix. Maybe that was why magic users always ended up as bitter lonely people who eventually rejected everyone who loved them. She rested her chin on her hand as she looked out the window, she laughed bitterly to herself as the tears started to trickle down her cheeks.
Slamming against her seatbelt Willow looked up and started to pay attention to the world again. The car had skidded to halt across the road; looking over to Kennedy’s side of the car she saw the driver’s door open and her seat empty.
“She can’t be walking out on me here,” Willow opened her own door and stepped out onto the road, “Kennedy what’s wrong?” as if she needed to ask.
Obviously Kennedy couldn’t stand to be near her for one minute longer and had left her right here in the middle of nowhere. Willow frowned, no that couldn’t be right, maybe Kennedy was going to leave her here!
“Willow!” it was Kennedy’s voice calling her from the other side of the road, “Come quick and bring a blanket.”0=0=0=0
Struggling to control the car Kennedy managed to bring it to a halt; an instant later she’d undone her safety belt, opened the door and was out running through the heather dodging around clumps of gorse until she caught sight of her target.
“Hey!” she called, “Little girl!”
The girl didn’t appear to hear her as Kennedy quickly caught up and took hold of the kid by the shoulders.
“Hey!” Kennedy knelt down and turned the girl to face her.
The girl’s mousy blonde hair was done up in two plats, she wore ‘Barbie’ pyjamas and clutched a toy bear in her hands; Kennedy guessed that she couldn’t be more than eight years old.
“What are you doing out here?” Kennedy looked into the girl’s eyes and frowned; it was like the girl was staring right through her, “Hey sweetie, what’s wrong?”
Again the child said nothing and just gazed off across the valley. Picking the child up in her arms Kennedy retraced her steps towards the road. Catching sight of the car and Willow standing in the road she called to her to come quick and bring a blanket. As she walked towards the car something caught her attention and she looked over her shoulder but the hillside seemed deserted. Frowning she shook her head, she was sure she’d heard the sound of bagpipes coming to her on the wind. No, she thought as she carried the child towards the car, no it must have just been the wind blowing through the wire of the nearby fence.0=0=0=0
Helping Kennedy bundle the child up in the blanket she’d brought from the car, Willow looked out across the heather towards the mountainsides that formed the glen, she shivered.
“I wonder where she came from?” looking up and down the valley, Willow could see none of the works of man other than the road and a few dry stone walls.
“She was walking towards us,” Kennedy helped Willow get the kid into the back of the car, “so, maybe if we drive on the way we were going we’ll see where she came from.” Kennedy looked Willow in the eye for the first time in what felt like days, “Perhaps you’d better sit in the back with her, share a little body heat, eh?”
“Sure,” Willow climbed into the back of the car and wrapped her arms around the girl, “I can’t believe anyone could miss her and let her wander around in the cold like this,” Willow stroked the girl’s hair as she spoke, “something must have happened.”
“Yeah,” after shutting Willow’s door, Kennedy climbed into the front and started the engine, “you think there’s been an accident or something?”
“Whatever,” Willow looked down at the girl and found she’d fallen asleep, “I think we’d better look into this.”
“Yep,” Kennedy sighed as she let out the clutch and the car started to move, “thought it was too quiet.”0=0=0=0
Glancing at the map spread out on the passenger seat, Kennedy saw that there was a farm or something about a mile down the road and around a bend in the valley; maybe the kid came from there. Whether she did or she didn’t they were sure to have a phone so they could call this in. They’d found their cellphones (‘mobiles’ as the British called them) didn’t work in the glens so they had to rely on landlines.
As she drove, Kennedy found herself once again examining her feelings towards Willow. What had really hurt her, apart from the whole mind-rape thing, was she’d caught Willow with a guy. She knew Willow had a history with guys, there’d been ‘Oz’ and she’d had an unplanned ‘fling’ with Xander years ago. But, Kennedy had sort of assumed that was all over with; Willow had worked it out of her system, found out who and what she was.
Having never shown the slightest interest in boys, she’d never even been on a single date…ever. Kennedy didn’t hate men, she just didn’t have any sexual urges towards them, she’d always known she ‘liked’ girls since she was little. It’d all made Willow’s betrayal of her far worse, she couldn’t live with that.
Coming around a bend in the road, Kennedy looked over to her right and saw a large two story house standing on a small hillock near a mountain stream. There were several cars parked outside, but no lights shone from its windows and no smoke rose from its chimneys. Bringing the car to a halt at the end of the track that led to the building, Kennedy read the sign; ‘Bide a Wee’, Hotel and Resort claimed the sign. Taking a deep breath she turned the wheel and drove along the track towards the silent, grey, stone building.0=0=0=0