RATING: Adult for language and content
DISCLAIMER: The Bee has no rights or claim on any
of the characters or products named in this story and makes
no profit from them.
SUMMARY: This is the third story in the Rosebud/verse.
Tara has been abducted and the police rush to find her.
The other members of the Circle decide that they can do
a better job and begin their own investigation.
Who will find her first and will it be in time?
Huge thanks to Purpledodah for the amazing banner.
The ensuing scuffle was a flurry of activity as Xander grabbed
and held his lover back. Taylor had leapt to his feet and was
being restrained by the wide eyed officer, Mike James.
The crowd of onlookers was stunned.
"Stop it Spike, stop. This isn't doing any of us any good and is
just wasting time."
When Xander's voice of reason caught his attention, Spike stopped
struggling. He relaxed his body and Xander let go. Fairly sure the
worst was over, and remembering their ranks, James then released
Taylor and stepped back.
Taylor wiped the trickle of blood from his nose as his chest heaved from
the exertion and his eyes flashed with fury.
"That's going to cost you your job, you fucking prick. I'll make sure you
lose your badge this time. I got fuckin' witnesses."
Mike James stepped toward where Spike stood, his head down and his
"Sorry, sir, I was looking elsewhere and didn't see what happened."
Xander crossed his arms.
"I didn't see anything either, but I may just file an official complaint
against your crude sexual comments toward the victim. It also
seemed to me that you are refusing to investigate this crime because
of the perceived orientation of the missing person."
Taylor fumed, his temper threatening to explode as he looked from
one person to another. He knew, for now, he was beat. Finally he
stepped up, his nose less than an inch from Spike's and he whispered.
"You are going to regret this. I'm going to make you so sorry. You
fags all stick together don't you? Fine. You win this round but don't
think for a minute that this is over."
With that, he turned and marched away. His car tires squealed and
spun as he tore out of the lot.
Immediately, Spike dismissed all the unimportantness that was Taylor
and he began his investigation. He handed his cell phone to Xander
and instructed him to call Faith.
He handed both Willow and the campus security guard witness
statements and ask them to sit in the back seat of separate cruisers
and write exactly what they remembered, paying extra attention to the
times it all occurred.
Spike then gathered all the stunned officers that were standing by and
told them to speak to the crowd of students standing outside the taped
area and get the names and numbers of any of them that were in the
building tonight, that knew Tara, or that saw anything suspicious.
Quickly the machine kicked into gear. Forensics arrived and began
processing the scene. With unmatched skill, Spike had everyone
at optimum efficiency. He directed the crime scene photos, collected
the statements and was about to supervise the preliminary vehicle check
when one of the line officers called him over to where the students
were being interviewed.
"Detective, this is Linda Cook, she was in class with Miss McClay
tonight and I think you might want to talk to her."
Spike shook the hand of the chubby, short girl and steered her
to the side.
"You were with Tara tonight?"
Ducking her head shyly, Spike could see the sparkle of light as it glinted
off the braces on her teeth and the term 'late bloomer' popped into his
"Yeah, kinda. Tuesday nights they let us use one of the rooms for a
Wicca meeting cause, you know, they can't restrict our religious
beliefs. Anyway, there are eight of us. Tara is sort of our leader.
She is really amazing.
Spike held up his hand for her to wait and he pulled his trusty small
tape recorder from his inside pocket. He pushed the button, nodded
his head, and Linda began to talk.
Willow twitched and tugged on Xander's arm frantically.
"We have to go, Xander. Now. We are just wasting time standing
around here. I have faith in Spike but you know we have other ways."
Willow had a tight grip on Xander's hand and was pulling him away.
Xander nodded. He had been watching and knew the detective was doing
everything he could but the wheels of the process turned too slowly.
After calling Faith, Xander had already contacted the others, telling
them as little as possible but conveying the urgency of the situation.
He didn't take the time to give specifics, but the quick
"Tara is in trouble.", was all it took.
The Circle, minus one, was about to converge and begin their own
investigation. It was a knowledge that gave Xander and a desperate
Willow strength and comfort.
Shoving the redhead toward Spike's car, Xander hurried over to where
the detective was talking to a witness and he lightly placed his hand on
Spike's arm, getting his attention.
"Spike, Willow is very upset and exhausted. I'm going to take her home
just in case Tara tries to call."
"Good idea, Pet. I'll call later to check in and I'll let you know immediately
if I find anything out."
Spike handed over the keys to the sports car and Xander paused for
just a second. He wished he could get a kiss. Just a small peck of
reassurance on the lips but he knew the world didn't work that way.
Instead, he gave a short manly nod of the head and rushed off.
Pulling quickly out of the parking lot, the Corvette passed the Kia
as it turned in. Xander gave a wave and knew his lover would
be in good hands. Faith smiled back giving a thumbs up intended
to inspire confidence.
The day was late and dusk had started to fall. It was the quiet, gentle
time of day that meant home and supper and the loving arms of your
family welcoming you back after a hard days struggle in the cruel
jungle of the outside world.
Willow sat silently in the passenger seat of the small sports car.
It had now been nearly an hour since she had found Tara's car
and belongings in the abandoned area of the parking lot.
She had kept so busy contacting people and fussing over the
facts of the investigation, she hadn't allowed herself to really
think about what it all might mean.
Now she did.
"I was late."
Her voice was so quiet, Xander barely heard.
He turned the corner toward the mansion and his face toward his
"I said I was late. There was a customer at the magic shop that just would
not leave and I was late locking up and getting over here. Funny thing was,
after all that, he didn't buy anything anyway. If I had just thrown him out and
locked up on time, I would have gotten there and nothing would have
happened to her."
"Willow, stop. We don't know yet what happened but whatever it was, it
was not your fault. Now in order to get a grip on this, the Circle is going
to need to focus as much positive energy as possible. We can't afford
to be bogged down in negativity."
Willow nodded. She knew that was true but, in fact, all she wanted to do was
scream and flail around helplessly. Her brain struggled to find a reasonable
explanation. Tara's car broke down. She got a ride with someone and
was already home, waiting, that beautiful smile firmly in place.
Willow refused to think about the purse, it's contents strewn put on the
Pulling into the driveway, they spotted Andrew sitting on the front steps. The
minute he saw them he jumped to his feet anxiously. Before the Corvette had
come to a complete stop, the Hineys gas guzzling Lincoln had pulled in behind.
No one wasted time with questions, they just all hurried inside.