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.
Quickly, the others dropped to their knees at the sides of the
blond young man on the floor. Xander held one of his hands
and Willow gripped the other as she gently stroked her palm
over his forehead. His skin felt cold and clammy.
Gradually the convulsions eased, although his muscles remained
rigid and stiff. Xander made sure he was laid out on his back
and in no danger of striking himself against the chairs or table.
When Andrew's body stopped moving, Xander nodded toward Willow
and she began to speak, her voice low and clear.
"Andrew, can you hear me?"
Andrew's unfocused eyes half opened, the pupils were huge and
gave his normally blue eyes a dark ominous look.
"Andrew, where are you?"
Andrew opened his mouth and, at first, no sound came out.
The others feared he was uncommunicative, but waited.
After a couple sounds that seemed more cough than verbal,
his head jerked and his chest heaved.
"I'm tired. It's been a long day and I want to go home."
Willow looked to Xander, unsure if Andrew was talking about
himself or Tara. Xander nodded, telling her that this was no
personal complaint and she should go on.
Willow tried again, hoping she was on the right track.
"Tara, where are you?"
Andrew's face softened and became more shy and feminine.
His head dipped, a move all knew to be pure Tara.
His voice was annoyed but not necessarily fearful.
"At Hoover Hall. I want to go home but he keeps asking me
questions. I want him to let me leave."
Encouragement and excitement coursed through Willow's body.
"Who, Tara, who is asking you questions?"
Andrew's unseeing eyes darted around restlessly. His expression
changed, his forehead wrinkled in concern.
"I think he is following me. I need to get to the car. I need to......
What do you want? I told you I can't help you. Please,
don't do that. No! Stop it! Stop it!"
Andrew's body again started to twitch as he tried to pull away
and free himself from the physical touch of the rest of the Circle.
Wrapping his fingers around the boy's wrist in a solid grip,
Xander placed his other hand on his blond head and he
spoke directly into his ear.
"You're safe. Listen to me. You are safe. Look around you
and tell me what you see."
Andrew's body relaxed and again his eyeballs darted back
and forth as though he were watching a fierce tennis match.
"My car. His car. He parked too close to me. I just want to
get in and lock the door."
The Circle watched as Andrew's hand reached out, trying
to open an invisible car and the safety it offered. At the last
second, his hand was slammed back. Xander ducked to
avoid being backhanded but made no move to interfere.
Instantly, Andrew's previously hooded eyes now shot wide
open. His chest rose sharply and he gasped. His legs
flailed, kicking his heels against the floor as his fingers
frantically clawed at his mouth.
Terror flooded Willow's body as the implication of Andrew's
trance became apparent.
"Xander! Do something! Help him! Help Tara!"
Xander shoved his hand behind Andrew's head to prevent him
from injuring himself.
"Andrew. Andrew, can you hear me? Andrew, wake up!"
Just as quickly as it began, Andrew's convulsion stopped.
His eyes drifted closed and entire body went limp. His head
flopped loosely to the side, as a small stream of drool rolled
from his lips.
Gently stroking his cheek, Xander crooned soft words of comfort
as Andrew gradually woke up, his eyelids fluttering lightly.
"Huh? Xan? What happened?"
Xander slid his arm under the small body and helped him to sit up,
smiling at the young psychic with pride and affection.
"You went under. It just was just a lot deeper and quicker than
usual. You o.k?'
Andrew frowned as he wiped the saliva from the side of his face
and quickly looked down to assure himself that he hadn't done
something more embarrassing like wet himself.
He visibly relaxed at the sight of the dry jeans and he scooted
"Yeah, I'm good. Wow, that was intense."
Willow could wait no longer as she fought the urge to shake the
information from him.
"What did you see? What happened? Is she hurt? Who was it?"
Andrew thought back. It was like trying to remember a dream
and he knew if he didn't relay as much of it as possible now, it would
soon fade into the forgotten.
"Well, it's like I WAS Tara. I was in the classroom. It was empty.
I think everyone else had gone and I wanted to go too. There was
someone else there. It didn't feel like someone I knew. He wants
something. He wants me to do something but I keep trying to make
him understand that I can't help him. He won't take 'no' for an answer.
I leave. If I can just get in the car, I can get away. I'm starting to feel
afraid. He's following me. His car is parked too close. There is only
one other car in the lot. He's here! He's here! He is right behind me.
I try to get in the car. He has put something over my mouth. I can't
Andrew looked up sadly.
"She couldn't breath. I think she passed out."
Gunilla leaned back against the strength of her husband who, instinctively,
put his arm around her protectively. Willow slapped a small hand over
her mouth to hold in the cry of despair that want to escape and Xander
dry rubbed his hands over his face feeling the rough bristles of an
unshaved beard and collecting his thoughts.
"All right. We all need to sit back down. Gunilla, take the notes and
I'm going to try to help Andrew remember some of the facts."
All the members of the Circle scrambled back into their chairs, grateful
for Xander's organizational talents. The Hineys whispered back and forth
before indicating they were ready.
"Now, Andrew, close your eyes and relax. I'm going to take you back
and we are going to explore what you saw together."
Andrew smiled. He was thrilled to be able to help Tara and couldn't
deny that having all Xander's attention wasn't stirring the warm fuzzies
deep inside his heart and jeans. He wriggled his butt on the chair and
Xander took a minute to think before deciding where to start.
He was careful to avoid touching the young man, knowing the physical
contact would cause a hormonal surge that would plug his mind and
drain the blood from any functioning brain cells.
Xander resolved to keep the questions short and to the point.
"Andrew, who was with Tara?"
Andrew paused, his brow crinkled in concentration.
"I don't know. She seemed vaguely familiar with him but not on close
terms, not friendly."
"Good. It was a man? Just one man?"
Andrew was delighted. Xander could pick through the words and find
the important in the mundane.
"Yes! She was with one man."
"Good. Can you see him? Did you get any impression?"
"Um, well, he seemed smallish. I mean she wasn't intimidated by his
bigness. I'm thinkin' dark hair but a white guy. The kind of guy that would
not stand out or seem strange in a college, so young, like 20's?"
Gunilla wrote it all down, aware that it really wasn't much but hopefully it
would fall in with other information and build a bigger picture.
Xander smiled at Andrew.
"Great, you're doing great. Now let's think about the parking lot. You
said he followed her."
"Yeah, I didn't see him but she knew he was there. The parking lot was dark
and empty but there was another car near her. She knew it was his and she
tried to get away. She was scared! She tried to hurry!"
Andrew's voice became high pitched and Xander could see he was
getting visibly distressed at the memory.
"Andrew. Stop. Calm down. All right now, let's relax a bit and think.
You said it was dark. Tara always parks under a security light. Wasn't
Andrew cocked his head to the side, thankful for Xander's stability.
"No. There was no light but it was just dusk. Maybe they hadn't come
Xander glanced up and tipped his head for Gunilla to make a note to
check the time and condition of the lights.
"All right. What can you tell about the man's car?"
Andrew shook his head.
"Not a car, bigger. Maybe one of those SUVs or a van, light colored."
"What about the other car. You said there was one other car there."
Andrew rubbed his fingers over his eyes. The memory was rapidly
evaporating and his head was beginning to pound. He knew from
past experience he would soon be asleep.
"I don't know. I don't know. She was scared. She was trying to
unlock her car and get safe. He grabbed her and she struggled.
He did something and she couldn't breathe. In the last seconds, when
I looked through her eyes, I saw a small dark car sitting, facing her."
Andrew slumped against Xander's shoulder and yawned. Xander
knew they had squeezed all they could from this sponge and he
leaned over, kissing the top of Andrew's head.
"You did great, Andrew, just great. Why don't you go on up to one of the
guest rooms and lay down."
Andrew lifted his head and blinked his bleary eyes.
"Can I lay down in your bed?"
Xander snorted but knew that this deserved special treatment and neither
he or Spike would be sleeping tonight.
"Yes, Andrew, you can lay down in my bed."
Andrew shot out the door and up the stairs with a burst of energy that
left them all chuckling.