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?
Praise and thanks to the wonderful Petxnd for the amazing banner.
"I think there were two!"
The heads of the other members of the Circle snapped around
and stared at Xander's announcement. Immediately, Willow
grabbed the paper and pencil from in front of Gunilla and started
"Good. Good. Look, I've been thinking and I think we need
to get organized. We have all seen how Spike and Faith go
about their investigations and I think that is what we should do.
We start with our best lead, which right now is Andrew, and we
write down EVERYTHING. Then we shift and sort through all the
puzzle pieces till we start to see a picture. He should be rested by
now, let's get him down here and see what we can wring out of him."
The room sparked with the shot of positive energy that infused
the people sitting around the table. Willow's idea was exactly
what they needed. It was a direction. A viable plan and a drop of
hope in a huge pool of despair.
"Willow's right. Spike is always saying the shortest distance between
two points is the one well mapped out. That means we focus on
what we know. We don't bog down in conjecture. We find out
exactly what psychic impressions Andrew got and we develop
"YES! Hurry up, Xan, go get him."
Before Xander had the chance to do as asked, the doors flew open
and Andrew swept in, flush faced and apparently wide awake.
He immediately charged over to his spot at the table, pausing
only long enough to look at Xander, breathlessly exclaiming,
"You are SO lucky!"
Xander scratched his head in confusion.
Willow jumped in quickly so this distraction, what ever it was, could
not take root. Her psychic garden would have NO weeds!
Willow dragged the boy over and physically shoved him down.
Gunilla and Heinrich looked at each other with raised eyebrows.
Neither of them had ever seen Willow acting aggressively.
They shared a quick nod and a smile.
"Now, for whatever reason, you seem to have the strongest connection
to Tara. I think it is because you are the least cluttered with psychic
interference, so, here's what we're gonna do. I ask, you answer.
When we come to something you aren't sure of, I'll make a note and
we will try another trance later. Got it?"
Andrew's eyes had again wandered over to Xander and he squirmed
in his chair. Instantly, Gunilla picked up on the influx of teenage
"Andrew! Pay attention! I have told you about getting the erections
at the Circle table. That is not allowed. You don't see my Heinrich
getting the erections do you?"
That did it. Andrew went soft and the rest of the table cringed.
Even Heinrich appeared to be rattled.
"Tank you for dat visual Momma. I tink we move on now, yes?"
Willow cleared her throat and turned to face Andrew.
"First, Xander thinks there may have been two people involved.
What do you think?"
Andrew tipped his head to the side. At first he would have said no,
but now that he rolled it around and gave it serious thought.....
"She was approached by a man. She knew him, but not. He had been
watching her all night, maybe longer. He wants something from her
that she won't give. Dark hair, medium build and height. At first she felt
annoyed. She was trying to get away. Not really afraid at first, more
scared by the time she reached the car. He took care to plan it all out.
He watched the time, he did something to make sure it was dark. He
kept her busy till the parking lot would be empty. I see only one man with
her but, I feel a female involvement too. Yes, yes there are two people.
I'm sure of it."
Willow wrote frantically till finally Gunilla snatched back the paper.
"You write too slow. You ask the questions. I do the writing."
Everyone at the table leaned forward, hanging on each word and
searching their own impressions for the truth. They were all in
agreement that Andrew was on target.
Willow gladly turned over the secretarial duties and faced Andrew
taking both his small feminine hands in hers.
"Thanks Gunilla. Now think, Andrew. Close your eyes and remember.
You said he was parked nearby. Can you see his car?"
Andrew sat silently then shook his head.
"Not a car. Bigger. Square. I thought a van but, no. I think it's a
truck. It has one of those cap things on the back. The color is dark.
Black, maybe dark blue or green. It's old but clean. The man cares
"Good, now relax. Look around. Is the rest of the parking lot
Andrew felt himself losing the picture. He opened his eyes to
clear his mind, then dropped his head and let his eyelids flutter
closed. He put himself back into the memory of the trance and his
grip on Willow's fingers tightened.
"It's dark. With no warning he grabbed her. He didn't say anything.
It was so unexpected. She struggled, fearful. She looked around for
someone to help her. There's a car. It is maybe two rows back. No
other cars or people around. It is parked facing her. She thought for
a moment there was someone sitting in the driver's seat. She thought
they might help her. She struggled. Seconds. It only took seconds.
She couldn't breath. She couldn't fight. A rag. He put a rag over her
face. He put her in the front seat, not in the back. He took her."
The last three words felt so final, Willow whimpered. When she
could finally speak, her voice came out no more than a whisper.
"But you're sure?"
Andrew didn't need to ask for an explaination. He understood exactly
what she was asking.
"Yes. When he took her she was alive. She is still alive, I think
we would all know if she wasn't."
Andrew looked around the table and each person, in turn, nodded
their agreement with unwavering certainty.
Tara was defiantly alive.
Spike parked in the underground garage and raced through the
back door, around the booking desk and down the hallway toward
the main lobby and the dispatch officer.
As always, bad news travels fast and Oz met him with a quick
"Give me the information for a BOLO when you're ready."
Spike threw up his hand in a wave of thanks and kept going. He
would call down as soon as he got in his office and have Oz broadcast
a Be On Look Out with Tara's description immediately. He knew
Faith would already be up there.
"Nothing?" Her hopeful eyes read the answer in his blue ones. "O.k.
then let's start with the the notes from the scene. Do you have a recent
Spike reached into his inside pocket and pulled out a snapshot of
his two female roomates. They were laughing and hugging somewhere
on the college campus. It was a small framed picture that sat on
Xander's dresser. Spike had swiped it on his way out.
Faith carefully folded it in half to show only the missing victim and
prepared it for publication to the news media and flyers to be issued to
each of the patrol cars on duty.
Spike spread out all he had, papers, notes, and tape recorder.
His eyes darted up at the clock and he mentally counted down.
Three hours. She had been gone nearly three hours.