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.
Before they began, Xander needed to say something.
He wasn't sure how it would be accepted well by the others,
but in his heart, it felt right.
He looked at each individual member of the group they
had come to call The Circle and he knew each one would
unquestioningly die for the others. To the outside world,
they couldn't have been more different. The Hiney's were
strictly old world. They brought with them their ways and
beliefs from growing up during the war years in Germany.
Now in their 70's they seemed stoic, hard and unyielding.
The Circle knew that was not true. They were the grandparents,
sharing their wisdom and the knowledge gained from hardships.
They loved unconditionally, and although their words and ways
seemed hard line, the agenda behind them was not.
Xander looked at Andrew. Young and silly, his hormones
ruled him like all young men. His difference and the reason he had
gained Xander's respect was not so much the psychic power
that grew stronger each year, but the way the way the boy dealt
with it. He never used it to manipulate people. It was not a
source of arrogance. Andrew understood. It was a power
that was rooted in responsibility. It was a privilege that humbled.
Xander smiled. Andrew was going to be a hell of a man.
Maybe the best of them all and would, no doubt, take Xander's
place as the leader of the Circle.
Squeezing his fingers on the other side, Willow looked at him
questioningly, wondering why the pause. She tipped her head
to the side, her green eyes blinking back the tears of fear and sorrow.
He knew she was the weakest.
Her psychic power was sporadic, unfocused and erratic. Her
flighty personality prevented her from finding her balance.
Tara had helped her gain strength and concentration. Unfortunately
that growth centered on Tara and needed her for Willow to channel
through. Willow's power was secondary. It couldn't stand alone.
"What? Oh, sorry, I guess I wandered there for a minute. Listen,
before we start, I need to ask the Circle's permission for something.
I know we have always closed ranks and I still think that is good,
but we are also flexible. I guess what I am saying is, I think if
we get any solid impressions, we need to talk to Spike and Faith
Andrew's eyes lit up and he literally bounced in his seat like a two
year old being presented with ice cream.
"YES! We need Spike. Call him to come home. He could hold
my, um, our, hands while we do the Circle."
Heinrich ignored the boy's antics.
"You know we do not like da interference, but we also know you have
been vork vith the law before. We also know you and Villiam have
da understanding and he is da good cop. I vote yes."
With no hesitation, the others agreed and the matter was settled.
Lowering their heads, they all took a deep breath in the flickering
glow of the quiet, dark room. As he blew out his lungful of
oxygen, the only sound was Andrew's happy whisper of "Spike."
And Xander began.
"We call to the spirits of love and protection to surround us. We
call to the guiding spirits to lead and direct us and we call to Tara's
spirit angel to watch over her keeping her from all harm until we
can find and return her to the love of the Circle."
All the voices in the room murmured.
Gently, a soft breeze floated through the room carrying with it
the delicate essence of lavender and vanilla. Silently, each member
filled their senses with it, using it to concentrate on their lost friend.
Holding tightly to Andrew's hand, Xander felt him jerk. At the same
time a quick snap of static electricity passed through his fingers, up
his arm and throughout his body. With it, the spark carried an
image and Xander knew he was seeing, second hand, what was
happening in Andrew's mind.
Unaware of anyone else in the room, Xander allowed himself to be
swept along, riding the wave of Andrew's psychic impressions. When
he did, they both felt the power double and together, they whispered to
each other, words low, quiet, like lovers sharing secrets of the heart.
"She's not alone."
"She's restrained, but her body is unharmed."
"The room is dark, cool, quiet. She's in a house, in a bedroom, musty,
unclean. She's praying. She knows they want something and it terrifies her."
Andrew's breathing became ragged as he connected with her.
Immediately, Xander helped him pull back.
"Step away from her, Andrew. I feel her fear too, but that is not
what we need. Not what she needs."
"She's close. He put her in the truck and took her only a short distance."
"The house is small, the rooms are small. Come back with me, Andrew.
Out of the room, through the house. It's dirty, newspapers, trash, no one
Andrew slowly began rocking his body back and forth and humming.
The tune was slow, melodic, and sounded only vaguely familiar. It was
an old song, one Xander couldn't name, but he knew it was important.
Xander listened and picked it up, humming it with him, and when he
did he saw it. It was a record. A black vinyl disk spinning on a huge
turntable. A record player, his mother used to call it. Xander stared
at it hypnotically as it went round and round, the song droning on in
Xander could feel the grip of Andrew's fingers growing limp and he
knew the boy was almost spent. Still, he needed just a bit more.
"How many people are there Andrew? I feel two. Help me see
if there are any others."
Andrew nodded, his throat still vibrating with the nonstop
hum of the low pitched music.
"Tara is there. Her presence is the strongest. Her energy fills
the room, floods the house."
"Turn away from her Andrew. The strength of her is distracting you.
Who else is there?"
Andrew's eyes darted around wildly behind his closed lids.
"There is a man. He torments her, but he won't hurt her, not
yet. He is waiting on something. He is not the one. There is a
woman. Young, she is like him, I think they are blood. Family.
She is the one. She calls the shots."
Xander nodded. Andrew was on target.
"Waiting? What are they waiting on?'
"She looks up in the sky. She talks about when the moon is blue."
"That's good, Andrew. No one else? There is no one else in
Andrew was quiet for a long time and Xander was reminded of a
rattle snake. Their tongues dart out, tasting the air for the scent
of their prey. That was Andrew. His psychic feelers were tasting
the air for impressions. Energy beings.
"Others are coming. The two await more."
"But, for now, there are two?"
"Yes. There is another bedroom. It is dark. In a chair. He is..."
Suddenly, Andrew's relaxed, pliant body went rigid. He jerked
violently back, his eyes bugged open, his trance broken. He tumbled
from his chair and he screamed.
It was a scream of pure abject terror that split the air.
In the last second, before Andrew snapped back, Xander caught
a flash of a glimpse of what the boy had seen and it turned his
blood to ice. 'Holy Mother of God' He thought. 'That can't
When he looked down, Willow was already on the floor at
Andrew's side. She petted his forehead and brushed the ruffled
sandy blond hair from his face. Quickly, and with no mention of
what they had seen, Xander joined her.
"Xander! You must look en zee here. Momma she have a spell
too. She has made the drawing."
Leaving Willow to help Andrew back up, he hurried around the
table to where Gunilla was still passed out, her head on the
table and her hand limp on the sheet of paper that now contained
what appeared to be a rough map.