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
Giles flipped the switch inside the door of his office, flooding
the room with the harsh artificial light of overhead tubes.
It was past suppertime and he should, by all accounts, be tucked
happily in bed with either a good book or a rousing hour
of Meet The Press. The only decent thing on American telly.
Well, that and American Idol, his guilty secret.
Instead, his thoughts kept creeping back to Tara.
Such a lovely, sweet girl. Although Giles didn't know her well,
he knew she was like family to Spike and the fact that she was
missing was most disturbing.
He had called in once and Osborn had told him that an all
points had been issued with her description but that, so far,
they had no suspects and no real information as to what had
happened. The preliminary lab results on her purse and
belongings produced, as expected, nothing tangible.
The only thing that was obvious was the fact that there was
$22.15 in her wallet. It was not a robbery or a car jacking.
All indications pointed to the fact that it was Tara herself that
was what they wanted. What they took.
A light tapping on his door frame shook Giles out of his mental
wanderings and he smiled as the county ME walked in.
"Mr. Rupert Giles. What are you do here at this time of the
night? You are not bring me anoder body are you, cause
you know I am on the very short leash these days."
Giles knew the bitching Dr. Ahn was doing was with a great
deal of pride. The collar and leash were the best things he had
ever owned and the sparkle in his eyes gave the short Indian
"Ah, yes, and how is the lovely Miss Winters?"
Immediately, Ahn fished into his inside pocket and, with great
flourish, waved around a white square envelope.
"Now that you asked, the lovely Miss Winters will not be so
Giles opened the offered card and a huge smile covered his face.
"Ahn! You old dog. Joyce Winters has agreed to marry you?"
Dr. Ahn sternly shook his finger in Rupert Giles direction.
"Not dog. My Joyce, she calls me da turtle. She says my little
body may be wrinkled but when da head pokes ou...."
Giles immediately cut him off with a shudder at the mental picture
that flashed, in full color, through his brain. 'It must be true.'
Giles thought, 'There really is someone out there for everyone.'
Rising to stand behind his desk, Giles extended his hand, which
Dr. Ahn happily accepted.
"Congratulations, Ackmed, I know the two of you will be very
Ahn shook his hand vigorously.
"Yes, yes, I am very lucky she wants an old silly turtle like me.
I owe it all to William. I wish him to stand by me when we marry.
I will ask him to do me the honor of be the better man. Is he
around? Is he working tonight?"
Sadly, Giles sat back down, his hands folded in his lap.
"I believe the term is best man but, no,I'm afraid we have a bit
of a situation. Tara, one of the girls that lives with Spike has
turned up missing and we think she has been abducted. Spike
and his partner are out running down some leads now."
Ahn slapped both his fat, stubby fingered hands to the sides
of his face in a move comically resembling 'Home Alone'.
"Oh, dear, no. They are such sweet girls. I always tell William
that is it good that he likes the penis of his man what with those
pretty girls living there. Is there anything I can do to help?"
Giles chuckled, imagining Spike's face at such a statement.
"No, I don't think there is anything. I guess we just pray that
you are the one person around here that we DON'T need."
Ahn nodded his agreement. As ME, he was used to being the
source of sadness. It was just part of the job but, hopefully,
"Yes, yes, my feelings do not get hurt by such a thing. I go
home now. My Joyce is making me the hot curry and she says
we will be spicy tonight."
The older Brit sputtered at the blunt implication. His background
did not make such conversations comfortable.
"Well, then, yes, you certainly must run along. Please do give
Miss Winters my best and I will tell William you wish to speak
Giles watched as the short doctor with the black, slicked
back hair hurried away and thought what a good thing it was
that love apparently was blind.
Settling back in his chair, Giles prepared for a long night of waiting.
Deciding to kill time by working on those annoying monthly reports,
he leaned over and opened his bottom desk drawer.
"Evenin' Mr. Rupert."
Giles immediately straightened up, surprised to see the young man
who stood in his doorway.
"I didn't know you were on duty tonight."
The young man shrugged and sauntered in, dropping down into the
"Yeah, well, caught wind of a big party down at Whitey's. Supposed to
be a couple out 'o town sellers. Figured I'd gallop on down and see
what's shakin'. Maybe catch the big guy himself."
"Yes, well, that's fine, but you know you shouldn't hang around here.
Someone might see you."
The young man held up his large hands and Giles wrinkled his nose at
the sight of the dirty fingernails.
"Nuff said, Sir. This cowpoke is outta here."
"Be careful. Call if you need back up."
The young man turned and smiled. He winked and pointed his finger,
gun-like at the Chief of Detectives, before turning and strolling away.
Spike and Faith zipped through the dark deserted streets.
They had two more girls to interview before checking on the
night shift janitor. They then wanted to head back to the office
to review their notes.
Two blocks away from the long rows of identical apartments on
campus, Spike's cell phone began ringing. He quickly flipped it
open hoping for good news.
"Spike? Hey, it's me. You find anything?"
"No. Hey, the reason I called is that everyone is here and we
think we might have some clues to help you along. Nothing
really concrete, but it might help. Can you stop in here for
Spike glanced over at Faith who held her hands up and mouthed
"What? Is it Xander?"
Holding his hand over the speaker of the phone he answered.
"The Circle has some ideas and wants us to go to the mansion."
Spike could see the indecision on her face. Both the detectives
had seen enough to know that the impressions Xander and the
others got were real and should be given the respect they deserved,
still, they were on a path they knew well. Locate a pool of suspects.
Interview same. Separate witnesses from perps and zero in on
anyone with a possible motive.
It was a set pattern that they were reluctant to deviate from.
Finally, with a look of decision, Spike offered a compromise.
"Look, Xan, we are across town. We have three more possible
witnesses to talk to and then we will come over. It should take
us about an hour. That o.k?"
Xander looked at the huge grandfather clock that stood in the
entry hall. Five hours. She had been gone for five hours.
He knew they didn't have anything that would support a "right now"
response, but he couldn't help but wish his lover was here, right now.
"Yeah, that's fine. I think everyone will just stay here tonight. No
one wants to leave with things so uncertain. I'll see you in about
an hour. Thanks. I love you, Spike."
"Love you too, Pet."
Quickly, before Xander had the chance to disconnect, Spike had to ask
just one more question."
Xander could feel the weight of his lover's pause.
"Xander, is she...."
"Tara's alive, Spike. We are all sure of that."
The relief in Spike's voice was palpable.
"Yeah, good. O.k. then. See you soon, Xan We'll be there soon."
"What did Spike say?"
Xander was startled. He hadn't heard Willow come into the room.
"Oh, he said he would be here in about an hour"
"What if Tara doesn't have an hour?"
Xander held his head up confidently.
"I'm pretty sure she does and if we can get everyone together I'll