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
Faith knew it was well after midnight and Kennedy was
tucked, snug as a bug, in their soft, warm, queen sized bed.
Under different circumstances, Faith would want to be there too.
This case, however, was far from ordinary. To begin with,
missing persons was not their forte. With no body, their
investigation seemed to have no real starting point.
They had spoken to most of the subjects involved and still had no
witnesses or information. They had a when and where, but
with no who or why, they were stumped.
Still, she knew how important this case was to her partner.
She could feel his desperation and prayed for a solid clue.
Just one hard fact to grasp and run with.
"So where are we going?"
She looked through the darkness at Spike's profile as it
flickered in the headlights of the passing traffic.
She could see the tension in his clamped jaw.
"We're headed to the campus. Xander said he is sure the
person who took her was a man. Someone we haven't spoken to
yet, and Meeps is the only man on the list."
"Yeah, but he also thought there were two people involved
so it could have been one of the girls we spoke to earlier."
Spike sighed and shook his head, scratching his fingernails through
his scalp in frustration.
"Shit, I don't know. I feel like a hound dog chasing his tail. To
be honest, everything Xander and his pack of peepers came up with
was probably accurate as hell, but it isn't anything we can use.
She was in her meeting, a man approached her and she rebuffed
him. Later he assaulted and took her. Fuck, we already knew that.
The only thing we didn't know is that whatever they are going to
do to her is apparently going to happen tonight at daybreak. That gives
Spike checked his watch.
"....4 hours. We have to trust that they will keep her alive till then"
Faith nodded and picked up his clip board. Sometimes it helped
to check his notes against her's to see if there were any inconsistencies.
He also had a habit of jotting down impressions as well as a separate
page for Xander's psychic ideas.
She noticed that he had methodically listed all the girls that had been
at the Wicca meeting with Tara and what they did immediately after.
"Hey. what's this?"
Faith held up the map Gunilla had drawn.
Spike glanced over.
"Oh, I don't know. Something Her Hineyness came up with."
Faith turned the map in different angles trying to make sense of it.
It kind of looked like a big tree to the side of a building, but was
too round to be a tree. She shrugged, reattached it to the board
and went back to the girls statements.
All seemed to have solid alibis and none could offer any information
on the strange man who had sat in on their meeting. As she worked
that through her mind, something didn't set right. Turning in her seat,
Faith was just about to ask him when....
Spike drove through he parking lot and stopped next to the curb in front
of the main entrance. There were a few lights on in the staff offices
so that seemed the place to start.
Quickly, Spike gathered together his notes and, out of habit, checked
his revolver before climbing out.
The two detectives headed for the huge glass doors when Spike paused,
pointing off in the far lot.
"Hey, look. It would appear our Mr. Meeps drives an old pick up truck.
Xander said they were sure she had been taken in a truck rather than a
Faith felt a spark of hope.
"Damn, maybe this is finally the break we have been looking for."
Hurrying up the neat brick walkway, Spike tried the metal bar handles
only to find the doors securely locked. Without pausing, he grabbed
his car keys between his fingers and began smacking them soundly
against the heavy glass doors, getting the reaction he expected.
Harlin Meeps came flying out of the first lit office, broom in hand,
poised to swing like a weapon if needed.
"Go away! We's closed. School open in da morning."
In practiced synchronicity, Faith and Spike both whipped out their
identification wallets and slapped them flat against the clear glass
that separated them from the janitor.
"Open the door now, Mr. Meeps. Official business."
Meeps quickly unlocked the doors and held them open as the detectives
"What's this about? I ain't done nothing wrong."
An instant knowing glance passed between Spike and his partner and Faith
began questioning the flustered man while Spike started down the hallway.
"Is this about that missing girl? Hey, where's he going?"
Meeps attention darted between the lady cop in front of him and the back
of the man disappearing into the darkness of the dim hall.
"Don't worry about him, Mr. Meeps. After all, you ain't done nothing wrong
remember? We just want to have a look around and ask a couple quick
questions. So, you know about the missing girl?"
Meeps blinked. Hoping his answers were the right ones.
"Um, yeah, when I came to work the cops was still out there. Somebody
said it was that nice Miss McClay. Sure hope nothing bad has happened
to her. She always talked so nice to me. Where did you say your
partner was going?"
Spike peered into the classrooms he passed. He really didn't think
she would be in any of them. It just wouldn't make any sense. Besides,
Xander had said they felt she was being confined in a room, restrained
to a bed. Because of that, Spike felt the best place to check was the
basement. The furnace and utility areas. Large buildings like this
always had dark, isolated areas that would be nearly soundproof and
not generally accessible to the students and staff.
Bypassing the elevator, Spike took the rear staircase through the doorways
marked "Restricted Area", followed the hum of the machinery and in no time
located what he was looking for.
Flipping the light switches as he went, Spike passed through a large, grey,
steel door and found himself deafened by the loud roar of the furnace,
pumps and generators. It was the heart of the university.
The area that kept the lights, the air conditioners and the water for the
huge main buildings functioning.
A giant, open, cavernous space that, despite the few people allowed in
here, was clean and well kept.
Allowing his eyes to travel the perimeter of the mammoth room, Spike
spotted the small, single doorway off to the far left. Carefully, he
bypassed the pipes and lines to make his way toward it, testing the
knob, he was relieved when it turned easily in his hand.
Feeling the inside of the door frame, Spike found the light switch that
instantly illuminated the small, tidy room.
"God damn!" Spike stepped in, careful not to disturb anything forensics
might need later.
"Got you, you son of a bitch!"
Faith kept Meeps occupied with a string of sometimes pointless questions
designed to keep him from following the path Spike had taken.
At first, his attention was focused on the darkened hallway, wondering
exactly where the other detective had gone, and why. He quickly
realized, however, that he needed to heed what was being ask of
him for fear a trick question my slip in unnoticed and answered
"So, you wouldn't have a problem with us looking through your
truck, Mr. Meeps?"
"Huh? No! I mean, yeah, I got a problem. Don't you gotta have a
warrent or sumtin? In fact, where did that guy go? You cops can't
be just pokin' around without no warrant."
"Actually we can, Mr. Meeps, state colleges are public property."
Spike's voice directly behind him caused Meeps to jump straight into the
air with a very unmanly squeek. Spinning around, his eyes immediately
locked on what the blond detective held in his hand.