Author: spikes_heart and liliaeth in their first ever joint effort
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Pairing: Angel/Nina, Gunn/Anne, sort of S/B, with hints of A/B
Setting: One year post NFA
Disclaimer: If they were ours, would we be writing fanfic?
Feedback: Yes, please!
Archive: Ask us, nicely.
Warning: Not a B/A fic
A/N: Spoilers for the entire run of BtVS and AtS - our take on what happened after the lights went out
Beta'd by: A sneak appearance by Willa!
Summary: Before the Powers that Be withdrew from the playing fields, they made one last move with their favorite pawns - leaving Angel to clean up their mess.
(now with new banner created by banner_grab
Beloved – Chapter 13 – Something Wicked This Way Comes
It was one of those nights. Mom was locked up downstairs, snug as a werewolf in a steel cage. Will still had a hard time believing the little ‘facts of life’ speech his parents sat him down for last week. Everyone he knew at school got the penis and vagina monologues – he got the vampire and werewolf exposé.
Pfft! As if they’d actually had to tell him. He wasn’t a stupid kid. Mom always disappeared for three nights every month with different excuses… yet somehow came up from the basement in the morning. Not to mention he’d been aware of that cage in the basement since he was little.
Even so, he wondered what she looked like as a wolf. Would she be like one of those comic book mutants; all silver-haired and pretty? Or would she pace back and forth on all fours and howl at the ceiling, like the wolves at the zoo? Or maybe she’d be like Professor Lupin in Harry Potter, miserable and in pain.
Argh! He knew he should have asked more questions before Dad and Uncle Chuck left to hunt down some whozits in the whatnows. Since they were gonna be gone for a couple of days, his uncle dropped Alonna off with a duffle bag. “Three kids in the house was one too many when the Papa wasn’t home to play peacemaker,” he said.
“Hey, Will, this movie stinks,” Alonna called from across the room. “They’re kissing again. Why do they always close their eyes when they kiss?”
“Because it’s gross and disgusting?”
“If it’s so gross,” she countered, “why do they do it so much? And Mama and Papa are like glued together at the lips. Makes me feel funny.”
“Makes me want to heave. Looks awfully un-hy-gien-ic.”
“Silly baby,” Will snickered. “You know… like the health teacher’s always going on about not borrowing toothbrushes or already been chewed gum. And making you wash your hands when you finish using the toilet. Just dirty.”
Alonna wrinkled her nose at the imagery. “Ewwww… you said toilet.”
“What’s wrong with toilet? You have to go or something?”
“No, I don’t have to go,” she sneered back at him, sticking out her tongue. “And I’m not a baby. Don’t need you to tell me when I have to go.” She swatted him on the shoulder before tearing halfway across the room – daring him to run after her.
“I bet I know why they close their eyes when they kiss,” she taunted. “It’s ‘cause they’re ugly… just like you!”
Will grabbed her by the arms and yanked her close, barely managing to land a teensy smooch on her lips before she pulled away. His tongue snaked out, tasting something coppery in his mouth. He must have gotten nicked on her braces.
“Yuck, girl lips,” he spat, quickly pushing her away.
Instead of laughing as she usually did when Will teased her, Alonna stopped and looked up at him with teary brown eyes and began to cry.
“Oh come on, Lonna-bean. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings,” he said as he moved to wipe the tears from her face. “You know I don’t even think of you as a girl.”
She cried harder, pushing him away this time.
“But it’s true. You’re my friend,” Will reasoned. “You play the games I like and you never invite me to a stupid tea party with your dolls. You know, yucky girly stuff.”
“But you still think I’m too ugly to kiss. Nobody would kiss a metal-mouth if they didn’t have to.”
Oh God, she’s whining. And pouting.
“What’s your problem, ‘lonna? It’s not that I don’t want to kiss you ‘cause you’ve got railroad tracks on your teeth – which hurt, just letting you know. It’s ‘cause you’re a girl and girls have cooties. Everyone knows that.”
“But – but you just said I’m not a girl.”
Will was ready to tear his hair out. “Don’t you start, beast,” he snarled playfully, grabbing at her as she attempted to run by. He kissed her again before the thought could completely gross him out. Even at eight and a half years old, she had him by what was it that Connor always said? the short hairs, whatever they are.
“Okay,” he admitted, “that wasn’t so bad.”
Alonna snorted. “Wasn’t all that good, either. It always seems to last longer when they kiss in the movies,” she said; a touch of disappointment evident on her tear stained face.
“All right, smart mouth,” Will laughed, not upset in the least by her lack of praise. “Whattya say we make the evening interesting with a little bet?”
“What kind of bet? I don’t have to kiss you, do I?”
“Like I’d really want you to. No, silly. I bet we can get downstairs, sneak a peak at Mom, and get back before Lotte and Uncle Hugh can catch us.”
“Papa told me all about your mom. Isn’t it dangerous when she’s like that?”
“What’s the matter? You scared?”
“Uncle Angel said…”
“Gimme a break, Alonna. Dad says a lot of things.” Will pouted. “Besides, Mom’s all locked up. It’s not like she can get near us, right?”
“Do you think she’ll growl at us?” Alonna whispered, excitement shining in her eyes.
Will grinned, his own eyes sparkling. “She might.”
“Hold my hand?”
“Do I have to?” Will sighed in his best put upon voice.
“You can always go down by yourself, chicken butt.”
“Fine, then. I’ll hold your hand.”
They crept down the stairs as quiet as little mice, the only sounds to be heard were snuffling noises. Alonna’s grip tightened in Will’s as they cleared the stairwell and headed towards the steel cage.
Nina started to howl before they could see her, but neither one wanted to be the first to back off.
Alonna freaked. “Oh my God, Will! Your mom can smell us.” She tugged on his hand, hard. “Maybe we should just go back upstairs?”
Even as he trembled, Will said: “No, it’s okay. She’s just being growly. Ya know, wolf and all.”
He jumped back at her next howl, ready to run, himself, when they heard a metallic clang. The closer they got to the cage, the louder Nina growled. She was throwing herself against the bars hard enough to set them ringing.
“I quit,” Alonna cried. “You win the bet. I wanna go upstairs, now!”
“Me, first,” Will agreed. He grabbed her hand tightly as they turned to make their way back to the stairs and safety.
Just as the kids turned around, Nina gave one last violent lurch against the door and howled in triumph as it clanged open.
Alonna cried, her tears accompanied by the splash of urine on her shoes.
Will shook in fear. His mother was horrifying. Not quite a wolf or a woman, but huge and deformed. And very, very hairy.
He pushed Alonna ahead of him. He was older and that made it his responsibility to get her out of the basement in one piece. Will counted on her blind belief that he’d follow her up the stairs.
Desperate not to show how scared he was, he had to distract his mother; had to keep her away from Alonna and everyone upstairs until Uncle Hugh came looking for them. Why aren’t you looking at the monitor, guys? Will was gonna insist they get an alarm for it in case the door ever opened again.
Just as the girl hit the top stair and slammed the door behind her, Nina lunged, knocking Will into a stack of wooden crates. He scrambled backwards on his hands and feet, petrified that his mother was going to eat him.
“Mom, please,” he cried. “It’s me, Will.”
Nina bared her fangs. Her nose twitched at the scent of blood dripping down William’s arm. She advanced slowly, snuffling around the piece of wood embedded in his upper arm before yanking it out with her teeth.
Will stood still, terrified, praying he wouldn’t piss himself, too. He was brave and strong, but his mother was one scary, hairy bitch at the moment.
“I’m a big bad an’ I’m not gonna let you hurt anyone,” he whispered under his breath, excessive adrenaline causing his body to shake. It wasn’t easy being a badass when your mother was slobbering over you in the shape of a giant werewolf.
She paused, whimpering high in her throat, and nuzzled into his neck.
“William! Don’t move,” Uncle Hugh called from the stairwell. “I’ve got a tranquelizer gun with me, and…”
“No! You can’t shoot Mom,” he cried, startling the werewolf into growling viciously at the approaching human.
Charlotte held up her hand, stopping her husband’s speech. She pulled out a large slab of bloodied red meat from a Tupperware container and threw it over by the cage.
He could sense his mother was torn between the fresh food and himself, and was very unhappy when she bit into his shirt collar, and pushed him in the direction of her meal. Will’s small yelp alarmed Hugh.
“Oh, dear Lord. Tell me she hasn’t bitten you, boy.”
“I’m fine, Uncle,” Will grunted as Nina pushed him hard onto the floor.
She tore off small slivers of meat with her fangs and held them out to the boy. When he didn’t reach for them, Nina shoved a piece in the startled child’s mouth. Will gagged, but couldn’t help chewing on the flesh, blood running down over his chin as he looked to his uncle for help. He flinched as the gun fired, and cried out when Nina whimpered and fell beside him, panting as her eyes glazed over and she slid into unconsciousness.
Will remained frozen to the spot. He was torn between wanting to run to safety and making sure his mom was okay.
Charlotte couldn’t help but remember their first trip to the zoo, and Will’s tranced out reaction to the feeding lions. Only this time, his lips were coated with actual blood.
After Hugh secured Nina behind bars once again, he went upstairs to stay with Alonna and Bethany.
It took quite a bit of soothing for Will to come back to himself enough to stand on wobbly legs. Charlotte wiped the blood off of his face and hands as best she could and staunched the blood flow from the scrape on Will’s arm, but that was going to require some thorough cleaning upstairs.
“You’re a real dope, Will,” Alonna hissed across the lunchroom table. She couldn’t take her eyes off the large white bandage he insisted on tugging.
“It hurts, ‘lonna. It wouldn’t kill you to have a little pity on me.” Will tried to pull his sleeve over the bandage, but the edge chafed against the widest part of the wound.
“Well, it was a stupid bet, William Dowell. I’m never gonna listen to you again.”
Hearing the first warning bell, they headed out the cafeteria doors with the rest of the students.
“How was I supposed to know the lock wouldn’t hold?”
“Boys are just stupid,” she exclaimed “From now on, I’m only gonna listen to myself. Your mother could have killed you,” Alonna whispered, sotto voce. “I didn’t think your arm would ever stop bleeding. The whole bathroom was covered in it.”
“Now you’re making up stories, brat. You know she didn’t mean to hurt me.” Suddenly aware that they were drawing an audience, Will maneuvered Alonna towards a bank of lockers and lowered his voice. “Besides, it was my own fault I fell into those crates. I should have been more aware.”
At the sound of the second bell, they said their hasty goodbyes, promising to meet up for the ride home with Hugh.
As soon as the children were out of sight, Mrs. Danvers stuck her head back inside her classroom and pulled out her cellphone.
“Principal Berenson’s office, please.” She waited impatiently for the secretary to get her boss on the phone. “Marcus? It’s Trish. I think we have a parental abuse case on our hands. It’s the Dowell boy. He’s sporting several bruises on his arms, as well as a large bandage towards the shoulder.”
“I’ll deal with it, Trish.” He listened for a few more moments, and then pulled two cards out of his Rolodex. One, for Social Services, and the other, an international call placed to one Nathan Chalmers.