TITLE: Whiskers Of Fury
RATING: R (occasional violence and language issues ahead)
FEEDBACK: See, it's this thing where you read someone else's fic, then you tell the writer what you thought of it. The writer gets enough good feedback, they keep writing. Everybody wins. (Email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post it to me at the Bronze Beta. Or better yet, you can find this story at fanfiction.net and review it there.)
DISCLAIMER: Joss Whedon? Yes. Me? No. Enough said.
DISTRIBUTION: You want it? You can have it. Just let me know where to see it.
SUMMARY: BtVS/Angel crossover. The Scooby Gang and the Angel Investigations crew are brought together to face their toughest enemy yet. And it's an enemy that none of them ever would have expected ...
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Consider this fic set at some point after Buffy season 5/Angel season 2. A few months, maybe.
Buffy and Faith stepped up onto the front porch of the Summers house, then stopped as they reached the front door. They hadn't spoken since their confrontation up the street, but Buffy could tell by the look on Faith's face that she wasn't looking forward to this. It was the lawyer, Buffy guessed. Faith's reaction upon seeing him earlier hadn't exactly been a bold one.
"You sure you wanna do this now?" Buffy asked her. "We could stay out here for awhile longer."
Faith drew in a breath and let it out, seeming to collect herself. "Nah," the dark-haired Slayer replied. "It's cool." She said nothing more.
Deciding to take Faith's word for it, Buffy turned back to the door, and raised her hand to knock.
Inside, Dawn was coming down the stairs. Reaching the bottom, she looked into the kitchen and saw nobody. She looked into the living room and saw Giles sitting in one of the chairs, talking with the lawyer guy. Dawn couldn't hear what they were saying, but she knew Giles well enough to tell that whatever the conversation was about, it was bothering him. It was in the way he sat forward in the chair, hunched over. It was in the way he rubbed the top of his head, as if he had gotten a lump there by bumping it against something. She remained where she was for a moment, reluctant to walk in and disturb the two of them, but Giles looked up and noticed her.
"Dawn, come in," he offered, waving a hand to tell her it was okay. Across from Giles, Lindsey looked over at Dawn for a moment, then his eyes moved to the door. Faith hadn't come back yet, and Lindsey was starting to think he'd seen the last of her. He had seen the stunned, almost frightened, look in her eyes, and he supposed it had been reflected in his, regardless of the way she had taken one look at him and fled in the opposite direction.
Dawn came into the room, and stood beside Giles' chair. Giles was standing up. "Where is Xander?" he asked her.
"He's upstairs," she answered. "Actually, that's kinda I wanted to talk to you about."
"Oh, uh, can it wait?" Giles was moving toward the door. "I want to go out and find Buffy, and see if she's managed to get a hold of Faith."
"Not really," Dawn told him. "It's pretty important."
Giles stopped and looked back at her, studying her expression. Seeing she was serious, he nodded once, then looked back into the living room. "Can I get you something?" he asked Lindsey. "A drink?"
"No, thanks," Lindsey answered, now getting to his feet as well.
"Right, well, excuse me for a minute." Giles started walking into the kitchen, beckoning for Dawn to follow him. Lindsey watched the two of them as they left the room, then looked back at the door.
A moment later, a knock sounded.
Buffy was a little surprised when the door opened and she founding herself looking at Lindsey. She supposed he had been closest to the door, but she still found it a little strange that Giles or Dawn hadn't answered instead.
Lindsey stepped back to allow room for the Slayers to walk in. As he did, the phone started ringing. Buffy moved past Lindsey, and headed over to the answer it. She saw Dawn and Giles in the kitchen, her sister also moving toward the phone. Buffy held up a hand to let Dawn know that she would get the phone, and Dawn turned back to Giles. As Buffy picked up the phone and put it to her ear, she noticed that Dawn and Giles were speaking to each other, and probably had been before the phone rang, but she couldn't make out what they were saying.
Faith stepped into the house, pulling the door shut behind her. She also moved past Lindsey, not making eye contact with him, then stopped just behind Buffy. She was facing toward the kitchen, but she could feel Lindsey's eyes staring at her.
"Will?" Buffy was saying. "What's going on?"
Willow and Tara were standing by the phone in their dorm room. Tara was putting on her coat, and Willow was already wearing hers. Tara was watching Willow with some concern as she spoke to Buffy over the phone."Buffy, we just heard on the radio," Willow said, trying to keep her voice calm. "Something's been attacking people out there. We've gotta do something."
"We will," Buffy assured her. "Could you and Tara come over here? Giles and Xander are already here, and I wanna keep everybody together until we figure something out."
"Yeah, we were about to come over," Willow answered, sounding relieved. "We'll be there soon." She hung up the phone, and looked at Tara. "Let's go."
"How's your hand?" Tara asked her girlfriend, looking down at the bandage that was wrapped around Willow's right hand.
"It's okay. It doesn't sting so much now." Willow frowned. "Why did Miss Kitty scratch me like that? And why did she run away?"
"I don't know," Tara answered. They started out of the room. "Maybe we could try and find her while we're going to Buffy's."
"I hope we do," Willow said, shutting the door behind them as they stepped out into the corridor. "But we shouldn't stay outside too long."
"I hear that."
"She was still in bed, Giles. That's what Xander said when I asked him."
Giles looked closely at Dawn. "That can't be right, the entire building was empty when I went there to check on Xander and Anya."
"That's what I'm saying," Dawn said, a little impatiently. "Anya was there when Xander left, but she wasn't there when you got there!"
"What are you saying?" Giles looked confused now.
"Well ... don't know, exactly," Dawn answered, her voice losing its enthusiasm for a moment. "But it doesn't make sense, Giles. Something weird is going on around here, I can tell."
Buffy hung up the phone, and turned to Faith. "Why don't you go sit down?" she offered, motioning to the living room. Faith nodded, and went in.
Lindsey coughed to get Buffy's attention. She turned to face him, looking mistrustfully at him. "What is she doing here?" Lindsey asked, pointing in Faith's direction. Faith had sat down in one of the chairs, and was looking around the room, her face devoid of expression.
"What's it got to do with you?" Buffy fired back. This surprised Lindsey into silence. Buffy looked at him a moment longer, then turned to face Giles and Dawn as they came out of the kitchen.
"Who was that on the phone?" Giles asked, absently rubbing the lump on the top of his head.
"Willow," Buffy answered. "She and Tara are on their way over."
"Good," Giles said, more to himself than to Buffy.
Dawn looked into the living room, watching Faith. After a few moments, Faith looked up at Dawn, then quickly looked away again.
Ten minutes ago, Charles Gunn was watching his own body being loaded into the back of an ambulance.
Sunnydale's main street was quiet again. The crowd that had quickly gathered at the scene of whatever the hell had just happened here was now slowly dispersing. People were drifting aimlessly in different directions, none of them speaking, but plenty of them looking shocked, even frightened.
Then it was just him, save for the occasional pedestrian who strolled casually by, not noticing him standing there.
Gunn tried to piece his memories of the last half hour together, but they were still kinda hazy. He definitely remembered hearing a noise - it sounded like something heavy being knocked over - coming from an alley as he walked past it, then walking into the alley to try and find whatever had made that noise. But he couldn't remember what had happened next.
The next thing he could remember was standing amongst a crowd of people as they watched two paramedics wheeling a stretcher and loading it into the back of the ambulance they had arrived in. Stretched out on the stretcher was Gunn's body. It wasn't moving, and had been covered with a sheet and strapped down, but Gunn knew it was his, all the same. He couldn't see it, but he knew. He didn't know where this knowledge came from, just that it felt right to him.
So now, here he was. Standing on his own on the sidewalk while people went merrily on their way to wherever they were going and didn't even look in his direction.
All of this disturbed him, but it wasn't until he tried to speak to someone and they didn't hear him that he really started to get a bad feeling.
As he turned to look back down the street in the direction he had come, he saw a man dressed in a dark blue suit and carrying a briefcase in one hand walking towards him. As the man passed him (he was only about two feet away at this point) Gunn said, "Excuse me, you know how to get to the hopsital from here?"
He got no answer. The man just kept on walking, not even looking at Gunn. Gunn figured the guy had a thing about strange people coming up to him in the street. You met people like that sometimes. In a town like LA, it was pretty common. Under normal circumstances, he might have just let it slide and waited till somebody else came along, but something told Gunn that standing around doing nothing at the moment was a bad idea.
He jogged a few steps to catch up with the man in the suit, and put a hand on his shoulder.
That's what he tried to do, anyway.
But his hand didn't actually touch the man's shoulder. Instead, his hand passed through the man's shoulder and the top part of his arm, and the man still didn't notice him at all. He kept on walking, swinging his briefcase by his side.
Gunn hadn't expected that. He slowly raised his hand up in front of his face and looked at it. He turned toward the door of the building he was standing in front of, and reached for the knob. Again, his hand passed through it, and the tips of his fingers actually disappeared into the door for a moment before he let his arm fall back to his side.
Now he was starting to panic.
He stretched out an arm and took a step closer to the door. This time, his entire hand disappeared into the door, followed by his arm, all the way up to the elbow.
Gunn let out a short yell, then literally jumped back away from the door. The lower half of his arm and his hand reappared, and the door was undisturbed. There was no hole in the door where his arm had been, not even the tiniest crack.
"What the hell is going on here?" Gunn whispered, now scared out of his mind.
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