Pairing: Willow Rosenberg/Charlie Eppes
Summary: The FBI is called in when teenaged girls go missing, who just happen to be new slayers.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al. and Scott Free.
Distribution: slayerversathon, my LJ, my site, TtH, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Author's Note 1: Thanks to angelskuuipo, emeraldswan and kallie_kat for all of your help and handholding.
Author's Note - BtVS: Okay, so in order to make this story work, I had to play around with storylines a bit since this takes place Post-Chosen, in LA. Basically, Angel didn't take over Wolfram & Hart, he killed Connor and Cordelia died in her coma. The rest comes out in the story.
Author's Note - Numb3rs: Takes place mid-season 2, after 'Mind Games' but before 'All's Fair'.
Start with Chapter 1
"So tell me," Charlie began, after placing their orders with the waiter, "how are you locating these girls?"
Willow nervously shifted in her chair, unsure of how to get around his questions without giving away the truth. She was dealing with a man of science, after all.
"Oh, you know, the usual way. I created a data mining program that was distributed to the schools in the area, which is set to single out students that meet our criteria," Willow said with a shrug.
"C'mon, you don't need to dumb things down with me," Charlie pressed. "I've been over the files on these girls and aside from a slight increase in physical altercations, I haven't been able to find any reason that these girls would be 'special', let alone singled out to attend a school for 'special' girls. Besides, your students aren't just from this area. They're from all over the world."
"Trust me, you don't want to know the real way that I found these girls," Willow muttered.
"Why is that? Is it something so simple that I'm overlooking it?" Charlie asked.
"No, it's rather the opposite," Willow admitted. "Believe me, it's not something that you, as a scientist, would consider."
"I think I'm offended," Charlie said. "Please elaborate."
Willow took a deep breath, trying to decide if she should tell him the truth. She knew that he'd never leave it alone now that his curiosity had been piqued. She was the same way when faced with a mystery.
"Do you believe in magick?" she asked quietly, leaning forward in her seat.
"Don't be absurd," Charlie refuted. "Magic is nothing more than sleight of hand and optical illusions. It's as fantastical as a grown man thinking that he is psychic. And what does that have to do with finding the girls?"
"I'm not talking about magic tricks. Those are for amateurs. I'm talking about spiritual, natural magick."
"There's no such thing," Charlie insisted.
"See, I told you that you wouldn't believe me," Willow said.
Charlie laughed. "You're trying to tell me that you used magick to find the girls?"
"Yes. I used a locator spell to find each of the girls that attend the school," she evenly said.
"Come on," Charlie said, still laughing. "If you don't want to tell me what your data mining criteria are, then don't. You don't need to make up fanciful stories to keep your secret."
Willow sighed. "This is why I didn't want to get involved with the Feds," she mumbled. "No belief in the supernatural."
"I hate to burst your bubble, but there is no supernatural," Charlie said.
"No, I hate to burst yours," Willow countered, "but there is."
"You really believe your delusions, don't you?" Charlie asked.
"They aren't delusions. I am a witch, a good one mind you, but a witch nonetheless," Willow calmly stated.
"Great, next you're going to tell me you fly around on a broomstick at night," Charlie joked.
Willow paused as the waiter brought their food, before responding, altering her tactics. "You know, I used to think that way too. Magick, witches, demons, vampires - they were just stories told to children to scare them into being good. Sometimes I wish that I hadn't learned the truth. But it's real. All of it. There are forces in the world bigger and scarier than you can imagine."
"Oh, I believe that there is evil in the world. I've been working with the FBI long enough to know that," Charlie said.
"Human evil is nothing compared to some of the things that I've faced," Willow said. "But you're not just going to take my word for it, are you? Of course not. You need to see what I'm talking about for yourself."
"Willow, what you're talking about doesn't exist," Charlie insisted.
"Then let me show you that you're wrong," Willow offered. "Come with me after dinner and I'll show you why my prospective students are being kidnapped. Then maybe you'll all let me get back to trying to find them."
"You think that you can find the missing girls, all by yourself?" Charlie asked in disbelief.
"By myself? No. But with my friends, absolutely," Willow said with a definitive nod of her head.
"Fine, I'll humor you," Charlie said. "Show me your world of the supernatural."
Continued... Chapter 7