Another test for dreamwidth: long posts. How long can they be?? (Obviously much longer than usenet or LJ...)

Title: Little Debbie (parts 1-3)
From: Angel, early season 3
Warnings: None, not even language. No spoilers, unless you haven't seen the show.
Rating: PG-13, or whatever the "local" equivalents are.


Jason Baxter ran as fast as his ten-year old legs could carry him. He'd always done well in sports, but Debbie weighed more than a ball, and the people who had invaded his home were adults, not kids from his Saturday football league. Jason turned into an alleyway and squeezed behind two garbage dumpsters.

His fifteen-month old sister was awake, but remained quiet in his arms. Whenever his friends complained about their loud brothers and sisters, Jason kept his comments to himself. Debbie rarely made a ruckus and when she did, it was immediately obvious, at least to his parents, what the reason was. Once she was removed from wherever she was stuck, changed, and/or fed, Debbie would return to her usual calm, intense scrutiny of things and events around her. Their father laughed and claimed she was an old soul struggling in a baby's body, but then Debbie would blow a raspberry or grab the cat's tail and Jason's world would return to normal.

For now, her hazel eyes met his brown, silently questioning. Jason couldn't figure out why she wasn't crying. He knew he wanted to, but didn't dare. He cowered as he heard footsteps approaching, submerging himself and his sister deeper into the shadows.

"Okay, that was a total bust. So, what do we do now?" a woman asked.

"I don’t know. The information was so specific, so terribly detailed," replied a man with an odd accent. Jason had heard one like that before, on one of his father's television shows about funny robots and a telephone booth. Dr. Who , he recalled sadly. He wondered what his parents were doing now and how they would find them.

"I really am at a complete loss. The situation has me per—" Suddenly, the footsteps stopped. "Did you hear something?"

Jason panicked as Debbie began to wiggle in his arms. He hadn't had a chance to grab any diapers or food. His father had pushed them through the kitchen when the invasion happened, with very specific instructions: "Run!" And he knew they couldn't go home yet. Debbie reached up to grab his nose. Jason avoided her, but couldn't stop his tears as her hand brushed against his cheek.

"Are you hearing voices?" The woman laughed. "I thought that was my department."

"Very amusing," snapped 'Dr. Who'. "Probably just a cat."

"You haven't been feeding them, have you? You know we can’t afford to feed strays, even though we feed you."

"It's starting to rain. Let's go into the building, shall we?"

Jason heard even more footsteps approach. He bent down and kissed his sister, praying she'd stay quiet just a little longer. At least until the voices' owners left.

"Excuse us," a hoarse, deep voice growled. Jason started; he'd heard that same voice yelling instructions as he fled through his home to the outside. "We need your help."

"Great. That's what we do. Help people," the woman answered.

"My brother and his family are visiting from Omaha. My nephew took my niece out for a walk and we haven't seen them since. He's maybe ten years old, blond hair, blue eyes, about four foot, six inches, maybe taller."

Jason peeked out from between the dumpsters. Through the crack, he could see a man grab a woman's hand and squeeze it. He looked up and saw the woman mouth an "ow."

"I'm ever so sorry. We’ve seen no children tonight," 'Dr. Who' answered. "Or recently, for that matter. Not exactly a child-friendly environment."

"True. We'll keep searching. Thanks, anyway," 'Hoarse Voice' responded. Jason heard the footsteps recede and turn a corner, followed by a slap against material.

"Why'd you do that?! That hurt!"

"They're not looking for family, Cordelia."

"Cordelia," Jason repeated to himself.

"Oh, and how would you know?" Cordelia mocked.

"If your nephew and niece were missing in a strange city," 'Dr. Who' asked, "wouldn't you carry a photograph to show people? And wouldn't you know how old they were?"

"Yeah, okay. But my vision was about a baby. Not a ten-year old."

"How do you propose a baby get around? Please, let's get in from the rain and have some tea. We don't have health coverage for pneumonia."

"Do we have any health coverage?"

Jason waited until all he heard was the splat of raindrops on the dumpsters and against the sides of the buildings. "At least it's not that cold out tonight," he thought, trying to figure out what he was supposed to do. Alone. With a baby. Without his parents.


***2***

"Here's your tea. Do we have milk?"

Cordelia handed Wesley the carton. "What are we going to do? Shouldn't we tell Angel?" she asked as she closed the refrigerator and sat down.

Wesley sighed and shook his head. "Perhaps you should find Gunn and let him know what has happened."

"But not Angel? He's roaming the streets, too. He might see them. He was good with those two kids, remember?"

"I don’t think he's in a frame of mind to think about tending to a baby whose parents have disappeared."

"Social services?"

"Not until we know why, and where they are."

"You called the police?"

"I left a message, yes," Wesley paused. "There it is again. Cats in the kitchen?"

"Or rats. You go check."

"You're afraid of rodents," he laughed.

"No, just a chauvinist. Go on!"

Wesley groaned and got up to go to the kitchen. He opened the door and turned on the lights, waiting impatiently for them to flicker on and the source of the noise to scurry away. When the lights did come on, all Wesley saw was an empty galley. "Preposterous waste of time," he complained and flipped the switch down.

"No?" Cordelia asked sweetly.

"No."

When he heard the conversation from the other room, Jason crawled out from the wooden cabinet and pulled Debbie out. He straightened up and looked around.

"This is the biggest kitchen I have ever seen, Debs," he whispered. "Bigger than the school cafeteria even! But that doesn’t mean they have milk. Just don't pee on me, 'cuz you know they don’t have diapers."

Jason glanced down and saw that Debbie was falling asleep. Mindful that she tossed and turned in her sleep and might fall off a counter or table, he put her on the floor and started to quietly search the kitchen for food.

While Jason searched for a meal, Angel stormed across the foyer and glared at Cordelia and Wesley. "What are you two doing?" he grumbled, taking off his rain-soaked coat and brushing water out of his hair.

"Having tea. Want some?" Cordelia offered as Wesley investigated the dregs of his cup.

"No."

"Bad night?"

"Extremely."

"Ohhh-kay. Wesley heard some rats." Wesley's head snapped up, surprised at the mention of his name.

"It’s an old building; there's bound to be a few rats. Look, I'm going to my room. Any visions, call me."

"Anything you say!" Cordelia agreed, too quickly in Wesley's opinion. Angel looked at her quizzically before he left.

"I thought we agreed to keep him out of this," Wesley whispered.

"What? I didn't say, 'Oh, I already had a vision about a baby, but it's missing and we didn't tell you.' Did I?"

"No. Look, this is fruitless. I can't think properly. I'm going to get some sleep."

"Me, too. We'll figure it out in the morning, right? It's just a baby."

"Most likely," Wesley answered, patting her shoulder. "Try not to worry much. Good night, Cordelia."

"Night."

* * *

After an unsuccessful search for food, Jason found a secure corner in the kitchen and crammed himself and his sister in there, eventually falling into a fitful sleep. When he awoke, 'Dr. Who' and Cordelia were silent. Jason ventured out, and although it was clearly morning, no one was around. Looking to see Debbie staring at him while chewing on two of her fingers, he picked her up, shushed her unnecessarily and crept across the area. He spied a refrigerator and excitedly opened it to find a carton of milk, a pink box with leftover donuts, and some very odd packets of a dark liquid. He beamed at his discovery, took two donuts and surveyed his surroundings as he hastily ate the first one. Deciding to try his luck in the rooms at the top of the stairs, he grabbed a mug from a nearby counter, shoved the second donut into the mug, held the carton of milk in his left hand, and straddled his sister on his right hip. Precariously balancing the load, he stole up the stairs and peered at the bottom of the doors for a darkened room, while Debbie tugged painfully on his ear.

Opening the second door he came to, Jason smiled at Debbie and sat her on the floor. He returned to the doorway, quickly scanned the hall, then lightly closed the door. The latch clicked, just as another door across the way opened and someone stepped out of that room.

Jason heard the approaching footfalls and grabbed Debbie. He stuffed her into an old-fashioned wardrobe, then returned for the milk and cup. He quietly climbed in and pulled the door closed. The keyhole let in just enough light that he could see the outline of his sister, but not much more. Gently, he broke off a piece of donut and put it in her hand, silently asking his mother for forgiveness in case it wasn't suitable food for a baby. Debbie inspected the offering in the darkness, then ate it hungrily, holding up her hand for more.

As he broke off another piece of donut and gave it to her, the wardrobe door burst open. Debbie looked up and flexed her grubby, donut-encrusted fingers at the tall stranger.

"Mo num."

"CORDELIA!"



***3***

"Okay, you didn’t tell me about the vision, because…?" Angel whispered angrily as he paced the floor in front of the wardrobe.

"Again, we thought we could handle it ourselves and didn't want to bother you," Wesley returned in a similar, hushed tone. He remained against the room's door, watching Cordelia struggle with the package of Pampers he'd bought at a convenience store. "We didn't know she would show up here. That part wasn't included in the vision."

"Hey! How come I get diaper patrol?"

Wesley smirked before he answered her. "You're a chauvinist."

"I can do it," Jason said in a small voice. He took a diaper from Cordelia, opened the package of Chubb baby wipes and proceeded to change his sister. He passed the used diaper to Cordelia, which she took out of the room with a look of disgust. Returning to the bed where the man who'd pulled them out of the closet had brusquely ordered him to sit, Jason sat Debbie on his lap and handed her the Tommy Tippee cup the man with glasses had brought. Debbie slurped noisily from the cup and leaned back to watch her brother watch the adults.

Angel rubbed his forehead while he spoke. "Perhaps one of you would care to inform me of what is going on?"

"As we explained when we proffered our humblest apologies, we don't know. When we got there," Wesley looked over at the two children, "the house was an absolute shambles and no one was about."

"Then we came back here," Cordelia added. "These three guys came up and asked about their nephew. But Wesley figured out that they weren't family."

"I don’t have any uncles here," Jason interrupted. All heads turned toward the pair.

"Jason, you said?" Angel asked. Jason nodded. "Where is your family?"

"I don't know," he answered as tears began to fall. "My Mom gave me Debbie and Dad told me to run. So, I did and now I don't know."

Cordelia knelt down in front of the children. "It's okay. We'll find them. That's what we do." She dodged Debbie's free hand as it made a move for her hair.

"'Help people.' I heard you. And then he," Jason pointed at Wesley, "squeezed your hand until it hurt."

Cordelia stood up and grinned mockingly at Wesley. "Yeah. Wesley picks on me a lot."

Jason thought back to the explanation his mother had given when his visiting cousin got into trouble for teasing their neighbor. "Maybe 'Dr. Who', I mean Wesley, likes you, and doesn't mean to be mean," he reasoned.

"I most certainly do not," Wesley snorted. "Dr. Who? Huh."

"Dasen, mik," Debbie giggled and hurled the half-empty cup between the two men.

Angel bent down, picked up the cup and put it on the bedside table. "Could we get back to the more important issues at hand, children? We need to find some place for the baby to sleep. Is there a cot downstairs, Cordelia?"

"Crib," Jason interpreted quietly. "My Mom calls it a cot, too."

"I'll go check."

"Where's your mother from, Jason?" Wesley questioned, as Cordelia left the room.

"Manchester, England. That's how I could tell those men weren't my uncles, even though I couldn't see them. My uncles don't talk like that. Or like you."

"I should venture to say not. Not if they're from Manchester," Wesley said, grinning at the idea. "And your father?"

"Delaware. But he doesn't have any other family any more. They're all dead."

Angel looked sullenly at Wesley, then Jason. "How'd they die?"

"Um, well. My aunt died in a car crash. Grandpa Graham had a heart attack last year. And Granny died when I was little. Will that help find my Mom and Dad?"

"Probably not," Angel admitted. "But at least now we know a little bit more about you. That and you're hungry and tired."

"Yeah. And scared. Real scared."

"We already knew that, and you've every right to be," Angel said. "Wesley's a size or two off on his judgment about things for your sister. But maybe he knows what to get you?"

"Why don't you?"

"Benefits of being the boss. And I'm allergic to sunshine."

"Oh," Jason answered, contemplating the information. "I saw a movie about someone like that once."

Angel grinned. "Yeah?"

"Yeah. Dracula. Cool movie. Ugly dude."

"That he is," Angel mumbled. "I'll see what's keeping Cordelia. Wesley'll go get you something to eat. Right, Wesley?"

Wesley snapped out of his reverie. "Pardon? Oh, yes. Food. Vindaloo's out, I suppose."

Jason shook his head. "Waaayyy too hot, but I like my Mom's mulligatawny soup."

Wesley clucked. "Not readily available, I'm afraid." He narrowed his eyes at Jason. "McDonalds," they said together.

"I found a rat," Cordelia yelled from the bottom of the stairs. "So, ah…Angel, I need you downstairs. NOW!"


TBC
From:
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.
.

Profile

yasminke

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags