"It was worth a shot," Willow said.
"How much trouble are we in here?" Xander asked.
"Not much," Linda said, "I'll probably ground Tara for a week for worrying me."
"No Tara for a week?!" the twins chorused in horror before crushing her between them.
"Ack!" Tara squeaked, all the air squeezed out of her.
Linda's laughter rang out loudly as the ball of light broke up and dispersed.
"What happened?" Willow asked, waving a hand through the air where the ball of light had been and letting Tara flop on the bed.
"You made her laugh so hard she lost control of the spell," Tara explained, once she'd caught her breath.
"Let's go get breakfast for her to try and butter her up a bit," Xander suggested.
"We might also want to tell her about the bank," Willow suggested.
"That might help," Tara agreed. "I wouldn't suggest telling her about the hot tub after though,"
"Umm," Xander bit his lip.
"What?" Willow asked.
"The way you two are moving… she's going to know," Xander told them.
"Ah," Willow blushed. "Ok, it looks like I'll be taking the day off from school then."
"What?" Xander and Tara chorused in shock.
"Listen, I can't just show up at school with both me and Tara looking freshly fucked when we just hung out with Xander for the weekend!" Willow explained, waving a hand in the air. "I'm not ashamed or anything, but we really don't need the complications."
"She cursed," Xander said in shock.
"I know," Tara agreed, "and it was a bit of a turn on."
"Do we have time to molest her?" Xander asked, not entirely joking.
"Sadly, no," Tara said, "we have to pick up breakfast as a bribe for my mom and figure out how to delicately break the news that we are 'freshly fucked' to her."
Willow stared at them both for a moment. "One of you is a bad influence on the other one and I'm not sure which."
"New idea, we hide under the covers and wait for the world to go away," Xander suggested as the ball of light returned.
"The motion has been put to the board that we hide under the covers and wait for the world to go away," Willow said. "Votes?"
"Aye," Xander said.
"Aye," Tara agreed.
"Aye," Willow finished.
"Nay," Linda said. "I'll pick up breakfast and meet you three where you are now and I expect to see you all up and about, not hiding under the covers."
The ball of light vanished.
"How did she know where we are?" Willow asked.
"She's my mom, she always knows where I am," Tara replied. "Kinda hard to hide from the person who gave you your name."
"And did you ever notice how they use your full name when they are upset?" Xander said. "It's kinda overkill, but even non-magical moms do it."
"They do, don't they," Tara said thoughtfully. "It freezes you in place and makes it harder to argue with them. Names have power."
"More stuff you guys know about that I don't," Willow complained.
"We have a lot of studying to do," Xander told her, "but right now I'd suggest you two wash up and change while I go downstairs and wait for your mom."
"Is there any hot water left?" Willow teased.
"Plenty," Xander assured her. "Remember the water heater in this place is a custom job."
"Everything for this place is a custom job," Willow said.
"Must have been a really rich guy," Tara said.
"Money used to go a lot farther," Willow said. "Do you want to use my body wash?"
Xander walked down to the entry hall to wait for Linda, knowing that if he stayed for another minute he'd give into temptation and join them in the shower.
The entry hall was dusty and the furnishings were all covered in sheets. Since they didn't use the front entrance they didn't bother cleaning it, leaving everything the way they found it.
He entertained himself by poking around the room, looking under the sheets and even checking for loose change under cushions. He found a half dozen coins all of which looked foreign.
Xander opened the door to reveal a curious looking Linda who was carrying a bag of McDonalds and a tray of orange juice.
"I didn't think anyone lived here and I know you don't," she said.
"No, but I do own it," Xander replied. "Tara wanted to see it so we didn't make it home last night. Let's go wait for the girls in the solarium."
"Solarium?" Linda asked curiously. "I didn't know those existed outside detective novels about England."
Xander lead her to the stairs. "I think they are mainly used in places that don't get much sun because of the weather or at least that's the idea behind them. They never really caught on in California for obvious reasons."
"I wonder why this place has one then," Linda said, looking around as they walked.
"A rich eccentric built this place," Xander replied. "I would have gone with an arboretum myself, but a solarium is nice."
"Ah," Linda said with a smile when the hall they were walking in flooded with sunlight as Xander opened a pair of double doors and revealed the solarium.
It was at the very top of the house, waist high mahogany interior giving way to hand blown glass panes held in place by polished brass. The floor was black marble and matched the wet bar and ebony tables scattered about.
"Beautiful as it is, it must be an oven during the day," Linda said, setting everything on a table.
"It is," Xander agreed, "and I love it!" He went behind the bar and grabbed a glass and bronze capsule the size of a can of soda. He jotted a quick note before opening a small hatch on the side of the bar and shoving it in.
"Was that a pneumatic tube?" Linda asked, recognizing the sound.
"Just like at the bank," Xander agreed. "I'm kinda surprised there aren't speaking tubes as well, but it works fine for passing messages and small items."
"Nifty," Linda said, emptying the bag of food onto the table. "It's all breakfast burritos and hash brown patties."
"Good choice and explains how you got here so quickly," Xander said.
The door on the north end of the room opened and a freshly showered and changed Willow and Tara entered.
"Both of you?" Linda asked, surprised, making the girls groan as she had evidently noticed the way they moved.
"Things got a bit emotional when it turned out I hadn't been killed by getting hit with a freeze ray," Xander explained.
"At Disneyland?" Linda asked in disbelief. "I'm surprised any villain had the balls to attack there, their lawyers are scary."
"We were at the bank when Captain Cold and Captain Boomerang attacked," Willow explained, as they sat at the table.
"But they don't kill," Linda said.
"We know that now," Willow said, embarrassed.
"So once Xander was thawed out by the police, the three of you… made up for lost time?" Linda asked delicately.
"I… kissed him and melted the ice," Tara explained. "I'm not exactly sure what I did."
"Bet that was fun to explain to the police," Linda said, shaking her head. "They really should have contacted me."
"We didn't wait around," Xander said. "Willow scared the villains off, I was blind at the time, and Tara was slowly icing over… So, we just split to find some hot water."
"You scared off Captain Cold and Captain Boomerang?" Linda asked Willow.
"I thought they'd killed Xander," Willow said, scooting her chair a little closer to Xander.
"How did you scare them off?" Linda asked.
"I shot them with a guard's 38," Willow explained. "They were wearing body armor of some kind, but it slowed them down enough for me to have a few words with them."
"Alright, I can see you've all had a busy weekend and an emotional one as well," Linda said. "Barring supervillain attacks, I expect you three to be more responsible next time and call when expected."
"We promise," Tara quickly said.
"What are the odds we'll even run into any more supervillains?" Willow asked.
Xander laughed. "A lot better since you just challenged Murphy."
Once the laughter quieted down, Linda said, "Xander, you better get to school, I have a bunch of female only information to share with the girls and they need to rest up a bit."
"Female only?" Xander asked.
"Men have their own talk," Linda assured him.
"Not sure Dad is the kind to give a useful talk," Xander said shaking his head.
"I'll see if I can't find someone to give you a talk," Linda promised, "but for now, scoot."
"Alright," Xander said, giving the girls a quick hug and a kiss. "I'll get copies of the homework for you two."
The previous day
"I've got several unaffiliated metas in downtown LA," Cyborg reported. "They didn't cover their tracks all that well, so I should be able to get close enough for you to do your bloodhound impersonation."
"Woof!" a green bloodhound barked out.
"He meant me," Raven told Beastboy.
"Following a psychic trail is a lot easier than a scent trail, especially in LA," Beastboy conceded, transforming back to human. "If you can pull it off."
"Depends on how emotional the situation was," Raven admitted.
Cyborg tapped a few keys and the scene from the bank played out in grainy black and white with poor sound quality. "Looks pretty emotional to me," Cyborg said.
"Dude, did she really just melt the ice with a kiss?!" Beastboy exclaimed.
"Yes, it looks like they'll be pretty easy to track," Raven said.
"Too bad we couldn't get some of the others to join us," Beastboy said with a sigh.
Raven nodded. "Both Robin and Kid Flash were tempted, but their mentor's promise of advanced training with an eye towards joining the Justice League lured them back."
"Well if we can't grab the sidekicks, and all the current heroes are already comfortable where they are, recruiting new heroes is the way to go," Cyborg said.
"I'm still going to bug Speedy," Beastboy said, "he opted out of the sidekicks so he's open."
"He's really determined to join the League itself," Raven warned him, "I don't think you'll get him to change his mind."
"I know," the green teen assured her, "I'm just bugging him just to bug him, he's way too uptight. Besides, just because he didn't join doesn't mean we shouldn't keep in contact. You gotta network. You never know when you'll need to call in some backup."
Raven nodded. "You're a lot more experienced in these matters than I am."
"Stick with me kid, we're going places," Beastboy said grandly.
Cyborg chuckled. "And right now that place we're going is LA."
"That's a six-hour drive," Beastboy said, "So at least we'll be able to catch some Z's on the way. Who's driving?"
"I'm rich and we aren't expecting a battle, I got a helicopter and pilot so we can hit it in the morning and be there by noon," Cyborg said.
"This is so much better than my last gig," Beastboy said, tears in his eyes.
"Any luck finding the kids?" Flash asked, taking a seat next to Batman. "I'm only asking because I asked the Question to take a stab at it and wanted to see which of you would be faster."
Batman took a sip of orange juice before replying, "I assigned it to the team. It's good training for them."
"Really think they can find them?" the Flash asked.
"The dark haired young man said the red-haired girl's full name. Even if it's an alias, they're usually connected to their real names to make it easier to remember," Batman said.
"Not to mention the stolen police car," the Flash recalled. "Kinda hard to not leave clues there."
"Provided the car is recovered it'll be a good source of fingerprints and hair," Batman agreed.
Xander finished his fifth lap around the track when the coach waved him in.
"Rosenberg, you've kept up a good pace for an Olympic athlete and may in fact have broken a handful of records. Anything you want to tell me?" Coach Marin asked seriously.
"I'm naturally gifted at running," Xander offered lamely.
"Do I need to have you tested?"
"Woah! I'm not on any drugs!" Xander exclaimed, offended.
"That's not what I'm saying," the coach explained carefully. "I'm asking if I ran a DNA scan would I find any abnormalities?"
"You can do that?" Xander asked, surprised.
"Lexcorp puts out a reasonably priced kit," Coach Marin explained. "While it may not be able to precisely identify anything besides Kryptonians, it makes detecting most meta-human deviations easy."
"And that's a common problem?" Xander asked.
"You can't field metahumans in competitive matches," Coach Marin explained, "it's simply unfair."
"Yeah, putting Superman on a football field would really give one side an unfair advantage," Xander admitted. Xander chewed on his bottom lip as he tried to figure out what to do.
"It's considered confidential medical information and I know of at least one young man who used it to avoid being pressured into sports. He was completely human and just didn't want to play, by the way," the coach explained.
"Do I have to take the test?" Xander asked.
"Not unless you compete," the coach assured him. "I'd advise staying on the team. I'll make you the equipment manager. You won't be competing, but you can help the others train and nothing more will be said about the subject."
"I think I'd like that," Xander said. "Thanks."
"No problem, kid," the coach said, relieved there was an easy solution to the problem. "Just don't put on spandex and rob places and I'll be happy."
"No promises about the spandex, but I'm not really the criminal type," Xander joked.
"Good, the last thing we need around here is that kinda nonsense," Coach Marin said.
"Got a read on them?" Beastboy asked, as Raven paused outside the bank.
"A very strong one," Raven confirmed, "And one of them cast a binding spell."
"A binding spell?" Cyborg asked as they returned to the limo.
"A spell to join two people together," Raven explained. "A side effect is the breaking of any previous bindings while sharing health and strength between them."
"Like say… being bound in ice?" Cyborg guessed.
"Exactly," Raven agreed. "Go that way," she said, giving a gesture to the north. "I'll tell you where to turn as needed."
"Yes, Ma'am," the driver replied before starting the car and smoothly pulling into traffic.
"Smart move on her part," Beastboy said.
"It felt more instinctual than anything planned out," Raven replied. "Turn left ahead," she quickly guided them to their destination.
"A cheap motel?" Beastboy said doubtfully. "Not the place I was expecting the trail to lead. You sure?"
"Trust me," Raven said, pulling her hood up to hide her blush, "they were definitely in the last room."
"I'll run inside and get an address," Cyborg said. "Unless they paid cash and dropped a deposit for room damages, they'll have used a credit card and have a home address."
"If that doesn't work, let me know," Raven said, "I can definitely get enough… material to cast a location spell from the room."
"Then why don't we just do that?" Beastboy asked.
"It's… icky," Raven admitted.
"Say no more!" Cyborg said. "One address coming right up!"
"Where is the report for the stolen cop car?" Robin growled, checking and rechecking.
"Maybe they haven't entered it into the system yet?" Kid Flash suggested.
"It's a high priority item," Robin disagreed, "it'd be reported immediately."
"Could the villains have been wrong about it being stolen?" Kaldur asked.
"It could have just looked like a police car," Artemis suggested, "or they could have been lying to make losing to a single civilian teen less pathetic."
"I would not call that pathetic," Miss Martian disagreed, "she was scary."
"Well the name was a bust, no police vehicles of any type, with the exception of a bicycle, have been stolen in the last month, so if a look alike vehicle comes up blank, I am officially out of ideas," Robin admitted.
"According to the villains, they were passed by them a minute later. Since they were likely heading back to the convention center to lay low, just check the traffic cameras along that route," Artemis said.
"And… we have a hit," Robin said with a grin as the clear view of the car driving through an intersection popped up, the three teens visible in the front seat.
"Now we just track down the stolen car and grab some prints," Kid Flash said.
"Clear pic of the plates and… No police reports of it being stolen, however we have a registration, home address, and… wait for it… Driver's license photo!" Robin announced, pulling up the file.
"Alex Parker," Artemis said, giving it a quick look over. "Not bad looking, where does he live?"
"Sunnyvale," Robin replied, highlighting the address on the license.
Typing By: Abyssal Angel