These stories follow four longer pieces set within BtVS season 5-7 continuity, and mention their events. In Should Have Gone To Vegas... CSI received their wakeup call about the supernatural courtesy of Angel, learning more in Manhunters and Slayer, Las Vegas. Finally, Potential Problem was set at the end of BtVS season 7. You don't need to read those stories first, but their events may be mentioned, and they help to explain how the Slayer and her associates become involved in the activities of the Las Vegas Police Department and its CSI unit.
All characters are the intellectual property of their respective creators, film companies, etc.; this story may not be sold or distributed on a profit-making basis.
I'm British, so's my spelling. Live with it.
The Jenny Calendar School, Las Vegas
"Did you ever hear the expression 'with great power comes great responsibility'?" Dawn asked the phone.
"Sure I have," said Laura, "I've seen Spiderman three times."
"Don't you think that breaking the table was kinda... well, irresponsible?"
"Maybe. Look, I'm a kid, okay, I do irresponsible things occasionally."
Dawn sighed. Laura was a cute kid, but a nine-year-old Slayer... well, kids that age are always accident-prone, it didn't help that the world wasn't built to withstand Slayer strength. Laura tried to out-sigh her, failed.
"I guess this is a problem we're gonna have for a while," said Dawn, "you've got to get used to your strength, the Watchers are paying for the repairs but I think your parents are starting to get just a little annoyed. And a little worried, with the baby coming. I hate to think what'd happen if you get angry with someone."
"Don't worry," said Laura, "it's not like I have any friends anyway. Not since the baseball game."
Laura had been playing Little League baseball in Florida when Willow cast the empowerment spell, and had gone to bat with Slayer strength and reflexes. She'd broken all batting records for her age group, and the ribs of one catcher, the nose of another. Fortunately she'd made enough waves to catch Xander's attention when he read the morning papers the day after Sunnydale was destroyed, and she and her parents had been contacted as soon as Giles began to put the Watchers back together.
"Give it a little longer, people will already be beginning to forget, or assuming it was just a fluke. Spending the summer vacation here ought to have helped. Weren't people glad to see you again after such a long break?"
"Look, I know this is a little hard for you, but look at the bright side. You can eat all the ice-cream you like without getting fat."
"Guaranteed. You're a Slayer, you burn up food faster than most people, and it all turns to muscle. By the time you're my age you'll have a body to die for."
"Cross my heart. You've seen the girls that trained in Sunnydale, you've started off younger so you'll probably end up looking even better than they do."
"Okay." She seemed a little more enthusiastic.
"We'll try a few things Buffy used to do to improve her control, back when she thought I didn't know she had superpowers. Some of them'll feel pretty lame, but you really do need to learn how to live in the world without breaking it, especially with a baby around. I'll e-mail the list to your trainer, she can go through it with you."
"She's out of town for a couple of days. Her sister died in Tampa."
"Oh yeah, I remember. Okay, when she gets back."
"When do I get a proper Watcher?" she asked, beginning an old argument again.
"When we're sure you're ready to do the job without making mistakes, when we're sure that your education isn't going to suffer too badly, and when your parents say that it's okay."
"When hell freezes over, you mean."
"You know that I don't. We need you, need you badly, but the days of the Watchers throwing a half-trained ignorant kid into a cometary full of vampires are over. We'll need you just as badly when you're ready. First step, though, is to get your mind in full control of your body, and for that you need basic unarmed martial arts training. By the time you're ready for more we'll have enough Watchers trained to get someone assigned to you full-time."
"Okay... I guess."
"You sure? Okay, tell your mom that the money for the table will be transferred to her account tomorrow. Oh, and say hi to her and your dad."
"Okay. Gotta go, my folks are going out and the sitter's just come in, I'd better go say good night to them."
"Okay. Be good, and don't hurt the sitter!"
"Relax, I'm not that bad. Talk to you soon. 'Bye."
Dawn hung up the phone and said "I wonder if I was like that at her age."
"You were, Dawnster," said Xander, "only I could pick you up and tickle you without worrying that you'd put a stake through my heart or rip out my spleen."
"Bet you never tried that on Buffy."
"Damned right I didn't. I kinda value my spleen."
"What was a boy of sixteen doing tickling an eleven year old girl anyway?"
"Ours was a secret passion..."
"I'm beginning to think you're some sort of creepy pervert."
"Dawn," Xander said nervously, "that never really happened, you know, it's another of those memories from the monks."
"I know, but I got you worried there. Okay, I've gotta go do my homework. I've got Robin lined up to coach me in English, and Kennedy's gonna give me a hand with the math. You okay in here?" She waved her hands at the computers and telephones, the school's equivalent of Mission Control.
"Relax, we're at Defcon five tonight."
"Is that good or bad?"
"Good. No threats on the board at all. Only one operation, that zombie thing in Cuba, but they won't get there tonight."
"Okay. Call me if there's an emergency, if Buffy or Giles call from Cleveland put them through to me, otherwise I've disappeared down a black hole. And don't let Andrew mess with the computers, Willow still hasn't forgiven him for last time."
"Black hole it is, and no messing."
CSI Headquarters, Miami Police Department, Florida
"All four bodies pretty much bled dry," said Alexx Woods, looking at the neck of the woman with a stereoscopic microscope. She adjusted the focus slightly and switched to high power.
"There's virtually no blood at the crime scene," Horatio Caine said to the medical examiner, watching the view through the microscope on a monitor, "so what the hell happened?"
"It looks to me like someone got something like a couple of broad blunt hollow needles, rammed them into her neck, and sucked the blood out with some sort of pump. Same with the husband. Same as the last time."
"What about the marks in between?"
"You got me there. They look like tooth marks, but I'm damned if I know what animal it could be. Not exactly human. My guess, someone faked up a set of false teeth and bit the victim, then used a pump to draw out the blood. There have been cases like that before, people who thought they were vampires."
"Saliva on the skin?"
"Yes, but if it's the same as the bodies last weekend in Tampa there won't be anything useful, the perp isn't a secretor."
"This is insane," said Horatio. "No blood, no fingerprints, no secretions, as far as I can see no motive, parents and children murdered, and the sitter, a blonde teenage girl of average height, is apparently our prime suspect. The husband in the first case had played pro football, and was still in good shape, I just can't see a teenager as the perp."
"She could be an accomplice, letting someone in once the parents have gone out. We know that in both cases the children were killed first and much more brutally than the parents, the parents were killed after they returned home."
"It'd help if we even knew who the sitter was, if it's the same girl in both cases, and how she was contacted."
"At the back of my mind, there's something that might relate to this. I just can't seem to pin down what it is."
"Me too... something I've seen or read in the last few months. A memo, or some sort of official document." Horatio suddenly clicked his fingers. "Grissom, CSI out of Las Vegas. There was a request for information on any cases involving anomalously heavy exsanguination as apparent cause of death, about six months ago. Circulated to all US coroners and CSI departments. Didn't explain why he was interested."
"Maybe he had a similar case."
"Let's find out."
CSI Headquarters, Las Vegas Police Department, Nevada
"..yes, I understand," said Grissom. "It's an unusually complicated matter. All I can really do is pass it on to the team that's working on it, get them to contact you."
"How soon will that be?" asked Horatio, exasperate. "We've lost seven so far, maybe more that simply haven't been found. If the perp holds true to the pattern we're seeing there could be another massacre tonight."
"I'll make some calls, you ought to hear back within the hour."
"The longer you keep me here, the longer I'm not making those calls."
"Fine. Do what you can." Caine hung off, Grissom punched the autodial button for the school.
CSI Headquarters, Miami Police Department, Florida
"What sort of team is this we're expecting?" Erik Delko asked Horatio two hours later, as they made their way to the helipad on the roof of headquarters.
"All I really know is that an hour after I spoke to Grissom I was called by the mayor and ordered to give all possible co-operation to a Federal anti-terrorism task force. Whoever Grissom contacted knows how to pull strings, if they can get someone here this fast."
"Something coming now," Erik said, pointing towards the running lights of a huge dark shadow rapidly approaching the roof. "What the hell is that?"
"Sea Hawk," shouted Horatio. "Big fast military design, built to fly from carriers. Hope the pad can take the weight."
The helicopter hovered above the roof, then inched down until the wheels were touching, most of its weight still supported by the rotors. A side door slid open, and someone waved them towards the helicopter. Both men ducked their heads and scuttled forward and climbed aboard, as soon as they were inside the helicopter lifted from the roof and headed North. Inside were four men and two women, plus two pilots at the controls, all apart from one of the women wearing dark commando-style clothing and body armour, with night-vision goggles on their helmets and pump-action shotguns. The exception was an African-American girl who seemed to be in her teens, wearing a black leather jacket and trousers and a dark shirt.
"Who are you people and where are we going?" Horatio shouted, and one of the men handed both of them helmets with intercom headsets.
"Agent Finn," said one of the men, pointing to himself, "my wife, also Agent Finn, better call her Sam, Agents Brown and Cooper," pointing to the other two men, "and Rona," the teenager, "she's a civilian consultant. We're a unit tasked with special anti-terrorist operations, we think one of our targets is in your area, committed the murders you're investigating. We were on our way to Cuba when you called Grissom, headquarters diverted us here. They think there's a possibility she's going after someone in Fort Lauderdale. A child."
"I don't understand," said Horatio.
"The Tampa hit may have been a diversion, to draw a relative of one of the victims out of Fort Lauderdale. She's a martial arts instructor who's training the child. She left Lauderdale yesterday, leaving the child with her parents. The kid spoke to someone in Rona's organisation earlier this evening, and happened to mention that she was waiting for a sitter. Someone put two and two together and tried to contact her while we were on the way here, couldn't get a reply."
"Why the hell has it taken you two hours to tell us?"
"They only figured it out about thirty minutes ago, and we're the only unit in the area equipped to handle this."
"We could have sent a car, or a SWAT team."
"If you did they'd be dead," said Rona, speaking for the first time. "Normal police units aren't equipped for this."
"And you are?"
"Yes." She sounded totally certain.
"What about the Miami killing last night."
"Probably just to pass the time," said Sam, "we're dealing with a sadistic killer who enjoys her work."
"We're approaching the target," said the pilot.
"Can you land?"
"There's a park about half a mile away. Grid GD 74 on your map."
"It'll have to do. Take us in." Finn pointed to the map. "The house we're after is here, about a half mile due west of the park. It's on the corner here, should be easy to find."
The helicopter hovered over the park and slowly settled toward the ground. Finn slid the door open about thirty feet up, at twenty Rona jumped out, carrying a bulky leather bag she'd pulled from under the seat.
"What the hell is she doing," shouted Horatio.
"Don't worry, she's okay."
By the time the helicopter landed Rona was gone.
"Let's move it," said Finn, "Sam, you take point, Cooper, bring up the rear. Brown, stay aboard and give us aerial cover if we need it."
"Who's the killer?" asked Erik, as they headed off towards the house at a fast trot. The helicopter took off in the same direction and began to circle overhead.
"We don't have a name, we just know the method. Pose as a sitter, get invited into the house, kill the kid while the parents are out then take out the parents when they get back."
"Why do it that way?"
"Normally, to have more time with the child. She likes to hurt children."
"To give herself the best shot at the kid."
"What the hell are we talking about here? Why would this kid be different?"
"She's like Rona, stronger and faster than most people. Quiet, we're nearly there."
The house seemed ordinary enough, and more or less quiet apart from the muted sound of a TV. Rona was already standing on the doorstep, talking to someone inside. After a moment she turned and waved them over towards the house. "False alarm. It's the regular sitter, Gretchen Kelly, not our killer." Gretchen was a plump brunette girl, about fifteen. Behind her was a child of about nine, who seemed to be bouncing with excitement.
"What about the phone?" asked Horatio.
"Laura was on line, checking some history sites for her homework. Laura, tell your parents that the Council will pay for broadband, you don't want to have your phone lines tied up."
"What do we do now?" asked Erik.
"I'm not sure," said Horatio. He noticed a small heap of business cards by the telephone near the door, and bent for a closer look. "Did anything out of the ordinary happen tonight?"
"I can't think... well, I was a little early," said Gretchen. "I was supposed to be here at eight, but my dad was driving this way at six and dropped me off. Figured I might as well do my homework here as at home."
"That makes sense," said Rona, "maybe someone was planning to intercept her, if she was that early the killer would have missed her."
"The killer?" asked Gretchen, turning pale.
"Gretchen, ever hear of someone called Diana Green?" asked Horatio.
"No... Why should I?"
"Because there are four cards here offering her services as a sitter. Thought you might know the competition."
"Never heard of her, and I probably know everyone who baby-sits in the neighbourhood."
"So Gretchen doesn't arrive," said Erik, "and Laura's parents want to go out, do you think they might just have called that number if she hadn't arrived?"
"It's a cellphone number," said Horatio, "we might just be able to use that."
He got out his own phone and dialed headquarters. "Put me through to the control centre for the cellphone network in Fort Lauderdale... Supervisor please, this is a police emergency.... This is Lieutenant Horatio Caine, Miami Police Department, badge 5427. We have an emergency situation, we need to trace the location of a cellphone belonging to a suspect. We think that it will be active but I can't guarantee it. Can you check for me? The number is 555 35342.... That's in Fort Lauderdale?" He peered at the map. "Okay, I've got it. Thanks."
"It's in a cell covering this area," he pointed out an area a few blocks square on the map, about a mile away, "most of that is this cemetery."
"That makes sense," said Rona, turning to Finn. "Get the helicopter over there, they might see something on thermal imaging if she hasn't gone to ground." She opened her bag, took out a crossbow and a shoulder bag. "Give me a couple of minutes start, then come after me, the usual drill. Leave someone here with Gretchen and Laura. Better be you two," she pointed to Erik and Horatio. "See you soon." She ran off into the night.
"Hell," said Riley, kneeling at the bag. "Here we go again. Everyone, grab a cross and a couple of stakes. Lieutenant Caine, Detective Delko, you know where the human heart is located?"
"What the hell is this?" asked Erik.
"What does it look like? You know where the heart is located?"
"No time for buts, we've gotta get moving. Anyone with fangs comes knocking, use a stake if you get time. If you don't kiss your ass goodbye. She can't come in unless Laura or her parents invite her, so stay inside the house no matter what. Let's move it, people."
The soldiers ran out, leaving Horatio and Erik staring. After they'd gone Horatio reached into the bag and pulled out a handful of wooden stakes, two crucifixes, and a bottle of holy water.
"Vampires?" Erik asked incredulously. "You know anything about this, kid?"
"Sure, but I'm not supposed to tell."
"We're the police, Laura, of course you can tell."
She twisted her foot, then said "No. Ask Rona when she gets back."
There was an awkward silence, then the headphones round Horatio's neck crackled, and he pulled them on and heard "...you reading me, Lieutenant Caine?"
"Loud and clear."
"We found the cellphone here but no sign of our girl, looks like she may have planted the phone here to draw us off then doubled back. Rona'll be back with you in a couple of minutes, make sure it's her before you let anyone in."
"Got it." He passed on the message to the others. Laura suddenly turned and went to a closet, came back a moment later with a yard broom.
"What's that for?" asked Horatio.
Laura said "Me. Shh, I can feel her coming."
"No." Without apparent effort she took the broom in both hands and snapped it behind the brush, making a wooden pole about four feet long and more than an inch thick with a sharp jagged end.
"How did you do that?" asked Erik.
"I'm strong." There was something about her suddenly, a tenseness they could all feel.
"You're not kidding. Not sure I could do that."
The doorbell rang. Laura whispered "Hide the crosses and stuff, open the door but stay well back. We've got to keep her talking."
Erik reached out a hand, turned the latch, and pulled the door towards him. There was a stranger there, a blonde girl in her teens. Absently Horatio wondered why the porch light hadn't come on. "Hi, my car's broken down, can I come in and use your phone?"
"I don't know," said Laura. "I don't think my parents would like it."
"Please," she said to Erik, "I'm worried it might be stolen, or I might be mugged."
"Sorry," said Erik, "It's not my house, we're just friends. It's up to Laura to give out the invitations."
"Please, little girl, let me use the phone."
"I'm not a little girl, and no way."
By now Erik realised that the teenager, or whatever the hell she was, was staying just outside the door. Not even a hand came inside. He remembered that porch light sensors detect body heat.
"Come on, please, I'm afraid of the dark."
The teenager seemed to shrug, reached into her bag, and suddenly pulled out a knife and threw it at Laura. Nobody could have had time to react... but Laura clapped her hands to catch it by the hilt a few inches from her throat and tossed it to the floor. Suddenly the porch light came on and a dark figure hit the teenager from the side, carrying her off the porch and into the front yard. It was Rona, moving faster than Horatio thought possible, and in seconds she and the girl were fighting furiously on the lawn. Erik thought he recognised a mixture of Karate and defensive Aikido moves from Rona, the.. vampire? seemed to prefer something like kick-boxing, and seemed to be winning. Her face was suddenly inhuman, with sharp ridges and needle-sharp fangs. Erik pulled his gun and tried to get a clear shot.
Laura said "No, that won't hurt her," and ran out into the yard whooping loudly, dragging the pole in her hand. The vampire turned and leaped towards her, as Rona tried to tackle it from behind, and Laura fell back, bringing up the pole towards its chest. Unable to stop, the vampire was impaled, screaming and growling, its blood running down the pole towards Laura, but it wasn't killed; it flailed its arms towards Laura, but she stayed back, the end of the pole braced against the path. From behind Rona reached round with a stake and thudded it into the vampire's chest. There was a sudden 'whoosh!' and it crumbled to dust.
Riley's soldiers came running up the street towards the house, slowing as they realised the fight was over. In the distance Horatio could hear sirens, and the rotors of the helicopter overhead. Laura started to cry, and Rona and Gretchen moved to comfort her.
"Get to bed," Rona said eventually, "I'll come up to talk once you're tucked in. You did good, kid, a little shaky on the anatomy but ten out of ten for enthusiasm. Gretchen, I'll explain what this is about when I come up."
Rona stood in the yard, watching Laura go inside. "Poor kid's too young for this crap."
"And you aren't?" asked Erik.
"Don't go there."
"You mind if we sit in on your explanation?" asked Horatio.
"Sure, you'll need to know. But it's a long story, and you're not going to believe all of it."
"I don't know, I didn't believe in vampires twenty minutes ago. What happens now?"
"We find out as much as we can and make sure that the threat to Laura is over for now. See if we can find out how the vamp knew about Laura's trainer. Riley, let Xander know that things are okay, and warn everyone that we'll have to hold on Cuba."
"Damn. Okay, I'm on it."
She turned to Horatio. "As for you guys, it'd help if you can get together some reliable people for us to brief on this. SWAT, homicide detectives, medical examiners, and so on. It's too early to say you have a vampire problem here, might just be an isolated incident, but it's always a possibility; we'll tell you what to look for, and how to call us in if you need us. Oh, and someone needs to keep an eye on this place until we're sure she was working alone."
She turned and went into the house without waiting for a reply.
"Who died and made her boss?" asked Erik.
"Too many people," said Riley tiredly. "Way too many people. Let's get started..."