Disclaimer: Since my name is not Joss Whedon, neither 'Buffy: The Vampire Slayer', 'Angel' or any of the characters associated with either show belong to me. I also don't own the story line, that is taken from gidgetgirl's 'The Little Physicist Challenge' (details below) posted at the Chocolate Covered Strawberries Challenge Archive.
The Little Physicist Challenge
AU of Fred's role in AtS. Instead of disappearing as an adult, Fred disappeared from the library during a children's reading hour, when the little girl wandered off to go read the big kid books because the others were too easy for her. When the Fang Gang rescues her, she's spent 2-3 years in Pylea as a slave child, and Wesley, Gunn, and the others have to take care of her and convince her that everything will be alright again.
Little Fred loving tacos.
Gunn and Wes vying for the little girl's affections
Little Fred having nightmares
Cordelia and Fred shopping
Author's Note: I probably shouldn't be starting another story, but this challenge was irresistible.
For a library, this place is boring and noisy, not like the one at home.
Her Mommy said that she could stay for Story Hour while her parents unpacked the boxes of stuff that had been shipped up from Texas, but the book the lady dressed up as a fairy is reading is babyish.
The other kids, some of them a bit older than she is, listen with bated breath as the story unfolds, cheering every time their entertainer displays the pictures, anxiously waiting to see whether or not the wolf will be able to fool Little Red Riding Hood.
She knows how this story ends.
She read it when she was three and a half.
Even though she's only four and three eighths, she's already read most of the books in the 'Six Years and Under' section; she even knows some of her favourites off by heart.
Most grown ups think that she's only looking at the pictures, they don't believe that she can read by herself.
Her Daddy says she can because she's his little genius.
The little hand on the clock is pointing to two and the big hand is pointing to three, which means that it'll be nearly an hour before her Mommy comes to collect her.
The lady reading aloud doesn't notice her get up and slip away, looking for something to occupy herself with until her mother arrives.
A man, taller that her daddy but not as old as him, is pushing a trolley through the grown ups' shelves, putting the books back in their places.
She figures that these books must be good if people like to read him, so she follows him on his rounds, noting where he puts the books, so that she can come back and pick out her favourite.
"You lost, munchkin?" The librarian smiles at her as he places a heavy book on one of the shelves. "The children's books are on the other side."
"I'm okay, thank you." She speaks with as much dignity as she can muster.
He laughs a little. "Suit yourself, kid."
He moves off, pushing the trolley and the remaining books.
She is about to follow him, when the poorly stacked volume falls, narrowly missing her toe.
The book has a funny smelling black cover, as different from the cheerily jacketed books in the children's section as could be. It's very heavy and she has to hold it tightly with both hands to keep from dropping it.
Curious, she opens the books and leafs through the pages.
The words are weird.
Balancing the book precariously, she traces the word with her finger, carefully sounding them out.
"K-R-V D-R-P-G-L-R P-W-L-Z . . ."
The shelves start to glow and swirl until a big blue hole appears in their place.
She tries to catch hold of something, anything, as she is pulled into the hole, going who knows where.
She screams, but nobody hears her.
Two years later.
"Fred disappeared about two years ago." The woman handed Cordelia a missing person's notice, bearing the picture of a smiling little girl with long brown pigtails. "They never found her."