Title: Return to Lake Placid

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Rating: K+

Category: B:tVS, Lake Placid

Summary: 650 words. A new Slayer returns to the site of a previous adventure.

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.

Spoilers: Buffy post-"Chosen"; "Lake Placid" (1999)

Feedback: It's the coin of the realm.

Notes: Ninth entry for the August Fic-A-Day challenge. (Yes, I missed a day; RL took a left turn on me a couple of days ago, eating into my writing time for the forseeable future. I'm not sure how often I'm going to be able to post the rest of the month).

Fish and Game warden Jack Wells stared out over the placid surface of Black Lake, Maine, with a perturbed expression on his face. "I thought we took care of this problem the last time," he muttered, disgruntled, to the eccentric crocodile hunter at his side.

"One of those things ending up in Maine was a miracle; two of them was astounding," Hector Cyr agreed. "Three would be stretching the bonds of credulity to the breaking point. Has anyone spoken with Mrs. Bickerman? Checked her purchasing records for cow consumption?"

On the other side of Jack, Kelly sighed. "She freely admits to feeding the babies..."

"Babies?" Jack exclaimed, alarmed, and turned to look at the erstwhile paleontologist. She hadn't told him that part when she'd reported the conversation earlier. "How fast do those things grow?"

"Not fast enough to leave the kind of tooth marks you found," Hector answered dismissively, then leaned around Jack to favor Kelly with a rapt expression. "You were saying?"

"...But of course, she claims not to have seen anything else," Kelly finished.

"Of course," Hector chuckled, shaking his head. "Formidable woman."

"It's possible she is telling the truth," Jack felt the need to point out, "since we haven't found any sign of it near her farm this time. However..."

"If it is a third croc that swam up in the original batch," Hector finished the thought, "it's highly likely that it would consider her place a food source like the others. And if it isn't..."

"If it isn't," Kelly added grimly, "we have a problem on our hands."

Jack glanced sideways at his girlfriend, taking in the determined lines of her face, then reached out a hand to brush an errant blonde lock out of her eyes. She looked away from the lake a moment, her expression softening as she returned his gaze, then turned back toward the dark, sunlit water.

"But what else could it be?" Hector asked, glancing back and forth between the two of them and the gently rippling surface. "With a bite radius like that?"

"I don't know," Kelly answered, seriously. "And neither does Cleveland, unless this is where Nessie went when she disappeared from Scotland last year."

"You called Cleveland?" Jack objected, irritably. He did appreciate what her time there two years ago had done for Kelly's tolerance and endurance in the great outdoors-- he doubted she'd have stuck it out here if she hadn't taken that vacation at that School for Gifted Women-- but they'd also given her some pretty kooky ideas and theories, not to mention a disturbing habit of disappearing for hours in the middle of the night.

"Nessie?" Hector asked, incredulously, on the heels of Jack's objection. "Wait, strike that. Kelly? I know why Jack's here, and I know why I'm here, but why on earth are you here? Nostalgia's sake?" His eyes flicked to Jack's face, then back to Kelly's. "Don't tell me you stayed?"

"What, you don't think the mosquitoes and the severed heads were enough to entice me?" she said lightly, avoiding Jack's question.

Jack rolled his eyes, reaching out to clasp one of Kelly's hands in his own. Yeah, she'd changed a lot since he'd first met her, but the sharpness of her tongue hadn't abated any. Then again, that was one of the reasons he'd liked her to begin with, and why he still liked her, despite the fact that she'd fallen in with a weird cult that had convinced her she was some kind of monster Slayer.

"Nessie aside," he said, cutting Hector's next witticism off before it left the man's mouth, "we have some investigating to do. The Sherriff will be here in an hour with a pair of boats, and you have your scanning equipment, so we'll see what turns up before we start breaking out into ghost tale territory."

Kelly snorted. "Just don't say I didn't warn you."