Disclaimer: This is not meant to infringe on any creative rights with either Mutant Enemy or J.K. Rowling.
Wood's story line taken mostly from the Buffy novel Blackout. Basic
information was obtained at /slayers/1900.htm
for the chronological information for the novel. Any changes are my
own and should not reflect on the novel or it's author. This
story is in response to the challenge made by Lucinda named A Special
Pet for A Special Girl for the 2008 summer challenge. I hope everyone
likes it. The story just came to me after reading the challenge. If
anyone is a HP fan and a member of SPEW I meant no harm in making a
house-elf into a kind of pet.
This story is in response to the challenge made by Lucinda named A Special Pet for A Special Girl for the 2008 summer challenge. I hope everyone likes it. The story just came to me after reading the challenge. If anyone is a HP fan and a member of SPEW I meant no harm in making a house-elf into a kind of pet.
A Friend For Robin
July 8, 1977
"Thanks Mrs. Jones. I hope he was no problem, and here is the money that I owed you for last week and this week." Nikki put the money for the babysitter in her hand and closed the door as the woman began to speak. She knew that she still owed a week worth of babysitting. It either was pay the woman, or eat. Eating came first.
"Robin, come see." Nikki balanced the ribboned box in her arms and kicked the door shut with a booted heel. She had just enough time to set the box down as a blur of chocolate and laughter launched itself into her arms.
There had never been many presents in the small apartment so anytime there was one it was a really good day.
"What is it Mama?" Dark ebony eyes stared into her face overrun with excitement.
"Crowley got us a present. Said it's for both of us. I haven't opened it yet. I figured we could do it together." Nikki shrugged out of her long black leather coat and hung it on the small hook by the door. The money in her pocket from Crowley, yet again, meant that she wouldn't have to pawn it. It was summer and she really didn't need it but it had saved her hide more than once and she just couldn't see patrolling without it.
"Mama!" Robin tugged on her arm and she turned, but not before putting a huge smile on her face.
"The box moved." The words came from her
son's lips in a whisper holding a little bit of fright with his
"Well I guess we'd better open it now." Nikki took her sons hand and led him to the box. There was an envelope on the outside and sure enough the box was moving. A whimper sounded as they sat on the floor and Nikki pulled Robin into her lap.
"On the count of three, we open together."
Nikki loved the feeling of Robin in her arms, along every precious second of her life with him. Seeing his excitement over anything made every day all the better. Once she killed Spike she would get Crowley to leave New York, maybe head to Cleveland, or into the country somewhere.
"One . . . Two . . . Three!" Together they tore at the ribbon and opened the box.
As they peered into the box, identical looks of shock were portrayed on both their faces.
Staring at them with huge brown eyes and almost bat like ears were the most curious thing that either had seen. It had spindly legs and arms making the head seem too big for it's body and looked like it was wearing a flower-printed pillowcase.
Their looks must have distressed the poor thing for it curled up into a ball and began to make soft keening noises.
"Oh, Crowley, what have you done?" Nikki ignored the small creature for a minute and tore into the envelope on the box.
England this creature is called a House-Elf. Think of it as a pet who
does chores. It can stay with Robin when you patrol and will protect
him. Don't give it any clothes as it sees clothing as a sign of
freedom and may become very distressed. This House-Elf was
unfortunately set free when its former owner threw a shirt at it
after finding it iron scorched. She can talk and her name is Twining.
I'm sure the poor thing is hungry and will eat whatever you and
Robin will. I have a book I will give you tomorrow on her care,
though she can probably tell you more than any book can. She will be
a great companion and friend for Robin." Crowley
"In England this creature is called a House-Elf. Think of it as a pet who does chores. It can stay with Robin when you patrol and will protect him. Don't give it any clothes as it sees clothing as a sign of freedom and may become very distressed. This House-Elf was unfortunately set free when its former owner threw a shirt at it after finding it iron scorched. She can talk and her name is Twining. I'm sure the poor thing is hungry and will eat whatever you and Robin will. I have a book I will give you tomorrow on her care, though she can probably tell you more than any book can. She will be a great companion and friend for Robin."
Nikki put the letter down and once again peered into the box. The creature was still curled up and now crying silently.
"New owners don't want Twining either, now Twining has no home or people to care for." The sob while low was a high squeak, almost like Minnie Mouse.
"Don't cry, you can be my friend."
Robin, her bright beautiful boy had stuck his hand into the box and was patting the small head.
"Are you my new master?" Twining had stopped sniffing and was now sitting up in the box looking at her new family.
"Can we keep her mom, please?" Robin looked at his mother his excitement out weighing the many doubts running through Nikki's mind.
"Just until we talk to Crowley. I'm not too sure about this sweetheart. It seems almost cruel." To Nikki it brought too many images of slavery to her mind for her liking. It wasn't as if this was a dog. It was a creature with vocal opinions and feelings. She just didn't know if she could go for such a thing.
"Twining will make you believe having a house-elf is a wonderful thing."
Twining was now standing up in her box looking almost excited and expectant. How was Nikki to say no?
right. Robin while I make dinner why don't you show Twining around
and play for a while."
Nikki left the two fast friends in the living room with Robin showing Twining his toys. She had seen a lot of things in her time as a Slayer and with Crowley as her Watcher, but this really took the cake. She wasn't sure what kind of creature it was, but it resembled a demon to her, one of the things that she was supposed to kill. It made her wonder why Crowley would give them this gift.
Looking into the refrigerator, she sighed at the lack of contents. Half of a pack of hotdogs and a box of mac and cheese. The same meal they had been having for quite awhile now. Maybe with the money that Crowley gave her she could stretch it to get some hamburger or fish sticks. She was pulling out the contents of the mac and cheese when she felt a tug on her shirt.
"Let Twining fix dinner Mistress. Twining promises, it will be to your liking. Master Robin says you don't spend much time together. Please let Twining do this." The pleading in those big brown eyes was so much like Robin's that Nikki couldn't help it, she gave in.
"All right, but don't burn the place down." Nikki figured that the kitchen really wouldn't come to much harm, the little thing couldn't even reach the stove. She'd spend a few minutes with Robin and then fix dinner.
"Can we keep her mom, she's really nice?" Robin put his hand in hers cuddling close as she sat on the worn sofa. There was never much time to cuddle, and she missed this so much.
"I don't know sweetheart, I need to talk to Crowley about this first." Nikki held her little boy in her lap and wrapped her arms around him tight.
Things weren't going good with Spike. It wouldn't be long before he found out about Robin and tried to hurt her through him. She needed to keep him safe. Being a pregnant teen and a Slayer had been the toughest thing she could have imagined, but she wouldn't trade anything for Robin. He and Crowley were the only good things in her life.
She didn't know how long they sat there like that. Her head was on Robin's and she was rocking him back and forth wishing they could stay like this forever.
"Dinner is served Mistress." Twining stuck her head out of the kitchen and looked thoughtfully at her new masters. She liked them, they were nice to her, what more could a house-elf ask for.
"Come on sweetheart, let's eat dinner and then I'll read you a story before dinner." Hand and hand they walked the few feet into the small kitchen.
The room was aglow with candles and the old scarred table looked wonderful with a tablecloth and place settings. Piled high on two plates was the biggest pile of spaghetti and meatballs that Nikki had ever seen in her life. Where had the food come from, there was nothing like this in the apartment. The closest place to get this kind of Italian food was the restaurant three block over.
Robin didn't seem to question anything just went to his seat and started tucking in. Blessed were little boys with imaginations and had seen many strange things in their very short lives.
"Twining, how did you do this." Nikki was led awe struck to her seat and a napkin was placed in her lap.
"Twining's job is to look after her Masters. Twining found recipes in an old book. Twining hopes Mistress likes the meal." Twining began ducking out of the room, knowing her place was somewhere else, a cozy corner of a closet maybe.
"Aren't you going to eat too? Aren't you hungry, it's really good?" Robin had sauce dripping from his chin and couldn't understand why his new friend wasn't eating too.
"Old Master says Twining is like a dog and should never be at the table. Says to have Twining near at dinner time is disgusting." Twining tried to back out of the room more, but Robin stopped her.
"You can eat with us. You don't look like a dog." Robin smiled and pushed the table's other chair out with his foot. Then looked at his mother confused when Twining began to cry in a keening wail.
"Master is too kind to Twining. Twining is a very bad house-elf and burns shirts. Twining doesn't deserve Master and Mistress' kindness."
Nikki's soft heart melted and could not deny this creature such a small comfort.
"Please eat with us, after all you did fix all of
this. It really is much more than we can eat." Nikki herself pushed
the chair out more, smiling. Maybe Crowley knew just what they needed
around here after all.
"Really." Twining blew her nose on her pillowcase dress and for a moment dared to look hopeful.
"Really." Nikki smiled, in her heart she knew that Crowley would never give them something that would put Robin in danger and for now she would go along with that truthful knowledge.
Twining on shaky legs got up into the chair only to find out that she was too short. Nikki laughed and reached behind her for the New York phone directory. With one hand she lifted Twining who weighed next to nothing and plopped the book down on the seat before setting Twining on top.
"There, that's better. I used to use the same thing on Robin until he could reach." Nikki smiled.
"Thank you." Big tears were in Twining's eyes at the small kindness. She was shocked that someone would be so nice to someone like her, a house-elf of all things.
After dinner while Twining insisted on the dishes, Nikki got Robin a bath and ready for bed. It was a rare night that she was home and not patrolling. Twining joined them in the room just as Robin was picking out a book to read.
"Come on Twining, Mommy is going to read us a story." Robin bounced into his small bed and waited for Twining to come into the room.
Nikki nods her head and began reading as Twining climbed onto the bed. Both pairs of dark eyes watched her intently as she read from Robin's favorite book. Winnie the Pooh. On the last page Nikki looked up and noticed that both had fallen fast asleep. The only question remained as to where she was going to put Twining for the night. They didn't have another bed. As it was she and Robin shared. The couch would have to do.
Quietly she left the room, getting linens she made up the couch and added a small blanket. Some nights in the apartment were cool since she and another apartment shared one heating unit. Back in the room she picked up the slight body and gently carried it into the living room. After covering Twining up she gave her a small pat on the head and went to the bathroom to get ready for bed herself.
This had definitely been and interesting day.
July 13, 1977
Nikki shut the office door, closing out two sets of ears that did not need to hear this conversation.
"Is Robin in danger, is that what you've heard?" Nikki leaned against the door, worry and fear etched into her face.
"The word is Spike sensed someone else there in the park with you last week. He's got at least twenty vamps looking for any information on whom you might be close to, who you would have been with last week in the park." Crowley rubbed his temples and flung the book aside. Running a hand through his beard he stood up and crossed to the bookcase. It was more of a case of finding something to do rather than looking for any actual tome.
"Where is he at, I need to finish this thing with him once and for all?" Nikki clenched her fists so tight that they looked white against her dark skin.
"You are to get out of town. Do you not understand this? He is going to kill you and your son. Is that what you want, for you both to be dead? He will not stop until he gets what he wants and that is another Slayer notch in his belt." Crowley brought both of his hands down onto the desk with a loud bang and his voice rang out in the small room.
"I've fought tougher vamps than him Crowley, you know that." Nikki planted her hands on the desk as well and looked into her Watcher's blue eyes."If we run now, we'll always be running. What kind of a life is that for Robin, for us." Gently she put her hands on top of his. "I can do this Bernie, you know I can. Reet is also looking for him, I believe my message at his club the other night gave him all the information. Reet is the Master around here. Hopefully he'll take out Spike before I have to deal with him."
Bernard was the only man in her life who had ever really given a damn about her, there were so many feelings between them neither of them knew how to deal with. For right now and until after this battle, everything would have to be put on the back burner.
"Once this is all over with we'll leave town, go somewhere nice and quiet for awhile. It will be just you, Robin, Twining and I." Gently she cupped his face, the years were showing on his face but all she saw was the love for her etched in every line.
Above them the lights flickered like they had been doing all day. If New York did not find a way to end its power problems, a blackout for the entire city was inevitable.
"It's almost dark. Let Robin stay here tonight. He has been bugging me to play board games and to tell him tales of England for some time now." Bernard came around the desk and put his hands on the shoulders of his Slayer. She was so strong, yet so fragile inside.
"I need to go talk to Mrs. Jones, I'll swing by the apartment and pick up some things for him. Twining can come and then do that popping out thing she does to get his stuff here. It's 7:30 now she should be back here by 8:30 with his stuff."
Opening the doorway, Nikki took a long look at her son and Twining. She didn't know if she could actually call Twining a pet, a guardian or her son's best friend. Maybe it was a combination of all three since she seemed to make him so happy. With Twining around she knew that nothing would hurt Robin. She had after all kept him out of Spike's sight that night in the park and had probably saved his life.
"Come on Twining you're going back to the apartment with me." Nikki shrugged into her coat and bent down to Robin.
"You're going to stay here with Crowley tonight. He said you guys can play board games until dawn while eating cookies, cocoa and popcorn until you burst." Grabbing her son Nikki pulled Robin into her arms needing to feel him next to her and his little boy smell before she took off for the night. She never knew what would happen one night to another so every moment with him was a blessing. "I love you so much Robin. Be good for Crowley and don't let Twining eat all the cookies." With one last hug she got up, scooped Twining up in her arms and headed out the door.
July 13, 1977 8:37 p.m.
"How is it my little man that you have gotten both
Boardwalk and Park Place? I do believe you are cheating somehow."
Crowley looked at the pitiful amount of Monopoly money he had left
and handed over half of it.
Just as Crowley took a sip of his cocoa the lights went out plunging them into darkness. Instantly he felt two little bodies fly into his arms.
"What happened Crowley? The lights went out."
"It's probably the blackout everyone's been talking about for days, son. Why don't we look outside and see?" Bernard carried both little ones to the window and looked out into the city. Sure enough it was dark except for the cars on the streets. From his high rise apartment he couldn't see the chaos that was going on below but knew that it would be massive.
"Crowley, Mommy's out there, is she all right?" The small words into his chest tore at his heart. No matter the urging to go out and find his Slayer, who was needed tonight more than ever, he would stay here and protect her son.
"She'll be fine son. I'm sure she's somewhere safe inside and will be home soon. Why don't we light some candles along with a lantern and continue the game? I need to win back all of my money."
Tonight would be a long night for all of them.
July 14, 1977 5:45 a.m.
The place wasn't exactly a disaster, it was just gone. Reet's club was burned to the ground.
"What happened here?" Nikki grabbed the female vamp by here hair and held her up, the burned mangled limbs wouldn't be causing anyone damage.
"William the Bloody, that's who. Drove a burning
car into the building then killed everything moving or breathing.
Reets dead. That crazy bitch took his head right off. She and Spike
took off after than laughing into the dark."
"Thanks." Nikki smiled then plunged the stake deep into the vampire's chest, dusting it immediately. This was numbered thirty-six for the night. Three dozen was a new record. Now she just had to get this news to Crowley immediately. Scanning the area she sees a pay phone. Hopefully it would be working.
Crowley picked up in one ring.
"Yeah it's me. Spike burnt down Reet's club and Drusilla killed Reet. No sign of them though. Is Robin up Crowley? I really want to speak to him." Nikki seemed to get everything out in a rush it had been such a long night. All she wanted right now was to speak with her son.
rubbed his sleep filled eyes and listened to the phone.
"I'm coming home baby. Tell Crowley to put a pot of coffee on. I love you, Robin Wood."
"Love you too, Mommy, can I go back to sleep now?"
"Yeah, baby. I love you." Nikki hung up the phone just as the operator was asking for more change.
Nikki ran through the night not stopping until she was standing at the foot of Crowley's bed, with Robin in her arms.
July 14, 1977 8:15 p.m.
"I'm going after him tonight, Crowley. I know where he likes to play. I can do this. We got him to turn on Reet, I should be able to get him and Drusilla to turn on each other to." Nikki put down her coffee cup and started shrugging into her jacket after checking to make sure she had plenty of stakes in the pockets.
"You understand how dangerous this is. What if they both turn on you instead? Are you ready to give up everything on a hunch that you think will pay off?" Bernard leaned against the wall of his study. Looking outside he checked to see if their raised voices had bothered Robin.
"I can't let him find Robin, Bernie. After what I saw at the club, running is not an option. Spike would just find us again and maybe the next time he'd find Robin too." The jacket hung on her tonight hot and heavy, threatening to take away the little confidence she had left.
"Then we'd run again. You don't have to do this Nikki." Bernard put his hands on her upper arms and wished he had the strength to stop her.
"I do for Robin. I can't let the vampires know that the Slayer has a son. If something happens, promise me you'll look after him. You're the only father figure he's ever had. Robin loves you, Bernard. I know that if anything happens tonight that you'll do what you have to so that the vampires don't know that he's the son of a Slayer." Nikki left the room not wanting to look in Bernard's eyes again. She knew if she did and saw the love he had for her there that she would take them all and run. Running wasn't an option, at least not for her, not now.
"Hey kiddo, Mommy's got to go to work. Crowley is going to look after you again. Mrs. Jones' sister is really sick so she can't watch you tonight. Be good for me okay. I want you to grow up to be strong and smart and remember to always protect those who can't protect themselves. I love you so much Robin, never forget that." Nikki stood before she would not be able to.
"I love you, Mommy, be careful." Robin ran after her and threw himself around her legs hugging them with all his might before running back to Twining and the game they were playing.
July 14, 1977 11:00 p.m. Central Park
Nikki watched and waited. The blackout was over and lights now were lit up in Central Park. This was the place that Spike liked to hang out the most. At some point she would find him.
Beside her in the tree was an audible pop.
"Please come home, Mistress. Master Robin is worried, as is Twining. Something bad is going to happen tonight, Twining can feel it in her bones. You shouldn't be her Mistress. Twining can apparate both of us to Crowley and Robin. We can sit and play and have cookies. Twining learned a new recipe for lemon bars. Please Mistress, let's go home. " Twining tugged at her Mistress' arm almost falling out of the tree.
Up ahead on the lane was the sound of horses bells and a laugh that Nikki recognized in an instant.
"Twining go back to Crowley's and to Robin. That's an order." Nikki grabbed the elf before she fell and set her aside. Jumping down from the tree Nikki stood in the shadows and waited for the right moment.
Stepping from the shadows and directly in front of the horses she didn't budge with they stopped and reared slightly.
"Spike, I hear you took out Reet for me. Thanks. I didn't think you had it in you, but I give you credit. You did me a huge favor. The Big Bads of this town are gone thanks to your little inferno at the club. I couldn't have done it better if I would have planned it myself. Actually wait, I did plan the whole thing out." Nikki was tense and waiting for the fight.
"Funny thing Slayer, I was just getting ready to say the same to you. Though you did play right into my hands. I knew you'd come looking for me as soon as you knew I was looking for your kid. You should have run when you had the chance. As soon as I'm through with you. I'm going to hand over your kid to Drusilla here. She always did like the young ones, said they were the most tender." Spike was ready when Nikki launched herself at him in the carriage and the fight began.
In the tree Twining had heard the threat against her Mistress and young Master and she was not happy at all. The ugly lady in the carriage was getting ready to attack her Mistress from behind so she did the only thing she could think of. It was a game that Master Robin loved. She apparated right in front of the horses and screamed "Tag, you're it."
The horses frightened reared high knocking Twining into the air and into the tree branches. The horses took off in a wild run flinging Drusilla back into the carriage and into an unconscious heap taking their passenger for a wild ride.
Twining was battered and bruised as
she came around on the tree branch. Shaking herself, she looked
around for her Mistress, then followed the sounds of fighting into
the subway. She just made it onto a car as the door was closed. The
lights were flickering and the motion was making her unsteady on her
small feet. The jerky movements had her thrown about the car.
She tried to stand as her Mistress and the bad man fought into another car and another, but she couldn't get her bearings. Clinging to the seats she fought for every step as she drew closer to her Mistress.
Finally the cars gave a terrible lurching stop, flinging Twining into the doors that separated the cars.
After a few minutes Twining was able to stand, her head hurt. She couldn't stop, she had to get to her Mistress. With the motion of the car finally stopped she was able to apparate.
Beside her on the floor of the car was her Mistress, dead. Twining stayed close to her Mistress slinking into the dark corner under a seat when people came and tried hard not to make a sound. It seemed like forever before she saw Crowley, knowing he would come for her Mistress as soon as he got word. She apparated home to Master Robin when she heard the whispered words from Crowley.
July 15, 1977 3:58 a.m.
When Bernard got back to the apartment, every bone in his body was weary. He said goodbye to the uniformed officer that was playing a game of checkers on the table with Robin. Robin was as usual winning.
"When's Mommy coming home Crowley? Do you think she will be mad that I'm up this late?"
Bernard bent to his knees beside the small boy whom he thought of as his son. Tears that he couldn't stop began rolling down his face. Taking Robin into his arms he said the words that would bear on him until the day he died.
"There was a horrible accident Robin. Your mother went to Heaven to be with your grandma. I'm so sorry, son." He let the information sink in for Robin whose mother had told him close to the same thing when his grandmother had went to Heaven. Robin knew that when you went to Heaven you never came back.
Beside the crying boy Twining apparated having waited for the policeman to leave before showing herself. The best friends threw themselves in each other's arms. Bernard took both into the bedroom where they both cried themselves to sleep.
Going into the bathroom he splashed water on his face washing away the tears that threatened to cleave his heart in two. It was time for the call. No matter his grief, he had to do one last duty as a Watcher.
The call to London and Roger Wyndam-Price went through quicker than expected. With barely an ear he listened to the whole tirade against him and Nikki when the call turned to Robin the tears stopped flowing.
"Listen here you arrogant prig, you seem to forget just who knows your little indiscretions with some Council bookkeeping. I'm adopting the boy and you'll bloody well make sure that it goes through. You seem to forget Roger just what the Council does to those who betray it." The venom in Bernard's voice was enough to make Wyndam-Price back off. The man knew which side his bread was buttered on after all, and had an over abundant love for his own behind. "Oh, and another thing Roger, I retire. I'll let the home office know where to mail my pension."
Bernard hung up the phone and for an instant almost threw it at the wall, then thought better of it.
In his room he sat in a chair and watched over his charges as they slept. Tomorrow they would move on. He would do his best by Nikki's son. Somewhere down the road he would tell the boy about the Slayers and let the boy decide where he would stand in a life filled with death and destruction.