That calls for a Wilhelm Scream
-Possible Oscar, "That Calls for a Wilhelm Scream"

Summary: It's not really hazing if it's for the new guy's own good.

Characters: Will Zimmerman, Ashley Magnus, Steve

Genre: humor

That Calls For a Wilhelm Scream

"New guy, you're up," Ashley announced, leaning into Will's office.

Will looked up in alarm. It had been less than 24 hours since she'd shown him how to fire a gun and now she wanted him for a field mission? The freaking boring admission report he'd been working on suddenly seemed a lot more appealing.

"Relax. It only hurts the first time," she informed him with a grin, placing a gun and holster on his desk.

Remembering her lecture from the other day, Will checked the chamber and thumbed on the safety before strapping on the holster.

"So, uh, what are we up against?" he asked uncertainly.

"Probably nothing. Routine patrol of the utility tunnels. Eighty to one odds of running into an actual hostile, but you need to be familiar with the tunnels, too."

He nodded, feeling a little more confident. "Okay, let's go."


"So, what all are we likely to run into down here?" Will asked, following Ashley through the dark tunnels and trying to match the way she swept her flashlight back and forth to scan their surroundings.

"Anything that thinks it needs to hide from human notice," she answered absently, dropping to her knees. "Most of the individuals down here are harmless, just want to be left alone, so you don't see them. It's the ones you do see that might be a problem."

"Right," he agreed, crouching next to her and looking at the gnawed wiring she was examining. "Rats?" he asked.

"Possibly. Or gremlins," she added, holding out her hand. "Evidence jar."

Will passed her one of the small vials, watching her take a swab from the gnawed ends and accepting it back once she'd sealed it up.


"Only if you're a wire," she answered, climbing to her feet and dusting off her pants. "Just a total nuisance species. Mom doesn't even mind Henry and I spraying for them."

"Gremlins are real," he muttered to himself to make it sink in. "Machine elves, too, then?"

Ashley spun to face him, eyes wide. "Dude, I don't even want to know what you've dropped that you know about those things."

"I heard about them from a patient," he clarified, shaking his head.

"Ah," she answered, returning to scanning the tunnel with her flashlight. "Freeze," she ordered abruptly.

"What?" he asked, stopping in his tracks and unsnapping his holster as he'd seen so many cops do.

"Blood," she answered, indicating a red patch on the ground with her flashlight beam.

"Nothing the size of a human could have survived that much blood loss," he told her.

"Not lost on me, Will. Weapons out. Stay close."

Will nodded and unholstered his gun, moving as close to Ashley as he dared. He was not up to facing whatever they were now hunting, so his life was squarely in her young hands. Granted, there were far worse hands to place your life in, which he let comfort him as they slowly followed the blood trail.

Abruptly a snarling, seven foot lizard-creature surged out of the shadows towards them. He might actually have kept it together, but his flashlight beam, quickly trained on it, revealed its insanely long claws and snout to be covered in fresh blood.

He heard a high-pitched scream start up nearby and then darkness washed over him.


The lizard-creature stopped in his tracks, reaching up to scratch his head.

"Uh, did I jussst kill the new guy?" he asked as Ashley bent to check the kid's pulse.

"He fainted, Steve," she announced, looking disgusted.

He frowned. "Who faintssss on a training eksserccisse?" Then he shook his head as it clicked. "You didn't tell him it wassss only training?"

"What, so he could be all fine here and then turn around and pull a stunt like this out in the field where he could get someone hurt?" She shook her head. "Mom picked herself a dud this time. I can't clear him for missions if this is how he reacts to getting attacked.

"Big Guy sssaid he wasss pretty brave with that kid..."

"Right. So I can only clear him for missions involving preadolescents. He'll be useful if we ever need to take Hogwarts by force." She threw up her hands. "Go grab a bottle of water. He'll need it when he comes to."

Steve quickly went to the cooler they always stashed away during simulations and got water for himself and the new guy and soda pop for Ashley who insisted on drinking it despite her mother's protests about what carbonated beverages did to bone density.

"Thanks," Ashley said, accepting hers. "He's coming around. You might want to make yourself scarce."

"Nah. Kid hassss me kind of curiousss," he admitted, leaning over him as he started to stir. "Welcome back to the land of the living, new guy."

"Thanks," he moaned, not opening his eyes. "Is Ashley okay?"

"Why wouldn't I be?" she laughed.

"You screamed."

"That wass all you, new guy," Steve told him.

He let out a weak chuckle, the heat-signature from his cheeks increasing as he blushed.

"Open your eyesss," Steve directed, amused. The kid was at least a good sport even if he did end up being useless in the field.

He did as directed, body tensing as he saw Steve leaning over him. Then a wide smile dimpled both cheeks, making him look all of eight years old, and he started to laugh.

"God, I haven't been hazed that bad since high school!"

Steve gave him a toothy grin, the only kind he could, and the kid's laughter only increased. Even Ashley looked mildly impressed now.

"Steve," he introduced himself, offering a hand.

"Will," he answered, grasping the hand after taking a moment to figure out how to negotiate the claws. He shook, then pulled himself upright. "Don't know why I didn't recognize you. I was looking at your personnel file not two hours before Ashley showed up at my office door. Sorry."

"When you're a mammal, my people all look alike," Steve teased.

Will laughed again, shaking his head. "Doesn't help that it was dark, you were moving fast, and that you were covered in what I really hope is fake blood."

"Not human at leassst."

He hesitated for a moment, then shrugged. "Close enough I guess."

"I like thisss one, Asssh."

She made a noncommittal sound, shrugging.

"Assshley Magnussss!" he protested, glaring at her. "The man isss perfect for thiss line of work. He can even do the ever-loving Wilhelm Ssscream..."