A/N: This story takes place at some point in either season 5 or 6 of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and at some place in season 1 of Warehouse 13.
"So, what are we doing here again?" asked Pete.
"Are you joking?" retorted Myka. "Artie explained it to us before we left."
"I know, but I wasn't listening, exactly."
Myka pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed, still unable, after months of working with Agent Pete Lattimer, to believe his immaturity and lack of focus. After glancing quickly at him, driving their SUV and shooting her one of his dopey smiles, she took a deep breath and proceeded to explain to him what their business in the small town of Sunnydale was. "For the past two years Artie has been tracking an artifact that he now believes is in this town. This," concluded Myka, pulling a folded photograph from her pocket to show to her partner.
"A teddy bear!" laughed Pete. "It's cute."
"It's not cute," argued Myka, frustrated at having to re-explain their mission to him. "Artie believes that his teddy bear, when placed alongside a child, will immediately cease their screaming and crying."
"Again, that doesn't sound so bad."
"It steals their voices and prevents them from making any sound," said Myka. "If the bear stays next to the child for too long, the child will lose their voice forever."
"Oh, so … bad … right," said Pete, nodding his head slowly. "Where am I driving to?"
"A place called the Magic Box," responded Myka. "Artie found the artifact on their website. They were selling it as 'the ultimate child husher.'"
"So, these people know what it does and are selling it anyway," said Pete disbelievingly. "I guess with a place called the Magic Shop—"
"Box," corrected Myka.
"The Magic Box, that's what I said, we can't really be surprised," finished Pete.
"If they have one genuine artifact, they may have more," said Myka. "We should probably search the entire store, when we get there, and see if anything else needs to be confiscated."
Pete had just pulled up in front of the Magic Box and he groaned. "Search the whole store? That place is huge. It'll take days."
"If it does, it does," said Myka haughtily. Pete sometimes could not believe how supercilious and work-obsessed his partner, Agent Myka Bering, was. He had no problem with working long hours, but it seemed to him that Myka was always trying to make more work for them.
As they walked into the store, a little bell jingled. Within moments, a woman of average height with curly reddish-brown hair scurried over. Pete would have found her attractive had it not been for the predatory grin on her face.
"Hello," she said, a little too loudly as she over-enunciated. "My name is Anya. Welcome to the Magic Box. How can I assist you?"
Pete was too shocked to respond, so Myka elbowed her way forward and said, "We don't need any help; we would just like to look around a bit."
"Alright," replied Anya cheerily. As Myka and Pete began to walk around the store, they noticed the shop-girl following them with clipped steps and remaining no more than four steps away.
Stopped and turning around abruptly, Myka collided with Anya and both fell to the ground.
Standing up and brushing herself off, Anya reached down, still with that eerily large smile, and offered Myka her hand. Once she had Myka's hand secured in her own, Anya hauled her to her feet. "I am terribly sorry for that," said Anya. "I hope that will not discourage your consumerist impulses. Please, continue looking so that you can then buy things and give me your money."
"Right," said Myka, feeling warier of Anya by the second. Turning around she began looking for the teddy bear with Pete again.
After nearly a minute of Anya still following them, Myka turned around again, this time stepping to the side as well to avoid another collision. "We said that we didn't need any help."
"Yes," declared Anya, "but many American consumers feel more comfortable when there is someone nearby to assist, should they require assistance. It makes them more likely to exchange their money for an object or objects of their choosing."
"We're fine, really," assured Myka. "You can go back to your counter and we'll call you if we need anything."
"Alright," said Anya, frowning for the first time as she walked back to the front of the store.
"That was really weird," whispered Pete to Myka. "Let's just find what we need and get out of here."
"I already told you," said Myka exasperatedly, "we need to search the entire store."
After only twenty minutes of browsing, Myka and Pete had already found 31 objects to confiscate and store in the warehouse. Every minute—exactly—Anya would pop up next to them and ask if they needed anything. Each time, Myka would say "no," getting more and more irritated, both by Anya's obsessive behavior and Pete's silence. He was too creeped out by Anya to speak to her. Although she just appeared to be a stick-thin woman with a grating disposition, his instincts were telling him that she was not a woman to be trifled with. After his father's death, Pete had learned not to ignore his instincts. He wanted to get away from the woman as quickly as possible.
"Eureka," whispered Pete, hoping that Anya wouldn't hear him. "Myka, I found the teddy bear. Here it—" As Pete picked it up, sound stopped coming from his throat. He frightfully looked at the bear.
Just as Myka had opened up the silver bag for the bear, Anya popped up and said, "That will be $19.99." Anya was no longer smiling nor was she cheerful.
"Oh," said Myka startled. "We were just … um …"
"Stealing," hissed Anya.
"No," said Myka. "We would never steal." Seeing Anya's doubtful gaze, she began to babble, suddenly afraid and not knowing why. "My parents own a store … a bookstore. I respect … deeply respect … shop owners. I love small stores like this. They remind me of home. I would never steal."
"Then why are you stealing?" asked Anya, furrowing her brow.
Seeing Myka's distress, Pete thrust the bear into Myka's arms and spoke for her, "We weren't stealing. We were confiscating."
"Confiscating?" asked Anya scathingly.
"Yeah," he said, fumbling for his badge. "I'm Agent Pete Lattimer with the Secret Service and this is Agent Myka Bering. Under order of the U.S. government, we need to confiscate this bear because it poses a significant risk."
"Hey," shouted Anya. "I've seen your law shows. You can't confiscate anything without a court ordered warrant. I want to see the warrant."
"We don't have a warrant and, as Secret Service agents, we don't need one."
"Then you can't have the bear." With that, Anya grabbed the bear from Myka and placed it back on the shelf.
"Look," interjected Myka, regaining her composure. "We work for the U.S. government."
"I don't care," said Anya.
"It's no problem," said Pete, taking out his wallet. "We'll pay for it."
Turning to him, Myka scolded, "We don't pay for things we confiscate—especially when we are confiscating dangerous artifacts."
"Myka, it's twenty dollars," said Pete. "Let's just pay her and get out of here." Before Myka could interject, Pete continued, "I know, I know. We need to search the whole place before we go. But do you really want to stay any longer?"
After taking one quick look back at Anya's impatient face and aggravated body posture, Myka responded, "No, G-d no."
"Here," said Pete, thrusting a twenty into Anya's waiting hands. He grabbed the bear and stuffed it into the bag. "We're out of here."
"Wait," called Anya as they rushed to the door. "You must receive a penny back for your transaction."
"It's fine; just keep it," said Pete, pushing Myka through the door ahead of him.
"Alright," said Anya, immediately cheery again and smiling too widely. "Please, come back again to give me more of your money."
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