"Goorzie!" Kennedy sighed as Goorzar batted at the dark brown fedora. It fell to the ground again. Picking it impatiently back up, she added, "Do you want to see the film or not?"
The demon jumped up and down, screeching.
"Shh, okay, you do, I get it." Kennedy backed out of the way, laughing at her excitement. "Just keep it down and keep the hat on."
She replaced the fedora again. It sat funny on the stubby horns – the ones that had started growing when Goorzar turned two – but covered them. Well, when she kept it on anyway.
The hat hit the asphalt, again.
"Bad Gurrrl!" Goorzar anticipated, giving her hiccupping giggle.
"Yes," Kennedy agreed, bending to pick the hat up and dusting off the creased crown. "Andrew, come on, at this rate we're going to miss the start."
Andrew was rummaging through the trunk of the car, not all that easy considering the way Kennedy had parked. They had to park as close to the wall as they could, of course, so they had some cover while getting Goorzie dressed, but did she had to park that close?
"I'm coming." He climbed back out of the tight space between back fender and brick wall, carrying the coat he'd been digging out. "You know, another month and this isn't going to fit her any more." He shook the black trench coat – size: three to four years – to get the worst of the creases out.
"Plenty of Goodwill shops about, we can always pick her up another. Okay, arms out Goorzie."
The demon grunted, grinning her big teeth at them. She was leaving the hat on for now, but only because she had spotted the coat – a whole new game.
Underground parking was the only thing that had made this possible. If they'd had to walk from the lot a block and half away Goorzar would have gotten over-excited at all the people and all the cars and all the everything – she was still very much an indoor demon – and jumping up and down and beating the pavement with her big fists would have at the very least caused her hat to fall off.
Out of the corner of her eye, Kennedy saw a hairy black paw creep up.
"Leave it on!" she ordered without looking down.
Goorzar lowered her paw again, looking as sheepish as she ever could, and the hat stayed firmly in place.
"I think we need a new coat now," Andrew was watching the way the demon's long knuckle hair nearly touched the oily floor.
"Can you get coats with extra long sleeves off the rack," Kennedy asked, pushing the button for the elevator and hoping it would arrive before anyone joined them.
"The slayers are always putting practically new clothes out for the shelter," Andrew said. They all stepped into the elevator together. "I'll see what I can fashion from those." He looked down. "Number 2, Goorzie, can you see it?"
Goorzar looked up at the panel of buttons by the elevator door. "Tthoo," she said to herself as she concentrated. She reached up easily to the button above her head and Kennedy and Andrew held their breath as her finger hovered over the 'three'.
"Two." Kennedy repeated patiently.
Goorzar hiccupped, realigned her finger and pressed the 'two' button hard.
"Good girl!" Kennedy scratched behind the demon's ear affectionately before adjusting the collar of the trench coat.
The doors slid shut and Goorzar jumped in the air in alarm.
"It's okay." Andrew took her hand.
Unappeased, she continued to jump. The banging echoed in the tiny, moving room and the floor shook. In mid-air, Andrew spun her around, using one of her favourite games to distract her. This time it not only took her mind off the enclosed space, it also incorporated another of her favourite games.
She got very still, when she saw herself in the mirrored back wall of the elevator. Her teeth pulled back as she snarled.
"It's just you, bubs." Kennedy promised.
Goorzar stayed unsure for a beat, but then happy she couldn't smell another Bonabopenta anyway near, she hiccupped wildly and smacked her lips as she reached out to touch the smart looking Fedora her reflection was wearing.
Kennedy and Andrew shared a smile.
There was a shadowy alcove leading to a fire exit half way between the elevator doors and the arch for the screen they wanted. Kennedy was standing just inside it with Goorzar as much tucked behind her as the young demon would stay.
At two years old, the demon that had once fitted snugly into the Slayer's arms was now almost up to her waist! As Kennedy waited edgily for Andrew to purchase the tickets, a long, half-sleeved arm poked between her ankles, fingers reaching for a discarded kernel of corn.
"Goorzar!" she whispered warningly.
The hand shot back the second she spoke, but when Kennedy looked down the fluffy, white kernel was gone too. She shook her head with a smile at the little Popcorn-monster.
Andrew came hurrying back over, three pink tickets held in his hand.
"You didn't get snacks." Kennedy accused immediately.
"There was a line, you told me to hurry!" Andrew griped back. "I can come back when she's settled."
"Like she's gonna settle without corn."
Andrew sighed, obviously feeling hen-pecked again.
"Come on then, while we have a clear shot at the way in." Kennedy turned to pull the hat a little further down over Goorzar's eyes. "Sorry bubs, it's just for a minute." She promised as the demon grunted in annoyance. "A paw each?"
Andrew nodded and moved so that he could take one of the soft leathery paws, well they were more like hands really, in his right hand so that Goorzar would be on the other side to the ticket man. "Ready?"
Kennedy took her other paw and they set off across the foyer towards the entrance to screen one. "Not too fast." She warned as Andrew's nerves made him to speed up. "She'll get overexcited.
"Sorry," he murmured, slowing only a fraction.
They crossed the busy foyer without incident, breathing a sigh of relief when they'd handed the tickets over and could descend into the darkened cinema.
They found their seats halfway in.
"How busy do you think it's going to be?" Kennedy wondered.
"Saturday night, first screening, insane-o-busy!"
Kennedy nodded, he was probably right, there was already a steady stream of people coming in behind them and they'd arrived especially early to avoid the crowds. She started scooting along between the rows. "Okay, go get popcorn and drinks, oh and get some 'Duds – I promised Willow. Do you need some money?"
"No I got it. Back in a minute." Andrew stayed a second longer to make sure Kennedy had Goorzar's undivided attention before he shot back up the slope.
Finding the right seats towards the far end of the row, Kennedy put hers down first and sat before pulling Goorzar's down for her. "Up ya get then." She patted it.
The demon looked at her as if she was crazy.
Kennedy patted the seat again. "Come on, sit up here." More crazy staring. "It's a seat, you sit on it to watch the movie," she explained over the noise of the other people coming in.
Goorzar reached out and gently lifted Kennedy's hand from the seat. It sprang back up. She let out a little shriek and jumped backwards, only to rebound off the back of the chair in front, she turned on it angrily, snarling.
Damn, this was what Giles had said would happen. Not that the old guy would ever get to say 'I told you so', seeing as her and Andrew had snuck Goorzar out against his wishes. Maybe they should have waited for the DVD, but she just got so excited every time they showed the trailer on the TV.
"Hey, Goorz, it's not going to spring up if you sit on it," she promised, taking her hand to soothe her and bending down so she didn't have to raise her voice above a whisper. "Look, like me."
Goorzar contemplated this while chewing on a discarded drinks straw. Kennedy could, if she really wanted to, take the straw away from her, but the play-fight it would cause just wasn't a good idea. Plus it wasn't like she was going to catch any harmful germs from it; that was one good thing about demon babies.
Kennedy waited patiently while she made her decision. Eventually, she climbed up onto Kennedy's lap and settled there, obviously thinking safety in numbers was important against evil, springy chairs.
Kennedy, now unable to see more than a corner of the screen, curled her arms around the demon's stomach and lifted the Fedora enough to speak into her ear. "If you sit in your own seat you can take off the hat."
There was some loud straw chewing and then, very slowly, a hairy foot bent around and fat toes gripped the edge of the seat to push it flat. When nothing bad happened, Goorzar relaxed and held the position, seemingly content to do so throughout the movie.
"Not quite what I had in mind," Kennedy said. "The hat stays on."
The straw came out long enough for Goorzar to blow a raspberry and then it was rammed back in.
Andrew came back, muttering apologies as he squeezed past the people already seated.
"I got buttered popcorn, Milk Duds, soda for us and water for her." He sat on the top edge of a chair, leaving one in the middle for Goorzar, and pushed it down flat with his butt.
Kennedy took the soda from him. "She won't sit in her own seat."
Andrew grinned at the demon as he set her water on the floor between his feet. "You want some popcorn?" He shook the box lightly.
Her lips pulled back in a grin and she held out her paw. She could almost reach the box from across the middle seat.
"No you have to sit on your own seat, like a big girl," Andrew looked away from her, cuddling the popcorn box and staring at the screen. The trailers were on. "Only big girls are allowed popcorn."
Kennedy copied him, loosening her arm around Goorzar's waist and fixing her eyes to the front, even though the hat still blocked most of her view. Her eyeballs swivelled hard right, and Andrew's most probably were hard to the left, as the demon child studied the chair between them again in-between longing glances at the popcorn box.
The chair bounced up and down a few times; hard enough that Kennedy was worried it would break off the back altogether. Still they didn't look at her. Eventually, just as the lights went down even further, Goorzar tripped over the armrest onto her own seat. She put a foot into Kennedy's lap for comfort, and a paw disappeared into the popcorn box Andrew was still cradling as she grunted at the giant TV screen, her eyes wide with wonder.
"Good girl!" Kennedy pulled the Fedora off as a reward. It was dark enough that providing she behaved herself no one would ever realise that a demon was watching the movie with them.
The MGM logo came onto the screen and with a split second look at each other, Kennedy slapped a hand over Goorzar's eyes and Andrew covered her ears. Thankfully the on-screen Lion roared without Goorzar noticing.
The movie had been going for ages and so far not much exciting had happened. Andrew was still in seventh heaven, murmuring about what was different and what was the same as the original, and gushing over the leading lady.
Not that Kennedy didn't think she was hot, she just preferred redheads to blondes these days. If Willow had been on that ship then her attention would have been rapt, but as it was, Kennedy was mostly watching Goorzar's reaction.
So far it was tame, which was obviously good, but also a little disappointing. This was her first and probably only outing to the cinema. The bigger Goorzar grew the harder she would be to hide. The most excitement had come when she'd gotten bored enough to start throwing popcorn at the people in front.
Andrew had been too engrossed in the film and Kennedy had let her get away with it. It was keeping her quiet and that was important because boredom often made the little demon create her own fun, which was usually noisy… and painful if you weren't prepared. Anyway, Kennedy had chucked popcorn at people in the past; it was just something kids did. That had lasted until someone two rows ahead had turned around and threatened Andrew with physical violence if he didn't keep his kid under control!
Andrew had sunk as low in his seat as possible, snatched the popcorn out of Goorzar's hands and replaced it with her big water cup. She'd settled down again once she had a drink straw to suck and chew on and Kennedy had eventually stopped giggling.
When the ship became lost in the fog and was battered by the big waves and bigger rocks, Kennedy found herself taking a bit more notice of what was happening on-screen.
The Natives, a few minutes later, left her uneasy. She knew they were just actors dressed up to look the part, but it was all too real after her experience in Brazil – especially the kidnapping. Kennedy tried to block out the memories of the day Willow had been snatched and focused on enjoying the film.
Goorzar was sitting forward, one big fist thumping her seat in time to the pounding of the Native's drums booming through the huge speakers. Andrew had the knuckles of his right hand pressed to his mouth as the long drawbridge was lowered. Even Kennedy was tense with anticipation as the on-screen blonde began to gibber in fear.
The mist started to swirl as a dark figure approached, Kennedy turned to see how Goorzar was doing. Her orange eyes were wide, glowing in the light of the screen and her straw was poking out of the side of her open mouth, completely forgotten.
Kennedy chuckled indulgently and turned back in her seat. "Whoa!" her own eyes went wide, impressed more than she thought she'd be by the giant green-screen Ape.
Her wide eyes went wider and her mouth twisted in a knowing grimace as some kind of instinctual Mom-alarm suddenly went off in her head. She moved Slayer-fast to her left, trying to get hold of a hairy arm. Andrew, having the same instinct, was reaching to block a pair of huge orange eyes, but they weren't quite quick enough…
Goorzar reared up in her seat, mouth open and nostrils flaring, oblivious to her adoptive parents.
Complaints came from the patrons behind Goorzar. They were drowned out when she threw back her head and roared.
There was a still moment, with only the banging of the drum in the background, where every head in the theatre seemed to swivel their way. Centre of attention suddenly – her favourite place – the young demon's excitement became even more pronounced. She jumped onto the back of the seats in front and stood tall – the screen throwing her oversized shadow against the walls – to pound her chest like Xander had taught her. She roared again, loud enough to out-volume the heroine's screams.
The struck- dumb silence shattered as the people seated closest realised the danger they thought they were in. They yelled and tried to leap or crawl over the row in front of them to get away from the ape-demon. This caused chaos as they landed on the people still sitting there. Arguments and fistfights broke out as people took exception to having a stranger crouching on their lap.
Goorzar, thinking this was a game, wasted no time in throwing herself after them. Now there was screaming and people were climbing over and along the seats to get away from her, using those too slow or stupid to be already making a run for it as stepping stones. Within seconds, there was crazy mass hysteria and a stampede to the exit doors, people stumbling and tripping on the stairs in the darkness. The louder, faster and more chaotic it became, the more playful and exuberant Goorzar was.
Kennedy, and Andrew, looked around at the scream-filled and rapidly emptying cinema, both aware that their demonic charge was now several rows and an aisle away from them, bouncing erratically off of the shoulders', backs' and heads' of total strangers and completely and utterly out of control in a public place.
They looked at each other anxiously - they were so dead!
The manager, hearing the noise rushed out of his office and fought his way through the pushing and shoving mass of people to reach the closest of his ushers.
"What the hell is happening?"
The usher had just slammed the doors after the last person had escaped and was leaning on them; feeling like a hero for standing his ground. He was pale and sweaty and the beam of his flashlight was a wavering circle on the floor by his feet.
"I-I don't know, sir. People are saying King Kong broke out of the screen and started attacking everyone, sir!"
"That's impossible, kid. It's just a movie; nothing can come out of it. Quick, help me get these morons calmed down and back in there before they start demanding refunds."
The usher didn't move and his voice was as shaky as his hand. "But I saw it, sir."
"King Kong! It was coming right at me!"
"Don't be silly…!"
A loud bang from the door silenced the manager, it sounded like someone was trying to break it down. No, not trying… was going to break it down. There was another bang; both the manager and the usher stepped back, eyeing the door with suspicion and fear.
The manager cleared his throat. "Probably nothing but perhaps we better call the police – just to put everyone's mind at rest."
Another thunderous bang on the door had them both hurrying away.
"Okay, that was totally unpredictable, right?" Kennedy pulled the demon away from trying to follow her 'new friends' out of the empty theatre. "Goorzie, stop knocking on the door, no one's answering."
She tried the door herself, not that they could really go out that way now, but she was a Slayer and slayers liked to know all their options. It was locked anyway, or possibly barred by a popcorn-making machine considering the panic everyone had left in.
Andrew had gone back to retrieve the baby's overcoat and hat but he'd stopped, perching his ass on the top of a seat to finish off his Big Gulp. His eyes were back on the screen where King Kong was fighting with a couple of Tyrannosaurus Rex types now.
"Yes," he agreed. "I don't see how anyone could have expected us to know this might happen."
They shared a guilty look. Goorzie caught sight of the Big Ape action and tore down the centre aisle back towards it, roaring at the top of her lungs in a challenge to King Kong.
"Hey, that's the first time she's ever roared and ran at the same time!" Kennedy said excitedly.
"I know!" Andrew beamed. "She's getting so clever!
Their smiles snapped off fast as Goorzar leapt up to attack the eighth wonder of the world. There was a sharp ripping sound as the screen tore, proving Goorzar the victor.
"We better go," Andrew said.
"Fire exit?" Kennedy scooped up the over-excited young demon and started to move swiftly towards escape.
"At least no one knows what really happened. No one can identify us, or Goorzie. We're in the clear." Andrew opened the door for them, setting off a built in alarm.
The shrill bell scared Goorzar and she started screeching at a counter-point.
Kennedy winced at the dual clamour as they started to run but Andrew had a point. That was one small thing to be thankful for at least. She'd anonymously send the cinema a check to cover the damage and then this little incident would be behind them. No need for anyone to get into any trouble over it.
They entered the house debating quietly about whether Goorzie had actually liked the film or not as together, they removed her hat and coat.
The TV first alerted them to something being wrong. The mention of movie and the actual cinema they had visited in the same sentence was too much of a coincidence to actually be one. As they turned to see the news report, they saw Giles' tapping foot instead.
Kennedy's eyes slowly, apprehensively, travelled upwards. His arms were folded and his face was not a happy Watcher face.
"We can explain!" she said and, beside her, Andrew nodded furiously.
The tapping foot continued tapping. "Go on, then."
They looked at each other hesitantly, each willing the other to come up with something brilliant but they knew they had nothing.
"Take me!" Andrew wailed, throwing himself in front of Goorzar. "Don't hurt the baby!"
"For goodness sake." Giles rolled his eyes as he turned away. "We'll discuss punishment later."
She felt Willow's arms go around her waist, a chin rest on her shoulder. "Goorzie getting you into trouble again."
Kennedy watched Andrew defend himself from Goorzar trying to play pat-a-cake. On his side as he was and with the size of the little demon's paws now, he was accidentally being smacked in the face by the backs of his own hands more often than not.
"Yeah." Kennedy said, smiling softly. "Goorzie, tell Willow what we saw today."
Goorzar, over-excited again that her Daddy was on the floor playing with her, was more than happy to comply.
Throwing back her head, she beat her chest with both paws and roared.