August 30, 2011 – Taste of Strawberries

Summary: **Part of the 2011 LiveJournal's Twisted Shorts August Fic-A-Day** series. A night out with the girls shouldn't end with meeting the police.

Challenge: for the livejournal 2011 August Fic a Day Challenge. And #6471 on TtH.

Timeline: post-BtVS; vague for L&O: SVU.

Warning: it's the Special Victims Unit (Sex Crimes); that should give you a hint.

A/N: I apologize for the substitution, but when I began writing, the pickup line came out with a darker intention than I liked for Joey, who was just going to do his trademark, "How you doin'?" as he tried to pick up two lesbians. Musie opted for dark instead of amusing.

Disclaimer: BtVS and AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Law & Order: SVU characters are owned by Dick Wolf and NBC. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

Random Manhattan club

It was supposed to be a night of bonding; a way for her best friend – who was a girl – and her girlfriend to try and find a way to get along. That's all Willow wanted from the evening.

So far, though, the best they could agree on was that they both cared about Willow.

Kennedy was upset that her taste of Slayerhood was just that – a taste. For the girls who fought in Sunnydale, their powers went away when their injuries healed. The girls around the world that Willow felt afterward were only Potentials; they never changed. Willow's spell meant she had a direct line to all of them. Which meant, when they finally got the Council up and running again, they would be able to track the girls down fairly easy.

Buffy still had some lingering hurt feelings over the last days/weeks in Sunnydale. And Willow admitted to herself that it didn't help that Kennedy kept – in Kennedy's words – 'making sure Buffy's ego was in check' by bringing up all of Buffy's failures from time to time.

Willow just w-i-s-h-e-d that Kennedy understood that Buffy wasn't normally like General Buffy; those days were extenuating circumstances. And for Buffy to realize that Kennedy only had everyone's best interests at heart.

The two were slowly making headway. They went a whole ten minutes without a single snarky comment between them. Rather than press her luck, Willow asked Kennedy to dance. While they were enjoying themselves, a guy came up to cut in.

That's when all hell broke loose.

An hour later…

Detectives Stabler and Benson were taking witness statements while Munch and Fin guarded their suspect.

"The bitch just came up and started pounding on the dude…for no reason!" was one young man's loud description of the scene.

It was loud enough that another witness heard it and shook his head. Very sincerely, he told Benson, "It wasn't like that at all. The guy was harassing the redhead and brunette. Mostly the redhead, though. I heard him say, 'So you like milk chocolate' – meaning the brunette she was dancing with – 'and have some French vanilla waiting in the wings' – meaning the blonde on the other side of the room. 'I happen to like strawberries most.' That's when the redhead kinda frozen in place."

The redhead wasn't the only one to react to the strawberries comment; Benson and Stabler did too. There had been half a dozen rape/homicides in the New York state area over the last six weeks. It hadn't been released to the media, but the guy's calling card was covering the victims' eyes with fresh strawberries.

Witness number two kept going with his statement, "That's when the blonde got up from her table and started heading this way. I know she was too far away to hear him, but it almost was like she did."

Benson had to ask, "How did you happen to see what she did?"

The guy looked a little sheepish at that. "To be honest, I was kind of thinking about going over to ask her to dance. She wasn't with the other two that I could tell, so I thought…"

Nodding, Benson prompted him to continue, "What happened next?"

"The guy leaned in and whispered something in the redhead's ear. That's when she started shaking. If it hadn't been for the brunette, she probably would have fallen to the floor. She was terrified by whatever he said," the witness declared confidently.

"Next thing I know, the blonde is there, yelling at the brunette 'Get her out of here! Take her home!' And she emphasized the word 'home', like it had some special significance to them. I'm not sure what she did to the guy – the blonde, I mean – but he was on the ground in seconds, screaming in pain. Then the blonde sat down at a nearby table and waited for you guys to arrive," he finished. "Oh, and when the ambulance came for the guy, she told them something; I couldn't hear what." support

Meanwhile, Munch was taking Buffy's statement. It matched up almost disturbingly well to the witness' account. When asked how she was able to hear the guy's words to her friend, she simply replied, "I have really good hearing."

So good, in fact, that she heard what he whispered before she got there and broke a couple bones. "He whispered to my friend, 'I wonder if your blood would taste like strawberry syrup.' That's when I knew he wasn't just a creep, but an actual threat."

Fin spoke up at that point, "We'll need to talk to your friend so she can corroborate what he said."

When Buffy mentioned the strawberries comment, Fin and Munch and a flash of recognition as well. If this was the guy, they needed a live witness to come forward.

Unfortunately, they weren't expecting the blonde's reply, "Not going to happen. Nobody is going to make her re-live one of the most traumatic times in her live because some creep got lucky and said the wrong thing to her."

Trying a little intimidating, Munch warned her, "You could be charged with assault if she doesn't testify; maybe even aggravated assault. That means a couple years in prison if you're convicted."

She surprised them again by shrugging off the threat, "That's fine by me. Listen, there's only a handful of people I trust to help her deal with this, and you guys aren't on that list. As much as she annoys me 99.9% of the time, my friend's girlfriend is. And she's taking my friend to the rest of the people on that list. That means she can't be forced to testify either because she'll be out of your reach."

"What do you mean?" Fin asked his stomach sinking at the surety in her voice.

"She's out of the country by now."

A couple months later…

It turned out that while a live victim would have been a nice addition to the case against the Strawberry rapist/killer, it was unnecessary. The hospital found drugs in his clothes while they were treating him; the same drugs found in the blood work of the other victims. That led to a search warrant which gave the police enough evidence to convict him of the rape and murder of his past six victims.

When the trial was over – and he was sentenced to over 100 years in prison, without the possibility of parole – a certain redhead in England breathed a huge sigh of relief. That was one less monster they had to worry about.

A/N: I apologize again for not doing the Friends one, but when I thought of Joey using the vanilla, chocolate and strawberry line, Musie went to a dark place and wanted to stay there…at least for today.

Tomorrow's (hopeful) fic: Xander/The Santa Clause