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Disclaimer: Joss / ME / etc. owns these characters. This story is just for fun and not for profit.
Me: Downstairs, a grandfather clock chimed quarter past the hour. Which hour, none of the animals knew, for they were all dozing peacefully in fuzzy piles on Simon's shelves.
Me: Amid the sleeping bodies, one set of button eyes remained wide open, however. Dawn couldn't sleep. For the past three hours, she'd been lying against Buffy's flank, but each time she began to drift off, thoughts of the Unstitcher jolted her awake. She knew she shouldn't have listened to the start of that story.
Me: She was dreadfully tired, and the the longer sleep stayed at bay, the more easily her senses tricked her. Shadows began to flicker at the edges of her vision. It became harder to distinguish typical house sounds from Horrible Unknowns creeping about.
Me: Every time a car passed by on the road beside the house, a stream of light would enter the room, causing terrifying shadows to spring up. Dawn's overactive mind morphed the dark patches into scissor-toting ghouls.
Me: "Come on, Dawn," she whispered to herself. "You know there's not really anything there. It's just light from the window. See?" She forced herself to stare at the window as the next car passed.
Me: When it did, the light briefly illuminated a hulking shape just outside the panel of glass. Dawn's heart clenched, and she became lightheaded. A second later, she fainted, lolling back against Buffy with a soft paff.
Mel: Well, at least she's finally out
Me: "Mrrgmrn..." Willow shifted restlessly, and her whiskers tickled Tara's arm, which was draped over her head.
Me: Tara stirred. "Nnngh? Wha..?" She blinked several times, letting her eyes adjust to the darkness. "Will, did you say something?"
Me: When she received no reply, she shimmied her backside to even out her stuffing, and nestled back into Willow, stroking the fine hairs atop her head.
Me: "Only after you grumble, or the silver.."
Me: Tara chuckled quietly. Willow was talking in her sleep, again.
Me: She nearly jumped from the cushion when a spot of light appeared at the window, not two feet from her head.
Me: Willow, she said. Only no words came out of her mouth. She couldn't seem to get her voice out.
Me: Tara shook Willow forcefully.
Me: "Hey, wh--" Willow's objection was cut off when Tara's paw thwumped over her mouth. She stared, startled, at Tara, who pointed with her other paw at the window. Willow saw the light, then. It was an eerie yellow-orange circle, and it cast a beam of light into the room. The beam swept back and forth over the bed and other furniture.
Me: Willow's gaze flew to the lever atop the window. Unlocked.
Me: As if on cue, the window began to slide up.
Me: Willow huddled even closer to Tara. "It's coming inside," she whispered, her voice thin with terror. Tara hugged her tightly. If it was a human, maybe it would ignore them. Willow had realized soon after she arrived at the house that most people ignored the animals, unless Simon was making a big deal about them.
Me: The intruder swung one leg over the windowsill, then the other. It slid into the room, and Willow peered through the darkness at it. It was a human, after all. A skinny, mean looking man. He carried a light in one hand and a bag in the other.
Me: "What is it?" Tara whispered to her. Willow knew she could see better than Tara, so she described the scene in a hushed voice. First the intruder looked back out the window, left and right. Then he crept to the bedroom door and scanned the hallway.
Me: He eased open Simon's dresser and looked through the contents. When he was done, Simon's clothes were a mess. He didn't bother closing the drawers, but moved instead to the closet.
Mel: I had a dream about my stuffed animals coming to life, I blame you
Me: ( You're welcome. ^^b )
Me: He didn't seem interested by anything in the closet. He turned and spied the shelf. Willow and Tara held their breath as the human approached. He ducked down and searched through the lower shelf first, then tackled their own. He roughly shoved Tara out of the way, and she toppled from the cushion to the bedroom floor, where she sprawled out flat.
Mel: :-( I'll cry if he takes Tara or Willow
Me: The moment he turned away from the shelves, Willow tiptoed to the edge, peering down at the crumpled heap of Tara. She had landed awkwardly; one of her legs was caught under her body, and the other extended to one side. Her nose was pressed to the floor, and she was motionless. That's my girl. Just stay still. He won't even notice you.
Me: The human knelt beside her and flattened himself to the floor, shining his light underneath the bed. Willow heard a snarl, then a fuzzy bolt shot out from one side of the bed toward the door. Simba had made his escape.
Mel: Hehe, silly kitty
Me: The human was surprised by the cat, and he leaped backward, his sneaker narrowly missing Tara's head.
Me: With a final sweep of the light, the man moved to the doorway, hesitated, then left the room to explore the rest of the house.
Me: "Tara!" Willow called down as loudly as she dared. "Are you all right?"
Me: "Mrrfle," said Tara.
Me: Willow crouched, then leaped effortlessly to the floor. She padded over to Tara's side and nudged her gently with her forehead. Tara rolled onto her back.
Me: "Just had the wind knocked out of me," Tara gasped.
Me: Willow helped Tara sit up, and the bear pulled her into an embrace. "Oh, Willow. I've never been so frightened. What should we do? He's still here in the house!"
Me: "Don't you worry," Willow said calmly. "We'll stick together, and we'll be okay. We should get to a phone and call the...the...the emergency people. Like Momma always says to the babysitters."
Mel: Will they listen to stuffed animals? >.>
Me: "You mean...we have to go out there?" Tara asked, wide-eyed. She looked at the doorway and shivered.
Mel: Can stuffed animals dial? o-o
Me: "I can do it," Willow said. "I'm not afraid of him."
Me: Tara raised an eyebrow. "What?" Willow asked. Tara pointed at Willow's tail, which had fluffed up to twice its normal volume.
Me: She frowned. "Okay," she confessed, "maybe a little scared."
Me: "We'll go together," Tara decided. And they did.
Me: (done, since Mel's sleepy)
Me: next: *Tara cranes her neck to look waaay up on the wall, where the phone hangs*
Me: next: *A closeup of a hand pulling a knife from a drawer*
Mel: Oh jeez
Me: next: *The door to Simon's parent's room begins to open*
Me: next: *I Dream of Jeannie theme song*