Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy/Fox. Las Vegas belongs to the state of Nevada, and NBC. Clarice, and her tits, belong to my extremely detailed imagination. Timeline:
Not really that important for either show, except to note that Willow is all magicked-on-up but not gone Darth. The legal requirement to be 21 to enter a casino would put it pre/early Season 6 Buffy, so in order to allow the requisite cast to be a) still breathing and b) in a happy party mood, let’s pretend Glory broke a nail, and was busy in the salon when she was supposed to be slicing Dawn, and has lost interest in the key and emigrated to the Falkland Islands, having developed a strange craving for sucking sheep brains (it could happen).
This is a response to my own challenge of the same name.Now That’s What I Call Magic
The Great Confucius was a conjurer of the old-school; none of this trendy street magic malarkey as practiced by David Blaine, and no grandiose disappearances of major landmarks a-la David Copperfield. He considered those two no more than posers. No, The Great Confucius, or Reginald White to his friends, stuck to the tried and tested card tricks, extraction of miscellaneous objects and small animals from over-sized hats, and the bisection of comely female assistants. He consider magic to be an art form, and he was good at what he did. This lead to work in progressively bigger hotels with progressively more attractive and scantilier clad female assistants.
Last month, he had landed a job at The Montecito, one of the major multi-billion dollar resort hotels along The Strip in Las Vegas. It wasn’t a headline show in one of the big theatres - just a late-night performance in one of the smaller revue bars that were dotted around the casino - but it was still a testament to his hard work and skill that he had made it this far. The hotel had provided him with Jamie and Clarice who, whilst not being the most highly trained assistants he had worked with, looked like they had come straight off the chorus line at the midnight topless revue show, and excelled at providing a distraction for his sleight-of-hand. Frankly, Reg would rather have continued working with his previous assistant, Marie, who may not have had the body of a playboy centrefold, but she was an accomplished performer; however, given the rate of pay they provided, if Jamie and Clarice was what the Montecito wanted, that was okay with him. And it wasn’t as if they weren’t competent – there were a few stumbles during their first performances, but they had soon adapted to stage magic, and had now gotten the act down to a tee. He really didn’t deserve what was going to happen tonight.
Willow Rosenberg was drunk. Not just tipsy, but drunk. Plastered, smashed, sloshed, banjaxed, jan-hammered, lamped, razzled, rat-assed and well and truly locked out of her mind. To celebrate Xander’s 21st birthday, Buffy and Willow had brought him to the gambling capital of America in order to properly commemorate the occasion. They had each changed $200 to chips, and hit the casino floor. Xander was putting the practice his Uncle Rory had given him to good use on the blackjack tables, and was soon up $150, whereas Buffy had firmly attached herself to the stool in front of a slot machine and was in such a trance that an army of vampires could walk up behind her singing “I can’t get enough of your blood” and she wouldn’t have flinched. Willow had taken what, in retrospect, was the rather foolish decision to put all $200 on 17 black on the roulette wheel, and quickly found out that watching your friends gamble having blown all your money was one of the world’s top ten least appealing activities -right up there with cleaning up Demon slime. After Xander had tired of her hanging on his arm begging a few dollars of his winnings, only for her to return minutes later having lost it all, she had gone to find Buffy. A further twenty minutes watching Buffy’s rapt gaze on the reels, and she had retreated to the bar where she was steadily charging an wide array of drinks to her room bill.
She was brought out of her increasingly bitter mutterings about self-absorbed stingy friends and fixed roulette wheels by the sound of a drum-roll and the crash of a cymbal from the small stage that she had, until now, not noticed in the corner of the bar.
“Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen; welcome to Da Vinci’s bar in The Montecito, Las Vegas. My name is The Great Confucius, and these two lovely ladies are Jamie and Clarice. Tonight, we are going to bring a little magic into your lives!”
‘Just what I need,’ thought Willow, ‘a magic show. Mind you, Jamie and Clarice have definite potential.’ She consumed a few more drinks while watching a their tricks, or more accurately, while watching the rise and fall of Clarice’s chest in her skimpy white sequined bikini as the 'great' Confucius pretended to miraculously find inside a sealed envelope a card a member of the audience had signed and shuffled back into the deck. Willow decided to make her move, and stumbled towards the stage.
“Hey baby, why don’t you come upstairs with me and I’ll show you some real magic.”
It was far from the most original pickup line, but Willow’s inebriated outburst was greeted with cheering and wolf-whistles from the group of businessmen in the corner of the lightly populated bar, and a glare from The Great Confucius. Clarice, having worked on Las Vegas stages for several years took it in her stride and stepped back as the security guard rushed over to escort Willow from the premises. She was more used to that sort of behaviour from the male patrons, but it wasn’t the first time a woman had hit on to her. Mind you, it was the first time it happened during the show.
Gary, the security guard had been caught, well, off-guard by Willow’s lunge toward the stage. He’d noticed she’d had a few too many, but until that moment she had been quietly sitting at the bar and he hadn’t been paying much attention to her; Willow wasn’t the only one taking account of Clarice’s assets.
“Excuse me miss, if you’d just like to come over here with me while...” he began, as he reached out and pulled her back.
“Don’t wanna,” said Willow squirming out of his grasp, “wanna watch the magic show.” She sat herself down at an empty table in the front row, leaned forward resting her elbows on the table top, her hands propping up her chin, and waited for the show to resume, pointedly ignoring the security guard.
“I’m afraid I must insist you come with me Miss.” The security guard tried again, and reached out to grab her hand and pull her from the table, but she refused to move. The rational part of her mind knew she behaving childishly, but the rational part of her mind was not at the controls tonight.
Not wanting to manhandle the young woman in front of other customers, Gary was relieved to see the head of security, Danny McCoy, approaching the pair.
“Miss, I think you should come with me back into the Casino, and allow The Great Confucius to continue his show.” Willow turned to the new speaker and found herself somewhat more willing to accompany Danny than the security guard, her brain instantly making the switch from lesbian thoughts of Clarice to heterosexual thoughts of Danny, and she reluctantly allowed him to drag her from the bar.
“I think you’ve had your fill for tonight; are you staying at the Montecito?” he asked.
In reply Willow dangled the key card for her room in front of him.
“Want to come and tuck me in?”
Mike Cannon was shaken from the stupor of watching camera after camera showing happy, and more importantly, honest customers gambling on the casino floor by Richard, one of the security team monitoring the rest of the building, spluttering in his coffee.
“That has-been magician we have over in Da Vinci’s,” he replied. “A gorgeous red-head has just propositioned his assistant, and Danny is having to drag her out of the bar!”
Mike joined Richard, who was failing miserably to contain his laughter at the combined disgruntled / smitten expression on Willow’s face, as poor Danny led her to the exit.
“You better run her face through the system, just in case,” he said. “It’s not like there’s anything else going on tonight.” After a few seconds her driving licence appeared on the big screen.
“Willow Rosenberg, a college student from Sunnydale, California. No arrests or convictions, just a kid in town for a bit of fun who’s had too much to drink.”
“Hey Xand, seen Wills?” said Buffy, as she sauntered over to the blackjack table and attached herself to Xander’s right arm.
“No, not for a few hours now.”
Buffy had finally run out of cash and, having had a couple of free drinks whilst playing the slots, was starting to feel a little tipsy. When the money ran out, she started to realise that she had been sitting still for what was probably a lifetime record four hours, and she was itching for some activity, so she went to find her friends. She then noticed the large pile of chip’s accumulated in front of Xander.
“Wow! How much are you winning?” she asked, already mentally planning the shopping trip to the fashion mall at the other end of the strip that Xander didn’t yet know he would be taking her and Willow on tomorrow morning.
“About $2,000.” He grinned at her. Having known Buffy for six years, Xander not only knew where her mind was, but had also made a fairly accurate estimate of the shoe to clothes shopping ratio to which he would be subjected, and how much it would cost him.
“In that case, you should quit while you’re ahead and take me out dancing,” she said.
“What about Wills?” he asked.
“Oh, she’s probably found herself a nice showgirl and headed back to her room.”
“Xander?” She waved her hand in front of his face “Hello, earth to Xander...” Typical men, she thought: Willow had been gay for a couple of years now and still Xander took on a dazed look whenever the subject of her and another woman came up.
“Sorry Buff, what were you saying?”
“You. Me. Dancing. Now.”
Thus, Xander became the second Scooby to be dragged from the casino while making a very limited show of reluctance that evening.
Buffy was half right: Willow was in her room, but she was minus the showgirl, who was still downstairs with the ‘magician’. She was also minus the cute security guy who had extricated himself from her clutches as soon as they had arrived back at her door. However, on the plus side, she had found the mini bar.
“Stupid magician. Thinks he’s so clever just ‘cos he can palm a playing card while everyone’s looking at that bimbo’s cleavage,” she muttered to herself. “He wouldn’t know real magic if it hit him on the head while wearing a t-shirt with the slogan ‘Hello – I’m real magic’. And stupid security guards – just 'cos they’re cute beyond belief, they think they can send me to my room like a little girl, and then not stay and have wild monkey sex with me.”
It was around this point she decided she was going to go back and watch the rest of the show, regardless of what hotel security said. She reached over to her suitcase and pulled out the small bag of herbs and ingredients she always carried with her in case of demon attack.
“This should do the trick,” she said to herself, pulling the ground paprika root from its bag and mixing it with the other ingredients into one of the cups she had liberated from the bedside table. She was also mixing a fair amount with the hotel room carpet, but there was enough remaining in the cup for her needs. Satisfied that she had completed the potion she stood in the middle of the room and, chanting a few words of power, she threw the mixture of powders into the air over her head, and allowed them to settle over her body. Contrary to popular belief, it didn’t matter what language you used when casting a spell or how loudly you spoke: it was the way you focused the magic that was important, and, although visually her focus was not at its best at the moment, mentally and magically she had become extremely focused. Focused on showing The “Great” Confucius just what magic really was.
After taking the redhead up to her room, Danny had completed his patrol of the floor and had found Mary seated at the mezzanine cafe, watching over the smoothly running casino. He was just receiving a coke from the barman when his mobile rang.
“You better get yourself over to Da Vinci’s: something... odd is happening.”
“What is it Mike? You know I don’t like surprises.”
“Oh, this one you’ve got to see for yourself.”
Intrigued from the conversation she had overheard, Mary got up to accompany Danny across the room to the entrance to Da Vinci’s. As they arrived at the door both of them came to a halt and a gasp escaped Mary’s lips. Up on the stage, poor Reginald was a gibbering wreck.
He was pinned against the back wall of the stage. Two of fake the swords he used to ‘pierce’ the cabinet the during the stabbing the lady trick were performing a mid-air sword fight in front of him, and judging by the sounds they made as they clashed, they were considerably less fake than they had been a few minutes ago. Jamie was running around in circles on the stage, being chased by two of the white rabbits Reg had pulled from the hat earlier in the evening, whilst Clarice was screaming as she flew around the room above the heads of the audience, providing quite a view to those who cared to look up.
Had they quietened down, they might just have heard the soft giggles coming from the apparently empty table near the bar. Seeing that her work here was done, Willow slipped out of the room, taking the chance to pinch the ass of the cute security man who’d appeared in the doorway. Danny yelped and turned to glare at Mary next to him, who looked up at him in confusion. Mike meanwhile was ordering everyone in the security room to start running diagnostics on their equipment.
Late the next morning, three hung-over Scoobies made their way down from their rooms to the breakfast buffet queue, where the gossip was flowing amongst the other guests...
“You should have seen it, she was flying around the bar over our heads, and that costume...”
“Maybe it was done with wires?”
“No way, the security team had to grab hold of her to pull her down. And the other one was being chased around the stage by two rabbit’s; there’s no way you could train them to do that!”
Willow began to redden as the memory of the previous night started to return.
“So Wills, anything you want to tell us?” asked Xander, his eyebrow arched higher than Roger Moore had achieved in his entire career.
“Don’t know what you’re talking about,” was the mumbled reply.
“Na-ah,” said Buffy, “you don’t get off the hook that easily. What were you up to last night?”
Cornered, Willow desperately looked for an escape route; if she had to tell the whole story, there was no way she would ever live it down. Fortunately, a glint of gold provided the way out she needed.
“What was I up to? What were you two up to?”
“Us? We weren’t up to nothing. There’s only one person in the hotel capable of flying magicians’ assistants around a bar, and it isn’t either of us,” replied the slayer.
“I wasn’t talking about that. I was talking about those rings on your fingers!”
“What rin... Oh my God!”