Disclaimer – I don’t own either BtVS or The Venture Bros. and I am making no monetary gain from this story.
Third in my ‘Collection Work’ Series
BtVS: Post Chosen
Venture Bros.: None really. I suppose mid to late first season. But it doesn’t really matter.
Crazed Necromancers and Perverted Old Men – Collection Work III
Buffy drove up to the compound with mild curiosity. The name Venture was, of course, a famous one. Dr. Jonas Venture Sr. was considered one of Earth’s greatest scientific minds before he disappeared. Both Willow and Andrew babbled about him constantly.
Then there was the whole ‘Team Venture’ thing that even her mom was into when she was a teenager. Unlike some, she did grow out of it.
Back in Sunnydale Xander had ‘Team Venture’ posters on his wall, occasionally carried a ‘Team Venture’ lunchbox and was known to have a closet full of other ‘Team Venture’ merchandise.
Buffy was never entirely sure if he was more sad about Anya’s death or losing his collection after Sunnydale went boom. She was pretty certain it was Anya, but every once and while Xander would get this wistful look on face when certain items came up for bid on E-bay. He said the quality of merchandise coming out today was crap and obviously just designed to make a quick buck.
She had been somewhat surprised to find the next name on her list of debtors was living in the famed Venture compound. It had taken Willow nearly two months to track down his current address.
Stopping her car just outside the gate Buffy took a look around. She didn’t see anyone on duty or an intercom. Shrugging her shoulders, Buffy took a running leap over the ten foot fence landing gracefully on the other side. She began calmly walking towards the front entrance.
Just as she reached out with her hand to knock on the door, Buffy heard someone approach from behind.
“Hold it right there lady,” came a menacing voice.
Buffy whipped around in a blur of motion immediately dropping to a fighting stance.
Behind her stood a tall blonde haired man with a build that would put Schwarzenegger to shame. For some reason his left eye was twitching. His reflexes proved as equally impressive as his build as a massive fist lashed out at the Slayer.
Buffy blocked the blow and quickly answered with one of her own. Somehow he managed to block her first attack but was unable to react quickly enough to stop the roundhouse kick that sent him flying back several feet.
His impressive showing continued though as he popped right back up clearly ready to go another round.
Buffy held her ground, her senses told her that he was human, not a monster, and Buffy really didn’t want to go full out against a human. Before she could say anything the man stopped and Buffy saw a flicker of recognition in his eyes.
“Slayer,” he said. He came out of his fighting stance and stood at attention. “My apologies Ms Summers, I wasn’t expecting The Slayer to come knocking.”
“You know who I am?”
“Special Agent Brock Samson at your service Ms Summers,” Brock said. “I did a job in Sunnydale a few years before you got there and cleaned the place out. I also did an assignment with Captain Finn’s unit a while back. I’m fully briefed on doings in the supernatural world. And these days, everyone in the know has heard of you. It’s an honor Ms Summers.”
“Just Buffy,” Buffy said. “You know Riley?”
“Good man,” Brock said. “Fine Soldier. He’ll go a long way.”
“Good,” Buffy said. “Say there Agent Samson, could you help me find someone?”
“Call me Brock,” Brock said. “And I’ll be glad to help. Are we hunting vampires?”
“Nope,” Buffy said. “Actually I’m looking for one of your tenants,” she pulled out a piece of paper and glimpsed at it. “A Dr. Orpheus.”
“Orpheus?” Brock repeated. “He’s not into anything evil is he?”
“No, no,” Buffy said. “Nothing like that. A few months ago he bought something from the Council. He hasn’t paid for it yet. I’m just here to collect.”
“The Slayer doing collection work?” Brock sounded skeptical. “Seems a waste of talent.”
Buffy shrugged. “Seven years fighting the forces of darkness. I needed a bit of a break. Still wanted to help, so Giles somehow managed to con me into helping put the Council’s finances back in order after the old leadership went boom.”
“Of course …” Before Brock could finish his sentence the entrance burst open and two teenage boys charged out.
The blonde started yelling. “HALT! Foul intruder or feel the wrath of Team Venture!”
“What he said!” the dark haired one shouted.
“Oh for the love of God boys,” Brock pinched his nose in a manner that to Buffy was all too reminiscent of Giles’ reactions to the Scoobies. “I told you two to stay in your rooms until I gave the all clear.”
“Ahhh, Brock,” the dark haired one said. “We can help. Just point us to that nasty ugly intruder and we’ll clean his clock.”
“Ugly?” Buffy said her voice taking on a bit of an edge.
“Yes, fair maiden,” the other spoke. “We will protect you from whatever is out here. Because we’re …”
Both boys flashed the ‘V’ sign with their hands holding them high into the air and touching their fingertips.
Both shouted at the same time “GO TEAM VENTURE!!”
Buffy looked back at Brock. “Are they for real?”
“Unfortunately,” Brock answered. “They are an acquired taste. Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer, meet Hank and Dean Venture. Boys, this is Buffy Summers. She’s here on Business with Dr. Orpheus.”
“Does it include Trianna” Dean asked.
“Who?” Buffy said.
“Dr. Orpheus’ daughter,” Hank said. “Dean’s got a crush on her. Dean’s got a crush. Dean’s got a crush.”
“I do not!” Dean shouted. “You take that back.”
Buffy watched as the two pattered back and forth like a couple of four year olds.
“Perhaps we should go see Dr. Orpheus now,” Brock said gently motioning for Buffy to follow him. “Don’t worry about the boys they can keep that up for hours.”
Buffy allowed herself to be led away from the Venture brothers. Somehow their argument had degenerated into a bitch slapping contest that was so pathetic it made Harmony look tough.
Finally Brock led her around to the far side of the compound. Before he could knock on the door it flew open.
Smoke billowed out and standing in the entryway was a tall very thin (and people think I need to eat, Buffy thought) middle-aged man with a beard wearing of all things what looked like red and black pajamas with a long billowing cape with some bling added just make certain people knew it was tasteless.
“I sense a mighty mystical force approaching,” the man said in very ‘dramatic’ fashion waving his arms. “Yes it grows ever closer. But I do not fear for I am the Master of the Mystical Arts, the conjuror of conjurors! The Supreme Necromancer of the World!! I am Dr. Orpheus!!!”
“Uh, hi there,” Buffy said.
“Yes, hello,” Orpheus replied in a normal voice. “And you are?”
“Doctor,” Brock said. “This here is Buffy Summers. The Slayer.”
“The Slayer!” Orpheus shouted. “The one girl in all the world charged with holding back forces of darkness! Scourge of the vampires! Sealer of the Hellmouth! I welcome you to my Sanctuary of Sanctuaries!”
Buffy was trying hard to suppress a laugh. “Mind if I come in? I have a bit of business.”
“I’ll let you two get on with things,” Brock said. “Buffy, perhaps we could spar again sometime. It’s rare to meet anyone who’s actually a challenge these days.”
“Maybe some other time,” Buffy said. “I’ve got a lot of names to get through.”
“Of course,” Brock said. “Buffy, it’s been an honor.”
“See ya’ around,” Buffy said entering Dr. Orpheus’ ‘sanctuary.’
As they entered the living room Buffy glanced at the bookshelves. While not as impressive as Giles pre-boom Sunnydale collection it wasn’t bad. She recognized a few of the titles (honest she did, Buffy did pay a little attention during research sessions).
“So, what dire issue of mystical importance draws the Slayer to my door?” Orpheus asked as he sat down on a comfortable looking couch.
“Actually this is more Council business than Slayer business,” Buffy said.
“The Grand Watchers Council has need of my services,” Orpheus intoned. “What matter supernatural does the mighty Council require the assistance of the Conjuror of Conjurors? You have but to ask and all the resources and power at my command are yours for asking!” Orpheus rose raising his arms over his head. “Whatever foul being darkens this world I stand ready to face it by your side. Dr. Orpheus fears no blackness, for I have seen past the mystic veils blinding this world from the next. Command me Great Protector!!”
“We’d like to get paid,” Buffy said.
“Excuse me?” Dr. Orpheus deflated.
“You know, paid,” Buffy repeated. “A few months ago you bought one of the last five copies of the Necronomicon from the Council. Your check bounced. We’d kind of like to get our money.”
“Oh,” Dr. Orpheus said sinking back into his seat. “Then this isn’t about some dark force trying to take over the world?”
“There are no grand enemies for me to vanquish?” Orpheus said in a wistful tone. “No new nemesis for me to face.”
“Again, nope,” Buffy said. “We just want our cash. About $700k according to the paperwork.”
“Yes of course,” Dr. Orpheus nodded. “It’s just that being Master Necromancer to the World is not exactly a paying job. Finances have been somewhat tight, that’s why I was forced to move from the castle to these somewhat more humble accommodations.”
“I’m all with the understanding,” Buffy said. “I know all about how poor paying the whole saving the world gig can be. But the Council is in a pretty serious bind these days. We need to get our cash flow back on line. Lots of Slayers to feed,” she glanced at the shelves. “Books to replace.”
“It’s just that I’m afraid I lack the funds,” Dr. Orpheus said.
“Maybe there’s another option,” Buffy said standing and wandering over to the bookshelves. “Like I said we have a lot of books to replace. Maybe we could do a trade.”
“Yes!” Dr. Orpheus leapt up. “I will share my vast knowledge!” he lowered his arms and looked at Buffy with an almost pleading face. “Do you suppose if any dark forces learn of this I might become their sworn enemy?”
“One can always hope,” Buffy said. “Let me just check in with somebody,” she pulled out her cell phone and hit the speed dial. “Hey Giles … I’m at the Venture compound with Dr. Orpheus … no, no money. But he does have an interesting library … Well let’s see here, The Complete Guide to Necromancy, Necromancy for Dummies, Necromancy is NOT Necrophilia … Yeah I’m noticing the theme, let me move to another section … Tobin’s Spirit Guide, Rituals of the Descent, Hittite Blood Sacraments … Sure let me put him on,” Buffy lowered the phone. “Giles would like to speak with you. Is that ok?”
“Of course,” Orpheus took the phone from Buffy. “You now speak with Dr. Orpheus! Necromancer Supreme! Speak to me oh Master of Watchers!”
Buffy could almost hear Giles pulling his glasses off and polishing them.
“Yes Dr. Giles,” Orpheus said his voice returning to a conversational level. “I have that … I have a copy of that as well … It is in excellent condition …”
Buffy spent the next hour going through Dr. Orpheus’ library picking out a suitable selection of books that could be taken in trade for the Necronomicon.
“Thank you Dr. Orpheus,” Buffy said, easily picking up the large box books he had agreed to trade.
“It is no problem,” Dr. Orpheus. “You will see to it the dark forces learn I have aided you.”
“I’ll see what I can arrange,” Buffy said. He really did want a nemesis. Maybe there was a way to kill two birds with one stone, she thought heading out the door.
Buffy’s eyes started rolling as she rounded the corner of the building and heard Dr. Orpheus calling after her. “Fare well Slayer!” he yelled. “I, Dr. Orpheus, Master of Mystical Arts call upon the Great Powers to protect you in your journey …”
“For God’s sake!” a voice carried across the grass. “Will you keep it down over there?!?”
Buffy’s twisted her head and saw a thin, bald man shouting from the open hanger.
“It’s getting so a man can barely hear himself …” the man stopped short when he spotted Buffy out of the corner of his eye. He immediately stood up straight and made bee-line directly towards Buffy. “Well, well. Hello and who do we have here? Dr. Thaddeus Venture at your service,” he said in poor effort at being suave.
“And I’m leaving,” Buffy replied and started back towards the car. She really didn’t have time to be hit on by some perverted old man.
“It is something Orpheus did?” Dr. Venture said. “Because I can have him out on his ass like that.”
“Nope, everything’s cool,” Buffy said quickening her pace.
“Is there anything I can … help you with?” Dr. Venture asked. He was trying very hard to sound ‘romantic,’ but was really coming across as creepy.
“Got it covered,” Buffy replied, tightening her grip on the boxes. If he kept this up for much longer Buffy was going to teach him the meaning of the word Slayer.
“DOC!” Brock called out.
“What?!?” Dr. Venture whirled around.
Brock jogged up to the two. “My apologies Buffy. The Doc has a tendency to try and play out of his League.”
“What do mean, ‘out of my League?’” Dr. Venture. “I’ll have you know I fair very well with the ladies.”
“The ones you pay don’t count Doc,” Brock noted and shifted his attention. “Buffy, I take it your business with Dr. Orpheus is complete?”
“Yep,” Buffy replied. “We worked out a good trade. By the way, I may be sending a nemesis his way.”
“A what?” Dr. Venture demanded.
“A nemesis,” Buffy said. “There is this ditsy vampire named Harmony, that for various reasons, we haven’t just up and dusted. I think she would make a good mortal enemy for Dr. Orpheus. She’s about his speed.”
“You’re sending a vampire here,” Brock said.
“She’s mostly harmless,” Buffy said.
“We don’t need anymore enemies running around here,” Dr. Venture said. “That winged idiot The Monarch is bad enough.”
“Well, she won’t be your enemy,” Buffy said. “She’ll be Orpheus’ enemy.”
“Yes,” Dr. Venture replied with a sarcastic voice. “That makes it so much better.”
“As long as nobody here is dumb enough to invite a random stranger into your home,” Buffy said. “You’re safe.”
“Have you met my boys?” Dr. Venture countered.
Buffy thought for a second. “She’s blonde, got turned when she was eighteen, hasn’t aged since, likes money, is deeply stupid and horny.”
Dr. Venture’s eyebrow went up. “Well I suppose we can’t stop you if you decide to send her Dr. Orpheus’ way.”
“I’ll give you fair warning if we trick her into coming,” Buffy said. “Now if you two don’t mind, I have places to be and money to collect”
With that Buffy turned and headed straight for the car without looking back.
Yep, she thought, Harmony would definitely fit in with this crowd.
A/N – I have an open challenge (#1455) that is based on the Collection Work premise. So if anybody out there wants to write a story about Buffy trying to collect money, feel free to do so.