A week after the fight in St. Martins Lane Buffy sat in one of the lounges at the Ritz Hotel. She had a cup of no doubt very expensive coffee sitting on the table in front of her, the room just screamed ‘opulence’. In fact she doubted she had ever seen so much opulence in one place at the same time in her entire life. She was impressed.
She flicked through the pages of the magazine on her lap, it was full of expensive looking models wearing expensive looking clothes that she knew she would never be able to afford…unless she took up robbing banks.
“Miss Summers?” Asked a female voice.
Buffy looked up from her musing to see a blonde woman in her forties dressed in a smart business suit and carrying a briefcase and an impressive bosom!
“Wow!” Gasped Buffy then collecting her thoughts, “Yes?”
“Oh good,” Said the woman, “I’m Mrs Fitzsimmons. I’m here to represent the British and Irish Slayers.” She explained, “Do you mind if I sit down dearie, my feet are killing me.”
“By all means.” Stuttered Buffy.
The woman sat down and kicked off her shoes and wiggled her stockinged feet in the deep pile carpet.
“Oooh that’s better,” She explained to a bemused Slayer Prime, “I’ve been on me pins since six this morning and I’m not as young as I used to be, even with all these Slayer do-dads!”
“You’re a Slayer!” Buffy almost shouted in surprise but managed to stop herself.
“Can’t you tell?” Asked Mrs Fitzsimmons, “I thought you could always sense another Slayer. I’m not very good at it yet but…”
“I lived for seven years on a Hellmouth,” Explained Buffy, “It sorta messed with my senses.”
“Oh you poor dear,” Sympathised Mrs Fitzsimmons, “That must have been awful for you.”
“Yes I suppose it was.” Agreed Buffy.
“Do you think they serve sherry here?” Asked Mrs Fitzsimmons looking for a waiter.
Buffy sat in bemused silence as Mrs Fitzsimmons tasted her sherry.
“Oooh that’s not bad!” She said smacking her lips in appreciation, “I’ll have to get some of that in.” She said to herself more than Buffy.
“So,” Buffy said thinking she had better take control of this meeting, “You’re in charge of the British Slayers…”
“And Irish dear.” Interrupted Mrs Fitzsimmons.
“Yes of course.” Replied Buffy.
“And not so much in charge,” Explained Mrs Fitzsimmons, “I was properly nominated and voted into office as the first General Secretary of The Amalgamated Union of Slayers and Guardians (UK and Eire) London Branch. I think I got it ‘cause some of the younger girls miss their mums.” Mrs Fitzsimmons pointed out, “Of cause we’ve not got any Guardians yet, but they’re welcome to join when there are.” Mrs Fitzsimmons smiled at Buffy and sipped her sherry.
“Well…yes…right.” Agreed Buffy somewhat stunned.
“Right then,” Said Mrs Fitzsimmons, “This is what I thought we’d do.”
Mrs Fitzsimmons started to explain her plan; as she spoke Buffy felt any idea of actually controlling what went on this side of the Atlantic, slip from her numbed fingers.
“What I’m going to do is this;” Explained Mrs Fitzsimmons as she opened her briefcase and started to arrange her notes.
“I’m going to have to send two Slayers to Dublin to cover the Republic and Northern Ireland. Two more to go to Glasgow to cover Scotland and some of Northern England, and another two can go to Birmingham and cover Wales and The Midlands. Now that takes care of all the girls who are old enough to look after themselves. They’ll have to look out for the girls we’ve got who are still at school or who’re younger than eighteen. Are you with me so far?”
Buffy nodded her head and opened her mouth to speak. Mrs Fitzsimmons ploughed over her like…well, like a very busty plough.
“Now, that leaves me six girls between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two, just the right age you see…” Mrs Fitzsimmons looked up at Buffy, she smiled and shifted her notes, “No you don’t ‘cause I’ve not said yet…silly me. You look a little pale dear, do you want some sherry?” Mrs Fitzsimmons called a waiter over.
“You see I’ve spoken to all the girls and they think it’s a wonderful idea. I know money’s tight, when isn’t it? I’ve costed it all out, and what with the grants we’ll be getting and the money from Whitehall it shouldn’t cost the SGC a penny…sorry cent! Then when everything is up and running we’ll be self financing, and what better cover for a lady like myself and half a dozen young women?”
Something clicked in Buffy’s mind; “You’re going to open a brothel?!?!” She gasped.
“No dearie,” Said Mrs Fitzsimmons laughing quietly, “We’re going to open a pub!”
“A Pub!” Buffy almost shouted, she sipped at her sherry.
“Well a bar actually,” Expanded Mrs Fitzsimmons, “And not a cheep joint for picking up tarts…I want to make that perfectly clear.” Mrs Fitzsimmons breathed deeply making her ample bosom rise and fall like a couple of civilisations.
“In fact it’s going to be a Vampire Pub!” She announced to a shocked Buffy.
“A Vampire Pub?”
“You’re just going to invite them in for a drink or two then stake them once you’ve got them drunk?”
“Hadn’t thought of that,” Mused Mrs Fitzsimmons.
“Aaah!” Said Buffy. People at nearby tables turned to look.
“Theme Pubs are still very popular in London.” Assured Mrs Fitzsimmons. “We hope to encourage people like Goths and the Romantic’s and then there’s the London Vampire Group…”
“The London Vampire what?” Asked Buffy with a sharp intake of breath.
“Group, dear…You look as if you could do with another sherry.” She called the waiter over again.
After the waiter had refilled their glasses, Mrs Fitzsimmons grabbed hold of his arm, “You better leave the bottle.” She whispered.
Mrs Fitzsimmons reached into her bra and produced a twenty-pound note. She pressed the still warm note into the waiter’s hand.
“Of course Madam.” He put the bottle on the table and walked away.
Mrs Fitzsimmons eyed Buffy for a moment, ‘almost there’ she thought ‘just a little more and she’ll sign anything’.
“There’s lots of people who like horror films and such and as you’ve pointed out it might attract some real vampires, and if we have to stake any on the premises we can say it’s all part of the floor show.”
“Floor show?” Asked Buffy weakly and reached for the sherry.
Mrs Fitzsimmons looked at Buffy. ‘Hmm,’ She thought, ‘Maybe telling her about the floor show might be going too far.’ Aloud she said;
“That’s all to be worked out latter,” Mrs Fitzsimmons beamed her brightest smile at Buffy, “It’ll be like having a licence to print money.” She reached across the table and refilled Buffy’s glass. “Now if you’d just like to sign these papers?” Mrs Fitzsimmons slid some papers and a pen across the table to Buffy.
“What for?” Asked Buffy her speech slightly slurred.
“It’s just to say that you approve my plan.” Reassured Mrs Fitzsimmons, “The Government people need to know we have your go-ahead…it’s just a formality.” She soothed.
But Buffy was not going to be rushed into anything. “I really think I should discuss this with Giles.” She said trying to get out of her chair, her hand slipped off the arm of the chair, “Ooops!” She giggled and sat down again.
“There’s no need to bother Mr Giles with this.” Said Mrs Fitzsimmons sweetly, “At least not until I’ve got your signature,” she added under her breath. “Anyway aren’t you Slayer Prime? You can make these decisions by yourself. You don’t need to keep running to that big fuddy-duddy of a Watcher to get his permission…do you?”
Buffy’s sherry numbed mind mulled the problem over for a second or two.
“Yes I am Slayer Prime!” She said just a little too loudly, “I can think for myself…where do I sign?”
“Here…and here...initial here and finally…here!” Mrs Fitzsimmons whipped the papers away from Buffy as she finished signing. She immediately slipped them into an envelope addressed to her solicitors and placed it into her briefcase along with all her papers.
“Right then my dear, I’d better be off.” She turned away from the grinning Slayer Prime to see the red haired witch make her way across room towards them. Mrs Fitzsimmons took her case and stood up and started to head towards the door. As she approached Willow she smiled.
“Willow Rosenberg?” She asked.
“Yes!” Replied Willow surprised that anyone here would know her name.
“I’m Mrs Fitzsimmons.” She held out her hand to Willow.
“Oh! You’re the lady in charge here abouts,” Gushed Willow excitedly, “You thought up the Union thing? That’s a great idea…I wish I’d’ve thought of it.”
“Thank-you,” Said Mrs Fitzsimmons immediately liking the young witch. She could see why Kennedy was so taken with her, “I’d love to stay and chat some more but I’ve got a train to catch.”
“Maybe next time eh?” Asked Willow.
“Yes,” Agreed Mrs Fitzsimmons, “Maybe next time…oh about your friend.” Mrs Fitzsimmons beckoned Willow closer and whispered in her ear, “Your friend,” She gestured towards Buffy, “I know it’s not my place, but she really should ease off the booze.”
Willow turned concerned eyes towards Buffy who sat unsteadily poring yet another glass of sherry.
“Poor dear,” Sighed Mrs Fitzsimmons, “The terrible things she must have seen.” She gave Willow her most sincere sorrowful look, “How the mighty have fallen?” She gave Willow a kiss on the cheek and swept from the room.
Willow turned and walked over to where Buffy sat.
“Hi Will!” Exclaimed Buffy, “You’re my bestest friend, y’know that?” She turned to the people at the nearby tables, “She’s my bestest bud!”
“Oh Buffy!” wailed Willow.
Mrs Fitzsimmons stood in the middle of the hotel reception and let her newly acquired slayer senses roam. Within seconds she felt the presence of another Slayer, she walked over to the dark haired girl.
“Hello Kennedy dear.” She smiled as Kennedy turned to greet her.
“Hi Mrs F’, how’d it go?”
“Swimmingly Ken, thanks to your information.”
“Not a problem Mrs F’, after all us AUSG girls have all got to stick together.” Kennedy smiled conspiratorially at the older Slayer.
“If you ever need anything just call.” Reminded Mrs Fitzsimmons, “Now, your pretty little witch should just be starting to have trouble with that Buffy girl, so if I were you I’d dash to the rescue.”
“On my way.” Agreed Kennedy.
“You be sure to look after that girl of yours, she’s a good’n’, I can tell.”
“Right you are Mrs F’.” Smiled Kennedy as she made her way towards the lounge.
Mrs Fitzsimmons looked around for a phone box, she could not abide mobile phones, they were too small and fiddley. She spotted one in the corner and walked over to it. She picked up the receiver and dialled a memorised number, after a couple of rings the phone was answered.
“Gloria luv?” Called Mrs Fitzsimmons. “She signed…Call the builders, tell them they can start work next Monday…The Slaughtered Lamb Tavern is a go!”