Title: Dead Dave’s
Author: TombCrank the Crafty
Rating: FR21 - Beware of a particularly foul-mouthed character.
Summary: After the fiasco with Conner and the prophecy, Wesley leaves LA and winds up as a Vampire Executioner in St. Louis. Regrettably, he doesn’t play well with others these days.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Notes: Written in answer to Sio’s challenge, “Vampire Executioner Wesley”. Hope you like it, Sio.
Dead Dave’s was busy this time of night. Tourists sat nervously near the door, both excited and frightened at the prospect of running across some of the undead locals. Regulars lined the bar, either slumped over their bottles or working their way into oblivion and a shot liver. The booths along the far wall were filled with chipped tables, less-than-legal deals, and greasy baskets of food products that claimed to once have been potatoes. The pervasive sense of barely controlled grime consumed the premises. Wesley sat in one of the darker booths, his back to the wall and his eyes scanning the crowd. So far, there were only three vampires milling about on the premises: the proprietor, Dave, who was behind the bar; a pale, emaciated wraith of a woman charming the tourists towards the front of the room; and a tall, muscular blonde man trying to pass for human near the pool table. He’d have to keep an eye on the latter vampire; it was best to be sure that any dinner the vampire left with tonight was willing and above-age.
It was a different thing, hunting in St. Louis. California was remarkably lax in regulating vampire executions. There was a general, unspoken consensus among the masses that the state had a serious undead overpopulation problem and that a few (or a lot) of unauthorized stakings wouldn’t be an issue. Considering that Angel was the so-called “Master” of Los Angeles and he agreed with said illicit executions, there really wasn’t much of an outcry among the vampire community. Not after the object lesson Angel had given. It was always a shock to the others when Angel showed some particularly sadistic or bloodthirsty trait, automatically looking for the characteristic leather pants or manic grin of his unhindered ego, but Wesley was a Watcher, born and bred and raised on the bedtime stories of the rampages of the Scourge of Europe or some other demonic nastiness. He could work with a vampire, joke and save a vampire, but he couldn’t forget that Angel(us) was dangerous, even in his “fluffy puppy” persona. The loss of Connor had made that exceptionally clear. Wesley was surprised Angel had let him live (ignoring the aborted suffocation attempt). Every now and then he sent Angel an unmarked care package of typed notes of his investigations into the demon Sahjhan and where he might have taken Holtz and Connor. The last one had concluded that Sahjhan had probably taken them to Quor-Toth, a hellish dimension of epic proportions. What Angel did with this information was up to him; Wesley had paid for his mistake. It hadn’t been hard to contact the Watcher’s Council and obtain a license to hunt in the United States. They had been busy with some crises or another, but they had come through for him. After all, Wesley was the official watcher to one of the longest-lived slayers in the records, regardless of her mental state. All he had to do was resolve a few things for them in California. The Council had even suggested his next assignment in Missouri. Wesley wasn’t about to argue with them, even if they were bastards. So now he was in a trashy bar in the Blood District, bad whiskey on the table, waiting for some local vampire hunter. His contact, a tall, blond man with dead blue eyes, had suggested Wesley meet the top vampire executioner of the area before he and Faith settled down. In fact, Ted had positively smirked
when he had suggested the idea. Wesley was pretty sure this was not a good sign.
The door opened and conversation throughout the bar faltered as patrons turned to see who had come in. Anita Blake, Necromancer, Federal Marshall of the state of Missouri, the Vampire Executioner, Human Servant to the Master of the City, Bolverk of the Thronos Rokke Clan, Nimir-ra of the Blooddrinker Pard, (a woman of very many, completely unnecessary titles
), walked into the dingy bar looking pissed. And not in the fun, drunken way. Wesley tracked her movements across the room as she stopped at the bar and exchanged words with Dave. Picking up her drink, a fruity looking thing, she headed for the booths, stopping at his with uncertainty.
“Mr. Wyndam-Price?” She queried, looking slightly ludicrous with the bright orange martini glass in one hand.
He inclined his head in a short nod. “Ms. Blake.” Wesley gestured to the seat opposite of him. “Please, sit.”
She did, flashing him a glimpse of a shoulder harness underneath her trim jacket. Wesley wasn’t sure if it was accidental or not. Regardless, now he knew she was armed.
Wesley took a sip of his whiskey, not wincing as the liquor burned down his throat. The gun should have made him nervous, but even after an extended hospital stay for two different attempts on his life, he was still reasonably certain he could put a throwing knife in her eye faster than she could draw her firearm.
“I’m not sure why you asked me to be here, Mr. Wyndam-Pryce.” Blake stated bluntly, her dark eyes glittering in the dim lighting.
Direct. A quality he could appreciate, especially after dealing with rambling and cryptic prophecies. “I thought it would be best if we met. It would be a pity for any tragic mishaps to occur in the near future, seeing as we both work in the same line of business.”
“Same line of business?” Blake asked softy. Wesley saw her concentrate on something, visibly flexing her muscles as a wave of chilling power (death magic
) swept outwards at him. How terribly… amateur. Apparently, the vaunted animator of St. Louis went more for blunt, over-powering strength rather than finesse and technique. Pity.
“You’re not an animator.” She concluded with a final tone in her voice. “There’s something about you that points towards it, but not really. A magic user for sure, just not an animator.”
“Correct.” Wesley nodded. “But not what I meant.”
Blake narrowed her eyes. “Well then?”
Wesley had an amused smirk on his face; he couldn’t quite help it. This woman was a cop? Obviously, she belonged in the same category as the obstreperous Sunnydale PD. “Vampires, Ms. Blake; I deal with vampires.”
“You’re a Federal Marshall as well? Why didn’t you just say so? I’m surprised at your choice in coming here; RPIT hasn’t had any new consultants apply for a position in months due to the high number of casualties under fire.” Ms. Blake cocked her head slightly, curious.
Wesley shook his head. “I am a British citizen,” he told her coolly, his upper-crust accent coming through clearly. “I highly doubt I would be able to obtain a vampire hunting license through normal channels.”
Anita Blake paused. Wesley readied the spring loaded throwing knife on his left forearm with a tensing of a muscle. “Addison v. Clarke
makes it illegal to terminate vampires without a warrant.” She stated neutrally. Or as neutral as she could sound with her right hand inching towards her holstered gun.
“Then it is fortunate for me that I belong to a Crown-sponsored organization devoted to the super- ah, excuse me, preternatural
, and have a carte-blanche approval for vampire and demon executions throughout the United States, thanks to an international treaty between my country and yours.”
The zombie raiser relaxed minutely. Despite that, Wesley kept the knife ready. Experience with Buffy and Faith had taught him to never lower his guard around female vampire hunters. They always felt like they had something to prove. They usually could.
“Oh really? Then why haven’t I heard of this organization before?”
“Before the United States granted vampires citizenship with Addison v. Clarke
, we took care of the worst vampiric and demonic threats against humankind throughout the world. My organization did so quietly and discreetly, might I add.”
“And now what? You’ve decided to set up shop in St. Louis?”
Wesley nodded firmly. “Precisely. St. Louis may not be situated on a mystical convergence of energy, but it certainly has enough of a preternatural population to warrant a closer look.”
“Now see here, we don’t want or need outsiders coming into our town-”
“---“our” town, Ms. Blake? Please, enlighten me; is it considered a conflict of interest if Missouri’s famed Vampire Executioner is romantically and mystically linked to the so-called Master of the City, the local Ulfric, and
the local Nimir-Raj? I can’t imagine your judgment is exceptionally clear and trustworthy.”
The bar quieted again. With a quick glance, Wesley noted the vampire who had appeared (like magic!) at the door of Dead Dave’s. He promptly threw the spring-loaded knife at him. It really was an impressive shot, pinning the vampire’s frilly white shirt to the wooden doorway. Then again, he wasn’t the best in knife throwing in the Watcher’s Council for nothing.
“Jean-Claude, sired by Lissette, of Belle Morte’s line. Turned in the seventeenth century, French, and favors effeminate clothing reminiscent of a bad Hollywood pirate.” Wesley recited calmly, as if he normally attacked random vampires before reciting off their life story. “Please, by all means, join us. This wasn’t a private meeting at all.”
The disgruntled vampire’s face went blank as he pulled out the knife and stalked towards the table. It was all very showy and might have even shaken him in his earlier, less experienced (stuffy wanker) days, but Wesley had survived the attentions of both Angelus and a psychotic Slayer. This ponce wasn’t something to be feared. Mocked, perhaps, but not feared.
Jean-Claude sketched a mocking, half-bow at Wesley before seating himself next to his human servant. He placed the knife on the table. It gleamed in the dim light, the edge bright and menacing. “Monsieur, I find myself at a disadvantage. You seem to know very much about us, whereas we know next to nothing about you, Mssr. Wyndam-Pryce.”
“There’s little you need to know, Jean-Claude.” Wesley smiled. It was shockingly reminiscent of the full-toothed grin of a great white shark. “Of course, I’ve forgotten to give you my title. How rude of me.” He paused. Dramatic effect was everything with vampires these days, something they had picked up from those nonsensical Anne Rice novels. “I am the Council’s Head Field Watcher.”
Jean-Claude stilled unnaturally. Considering he was a reanimated corpse, this was saying something.
“A Watcher?” Anita Blake asked curiously.
“Watchers are the most despicable of men.” Jean-Claude responded in a quiet voice, as if afraid of being overheard talking about the boogymen of the supernatural world. “They arm a young girl with a wooden stake, an innocent usually a mere fifteen years of age, and send her out to fight vampires alone. These girls lead nasty, brutish, and short lives only to die the most violent of deaths.”
Anita gasped. “That’s horrible!” She glared as Wesley, her hand inching towards the shoulder harness again.
“Consider the source. A vampire is hardly an unbiased observer. Especially if the topic relates to the most successful line of vampire hunters in the history of humankind. I can’t imagine vampires view Slayers all too kindly.” He shrugged. “Then again, Jean-Claude is also mostly correct.”
“You don’t send fifteen year old girls out against vampires?” Disbelief. The expression on Ms. Blake’s face was something akin to disbelief.
“Watchers aren’t all that despicable. Granted, the Head of the Council, Quentin Travers, is somewhat reminiscent of a troll, but that’s unfair to trolls.”
She really started reaching for the gun now. Wesley was beginning to hate that nervous reflex. “That’s positively barbaric!”
“It’s also kept the world from being overrun by hordes of demons and vampires for millennia. I wouldn’t argue with it.”
“But a young girl?”
“She’s hardly sent out unprepared. A Slayer is given certain… attributes in order to level the playing field. Watchers no longer stand by and merely observe; we fight and die alongside our Slayers.” Wesley signaled to a curvy brunette in a tight black leather outfit near the pool table. “And I’d hardly classify Faith as young or innocent.”
“Talkin’ about me behind my back, Wes?” Faith sauntered over, grinning mischievously at the Englishman. “For shame, watcher man.”
“May I introduce you to Faith, the Vampire Slayer?” Wesley spoke with a straight face, enjoying the deer-in-the-headlights look on Jean-Claude’s features as Faith gave him a slow, menacing once-over.
“Charmed,” Blake gritted out, a trace of residual panic on her face, probably an emotion leaked from Jean-Claude through their odd link.
Faith hopped into the booth, stealing the rest of Wesley’s whiskey and shooting the remainder back. “So, did I miss anything important?”
“Not really. We were discussing Addison v. Clarke
Faith snorted derisively, a flash of hatred twisting across her face. “With a bloodsucker and coffin-bait?”
Anita Blake and Jean-Claude tensed at this.
Wesley sighed. “Tact, Faith. Learn some.” He rolled his eyes. “I was merely explaining how it does not apply to us, nor do any other rules and regulations regarding vampire interactions.”
Her expression brightened. “Oh, goody. Did you do the warning yet? ‘Cause that’s the best part, you know.”
“Not yet. Am I allowed to finish, or shall we continue this inane fork in the conversation?”
“Might as well finish up. I wanna get some decent patrolling in tonight. I hear the vamps flock to the Circus of the Damned like nobody’s business.”
Jean-Claude’s expression reached a new panicked height. Apparently, he didn’t like the thought of a Slayer loose in his daytime resting place and main source of income. Wesley smirked. He didn’t mind the idea of Faith wreaking havoc in the Circus at all.
“I don’t like vampires.” Wesley started abruptly, without preamble. “More importantly, neither does Faith. The both of us find vampires to be parasites, murderous leeches that should have been exterminated millennia ago. However, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that not all vampires are evil. There are individual vampires that are decent enough, champions even, but these are rare. We’re not going to change our ‘stake first, ask question later’ policy just because of a few good vampires. Furthermore, we don’t care who your sire was or how badass you think you are. If we find you in the wrong, we will stake you. To be honest, we’ve taken out things that make the two of you look like push-overs.” Wesley shared a reminiscing glance with Faith, a quick smile before he was back to business. “It’s also fair that we warn you against taking preemptive action against either of us. If you’re thinking of killing us, you had better pray you get the both of us. I can only speak for myself, but if someone managed to kill Faith, I believe the vampire community on a whole would be facing a massacre of Holocaust-like proportions. Minus the survivors, of course.”
“Damn straight.” Faith added forcefully.
“I admit, this sounds all very extreme, but if you follow our rules, I’m positive we won’t have any of these problems.”
Faith started ticking off fingers with every rule. “No feeding on the unwilling. No children, point blank. They will not be fed on or in the vicinity of a feeding. No pregnant women. The same goes for them, too. No feeding to the brink of death, unless siring childer. No fucking endemic of minions. I’m really serious about that one; I fucking hate minions. No deep thralling. No unnatural coercion; i.e. you do this or you die. No torture of humans or lycanthropes. I don’t give a shit if you coffin-cross every vamp that pisses you off, but touch a human and you life won’t be worth living. No cults. Speaking of which, have you seen Malcolm of that blasted Church? He’s been avoiding us.” Faith sighed. “How sad. Not even the vampires will return my calls. I feel so unloved.”
“Right, right. Now, where was I? Oh yeah, last but definitely not least, no fucking apocalypses. They only piss me off and you really wouldn’t like that.”
The table was quiet for a moment.
“What makes you think we’re going to let you do this?” Blake asked, her voice cold.
Faith laughed. “I’m willing to like you on principle, Blake. There aren’t very many other female vampire hunters shorter than me an’ B, but damn
. Were you not listening to Wes? We will fuck you up. I’m human and I can bend a fucking crowbar into a fucking pretzel. Wes is a wicked good wizard and
he isn’t tied down by those regulations like your pussy wanna-blessed-be’s. The fucking Queen of England says that we can do whatever the hell we want to vampire community as long as we have a good excuse.” She grinned darkly. “We only have to write reports once, maybe twice a year. I’m pretty sure Wes can come up with a decent excuse by then.”
Wesley absently smacked the back of Faith’s head. “Watch your language when you’re talking about the Queen.” He chided her. Turning to the vampire, he palmed the knife and idly twisted it around slowly. “All in all, the rules are sensible and logical. They benefit both of us. Do you find our terms agreeable?”
Jean-Claude had not taken his eyes off the Slayer, even when Wesley had been threatening him. He sighed deeply, a very human gesture. “It appears that we have no choice.”
“That’s the spirit!” Faith cheered, toying with the empty whiskey shot glass. “Just think, agreeing to that little list of do-not’s saved you from a torturous and painful demise.”
“Indeed.” Wesley stared intently at Jean-Claude. “As the self-proclaimed ‘master’ of St. Louis, I expect that you will ensure that your minions will follow these rules. I don’t think we need to go over the consequences of breaking them.”
“No.” Anita Blake replied, a touch mockingly. “I think we get it.”
“Good. It’s been fun threatening you, but after all that talk, I wanna beat the shit outta something.” She stood. “Coming, Wesley?”
Wesley stood as well. “Yes. I’ll just be a moment.” He turned back to the vampire and human servant. “I must admit, it has been a pleasure, Ms. Blake, Jean-Claude. I hope our future dealings will prove to be as amicable.” He grinned, not so politely. “See you at the Circus.” Wesley shot over his shoulder as he strode towards the door, the bar eerily quiet for his and Faith’s passing.
As he left, Wesley could hear the French vampire cursing violently in the silence of the bar very well.
Author’s Notes: Well, this is one of the longest stories that I’ve written in quite a while. I wanted to play with Wesley; people don’t really like him and I don’t know why. I find him fascinating. If you didn’t quite get it, the Watcher’s Council traded a license to exterminate vampires with for Faith’s freedom with Wesley. They wanted her free to do her job and hey, if she died, then they might have a more conservative slayer called. This is just before the thing with the First and the dead potentials. Faith was never called in to fight Angelus (or the Beast), as she had disappeared from the California prison system without a trace. She never went back to Sunnydale, either. Instead, Wesley and Faith wandered around the US, staking vampires and beating down baddies, ending up in St. Louis. Let’s face it, that city has the amount of mayhem that Sunnydale or LA gets, without the corrupting influence of the Hellmouth or Hollywood. Even the Watcher’s Council would see the usefulness of stationing a Slayer there.
Wesley’s not as bitter as he is in season five, but he isn’t a nice guy at this point in time. As for the knife-throwing thing, he’s not stupid and he did pay attention in school. Knife throwing is done at a bit of a distance; it would be a suitable accompaniment to the crossbow in a good Watcher’s arsenal. Wesley is a bit of a magic user. He was the only one with training and ability in Angel’s group in LA. (I don’t count Cordy’s glowy, floating thing.) He isn’t constrained by the rules that other magic users are as a British citizen. My personal conjecture is that he became much more comfortable in using it, to the point where he could be considered a wizard. Who knows?
Anywho, I hope you all liked it. Feedback is greatly appreciated, constructive criticism even more so.
---- TombCrank the Crafty