Tis the Season
Disclaimer: Buffy is owned by Joss Whedon and The Venture Brothers and all characters therein are owned ultimately by Warner Brothers and its creators.
Brock Sampson sighed as he looked around his room. The boys were being grown again after those two minions of the Monarch had managed to kill them. He was about to go work on his Charger but he couldn't find his second favorite knife. He searched his room more thoroughly and found that his expired OSI id was missing as well.
"Helper, have you been in my room?" Brock asked the robot.
"Meep meep meep meep, meep meep." Helper responded.
"Right just the regular cleanings while I was out looking for the Doc this time. Were there any visitors to the compound besides the Quiz guy and the Albino?"
"Meep meep. Meep meep meep meep." Helper told him.
"Uh huh. Dr. Orpheus. Right, I'll go check with him. Do you know how he's doing? He took the death of the boys pretty hard." Brock asked the final creation of Dr. Jonas Venture.
"Meep meep meep."
"That's not my call Helper. It's a trade secret, not even the Guild of Calamitous intent knows about the clones." Brock said as he scratched his neck.
"It's the doc's call Helper, always has been. keep an eye on him would you? I need to work on my car some more, But I need to talk to Dr. O first. Later Helper." Brock said as he headed towards the old arachnid research wing where the necromancer and his daughter lived.
"Dr. O, you in here?" Brock asked after knocking and opening the door.
"Brock, how good to see you! How are you faring?" The mystical man asked in his usual dramatic tone.
"I'm good Doc. Look Helper said you had a visitor while I was out searching for the Doc. I'm asking because some stuff is missing from my room. I don't want to point fingers but the compound hasn't been compromised while I was gone, except for your visitor."
"Oh dear. Yes I did have a visitor, an old friend from my days visiting Oxford. He's a fellow practitioner of the mystical arts but he's a bit of a prankster. He's also Triana's godfather, it was my wife's idea I'm afraid."
"That's great really, about my stuff?" Brock asked him.
"What precisely was taken that you're aware of? It could be some random trophy thing or something less..... mundane."
Brock shrugged. "My second favorite knife and sheath and my old OSI ID. Is this a voodoo thing or something? I've had voodoo dolls made of me before, they're not fun."
Dr. Orpheus frowned. "Both are personal Items that could be considered close to you...I don't want to deny Ethan his fun especially if he's going to do what he did back in eighty six...." He trailed off and got a determined look on his face.
Dr Orpheus held out his hands and started chanting, his eyes and hands started glowing scarlet and he put his index fingers up to Brock's temples.
Once the good Doctor finished and Brock reigned in his urge to kill, Brock spoke.
“Doc, I trust you, but that tingled. And not in a good way. What did you just do?” The blond Behemoth asked the man in front of him.
“Ethan took some components for a spell he's probably going to cast on Halloween. I made sure that when it is cast, you won't be..... incapacitated. Although, when it ends you may have some memories that you didn't before.” Orpheus chuckled. “That Ethan, always with the pranks.”
Brock scratched his neck. “Right...”
The lights went out.
“Dammit.” Brock muttered. “I gotta get to the fuse box... hey can you do one of those floating light thingies or something, I really hate stubbing my toes.”
“Certainly.” Dr Orpheus said and conjured a light above Brock's head.
“Thanks. Listen, we'll talk again when whatever you just did to my head kicks in all right?”
“Of course, you know I could replace that lost knife of yours. I have a few enchanted Athames that might catch your eye.” Orpheus offered.
“Maybe later.” Brock replied
Molotov Cocktease frowned as she went through the secret panels in her closet. She was missing some 'work' clothes. She'd been out doing some freelance work for David Bowie again, mainly because he'd offered her a way out of that damn belt her former controllers had given her. According to the illustrious head of the Guild, it would be off within a year. But right now she either needed to up her security....again or move.
She wondered what Sampson was up to.
“Hey Doc, I found the rest of your torso. You won't believe where I found it or what its covered in!” Brock called as he rolled the missing piece into the lab.
“Ahh.. Brock, open the vents... geez!” Dr Venture told him.
“Sure thing, hang on Doc.” Brock said.
Ethan Rayne began to relax as he finally started to head west. It had been a close call at the last stop. He'd gotten a sizable commission from the Head of the Guild himself to use leftover items from various dead and defrocked members. He'd also had to get items from two people who had killed most of them. The best the US and the Russians had to offer. He shuddered. Those two were dangerous on their own. Together, pure chaos and carnage.
As it was this was to be a lot of chaos and a bit of a recruitment drive for the Guild, dossiers for the different costumes charmed to only be recognized and purchased by those with similar personality types. Once the spell was cast, Ethan Rayne was going to get the hell off the Hellmouth. It didn't matter if he could screw with Ripper. He'd seen Sampson in action once. That was more than enough thank you very much.
Cordelia Chase was more than a little bit angry. She saw Harmony walk out of Party Town with a costume that was identical to the one she had reserved for herself. “Meddlesome bitch.” she muttered before going in the store to see if it had been cleaned out of other costumes in her size.
She wondered if she could get her deposit back.... Oh well.
While she looked around the store she realized she was pretty much screwed this year for costume choices. That was until she was something that actually caught her eye. Pity it wasn't in the store, rather outside it.
It was a flyer, conveniently on a light pole outside of Party town. An advertisement for a new costume shop in town called Ethan's. “Quality costumes at Quantity prices...catchy” Cordelia said reading the flyer.
Her mind made up, she got in her car and headed to her last, best hope at making Harmony look like an idiot, again.
Xander Harris was pissed. Not sullen, not moody, not even a little angry. He was pissed off. First he'd gotten his chops busted by Larry for standing up for Buffy and her reputation. Then the same girl he was defending ended up interrupting him getting punched in the face for a good cause and made emasculating him in the process. Yeah, he knew what the word meant.
Now both Buffy and Willow were 'oohing and ahhhing' over some noble woman's costume so she could impress Angel. It was Very nice, very traditional, straight out of a book, one that happened to be on the many many murders that Angelus had done, but that's besides the point isn't' it?
“Lousy Vampire.” Xander muttered.
“Can I help you?” came a voice from right behind him.
Xander jumped up in shock. “Waah... don't do that here!” Xander exclaimed as he put his hand on his chest.
The store owner smiled. “Sorry if I startled you, even though it's the season for it an all that.”
Xander eyed the shopkeep. “Right.... This is a neat place, though the prices are unbelievable.”
Ethan smiled. “Thank you. This is a test run you could say. I want to see exactly how many people I can sell costumes to in two days at a discount prices when there is a chain store in town as well.
“Well you can't be making much of profit doing that.” Xander said honestly.
“You'd be surprised young man, though I do have some...eccentric backers who are interested in expanding so here I am.”
“Great.” The two of them walked further back into the store. Xander looked up at a costume in a display case. “What can you tell me about this one.” he said pointing at one costume in particular.
Ethan managed not to shudder as the young man looked at the case holding a blond wig, jeans, a black t-shirt a knife in it's sheath and an expired OSI badge.
“This costume is based on a fairly well known government agent. One of the best trained during the height of the Cold War. He's seen as a god in some circles and an agent of hell in others. Other agents use guns and fancy gadgets in times he just uses a knife.” Ethan plowed through the prepared speech. The kid was definitely buying it.
“Really, what is this guy's name?” Xander asked him.
“Brock Sampson.” Ethan said with a smile.
“Wasn't he involved at that Rocky Horror massacre/riot a few months back?” Xander asked, surprised that the same man was a government agent.
“I think so, but he was cleared of all charges.” Actually he was exempt from them all. Same difference.
“The whole thing made the news, even out here. It was a bloodbath.... How much?” Xander finally asked with a grin.
Ethan's smile was far more sinister.
“Hey how much for this costume?” Cordelia asked Ethan about a half hour after he'd sold the Slayer her pretty dress.
“Thirty Dollars.” he said automatically before looking at the costume he was selling her. Crap.
“Is the belt included?” Cordelia asked.
“Yes, but it is an exact replica. There is no key available for it and once it's put on it can't be removed.” Ethan warned her.
“Why would you sell something like that then?” She asked with a scoff.
“Well I did warn you. Tell me what do you know about the Cold War?” Ethan asked her.
“It was us versus the Russians right?” Cordelia asked the British man.
“This costume is a perfect replica of Russia's top agent's working clothes. Her name is Molotov Cocktease, hence the evil chastity belt.” Ethan said with a wave of his hand at the offending... item.
After a few moments of contemplation, Cordelia said, “Huh, I'll take it.” She didn't have to wear the belt. “How did she lose they eye?” She asked the store owner as he opened the case.
“Well my dear, that is a story for another time.” He sold her the costume and handed her the Dossier on her 'character'. She was flipping through it as she went to her car.
He watched all the happenings in his crystal and grinned. Things were going well. Wilkins's contract would be up once he was no longer human and the one that was literally grandfathered in with Nest had been up for months now.
He needed a crew on the Hellmouth and he had a few costumes he needed to fill as well since there more than a few resurrection clauses in the contracts of his former guild members. Some would contact him after the spell was lifted, others would see sense in joining, or rejoining as it were. Everything was proceeding as planned. Well almost everything.
“Now to take care of the poet.” he said as he gazed into the ball and its focus shifted to another place in Sunnydale.
In their lair, Drusilla had one vision only to have it supplanted by another. The image of a weakened slayer replaced by her and Spike's deaths by the hands of two very dangerous individuals. She knew she had to keep her Spike contained, distracted. She just didn't have the energy to do so...until now.
“Spikey..... Come here and give me every inch of your love.” Drusilla said with a coo.
The Led Zepplin Reference was lost on both of them at the moment, one that would come back to haunt the both of them.
“Xander, who exactly who are you dressed as?” Joyce Summers asked her daughter's young friend as she opened the door.
“A special government agent Mrs. Summers. Why?” Xander answered the woman he considered to be a mother figure.
“You sort of look like a man I knew once. I had a fling...I guess you could say..” She went a little pale. “right before I met Buffy's Father.”
“Umm.... Thanks?” Xander said with a confused tone.
“Two months of dating before we were engaged, another before we realized I was well and truly pregnant and the rush wedding... We... oh dear. Well Buffy's eighteen in a little over a year and the child support stops then. What Hank doesn't know won't hurt him.” Joyce concluded before looking at Xander again.
“You're dressed as Brock Sampson aren't you?” She asked him.
Xander handed her the ID card he had. “How did you...”
“You never forget Brock Sampson Xander. Ever.” Joyce said with a hint of a smile before frowning again and handing the card back to him. “Don't tell my daughter.” she said seriously.
“Will do. Mrs. S. we all have our secrets.” Xander said before moving into the house.
“Xander are you hitting on my mom?” Buffy called as she came down the stairs.
“Nah Buff, just talking about school and stuff. You look good by the way, I renounce the spandex.” He said with a grin.
Buffy smiled and adjusted her hat. “ Thanks, but you should see Willow, she's...” she trailed off as she turned around and saw Willow in her ghost costume.
'That's a nice Boo you've got there Willow.” Xander said to his oldest living friend.
“Thanks” Willow said, blushing slightly under the sheet.
“So are we ready to go? Snyder waits for no teens, he just gives them detentions.”
Willow eeped at the thought of detention and they were on their way.
“So I saw Harmony get the exact same costume that I had reserved for myself at Party Town and I knew she'd done it on purpose. I went to that new place in town and the guy said that this was a one of a kind replica. It's just surprising that it fits this well without anything falling out.”
“Wow Cordelia, that's amazing with the way it looks. I mean that outfit is such a....” Aura trailed off.
“A tease?” Cordelia finished her friend's sentence with a grin. “Believe me I know. You wouldn't believe what the costume came with.”
Brock Sampson felt like banging his head into the wall of Baron Unterbeit's pantry. Not only had Hank ruined the costume party, but the good Baron had them captive and was making bedroom eyes with Dean. He was about to see if any of the bricks were loose when he felt a strange tingling in the back of his head. He grinned. It looked like Dr. O was right after all.
“Brock are you okay?” Dr. Venture asked his bodyguard.
“yeah. Doc, I need you and Hank to focus. We've got to get out of Unterland alive.” He said as they stepped back from a Brick that was coming out of the wall.
Molotov was enjoying a quiet evening at home at the behest of her current taskmaster. She'd settled down to watch a marathon on the History Channel when she felt a wave of dizziness and passed out.
Ethan grinned as he felt the spell snap into place over the town. It would break at sunrise, or when the bust of Janus he used as a focus did. He got up and started moving. He bandaged his hands and picked up the bust.
“Now to get you in the safe and the hell out of town.” Giles would get the message either way, but he was being paid not to gloat.
“Okay...” he said as he looked at his new surroundings. “Where the hell am I?”
Brock checked his pockets and found his old OSI badge and his knife and sheath were on his belt in the normal spot. Some of his general stiffness was gone too.
“No smokes...still this is a lot better than Unterland.” he said before a redheaded hooker ran up to him.
“A whole lot better” he said before the redhead started talking at a ridiculously fast pace.
“Xander! It's me willow! I was standing then I felt dizzy and now everything is all crazy.” Willow babbled as she talked to her friend who was looking at her funny.
“Lady, I don't have the time or the inclination to do anything you could help with right now. Sorry, but even then, there is only one redhead for me.” Brock said to the hooker.
It took a few moments for Willow to stop babbling and process what Xander had said. “What! Ooh!.” in her hanger she slapped her friend, or at least tried to.
“So you're incorporeal or the ghost of a hooker. How does that work exactly?” Brock asked her.
“I'm not a hooker!” Willow shouted.
“Uh huh” Brock said, his eyes scanning the night.
“No! I was wearing this under my...ghost costume.” Willow said with a look of realization.
“Costume huh? Someone dressed as me? I'm touched.” Brock said with a hint of a grin.
“Wait, you know what's going on?” Willow asked the man in her friend's body.
“Sort of. I had some stuff go missing a while back. It turns out one of my neighbors friends took stuff for spell components. The Doc did some mumbo jumbo so I wouldn't be incapacitated when this happened. Here's my stuff, and here I am.” he said with a shrug. “Do you know were I can get some smokes?”
“Smokes? Now isn't the time for cigarettes. Who are you?” Willow asked him.
“Name's Brock Sampson. I'm with OSI.” He said in a monotone voice.
“What's OSI?” Willow asked, confused.
“Office of Secret Intelligence.” Brock said looking back at the girl. “You're really not a hooker are you?”
“No I'm not. I've never heard of that agency.” Willow said with a frown.
“That's why it's secret intelligence.” he said with a grin.
There was an explosion in the distance.
“Listen, I'm gonna go check that out. You do that intangible thing. If you know anyone involved in the occult or the supernatural, go to him or her or whatever.” Brock told the girl before he headed towards the richer part of Sunnydale.
“Explain... where am I?” she said as she placed pressure on the gun that was already digging under the boy's chin.
“Cordelia, why are you doing this? I thought that was a toy gun!” the boy exclaimed.
“Where am I? I'm losing patience boy.” She said in an increasingly present Russian accent.
“You're in Sunnydale California, this is your hometown. Why are you doing this?” He whimpered.
She saw the look of confusion and terror on the boy's face. “I believe you. Feel glad that I am feeling so charitable little man.” She re holstered her weapon and looked to the where the sound of an explosion was coming from. “If I come back, I will be asking you more questions.” She said before she walked off towards the greater chaos the evening presented.
The Lizard Master looked around and carefully walked past the crater he'd unintentionally created. His grenades were mislabeled again. The last time that had happened it had gotten him.... killed. “Oh crap.” he said as he looked around at the little monsters running around.
“I'm in hell aren't I? I paid my dues to the guild. How did I get mislabeled equipment? That bastard Phantom Limb...” he said as he heard the approach of heels and he turned to see a fearsome sight. Molotov Cocktease was approaching from down the street. He turned to run in the opposite direction and found Brock Sampson approaching him. “Exit stage left!” He said as he ran towards the Sunnydale Zoo.
“Sampson?” She asked.
“Hello Molotov. You're not looking quite like yourself tonight.” he said with a grin to the love of his life.
“You look different as well Sampson. What the hell is going on?” Molotov asked the American Agent.
Brock scratched his Mullet...when had that grown back? “Tell me, have you had any personal items go missing lately?”
“Just a set of work clothes.... Magic? I hate magic.” Molotov said, a sneer gracing her beautiful features.
“Yeah, Dr. Orpheus warned me about this and set up a failsafe for me. Were you working or at home when you got here?”
“I was at home. I had been given the night off...” She trailed off before her eye widened in realization. “Bowie knew.”
“He did. We're possessing other people, teenagers I think. They never covered this sort of thing in when I was trained.” He said with a frown.
“My trainer didn't believe in magic either. Just good hard work and deception of course. Times have changed.” She said with a sigh.
“That they have. You want to fight for old times sake, see what these bodies can do with us behind the wheel? No permanent damage of course.” he said with a smirk.
“Lets.” She said before charging forward.
They traded blows, beating the stuffing out of each other until Brock managed to knee her in the crotch. The both paused after that blow.
“That...” She said as he said, “there isn't.” they paused.
“We need to find a secure place. Now!” she commanded her American counterpart.
Brock ran at full tilt and scooped her up and put her over his shoulder, running as fast as his legs could carry him.
Rupert Giles looked around the shop with Angel who had an unconscious Buffy over his shoulder not far behind him. Giles examined the ritual circle but there was no Totem or anything else. By the blood pattern the totem was missing. But where was it?
“Where the hell is Ethan or the bloody focus!” Giles wondered aloud as he searched the entire store.
There was a scream and a thump.
Giles turned to look at Angel who shrugged and picked Buffy back up. “She tried to run again. I hated noblewomen when I was alive. Now it's even worse.”
“That's all well and good but do you have any idea where Ethan would have kept the focus after the ritual.”
“Is there a safe?” Angel asked before they found it in the back room.
“Oh dear.” Giles said.
“I can't lift that. It's too heavy.” Angel said staring at the large safe.
“Can you use your hearing to open it?” Giles asked him.
“No, I haven't got much experience in safe cracking and this one uses a key and a combination. We're pretty screwed aren't we?” Angel said bluntly.
“A spell of this magnitude can't last forever.” Giles said. “This is a prank by Ethan, it should be over with by morning I think.”
“Willow hasn't seen Xander since he ran off right?” Angel asked, curious about the fate of the boy.
“Yes, she said he dressed as someone called Brock Simpson I think.” Giles said as he cleaned his glasses.
Angel paused. “You mean Brock Sampson?” he asked the watcher.
“Yes I believe that may be correct. Do you know this person?”
“Yes. Let's try not to find him at all. Trust me Giles.” Angel said.
“Oh dear.” Giles said as Angel picked up the possessed Slayer.
He laughed as he watched the two of them give in to years of pent up lust and passion that wasn't truly theirs.
“Six times already. Remarkable”
The sun rose and wit the first rays of daylight, the Spell over Sunnydale was lifted. Spirits returned back to their bodies, creatures became children once more, but two victims of the spell were in an exhausted slumber over at the Sunnydale Motor lodge. As things resumed their normal pace on the Hellmouth and elsewhere as well, some things stayed off their normal track.
“Brock I know were in Michigan now and all, but why the hell are you smiling like that?” Dr Venture asked his unusually chipper looking bodyguard.
“No real reason. I need to speak with Dr. Orpheus when we get back home though.” Brock answered Dr Venture before going over to the military had set up a little food stand. Grin still in place.
“That is a creepy smile.” Hank told his brother Dean.
“Whatever. At least I'm not married.” Dean said with a shiver.
“That was a strange night. Even for us.” Hank said
“No fooling Brother mine.” Dean told his twin.
Molotov Cocktease picked herself up from the floor and went straight to her phone. She dialed a seventeen digit number and waited for the other side to pick up.
“Yes” came the voice on the other end of the phone.
“We need to talk. Was last night your doing?” the ex KGB agent asked her taskmaster.
“It was dear. You enjoy yourself?” He asked her, the grin was obvious even over the phone.
“Immensely. When can I get the belt off?” She said with little patience in her voice.
“After the wedding.” Was the reply
“What wedding?” She asked a little confused. He wasn't normally straightforward, but this was cryptic even for him.
“You'll see. Just keep an eye on the Ventures for me. I'm going to have to clean house again eventually. The Phantom Limb has this growing delusion that he controls the Guild.” He told her.
“If you didn't pay so well.” Molotov stated.
“You'd kill me. Or at least try to. I know . I'll keep you updated on the progress of your...host.”
There was a click and she hung up the phone on her end. Yes, things were getting interesting indeed. She resolved to move a little closer to the Venture Compound.
“Punt!” He screamed as he sat up in bed, soaked in sweat as well as various other fluids.
“Quiet...Sampson...?” came an accented voice before its owner also sat up in bed. The two looked at each other before the screaming and the pointing began.
“Oh quiet down.” came a voice that both teens recognized for various reasons.
Cordelia remembered the voice of her... Molotov's employer.
Xander remembered the voice from... Brock's own encounters with the man as well as the fact that Labyrinth used to be Willow's favorite movie.
“David Bowie?” Both teens asked as they turned from facing each other to the floating crystal ball at the edge of the bed with said man's face visible inside of it.
“Glad to see you both still have some of your wits about you. Yes, it is I, David Bowie. Known to one of you as the head of the Guild of Calamitous Intent.” He said with a grin.
“You're the head of the Guild?” Xander asked. “The Guild is one of the organizations that I... Brock still respects. Are you responsible for what did this to us last night?”
Bowie smiled. “Yes and no young one. Ethan Rayne, the proprietor of the costume shop you went to last night was going to do what he did anyways. I just....altered the scenario a little.”
“Why?” Cordelia asked him.
Bowie smirked. “Aside from the fact that I can? Because the Guild along with almost everyone else on this planet has a vested interest in keeping the world spinning and the denizens of Hell from taking over. The Guild had a longstanding contract with one Heinrich nest of noninterference. He was known to you two as the Master. Since his bones have been destroyed and very few avenues of resurrection for him are available at this point. His contract is up. Pity that. As for why, well I need a team on the Hellmouth.”
“And who better than Brock Sampson and Molotov Cocktease to do so.” Xander said as he felt his transformed physique.
“Precisely.” Bowie told them. “Now you'll be fully funded with weaponry and all that. It'll be part of the Guild's budget under 'Preventative Maintenance.'” he said with a grin.
“Catchy.” Xander found himself saying “Why us?”
“Well your psych profiles are the most compatible and I have it on both higher and lower authorities that you both would have been dead and forgotten within ten years otherwise. You'd have been sacrificed by the higher powers on their quest for balance. They only care about their champions.” Bowie told them seriously.
They both believed him. They looked at each other and shrugged. “Oh well... Dammit why not. Brock's life is weird enough to make the hellmouth look normal.” Xander said.
“That's great, but the Guild is a big organization, you have a lot of R and D stuff right?” Cordelia asked the orb.
“We do. Why?” Bowie asked her.
“Have you got anything that would let us heal faster, getting shot is a bitch but Molotov lost an eye and I'd rather not have that happen or at least have it grow back or something.” Cordelia said with a frown.
“We do have something along those lines but it is a permanent upgrade with the side effects of an increased metabolism and lengthened lifespan.” He told them.
“Exactly how long of a life span?” Xander asked him.
“There has only been one head of the Guild.” Bowie told them with a grin.
“Oh...Jeez.” Xander said at that revelation and scratched his... mullet.
“Why haven't you offered this to other people?” Cordelia asked.
“Because they never ask.” Bowie said with a grin. “Now Ms. Chase, are you on any form of Birth control?”
“No...shit.” Cordelia said with a frown.
Bowie laughed. “I'll send a morning after pill with the rest of what I'm going to send you. It's legal over here at least. I'll expect regular updates. Cordelia knows how to reach me.”
The face shimmered out of the Orb and it became opaque as it started spinning rapidly. There was a flash and it was replaced by a huge steamer trunk.
Xander got out of the bed and walked over to the trunk and opened it.
“What have we got?” Cordelia asked as she eyed Xander's backside.
“Five grand in cash, carton of smokes, keys to a locker at the Sunnydale Bus station, clothes for both of us.” He paused. “Two vials of glowing purple stuff, and one morning after pill.” He said holding up the last mentioned item.
“I'll take that thank you.” Cordelia said, getting out of bed in a flash and grabbing the clothes out of the trunk and heading to the bathroom. She got a glass of water before getting one for Brock... Xander. She flashed back to the night before.
“We need to get cleaned up and get out of here Cordelia. It's Saturday.. but still. Cordelia, I have to ask about last night.” Xander said, looking at the cheerleader.
“It was unbelievable. I have to shower I want you to get breakfast after your turn. And some condoms.” She said with a grin.
He grinned ferally. “Right.”
“Has anyone seen Xander today?” Giles asked the girls as they walked into the Library.
“Nope. I haven't seen him since he went off last night. Is he okay?” Willow said before she started to babble.
“Willow, calm yourself.” Buffy said.
“Calm myself?” Willow asked, Buffy's phrase interrupting her train of thought.
“Sorry, some of last night stuck with me. It might be a long time before I get behind the wheel of one of those demons...I mean cars.” Buffy said frowning.
“Thank god.” Willow muttered. “What? I've seen you drive.” She said defensively at Buffy's look.
“Well, it's a Saturday. I think people would have called in anyways if it weren't the weekend. From what I've seen around town today, everyone is pretty tired. Not all of us have Slayer stamina or spent most of the night in a near death state. So aside from Buffy's newfound fear of cars, I think the two of you fared pretty well after last night. I'm still uncertain if anything from last night would have any lasting effects.” Giles said.
“Again! Harder!” She screamed.
“I hope so Giles. I tried to find out who Xander dressed up as last night but I nearly got caught by the government. Whoever Brock Sampson is he has connections. Very high ones.” Willow said frowning.
“Angel seemed to know of this person as well.” Giles said, his frown matching Willow's.
“Angel? He knows who Xander dressed as? Weird, though I guess Angel has a unique history.” Buffy said.
“Most certainly.” Giles said. “His life before his death helped to make him one of the most vicious and deranged vampires in the last five hundred years.”
“What kind of history did Angel have?” Buffy asked, curious as to what her secretive boyfriend was like back when he was alive originally.
“Where to start?” Giles said with a sigh.
“How about his life? We've got time to actually learn about him, and we're interested.” Willow said, curious as well about Buffy's beau.
“Well Liam was the son of a moderately wealthy man and was raised as a Catholic in Ireland.” Giles started.
Angel woke up with a start. He had a bad feeling about something.
Xander put out his cigarette as he walked into the Sunnydale bus station. He matched the key with the appropriate locker and pulled out what looked like a bowling bag with a post-it note attached it.
“A mutual acquaintance instructed that I leave this for you. It's a magical murder bag.”
Dr Henry Killinger.
“Huh. Groovy.” Xander said as he walked back to the motorlodge a convenient block and a half from the bus station.
“Cordelia? I'm back.” Xander called as he opened the door to the hotel room. He found her sitting on the bed watching television. He felt a pang in his chest looking at her. A lot of Brock's feelings for Molotov had transferred over. Plus he was a teenager.
“Hey. What was in the locker?” Cordelia asked him.
“ Something called a magical murder bag. Do you know someone called Dr. Henry Killinger?” Xander asked her.
“Yeah, he's in the black ops wing of the Guild and a wickedly powerful negotiator. You mean that's one of his bags?” Cordelia asked him.
“I guess so.” he said. “What does it do exactly?” He asked her.
“Well reach in and find out.” She told him. “Hey, what do you think of the red in my hair now?”
He paused before reaching into the bag. “It looks great. Really.” He said and plunged his whole left arm into the deceptively large bag. “There's nothing in here... wait hang on.” He pulled out a very generic looking broadsword. “Nice weight. No gold or jewels in the hilt. I like it.” He said with a grin. “What else is in here?” He wondered aloud.
“I think that bag is our access to the Guild armories. That way we won't get caught with a cache of highly illegal weapons here.” Cordelia said.
“Nice, could have used one of these back at... home.” Xander said.
“What's wrong?” Cordelia asked him.
“Brock had a life, a family. A wacky and unbelievably messed up and dysfunctional family with the Ventures, but still a life. Even with all the crazy it's better than my own family.”
Cordelia nodded. “Molotov was alone. Always alone. I sympathize, but move over, I want to try this bag myself.” She said before reaching in and pulling out a Haz-mat suit.
She grinned. “I think we're going to like working for the Guild. Technically evil or not.”
“Speaking of which.” Xander said before pulling out two Guild identification cards out of the bag. He handed one to Cordelia who grinned.
“These offer us a significant level of legal protection.” Cordelia said.
“Yeah, until the Guild has no use for us like they did with the Monarch.” Xander said frowning.
“The Lawyer was the true target and Phantom Limb simply took advantage of the situation. The Monarch is free again, either way.” She said with a shrug.
“True enough. So what are we going to do about accommodations? Are we going to squat or stay somewhere and rent?” he asked her.
“My family has a pool house at the edge of the property and it has a kitchen and everything.” She told him.
“Hhm... could work. Brock had to stay in the rumpus room since he moved into the Venture compound.” Xander said.
Cordelia scoffed. “The Ventures have been dying a slow death since Dr. Jonas Venture passed on.” She said with distaste.
“Yeah, Rusty can't hold a candle to his father, but that isn't the point. His brother is doing some good stuff on his own. He got some doctorates in the month I was out looking for the Doc after he got out of him before the boys died. That was one weird weekend.” he said with a frown.
“Dr. Venture had his brother inside of him?” Cordelia asked, a little confused.
“It was a thing. He tried to kill us all. Robot Prothesis, we made up then the boys got killed again.”
“Again?” Cordelia asked.
“Clones. Lots and lost of clones. All I'm saying.” Xander told her.
She blinked. “That makes sense actually. I didn't think those two had enough common sense between them to survive, turns out I.. Molotov was right. But their memories..” She said trailing off.
“Not saying.” Xander said.
“Right. Well you want to go kill things tonight?” She asked him.
“Of course.” He said with a grin.
“That's horrible. The whole village?” Buffy asked Giles.
“His father last. Angelus is the prime example of how vicious a person can be after they're turned.” Giles told them
“But he has a soul now!” Buffy said.
“He was a bad man in life. Even worse in death. He was cursed almost a century ago and has done very little for his sins until recently. Why?” Willow asked Giles.
“Honestly? I have no idea. But in life and in death, Liam has always been fairly selfish from what I've come to understand, especially with Darla and Drusilla. Things changed when Spike joined them.”
“He's always kept things from me. His past, even his name! Why hide it?” Buffy asked “I mean yes he should be ashamed of what he did in life but not after he was turned right?” Buffy asked Giles, almost pleadingly.
“Like it or not Buffy, Angel is still a vampire with all the hungers, instincts and urges involved with that. He's just has a sense of guilt and a conscience that's been tacked on with what can only be described as dark magic. What holds it in place is beyond my understanding. He is ultimately dangerous. To us and to others. Especially if the curse would somehow be lifted.” Giles said, cleaning his glasses.
“But..” Buffy said.
“Buffy, he spent a hundred years brooding and regretting what he did, but little else. Why do good here in Sunnydale?” Willow asked her in a moment of rare logic.
“He warned us about the Master. He saved me from him.” Buffy said, defending him.
“He had access to a Codex of the Slayer Prophecies. Something that had disappeared from the Watcher Archives five years previous to his arrival in Sunnydale. Well before you had been called. Besides, we have never gotten a clear story as to why he and Xander were there that night. Before you knocked me out, he was certain that you were going to face your destiny and die that night. I am uncertain as to what changed his mind.” Giles told them.
“What was Xander doing down there anyway?” Willow asked Buffy.
“You know... I have no idea. We should find him soon. I'm getting kind of worried.” Buffy said frowning in thought.
“Well we can search for him and patrol at the same time. It seems we've used up the entire afternoon here talking.” Giles said while looking at the clock over the library doors.
“No wonder I'm so hungry.” Buffy said before her stomach growled audibly.
Giles sighed. “Fine we can go to the Doublemeat Palace on the way.” Giles said while pinching the bridge of his nose.
Buffy bounced on the balls of her feet. “That's great, I'll get my equipment.” She said before running to the weapons cage.
“Doublemeat Palace he says. What can go wrong he says.” Buffy was muttering while trying to get... something out of her hair.
“Buffy, I honestly had no idea about that... thing.” He said with a shudder.
“At least we got some sandwiches out of it.” Willow said with a happy grin before biting into one herself.
“I say they taste off somehow.” Giles said. “I know my meat and my animal parts in general, and I say there is something off with both the chicken and the beef.” He said frowning as he chewed his own sandwich as they walked towards the closest cemetery.
“Whatever. Let's just...” Buffy said before they saw a flash of fire rise into the air from behind a crypt and a vampire that was on fire run towards them screaming. He turned to ash before he reached them. “Patrol?” Buffy finished.
“Oh my.” Giles said as he stared at the pile of smoldering ash. They all walked towards the sound of battle and Willow and Giles finished their sandwiches.
When they got to the scene they found something... disturbing.
Xander and Cordelia were decked out in black uniforms of the same design, they were surrounded by vampires. Xander was swinging a machete and one of his hands appeared to be on fire.
Cordelia had what appeared to be two tanks of fluid strapped to her back. She sprayed a vampire with something that started to smoke then she blasted him with a burst of flame.
“I can't believe they had this stuff in stock.” They heard Xander say.
“I do. I've run second on a vampire elimination squad before. We do it for temporary laris and hideouts.” She said as she kicked a vampire in the balls before setting it on fire.
“They do seem to find all the good places to live.” He said he ducked a punch and beheaded the one that tried to strike him.
“You're not wrong. They'd do well in Real Estate, make a killing.” She said before blasting two vamps with holy water before setting them on fire.
“Six points for that pun.” Xander said.
“I try.” She said dryly before killing the next to last vampire and pulling something out of a black bag that was at their feet.
The last vampire took the break in action as an opportunity to run and Cordelia shot it in the back with a strange looking gun. Xander was about to go after it, but she stopped him with a hand signal.
“Ten minute lead?” He asked her.
“Da. That should be enough.” She said before pulling out another device from the bag and putting the gun back in it.
“Buh.. whu guh.” they heard from behind them. They both spun, getting in ready stances. They found Giles staring at them while Buffy and Willow were pointing and sputtering at them.
Xander and Cordelia looked at each other before looking back at the other three.
“Hey guys, great news! I've got an after school job!” Xander said with a grin.
Cordelia started laughing hysterically.
“What kind of job is that exactly Xander?” Giles asked as he took his glasses off.
“Preventative Maintenance.” Xander and Cordelia answered after she stopped laughing.
Xander continued. “ We placed a tracker on that vamp. Odds are that guy was a minon of Spike's. We're hitting him and Drusilla tonight. You guys want in?”
“Hitting them how?” Buffy asked once she managed to recover a little.
“Hard and with no survivors. We can get you a self reloading crossbow with exploding arrows for tonight. Best of both worlds.” Cordelia said.
“Do I want to know?” Giles asked them.
“The spell last night had some lingering effects. Ehtan would have done what he did anyways but our new employer opted for this. Now we can explain on the way but I really want to kill those two vamps. It will clear our big bad calendar for a bit.” Xander said while putting the now extinguished gauntlent into the little black bag they had with them. He pulled out what looked like smoke grenades.
“Are those?” Cordelia asked.
“Yep. Let's Do this!” Xander yelled loudly.
Cordelia grinned while she looked at the tracker display. “They're not that far. I'll go in from below when we get there. Let's get going.”
Xander looked back at the others. “You guys coming?”
“Yes, quite. What else have you got in that bag of yours?” Giles asked them.
“What would you like?” Xander asked as they all started walking towards the warehouse district.
“A rapier and some wooden daggers. I knew a man that used something similar a while back but he was an odd bloke. Only hunted Blackulas.”
“He only killed African American Vampires?” Willow asked confused.
“No, black vampires. There are no African Americans in England or in Jamaica.
“Oh.” Willow said as Xander handed Giles the aforementioned items.
Giles admired the sword. “Exactly who do you work for?”
“The Guild of Calamitous Intent.” Xander said.
Giles paused while the others kept walking. He quickly caught up with them. “Doing what exactly?” He asked.
“We told you, preventative maintenance. Same thing that the Slayer does.” Cordelia said.
“We thought so.” Xander said.
“Spike!” Screamed the minion as he stumbled in from the tunnels. “They're all dead. There were two nuts in the cemetery. One guy's hand was on fire and the other woman was spraying holy water and had a flame thrower!”
“Who was it?” Spike asked his panicked minion as he saw his Dru start to get a little skittish.
“That Harris kid and the Chase girl. You said they'd be easy targets!” The minion said before his back exploded, sending meaty chunks of flesh including his heart behind him, he was dust moments later.
“Spikey.... we have to leave. Now.” Drusilla said in a whisper, all traces of her insanity gone.
“What?” Spike said before some mist started to rise from the tunnels and there were two clinks as something landed inside the warehouse and the sound of hissing started.
“It Burns!” screamed a minion. “It's Holy water!” screamed another as it headed for the tunnels only to be repelled by the burst of flame that came out of the underground entrance.
Spike held onto Drusilla as they heard a whizzing sound followed by a thunk. They both looked down at the crossbow bolt that was sticking out of Drusilla's chest. She didn't have time to say anything before she exploded, the pieces of her body turning to ash before she hit the ground.
“No!” Spike screamed before he felt a pain in his own chest. He looked down and said “bollocks.” before exploding like his sire.
There were screams as the remaining minions were decimated and the mist cleared shortly after the commotion ended.
Buffy was still staring at the crossbow in her hands as Xander gently removed it from her grip.
Buffy looked up at Xander and said, “That thing is awesome!”
“And is quite capable of killing other things besides vampires. I'm going to put it back now okay Buff?” He asked the slightly stunned Slayer.
The weapon was back in the bag before she could protest. While Buffy was pouting at the loss of her new toy Xander was collecting the used Holy water mist grenades and the weapons he'd lent Giles. Cordelia had come up out of the Tunnels and was searching the warehouse for anything of value or anything that was potentially dangerous.
“I found something.” She said as she looked at one corner of the building.
“What have you got?” Xander asked her as he and the others made their way over to her.
“Three old Boxes and an old steamer trunk.” She said while Giles was examining the boxes.
“Oh dear.” He said aloud.
“What is it Giles?” Willow asked.
“The Judge, well some of him anyways.” Giles said while putting his glasses on “no weapon forged by man can destroy him, it took an army to render him limb from limb.” He said as if quoting something.
Xander looked at Cordelia. “Toss the parts into a Volcano if Sulfuric Acid doesn't work?” He asked her.
“Or we could try some accelerant before the volcano. Hell we could get the parts shot into the sun if we REALLY needed to.” She told him seriously.
“Wait...exactly who do you two work for now?” Buffy asked the two teens.
“They work for the Guild of Calamitous Intent. It is one of the largest workers unions of costumed and non costumed villains alike on this dimensional plane.” Giles told Willow and Buffy.
“Yep.” Xander said as he picked up all the boxes, put them on the steamer trunk and carried all of it out of the warehouse with Cordelia walking beside him.
The others watched them leave.
Finally Buffy asked, “Does that make them evil now?”
“Honestly?” Giles asked. “I don't know. Xander said their job here was the same as yours, preventative maintenance as he called it. I can see the need for it in all honesty.”
“Do they get paid?” Buffy asked before going into a more familiar spiel. “ How much are they getting paid? Why don't I get paid?”
Giles sighed. “Because Buffy, this is your destiny. We've been through this.” He said while Willow giggled.
“Where is everybody?” Angel wondered aloud as he looked around the Library. He looked at the various books on the table. They detailed his own history as well as that of the Scourge of Europe.
“Shit! Damn watchers!” He said before heading back to the tunnels. Buffy knew about his early life as a vampire and possibly before that as well.
“I'm so screwed.” He muttered to himself.
“This is way better than Brock's room.” Xander said as he and Cordelia were filling the bathtub with acid. They were wearing heavy duty radiation suits under hazmat suits just in case the Judge had some sort of a death touch or something. The arm they had put into the acid after removing the armor from it was melting quite nicely and judging from the banging in the other two boxes, the Judge was quite aware of what was happening to his appendage.
“Thanks. I think I'll be spending a lot of time out here myself as well.” Cordelia said as they dumped the rest of the pieces of the Judge into the acid.
They both were quiet as the pieces of the demon dissolved slowly.
After the deed was done, the acid neutralized and the whole mess put down the drain, they got out of the suits and cleaned up the tub.
“Any regrets?” Cordelia asked Xander
“About the guild? No not really.” He grinned. “Chemistry at work.” He said before frowning.
“Wasn't that one of Dr. Jonas Venture's sayings?” Cordelia asked.
“It was. It's just that.. Some of his things were gone too, taken out of storage according to Helper.” Xander said, staring at the bathtub.
“You don't think?” Cordelia said.
“It's possible, though I doubt it was ordered by the Guild. That Rayne guy probably didn't want to pass up an opportunity for that kind of chaos. I mean imagine...” He said.
“Well we know there won't be any receipts or anything from the store. There was an ATM at the bank across the street though. We'll have to keep an eye out I guess.” She told him.
He nodded and sighed. “It's what we'll have to do.”
Johnathan Levinson frowned as he looked at the papers before him. He had let his hands wander and he'd ended up drawing the designs for Helper all over his math homework.
“Rusty.... what happened to you?” He said aloud.
The great Venture Industries. What a joke. Well at least he had one son to be proud of. Though how he'd missed the little guy during Rusty's medical exams was mystery in and of itself.
He smirked as he gazed upon the latest final legacy of Jonas Venture Senior. He'd have his new team keep an eye on him. Ethan had gone the extra mile when he really shouldn't have. Oh well. Eyeghon was coming anyways.