Disclaimer: Still not mine, sigh. I want one.
You'd probably better read Fearless Vampire Killers first, it's got the whole how they meet thing in it.
Warning: bad language, little bit o violence...
“So,” King looked at the little redhead beside him. “Shall we hunt your guys or my guys?”
Willow looked thoughtful for a moment. “Well, if you know where we can find one of your guys lets start with that. Then later we’ll swing by a graveyard or there’s a couple of warehouse districts I know they tend to hang out and we’ll try to find a newbie.”
“You hunt in graveyards? Hang on, you mean they bury the newly turned and they have to fight their way out of their own graves?” The redhead paused to look at him.
“Never really thought of it like that, no wonder they’re pissed. Only lesser minions tend to get abandoned, if they’re turned for a purpose or become a childe then the sires tend to take better care of them. Of course, hardship at the beginning is believed to harbour a greater fighting spirit in the new vamp.”
“Aren’t you the little vampire geek?” King quipped.
“And you were the school bully no doubt.” He went to protest before grinning unrepentantly.
“Yeah, at least if we take them out as they rise they won’t have a chance to hurt anyone else.”
“Sounds like good plan.” They carried on walking toward the embankment. “My informant,” He paused “Who I shall shortly be kicking the fucking crap out of, told me that there were just a couple of vamps preying on the homeless around here. I figure that if we start with him we should be able to track down the one that got away.”
Hannibal looked her over once more. “You don’t seem to be packing much?” Willow just gave him a sly smile.
“Is that a crack about my diminutive stature? It’s not polite you know.” He gave her a lecherous once over.
“I was referring to the lack of weapons but if that was an offer to properly assess your stature and flexibility, well then…” She laughed at him surprising her self at the lack of blush.
“I have some old friends who taught me the proper ladylike way to conceal weaponry.” With a flick of her wrist she released the athame tucked away there and smoothly drew a stake. “Of course I can always use one of these.”
Willow casually formed a fireball and tossed it gently in the air playing with it while laughing at the look of awe on his face.
King suddenly remembered himself and tried to restore some semblance of a cool exterior.
“Witch.” At her smile as she made it disappear. He pointed over to a line of parked cars. “Let me just tool up and we’ll be ready to go.” It wasn’t that hard to pick out his car, brash but functional it also had a set of what she assumed were UV lights added to the top.
Popping the trunk and he pressed a concealed button by the number plate. The bottom of the boot rose smoothly and separated to reveal a mini armoury.
Willow steeled herself against her ingrained dislike of guns. She understood their necessity and for someone like Hannibal King it was his best defence against something stronger and faster than himself but still. He caught the look on her face and she flushed guilty.
“Sorry, just a bad experience in my past.” He watched the look of sorrow pass on her face and decided not to push.
“Here you’ll need a few of these.” Hannibal handed her a couple of silver stakes, before kitting himself out with a vest and armaments.
“Ever thought about putting a grip on these?” Willow weighed the stake in her hand speculatively. “Makes them recyclable.” She added with a grin.
“Interesting thought but you know, we rob the undead so money is not so much of a problem.” He was obviously trying to get a rise out of her so she simply decided to play him at his own game.
“I might have raided a bank account or two now that you mention it.” King simply raised a questioning eyebrow.
“Hacker and a witch”
“Cool. Shall we?” They both got in the car and headed to find the informant.
Hannibal pulled up out side a seedy looking bar and Willow smothered a sigh. For once it’d be nice to grill someone in a quality establishment. Watching as he checked out the area for dangers before they exited the car, she started as her phone went off. She couldn’t hold back a groan as the display revealed Spike’s number.
“Problem?” Willow shook her head.
“Mother hen.” She flipped the phone open. “Hey Spike.”
Hannibal watched silently as she reached up and rubbed her brow in frustration.
“You know where the spare key is. Of course you’re already in I should have guessed! Then why are you asking me? Spike, if I want to bring a strange man home then it’s” She caught Hannibal’s questioning look and waved him off. “Don’t you dare ring Buffy!” She listened to the rant silently for a minute before interrupting. “Yes I’ve taken precautions, no he’s not one of the undead or other supernatural nasty and no I do not want you to come threaten him with a shovel.” She groaned as she realised she’d let it slip she was still with him.
“Spike wants word.” She held the phone out to King who looked at her in horror and tried to wave her off. She shoved the phone forcefully in his hand. “Don’t be such a baby.”
“Er, hello.” He paled slightly as a tirade of threats aimed at him continued for a full three minutes before silently giving the phone back.
“Are you happy now? Good, now there’s something for you in the back of the fridge, why don’t you settle down and watch the latest disc Andrew sent over, it’s by the DVD player. I’ll be back late, don’t wait up.” Willow hung up the phone with a sigh.
“Family, he wasn’t too harsh on you I hope.”
“I’m a little fearful for my limbs but I’ll get over it. He has a flare for graphic descriptions for torture.”
“Plenty of practice.” Realising what she had said Willow hastily carried on. “I mean, he, er, writes horror novels.”
“You’re a terrible liar.”
“I know.” She shrugged then snarled as her phone rang again. “I’m going to kill him.”
“Hey Xand. No, I’m fine he shouldn’t have called you. I can have a life on my own you know. No I’m not keeping secrets from my Xander friend, I only just met him last night.” She winced at the volume from the phone. “No you can not talk to him, Spike already has. Yes, I remember the ‘my date is trying to eat, dismember or otherwise hurt me’ code and one it’s not a date and two I’m not in trouble. This is the resolved face and don’t you dare think of flying over here Alexander Harris. For the love of the Goddess! I am perfectly capable of looking after myself, you’re the demon magnet remember. No, I’m sorry I shouldn’t have thrown that in your face again. No, I’m sure you too are perfectly capable of find a nice normal non-threatening partner. Are we done, because I’d really like to get on with my evening. OK. I love you too, bye.”
“You have a code for my date is trying to eat me?” Hannibal was torn between amused and horrified.
“I’ve led a strange life.”
“I thought my life was weird but suddenly I’m feeling quite normal.”
“There’s no need to get personal.” He snorted.
“Well if you’ve finished with you family crisis shall we continue.” He gestured toward the bar.
“Sorry, let’s go.” Willow flushed.
“Don’t worry about it. Back up’s important.”
They entered the bar, which froze immediately. There was a squeak of fear from a weedy little man by the pool table who made a break for the back door that inexplicably slammed in his face.
“Nice.” King winked at Willow before heading over to grab the man holding his bloody nose while crumpled on the floor.
“Crase, you miserable little piece of pond scum. You look surprised to see me.”
“No Mr. King, that’s not it, not at all. I had a pressing bit of business I just remembered about, that’s all.”
“Of course and the fact you sent me up against six fucking vampires alone,” He emphasised the number by shoving the man against the wall. “Has nothing to do with it.”
“Six, six! I can’t believe it Mr. King, I swear to you I only heard about two, honest.”
“I think you need your hearing checked Crase. Now how about telling me where you found out this little bit of false,” Another thud as the man’s head hit the wall, “information.”
“Ow. Look Mr. King, sir, I swears to you.” The man’s eyes went wide as Hannibal produced a blade and put in none to gently against his throat.
“I suggest you start fucking talking now.” He felt rather than saw the bar react to the threat, maybe this hadn’t been such a great idea bringing the redhead here. He dropped Crase to his feet, spinning him around to use him as a shield with the knife still at his throat.
King was surprised to discover some of the scariest lowlives in this part of London not about to attack them but staring with respect and an undercurrent of fear at Willow. He turned to make a comment but was stopped as he caught a glimpse of her black-eyed gaze.
“Carry on, Mr. King, I’m sure Crase was just about to tell you what you wanted to hear.” Willow’s voice was completely calm but somehow still sent a tingle up the spine.
Hannibal was aware of some mutterings about the Black Witch but decided to put that aside and get what they came here for.
“Crase. Crase!” He practically had to drag the man’s terrified gaze from Willow. “Who set me up aside from you?”
“I don’t,” He froze as the air around Willow seemed to crackle with energy. “Grafton Street, yellow door, Flat B.” King dropped him in disgust as he realised the guy had soiled himself.
“Gentlemen.” He held out his arm to Willow and led her out to the car. As he pulled out to head to their new destination he glanced over at the redhead beside him.
“That has to be one of the hottest things I’ve ever seen.” Willow stared at him in surprise her eyes leaching back to green. “What?” He asked defensively.
“Truthfully, that’s a new reaction for me, usually its fear or awe, occasionally envy. I’ve met sycophants wanting to apprentice and sicko’s wanting to use me for their own gain but lust’s definitely a new one.”
He shrugged. “I’m a complicated man.”
“That you are Mr. King, that you are.”
Hannibal broke down the door with a well placed kick and felt Willow glide past him and move left as he entered and swept the room.
“Clear.” They heard a commotion from the room in the back and Hannibal led the way. Seeing it was just the one vamp from the night before he holstered his weapon using the other guys surprise to get in a few good blows. It didn’t last long and he silently thanked Whistler for her insistence at reinforcing the rib protectors, he took a few hard blows to the head and chest before finally managing to get the drop on the vamp pinning it’s arms behind it’s back and kneeling his full weight on it’s spine.
He looked up to find Willow standing by the door with a small smile on her face.
“Thank you my lady. Would you care to do the honours?”
“You bring your bitch on a date?” King yanked back feeling the shoulder pop out, waiting for a moment for the screams to die down.
“The ‘bitch’ is the Black Witch so I’d bite your tongue.” He felt the vamp still beneath him.
“I really wish you wouldn’t call me that.” Willow stepped forward bringing out one of the silver stakes.
“Mr. King is a friend of mine and you and your associates tried to hurt him, the punishment is death.” She thrust the stake through his back piercing the heart and King jumped back as he incinerated.
“Nice line. Friends?”
“Of course, enemy of enemy and all that.” She held his gaze for a moment before dropping it. “Besides its not often you get to meet someone who knows about this side of your life.” She smiled shyly before turning and examining the room.
“So anything you want to steal while we’re here?”
“Girl after my own heart, but fair’s fair you owe me a vamp.”
“OK, Spike could probably tell us where to find an easy mark but I really can’t face another round with him right now so we’ll start at old docks and work out from there alright.” She led the way out of the flat back to the car.
“Why would this Spike know where the vamps are?” Willow paused ahead of him before turning to look at him speculatively.
“I’m going to trust you but feel obliged to remind you, I take the protection of my friends very seriously.”
“Spike’s a vampire, one of my kind and more importantly he’s my vampire so there will be no stake-age under any circumstances. If anyone’s going to stake him it’s Buffy and she’ll be really pissed if anyone took that away from her.”
Hannibal went to say something then wisely shut his mouth and resumed walking.
They headed off towards the riverside but it wasn’t long before Hannibal couldn’t resist any longer.
“So he’s the reason your place has UV shielding?”
“Yeah, there’s a surprising trade in the world outside Sunnydale for things that could conceivably protect vampires. I tried to find out more but they have some very impressive protection on their companies better than the military. I guess they’re probably related to your vampires.”
“Highly likely, they’re certainly organised and have their fingers in many pies.” Willow could see him trying to work out how to ask his next question.
“Just go ahead and ask. I’ll do my best not to take any offence.” She added with a smile.
“You said Spike was your vamp is that something to do with the Black Witch thing and why those guys were afraid of you?” Willow sighed.
“The Black Witch is from the whole world-endage thing which is why I’d really like you to drop it. As for Spike, he’s over the trying to kill me and has fought by our side for many years. As much as it surprises me to say it, I trust him with my life.”
“I was expecting something a little more eloquent.”
“Sure go on.”
“Promise me on Spike’s life you won’t do anything witchy to me.”
“I am perfectly capable of maiming you without magic.”
“Not so comforting.”
“Alright I swear I won’t retaliate for anything you say in the next five minutes, extension negotiable.”
“That’s very specific.”
“Words can be dangerous and experience shows that loopholes are a bitch.” Hannibal nodded his agreement and pulled over to the side of the road before turning to face her.
“Fair enough, the five minutes start now.” He made a show of starting the timer on his watch.
“You and you’re friends are really fucked up you know that right? You’ve seen the dark side of this world and yet pick up and heal complete strangers, thanks again by the way. I mean not only do you work along side one of the very things you’re trying to kill but also you just shrug off the fact that they’ve previously tried to kill you. You have a code for when your dates are evil. You have near mythical powers which could wipe out the entire vampire problem in one go from what it seems and you do nothing more than taking these bastards out a few at a time. You see ending the world as a lesser offence than killing a man. You tried to end the god damn world! I, for one, would have been majorly pissed, I like my fucked up life.” He was nearly yelling by the end but she just sat there and took it calmly, pausing before answering.
“The world is not black and white, everything that’s different is not evil and sorry is never enough. You’re right I quite possibly could eliminate all the vampires but everything has a balance, there are consequences that you’re not aware of. I’d lay down my life in a heartbeat if I thought it would fix things but life’s never that easy.” Willow was long past tears for her past but would never stop regretting it.
“I helped fight back the darkness since I was fifteen and got lost in it myself. I chose this fight, not to hide from the ugly things in this world but to fight against them with all that I have. It’s not enough but it’s all I have.” She fell silent.
“I understand I really do but what if all that it took to stop me becoming one of those fucking things was someone like you choosing not to finish this. How many lives could have been saved by ending them?”
“There is no thing as the lesser of two evils. It’s all just evil. Fighting fire with fire just makes more fire, sure it might help in the short term but how can we possibly comprehend all the consequences of our actions. I wonder sometimes if I’m just paralysed with fear but I’ve seen too much, done too much, not to recognise the truth in this.”
The beep of an alarm from his watch broke the silence.
“So Hannibal King can you still bear to be with me knowing what you know now.” There was a weary acceptance in her voice, like she already knew that answer he was going to give. She thought he was going to leave.
Sure there was a little part of him that was telling him to bail out now, run from the crazy world she was involved in but was it really that much crazier than his? The more analytical side told him he’d be insane to push away someone who could give them such a tactical advantage. But more than either of these things was the fact he’d really like to get to know Willow better. Besides she was insanely hot.
“Let’s go hunt us a vampire.”
In the end it had been a little bit anticlimactic. They’d entered the abandoned docks and had worked along the bank until Hannibal had spotted a light in one of the windows. Willow had taken a moment to scry to make sure it wasn’t just some homeless seeking shelter and had discovered there were two vampires inside. They’d assessed the risk and decided that staking a vamp with a wooden stake rather a than a silver one wasn’t that much of step up and that King could probably take one on his own.
He’d entered with his gun drawn, insisting that despite her assurances that a bullet was just going to piss it off, that he felt it was necessary to at least try with his modified ammunition. Her muttered ‘it’s your funeral’ wasn’t comforting but hell, he had a right to make his own mistakes.
Willow had moved swiftly and taken her vamp out with only a few bruises to show for it. She turned to watch how Hannibal was doing wincing as he impacted the wall, the gun’s ineffectiveness shown clearly by the holes in its clothing.
“Would you like any help?”
“No I’m fine.” He ground out. “I thought your guys were meant to be all deformed?”
“He’s not in his ‘grr’ face.”
“How do I, you know.” He gestured to the vampire before him while dodging blows.
“Well, he’s probably underestimated you. They only usually go fangy if they need the extra strength or are about to feed.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence Red.”
“Your welcome. You had noticed that he leaves his left side exposed when he moves in for your throat right.”
“No, really. Of course now he’s not going to compensate at all. You promised that whole 5 minute thing Willow, no retaliation remember.” He glanced back over his shoulder.
“Oh this isn’t retaliation, look.” He switched his attention back to the vampire whose face had changed completely. It was pretty much exactly as Willow had described. He thrust down his shock and concentrated on taking it down. A few moments later he watched as it disintegrated into dust.
“Now can we agree that we both fight vampires?”
“Agreed. And why exactly did you bait mine?” He bit off in anger.
“Well, as well as going fangy when feeding or feeling threatened, they don’t like being ignored. Nothing shouts look at me than a vamp in game face.” He deflated slightly at the reasonable explanation.
“OK. So fancy getting a drink or something?” Willow glanced at her watched.
“I’m really sorry but I have to work tomorrow and while I can get by on very little sleep, it’s the little that really counts.” He looked at her thoughtful before deciding she wasn’t actually blowing him off.
“Alright, I’ll drive you back.”
The return to her flat was in a companionable silence that neither was inclined to break. When he finally pulled up outside her place Willow turned to him.
“It’s been fun.”
“And doesn’t that just sum up how twisted our lives are.” Willow poked her tongue out at him.
“Thanks for dropping me off." She hesitated before pulling out a card. "Here’s my number. If I can help just give me a call, alright?”
“Thanks, maybe I’ll get you that decoder ring after all.” They shared a smile before she got out of the car. Leaning back down through the window she gave him a little wave.
“Until next time Mr. King.”
She was almost at her door when she heard the shout behind her.
"Hey Willow.” She turned to find him right behind her.
“Can I have that extension?”
She looked a little nervous before shrugging. “Sure, same rules two minutes?”
“Done.” He nodded before fiddling with his watch again.
Hannibal stepped in close looking her straight in the eye before pulling her into a deep kiss.
Willow was ready to hex the watch into oblivion as it started beeping but true to his word he stepped back and gave her a big grin. Knocking off a mock salute he headed back to his car leaving a flushed and breathless Willow on the sidewalk.
She barely noticed someone approaching her side.
“I’m going to rip his bloody balls off.”
A/N Well I was never expecting to add to this but thanks to some lovely reviews I was inspired! This is it now, really. Well just one more snippet then I'm done honest. No beta, so if I've made any glaring errors let me know. H_K