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Concrete Jungle

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Lost in Serenity". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Having arrived on Beaumonde Xander delivers the demon horn as promised. What's Xander after? Will he get it or make a powerful new enemy? Let's face it, what are the odds he won't tick someone off either way? Lost in Serenity Episode 2.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Firefly > Xander-Centered > Pairing: RiverMidknightJFR15612,27436230,25426 Aug 088 Nov 08Yes

Welcome to the Jungle


Disclaimer: I'm poor. I own nothing

Notes: So here it is, the next chapter in the series. This one will have more action than the last one though.
Notes 2: This doesn't actually take place during a Firefly episode, rather in between 'Our Mrs. Reynolds' and 'Jaynestown'.

To Xander it was like crossing an invisible border. You may not have been able to see the line but the difference was clear as night and day.

Behind him, past the alley he and just walked by, was a typical slum as far as he could tell. He had seen a dozen just like it in his brief time travelling the ‘verse.

The buildings reflected the people who lived in them; dirty and run down. In places like this the criminal element, the gangs and the slumlords, ruled with a pitiless and vicious fist. Nobody batted an eye at the bodies that appeared in the alleyways or someone being brutalized in the streets.

More than once Xander had to fight down instincts that would only get him shot. Theses weren’t vampires; these were worse. They were human monsters that didn’t even have the excuse of no soul.

In front of him was the contrast. The buildings were more or less clean and well taken care of and the people walked the streets freely with very little fear.

It was an odd experience to someone who hadn’t walked it before. At first it would seem like you simply walked into an upper class neighbourhood; if an oddly placed one. A quick look at the building designs and the people’s appearance would dissuade that notion. It was still one of Beaumonde’s lower class areas; it just had some indefinable air about it. It seemed safer somehow.

Xander knew better. He had just crossed into Pride territory.

They had influence all over the city of New Dunsmuir, in fact, the entirety of the planet Beaumonde. This was just the little piece of the city they marked as their own.

Nobody caused trouble here. Not if they wanted to live long enough to cause trouble elsewhere.

According to the rumours Xander was able to overhear, The Pride had been around since the first settlers came to Beaumonde. Perhaps even before.

Of all the rim worlds Beaumonde was the one that was closest to what one might expect from the core. Or at least a rim version of a core world. There were huge sprawling cities side by side with breathtaking countryside and despite being on the rim Beaumonde still had some business and political influence in the Alliance.

Not to mention it was a remarkably ordered place considering the large criminal element. Fear can be an excellent motivator.

The Pride were known to be extremely territorial and didn’t like anyone causing trouble on their turf. Unless it was them of course.

And they had their hands in everything as far as Xander could tell. Drugs, prostitution, money laundering, extortion, theft, if it was illegal they probably had their hands in it somewhere. They had legitimate interests too, but the illegal far outweighed those.

Not the type Xander would have chosen to work with if he had a choice. Desperation will make a man do foolish things.

He knew The Pride had a tendency to brutally, efficiently, and permanently deal with their enemies, or perceived enemies, but he also knew they were viciously protective of their own. That mollified him somewhat. At least that part he could understand.

Not that he planned on letting down his guard around them. It was more than just the criminal aspect of things, he’d dealt with more than his share of unsavoury types since coming to this time. There was just something about these Pride members that set the hairs on the back of his neck up.

Case in point here he was walking unchallenged through Pride territory. He may have been here a few times in the past but he was still unknown to all but a handful of people here. The Pride members were apparently informed of him though. He could easily pick out their watchful gaze from the curious ones residents gave an unfamiliar face. They wanted him to know they were watching.

It was the ones he could not see that worried Xander the most.

After walking for some time he came to a structure in the exact centre of The Pride’s territory. It was a large building that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the city’s downtown area. It didn’t look out of place here though; the buildings around it, also Pride owned, were built up enough to make this small area of the territory look like a city within the city.

The building was made of ebony steel and large one-way dark green, almost black, windows with a mirror-like finish to them. Some of the windows were a lighter green arrayed in a specific pattern painting a massive mural of a tree wrapping around the building.

Yggdrasil, Xander remembered the name from one of Giles’ books. The Tree of Life. The World Tree.

At the base of the tree were large ornate doors, as if carved in imaginary bark. Above those a large sign proclaimed the name ‘The Jungle Room’ with relish.

In short it was a building that exuded both arrogance and power.

As he neared the building Xander could see a large line of people waiting at the doors. He could understand why. The bottom two floors were a nightclub called, go figure, The Jungle Room. The best in the city, perhaps even this side of the core, it was always a popular spot with locals and passers-by alike.

That and what was on the next two floors. It also had the best brothel.

Lord knows what was on the rest of the massive building’s floors. Nobody else seemed to, though it was assumed much of the space was living and training accommodations for the Pride members. Nothing but the best for their own.

Xander bypassed the line, people cursing him in English and Chinese, and made his way straight to the doors. The doorman didn’t even bat an eye, he simply held the door open, apparently aware of his arrival. Xander figured as much when he first noticed he was being watched.

“Good evening, Mr. Harris.” A buxom blonde woman called to him as he entered the club proper. Xander only vaguely notice her tasteful, yet noticeably slinky black dress that barely contained her generous assets.

“Hey,” Xander said absently, his eyes scanning the room from any sign of his target. “Janine right?”

She gave him a dazzling smile as she took one of his hands in her own. “Good memory, we only met the once. Briefly at that.” Janine thrust her chest out and placed his hand on her breast. “Is there perhaps some reason for that?”

Xander’s head spun to gaze at their joined hands so fast that he briefly worried about whiplash. Or at least he would have if his thought process hadn’t just derailed. Janine just laughed at his wide eyes and audible gulp. The innocent ones were always the most fun to play with.

After what seemed like hours to Xander, but was in fact barely a minute, she finally took his hand away from her chest and led him to an out of the way booth near the back of the club. She pushed him down into the well cushion seat and gave him a suggestive grin.

“Mr. Walker is in a meeting right now,” Janine told him as she straddled his lap. “I’m sure we can think of some way to occupy ourselves in the meantime.”

And as Janine ground her hips on his lap and took an ear in her teeth the one person he was trying his best not to think about forced her way back into his mind as he thought, She’s not as pretty as River.
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