One Anita, Two Anita, More?
She thought over everything that had happened the last two days while she looked for Buffy. She finally found her in the study, with her eyes closed floating several inches off the ground. Anita backed into the door mild in shock and a little fear, causing Buffy's eyes to open, flashing a brilliant blue, before she floated slowly down to the ground.
Standing with the boneless grace Anita had seen in vampires and weres, Buffy strode across the room with her boundless energy. "How do you feel? Sorry about that, the first time I ever did it, it was way wiggy for me too. It's just deep meditation, where you draw your magic and shields into your body. I would have warned you. But, you were gone so long that I finally had to go ahead to be ready for tonight." She walked and talked, nearly a mile a minute, as she headed for the kitchen to retrieve some water. Buffy downed half a bottle as she pitched one to Anita. "Feeling better? Not trying to pry or anything, just wanted to know if your head's in the right place for tonight."
Anita felt like she was chasing the Energizer Bunny and Oprah's love child. "Yeah, well, feel better? No, not really. I'm ok for tonight, though. I'd like to talk to you about some of it another time, but not right now. We better get going," she hedged.
"A meet and greet with the Council requires proper attire, so I called and got your measurements from Richard. It'll be easier to preserve the glamour if the material stuff is close to the same. There's clothes laid out for you upstairs." Rubbing her hands together in mild excitement, she said, "Now, for the good stuff."
Anita wasn't sure how she felt about Buffy dressing her or the sudden gleam that entered the blonde's eyes. She watched with no small amount of trepidation, although she would deny it to her dying day, which may be tonight, as Buffy walked to the bookcase on the far wall. Light glowed from Buffy's hand as she touched the wall and the bookcase slid open to reveal a hidden room. With a grand gesture of invitation, Buffy bowed slightly and waved Anita into the room. Suspiciously wondering what she was walking into, she put her hand on one of her weapons and went inside.
Stopping up short with her mouth dropping open in awe, she thought. Damn this is Edward's wet dream. I think I'm getting my own little happy here.
Each wall held different types of weapons. The far left wall held every type gun conceivable, some never seen outside the manufacturer's vaults. Swords and axes adorned the right wall, and the second half of the same wall had knives of every shape and size, including throwing stars. The front wall displayed explosives from the tiniest microdot of nitroglycerin to cakes of C4 to a rocket launcher.
In the middle of the room, an axe, unlike anything Anita had ever seen, lay encased in glass. The head gleamed silver while the black and red wooden shaft came to a sharpened point. The Executioner stared at the unusual weapon. Buffy simple smiled at the Scythe, eyes twinkling with something akin to eagerness and fondness all wrapped together. It whispered comforting words to her like the greeting of an old friend.
"Anita, could you pick out the weapons you normally carry. There's matching holsters or harnesses for everything here. I'm also going to need to know about any other scars you have, other than the ones I've seen on your arms. The clothes will cover your weapons, but not your scars."
Anita picked out the knives, guns and matching holsters. She didn't take one to match the gun in her pant holster. She was starting to trust the blonde some, but not that much. She had learned the hard way to keep something back, just in case. It had saved her life on more than one occasion. Buffy watched Anita's face while she handled the weapons and could almost hear the other woman's inner dialogue.
Once they finished arming up, Buffy herded Anita out, sealing the room behind her. She grabbed the amulets Selene had blessed on their way upstairs to dress. Practically shoving the stubborn older woman into her room with the instruction to get ready, Buffy headed for her own bedroom to do the same. Finally dressed and looking in the mirror, Anita hated the dress. It hugged her body, stopping mere inches below her curvaceous rear. The length and material were bad enough. Although the black leather felt buttery soft against her skin, it appeared painted on and gave her pale complexion an almost translucent appearance. Okay, she could have dealt with that, but no, the damned thing had peek-a-boo cutouts down the overly long sleeves, with wide bars of skin showing through across her arms and shoulder. The patterns of cutouts created a deep vie across her chest, holding her rather voluptuous breasts up for display. It even had slits up the sides that barely stopped her from flashing the entire world when she walked. She probably would have too, if the damned thing didn't fit like a glove. If she didn't know better, she would think Buffy had hired magic elves to sew the cursed dress. It fit her measurements that perfectly. Damn Barbie!
"Looking at this dress, I'd swear she called Jean-Claude not Richard. Well at least I can move and reach my weapons." Strapping them in place, she realized there was no way she could take her second gun without it showing, damnit. She'd seriously rather have her arm gnawed off by some vamp than go through with this crap. Stomping downstairs, she found Buffy dressed identically to her, except her dress was royal blue. "Since you had everything here, we might as well go. There's no need to go by my house anymore," Anita growled.
"Damn, I thought you'd at least be happy to be on your way to shooting something."
"Don't push me, Barbie. I've had just about all I can take from you. Your arrival has turned my life upside down. What exactly are you anyways? I've never seen a witch like you before," Anita yelled.
Buffy straightened looking Anita directly in the eyes her body shifting predatorily as she advanced on the dark haired woman. Anita took a step back then caught herself, letting everything drain from her eyes as she prepared for an attack. She watched for the first time as real anger entered Buffy's eyes. She recognized that something had come to life inside that tiny body - a predator, and a dangerous one. Anita pulled her gun and in a blur of gold, they went flying across the room.
"Listen up, Miss Zombie Queen! I'm trying to help save those hostages, remember them? While your schedule's obviously overflowing with your hourly ego attacks. Oh yeah, and that yummy vampire you keep saying you don't like, hmm and who else is on the Council's list? Oh yeah, YOU! If you'd ever pull your head out long enough to think with your brain rather than that gun of yours. Get over yourself. We don't have to bow down to the great Anita Blake. You want to let Travel Dude take a ride on the Zombie Express, go right ahead, fine by me; or maybe you want to be the Lion King's new bitch. You want to keep acting like this when we are trying to help those people? FINE! It must not matter that your way is going to get most of them killed. What was I thinking; it doesn't matter to the almighty Executioner! Because everything is all about HER!!" Buffy stomped off, muttering under her breath about stupid hardheaded people, gods and fates.
"Buffy, wait…Okay, look, I still don't trust you, but I do know that you're the best chance we have of winning against the Council getting our people back safely. If you're still willing to help, we might as well get this over with and get going."
Knowing this was as close to an apology as the other woman could give, Buffy nodded and moved toward the car. Outside the Circus of the Damned, Buffy grabbed Anita's hand as her eyes glowed. She looked down her own body then lifted her hand to touch Anita's temple.
It caused warmth to spread throughout her body. Her eyes narrowed at Buffy. "What did you do?"
Buffy giggled before she whispered conspiratorially, "I thought we'd see if your boys could pick you out of a line up. Let's go, Queenie."
"Sure thing wicked witch," Anita snorted.
She stomped into the club then headed toward Jean-Claude's office. Buffy caught up with her, matching Anita stomp for stomp. She stopped and stared at herself, cocking a brow in inquiry. "Gotta act as bitchy as you or they'll know right away it's me." Buffy continued on to the office, mimicking Anita's every gesture. Shang-Da and Jamil guarded the door as the two Anita's approached. The girls started to argue when they wouldn't allow them to pass. The others came out to see what was going on in the hall. They had their hands on their hips and threatened the men with bodily harm if they didn't allow them into the office.
"Ah, ma petites
, you look delicious. Come, let us see you better," Jean-Claude purred, motioning them forward with his hand.
The Anitas pushed past Shang-Da and Jamil, scowling and cursing under their breath. They then turned in sync to send Jean-Claude twin glares.
"You think you know me so well, that you could find me no matter where I am. Well, I'm right in front of you, so come and get me, the real me, if you can."
The women talked interchangeably, smoothly finishing each other's sentences. Everyone watched the byplay between the Anita's and the Master of the City, glancing last at the Ulfric.
Richard stiffened with annoyance as the Anitas glared at Jean-Claude, not even sparing him a glance. As if reading his mind, they turned toward him.
"Don't worry, honey, you'll get your chance. So, Jean-Claude where am I? Which is the real me?"
With hands on their hips, they threw out their challenged. He reached out with his mind, searching for their connection and traces of her power, confident that he would get through to Anita this time. The one in blue held faint traces of Anita's power but a tight clamp held it closed. The little witch thinks she has hidden ma petite's power enough that I won't be able to feel it.
Considering the Anita in black, he felt nothing from her just like before. He smiled looking at Richard. "Jamil will hold my answer, until my wolf also takes his turn."
"I'm not your wolf, damnit." Richard snarled as his eyes turned amber. He approached the women, sniffing them, and surprisingly, they smelled the same. In a move born of intimacy and instinct, he grabbed the Anita in black, kissing her passionately. She melted into his arms, he pulled away to declare, "This is Anita." He pulled her back into his arms and kissed her again.
"You are wrong, my wolf. That one has no power, none of ma petite's
fire. You are kissing petite sorciere
. Clearly, ma petite
, I am the winner," Jean-Claude replied smugly.
Anita pulled away from Richard to send Jean-Claude her patented death glare. "Everyone was right; you only want me for my power. Oh yeah, I'm the only woman to ever tell you no. You son of a bitch..." Anita stalked toward Jean-Claude, cursing at him in Spanish as her temper and power filled the room.
"Wow, this is better than an episode of Passions," Buffy giggled. "Okay, enough of As the Zombie Turns. Anita, you got some answers, yay you. They may not be what you wanted, but there you go. 'Course, everything might not be what it seems either. I hope you survive this, JC. I'll have fun watching you dig your cute butt out of that hole you've dug. Do you own a shovel? Back to business, Richard here are the amulets I promised. They'll protect you from the Beasty Boy. Please, don't lose them. Wouldn't want them falling into the wrong hands, or uh, paws? Anita, leave Fang Face alone and come here."
Anita glared at Buffy before she surprised everyone, including herself, by quietly going over to stand in front of her look-a-like. Mere moments later, when she turned back around, she looked like Buffy. Buffy in her Anita-suit paced the room thinking through her plan. She stopped to look at each of the others. "Anita, you, Jason, Damian and Sylvie are responsible for the Weres. Take out whoever gets in your way, then come and find us. JC, me, Richard, Shang-Da and Jamil will take care of Travel Agent and Beasty Boy. Shang-Da and Jamil, you two focus on finding and taking out the traitor then getting the vampires out as quickly as possible. Richard, you're responsible for keeping Simba busy while Jean-Claude visits with his old friend," she rattled off orders, expecting everyone to agree as she played through every possible outcome in her mind.
"What are you going to do?" Damian asked in his quiet voice.
Buffy smiled at him, liking his quiet ways and stoic loyalty. "I'm delivering the Traveler's walking papers. He thinks he's going to take Anita's body on a little spin; instead, I'm sending him on a one-way with no return passage and no refunds. Let's get this show on the road. I got a new dress. Hell, I even got a new body and I want to go show it off."
Her lips tilted upward into a naughty smile that somehow looked out of place on Anita's face. Adding some extra sway to her more curvaceous hips, she left the office. The giggle that escaped her lips echoed in the halls when she heard Anita's low growl. Buffy headed for the waiting limo and climbed inside to wait for the others. Looking out the window at the moon shining overhead, she closed her eyes.
"Mother, please watch over us. They don't realize that the Council has declared war on them or that tonight will be my first strike against the Council. Too bad Spike isn't here; he always did like a good brawl. Hope psycho babe doesn't decide to shoot at me again; I hate getting shot. Faith would dig the clothes here. So much leather, she'd think she had gone to Biker Heaven. Wonder how much damage this body can handle. Guess I'm fixing to give it its first test run. Hope I don't have to end up showing the boys all my goodies on the first date. Go, Go, Guardian Powers!!!"
The End. Book 1