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

Summary: "The final chair to the right of center held the glorious beauty of Belle Morte, one of the oldest and most powerful of the members." The Vampire Council decides to make life interesting for Buffy and company.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > GeneralProCannonFodderFR182358,518210232,83630 Dec 0819 Feb 09Yes

The Aftermath

Author's Note: Last chapter. Lot's of thanks to Ponder for showing me exactly how long ago English class was. This cast of characters will continue their lives in the next story in the series. Thanks for following, and it might be less painful to read now. Re-punctuated the entire story.

Advocate Lorne was a happy demon. Helping the slayers out with this project had been a great deal of fun for him and after the way things had turned out with Angel and then Spike's third death later on, he hadn't had much fun in a long time.

He was dressed in a snappy red three-piece suit with red alligator shoes and he was handing out Egg McMuffins from the large box he carried.

He strolled down the hallways in the Empire of the Dead and tried to brighten the day of the people here who rarely saw the sun. "We could form a softball team," he said out loud. He would talk to the praetor about that, he had a whole list of ideas for the kiddies down here.

"Here you go, Honeycakes, enjoy," he said to the sergeant-at-arms as he gave the werewolf man one of his sandwiches. Lorne set the box down and as the forum chamber guards checked the contents and patted him down, he spotted Clarissa down the hall and waved her to come over.

"How are you, mighty Advocate Krevlornswath?" Clarissa asked as she gave him a hug.

"Who cares about me? Talk, lets hear it." Lorne put the contents of his pockets back in place.

"Well, we went to the bar you suggested and then to the top of the tower," she replied with a hesitant smile.

"And?" he urged as he rearranged the collar of her white blouse.

"You were right," she gave in. "Pablo is a good man. We have another date on the morrow."

"Make him pay, Sweetie, just being a vampire is no excuse for not expecting to get flowers from a gentleman." He patted her hand and they hugged again.

Lorne walked into the council room and sat at the advocate's table between the demon and angel statues. The praetor was instructing the council on how they would behave and Lorne smiled as the instruction was clearly being heeded to.

"Here you go, Pudding Pop," he said as he tossed a McMuffin to Faith. "Anyone else? I've got plenty, don't be shy." Jenn came over and took one each for her and Rami, thanked him and went back to her spot behind Faith's chair.

Carello, one of Belle Morte's tigers, hesitantly raised his hand and Lorne threw him one. Belle made a point of obviously ignoring it.

"Thank you Advo' Lorne," Councilor Faith said. "Back to your question, Belle, I have no idea how long I'll be here. At least until we find replacements, I'm sure. I don't plan on sitting in the Dragon's seat forever, I get stir-crazy easy."

"When you leave," Belle whispered, "is the advocate and the praetor to leave also?" Both her and Musette were dressed in matching white lace gowns that appeared to have been airbrushed with crimson paint. Musette was leaning back in her chair, fascinated with the Gameboy that Blake was playing.

"No idea," Faith replied. "Getting bored at playing nice already, Belle?
"Lets not start again, please," Morte D'Amour interrupted. "Let us just make the best of this situation." He passed his I-pod to the Dark Knight and then leaned over to show her how to play the video.

"There is something seriously wrong with you," Faith said as she watched the baby animals falling asleep on the small screen. "The kittens are cute though." Jenn, Rami, and Tazi all leaned forward to watch.

"Praetor, could we get back to business?" the Traveler asked. "If we are not fighting, we're playing with technology. We do have a lot to get through tonight." He rolled the new Swedish horse's eyes as Balthazar got caught up in the video.

"The object of a council meeting is to perform council tasks," Praetor Maximus Illyria stated. "Morte D'Amour, put the video device away or I shall crush it. The issue before the council is to find replacements for the council and the captain of the guard."

"And most of the guard too," Faith said with a smile.

"Babe, I wait for you to walk up the aisle, then I say the thing. What's the need for a rehearsal?" Haven stopped walking on the sidewalk leading to the hotel where they booked an outdoor pavilion for the event.

Buffy stared at him until he started walking again. "You expect me to run around naked with the pride, the least you could do is be a little excited about this. You know, this is my first wedding. Right now I'm pretty sure it won't be the last."

He grabbed her hand and pulled her into his embrace. "I'm sorry, Baby. You know I love you. It's just guys and weddings, I'm already getting the milk so it's hard to be excited about buying...OOUUCCHHHH!" Haven pulled his shirt off to see if that one drew blood.

"Shutup, it didn't hurt that much, Sissy."

"Buttmonkies of the world unite," Xander's voice said over the relay phone.

"Look, you stop telling the Boobies Story and I won't do what I was planning to do to you," Faith said as she waved Jessica into the Dragon's former office.

"What were you planning to do?"

"You'll just have to wait and find out," she replied.

"Alright, deal. See ya." The connection went dead.

Faith checked out the girl as she hung up the phone. Jessica's hair was growing back in nicely and she was doing a lot better now that she wasn't being tormented every day. "What can I do for you, J."

"I finally got through to Paulo the groundskeeper. My cousin is flying here to get me,"

"What did your parents say?"

"They didn't even know I was missing. If the police aren't bringing me home in the back of a squad car, mom and dad try to stay out of my life. What's stupid is that they're here in Paris, have been for the whole month on summer vacation." She twirled her growing locks with a finger.

"You can stay here as long as you want, Kiddo, or at least as long as I do. You'll be safe, Rollo is pretty good guy."

"Thanks, Faith, I don't know what I'll do yet." She left the office as Jenn and Rami came in.

Rami was in her standard jeans and Jenn sporting her Valkyrie leather look. She had a corset, but also an open silk shirt over it.

"Hey, girls, what's up?" Faith asked. She was trying to research Thomas Carswell to see if he had any descendants that might want to have his belongings, but was coming to the conclusion that it would be easier to pawn it off on Willow.

"So, what are we?" Rami asked. "Everyone has bets on it."

"Please say we're a Vengeance of Slayers," Jenn asked. "I'd win butt-loads of cash in the pool for that."

"Word came down from the All-Mighty B, You guys, Tazi, Blake, Shannon, and Chao-ahn, are a Family of Slayers. Don't laugh now because I'm the Daddy, as in, who's your..."

"" Jenn said.

"Huh, Daddy Faith," Rami said with a smile. "Sounds like Buffy. Why'd we let her pick the names again?"

Buffy snapped her cell phone shut and threw it on her pile of clothes. "That was Dr. Byrd. Anna McIntyre and Julie Wilson both have been released from the medical Ward."

"That's great," Haven said as he laid on his back next to her and looked at the stars. His lions, in all of their shapes were passed out around them.

"Ya, Anna has some nerve damage, but it could have been a lot worse." Buffy rolled over to face him. "Why didn't I change?"

"I'm not sure, Babe." He caressed her side. "Your beast is now a full grown cat like you had your first change. I don't know, but we can ask some people that probably would, like Augie. Clearly you sprout fur when you get excited, maybe you're just not locked to the full moon."

"Oh, that's not too bad then," she said. "Watching you humping all the girls kinda downed my mood, maybe that's why I didn't change."

"In fur, Babe, I have responsibilities to the pride," he explained again. "That's how a pride bonds, how we form the metaphysical links to each other."

"What about Walker and the guys, you gonna mount them too?" Buffy challenged.

"That's your job, Babe."


"Just kidding," he said with a laugh at her expression.

She growled.


"I don't know where she is at, Faith," Rollo said as he walked into the council forum room.

"Alright, where the hell is Blake?" Faith yelled out. "We have Andrew's stupid photographer here to do the pics for the website. Someone find her."

The Albanian slayer, Tazi, jumped up and ran out to search.

"She means idea stupid, not you stupid." Chao-ahn explained to the ticked-looking camera guy.

Rami was sporting her new Harley tee-shirt; a gift from Jenn, who was firmly in her new corset look. Shannon waited on the couch with her headphones on and ignored everything around her as Jenn brought over a tray of doughnuts.

"Faith," Illyria said as she walked into the room. "I have found the new captain of the guard. It was not a simple task." Behind her, Spike sauntered in and looked around while Faith's mouth dropped open.

"Bloody Hell, Slayer, nice digs," Spike said. "Can't keep a good vamp down, eh. Now where's my bit, where's Buffy?"

"Holy Mother," Faith whispered. This is gonna be great.

Blake brushed the snow off of her hands and looked up, way up. "Umm...Hi," she said to the huge dude with the horned helmet.

"Welcome, Blake, to the Winterland," Cromm's deep and slow voice rumbled. "Your new home for eternity." He waved his hands out slowly to draw her attention to the snow covered forest all around them.

"Umm..." She didn't know what to say.

"Should we consummate our marriage now, do you think, or would you like dinner first." He motioned to a freshly killed deer.

"Umm...Faith?" She whispered.

Rollo sat naked in the wooden chair, under a small candlelight, the only light in the shadowed chamber. A pair of dark hands caressed his chest and rubbed the sweat from his body.

"You have done well, My Slave."

"I live to serve, Sweet Mother."

The End.

Will continue in "Shadow Dancer"

Thank you for all of the reviews and recommendations.

The End

You have reached the end of "Order of Business". This story is complete.

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