The Bubble Bath
Chapter 4: Bubble Bath
I still own nothing, other than Jenny, and now Lucille, who will be introduced later this chapter. On that note, I'd like to mention that this story is following Faith and Ranma, not the Scooby gang, which is two years ahead, academically. As such, new characters are needed, thus we have OCs. Moving past that, we come to the whole Buffy bashing issue. That, quite honestly, was me trying to be funny, I'll be rectifying that in coming chapters. That said, I can guarantee that there is absolutely no Buffy bashing in this chapter, and anything you perceive as such is supported in canon. I'd like to thank Gsteemso for beta reading this. Now, on with the fic!
The three girls left, in search of a suitable training ground, leaving the Scoobies behind. If they wanted to sit around watching one person train, then so be it. Faith, Jenny and Ranma, however, would use that time to improve themselves. Unfortunately, Sunnydale had very few places to train in as acrobatic a style as the Saotome School.
“Hey, Ranma,” Faith asked as they wandered into the industrial area, “what the fuck are we actually looking for?”
“We need a large area that has a lot of room for jumping, and can’t be seen from the outside,” Ranma explained.
“Would an abandoned warehouse work?” Jenny asked, pointing to an out of the way warehouse, complete with boarded up windows.
Looking the structure over, Ranma made her decision. “That’ll do.” The three girls made their way to the building’s main entrance, where both Faith and Ranma froze. “Damn,” Ranma muttered,
“Looks like we found us a damn nest,” Faith stated, eyes shining with what could only be called glee. “Guess it’s time to earn our keep.”
“What are you two talking about?” Jenny asked.
“This,” Ranma said, gesturing to the warehouse, “is a vampire nest. I’d say that there are at least as many as I fought last night. Faith and I are going to knock them all out and steal everything they have worth taking before staking them.”
“You’re going to what?” Jenny demanded, both surprised and horrified, with a little worry as seasoning.
“Slaying doesn’t pay for shit,” Faith admitted bitterly. “Ranma’s good enough to knock out vampires without dusting them, so we take everything that’d turn to dust. You saw how much we eat, our food bills alone are going to cost a damn fortune.”
“I suppose that makes sense,” Jenny admitted. “While you go do that, I’ll just stay here, in the sun, here it’s safe.”
“That’s probably best,” Ranma agreed. Turning back to Faith, she asked, “Do you have any extra weapons on you? I didn’t think to grab any.”
“Nope, I’ve only got one stake and my knife.”
“Damn. Well, at least we’ll see if a vampire dusts when it’s heart is ripped out,” Ranma mused with a shrug.
“You can do that? Jenny asked in extreme shock, her eyes bugging out slightly.
“Yeah, it’s part of the Yama-Senken. The Dokuja Tenketsu Sho.” The girls descended into an awkward silence.
After a few moments, Faith tested the door and found it to be locked. Turning to Ranma she asked, “What do you think, break the door down?”
“Nah, we don’t want to lose the element of surprise,” Ranma replied. “Let me see the lock; I might be able to pick it.” Faith moved aside, and Ranma approached, pulling a set of needles from her bracers as she went.
While Ranma started working on the lock, Jenny asked, “Why do you know how to pick locks?”
“The Umi-Senken has another name, the ‘Way of the Silent Thief.’ ” That one statement answered a number of questions, really. A few seconds later, Ranma was done with the lock, leaving the door slightly open while she returned her lock picks to their place in her bracers. “I’ll go first,” the redhead stated. Assuming a hunched, ghostlike posture she slipped through the doors.
The first room looked like an office building’s reception area, which Ranma felt was odd, considering this was a warehouse. Still, there was a vampire sitting behind the receptionist’s desk. Ranma froze, waiting for the vampire’s reaction. A moment later, she heard the snores; the vampire guard was asleep at his post. Silently, Ranma crept up to the window and carefully slid it open. She then climbed through the window, marveling at how deeply the
vampire slumbered. One blow to the back of the neck changed sleep into unconsciousness, allowing the redhead to move on while Faith began her looting.
Faith entered the building five minutes after Ranma, to give her partner in crime — grave robbing might be the right term — time to clear the room. As Ranma had already moved on, Faith began her examination of the corpse, piling everything of value to the side. Since they were going to clear the building, not to mention her lack of a bag to hold anything, the pilfered items would be safe enough where she left them. Cash, on the other hand, was jammed wherever she had room, such as in her pockets, down her shirt, and in the sleeves of her leather jacket. Soon enough, she would have to sort the cash into reasonably neat piles, just so she could carry more. Some of these suckers had quite a lot of cash on them.
While she was enjoying playing with the money she was finding, some of the items were concerning, such as the switchblade and the brass knuckles that first vamp was carrying. She knew Ranma could handle a large group of unarmed vampires on her own, but what about an armed gang that wouldn’t need to worry about hurting each other? Some of them might even have guns, and Faith doubted that Ranma could dodge bullets. Once all the valuables had been removed from the body of the reception vampire, barring any the vampire was hiding in places that Faith refused to check, the Slayer plunged her stake in to the corpse’s heart, pulling back quickly to prevent it’s loss.
As Ranma entered the next room, which was really more of a hotel’s hallway than a room, she noticed that there were far too many vampires around to use just the opening stance of the Umi-Senken. Pulling a large, psychedelically patterned towel around her body, she faded from view. Acting quickly, she managed to either knock out or paralyze five of the eight vampires in the hallway before the others noticed anything. Breaking a vampire’s back or neck did a wonderful job of slowing it down.
“What happened to Barney?” a vampire with a bowl cut that would have been Kuno-approved, had the vampire been female, asked.
“I don’t know, Lou,” a female vampire with her hair tied in surprisingly frizzy pigtails replied. “But whatever it was got everyone but you, me, and Harry already.”
The bald vampire, Harry, looked around the room before asking, “You guys smell anything?”
“That’s the smell of fresh meat, you nincompoop!” Lou yelled, giving Harry a slap upside the head.
“A human, here?” the female asked. After considering the idea for a moment, she added, “That would explain the heart beating over in that corner.”
“Damn it, Mary,” Lou yelled, “why didn’t you tell us earlier?”
“I thought you knew about it.”
Ranma, hiding in the corner Mary had pointed to, watched in shock while Mary, Lou, and Harry began slapping each others’ heads. Deciding the vampires were providing a great distraction to themselves, Ranma slowly and silently advanced toward the trio.
Unfortunately, Ranma had overlooked one little thing. One of the vampires could hear her heart beating from across the room. Stepping away from the other two, who continued their slapping fight, Mary cocked her head, closed her eyes, and scrunched up her face, already in its demonic facade, in either concentration or constipation, Ranma couldn’t really tell which. Unexpectedly, the vampire leapt straight at the invisible redhead with the cry, “Two Finger Blinding Strike!” Somehow, the vampire had guessed her target’s height and position based on the position of her beating heart, as well as how Ranma was standing by the heart’s orientation. Her attack was perfectly aimed, her hand a fist with index and middle fingers extended in a ‘V.’ Her attack was such a surprise that Ranma was left without any time to dodge.
Luckily, Ranma’s hands were faster than a high speed camera at times, allowing her to bring a knife hand in front of her face to block. Faster than the vampire could blink, the blocking hand wrapped around her index finger. A quick pull from Ranma positioned Mary for a perfect thrust to the outside of the elbow, splintering the joint, before another yank pulled her in for a powerful head butt. Mary collapsed bonelessly as soon as her finger was released, unconscious. Ranma, figuring that stealth was now useless, dropped her Goshin Dai Ryusei Fu and faded back into sight.
“A wise guy, eh?” Lou grumbled when he saw Ranma. “Let’s get her!” The two vampires charged, lunging at their redheaded prey. A second later, they learned why attacking cute girls who show no fear in the face of a charging vampire is a bad idea. That was the last thing they ever knew.
Shaking her head at the stupidity of vampires, Ranma opened the first door and slipped inside. A moment later, Ranma slipped back out of the room, blushing deeply, leaving another female vampire slumped in her bubble bath.
When Faith checked the room, she fell over laughing at the sight of an evil demon enjoying a bubble bath. Deciding she liked this vampire, and wanting something to watch Ranma practice on, she left the room to find some rope before binding the vampire, leaving her hanging upside down with her head underwater.
Out side the warehouse, Jenny was beginning to get nervous. She had been waiting outside for over an hour without any sign from Ranma or Faith. To make matters even worse, she had never seen either of the girls fight, so all she had was their word that they could take out a full nest without help, or even any weapons beyond Faith’s stake, as a knife would be nearly useless. “Come on you two,” she said quietly, despite the current absence of her two friends. “Please don’t make me go in there to find you.” Right before she could decide to either head home or to the library to get help, two figures emerged from the building. “Ranma, Faith, is that you?”
“Yeah, Jenny, it’s us,” Faith called back as the pair approached their friend.
“How do I know it’s you and not two vampires?” Jenny asked cautiously, not wanting to be eaten.
Faith slapped her face into her hand and growled, “We were only in there for ninety minutes! It takes at least a fucking day to be turned!” ‘Most of the time,’ she added silently.
“And if that isn’t enough,” Ranma said, stepping out of the building’s shadow and into the sunlight, “we aren’t burning yet.”
“Good,” Jenny sighed in relief. “So all of the vampires are dead?”
“Well, not quite,” Faith replied, surprising both Jenny and Ranma. “I left one hanging upside down in the tub. Figured Ranma’d need a test dummy for her pressure points or something. See if that shit works on vamps or not.”
“Leaving the vampire for later,” Ranma began, “we came out here because we thought you’d like to help us collect and sort the goodies.”
“Yeah,” Faith urged, “They had some cool stuff.”
“You’re sure it’s safe?” Jenny asked nervously.
“No more dangerous than my old school,” Ranma stated. Unfortunately, Jenny knew nothing about Furinkan and was thus mollified.
As the three girls walked back to the warehouse, Jenny asked, “So how are we sorting everything?”
“I guess we could sort the stuff into piles,” Faith said. “I already grabbed most of the cash, but I couldn’t carry it all, so it’s in one of those water cooler bottle things. If we find any more, we should stuff it in there for now. Other than that, I guess we can sort the shit into piles. One for the better stuff we want to keep. Another for stuff to sell; might want to take care of those first, so we can have more cash when we buy the place. And the last pile would be for the crap we don’t want and can’t sell.”
“Sounds good to me,” Ranma said. Jenny nodded her agreement. “Just make sure to keep all of the doors open. I couldn’t hear Faith until we met up earlier.”
“What do you mean,” Jenny asked.
“This place is set up like a fucking house, with all of the rooms soundproofed,” Faith replied. “It’s even got a full bathroom, including a vampire decoration, and a kitchen. One of the rooms even has a mini-fridge, though I haven’t checked it out yet.”
“Come on, let’s go wake the vampire you left and see what she has to say,” Ranma said with a slight blush. “But can we cover her up first?”
“Weren’t we going to go sort the stuff you two found into piles?”
“Aw, where’s the fun in that?” Faith asked, in reference to Ranma’s question before answering Jenny. “Yeah, but this’ll be more fun. Besides, I want to see if vampires get embarrassed.”
“But she’s not the only one who’d get embarrassed,” Ranma protested quietly. She was ignored.
The three girls made their way into the bathroom and found a strange, amusing, and/or disturbing sight. The vampire was thrashing around wildly while trying to keep her head above the water. The overall result was the appearance of doing crunches. As she was about to fall back into the tub, again, Ranma caught her, allowing her to clear her lungs of the large quantities of water she had reflexively inhaled. “What the hell was that for you bitch?!” she screamed when she saw Ranma. “Wasn’t knocking me out enough?”
“I didn’t tie you up, you bloodsucking freak!” Ranma yelled back. “I don’t even know why Faith didn’t dust you like the rest!”
Faith shrugged and replied, “I thought she’d make a good lab rat. No offense, Jenny. Besides, what type of vampire takes a bubble-bath?”
“The type whose body has way too much influence,” the vampire grumbled. “She, I, whatever, was a vegan, for puppies’ sake.”
“For puppies’ sake?” Jenny parroted.
“Let’s just go with ‘I’,” the vampire decided. “Yes, for puppies’ sake. I was part of PETA as well.”
“And why should we let you live?” Ranma demanded.
“I only drink blood that has been willingly given,” the vampire tried. “Fine, look in the mini-fridge in the third room on the left. And don’t forget to look at the expiration dates!”
Faith saw the expectant looks the other two were giving her and sighed. “Fine, I’ll go check the damn fridge.” After Faith left the room, the remaining people and vampire fell into an awkward silence.
Trying to break the silence, the vampire asked, “Are you going to cut me down yet?”
Ranma considered the options carefully, for all of five seconds before answering. “Nope.” The redhead let go of the vampire, allowing her to fall back into the bathtub.
Pulling herself up out of the water, with another curl, the vampire asked, “Then could you at least drape a towel over me or something?”
“Fine,” Jenny relented. “Ranma, hold her up again, please. I’ll find her a towel.” Ranma, now blushing at the reminder that there was a naked girl in the room, held the vampire up, allowing her to relax without falling back into the water. Jenny returned from her search with a large, terrycloth bathrobe. “This should work,” she commented while closing the robe around the vampire’s form, tying the sleeves around her to keep the robe from slipping.
“I’m back,” Faith sang as she pranced into the room. “Aw, you covered up our vampire,” she pouted. Holding out a plastic bag filled with a red substance, Faith announced, “She wasn’t lying about the fucking fridge. It’s full of hospital blood.”
“That blood should be going to patients!” Jenny vehemently declared.
“Oh, please,” the vampire snorted. “Look at the dates. That blood wouldn’t help anyone.”
“Yup,” Faith confirmed. “None of the blood is more than five days from expiring.”
“Old blood might not taste good,” the vampire added, “but it still sustains me, even if I do need more.”
“Now that we know you don’t kill people,” Ranma began, “why don’t we start the real questioning.”
“I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition,” the vampire muttered. After a few moments of silence and blank stares, the vampire snapped, “What? Don’t any of you watch British humor? That’s it! If I’m still alive at the end of this, I’m going to tie you all down and force you to watch the entirety of Monty Python!”
“As far as threats go,” Ranma opined, “I’ve heard better.”
“It wasn’t a threat!” the vampire screamed. “Monty Python is essential viewing!”
“Whatever, let’s move onto the fun part,” Faith said, pulling out a knife. “Let’s start with your name.”
“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” After a few more stares, the vampire sighed. “You haven’t seen the Princess Bride, either? Where where you raised? The wilderness?” After a beat, she added, “Oh, and my name is Lucile Smith.”
“How did you know that I grew up in the wilderness?” Ranma asked, but was ignored in lieu of more important questions.
“How long have you been a vampire?” Faith asked.
“Oh, a year or two,” Lucile answered. “Not worth keeping track when you’ll either be dust in a matter of days or live for centuries.”
“You seem surprisingly smart for a vampire,” Jenny commented. “Were you sired as a Master?”
Lucile chuckled and replied, “Nope, my sire was just an idiot who accidentally made me about half way between minion and master.”
“How many people have you killed?” Faith asked.
Lucile stared Faith straight in the eye and calmly replied, “I have never killed a living being, other than certain insects, nor have I fed off of a human, living or dead. Drank blood weirdos spilt into goblets, yes, but never directly from a human.”
“Why haven’t you?”
“I do everything I can to not kill people, and I don’t know what would happen if I sank my fangs into someone who couldn’t fend me off without leaving me as a pile of dust, so I avoid the temptation,” Lucile explained. “As long as I don’t kill anyone, I have the moral high ground against the Slayer.”
“Fuck it,” Faith decided. “Cut her down, Ranma. We’ll just keep an eye on her.”
“Sure,” Ranma agreed, slicing the ropes supporting Lucile. “Besides, I haven’t gotten a chance to see if ripping the heart out kills a vampire.” Lucile gulped, even as Ranma lowered her feet to the floor.
“That won’t be a problem,” Lucile said as she straightened her bathrobe so that it would actually fit properly. “I’m not going to do anything stupid.”
“Come on,” Ranma urged, somewhat bored, “we still need to show Jenny the rest of this place.” That said, the four girls continued their tour and looting expedition.
As they were looting one room, Jenny asked, “Why do you have a big screen TV and a pool table, but no beds?”
Lucile shrugged and replied, “Most of the vampires here cared more about entertainment than comfort. Hell, they didn’t even get a couch! All I managed to get for myself was an old mattress.”
“It’s getting late,” Jenny noted, taking a look at her watch. “I’d better get going. I don’t want to be outside after dark.”
“Alright, see you tomorrow,” Ranma replied. “We’ll be taking Lucile back with us to our motel room to keep her out of trouble for the night.”
“Yup, wouldn’t want B to stake her,” Faith agreed.
“Don’t I get any say in this?” Lucile asked.
“Are you crazy?” Jenny demanded. “Motels and hotels don’t have any protections from vampires!”
“Yeah, I probably am,” Ranma agreed. “At least I’m not as bad as a Kuno. Besides, I spent most of my life camping. We’ll be fine.”
“Not to pry or anything,” Lucile began, “but since you’re holding me captive and all, can you tell me who, and, more importantly, what you are?”
“Sure,” Faith agreed. “It’s not like it’ll hurt to tell you. I’m Faith, the Slayer.”
“What? No last name? And you can’t be the Slayer. She’s blonde,” Lucile retorted.
“Faith is all you’re going to get,” Faith growled. “And there’s two Slayers now. Didn’t you get the fucking memo?”
Jenny shrugged, deciding to go next. Besides, she lived in the surprisingly safe part of town. “I’m Jenny Spencer. I’m the normal one here, which is weird, considering I’m half demon and all.”
“I’m Ranma Saotome,” Ranma said, finishing the introductions.
“And what are you? You’re definitely not a Slayer,” Lucile probed.
“I was raised as a martial artist,” Ranma began, growling dangerously. “Now I am a warrior.”
“Uh-huh,” Lucile said, nonplussed. “And how does that make you stranger than the half demon?”
“She’s really a boy cursed to become a girl with cold water,” Jenny piped up. “She just hasn’t been able to find any hot water today.”
“Speaking of that,” Ranma cut in, “why were you taking a bath with cold water?”
“Well, two reasons,” Lucile admitted. “I like how a cold bath reminds me that vampires still have a body temperature; it’s just really low. The main reason, though, is that the bastard who owns this place wouldn’t shell out enough cash to get the water heater fixed.”
“Damn,” Faith commented. “Between the motel water heater, the coffee pot, the waitress dropping our coffee five times, the soup, and now this, it’s getting fucking weird.”
“I hate my life,” Ranma muttered. “We’ll see you tomorrow, Jenny.” After Ranma had left, Ranma turned to Lucile and said, “You know you’re our Guinea pig, right?”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Lucile demanded.
“We’re going to see if pressure points work on vampires,” Ranma explained. “So we’re going to test them on you.”
“Wait, what type of stuff are you talking about?” Lucile asked cautiously, already looking for a potential stake. Sometimes being dead is the best option.
“Don’t worry. As long as you cooperate, I won’t use any of the really painful ones,” Ranma reassured her. “We’ll stick to the paralyzing, sleep, and disabling ones, none of which are permanent.”
“Oh, good,” Lucile replied, relaxing.
“Do really good, and we’ll keep the other Slayer away,” Faith added.
“That’s even better,” Lucile replied. “She scares me.”
“And I don’t?” Faith asked with an obviously faked growl.
“Not as much as she does!” Lucile exclaimed. “I heard she sometimes tortures vampires before killing them! You just tied me up and asked me questions, and then it was cooperate or be dust after you use those painful pressure points on me. That won’t hurt nearly as much as what that Slayer did with a cross!”
“And she tries to play all high and mighty,” Faith growled.
“We even have a potential reward for you,” Ranma added. “I want to see what Jusenkyo can do to a vampire. If you’re very good, you might even be able to walk in the sunlight for a while.”
“Walk out in the day?” Lucile asked. “That’s the thing I miss most about being human. Do you really think it’d work?”
“Well, you could end up a vampire dog or something,” Ranma hedged. “But it could work.”
“So, what should we do until dark?” Faith asked.
“If we’re going to buy the place and move in,” Ranma started, “we might as well sweep out all of the dust.”
“Might as well,” Faith agreed with a shrug. “Luce, you get the outer rooms and sweep towards the back door. We’ll take care of it here.”
“If I do this, can I have my own room with a bed when you move here? You know, instead of a cage or something.”
“Maybe,” Faith replied. “Depends on how good you are.” Lucile nodded her acknowledgment and hurried out of the room in search of the janitor’s closet.
An hour later, the three girls had swept the warehouse clean, creating a rather large pile of dust just inside the back door. Oddly, despite having found three push-brooms, there were no dustpans. Looking at her watch, which she had retrieved while sweeping, Lucile said, “It should be dark by now. Can I put on some real clothes, what with you taking me to a motel and all?”
“Aw,” Faith mock pouted, “but that’d ruin the fun!”
Ranma, having once again forgotten that the vampire was naked save for the robe, blushed. She said, “Go get dressed. Please. Then we’ll go to the motel.”
Lucile quickly left the room and headed to the room housing her personal possessions. Packing them into a travel ready bundle took only five minutes, most of which was spent emptying the refrigerator in the most practical way. As an added bonus, she should be able to go at least three days without feeding again. Once she had drained the last bag, she got dressed, adding her robe to the bundle, and headed back to Faith and Ranma. She was not going to attempt to escape, assuming that this was a test of her trustworthiness. Besides, she would never escape unnoticed, and anyone who can take out a nest of vampires that easily deserved respect and fear.
“You’re back, good,” Ranma said as Lucile returned to the back room. “Now we’ll go back to the motel.” She picked up the jug of cash and made her way out the door.
“And avoiding the other Slayer at the same time,” Faith added. “I doubt B’d let you go. She only likes fucking male vampires.” Considering Faith’s typical idiom, Ranma assumed ‘fucking’ was being used as an adjective, not a verb, as it very well could have been. After all, who would willingly do anything intimate with a corpse or a ghost? All of her experiences with the like had been forced. Then again, Ranma’s idea of intimate was a simple kiss, and, due to her spotty school attendance, the mechanics of further intimacy eluded her, despite Shampoo’s most enthusiastic efforts.
“I could always put her to sleep again,” Ranma commented, “though it’d probably get everyone mad at me.”
“Um, what?” Lucile asked.
“Not important,” Faith stated. “Let’s just get to the damn motel.” Ignoring Lucile’s protests and questions, Ranma and Faith quickly escorted the vampire back to the motel, missing running into Buffy’s patrol by mere seconds.