Black Hat Born
A/N: A few things need to be discussed before any of you begin reading. We can also blame me being home ill today for the early posting.
First – this story is the second piece of fiction set in the One Last Shot Universe. So it’s an A. U. While I tried my best for yinz guys to not have to read One Last Shot, I think it would help. There’s back story there and not all of it is explained here. So you will see some femslash (Buffy/Willow). If you don’t like it, really you can close the browser window or tab now. It’ll save you lots of grief and me the headache of wanting to beat people about the facial area with a dead fish.
Second – For the crossover elements in the story, the Miami that Dexter lives in and Dexter himself (along with his family
and co-workers) are an amalgamation of the series that airs on Showtime and the characters as they were written by Jeff Lindsay (for those of you that don’t know, Dexter is based off of a novel the first book is called Darkly Dreaming Dexter, there are three other books that follow).
Lastly – I do not own Dexter, Buffy or any of the other characters that are not mine. Jimmy’s mine and I have enough of a soft spot for him so…Fox, Showtime, Joss Whedon, Jeff Lindsay and other people that make way more than me, own the main characters. For fun, really not here for the money (and the benefits package leaves a bit to be desired too). Side note. Dialogue in italics are internal dialogue i.e. telepathy between characters.
Thank you – Didge, Valyssia, Dennis and Winddrinker. Oh, and thank you to Powerman 5000 for helping out with some musical inspiration while writing this. The chapter titles are lyrics from Heroes and Villains.
Feedback, flames, questions, comments and general rumblings can be left here (if the option to review is there) or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.orgChapter 1 – Black Hat Born
Willow’s hand firmly grips mine as my partner weaves in and out of traffic on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. She’s got a death grip on my hand. It hurts, but it still makes me smile. They used to joke about me and my driving—‘kay, so…lack of
— driving skills. Since being in New York, I’m thinkin’ I fit right in.
Jimmy honks the horn and shakes his fist out the car window. He curses, “You stupid mook, learn to fuckin’ drive. I should ticket your ass and then maybe you’d get some damn sense!”
A giggle escapes my lips. The only thing I can do is sit back and enjoy the ride. I rest my head against the back of the seat and close my eyes. Jimmy will get us to the airport safe and sound. Will may need some oxygen for the hyperventilation, but—hey, we’ll get there.
I turn my head and look at the skyline. It provides the classic backdrop to New York City. I’ve been in the city five years and I still find it pretty. As wacky as my life was, or is, being here is the best move that I could’ve made. At some point, I’m gonna have to bite the bullet and thank Faith for the suggestion.
Not sure who to thank for the whole career choice thing. Snyder? I stifle my giggle and decide to firmly not. There’re times that being a cop…it feels a little surreal. Like Buffy got dropped in an alternate dimension. Four years of my adult life. Weird.
Funnier still is they think I’m good at it. Last year, Jimmy and I both received commendations and were bumped up to Detective First Grade. Wasn’t really looking for it, but it happened. We still work Robbery Homicide out of the 24th; they just give me more money. And the best: I get a bigger clothing allowance. When our captain, Patrick Johnson, told me, it took every ounce of self control I had to not give him a bear hug.
All Jimmy did was give me a sideways glance and this look—the look that’s reserved for me and only me. I hate that look. The other really good: I finally got Jimmy to throw away some of his ties. His ties need to be banned. They’re like, weird torture devices. Seriously, they hurt me. We got him new ones and I got to two new suits.
Let’s be honest, I may be able to find fashionable and affordable clothes…but those two suits at the Dolce and Gabbana
Store on Madison needed
to be bought.
I turn my attention from the receding skyline and look over at my lover, my best friend, my Will. We’ve been going strong for three years...our three year anniversary was this past April.
It was—she surprised me at the precinct. I had this uber-romantic thing planned. Reservations at the Rainbow Room. I’d hired a chauffeur to take us everywhere. But I was also in the middle of this huge case. The night got cancelled, or so I thought. She came and grabbed me for a private picnic on the rooftop of the station…just about perfect, even better than what I’d planned. Not gonna tell her that though.
And Will…she’s been quite the busy college student. I’m so proud. I snagged a doctor. Mom would be thrilled. I don’t really know how she’d feel about the doctor being a girl, but she took the ‘slayer’ thing…well, she got past it. The ‘Buffy’s gay’ thing should’ve been no sweat for her. I know she’d have liked to see Will graduate med school. Hell, Will’s parents even showed up.
They don’t take to me being her lover that well. Sheila still doesn’t get my name right. I’ll do ‘the admit’ and say I’m horrible with names—one of the worst. But after twelve years, you’d think the big brain would remember. I told Jimmy that if she calls me Bunny or Bamby one more time, I’m gonna shoot her. Luckily, that time, Will got us out of their presence hastily.
“Cupcake, why the hell d’you have to pick La Guardia to fly out of?” Jimmy whines from the driver’s seat. I pick my head up and meet his gaze in the rearview mirror.
“Because that’s where the travel agent got ‘em out of. And no, shooting or arresting the travel agent is not allowable,” I joke back. The tickets were the right price for first class and everything else seemed to fall into place. Secretly, I’d been planning this trip for months. As soon as Will graduates, we’re getting out of Dodge and going to Miami.
I get surf, sun, fun and a bikini clad redhead all to myself for an entire month. Neither Will, nor I, has had a vacation in three years. She’s been school girl and New York and crime are like—they’re like something that can’t exist without the other. I’ve been busy.
The airport finally comes into view and I heave a sigh of relief. I think my hand’s going to be permanently curled when Willow finally lets go. I look at her and see her visibly relax as Jimmy pulls up to the curb and puts the car in park. Gently, I ease my hand from her loosening grip and flex it to make sure it still works. Yep, curled. Oh well.
I step out of the nice air conditioned car into the muggy July weather. Stretching, I watch as Jimmy gets out and starts pulling our bags from the trunk and piling them on the curb.
“Cupcake, how many pieces of luggage do you actually need?” he asks, grunting under the weight of a rather large suitcase.
Will smiles and answers, “We’re going to be gone for a month. A girl needs her things.”
Jimmy rolls his eyes and snarks, “The fact that there are two‘a yinz doesn’t help. Damn women and their junk. Clears up all sortsa questions about why I’m still single.”
I quirk an eyebrow and say, “Jimmy—you single—isn’t ‘cause we girls like our clothes. It’s your taste in them.”
He looks at me confused and cocks his head to the side. “The women or the clothes?”
I give it a brief moment of thought and then with a grin, reply, “Both.”
He scowls as he heaves the last bag onto the curb and slams the trunk down. I walk over to him and wrap my right arm around his waist, leading him to the baggage check-in desk at the front of the terminal. One of the attendants grabs our stuff and throws it on a cart to follows us.
“Admit it,” I say, “you’ll miss us.”
Willow attaches herself to his other side and I feel her hand brush my waist. “Yeah, Jimmy. What will you do without Buff to boss around for an entire month?” I look around Jimmy and see the mischief dance in my lover’s eyes.
He lifts his arms and drapes them across our shoulders. Squeezing, he admits, “Well, I’m gonna hafta cook for one. I might actually do some work at the precinct. Yeah, yeah
, I’ll miss ya.”
I grin and squeeze him back. This is going to be the longest we’ve been apart since we’ve been partnered. When Will came to me three April’s ago, I got a few surprises. The first was that her and I finally got over whatever it was that kept us apart. She loves me. She loves me like I love her and we haven’t been apart since.
The second is my Jimmy. Despite the year and a half we’d worked together, we’d never actually bonded. We trusted each other, but there— Will says it’s ’cause I wouldn’t get close to anyone. Maybe she’s right. But Jimmy, he wormed? ‘Kay, so…maybe not wormed…but he proved himself I guess. He proved he could be trusted…with everything. And by ‘everything’, I’m talkin’ the whole enchilada…my past, Sunnydale, the existence of Slayers and demons. And he only passed out once.
Our relationship is different, I can’t find the words. He’s not like a father…or a brother. It’s more. Besides Will, he’s the only person I trust implicitly. I trust him with her. Which is huge. Words usually fail me when I try to think about it or talk about it. Words fail me anyhow, but he’s like my left leg and arm. Will’s the right part, he’s the left part. I guess that’s as good as I’m gonna get. Never was one for word-smithing.
Will goes to the clerk and begins checking our bags. I search through my carry on and make sure I have my badge and red tag signaling that I’m carrying a live fire arm onto a plane. The F.A.A. is kinda strict about that. After making sure that everything is in order, I turn to Jimmy and smile. He’s got this weird half-smile going on. He only gets it when he’s about to be mushy. I do an internal eye roll and grab his hand.
“Cupcake,” he starts out. Quickly clearing his throat to mask the sappy, he continues, “You keep each other safe. I know you can take care of yourself and Red’s more’n capable, but I don’t need to tell you how cranky I’d be if I got a call sayin’ somethin’ happened to you both.”
I nod and pull him into a hug. I stifle a laugh as he stiffens. He still gets a little skittish when I hug him. Too bad, I’m a hugger. Deal. I pull back, looking into his soft green eyes before I reply, “Don’t worry about me and the missus—” he grins as I use his verbiage for Will and me “—we’ll be fine. Vacation. Miami. It’s going to be low key and relaxing. I’m more worried about you.”
“Awe shucks Kiddo, I’ll be good. Pat put me with Vice until you come back so it should be fun.” He smiles ruefully. I know what Vice is like and it’s not a barrel of laughs. It’s the anti-barrel.
“That’s exactly my point!” I exclaim, “That squad’s nothing but a bunch of…of cowboys.” Damn, I need to find a better word to describe their haphazard respect for life. “Something happens to you while I’m gone—all bets are off.”
He grins, winks and nods. He’s the only one that I know that can pull that off. Weird. “I’ll be good,” he says. “I’ll try to stick to desk work.”
The smile he wears tells me it’s a lie. He hates desk work. He hates it more than I do and that’s saying something. ‘Cuz I
really, really, really hate sitting at my desk. Flashing him a wry grin, I snark, “Right…and I’ll come back with a boob job and a cabana boy.”
He shakes his head and is about ready to comment when Will joins the conversation, her eyebrows in her hairline. I think she may’ve caught that last part.
“Sweetie, you get a boob job and bring back a cabana boy, I better be dead.” She grins at us both and my cheeks flame red.
“Well, there you go. We have to come back okay.” I smile nodding my agreement.
Jimmy slings an arm over Willow’s shoulder and walks us to the terminal doors. “Cupcake, Red, enjoy the vacation. Call me when you land.”
We nod and pull him into a huge group hug. My eye’s lock with Will’s and we come to a silent agreement. Pulling him in tighter, we both take a cheek and plant firm kisses on our respective sides. I feel the heat rise up in his face and let him go.
“Love you, old man,” Will and I both say at the same time.
He nods and says, “Love you ladies too. Be good. Don’t get arrested. I hate Florida. I ain’t comin’ to bail ya out.” With that he turns and walks back to the car.
We wave one last time before he disappears inside the car and takes off. I look around the area as Will grabs my hand. We walk hand in hand into the airport and off to a month long, sorely needed vacation.
My face scrunches up with concern as I look around this place and watch Buffy go to the front desk of the hotel—Miami Beach Resort & Spa—to check us in. She never told me how much this whole trip was going to cost us. Now, sure, we don’t really have to worry about money. Giles made sure of that…but this, it’s a bit much.
It reminds me of that hotel in Pretty Woman
, where Richard Gere stayed. It’s on par, that’s for sure, all marbled and shiny. Everyone on staff looks like they’re waiting for me to snap my fingers and demand something. It kinda bugs.
I’ve been lots of places—every major city in the world and some really unknown ones too—but this is different. I’ve never really traveled the States. Sunnydale to L.A., then New York, that’s it. Yes, I know, very sad…but the rest of my time was spent tracking down slayers. I’ve never stayed in a place like this. Buffy’s going to have some explaining to do.
I roll my shoulders, easing some of the tension the flight wrought on my poor back. I don’t think first class makes much of a difference. It’s a seat that you have to sit in for hours on end. At least everything was arranged. Buffy’s put a lot of work into this vacation. From the moment we landed, a driver awaited us. Buffy hired a limo. While she spends money, it’s usually not so willy nilly.
I watch her turn around and point at me and our bags. The bell hop hasn’t left my side. She flashes me a smile and turns back to the desk clerk, handing over our bank card. Goddess, that makes me nervous. He smiles warmly and hands her two room keys. She turns back around to me and she’s got this look. I’ve kinda only seen it over the past few years. It’s a good look for her. It screams happy. I love seeing her happy. I love seeing her, period.
She grabs my hand and I follow. Nope, not much changes in the Willow – Buffy camp. She leads, I follow. Good system. She pulls us further back in the hotel, following the bellhop. I move in closer and my hand brushes her side. I pause for minute and feel the raised flesh beneath the fabric of her shirt.
It’s one of the few scars she has remaining from that…from him
. It’s one of the scars that made me worried happy wasn’t going to exist after everything that happened when I first came to stay with her. The thing with Nekko, the deaths and the kidnapping. She took all of it in stride, just brushed it off. Which is still weird. I mean, usually she’ll get all repressy and carry-onish, but that last major deal—she just let it go. The injuries she suffered, all of it–water under the bridge.
I asked her about the why a few months after everything was said and done, after the case died down and Faith had the baby. We were getting ready to go out to James’ club and she had had a hard time choosing an outfit that wouldn’t show the scars she had remaining. I watched her scowl at her wardrobe as she stood there in her underwear, showing off in the black lace ones I got for her.
I sat on the bed, looking at the most prominent mark on her left side. He hadn’t caused many scars. Surprisingly enough, out of the thirty-four cuts she received, only six scarred. Three on her torso, one on each arm and the last ran along the inside of her thigh.
I had to ask and I did. Her response was not what I expected. She said to me, “Will, I know it’s weird. I just can’t explain and have it make sense. It’s not the torture…it’s whatever. I’ve done worse to myself. Granted, I didn’t leave behind the nifty visible scars, but there are some invisible ones. I just—my biggest thought while I was there was about you. Was about how I’d failed you. When you came in, after I woke up, I was just relieved you were okay. You weren’t…I didn’t lose you. The rest doesn’t matter.”
I listened to her response. I may not’ve completely understood it but I accepted it. Admittedly, I was…gone. There was too much going on at the time. And sanity was temporarily absent. So I accepted and moved on.
“Will, you wanna go in or are you gonna stand outside the door all day?” Buffy asks, cutting through my thoughts. I look around at where we are. How’d we get to our room? When did that happen? I shake off the thoughts and go back to focusing on the confused girl looking at me.
I offer her a small apologetic smile and enter our suite. I can’t help but smile. The décor is so…tropical. It’s white on white and the furniture is very modern, all steel and glass. I think I might break something if we stay here for our entire trip. Gonna hafta be careful.
I watch the bell hop unload our luggage and place it in the foyer. Buffy slips him some money and closes the door behind him. She turns to me with that smirk—the smirk that makes me go all weak in the knees. That smirk should be a registered weapon.
She comes up to me and presses herself against me. I shiver as her mouth zeros in on my neck and she begins a gentle nipping, sucking thing that has a tendency to curl my toes. My arms automatically go around her, pulling her close.
Hey, where’d her mouth go?! Oh, ear, hmmm, ear. Her warm breath tickles my ear and I hear her whisper, “I think we can say vacation’s officially begun.”
I let her steer me to the couch in the living room and push me down. I watch as she backs up and positions herself over my lap so that she’s straddling my thighs. Her hair hangs down and falls forward, curtaining our faces. I love her hair down. It’s something that I don’t see a lot.
Her eyes sparkle as she asks, “So, what’s on our agenda the rest of the day?” I lean in and capture her lips. I’ve got your agenda, missy. I’ve got it all planned out.
My brain and hands connect and they begin to roam down her back, over her butt and back up. They end up tangled in her hair and I manage between kisses, “Sun, relaxation, you, nakedness. It’s all planned out in my head.”
I move to the faint scar on her neck and alternate between sucking it and biting it. She’ll never admit it, but for some reason having Angel’s bite mark nibbled turns her on. Moreover, it’s the only scar that’s lasted over the years she’s been slaying. I wonder… Oh great, jumping Diana! Her hands slide down my front and cup my breasts. She pushes herself further into me. I avoid the impulse to rip at the sundress she wears. It’s a pretty dress, blue with a weird rippley pattern. It makes the blue flecks in her hazel eyes stand out. Don’t rip it, Willow. Be good.
Instead, I motion for her to stand and I follow her up. I slip the spaghetti straps down her shoulders and kiss the exposed skin. I breathe her in and my head swims. I’m not sure how. Didn’t really think it was possible, but the sex—it’s gotten better. Oh, hands—hands in familiar places. Where’d my pants go? Wait does it matter? Oh, gods! She’s doin’ tha…
Floors are good. I can work with floors. I don’t have to stand. My legs aren’t working right. Stupid legs. Somehow she’s gotten both of us naked and the coffee table is…its elsewhere. I need to get some control before she has her way with me. Right, I can work with being on top.
I flip us over and chuckle. Ha! Slayer strength my patootie! Straddling her waist I work my way down her body and spread her open, exposing her to me. My head dips down and the last thought that sticks is this is going to be the best vacation ever.
The moon hangs fat and grotesque in the night sky. The crickets chirp in time with the other creatures of the dark, creating the perfect music to accompany my little break in. The air is thick and heavy, suffocating even the most seasoned residents of Miami. Mid July brings nothing but heat and humidity. The later wraps around you like a steaming wet blanket determined to squeeze the life from you.
I move silently through the house of one ‘Mr. Charles Gilbertson,’ plumber extraordinaire. Our dear Charlie garnered the attention of ‘Dexter the Demon’ one week ago when a string of missing housewives became fodder for our obtuse local news. Everyone was up in arms over the disappearance of Elaine Fischer, Maria Montalvo, and Susanna Castaneda. The police weren’t able to find anything and no one had any clues.
It was my other self, my Dark Passenger, who stood to attention in the backseat of Darling Dexter’s theoretical soul and
snickered knowingly at the news as the latest disappearance made waves. When I set to work, finding the fiend that had taken the lives of our three missing missus, I didn’t know where it would lead. I just knew it’d lead somewhere and that our fair ladies were dead. This meant there was another beast in my area.
Even the daftest individual has to know they had shuffled off this mortal coil, but it was how they did it that pushed me towards finding out who was responsible. I smelled blood in the water. When things require serious research, I turn to my trusty computer. It’s very rarely failed me in my search for the truth. With a few strokes of some keys and convivial clicks of my mouse, I found an interesting pattern emerge in the lives our three, presumed missing, but actually departed dames.
Miami’s crack shot team of crime fighters neglected to notice the van parked down the street from every single house that had a lost lamb. It took some clever enhancement of grainy newspaper photos, but I was able to make out the numbers painted on the front of our Mystery Machine. It tracked back to Mr. Gilbertson’s plumbing business and from there it became nothing more than fulfilling the Code of Harry.
As I rifle though Chipper Charlie’s drawers, a slight tug takes me back to remember my dear foster father. He was a great man. A man who knew what I was before I did. If it hadn’t been for him, I would just be another statistic for the F.B.I. to use in profiling monsters like me. Instead, Harry took me in. He trained me when, how and who to subject to my dark desires. Everyone who’s fallen under the knife of Dexter Demented has met Harry’s requirements.
People—men and women alike—who commit despicable acts—acts they cover up and with community profiles that usually put them above suspicion…well they create problems. Harry, as good a cop as he was, never could find enough evidence to convict the few that he uncovered. So the rules he gave me are simple. Make sure they are guilty, gather enough evidence to prove to yourself that they did what you think they did, then act.
”Son,” he said to me on one of our fishing trips, “When you finally begin. You have to prove it. You have to make sure you are careful. And when I say careful, I’m not just talking about not getting caught. You’re different, Dex. You don’t feel what other people do. You have to learn to pretend.”
So I have. I’m ‘Dexter the Great Pretender.’ Here to amuse and take out your garbage. Learn to smile at the right times, laugh at the appropriate jokes, or frown when others do because it’s supposed to be, whatever it is that’s supposed to be, upsetting. Mr. Gilbertson is a pretender too. He’s just sloppier than some and happened to fall under the notice of someone more skilled.
I follow Harry’s rules. They’ve only failed me once, but that was a…an exceptional circumstance. Even then, they helped see me through. So tonight, I work my way meticulously through our Robust Rooter’s home, looking for that scrap of evidence that’ll condemn him to a night with the Dark Avenger.
I search through his closet, then under his bed and through two dressers. I have one left. Let’s see what we find. The top three drawers contain the standard articles of clothing, underwear, socks, some pants and shorts. The bottom drawer holds old t-shirts, but the drawer isn’t very deep. I cock my head to the side, briefly confused. Shoving the drawer back in, I survey its depth. Ah…I smile knowingly and pull the drawer back open. Carefully, I remove the t-shirts and place them in a neat pile.
Gently, I lift the false bottom and pull the thin wood up to reveal a treasure trove of digital cassettes. I wonder what’s on these. I think there was a video camera set up on the living room T.V. How convenient. As I make my way to the living room, I glance down at my watch to make sure I still have enough time. My studies of his habits will put him home tonight at approximately 8:00 pm. He’ll have left work at 6, then head on over to a sports bar called ‘Angel’s’ to enjoy his dinner and a few beers. This leaves me another hour before I need to disappear.
I slip the first cassette into the recorder and power up the T.V. Light fills the room and I watch, transfixed, as Charlie lumbers across the screen. He stops in front of a duct taped package, removes a knife from his boot and slits the tape open. From the opening, a body emerges much like a butterfly would from a cocoon. Of course, this butterfly doesn’t live to spread its wings. No, this butterfly perishes sooner than most at the hands of Mr. Gilbertson.
It takes a second more of inspecting the footage to recognize the terrified face of Elaine Fischer. She writhes out of her duct tape cocoon and my Mindful Monster is satisfied that Harry’s guidelines are met. I don’t need to see the other tapes in my hand to know that Charles Gilbertson is officially being assigned a confrontation with Dexter the Dark Knight.
I remove the tape and slip it into my pocket. As I make my way back to the master bedroom, I replace everything I moved or disturbed. On my way out, I make one last sweep of the house to make insure I left no traces of my presence here tonight. I make my way down to my car parked on the other side of the block. Light in step and heart, I’m secure in the knowledge that I will soon be able to quiet my Dark Passenger and go back to be being Dashing Dexter the Dull.