It’s Hard to Shrug While Pinned to a Car Hood
Sooooo many thanks to Greywizard for being my beta! He is amazingly awesome and I appreciate all the help he’s given me (I am a horrible proofer myself).
Jeez, the Circus of the Damned was teeming with creatures of the underworld! Dawn had expected there to be random vamps and maybe even weres but Jean-Claude had his secret lair well-guarded by numerous were-thugs and vampires. It might be harder getting underground then she had thought, although not impossible. Dawn may not be a Girl Scout but she sure as hell came prepared with her bag of wiccan goods that were stuffed into her huge shoulder bag.
Creeping into the women’s restroom, Dawn hid in a stall. Pulling out some genuine pixie dust taken from Willow’s private storage (but Dawn would pay her back, of course; her klepto days were over, she swore), Dawn threw it above her head. Twirling as the dust descended, she tried to get it all over her body and she mumbled some key Latin words. Then she spritzed on some very special ‘perfume’.
Hmm. She didn’t really look different. Maybe it didn’t work? This was the first time she had done this spell, after all. Dawn stepped out of the stall and her shoulder smacked another women.
“Sorry!” she reflexively apologized.
The woman took a look in her direction and screamed. Clutching her chest, she walked out of the bathroom without another word.
Gazing into the mirror, Dawn grinned widely.
“Very cool,” she whispered.
Electronic music pulsed in the dimly lit strip club. Bustling with activity, there were dozens of women throwing money at the stage, screaming at their tables, or surrounding the bar. Xander, Willow, Faith, and Andrew had a table in the darkest corner of the club and watched the area with interest. Their goals tonight was to figure out where Spike was and if he was being held against his will, not to mention scouting out their potential targets if it came to a fight.
“Wow,” said Willow. “Can you believe this?”
Andrew was watching a highly flexible young man with hair that fell down to his ankles dance up on the stage. “No,” he said honestly. “I cannot.”
Willow raised her eyebrow in amusement. “I was commenting on the fact of how different life is now that the vamps are out of the closet. Could you ever imagine the Master or Evil Angelus running a strip club?”
Xander grimaced. “The Master was one rat-tastic looking dude. I really would hate to see a strip club of his.”
“Yum,” Faith muttered.
“Yum?” Xander exclaimed. “Did you ever *see* pictures of the Master? We’re talking more wrinkly than Larry King and scarier than Liz Taylor. No yum.”
“What? No, dorkus, I was talking about leather pants and fishnet shirt over there by the bar.” She stood up. “I’m gonna get a drink. Be right back.”
“Faith, this is a serious mission, you cannot run wild and pick up random strangers,” Andrew declared, with his best ‘Watcher’ face on.
‘How delusional is Andrew that he would think Faith would respond well to orders like that?’ Xander thought to himself with a grin. ‘Oh well. Some things, after all, never change.’
“Stop worrying, Giles, Jr. We’re here to get information and this is the best way I know how.”
She flashed him a grin and walked towards blondie, who was arguing with a vampire who had flaming red hair and the palest skin she had ever seen.
Definitely an old one, judging by the power she could sense coming off him, she decided as she approached them. And if she wasn’t mistaken, she was pretty sure this guy was a member of Anita’s weird power thing. What did Dork-Boy call him? Domino? Damian? She couldn’t quite remember his name. Hey, she had done her best to pay attention to Andrew but there were just *way* too many men in the Federal Marshall’s life for her to keep track of!
She allowed the crowd to push her up right against the blond. To prevent herself from falling, she pressed her hands against his chest. Ooh. Nice.
“Oops,” she grinned. “Pardon me.” Her hands traveled nonchalantly down the front of his well-muscled chest. “The crowd is insane in this place.”
He ran a hand through his short blond hair and smiled brightly. “Well, I’ll have to buy the next round for everyone if they’re the ones responsible for pushing you into me. My name's Jason, beautiful lady. What's yours?”
Faith had to control herself from expressing her surprise. She'd thought there was something different about him and lo and behold! He was a werewolf. Not just any kind of were, though, she remembered that Jason Schuyler was close to both Jean-Claude and Anita. Jackpot!
“Rachel Black,” she said softly and gave him a peck on the cheek. They had all agreed ahead of time to use their alias while in the States. “Nice to meet you,” she added coyly.
Like a million guys before, he grinned at her flirtatious attempts. She loved Robin but there were times when she missed the thrill of flirting and making men want her. In her old days, she fed off that energy. Leaning against the bar, she graced the red headed vamp with her ‘knock ‘em dead’ smile. “And who’s your friend?”
“This is Damian,” answered Jason. “And he was just leaving, weren’t you?”
Damian graced her with a dazzling smile and she had a feeling he was trying to capture her with his eyes. “How can I leave now that this gorgeous creature has arrived?”
“Excuse me for one second,“ Jason said and he stepped closer to Damian. Faith played the part of the stupid girl and tried not to notice how Jason glared at him. “I thought you said you were going to leave. Your behaving very erratically and I *know* you don’t want to do anything to make Anita upset at you.”
“Honestly, Jason. I think I’m old enough to make my own decisions, don’t you?” Damian’s voice was soft but as hard as steel. Huh. Must be trouble in the ranks.
“Whatever,” Jason muttered. “Don’t say I didn’t tell ya so.” He turned back to her and flashed her a smile. “Now Rachel, would you like to join me for a drink on the balcony?”
“The balcony?” She let her eyes grow big. “That sounds great!”
As Jason waited to pay for their drinks, Faith texted the rest of the Scoobs to let them know her plan. It was never good to get separated in enemy territory but this was a public place after all.
It should be fine.
Buffy smoothed her pleated dress as she sat in a dark, romantic corner of an Italian restaurant. In order to avoid the awkward explanation of why a radio station employee was living in a hotel, she and Richard had made plans to meet here.
Overall, Buffy was very pleased with how the day had gone. Richard had introduced her to Zoe at lunch and they had made plans to meet after school. Following that, Richard had asked her out in a very adorable and awkward manner which she eagerly accepted. He seemed surprised that she wanted to have a date that very night but she has explained about her packed work schedule. In addition to her success with meeting with Richard, her talk with Zoe had gone surprisingly well… considering that the poor girl was more interested in kissing vampires instead of killing them, thanks to that damn fool, Stephanie Meyer.
Andrew had given her the whole scoop on the Ulfric, including his strange relationship with Anita and Jean-Claude. Apparently, Richard was currently very aggressive on the dating scene in an effort to find someone to replace his ex, the Executioner. Therefore, her hastily made-up plan to have him ask her out worked perfectly. Now, she just hoped her upcoming conversation with him would go as well.
Speaking of… “Hey, Richard,” she stood up and greeted him with a kiss on the cheek. He looked da-a-a-amn fine in a dark red dress shirt and brown slacks. “How are you?” she asked as they sat down.
“Now that I’m here with you, just wonderful.”
Buffy fought the urge to roll her eyes. Sure, he was hot and he seemed like a *really* nice guy, but he was a bit too much in the romance department – at least, for a first date. Of course, that might be due to her own kinda tarnished thoughts on romance, all of which were thanks to the rather creepy actions of Angel ( Hello! Hiding in shadows and giving cryptic messages was definitely more stalker than boyfriend) and the somewhat abusive behavior of Spike (Sure, she enjoyed fighting him all the time, too, but there must be something wrong with her to get turned on by that. Because if she ever saw anyone treating Dawn like that, she'd break all of their limbs into tiny little pieces).
Of course, on the other hand, at least they both had the hotness thing going on for ‘em.
Conversation flowed easily between her and Richard throughout the wine and appetizers. Once their entrees arrived, though, Buffy knew she would have to broach the intended purpose of their meeting. It was getting hard to figure out how to say, “Hey, so you know your ex-girlfriend? Do you know if she‘s evil and has kidnapped my ex-lover?”
She put down her silverware and looked at him. “Richard, I have a confession.”
His eyebrows drew up. “What is it?”
Sighing, she said a little prayer that this would go well. “I kind of know who you are.”
Was it just her, or did his eyebrows draw up even further in confusion? “Yeah… I would hope so since we’re on a date together.”
Buffy bit her lip nervously. “Actually, I meant I know who you are in your other career.”
“My other…?” Richard’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Who are you?”
“I’m a friend, trust me.”
“I’ve been learning recently what a bad idea it is to trust people. What makes you any different?”
“Because I’m a member of the supernatural community as well and I fight the evil in the world. I’m a Slayer.”
He leaned back a bit in his chair, his eyes wide with astonishment. “A Slayer? Here? Aren’t you all terrorists?”
Rolling her eyes, Buffy took a sip of wine. “Definitely not. We hunt evil vampires and, unfortunately, the Vampire Council has used their considerable resources to frame us for heinous acts that involved killing innocents.”
“Still, in this country it's illegal to kill a vampire without a warrant,” he argued.
Gazing seriously into his brown eyes she spoke softly. “Let’s be honest with each other, Richard. There are some okay vamps but a lot of them are just flat-out evil. As the Ulfric, you should know this.”
Richard began running a hand through his long locks and looked deep in thought. “So,” he finally said. “What is it you want with me?”
“I need information. There’s a British, blond vampire here in town by the name of Spike. We think he’s with Anita Blake and Jean-Claude. However, we have yet to figure out where. Unfortunately, given the fact that vampires tend to kill slayers on sight, it’s been tricky for us to investigate.”
“And you think I’m going to help you? We have a good thing going for the supernatural community of St. Louis, all things considered. Why should I give you information that might hurt that?”
Buffy snorted. “Richard, I’m not asking for you to help me take people out. I just want to know where Spike is and talk to him. And if he’s being held there against his will, we’re going to take him back with us.”
“I don’t think that can happen.” Richard shook his head.
Okay, Wolf Boy was starting to get on her nerves. “And why not?”
“Because he’s a powerful asset. Jean-Claude will never let him go. Not to mention, Anita is tied to him.”
“What? How? Why?”
He held up his hands. “Whoa, there! Hold up a minute! Those two are connected to me *very* strongly and, like it or not, I should not be telling you more. I’ve heard stories of you guys. You like to go in and kill first and ask questions later. You kill the wrong person and that may affect me. I’m sorry, Dorthea, but this conversation is over.”
Richard got up to leave but Buffy grabbed his hand. “Please, Richard.”
He looked wary. “I don’t know…”
She gave him a steady look. “Richard, all I want to do is help a friend. Can’t you just answer a couple questions for me, please?”
“Sorry, but I’ve got to worry about my own friends first.”
Still holding his hand she clenched it harder and responded snidely. “Tell me, do you enjoy being the Master of the City and Anita’s lapdog?”
She felt a wave of energy come off him as he stared at her. Damn. She hadn’t dealt with many Ulfrics before (as in zero) but this guy’s power packed a punch.
“You lie to me, you insult me, and you expect me to help you?” he snarled. Yanking his hand from hers, he stalked out of the restaurant. She threw cash on the table and rushed after him. Once she got outside, she glanced around fervently and spotted him next to a car at the edge of the lot. He was starting to open it when she slammed it shut.
A growl rose out of his throat. “I don’t like to kill people, but I will do it if I have to.”
“Listen,” she said sternly. “My name is Buffy Summers and I am the Commander-in-Chief of the Slayer Army. If you want to make threats, you should probably make them elsewhere. Besides, I’ve done my homework. You’re a good man, Richard. You don’t kill for fun, unlike some of your other associates.”
He snarled and pushed her against the side of the hood. His lower half was pressed against her and if she didn’t know better, she’d think he was getting a happy from hurting her. Maybe this date counted officially as business, but nonetheless she needed to stay away from the sadistic males
“Oh, so I’m a good man but I'm also Anita and Jean-Claude’s lapdog?” he snarled.
She pushed out, encircled his waist with her thighs, and using the hood for leverage she flipped both of them backwards. Now he was laying on his hood with Buffy straddling him; her hands holding his arms down.
“Maybe you don’t want to admit it, but based on everything I’ve heard, you are their bitch downtown. Hell, you even have a human as your Bolverek? No self-respecting werewolf would do that. What the hell is your deal? Where’s your self-respect? I need you to stop being a sniveling fool and help me get another innocent person from their clutches!”
“You really think I’m a lapdog to them?” he asked in a dazed voice.
“It's not just me. We get our information from various sources, and it seems that’s the general opinion on you as far as the various were groups is concerned.”
He growled. “Well, I am not! We’re joined in power for the betterment of all three of us.”
“Is it really for all three of you? Because from what I hear, both Anita and Jean-Claude are growing in power and you haven’t gotten much of anything.” Damn, she was really going to have to thank Andrew later on for all the awesome info. Maybe she’d pick him up a classic Star Wars action figure off E-Bay.
Richard was silent as he took in her words.
“Am I wrong?” she asked him.
“No… No, you’re not wrong. Since we’ve entered into this triumvirate, everything in my life has gone south. It’s helped me out a couple times but it's been more burden than good.”
“Then why are you with them still?”
He shrugged, sorta. It was hard to shrug while being pinned to a car. “I’m not really sure. I guess my power base is stabilized now -- but I don’t really know.”
“Well, maybe it's time you left them.”
Richard gave her a sharp look. “Just so I can help you?”
“No,“ she said, exasperated. “But we know Spike is here. We also have extensive information on every supernatural being in this town and we know that not everyone is going to end up on Santa’s Good List.
"However, Ulfric, we do not care about pack life. Slayers only hunt others who hurt innocents. We are not going to interfere with your rule. But I have a very strong suspicion that your ex-fiancé is holding my friend Spike against his will. If that’s true, then that means I’m gonna need to break him out. And if it comes to that, a lot of people, including weres and vamps are gonna die. But if you help me, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Now, are you gonna help me?”
A minute passed as he simply looked at her. Finally he nodded.
“Thank you,” she said with a smile.
Buffy is getting Richard to help her (and got to yell at him for being dumb- Who wouldn’t LOVE to do that? Haha), Faith is enjoying combining business with pleasure, and Dawn has done some sort of spell (what do you think it is?).
Many MANY thanks to everyone who is reviewing and reading- I’m so glad people are enjoying it!
Next up: Our first AB death… I *really* hope no one is going to be mad at me! But.. This person deserves it, trust me.
Also, I KNOW, I KNOW people want to see death and destruction… We are approaching ever closer to the showdown! I promise!