A Wicked Good Time
An amazing amount of thanks to Greywizard for being my beta. As always, he’s been immensely helpful with his contributions &amp; support. Thank you!
Buffy basked in her anger as she slammed open the hotel room door and glared at the startled faces of Xander, Willow, Faith, and Giles.
“What part of reconnaissance mission did you guys not understand?” she demanded as she slammed the door shut behind her and stalked to the polished oak table where everyone was sitting.
“I was getting this close,” she held her index and middle finger right next to each other, “to allying up with one of Anita’s power bases and now that might not happen because he’s pissed that we struck first. Not to mention, now we have to rescue *both* Andrew and Spike.” Buffy remained standing with her arms crossed and glared at her friends as she waited for an explanation.
Faith made the first move by standing up and holding her palm against her chest. “Yo, B, it's my bad.”
Buffy raised her eyebrow archly. Even though Faith had really pulled a 180 from her former Mistress of Madness days in Sunnydale, Buffy could still be surprised when she actually took responsibility for something. She gestured for her slayer sister to continue.
“Okay, it was like this. I was getting real close to seducing Jean-Claude’s pomme de sang and getting into their secret hidey-place, when I saw this way old vamp definitely pulling a mind rape and sucking on an unsuspecting girl. What was I supposed to do?” she said in a blended tone of defensiveness and pleading.
“I dunno, Faith,” Buffy responded as she threw her arms up in the air. “How about not making a huge scene when we're wanted criminals and are on a freaking secret mission?
"Dammit!,” she sighed angrily. “You know better than that! You were in charge and because of you, Andrew is captured and they know we’re coming after them.” It felt good to relinquish some of her anger that had been brewing irrationally since her vision - even if a small part of her admitted it wasn’t fair to direct it towards her friend.
“Hey,” Xander interjected as he raised a hand that held a bag o Skittles. “I support Faith on this; she couldn’t just let the vamp have a free lunch like the world is his blood bank. It sucks what happened, but we’ll deal. We always do.”
She pursed her lips. “Yeah, well if *I* was there, this wouldn’t have happened,” she said haughtily.
Faith gnawed on her lower lip in an attempt to maintain her cool and not bite back, mostly thanks to lessons learned in her anger management classes.
Giles cleaned his glasses and readjusted them. “The truth of the matter is, you were not there, Buffy, and you made it very clear you did not want to head into the Vampire District today.”
Buffy’s shoulders hunched up in a clear sign of defensiveness.
“I thought it was important for the Ulfric to meet me as the Commander-in-Chief," she said, possibly somewhat defensively. "These shifters are all about dominance and I knew he would respond better to me than anyone else.”
Moving the ice pack from her head, Willow gave Buffy a penetrating look. “Really, Buff? Are you sure it's not because you’re feeling skittish about seeing Spike again?”
Having her four friends stare at her made her feel a moment of déjà vu – flashing back to the days and weeks preceding their final Sunnydale battle where people were attacking her relationship with Spike left and right. Enough time had passed that she had almost forgotten what it had felt like to be at odds with those she loved - all because of her complicated feelings for a certain ensouled vampire.
‘No,’ she thought as she shook herself mentally. ‘It's not like that anymore. They’re just trying to be good, but intrusive, friends.’
Sighing deeply, Buffy slid into the spare chair.
“I’m sorry, Faith," she said, shaking her head with a combination of frustration and exasperation. "Listen, I know you just did what you had to do. We’ll just have to work things out. Hopefully, Richard will choose to help us and we get back Andrew and Spike without too much trouble.”
“It’s cool, B,” Faith said with a shrug as she reclaimed her seat. Then she gave a wicked smile. “Besides, I saw you pop a Midol this morning; I figured you were just being a PMS-ing bitch.”
A smile crept onto her face. “As opposed to just a bitch?”
Faith laughed and Buffy grabbed a couple of Skittles and whipped them at Faith, who used her mighty Slayer reflexes to move quickly out of the way.
Buffy next turned to Willow, who sat next to her. “And, Will, regarding the Spike thing, maybe, just *maybe*, there’s a bit of truth to that. I’ve thought the guy was dead for five years and it's kind of freaky to think he’s somewhere in this city.”
She saw Giles starting to clean his glasses out of the corner of her eye and turned to him as well. “And Giles? Don’t do that,” she said with a gesture towards his glasses. “Don’t be worried about how I feel about Spike, okay? I’m here because he died in the service of the destroying the Hellmouth and we owe it to him to make sure he’s okay.
"Which,” she added in a hard tone, “he’s not.” She then proceeded to tell them everything she had learned from Richard.
When she was finished, Faith whistled and said in a self-congratulatory tone, “Da-amn. I took out a vamp who was part of a triumvirate?!. That’s at least 50 points for me right there.”
A worried expression flitted across Willow’s face. “Will? What’s up?” asked Buffy.
“If Richard agrees to what you offered, that’s going to be some pretty major magic. Of course, if Anita plays hardball, it will probably help us, but I’m not 100% sure I can pull something like that off.”
Xander rubbed her hand reassuringly. “Of course you can. You’re like a combination between Glenda the Good Witch and Luke Skywalker. You can do anything.” Willow laughed and gave him a warm smile for the reassurance.
“After speaking with my contact, I think I know of someone who can help you as well, Willow. Between the three of us, we can do it if need be,” Giles offered.
Willow opened her mouth to respond when both Buffy and Faith sat straight up in their chairs like a dog on alert and gazed warily at the door. Giles’ forehead wrinkled in confusion, but Buffy’s raised finger made him forgo speech. Simultaneously, Buffy and Faith stood and silently grabbed the closest weapons, a crossbow for Buffy and a sword for Faith.
Before they could proceed further, an ominous knock sounded at the door.
Spike looked sullenly at the bound forms of Andrew and Dawn. That blazing control freak had forced him to do her dirty work and now they were in a smaller meeting room underneath the Circus of the Damned. The two captives were seated on a black leather couch facing their interrogators. Both of them were passed out because Anita had smacked both of them hard enough to knock them out, once Spike had captured them. Jean-Claude viewed them serenely from a high-backed chair while the extremely pissed off Anita sat in a leather chair cracking her knuckles.
His mood was dark as he stood there in silence. His damn link of subservience to Anita made it impossible for him to disobey her direct orders. In the very beginning of their bond, she said that he was not to harm her or Jean-Claude and now, as much as he wanted to wring the tart’s neck, he simply couldn’t. Nor could he prevent himself from tying up Andrew and his Nibblet.
“Wake them,” said Jean-Claude in a bored tone.
“Listen here, fancy-pants. I don’t have to listen to your bloody orders, so why don’t you view another episode of ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ while we wait for them to wake on their own?” he said with a sneer. Although he feigned a tough outer shell, inside he dreaded what Jean-Claude might do to them, once they awoke. If he found out they were affiliated with the Slayers, he would likely have them killed.
Jean-Claude chortled. “I suppose then you want me to wake them? I wonder if they will wake up if I thrust my teeth into their neck?”
Anita smirked silently. Normally, she would disapprove of Jean-Claude feeding off an unwilling human, but the boy was associated with Damian’s murderer and the girl had broken her cheekbone; Anita wouldn’t cry over some spilled blood today.
Spike growled and gently shook the two humans to rouse them. He thought being an intangible ghost was annoying; this existence of slavery was far worse, though. Is this the life the Powers That Be intended to reward him with for his sacrifice?
“Go away, mommy,” Andrew moaned in his sleep as he pulled away from Spike’s hand.
“Oh bloody hell,” he breathed under his breath. “Andrew! Get the hell up!”
Andrew jumped and Dawn’s eyes opened blearily at hearing Spike's voice.
“Good evening,” Jean-Claude said courteously. “How are you two feeling today?”
“Um…” Andrew trailed off as his eyes focused on Jean-Claude’s face.
Dawn’s eyes widened with surprise at her circumstances and then they hardened upon seeing her two captors.
“Well, I feel like I got knocked out by some two-bit hootchie mama,” she sneered.
Spike was there to capture Anita’s wrist before she could smack the smile off Dawn’s face.
“Spike!” Anita warned.
Spike was reluctant to let them know how much Nibblet meant to him; who knows how Jean-Claude could use that against them. Instead, he had to use a variation of the truth to explain himself.
“Anita, you smack her anymore and you might be knocking her unconscious again. Might be best to leave her alone, eh, luv?”
Yanking her wrist out of his hand, she glared at him. “And just what do you care?”
“Yes Spike,” Jean-Claude mused as his eyes fixed on Spike’s face. “Why do you care?”
Buffy motioned silently as everyone took up position.
She and Faith could each feel that the presence behind the door was not necessarily a friendly one. Faith neared the door while Buffy kept her crossbow trained on the door. Giles and Xander both stood and grabbed swords, while Willow kept her hands ready for some magic, in a manner similar to jazz hands.
“Who is it?” Faith called roughly.
“I am Wicked,” called the first smooth voice.
“And I am Truth,” called a second similar voice.
“The Wicked Truth,” Giles murmured in fascination. He looked up and explained, "Two quite infamous – and deadly - vampire warriors.”
“Right, yeah, definitely feel like inviting these guys in,” Buffy scoffed.
“We are here with a message from the Master of the City, Jean-Claude. We are not here to cause harm to anyone,” spoke Truth.
“Uh-huh. We invite you in and then we just play Go Fish or something?” Faith grimaced; did Jean-Claude’s people really think they were stupid?
“In all actuality, I prefer Rummy myself,” offered Wicked.
“You have our word that we will not violate your hospitality,” said Truth.
“And we will let you know how you can get your annoying talkative friend back,” stated Wicked.
The four Scoobies looked at each other in contemplation for a moment. Finally, Buffy shrugged and Faith opened the door.
Standing before them were two excellent specimens of the male species and Faith didn’t bother to hide her salacious grin as she eyed them. Tall and broad-shouldered, they both wore designer suits that clung to their bodies.
“Greetings,” began the blond-haired vampire. “I am Wicked.”
“I am Truth,” said the dark-haired vampire with a partial beard as he smiled in Faith’s direction. “We were told that a slayer killed Damian. I assume you are the brunette beauty that Jason spoke of?”
Faith nodded. “That’s right. You want revenge for killing your buddy?”
The brother both shrugged nonchalantly.
“While we served in the same Kiss, Damian was no friend of ours,” said Wicked, who then closed his eyes and breathed in deeply. He gave Buffy a piercing look. “I take it you are a slayer, as well?”
Buffy shifted uncomfortably. She didn’t enjoy being observed so closely by these random vampire warriors.
“Yes, I am,” she answered simply. No need to give these guys too much information, after all.
Wicked turned and seemed to communicate silently with his brother before they turned back to face them.
“My brother and I do not pay much attention to vampire politics, but we recognize you now. We had no idea that St. Louis was being visited by Buffy Summers, the Commander-In-Chief of the Slayer Army, along with her second in command, Faith, and such distinguished associates." The brothers surprised the Scoobies by pressing their right palm against their heart and leaning forward slightly into a bow.
“We are both pleased and honored to be in the presence of two of the mightiest warriors the world has seen. Many tales have been told of your ferociousness on the battle field,” said Truth.
Buffy gave them a wary look. “Yeah, um, thanks.” She had made peace with her inner slayer long ago and knew what she was like in battle, but she was confused that their potential enemies were flattering them.
“Isn’t it a bit strange for vampires to appreciate a slayer’s battle skills?” asked Faith with a doubtful look.
Truth’s eyes roved over her slowly and he grinned as he reached her face.
“She is much like Charlotte, isn’t she, brother? Ah, I knew this would be an enjoyable mission.”
“Indeed, the spitting image,” agreed Wicked.
“Yeah, I’ll spit fire if you both don’t start explaining yourselves,” said an annoyed Faith.
“Forgive us,” said Truth with a smile. “We knew a slayer long ago and you seem very much like her.”
“Let me guess, you killed her?” growled Xander. He really hated damn vampires who were obsessed with slayers.
Wicked shook his head. “Not at all. Charlotte was a friend to us and assisted us in tracking and hunting members of our line who had gone rogue.” His eyes glinted with humor and he winked at Faith. “And occasionally, she was more than a friend as well.”
Buffy’s nose crinkled in confusion; that had not been the story she had expected.
“As interesting as that is, why the hell are you here?”
“Our Master wishes to invite you to meet him at the Circus of the Damned to negotiate for your friend that we captured. He would like you to arrive in three hours, at 2:00 A.M.,” informed Truth.
“Well, gee, I did have watching infomercials scheduled into my agenda, but I guess I can make some time to walk into a *trap*.” Buffy rolled her eyes. “Do you really think we are going to just walk in to your Master’s lair?”
They shrugged again. “Yes, if you want to see your companion again. And you will have to surrender your weapons, of course. In return, our Master has promised safe passage in and out of the Circus. He merely wants to talk and know why you are here.”
Buffy glanced at the others and then gave the vampire warriors a hard look.
“No dice. We don’ trust you any further than we can throw you-”
“How far would that be? By all means, I would enjoy having you wrap your arms around me and try,” interrupted Wicked with a smirk.
“Don’t tempt me,” Buffy answered testily.
“Yes, please don’t. She most definitely doesn't need any more vampires,” Xander observed dryly.
Buffy shot him a dirty look before speaking again.
“We’ll meet up in a neutral territory," she said. "There will be five of us and Jean-Claude can choose four of his people to accompany him.”
Wicked sighed. “We will convey that message.” Quickly, he dialed a number and expressed Buffy’s counter offer. He grimaced as he heard the reply and shut the phone.
“He will only abide by the original offer of meeting. He says since your lieutenant killed an important member of his Kiss, then he gets to choose the location and arrange the details. Jean-Claude also said you are lucky he has not killed your friend yet, since he has every right to, as it is.”
Her face twisted with aggravation as Buffy turned to the others. “Well?”
Xander shrugged. “We faced a Hell God, so I’m not really all that worried about these guys.”
“I believe we can make that work,” said Giles. His eyes had the faraway look that came when his Thinking Cap was on.
Willow smiled tentatively; she was not worried about the weapons ban at all. It was nice being a witch. “Go ahead.”
“Please," she smirked. "I would love it if things got out of hand. It's been a while since we’ve taken on any old vamps. The newbies aren’t really much of a challenge. You know I’m always down for a fight.” While she made the last statement, Faith gave the Wicked Truth a sweet smile that was laced with danger.
“Fine,” said Buffy. “Tell that Jean-Claude Van Damme dude we’ll be there at 2:00 A.M.”
The brothers bowed once more.
“We will inform him. See you soon,” said Wicked with a smile.
“Very soon,” added Truth as they turned and left.
Once the door was locked, the Scoobies began conversing.
“Plan?” asked a hopeful Xander.
“I need to make a few calls,” said Giles as he walked towards his bedroom
“I need to make one. too,” Buffy called as she made her way to her room.
“I’ll gather some spell ingredients I'll probably need,” said Willow as she walked to her suitcase.
Xander looked at Faith expectantly.
“What?” she asked, surprised. “I’m not a planner, I’m a Slayer. Big difference.”
“Guess I’ll gather weapons, then,” Xander decided.
“Excellent. While you are all doing that, I’m going to settle in to watch some Conan before those damn NBC bastards kick him off,” Faith declared as she settled comfortably into the plush leather couch and put her feet up on the coffee table.
Dearest readers, we are getting closer to the big shindig!
-Definitely wrote this *BEFORE* the Conan/NBC announcement- Boo! But I thought Faith would be a Conan fan, she has the same type of humor as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog anyways ;)
-I admit it: I am a sucker for the Wicked Truth. I mean, they are not completely tainted by Anita and they are hard-core BAMFs. So I had to feature them some more
-Please review! I’m like Tyone Biggums &amp; your reviews are my crack!
(lol… yeah… Its late… I’m kinda slap happy… ;)
--Now, mind you, I am still taking recommendations on character deaths &amp; redemptions! I can’t promise to please everyone, but I am taking your votes into account! So far here are the votes:
Anita- 1 vote
Sylvie- 1 vote
ALL AB peeps: 2 votes
Anita:4 votes (but everyone wanted her to get really hurt and/or lose powers)
Richard- 3 votes
Valentina (ratted and squashed)
Nathaniel’s creepy hair (thank you over-protective Spike!)