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Scoobies in St. Louis

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Summary: The Scoobies arrive in St. Louis. Can they help Anita solve a grisly murder?

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Anita Blake > GeneralmariahFR213645,614510373,69726 Nov 0318 Jun 05No

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A Visit to the Circus

Disclaimer: Josh and LKH own all these characters. I, of course, own none.

Ch. 1 A Visit to the Circus

"Hey guys, get a load of this!" Xander pointed at the gaudy neon-lit marquis over their heads. "Bet no one here's seen a real one."

"Oh, you've got to be kidding." Buffy's disgusted grunt sounded plainly. "This whole place is populated by vampire wanna-bes. Not a real one in sight. 'Course sundown's a half hour off."

"Could be good for a few laughs. I smell food. Popcorn, hot dogs, here I come!" Xander stepped inside the building.

Willow glanced back at the Slayer, who was bent over double adjusting a strap on her sandal. "Oh, please. Trust Xander to make a beeline for the junk food." Willow removed her black leather jacket, revealing a spaghetti strapped tank beneath. "Why did you wear those? Boots are more comfortable." Buffy snorted and ignored her.

"Giles gave us plenty of money, let's go for it." Buffy shrugged her shoulders. "If there are any vamps around, they're not showing up on the spidey radar. I guess it's safe."

"Where is Giles anyway?"

"Research, he said. He's going to meet up with us back at the hotel. Trust Giles to spend his vacation at the library." Buffy snorted. "Least he had some cash on him."

"This isn't vacation. We got sucked into a dimensional rift." Willow put her hands on her leather-encased hips and looked ready to stomp her foot.

"No hellmouth, no vamps. I call that a vacation. Got stakes, will travel." Buffy laughed as she stepped into the 'Circus'. "But I wouldn't have picked St. Louis. But it beats the Bronze."

Xander jogged back from the ticket desk. "Weird place, this Circus. We can keep our weapons, but no holy items. Cough 'em up." He held out a paper bag, and Buffy dropped in two crosses, and four vials of holy water. Willow took off her pentacle and popped a squirt gun in the bag. Xander fished a small book out of his rear pocket and a wooden cross and dropped it in.

"What's that, Xander?" Buffy peered in the bag.

"Gideons. Never leave home without it. Just about gave Deadboy Jr. a heart attack once waving it in his face."

"Cool, and it fits in your pocket. I like it." Buffy smiled. "And his name's Spike."

"Right. Formerly, Deadboy Junior. Now, just dead." Xander handed over the bag, retrieving the stub from the check girl, oblivious to the hurt look on Buffy's face. "There are two hot dogs with my name on it in that stand. Order up, everyone."

"Ooh. Puppies!" Willow bolted for some cages halfway across the entrance foyer. Inside were several large wolves. "Pretty puppies." She put her hand up high. "Buffy?"

"Yes, Willow?"

"They aren't real. They're magic."

"Look like wolves to me. Hell hounds are way uglier. I like the grey and brown one." Buffy sniffed. "They feel like Oz to me. Do you think they're weres?"

"Don't know. I've never seen a werewolf that looked like a real wolf." Willow reached out with a tendril of magic. "Oh, he's preening. Who would do such a thing? Cage a were? It's not a full moon. They seem so calm."

"Damn. Those are some big dogs." Xander came over, munching on a hot dog, and handed the two women their orders. "Huh. Silvered-steel cages."

"Oh, goddess. That's cruel!" Willow balled her hands into fists. "Buffy, you've got to do something. They're human!" One of the wolves put his head in his paws and whined.

"Willow, come away. Let's go find the vampire cages. They claim they have vamps, let's go look." Buffy tugged on the redhead's arm, pulling her away from the cage.

"Good evening, ladies, gentleman." Buffy whirled around to see a man in black leather boots which reached almost to his groin, and a blousy blood-red silk shirt which was open to the waist in front of him. Black hair spilled in wavy curls nearly to the nipples of his chest, and violet-blue eyes regarded the threesome coolly. "Welcome to the Circus of the Damned. I see you've met my pets."

Buffy took one look at him and laughed until tears ran down her face. Xander and Willow giggled behind their hands. "Oh please, you are the cheesiest excuse for a vampire wanna-be I have ever seen. Bar none."

"They think that's how vampire's dress? Man, even Deadboy wouldn't be caught, well, dead in that outfit."

"He's the Master of the City." A young blonde man stepped up behind them, his eyes twinkling, taking in the scene. "I wouldn't taunt him."

"Him, a master? He's not even dead. Breathing. Not a vamp." Willow took in the new blonde standing next to him. "Better brush up on your vampire facts. But I'm liking the outfit."

Xander coughed into his coke. "Willow, you like girls. He dresses like a girl."

"Well..." Willow paced around the man, checking him out carefully. The black haired "master of the city" smiled knowingly at her. Willow winked at him and ran a hand down the back of his shirt, testing his aura. "Naughty boy. But I prefer blondes. His heart is beating, definitely not a vamp." Willow tossed her crimson locks over her bare shoulder. "Bored now."

"Barely registers on the spidey senses. He's a something, but not a vamp." Buffy dismissed the so-called master and turned her attention to the blonde man. "So, where are the vamp cages?"

"Spidey senses? Vamp cages?"

"Yup. I wanna see me a vamp in a cage."

"Perhaps you would prefer one of my other clubs tonight, Miss?" The vampire master looked over at his blonde companion. "If you would, Jason, have the car come around and we shall escort our guests to Guilty Pleasures. I assure you, you will see plenty of vampires in cages there. And perhaps we can find ma rouge a lovely blonde companion for the evening. Have Asher join us, please."

Jason cleared his throat and ran his hands down his chest seductively. "I'm blonde."

"And I'm a lesbian, puppy." Willow smiled. "But for a boy, you're kind of cute."

"Can't blame a guy for trying."

Willow chuckled. "No, I guess not." The dark haired man chuckled, sending waves of sensations down the spines of all three companions.
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