Spoilers/Timeline: S4 BtVS; mid-S2 Charmed
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al. Charmed is owned by Spelling Television et al.
Part 1: Favors
A light knock on the door drew the attention of the brunette woman at the computer. She looked towards the door as she minimized the document she had been reading to see a nervous-looking red head poking into the room.
"Excuse me," the redhead asked. "Are you Prue Halliwell?"
"Yes, I am. May I help you?"
The redhead entered the office, closing the door behind her. "My name is Willow Rosenberg. Rupert Giles asked me to pick up the items he recently purchased while I was in town." Willow paused as Prue continued to look at her skeptically. "He said he'd let you know I was coming," she quickly added.
Prue relaxed at the name of Mr. Giles. He had been a very good customer over the years bidding on nearly every arcane book and artifact to come through Buckland's doors; although this was the first time he had ever sent someone to pick up an acquisition in person. Normally the items were sent via courier.
"Yes, Miss Rosenberg," Prue smiled as she found the note. "Mr. Giles did call to let me know you'd be stopping by."
Willow visibly relaxed in her chair, her smile looking much more natural than when she had entered the room. She had been a little afraid that they wouldn't let her leave with Giles' new books.
"Excuse me a moment." Prue picked up her phone and dialed an internal line. "Yes, hi Kathy, it's Prue. Could you please bring up the items for Mr. Rupert Giles? Thank you."
"Wow, that was easy. I was afraid you wouldn't let me take Giles' books, 'cause he really is anxious to read them and I didn't know what your policy was on allowing a person aside from the buyer to pick up the bought items. But Giles did call to let you know I was coming so it wasn't like I was just some stranger off the street."
Prue did her best to hide her amusement at the redhead's babble. It was amazing that she was able to get that all out without pausing for breath. She took pity on the girl and interrupted her. "It's no problem at all."
Willow took a much needed breath and nervously looked at her hands.
"If you don't mind my asking," Prue inquired, "Why are you running this errand for Mr. Giles? This is the first time that he has ever had anyone pick up an acquisition."
"Oh, it's just a favor for a friend. When Giles found out my friend Buffy and I were coming to San Francisco for our winter break he asked if we'd be willing to do this for him."
"That's very nice of you to take time out of your vacation."
"No biggie. This actually saved me from another shopping trip with Buffy."
Prue laughed and stood to answer the knock at the door. She accepted the box from Kathy and set it on a table.
Willow rose and moved to pick up the box.
Conversationally Prue asked, "So have you seen the sights yet?"
"Not many," Willow sighed. "Buffy seems more interested in touring the stores than the sights."
"Well, if you're looking for a good club while you're in town my sister owns P3. It is THE hotspot, if I do say so myself," she said with a wink.
"That sounds like fun."
"I'll ask Piper to put you and your friend on the list for the entire week."
"Thank you," Willow gushed. "I've never been on a list before. We'll definitely stop by." Willow picked up the cumbersome box of books. "Thanks for everything, and hopefully I'll see you at P3."
"It was nice meeting you too, Willow." Prue opened and closed the door behind Willow. She smiled as she shook her head and returned to her desk. She felt oddly drawn to the petite redhead in a kindred spirit kind of way. She quickly phoned to ask Piper to add Willow Rosenberg + Guest to the VIP list.
As soon as she hung up the phone it rang. She lifted the receiver to her ear saying, "Just do it Piper, as a favor to me."
"Prue? It's Inspector Morris."
Prue unconsciously sat up straighter in her chair. "Hi Darryl. Sorry about that, I just got off the phone with my sister," she apologized.
"That's okay. I'm sorry to bother you, but Andy had mentioned that you had helped out with some of our stranger cases, and I wanted to get your opinion on this latest one, off the record of course."
"Of course," Prue agreed, not entirely sure she would be able to help. In the past, it had always just been coincidence that Andy's cases seemed to involve the innocents they were saving - until it got him killed. "I'd be happy to help, if it's within my power."
"You see the thing is, there have been a rash of murders lately. That in and of itself isn't so strange. But the weird thing is, the bodies - they were completely drained of blood and the coroner found two small puncture marks on their necks."
"That is unusual," Prue agreed. "But why come to me?"
"You know, I'm not sure. I just had a feeling that this is something you should know about."
"Well, I don't know if there's anything I can do to help you catch this guy, but I'll keep my ears open for anyone bragging about murdering people with a barbecue fork."
Laughing, Darryl responded, "Thanks Prue. Say 'Hi' to your sisters for me."
"Will do. Bye Darryl. I'll be in touch if anything comes up." Prue hung up the phone, mulling over the conversation, her mind already trying to recall any demons that drained their victims. She'd have to consult the Book of Shadows when she got home.
Willow propped the box against the wall and on her knee as she struggled with the hotel room's key card. After her third failed attempt to open the door it was opened by Buffy.
"Here, let me get that," she offered, easily carrying the box of books into the room and setting it near the closet. "Any problems?"
"Nope. Giles had called and let them know I'd be stopping by. The woman I spoke with, Prue, seemed a little suspicious that I was picking up Giles' books instead of them mailing them, but she seemed cool. In fact, she invited us to her sister's club. It's called P3."
Buffy spun around to look at Willow. "You met one of the owners of P3?" she asked in awe. "That's supposed to be an awesome club. Do you know why it's called P3?" Willow shook her head. "It's owned by three sisters: Prue, Piper and Phoebe Halliwell. Even though all three own it, Piper is the one who runs it."
"How do you know all of that?"
"Well, unlike some people, I like to keep up with the hottest trends. And P3 is the hottest club in San Francisco. I was hoping to check it out while we're here, but it can be impossible to get in."
"Not for us," Willow grinned. "Prue said she'd have me added to the VIP list for the whole week."
Buffy enveloped Willow in an enthusiastic hug. "You're the best Will! How'd you do it?"
"I think Prue was impressed by the fact that even though we're here on vacation I'd take the time to stop by the auction house to pick up something for a friend," she shrugged.
"You know what this means," Buffy waggled an eyebrow.
Knowing that look, Willow became nervous. "What?"
"We are going to have to go find the perfect clubbing outfit. Look out stores, here we come." Buffy announced, pulling a reluctant redhead towards the door.
"Didn't you already spend the entire day shopping?" she protested.
"Yes, but I didn't look for clubbing clothes. And we need something fabulous for you too. Come on."
Bending to the inevitable, Willow grabbed her purse and followed Buffy out the door.
Piper set a drink down in front of her older sister. "Now tell me again why you had me add two complete strangers to the VIP list."
"I told you on the phone," Prue calmly replied, "There was just something about her. She has this open friendliness and I wanted to cut her a break."
"Now if it was a couple of cute guys I'd completely get it," Phoebe interrupted. "But a couple of college girls?"
"There's no need to say that like it's a bad thing." Prue scolded. "They're probably about your age, maybe a year or two younger."
"Which means that they're underage," Piper realized.
"So they'll get their hands stamped," Prue waved off the concern. "Look at it this way. Willow took the time out of her winter vacation to come to Buckland's and pick up a box of old books for a friend of hers. I think that deserves the reward of a night at the hottest night spot in the city."
"All right, all right," Piper conceded and went back to tending the bar.
"Did Willow say if there are any cute guys with them?"
"No, she said she was here with her friend. Buffy or something like that."
"Buffy?" Phoebe asked. Prue answered with a shrug.
Willow tugged on her skirt as she exited the taxi in front of P3. She turned doubt-filled eyes to her best friend. "Are you sure about this outfit?"
Buffy ran her eyes over Willow's form. The dark blue halter top left her shoulders, back and midriff bare, complementing Willow's pale skin. The tight black skirt was shorter than Willow usually wore, but it made her legs look longer, especially in the black strappy sandals.
"You look amazing Will," she honestly answered.
Willow gave Buffy the same once-over she had just received. Buffy wore a tiny sparkly tank top and tight leather pants.
"Thanks. So do you." She took a deep breath. "Okay, here we go."
Willow approached the bouncer, skirting the long line at the entrance to the club. "Excuse me. My name is Willow Rosenberg. I'm supposed to be on the list." She said with as much bravado as she could muster.
The bouncer gave her a once-over then glanced at the list in his hand. He waved her towards the door. "Go right ahead miss, your friend too."
"Thanks," Willow beamed back at him.
Prue had been keeping an eye on the door in case Willow decided to show up tonight. When she saw Willow on the stairs she waved her over.
"Willow, you made it," she greeted the redhead.
"Hi Prue. This is my friend Buffy Summers. Buffy, this is Prue Halliwell."
"Nice to meet you," Buffy smiled. "This place is amazing."
"Thanks, but you should really tell that to my sister. Piper," she called her over. "Piper this is Willow and Buffy."
"It's nice to meet you. Can I get you anything?"
"Soda?" Willow asked Buffy. At her nod Willow turned back to Piper. "Two sodas please."
"You got it," she smiled.
"And I'm Phoebe," she said from behind Prue, sticking her hand out in greeting. Willow shook the proffered hand. Phoebe's eyes closed and her body tensed as she saw Willow being attacked by a man with yellow eyes, ridges on his forehead and sharp pointy teeth in the alley behind the club.
"It's great to meet everyone," Buffy said, sitting on one of the stools.
"So you're in college," Piper asked.
"Yeah, we go to UC-Sunnydale," Buffy confirmed.
"Are you okay?" Willow asked when Phoebe hadn't released her hand.
"Oh, yeah, sorry," she unconvincingly apologized.
"S'okay. Hey Buff, you wanna dance?"
As the Sunnydale girls headed to the dance floor Phoebe turned to Prue, "She's an innocent. That's why you felt drawn to her."
"Are you sure?" Piper questioned.
"Yes. When I shook her hand I got a premonition. I saw Willow being attacked by a demon. I think it was a vampire."
"A vampire? Oh, please," Piper rebuked.
"That's what I said. And it'll happen behind the club."
"So all we do is keep her inside," Prue suggested.
"Right." Phoebe agreed. After a quick scan of the dance floor she asked, "Anyone see her?"
All three sisters searched the room. When none of them found Willow, or Buffy, they ran for the alley.
Meanwhile, after only a minute on the dance floor, Buffy paused mid-groove exclaiming, "Oh crap."
"What, did I bump into you?" Willow stopped as well.
"No." Buffy leaned in close to whisper in Willow's ear, "Vampire."
The redhead's eyes widened in understanding, confusion and disappointment. "Here?"
"Yep. He's over there." She gestured with her head behind Willow. "And he's coming this way. Look, see if you can get him out back. I'm gonna go find something to use as a stake."
Willow gulped. "Um, okay."
Willow continued dancing as Buffy slipped off the dance floor. She tried to keep from jumping out of her skin when the vampire (in human face) asked to dance with her. With her best smile in place, Willow accepted.
As the song ended, Willow looked up at the man/vamp she had been dancing with. With a look of pure innocence she said, "Thanks for the dance. I'm, um, feeling kinda warm now. Would you… um… like to get some air with me?" She batted her eyelashes at him in a last ditch effort.
Amazed that his prey wanted to willingly go somewhere private with him, in fact was suggesting it, the vampire readily agreed. Willow led the way to the alley, a small smile of satisfaction gracing her face. The vampire had a similar smile on his face, only his resembled more of a leering smirk.
Buffy stealthily followed the pair out the emergency exit. She arrived just as Willow's dance partner vamped out. Casually she said, stake loosely held in her hand, "You know, all I wanted was to get away for a couple of weeks for some relaxation and shopping."
The vampire swung around to see who had interrupted his meal. "Slayer," he spat, pulling Willow towards him, an arm going around her neck.
Ignoring his acknowledgement of who she was, Buffy continued, "I mean, is it too much to ask for a night or two without any slayage? I'm asking you. Is there like, some kind of vampire secret telegraph that let's you know when I'm gonna be in town?"
The vampire sneered at her, "This is purely coincidence. And now you get to watch while I drain this girl."
As he lowered his head to Willow's neck several things happened at once. Piper burst through the door and, hands splayed in front of her, froze the vampire. Willow twisted away from the lowering head, breaking free of the choke-hold and fell to the ground. Buffy did a back-flip over Willow and the vampire, landing behind him. She plunged the stake into the frozen vampire and he burst into dust.
"Thanks Will. That's a neat trick. When'd you learn how to freeze vamps?" Buffy pulled Willow to her feet.
Dusting herself off, Willow denied, "I didn't do it. That was neat though. It'd come in handy in future slaying."
Standing in the open doorway Phoebe observed, "They didn't freeze. Why didn't they freeze?"
"I don't know," Piper honestly answered.
Prue stalked over to Buffy and Willow. "Who are you? And how did you know how to vanquish the demon?"
Buffy and Willow exchanged questioning glances. Buffy mouthed, "Vanquish the demon?" Both girls started giggling.
The sisters looked at each other, wondering what was so funny.
Willow recovered first and asked, "Did one of you freeze him? If you did, can you teach me?"
Warily Piper admitted, "I froze him. Are you a witch?"
"Uh, yeah, kind of. Although lately my spells have been going kind of kafluey. I'm guessing you are, 'cause with the freezing. Are you all witches?"
"Yes we are. What about you?" Phoebe asked Buffy.
"Nope, I'm the odd man out. Odd woman out," she corrected.
Before any more questions could be asked, Prue suggested, "Why don't we move this back to the Manor. I'm guessing this is going to be a long conversation and the alley behind the club probably isn't the best place for it."
Everyone else agreed.