Hanging the Monkey.By Dave Turner.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Buffyverse or the myth/folk tale of the ‘Hartlepool Monkey’. I write these stories for fun not profit.
Crossover: The Buffyverse with the story of the Hartlepool Monkey.
Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation; Written in glorious English-English. American and English idioms are used throughout this fic.
Timeline: Post BtVS season 7 (no comics).
Words: Six chapters each of 2500+ words.
Summary: A murderous, mystical monkey? Buffy borrowing money off Kennedy’s father? Faith playing rugby? This all happens because it’s ‘Grim up North’.0=0=0=0Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Cleveland, England, Autumn, 2003.
Shivering, Buffy hugged herself as she watched the cold rain run like tear drops down the window pane. She glanced over her shoulder at the electric heater mounted on the wall of her little office; it glowed red as it ate up electricity at an alarming rate. Although it seemed fit to melt the wire mesh of its safety screen, Buffy always felt that if she moved more than a few of feet away from its warming glow she’d find herself transported to just a few of miles south of the north pole.
Her window faced out over the North Sea; she could see the waves break on the sandy beach which lay at the east end of the old holiday camp where they’d set up ‘Slayer Central’. She wondered idly if it ever got warm enough here for her to actually brave the beach come summer. Did they have summer here? Buffy didn’t know, she hoped they did, surely it couldn’t be like this all year ‘round.
It’d seemed like such a good idea to begin with; the camp was secluded, it had swimming pools and gymnasiums. It had restaurants and kitchens, it had more living accommodation than they’d ever need. Plus it was handy for the Middlesbrough Hellmouth. Of course there was work that needed to be done. They’d even started on some of it, Buffy’s gaze shifted to the piles of abandoned building materials covered with plastic sheets. Then the money had run out and everything had to be put on hold.
There was a quiet knock on her office door, returning to her seat behind her battered old desk Buffy sat down.
“Come in,” she called; the door opened and in walked Rupert Giles, “oh, hi Giles.”
“Morning Buffy,” Giles shut the door behind him and sat down on one of the chairs in front of Buffy’s desk, “you don’t sound too happy to see me.”
“Sorry, Giles,” Buffy favoured him with a tired, thin lipped smile, “I’m tired and fed up and I just know you’ve got no good news to give me.”
“Sorry,” admitted Giles, “I’m afraid I’ve not been able to make any more progress. The old council’s solicitors won’t budge an inch…”
“But Giles!” Buffy stood up angrily and stormed back to look out of the window again, her arms crossed over her chest, “They know I’m the slayer, they know you’re the last surviving member of the council…”
“Buffy,” calmly Giles took off his glasses and started to clean them, “they know you are ‘a’ slayer and as for me and the council,” he paused to sigh sadly. “Well you know we weren’t exactly bosom friends towards the end there and when has the legal profession ever willingly handed over cash?”
Watching her old mentor, Buffy rested against the back of her chair and smiled, although to be honest she didn’t feel like smiling. It all came down to money, or in this case the lack of it. She’d had such high hopes after Sunnydale had slid into hell. As it was she’d been able to spend precisely two weeks in Italy with her sister. Xander’s trip to Africa had been called off after only a month. Again due to lack of cash plus the inevitable suspicions of people for anything or anyone American.
The only reason Willow and Kennedy’s expedition to South America had been so successful was because Kennedy had managed to get her father to finance it. Buffy frowned as she remembered what Willow had told her about the trip. It’d sounded more like an extended holiday than an urgent mission to contact the surviving members of the council. However, if there was one place in the world that Buffy didn’t have to worry about it was South America. Willow had certainly got things well organised down there.
They’d had to send all the new slayers home to their own countries with instructions to deal with things as best they could. That hadn’t actually been a resounding success either. A couple of girl’s had been killed already, some of the others had simply vanished. The remainder struggled to set up some sort of slayer support system while at the same time earning a living and fighting the forces of darkness.
Quite honestly, if the First Evil had really wanted to take down the slayer-line and the council it should have just made them file for bankruptcy. Yes, it was all down to money, the frustrating thing was there was quite a lot of it lying around in council bank accounts. There was also the land that the now blown up council headquarters stood on; prime real estate in the heart of London. The money they could get form the sale of that alone would pay for the refurbishment and alterations they wanted to carry out at the camp.
“Basically, Buffy,” Giles continued as he broke into Buffy’s dark thoughts, “it’s boiled down to a fight between lawyers, and we can’t afford any so we’re, to put it bluntly, screwed.”
“Giles!” Buffy almost laughed at Giles’ un-Giles-like outburst, “Lawyers, eh?”
Gilles nodded his head as a shrewd smile crossed Buffy’s face.
“Who do we know,” began Buffy slowly, “who’s rich and has, no doubt, got like loads of lawyers and doesn’t mind helping out destitute slayers?”
Giles thought for a moment, looks of horror and dismay followed each other across his face.
“NO!” he said firmly, “You can’t be thinking of involving Scarpone even more in the running of the organisation.”
“Why not?” Buffy smiled at the look of shock on Giles’ face, “Look it’s perfect, he’s Kennedy’s father, he knows all about what we do. He’s incredibly rich and he’s always been willing to help out before. You said yourself he used to donate large amounts of cash to the old council.”
“Yes,” agreed Giles, “to ensure preferential treatment for his daughter…and have you ever considered where he gets his money?”
“It’s an Import-Export business, or so Kennedy told me,” Buffy turned to look out of the window so she wouldn’t have to look Giles in the eye.
“Have you ever considered what he imports and exports?” Giles got up and looked out of the window at the wind and rain swept beach, “I tried to find out once but I came up against a brick wall, I don’t…”
“Whatever,” Buffy cut Giles off in mid sentence, “Look, Giles we need help and the father of one of our people might be able to give that help, what’s the alternative?” Buffy looked up into Giles’ face, “In a month, two at most the money runs out. What do we do then? Get jobs at the Double Meat Palace and fight evil on our days off?” Buffy shook her head, “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, don’t want to do it again.”
“Please, Buffy,” pleaded Giles, he sighed knowing that he’d already lost the argument; Buffy had made up her mind, “Be careful what you agree to with that man. He didn’t become a multi-millionaire by being stupid.”
“There,” Buffy gave Giles a million candle power smile, “I knew you’d come round to my way of thinking,” she watched as Giles sat down again, “I’ll talk to Kennedy this evening at Dawnie’s party,” she caught the look on Giles’ face, “and yes I’ll me extra carefully when I talk to her dad, okay?”
A moment later the sound of a revving motor and gravel hitting the side of the hut where Buffy had her office, distracted her for a moment.
“Ah good!” Buffy smiled, “that’ll be Faith and hopefully Xander.”
“I’ll send them in, shall I?” Giles got up and headed for the door.
“Yes please,” Buffy shuffled some papers on her desk before looking up at Giles once more, “and Giles,” there was that million watt smile again, “thank-you, thank’s for everything.”0=0=0=0
Moments after Giles had left, Faith burst into Buffy’s office. She crossed the floor to lounge in one of Buffy’s visitor’s chairs. Right behind her came Xander, looking a little white faced from his trip to the camp in Faith’s beat up old military Land Rover. He sat down in the other chair and Buffy thought she could hear a sigh of relief come from Xander’s direction.
“Hi ‘B’,” grinned Faith, “what’s the rush?”
“No rush,” replied Buffy as she sorted out a slim file from under the pile on her desk.
“You mean,” Xander gave Buffy a hurt look, “we didn’t need to break every speed limit from here to Middlesbrough?”
“Hey!” Faith sounded defensive, “What d’ya mean ‘every’ speed limit…I slowed down near schools, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, right,” agreed Xander with a curt nod of the head, “so we didn’t kill any kids on our way here…”
“Look,” Faith had stopped sounding defensive and was starting to sound angry, “if ya don’t like the way I drive y’know what ya can do.”
“Guys!” Buffy brought things to a halt before they turned into a full fledged argument, “Work.”
Suspecting that Faith was still hurting after having Robin Wood walk out on her, Buffy was willing to cut her some slack; but not if she took out her anger and frustration on Xander. He was still mourning Anya in his own quiet way; Buffy wondered whether it had been wise to team these two emotional time-bombs together. She sighed; lack of ‘manpower’ and resources had dictated her decisions. Oh-well, she shook her head tiredly; maybe when things were better she could team them with other people, until then…
“We have a situation,” Buffy passed the file she was holding to Faith who immediately passed it over to Xander, again she sighed. “Hartlepool…”
“Hartlepool?” queried Faith.
“Just up the coast aways,” explained Buffy, “on a clear day…if such a thing exists ‘round here, you could see it from the parking lot.”
“Car park,” corrected Xander absently as he looked through the pages of the file.
“Whatever,” Buffy continued, “it’s not that far away. In fact you could go by bus,” she added hopefully; with money so tight she was looking to cut costs as much as she could.
“Yeah, right,” muttered Faith, she wasn’t bussing it to anywhere. “Only lame and weird people ride the bus.”
“I use the bus,” Buffy replied in a small voice.
“Ha! Yeah, see what I…” Faith was quickly interrupted by Xander.
“Faith’s right, y’know,” Xander closed the file.
“I am?” Faith turned a puzzled frown on Xander before adding, “Cool.”
“Using the bus,” explained Xander, “it’s a false economy. What happens if we miss the last bus home and we have to stay the night?”
“Yeah, I suppose so,” conceded Buffy, “Anyway, can you deal?”
“Doesn’t look too difficult,” admitted Xander, “we could do it tonight.”
“Hold-up there,” Faith shifted in her seat, “I gotta check that I can get the night off…”
“You weren’t coming to Dawnie’s party?” Buffy sounded a little hurt.
“Not really my scene, B,” admitted Faith: truth was the idea of spending the evening with a load of high-foreheads wasn’t her idea of fun.
“Okay,” Buffy still sounded a little hurt, “but it needs to be done tonight or tomorrow. No one’s been killed yet but that could change anytime, okay?”
“No worries,” Faith got up and headed for the door.
“Yeah,” Xander climbed to his feet and smiled down at Buffy, “no problem, Buff, I’ll keep you informed, see you.”
Following Faith out of the room Xander left Buffy alone in her cold little office. 0=0=0=0
After Xander and Faith had left Buffy found herself alone once more, sometimes the pointlessness of it all made her feel like crying. Even when Faith had slayed this monster there’d always be another, then another and another. It just went on and on until one day… Sighing disconsolately she opened the bottom drawer of her desk. There it lay; the bottle of vodka that she kept for those times she needed a good stiff drink. She’d started drinking not long after they’d all arrived in Cleveland. At first it had just been to help her sleep, to wind down after a patrol, but now…well, what would one little drink hurt?
Okay it wasn’t even midday yet, but it was just one drink, right? It’d never hurt her mother so why shouldn’t she? Hardly noticing the eagerness with which her hands grasped the bottle, Buffy unscrewed the top and poured a generous measure into the glass she kept with the bottle. Feeling the vodka burn its way down to her stomach and make her feel pleasantly warm for a change she wiped the glass clean. Buffy put it and the bottle back into the drawer and then took a mint from the jar on her desk and put it in her mouth.
Standing up Buffy wrapped her arms around herself as she tried to warm herself by the fire. Looking around her office she sighed gloomily, she might as well go home. There was nothing to do here, at least in the old chalet where she lived it was warmer and she had a TV there. God, she cursed to herself, reduced to watching British daytime TV; she really hoped there’d be some vamps around tonight so she could vent her frustration on them.0=0=0=0
“What’ve we got Harris?” Faith watched as Xander climbed into the Land Rover and buckled up.
“Doesn’t look tooooo!” Xander grabbed hold of the dashboard as Faith floored the accelerator, “Faith!”
“Do y’have to do that?” Xander gasped as the acceleration eased off.
“Too much for ya?” Faith grinned broadly as she slowed down for the main road outside the camp.
“No,” breathed Xander, “it’s just that if I have to die I’d rather it be fighting the forces of evil than from being killed in a traffic accident.”
The scary truth was that Faith; in fact all the slayers (with the exception of Buffy) were very safe drivers. For instance, Faith had never been involved in an accident (which was probably just as well because Xander wasn’t sure she had a licence let alone insurence). Faith and all the other slayers just drove to the limit. He might joke about it but Faith hadn’t actually broken any speed restrictions on their trip up here, it just felt like she had.
“So,” Faith drove out onto the main road and for a wonder kept it down to a sedate thirty miles an hour; she must be getting soft, thought Xander. “What’ve we got?”
“Okay,” Xander found the file Buffy had given him and opened it at the first sheet of typed notes, “looks like a normal haunting…”
“So, what am I supposed to do?” Faith glanced quickly at Xander, “Ya can’t punch ghosts.”
“Or, if you’d let me finish,” Xander replied teasingly, “it could be a demon…”
“Hey, that sounds like more fun,” Faith had increased speed to about fifty now, still fairly tame for her; she normally took the twisting, narrow road at seventy.
“Yeah,” agreed Xander as his eye slid over the page, “it all goes back to the Napoleonic Wars…”
“Napoleonic Wars,” Xander explained, “fought between England and France over a hundred years ago…”
“Cool,” Faith smiled, “the French lost, right?”
“Yep they lost,” Xander turned his head to look at Faith, “I’m trying to explain stuff, could you keep all your questions ‘til after I’ve finished.”
“Okay, Rupert, don’t get ya panties in a bunch,” Faith allowed herself a small smirk.
“Yeah, right,” Xander turned back to his file, “where was I? Napoleonic wars…right. Okay, early in the century a French ship foundered on the coast near Hartlepool. The only survivor was the ship’s pet monkey. He was picked up by some local fishermen and taken back to Hartlepool. Now this is where it gets weird.”
“Gets weird?” Faith laughed, “The whole damn country’s weird.”
“Okay,” admitted Xander, “weirder. It seems like because the monkey was dressed in a French naval uniform, the fisherman said he was a spy. They gave him a trial then they hung him.”
“THEY WHAT!?” Faith took her eyes off the road for a minute.
“LOOK OUT!” Xander stopped himself from grabbing the wheel; his warning was enough to stop the collision with the bus that they just missed. “Yeah,” Xander continued once he’d slowed his racing heart, “the fishermen guys might have had an ulterior motive.”
“A what?” Faith slowed to the speed limit, they were on the outskirts of Middlesbrough now.
“Something about if the ship had surviving crew, it was a ‘Prize of War’ and the government would get it,” Xander explained. “If there was no surviving crew, it was salvage and the fishermen would get all the money for it.”
“Oh, I get it,” Faith smiled, “they framed the monkey.”
“Got it,” agreed Xander, “now it looks like the monkey’s out for revenge.”
“We’re here,” Faith brought the Land Rover to a gentle halt.
Looking up Xander found himself in the car park of the ‘Saracen’s Head’ pub where Faith worked as a barmaid.
“What d’ya think I should pack,” Faith turned to face him and grinned, “bananas?”0=0=0=0