The subtle shift of the plane's attitude as it made a final turn toward the evil city of Roanapur woke Richard Houndstooth better known as Hound the Bounty Hunter - from a dreamless sleep. it was good he had not been dreaming as he woke to find a monster cuddled up next to him sleeping. Well perhaps monster was a little harsh since Harmony Kendell and her people were on this trip at HIS personal request.
A saggy fleshed ... well man was obviously not the right term so Demon it would have to be , sighed "Sorry about this your people really should not use the f-word around Harmony."
Moving his arm a little so she wasn't sitting right on top of it. Houndstooth winced as pins and needles raced through the limb, she'd been sleeping on top of it for a while. "Excuse me, the ...f-word?" He asked,
"Fan." the demon supplied. "I'm Clem by the way."
",,,ah yes, the co-star, your companion's ... conversational flow was such that we did not have a chance to speak when you first got on board."
Clem sighed , "Harmony can be like that," he said wryly, "let her know you watch the show or have seen her interviewed and she's all over you." He paused to look at Harmony's sleeping form tucked up against the bounty hunter, "In some cases literally."
"I don't mind, I wanted her here for this hunt."
Clem looked at the photographs laid out in front of Richard. They all showed multiple shots of Xander Harris and Faith Lahane. "I'm still finding it hard to believe, Xander? ... A terrorist I know Faith was pretty wild but to call them ..."
"Did you know Harris ... when he was a student as Miss Kendell did."
''... Just between you me and ...' Clem gestured toward the cameraman who was running tape of their exchange, "Harm is being... A little bitchy about the whole Xander thing. He and his friends were great guys, I used to babysit Buffy's Sister every once in a while. I was even invited to Xander's Wedding."
"Harris is married?" Hound asked.
"He left her at the alter," Clem explained, "I wouldn't think too badly of him for it though. According to him, he had a vision of his future and did it to avoid ending up being just like his father. I met his parents, ...avoiding that is a laudable goal."
Clem picked up a big thick book and paged through it it was the Sunnydale High Year book from the year the school had exploded.
"I'm studying Harris," Houndstooth explained, "trying to understand him is part of the reason you and Miss Kendell are here."
"Harm went to school with him that's true, see there she is." Clem pointed at a tiny picture.
"Was she always as she is now?" Hound asked.
"A Vampire or a ..." he mouthed the word Bitch since Harmony was snoring away next to Houndstooth. "... She got bitten and sired at Graduation."
"It seems odd that a vampire of her ... " Houndstooth was obviously trying to remain polite, "... obvious capabilities could elude the vampire Slayer on her own hunting ground."
"She is part of a very, very, very exclusive club. Buffy Summers and the Watchers have a lot of enemies but not many have faced them more then once. Harm has done it a couple of times."
Houndstooth looked down at the snoring blonde, "This ...girl ... has faced Buffy Summers ... a vampire slayer, one of the strongest so they say, on multiple occasions, and survived?"
Clem shrugged, "Call it dumb luck I know I do." The Demon sighed "It's kind of why she is famous now, one tried to kill her at a Hollywood party while TV cameras were rolling. Harmony beat her and thanks to the US Government already being suspicious of them, the rest of the world just assumed that Slayers were dangerous and vampires were the victims. cue our crazy life being filmed twenty four seven and me running her website and answering her fan mail. How did Xander wind up on your radar? It couldn't have just been that video clip."
Houndstooth scowled, "Harris has cost me untold millions which is quite the thorn in my side."
"What Xander, how did he piss off someone like you?
"I have a clothing and fashion line, fragrance, eye wear, the whole deal - all centered around me and my image. I'm calling it Bloodhound ...or at least I could if a certain international terrorist wasn't also using the name."
"The Bloodhound of Florencia." Clem asked in an unbelieving voice, "I read about her."
"My Copyright Lawyers came up with a loophole, if the Bloodhound is dead or thought to be dead, I can take the name and re-brand it. I was this close to pulling it off too, until Harris digs her up somehow and the two of them went swanning through enough international checkpoints that Interpol declared her an ongoing concern, goodbye brand name."
Clem blinked, "Are you kidding me? Xander and the Bloodhound of Florencia are really travelling together?"
Hound shook his head, "No one has seen this Rosarita Cisnaros in months but Xander Harris, he's still in Roanapur and thanks to that YouTube clip, now he's front page news. I capture him especially on live TV, there'll be no question of who really deserves to use the name Bloodhound."
"... And so the Great Hunter contemplates his prey as we descend into this Chinese pit of scum and villainy." Bernie the camera man recited as he played the camera from the window back to Clem's sighing face.
"Technically we're in Thailand right now." Clem explained.
"China, Thailand ... you really think anyone in the flyover states cares or can even tell the difference." Bernie paused, "What do you mean Technically...?"
"Its like I told you and Harmony back in America there is no government down there, No mayor, no city officials, no nothing, there's police but they're just there to keep the cesspit from frothing over, the real power in Roanapur is the Syndicates. Four of the meanest sons of bitches in the world infamous even among their own people."
"You've done your homework Mister Clem." Richard said with a smile. "So we are dealing with the outcasts of the criminal underworld."
Clem shook his head, "The worst of the worst come here and openly compete to see who can beg, borrow or steal the most money. They say that if illegal trade was counted in GNP numbers Roanapur would be responsible for most of the wealth in this part of the world. The guys who run this town aren't here cause they have no choice, they're here because this is the only place on earth where they can do what they do and make the kind of money they make for doing it and what most of them do is pretty bloody harsh."
"...And down there somewhere is Alexander Harris."
Harmony finally snorted and woke she stretched and looked out the window. "Man. aren't we there yet?"
Clem gave her a soothing pat on the leg, "We're almost ready to land you can nap again when we reach the hotel."
"I hope its someplace nice?" The vampire whined.
"Its called the Seaside," Hound explained, "I wanted a location adjacent to the marina Harris has been sighted there several times I'm hoping That means it is his base of operations in this city."
"Awesome , look out Xander - Harmony's in town looking for payback."
"Payback for what exactly?" Clem asked, "Didn't you used to make fun of Xander and Willow - practically bullied them?"
"That's one way of looking at it sure," Harmony muttered, "He was mean to me - a lot."
"Didn't you once goad his girlfriend into dumping him on Valentine's day - in front of the whole school."
Harmony giggled, "Yeah that was kind of cool," she suddenly remembered she was on camera, "Shut up Clem You're making me look like an idiot in front of Richie."
Houndstooth scowled briefly at her use of his name before leaning in. "Honestly Harmony, I don't think anyone can MAKE you anything you don't want to be."
"You better believe it." Harmony said with confidence.
Clem who was good with subtext rolled his eyes. of course doing that got him looking out the window at Roanapur as it drew closer. Hard to think of Xander in this place of all places harder still to think they might be in serious danger from him and those who were supporting him here.