California Girls. A Grim Interlude.By Dave Turner.
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer that’s all down to Joss and those wacky people known as Mutant Enemy. ‘The Hidden’ was written by, Jim Kouf and directed by, Jack Sholder. I write these stories for fun not profit.
Crossover: The Hidden.
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar; Written in glorious English-English. American idioms are used wherever possible throughout this fic.
Timeline: Post ‘Chosen’, no comics. Set at roughly the same time as my fic ‘Severance’.
Words: Eight chapters of 2000+ words.
Summary: “He sees something he wants,” Buffy explained, “he steals it. If someone gets in his way, he kills them.” “So what are you saying?” Kate asked, “That there’s some kind of demon jumping from body to body on a one monster crime wave?”0=0=0=0California Girls.
Climbing out of the cab, Buffy lifted her face to the sky and smiled, it was great to feel the California sun on her skin again. Turning to watch as the driver got her cases out of the trunk she let her eyes roam up and down the street outside the Metro Plaza Hotel in Los Angelis, it felt so good to be back in the States again. Tipping the driver, she turned to face the hotel just in time to see a porter come out pushing a trolley to pick up her luggage.
This was the life, Buffy sighed happily, no more lugging her own bags into seedy hotels; now that they’d got full control of the old Council’s finances she could afford to stay in nice hotels like this. Following the porter into reception, Buffy sighed with relief as she walked into the air-conditioned splendour of the reception area. Although she’d not worn a vest today, she’d grown so accustomed to the cool (no make that darn-right cold) temperatures of northern England that she found LA just a little warm for her now. Whatever, Buffy shrugged her shoulders under her tank top; she expected she’d get used to it again.
“Good morning ma’am,” Buffy looked up to find she’d reached the check-in desk and the girl behind the counter was grinning at her so hard it must hurt.
“Room in the name of Summers?” Buffy searched in her bag for her passport, the hotel clerk was bound to want to see it.
Sure enough the receptionist asked for Buffy’s passport and gave it a cursory examination. Satisfied the clerk handed Buffy’s passport back to her along with a card-key. Following the porter and her luggage across the reception foyer, Buffy went over the reasons for her visit in her mind. She’d come to make contact with Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. No one had seen or even heard from him in several years. Giles had discovered that the old council had fired him after his screw up with herself and Faith. Everyone had sort of assumed he was either dead or sitting drunk in a bar somewhere in South America (why South America, Buffy didn’t know, it just seemed to fit).
However, a couple of years ago, about the time Buffy was fighting The First he’d sent her an amulet that had enabled her to destroy The First’s army of ubervamps; unfortunately it had also killed Spike who’d volunteered to wear the thing (Buffy having claimed that she had no outfits that would go with it). In the confusion after Sunnydale, the abortive trip to Cleveland, Ohio and the eventually decanting of the slayer organisation to England. All attempts at contacting Wyndam-Pryce had been put on hold; until Giles had discovered the ex-watcher was running a detective agency in LA which specialised in ‘unusual’ cases. Buffy had volunteered to go to LA and make contact with Wesley and any slayers that might be working in LA.
Looking up, Buffy found herself by the elevators. The porter pressed the call button and a moment later the doors slid open. At first Buffy didn’t really pay much attention to the attractive dark haired woman that stepped from the lift. Looking up from her search of her bag (she seemed to have misplaced the address book Giles had given her) she looked straight into the face of the young woman as she walked by.
“Cordelia?” Buffy said to herself quietly; she looked at the porter and smiled, “Hold on a minute please.” Running the few steps needed to catch up with Cordelia, Buffy touched her on the arm, “Cordelia, is that you?”
The woman turned to study Buffy, it was indeed Cordelia.
“Hey! You look well,” Buffy looked Cordelia up and down; nice clothes, make up, hair, enormous bust, “and erm, big!”
“I’m sorry,” it was Cordelia’s voice as well, “you must have me mistaken for someone else.”
Cordelia turned to go, once again Buffy caught hold of her arm holding her back.
“Come on Cordy,” Buffy frowned, “it’s me, Buffy I’d know you…”
Suddenly a guy interposed himself between Cordelia and Buffy.
“Everything alright here, Miss Chase?” he asked while at the same time giving Buffy a menacing look.
Looking up at the guy, Buffy saw a very tall, young, black guy with a shaved head; he wore a sharp, yet conservative suit, expensive Italian shoes and a frown that said, ‘keep away from Cordy’ in very large letters.
“No Charles,” Cordelia sighed and stifled a yawn, “This young woman has mistaken me for someone else and she won’t go away
!” Cordelia said the last while giving Buffy a really hard stare and jerking her head towards the elevators.
“I’m sorry Miss,” ‘Charles’ drew himself up to his full impressive height to tower over Buffy, “but whoever you think Miss Chase is, she isn’t. I suggest you walk away and enjoy the rest of your stay in LA, okay?”
“Yeah, okay,” Buffy frowned, what the hell was going on here, she asked herself, but even she could take a hint, “Sorry, I-I must have…”
The rest of Buffy’s apology died on her lips as Cordy and ‘Charles’, however he was, swept from the foyer.0=0=0=0
Confused and not a little concerned by her meeting with Cordelia, Buffy didn’t really pay much attention to the rest of the trip to her room. Absently she tipped the porter then locked the door behind him after he’d deposited her luggage. Walking over to the window, Buffy noted the suite was larger than the entire chalet where she lived on the old holiday camp back in Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Looking out over LA she wondered what the hell Cordelia had been playing at and how come she’d suddenly got those huge boobs.
‘Suddenly’ wasn’t really the right word, Buffy admitted, she’d not seen Cordy since high school so there were bound to be some changes, but surely nothing so extreme as those things. Perhaps she’d had surgery or something…and who the hell was this guy ‘Charles’? Buffy’s mind bounced from one question to another; he didn’t look as if he was holding Cordy against her will, in fact quite the opposite. He appeared to be looking out for her…bodyguard maybe? But then why would Cordy need a bodyguard? Buffy grinned and laughed to herself. Maybe the question she should be asking was; why wouldn’t Cordy need a bodyguard?
Shaking her head as all these questions flew around her brain, Buffy sighed and turned away from the window. Looking at her luggage, she decided to let house-keeping unpack her stuff; there was nothing incriminating, you couldn’t even take a wooden stake on a plane after 9-11. Grabbing her bag, she headed towards the door, she needed stuff; she needed weapons, a good knife and a few stakes would do for now. A cellphone, she couldn’t use her own, it probably wouldn’t work in LA as it was from Britain. Plus she needed cash; okay, she had her ‘company’ credit card and cheque book, but the places she was likely to go she’d need cash. Having noticed a bank down the street from the hotel as she’d arrived, she decided to go there and cash some traveller’s cheques.0=0=0=0
Having been cooped up in aircraft and taxis for the last twenty-four hours or more, Buffy enjoyed the short walk to the Wells Fargo Bank on the corner of North Spring Street and Yale. Having stopped off at a store, she’d bought herself a throw away cellphone, she was just pulling it from its packaging as she entered the bank. Looking up she cursed under her breath, the place was pretty busy.
“Darn!” Buffy walked towards the shortest looking queue, “what’s the betting someone’s paying in five years worth of quarters?”
Standing in the queue, Buffy started to put numbers into the memory of the phone. As she worked something drew her attention to a guy, there was something about him that made her feel uneasy. Glancing up under her eyebrows, Buffy studied the man as her fingers punched in numbers on her phone.
He was just standing there about halfway into the bank, average height, blondish hair, gold rimmed glasses, business suit under his raincoat. Raincoat? Buffy frowned, no one wore a raincoat in LA at this time of the year. Looking ‘round, Buffy shuffled a couple of feet closer to the teller as the man with the quarters walked away. Movement further into the bank distracted her from her study of the guy in the raincoat. Two bank guards and a security guard from an outside security company walked slowly towards the door. The security guard carried several sacks of what were obviously dollar bills while the bank guards scanned the crowd for trouble.
Ignoring the guards, Buffy waited impatiently for the teller to finish with the customer in front of her. As she waited she found herself going back to thinking about the man in the raincoat. Nobody wore raincoats in LA unless…suddenly the thought hit her like a brick full in the face. Unless they were hiding something underneath it! As the guards came level with raincoat-guy, he pulled a pump action shotgun from under his raincoat. First he shot the two bank guards, then he shot the guard with the money.
“FREEZE!” the cry came from a bank guard standing by the main doors, he pulled his pistol from his holster and pointed it at raincoat-guy.
Turning, raincoat-guy fired at the guard who got off a shot at almost the same instant. The shot gun blast hit the guard full in the chest and blew him off his feet. Buffy could smell blood and gunpowder as she crouched on the floor. All around her people were screaming as they either tried to run or took shelter on the floor. The woman behind Buffy in the queue just stood there screaming not knowing whether to run or hide; Buffy reached up and grabbed the woman pulling her to the floor. Hugging the terrified woman Buffy tried to get her to stop screaming while all the time watching the robber. He was just standing there; the fact that the guard’s bullet had actually hit him didn’t appear to be causing him any pain or distress what-so-ever.
“Darn-it,” Buffy muttered, “PCP or demon?”
He didn’t ‘feel’ like a demon, but he didn’t feel exactly like a normal human either, there was just something off about him. For a moment Buffy considered taking the guy down, she weighed up her chances. Pump action shotgun against slayer speed? Normally she’d have taken the risk but there were far too many innocent civilians around. If he fired at her, missed and hit someone else she’d never forgive herself, best to just watch and wait.
Slowly the guy walked over to the three downed guards, he picked up the bags of money. Once again Buffy asked herself the question, money was heavy, the robber had picked up two big bags in one hand without any visible effort. Must be a demon, she told herself. Turning towards the door the robber paused to look at something. What the heck now? Buffy asked herself, what was he doing, why didn’t he just go away?
Searching to see what he was looking at, Buffy followed his gaze; he was staring at a CCTV camera and grinning! Cool bastard, Buffy shook her head in disbelief, whatever he was he didn’t care if anyone saw his face. Slowly he raised the shotgun single handed and pointed it at the camera. Firing he blew the camera to tiny little pieces before walking calmly to the door where he shot a man who was just coming into the bank unaware that a robbery was in progress.
As the doors opened, Buffy could hear the sound of people screaming as they ran for cover and the sound of approaching police sirens. It looked like the ordeal was over; climbing slowly to her feet, Buffy ran over to the door and looked out into the street. She saw the robber throw the bags of money into a red Ferrari and climb in after them. The engine burst into life, there was a cloud of smoke as the wheels spun on the tarmac and the robber sped off down the road pursued by two police cars.
Not wishing to spend the rest of the day in the company of the LAPD, Buffy pushed open the door and briskly walked off down the street away from the bank and her hotel. She’d take a few random turns before heading back to the hotel, she really didn’t want to be traced. She had limited time in LA and she didn’t want to spend any of it helping the police. After all, she hadn’t seen anything that twenty other people hadn’t seen.
As she walked, Buffy could hear more police sirens in the distance, chances were they’d catch the robber after a high speed chase and she’d be able to watch it all on TV when she got back to the hotel. Head down, Buffy started to think about what she’d seen at the bank. The guard’s bullet had definitely hit the robber in the side and he’d not even flinched. That was bad, okay he could have been wearing a bullet proof vest, but the force of the bullet striking home should still have made him stagger at the very least.
Then there was the feeling of ‘wrongness’ she’d picked up. Not demon but not fully human either. Buffy decided she needed to talk with Giles, were there any demons that didn’t come up on a slayer’s personnel radar…a sort of ‘stealth-demon’? Buffy sighed heavily and looked around to work out where she was.
“Great!” she said aloud as she stood on the sidewalk hands on hips, “I’ve not been in LA for twenty-four hours yet and not only have I witnessed a bank hold up but now I’m lost!”0=0=0=0