The Idiotic Necrotic Exotic
A/N: Disclaimer, crossover, spoilers, etc. are all given in chapter 1.
Penny had her phone turned off, because it was way after eight at night, and she was pretty sure Xander or Faith would be calling her. Too bad, they could sit and gripe about her over wine and excellent food until something more interesting came up. Still, she checked the clock when someone knocked on the door. Nine thirty.
It wasn’t the pounding that Faith would probably make. It wasn’t a knock-knock like guys usually made. It was more of a tap-tap-tap like a girl trying to act super-feminine would do.
She opened the door. It wasn’t anyone she recognized. Okay, it looked like one of her old ‘budding actress’ drinking friends, even if the girl looked like she was about eighteen or nineteen. Sexy, blonde, carefully made up, hair expertly done, and a really cute minidress and blazer with matching designer peep-toe heels that Penny would kill for.
Penny gave her a faint smile and said, “Hi. Whatever you’re selling, I’m not interested.”
The girl said in Valley Girl tones, “Oh, I’m not a salesman. I’m here delivering a note for Buffy.”
Penny said, “Well, she’s upstairs and across the hall.”
The girl said, “Oh, I know that. I can’t get up the stairs from here. There’s too many magical wards and boobytraps and stuff all over ‘em. I mean, that’s just not very friendly.”
Penny suddenly had a really, really bad feeling about this. If this was someone who knew who Buffy Summers was, but couldn’t get past the magical traps Brian had put up, that pretty much guaranteed she wasn’t a ‘who’. No, she had to be more of a ‘what’.
Penny wondered if the steel door would hold up to a demon attack. She kind of figured the answer was ‘not a chance’. If the blonde was some sort of demon, Penny wasn’t even sure she could get her door closed fast enough. If the blonde was a vampire, Penny just had to not invite her in, and not do something stupid like sticking her head out of the apartment.
And her cell phone was back on the couch, over by her laptop. Crud.
Penny said, “Shall I call Buffy and ask her to come downstairs? Or would you rather wait until one of the other Slayers around here shows up?”
The blonde asked, “I could just give it to you, couldn’t I? Can I come in?”
“No.” Penny thought it over for a second and said, “On second thought, hell no, and not in a million years.”
The blonde said, “That’s so mean! I’m just delivering a message! I mean, don’t stake the messenger, and all that.”
the messenger? Oh crap.
Penny said, “I’m going to back away from the door and get my phone and call Buffy’s apartment and get a Slayer down here pronto.” She figured that would get the blonde vampire to run like something supernatural with a big sword was after her.
The blonde smiled, “Okey-dokey, artichoke-y.”
Penny stepped backward and bumped into the couch, which probably made her look like a spaz. Like a big, terrified, easy-to-devour spaz. She kept her eyes on the blonde as she moved to the side and went back far enough to scrabble around on the couch cushions and find her phone. As she speed-dialed Buffy’s apartment, she asked, “And who should I say is bringing the message?”
“Oh duh, I forgot to tell you! Oops. I’m Harmony. Harmony Kendall, from Wolfram and Hart. I went to high school with Buffy. And Xander. And Willow. And Cordelia. I was one of Cordelia’s galpals.”
Well, Buffy had told plenty of stories about high school, but she hadn’t mentioned anyone named Harmony. At least, Penny didn’t think so. A couple of the story-telling times had been over too many margaritas, so Penny didn’t exactly remember everything Buffy had told her. Penny asked, “One of Cordelia’s minions?”
“Well, that’s not very nice,” Harmony pouted. “Although, I guess if you think about it, we were kind of minion-y. Sometimes she wasn’t very nice to us, and sometimes she told us to go do stuff that wasn’t nice, and a bunch of times she had me go say mean stuff to people. Maybe I kind of liked that part.”
Great, she got Buffy’s answering machine. So no one was upstairs to help. And a vampire with unnaturally good hearing was standing right there, probably hearing Buffy’s answering machine message and knowing there was no one at home up there.
Harmony smiled vacantly, “Maybe I should just leave the message with you?”
While Harmony was standing there chatting, Penny hastily texted Buffy’s cell phone. Harmony here NOW. Says she has message for U fm W&H
And just then, Sheldon and Leonard came home, with Raj in tow. Could this get any worse?
Sheldon was saying, “And no, that does not mean that anyone of my intelligence would ever consider it!”
Raj said, “But you tried online dating.”
“I most certainly did not!” Sheldon insisted. “You blackmailed
me into going on a date with someone you and Howard
lined up without telling me!”
“Extorted,” corrected Leonard merrily. “It was extortion, not blackmail.”
Sheldon refused to admit he had made an error. “At any rate, it was a criminal act, and Raj is just lucky I refrained from calling the police.”
Leonard started to say something back, and then he noticed what was going on across the hall. “Oh, hi Penny! How’re you doing? Who’s your friend?”
Oh no. Penny had a pretty good idea how this would go. No matter what Penny said, all Harmony had to do was step over to the guys, give them a big smile, and ask if she could wait in their apartment until Buffy got home. Leonard would say yes. Even if Leonard didn’t say yes, Raj would nod yes, and that might even count, given how much time Raj spent hanging out over there. Okay, Sheldon wouldn’t say yes… unless Harmony knew what to say. Oh God, all Harmony had to say was that she was interested in Star Trek, or World of Warcraft, or one of a hundred other geeky things, and Sheldon might let her in long enough to find out if she knew anything about the topic or if she was just a poser.
No, all Harmony had to do to get Sheldon to let her in was to say that she knew all about Buffy, including Buffy’s deepest, darkest secrets. The horrible part was that might even be true, since Harmony obviously knew Buffy was The – or at least ‘A’ – Chosen One and the head of the Slayers and one of the people who ran the Watchers Council.
Harmony didn’t even have to do that much. She could simply take two steps over to the guys, give them all a big smile, and then hurl them down the stairs so she could suck their blood out of their bodies without any chance of even one of them getting into the safety of their apartment.
Penny knew she couldn’t let that happen. She swallowed hard and did the dumbest thing she had ever done in her life. Dumber than sleeping with… well, more guys than she should have slept with. Dumber than… Ooh, she had done a lot of dumb things in her life. But this was going to be the absolute dumbest thing she ever did.
Especially when it was probably going to be the last thing she ever did.
She smiled at Leonard and said, “Hi Leonard. Harmony’s here on business. We just need to talk about some boring business details and wait for Buffy to show up.” She looked Harmony in the eye and said, “Why don’t you come inside and put your feet up?”
Harmony smiled at her like a cat. Like a very pleased cat who had just gotten her way. She stepped inside and shut the door behind her. She even turned and locked the door afterward.
Penny hastily scooted across the room. She grabbed up the flower vase off the coffee table and held it, even as her hands started to shake. She said, “I know you’re a vampire. And this vase is a lovely little present from one of the Watchers. The water in it is holy water. Try anything funny, and you’re going to be regretting it. I mean it.”
Harmony inhaled slowly and smiled. Her face did the thing everyone had warned Penny about. It was still pee-your-pants terrifying. Harmony’s irises turned a demonic yellow. Her incisors lengthened into deadly fangs. Her brow just over her nose turned into ugly, threatening ridges.
Penny gulped hard, and made a serious effort not to crap herself. She was locked in a small apartment with a vampire. A vampire from Wolfram & Hart who had a message. And after the demon attack on Tasha and Randi this morning, the message was probably something along the lines of ‘look, we can kill everyone you know in horrible ways so they scream in agony for hours before we eat them alive.’
Harmony inhaled slowly and said, “Wow, you’re really scared. It’s coming off you in waves. You know, back when I was still human, I didn’t get why vampires wanted to grab you and be mean to you and scare you and stuff first. But I didn’t know how… yummy… all that fear smells. I mean, it’s a turn-on. And you’re pretty. If I swung that way, I’d totally make a pass at you. But I like boys.” She sniffed a couple more times and said, “Like you do. That Leonard guy’s left his scent all over this place. So we know he likes blondes, so maybe he’d just invite me in…”
Penny didn’t really think she could hold off a real vampire. But if it was a choice between her and the guys? Not much of a contest. The guys did important stuff that no one else could do. Someday, Sheldon was probably going to own a Nobel Prize. Her? Anyone could do her job. She wanted to yell at Harmony to leave Leonard alone, but Buffy said all that did was make the demon want to go attack whoever you wanted to keep safe, because that’s what evil demons did.
Harmony stepped forward…
…and sat down on Penny’s couch.
Penny backed up two steps and tried to sound threatening as she said, “I think if I throw this holy water in your face, no one’s going to want to invite you in for a long time.”
Harmony shook her head a little, like she was shaking out her hair, and the scary vampire features vanished. There was just a pretty girl in a pretty outfit. Except the girl was strong enough to rip your arms off, and she was fast enough to make Usain Bolt look like a guy in a walker, and she could suck all the blood out of your body so fast that not even Buffy could get in here quick enough to save you. Harmony looked up at her and said, “It’s not my fault I’m a vampire, you know. You don’t have to be a meanie about it.”
Penny cautiously took a seat on a stool in the breakfast nook, so her back was almost to a wall and Harmony was farther away from her. “Didn’t you have to drink the vampire’s blood or something?”
Harmony shrugged, “Oh sure, but it’s not like that. I was fighting a bunch of vampires at the graduation, we all were, and I got too close to this one guy, who okay was pretty darn cute except for the eyes and the forehead, in a totally hot Nineties way, and even pretty good taste in clothes, which let me tell you is not happening with most vampires, but he grabbed me and knocked the stake out of my hand and nobody saved me, and he just sank his fangs into my neck. You know, it sounds awful. But it really felt… pretty good.”
Harmony leaned back on the couch and crossed her legs. “I mean, at first it was like getting two shots from your doctor, only right in the neck, but after a couple seconds I just… let it happen. There was this dreamy feeling. I stopped fighting, and I stopped wanting him to stop, and it started feeling like I oughta let him keep going. So I sorta did. I mean, I didn’t fight him or anything. It just felt like I was floating away. And then he was putting his wrist in my mouth, and stuff was flowing into my mouth, and I wasn’t thinking at all, I was just sort of working on reflex because I was pretty nearly dead, and…”
Harmony put her hands behind her head in a motion that would have had all the guys – even Sheldon – staring down her cleavage. “And then I woke up in the morgue, and I was sooooo hungry! I mean, I was never that hungry before ever in my entire life, and believe me, I had to skip plenty of meals because I was always sort of plump and not all skinny like Cordy, who would’ve made an amazing vampire. And the morgue attendant walked in, and… I ate him. It was so easy. He just stared at me, because, hello! I’m hot. I know it. And I was starkers under that sheet. He didn’t even try to fight me. He didn’t even try to get away. He just stepped right over to me and put his hands on my boobs and let me kiss him and lick his neck and it tasted great
. I mean, all the blood types are yummy, but B negative is definitely my personal favorite.”
Penny had to fight down a sudden need to vomit, but Harmony didn’t seem to have a clue how revolting that sounded.
Harmony put her hands in her lap and pouted, “At first I thought, ‘Oh, okay, I’m a vampire, but I’m not a monster like the vamps who were trying to pen us in at graduation.’ And then I remembered the guy I just ate. Who was dead now because of me. And I was pretty sure I would’ve felt bad about that if I was still human. So I figured I would just have to get used to being a monster. I mean, how bad could that be? I just ate a guy, but I didn’t feel bad about it. In fact, I felt pretty good. And I didn’t have some boss vampire who sired me to boss me around, because pretty much all the vamps at the graduation got dusted. So yay me! And I was pretty and blonde and stacked, so all I was going to have to do to get another meal was dress hot and go to a bar and let some guy pick me up. Or hitchhike and let some guy pick me up. Or walk around downtown and let some guy pick me up. Maybe I could even find out if serial killers taste different! So I found where they put my clothes, and boy they just crammed them in a bag and let ‘em get all wrinkled, which was just inconsiderate. And I got dressed and walked home. And I got a ride after only about two blocks, and he was really sleazy and wanted me to do him just for giving me a ride, and so I’m sure it was a public service eating him.”
Penny didn’t put the vase down, but her hands weren’t shaking as much. Still, hearing this was incredibly… disturbing. It was like hearing one of those serial killers on “Criminal Minds” talking about how he wanted to go kill everyone. Harmony Kendall might not have had a lot of sympathy and compassion for others when she was alive, but the vampire sitting there had all the empathy of a shark. A really hungry shark.
Harmony went on, “So I figured, wow, free car with car keys, free money ‘cause he had like two hundred bucks in his wallet, so far being a vampire was pretty awesome. So then I dumped his body somewhere and drove the rest of the way home. And that was when I found out how sucky being a vampire really is. I couldn’t go home. I mean, I remember my English teacher telling us some guy wrote ‘you can never go home again’ and at the time I thought that was stupid, because sure you could just go home whenever you felt like it. But that night, I found out what that writer meant. I couldn’t go home again. Mom and dad knew I was dead, and when I tried to walk in, it was like walking into a wall. A really hard super-strong magical wall, because I used to be really weak and easy to push around, but as a vampire I could lift up a guy’s dead body and throw him over a fence and down a ravine. And they wouldn’t let me in! And mom cried. I hate it when mom cries. It didn’t make me feel awful like it used to, but I still don’t like it. And they closed my bank account and closed all my credit cards and store cards and everything, so I had no money and I couldn’t go shopping anymore! It was the suckiest thing ever.”
Penny found herself asking, “What did you do?”
Harmony shrugged. “Well, what would you do? I looked in mister dead guy’s wallet and found his address and went to his apartment and used his keys and stayed there for a few days. That was awful
“Why? Did you feel guilty?”
Harmony looked at her in confusion. “Why would I feel guilty? That guy was a total creepo. No, the apartment smelled bad. Vampires have a really super-strong sense of smell. It smelled like sleazy-guy B.O. and sleazy-guy unwashed laundry and spoiling food in the fridge and old spilled stuff on the floors and cigarette butts. And the stains on the sheets were from some bimbo with a yeast infection, and just yuck. Being a vampire means being able to smell waaaaaaay too much. And then the next day, I got up and showered and… I didn’t have a reflection! I mean, how’s a girl supposed to get ready in the morning without looking at herself in a mirror?”
“What did you do?” Penny asked.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Harmony said. “I mean, no reflection? Worst thing EVER. Okay, I was sure I still looked really hot. Even if I had to reach up and check whether I had my fangs and forehead out. But sleazy dead guy had these cameras pointing at the bed so he could do chicks and film the whole thing, which was just eewwwww. And he had a bunch of stuff like Ecstasy and rohypnol and stuff, so maybe the girls didn’t even know he was filming them. Maybe they didn’t even know he was boffing them. Total creepo. He totally deserved to get eaten. I should’ve brought him back as a vampire so I could tie him down and let all the girls he ever humped stab him and stuff. But anyway, I looked at all the cameras, and I tried taking pictures of me. Did you know old cameras that use film, most of ‘em won’t take a picture of a vampire? This guy had a Polaroid camera, and let me tell you, some of the Polaroids he had in that box in his closet were soooo gross! Well, I didn’t show up on the Polaroids either. But I showed up on the videocamera! He had this cute videocamera with a flip-out screen on the side and you could adjust where the screen faced, and you could even turn it so you could see yourself as the camera filmed you. He had a bunch of film footage off that thing in his pervert-o-box too, and lemme tell you that guy was a sicko. Way worse than a vampire. So I could film me with his videocamera and look in the little screen and still do my makeup and check my hair! Awesome, huh? I’m like one of the smartest vampires ever. Even if I did end up working as a secretary at Wolfram & Hart. But that was mainly Cordy. And Wesley.”
“Cordelia? And Wesley? Do you mean Wesley Wyndham-Price?” Penny felt her phone buzz in her pocket, and she told herself that had to be Buffy texting her that she was on the way to rescue her.
Harmony nodded happily. “Yeah. I tried being a really evil vampire, and I even figured out how to sire lots of minions, which believe me is waaaaay easier and faster on a Hellmouth, but my plans never worked out right and Buffy always ruined everything. And the time I found the Gem of Amara, Spike stole it from me and even staked me! Never trust a guy just ‘cause you’re sleeping with him, even if he’s really great in bed. True even if they’re dead. So I left Sunnydale after a couple years, and came here, and Cordy was nice to me and everything. I tried to be one of the good guys, but I wasn’t any good at it and it didn’t make me feel good inside. But she didn’t shoot me with a crossbow when I turned them over to a vampire cult. And they helped me get a really nice secretarial job at Wolfram & Hart after they took over.”
Okay, Penny knew a lot of this part of the story, because Buffy had explained one night over lots of tequila why her ex ended up running the local branch of Wolfram & Hart after fighting them for several years. Naturally, it was all a plot to corrupt Angel and his team, and so Angel took them down from the inside and wiped out the Circle of the Black Thorn, which put Wolfram & Hart’s personal apocalypse plans back about a century, which they were still being pretty pissy about.
Harmony went on, “And I did just what they told me to, and I stopped drinking human blood, even if otter isn’t really as tasty, and it totally wasn’t my fault that Marcus told me I needed to tell him everything Angel did, because after all, he was working directly for the Senior Partners, so he was really Angel’s boss when you come down to it, and he was really great in the sack. And after the whole building-collapsing thing, I still had a job! Okay, not executive secretary for the big boss, but not way down in the secretarial pool either, so I had a really good job that was way easier, and my boss was nicer to me, and I got a pay raise for telling on Angel, and the pay raise really matters, because, hello! D & G’s like these don’t grow on trees! And I love peeptoes. Great tip. Vampires can wear peeptoes and really cute miniskirts even in January in like Aspen. One of my fave things about the fanginess. And my bosses now? Free human blood in the lunchroom! It’s all O Positive, but still… Free! And they don’t mind if you sample a few people when you get hungry after work. And the windows there? Secret magic tinting so the sunlight doesn’t turn you into toasted vamp.” She sighed, “I really miss working on my tan at Cordy’s pool with the other girls. I bet Aphrodesia would’ve let me bite her if I told her she could stay young forever and never get wrinkles and never have to put up with her jerk boyfriend again. But she left Sunnydale for college, and got married to some guy I never even met, and never came back. You’d think she would’ve invited me to her wedding, even if I’m dead…”
Harmony sat up sharply, and Penny convulsively clenched the vase. Harmony asked, “Do you think I could go to the Sunnydale High School reunions? The tenth anniversary one is only a couple years away. And they’re parties at night, right?”
Penny pointed out, “What if Buffy’s there? Or Xander? Or Willow?”
Harmony pouted, “Willow’s gone all gay, and I bet she still wouldn’t let me bite her again.”
“Oh. Yeah. Didn’t anyone tell you? I’m just about the only vampire who ever bit a Scooby and didn’t get killed right away. I mean, Buffy let Angel bite her for some weird magic blood thingie, but I captured Willow Rosenberg and bit her!” Harmony’s face fell. “Ooh. She might be mad at me about that. Do you think she’d hit me with a big magic fireball if I came to the class reunion?”
Penny felt the phone buzz again and she said, “Don’t you think Buffy’s going to stake you for trying to kill me?”
Harmony gave her a look of complete confusion. “Why would she think that? I mean, I just have to give her this message and then I’m leaving. I’ve got a date later. With a Hollywood actor. If I bite you, I’d probably get blood on my dress, and that would be a disaster. I mean, do you have any idea how hard it is to get blood out of hand-dyed silk?”
Penny gulped. “Isn’t it going to create a huge ruckus if you kill a famous Hollywood actor?”
Harmony waved her worries away. “Oh no, I’m not gonna drink his blood or anything. He’s a demon. And Pahrvix demons? Their blood is totally yuck.”
“An actor? Who’s a demon too?” Penny checked.
“Oh sure, some of the sexiest actors and actresses are demons, and lots of other actors made a pact with Wolfram and Hart to get demonically sexy or just have lots of success. You don’t think anyone would want to look at Danny DeVito if he hadn’t already sold his soul, do you? And Jamie Kennedy. Totally not funny, but he gets steady work as a comedian. Sold his soul for it. Same for Tom Green, who also got to schtup Drew Barrymore. Sold his soul too. Duh! Anyway, Pahrvix demons look human, until they lose control. Like during sex. So they have to date girls like me, or girls like Anyanka, or else the girls like Megan Fox who already sold their soul to Wolfram & Hart and know about the whole ‘demons and vamps’ thing and don’t mind sexing it up with a demon. Brad and Angelina? Both Pahrvix demons. All those kids they ‘adopt’ or have? Baby Pahrvix demons they’re raising for the Pahrvix collective.”
Penny asked, “Umm, would you mind getting up and opening the door so Buffy doesn’t knock it down and stake you on suspicion?”
Harmony thought it over for long seconds. It probably took that long for her to think about something complicated. Like getting up and unlocking a door. She finally shrugged, “Okay, if you don’t mind Buffy barging in. She does kind of break a lot of stuff.”
Penny watched anxiously as Harmony rose and walked to the door. It was a good thing the guys were in their apartment with the door closed, because less than a minute later, Buffy and Tia came sprinting up the stairs carrying huge swords.
Harmony smiled, “Buffy! Hi! I got asked to bring a message over to you, but I couldn’t get up the last stairs to your floor. That’s totally not nice.”
Buffy gave Harmony a look that would have intimidated a smarter vampire. “Harm. Long time no see.”
Harmony missed the deadly intent. She nodded happily, “Yeah! We should do drinks some time, and we can talk about old times.”
“Or not,” Buffy snapped. “Now what about the message?”
Harmony reached into her purse and pulled out an ordinary-looking letter. “Here! Mister Ewing told me I should take this to you and make sure you got it in person.”
Buffy raised a suspicious eyebrow.
Penny carefully said, “Harmony. You work for the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart. And the Ram has an underling named Mister Ewe-ing? Doesn’t that sound… odd?”
Harmony stared at her for a second before she opened her eyes wide. “Oh! I get it now! Ram. And Ewe.” She broke into a giggle. “I don’t think they do that
. I don’t think the Senior Partners even do stuff like sex.”
Buffy said, “Harm, why don’t you take the message out of the envelope and hold it out for me to read?”
Harmony pouted and plaintively asked, “Why? Don’t you trust me?”
Buffy frowned, “I don’t trust your bosses. Or their bosses.”
Harmony shrugged, “Well okay…” She slit open the envelope with one long fingernail, then she opened the letter and held it facing Buffy.
Buffy looked at it. “Pretty much what I thought it would say.”
Penny asked, “What’s it say?”
Tia said, “Pretty much ‘get out of town by sundown pardner, or we’ll fill you fulla lead.’ Except in legalese.”
Buffy said, “Tia, go get one of Willow’s special containers.”
“On it.” Tia dashed out the door.
Buffy looked at Penny and frostily asked, “Is there a reason you asked a vampire into your apartment, so she can come in anytime she ever wants to?”
Penny said, “It was the guys or me. If I didn’t get her in here, the guys were going to invite her in there. I was… afraid of what she’d do to them.”
Harmony complained, “Are you kidding? They ate Thai tonight! I could smell it all over them. I don’t like all that spicy stuff. And anyway, I have a date I have to get going to.”
Tia came back with what looked like a three-gallon ziplock baggie. She had Harmony drop the letter and envelope in it.
As Penny watched, the letter glowed a vicious red. “What’s that mean?”
Buffy said, “Some sort of magical attack. Brian can analyze it tomorrow. After
he comes over here and does the anti-invite spell so Harm can’t come back in.”
Harmony looked at the letter. “You mean if I gave it to you, you would’ve got hit with some kind of hex?”
Buffy nodded. “Yep. And if the hex didn’t kill you too, Tia certainly would’ve.”
Harmony frowned. “Gee, and I thought Mister Ewing liked me.”
Buffy said, “Maybe you should reconsider your job opportunities.”
Harmony said, “I think I’ll just report him to the Wolfram & Hart labor relations board.”
Buffy said, “Harm, their labor relations board is probably not going to help a lowly vamp secretary when she’s complaining about one of the higher-ups.”
Harmony frowned, “Ooh. Good idea. Hmmm…” After a couple seconds, her face lit up and she grinned, “I know just what I’ll do! I’ll tell him no more sex at lunchtimes! That’ll teach him!”