Shopping - Clothes, shoes and swords
Several hours later Buffy opened her door and almost stepped on Cherry's head.
"Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. What're you doing on the floor? Don't tell me you slept out here all night, uh day?"
Cherry looked at her new Nimir-Ra with blurry eyes then yawned, and stretched like the cat she is. She gracefully unwound from Nathaniel's back to stand. She bowed her head in submission and greeting to her Nimir-Ra.
"Cherry, you don't have to do that, okay. I need to go shopping for clothes. Do you want to go with me? We can get to know each other, and you can tell me about the kitties."
Buffy smiled at her. She watched Cherry's face transform from pretty to beautiful. Buffy thought it rather sad that such a small gesture seemed as if she had offered the leopard the moon.
"You really want me to go, with you?"
"Sure, I mean, unless you don't want to. I gotta tell you though, I have Jean's credit cards. I'm thinking between us, we can max them out in two hours tops."
Buffy grinned at Cherry, a wicked gleam sparkled in her bright green eyes.
Jason woke up to see Cherry and Buffy giggling. He wasn't aware the wereleopard even knew how to giggle. "Ladies, what's up?"
They started laughing again.
"Come on let me in on the joke," he pleaded from his place on the floor.
"Nothing wolfie, just a little girl gab. Why are you snuggling with my kitties? Aren't you worried you might end up with a were complex. Your little beasty will be all confused thinking it's a cat. We'll have to take you to a were shrink to get you to stop scratching the furniture."
Cherry burst out laughing, waking up the rest of the pard while Buffy teased the blonde wolf.
"Very funny, Buffy." Jason stuck his tongue out at her.
Zane rolled to his feet when he heard her voice. He had white-blonde hair, cut into spikes, pale blue eyes and liked piercings. There were rings in his nipples, eyebrows, and climbing ups the cartilage of his ears. He stood grinning at Buffy in no more than a pair of silk shorts slit up the sides to his waist. It was clear he wore nothing underneath, and that he was a, uh, morning person.
"Uh, Z-boy, I'm happy to see you too. But, you might want to let your little mister know he doesn't have to stand up when I walk into a room?" Buffy smirked at the brash leopard.
Gregory and Nathaniel snickered, and then cracked up as they rolled around creating their own kitty pileup.
"I bet you're used to men standing up for you, huh, Buffy?" Zane asked with a grin.
"But of course dahling, they either stand up or," Buffy swept his feet out from under him, "fall at my feet."
Her giggle turned into a laugh when she saw Zane's pout. Putting her hand out to help him up, Zane pulled her down and started tickling her. The other leopards pilled in as they divided up to help. They ended up in a huge pile of arms and legs laughing.
"Hey Buffy, I met someone last night." Zane started whooping and making 'cat calls'. "Not like that, it was at the Lunatic Cafe;. Raina was rough on her, and the poor kid was out of her league. I told her she could work here serving drinks. Would you put in a good word for her with Jean-Claude? Her name's Fred and she's only been a Were for a few months."
"Jason, we're going to talk about Raina later. I have a feeling I didn't make myself clear with that bitch. Right now, Cherry and I are going shopping, so I don't have to meet your friend naked."
"Don't buy clothes on our account, Buffy. We prefer your fur just the way it is."
Zane waggled his brows at her. Buffy sent him a teasing smile.
"I'll be sure and tell Jean you said so. Come on, Cherry too much testosterone for me this early in the day."
She grabbed the much taller woman's hand, dragging her out the door.
Cherry showed Buffy where to buy leather in over thirty shops in St. Louis. Buffy laughed, telling her this must be heaven - but hell for the poor cows. She bought leather pants in every color; there were vests, halters and bras to match. Buffy fell in love with a dark green leather dress. It had a short skirt with a series of straps that buckled across the chest, leaving her back completely bare. The green was so dark it looked black until the light hit it. Buffy bought shoes and boots - everything her little heart desired. The driver, a large wolf named Jack, made over fifteen trips back to the car.
Buffy was getting ready to leave when she stopped outside an antique store, her eyes glazing over at the window display.
When she turned to Cherry, her huge smile made the wereleopard blink and ask, "Are you okay?"
Looking at her Nimir Ra, concerned she was under some sort of thrall, Cherry turned around to see if anyone was following them.
"Come on Cherry. It's so beautiful. I have to have it. Jean won't care and his card hasn't given up the ghost yet."
Buffy pulled her into the shop. There were beautiful artifacts everywhere - mirrors, paintings and furniture. Buffy looked at an antique dress fit for a noblewoman. It was blue velvet with yards of lace and several layers of slips held the skirt out in full attention.
"It's beautiful isn't it?" The proprietor gave her a look of shock, which he quickly hid.
"Yes it is." Buffy's hand touched the dress almost lovingly.
"Would you like to try it on?"
"Oh no, I came in about your window display. The one in the center I want it, would you wrap it up, please?"
"Are you sure? It's very expensive. Perhaps I could interest you in something more…"
"No, I want that one. I believe this should take care of it. Don't bother to wrap it I'll carry it. I'll get it while you run that through."
He looked down at the credit card she gave him. His eyes widened when he read the Master of the City's name. Well it looks like she's certainly changed. I wonder why she hasn't said anything to me, it certainly not like her to pass up a chance to beat the bloody hell out of me.
"Are you through? I really need to be going."
"Oh, I'm sorry miss. I didn't catch your name."
"I didn't throw it."
She studied him closely, something about him seemed strange. She wasn't sure what it was though.
"Buffy, Buffy Summers and you are."
"Let me run this through, and I'll bring you backs my card, in case you ever want to make another purchase."
Buffy nodded, her eyes straying back to her purchase. It felt like it belonged to her, created to fit her hand. She couldn't wait to show Jean, maybe he could help her play. The storeowner brought back the receipt for her to sign and handed her his card. He noticed the fresh mark on her neck. Buffy handed him the receipt, then waved as she walked out of the shop with her prize.
He walked to the front of the shop watching her leave with her friend, a leopard if he were guessing. He looked her over, stopping as his eyes flew back to Buffy. There on the base of her spine were the Osiris and Hecate's marks of ownership.
Buffy looked down at the card. Ethan Properties, Antiques and Otherworldly goods.
"Huh, I didn't see anything that otherworldly, did you Cherry?"
"I'm not sure what it is - let alone what it would look like; this world is strange enough for me."
"Well, we better book. Jean's up, and wants to see the goodies we got on his plastic."
Buffy's head was leaning to the side as if she was listening to something or someone. A beautiful smile graced her lips when she turned her focus back to her audience.
"It's too early, Buffy. Are you sure? How can you tell?"
Cherry looked at her Nimir-Ra in wonder, and no small amount of confusion.
"I can feel him, sense him, and.."
Buffy ducked behind a car as they walked toward the limo. She moved quietly behind another car, coming up behind a blonde haired man, looking the other way. Buffy silently placed her new purchase, a beautiful Toledo sword, at his neck.
"Why are you following me?"
"Uh, ma'am, I don't know who you are, since you're behind me. My name's Ted Forrester; I'm just doing some shopping. Not rightly, sure, what you're talking about, ma'am. Can I turn around, now?"
Edward gave his alias, pulling out his best country boy routine. He held his hands up, showing he meant no harm and didn't have a weapon.
"Sure, Teddy, turn around, so I can watch your mouth as the bullshit slides off your tongue." Buffy duplicated Spike's smirk at his snarkiest.
Edward turned around, taking a good look at the Master of the City's new squeeze. She isn't a vamp but she is something, not to mention, damned beautiful. How, the hell, did she sneak up on me. I'll have to ask her before I kill her.
"If you're through with your inner monologue, I'd appreciate some honest answers - out loud would be nice."
Buffy held the blade steadily over his carotid artery. Her tone left no doubt that she wanted answers, and she wanted them now. She wasn't sure why, but this felt familiar, comfortable to her, as if it were an every day occurrence.
"Like I told you, ma'am," Edward started into his Ted Forrester routine once again.
Buffy shallowly nicked his neck with the blade's point.
"What, the hell, did you do that for?" His voice deepened, as a harder edge slipped through, showing a touch of Edward.
"You're not paying attention. I said no more B.S. Who are you, and why have you been following me all day? I saw you, you know. If you're trying to do this for a living, you might want to try something else, because you aren't very good at it. Aren't you supposed to, you know, scope out the target without being seen?"
She watched his face change from the smiling friendly hayseed to stone cold killer. His bright blue eyes suddenly went cold, hard, and dead, as they stared back at her.
"Ooh, am I supposed to be scared now? Try this on for size Deputy Do-rite."
Buffy pulled on the dominant fighter source inside her. Her bright green eyes turned feral as her relaxed stance changed to a battle ready one, causing the muscles to ripple under her skin.
Edward realized that he had underestimated his target. For the first time in as long as he could remember, he felt fear tickle his spine.
"What, the hell, are you?"
"I'm female and pissed, not a good combination for any man, but especially not you. Now, Teddy Bear, we're going to the Circus. I'm sure my mate will know who you are, and who you're working for. The big question here is do you go willingly, or do I kick your ass first, and then we take you anyways."
Her eyebrow rose, leaving the questions hanging in the air between them.
Edward knew he didn't have a choice, but to go willingly, when the leopard and the behemoth driver stepped up behind him. At least he could confirm who the Master of the City was before he took him out.
"I don't think Teddy here wants to cause any problems, Jack, but just in case - hold this on him."
She handed Jack the sword. Buffy walked around Edward, looking him over, before systematically removing his weapons. She even found the one hidden in his boot heel and the other one lining his hat.
Her thoroughness impressed Edward. Damn, if she weren't shacked up with some vamp, I'd date her.
"You aren't my type, Teddy. I like vamps," Buffy called over her shoulder as she walked to the car.
"Does she read minds or something?" He asked Jack, who was escorting him to the limo.
"No, you were talking out loud. She does have a way of knocking you off balance. Within ten minutes, she knew my whole life story. I've worked for Jean-Claude for years and he doesn't know half of what she found out from me."
Jack smiled at the remembered conversation. It faded away as he pushed Ted into the front seat.
"Don't trust me in the back with the Master's girlfriend? Afraid I might steal her." Edward taunted, trying to make the driver lose his cool, looking for any opportunity to escape.
"Nope, just didn't think you deserved any more trouble than the shit load you are in now. Oh, yeah, she's his mate. If you don't know the difference you're in the wrong business."
Jack didn't say another word as he drove them back to the Circus.
Cherry jumped from the car and ran inside to get the Jean-Claude. Rushing around the corner, she ran straight into Damian.
"I'm sorry, Damian. Damian, what are you doing up so early? Where's Jean-Claude? We caught someone following Buffy. She's bringing him into the office."
"Calm down, little cat. Jean-Claude awoke an hour ago, and I have only just risen. He's awaiting his mate in the bedroom, and has been very upset ever since he rose. We'll settle this matter soon, don't worry, little one."
"Why do you always call me that? I'm taller than several men are in my pard. Just because you're a giant doesn't make me little," Cherry asked, confusion marring her brow.
Damian did something totally out of character. Leaning down, he kissed Cherry, who looked at him in shock.
He explained, after reluctantly pulling away from her soft lips, "You're little to me. I've wanted to do that for sometime, but your Nimir-Raj wasn't amenable to my feelings for you. Now, that Buffy's your Nimir-Ra, I hope you'll be open to my overtures."
"But I, you, really? Why does Buffy being in charge make a difference?"
Cherry tried to make sense of what she just learned.
Jean-Claude paced the bedroom while Jason and Nathaniel watched him from the bed.
"Is she okay Jean-Claude. No one would hurt her, would they? Can they even hurt her?" Nathaniel looked up at the Master of the City with scared lavender eyes. All he knew was that he didn't want to go back to his life the way it was before Buffy came. He liked feeling safe, and even loved.
Just as he was about to answer, Jean-Claude went still then sighed, "She's here."
The two Weres practically bounced with glee. In her distraction, Cherry didn't make it to the Master's bedroom. A very happy vampire met Buffy, when she pushed open the door.
, you were gone so long. I felt something was wrong. Are you well?"
Jean-Claude's hands roamed her face, moving quickly down her body, searching for injuries.
"I'm fine Jean; I just picked up a little extra something on my way home."
"Buffy, my love, money isn't a problem. You may spend what you wish."
His smooth brow wrinkled in confusion at her cryptic response.
"I'll remember that for next time. Although, I think, I put a good dent in you wallet today. No, honey, it wasn't that type something. It's waiting in your office and I need your help with it. Come on."
Buffy pulled on his hands, dragging him down the hall to the office.
Cherry explained what happened during their shopping trip to Damian. That was of course, after she caught her breath and could think straight again. They waited outside the office, for Jean-Claude and Buffy to arrive.
Buffy noticed Cherry swollen lips, and the heat in Damien's eyes. She stepped close to him, saying in a low whisper. "If you're good to her and she wants this, then I'm happy for you. But...if you hurt her in any way, I'll make you sorry."
Her voice never rose, the pitch didn't change, Buffy didn't growl or change the expression on her face. The power blast hit Damian like a well-placed punch letting him know she meant what she said. Her power rushed toward him, and Damian had to lock his knees to keep from falling. Buffy gave him a beautiful smile. He bowed his head, accepting her terms.
"Okay, now let's see what's behind door number two. Jean, I hope you can tell me who this is."
She pushed open the door. Jean-Claude's eyes widened, then narrowed when he saw Anita's friend, Edward, better known as Death. Edward sat quietly in a chair with a bored look on his face. Jean-Claude flew across the room in a blur.
Edward tried to move out of the way, but wasn't fast enough. He felt something he wasn't sure he had ever felt before – fear. He had always maintained control, kept the power firmly in his hands, but not today. This job wasn't going according to plan. First, the target was nothing he' ever come across before. And, now Jean-Claude's famous control was gone, and there was a world of anger aimed at him. Edward had faced many angry vampires in his life, but they paled in comparison to the blue flames that were trying to scorch his very soul.
"Baby, I think he'll need his throat to tell us who hired him," Buffy's said softly from behind Jean-Claude.
Edward never saw her move, granted his focus was elsewhere. Still, this lady spooked him. He was definitely going to have to kill her.
"What're you doing here, Edward?" Jean-Claude snarled, trying to capture the other man eyes to enthrall him. Edward refused to meet his stare.
"He followed us all day at the mall. He isn't very good at it either. I felt him from the start. If he's a professional, is he new at it?" Buffy asked innocently, head tilted to the side as she peered up at Jean-Claude.
Edward couldn't keep the anger and resentment from his eyes at Buffy remarks. He hid it quickly behind his bored "Death" stare, but not before Jean-Claude saw it.
Damian gave a soft bark of laughter from behind Buffy. He, too, saw how her words affected the famous assassin. She was as entertaining as she was powerful. He enjoyed hearing her view on their world. Damian was grateful Buffy controlled the pard. Now, Cherry was safe, and he had an opportunity to show his feeling openly. Yes, Jean-Claude's gift is a gift to all of us.
"So, it's Eddie, not Teddy, you're a naughty boy."
Buffy grinned at the blonde man. She felt completely comfortable quipping with someone who tried to kill her. She didn't know why, but went with her instincts.
"Who sent you on this errand?"
Buffy's voice sounded sweet but, anyone looking in her eyes would see the predatory gleam that had entered the brilliant green orbs.
"I don't know what you're talking about, lady." Edward tried to bluff, except he didn't think it would work this time.
"Edward, don't lie to my mate. It doesn't make me happy."
Jean-Claude went to grab his throat again. Buffy stopped him, murmuring to him in French. She moved forward, straddling Edward's hips as Jean-Claude fought down a growl. Edward squeezed back in the chair, growing hard beneath her warm body. He'd never responded to a woman so uncontrollably before. Buffy grabbed his head, forcing him to look into her eyes. Edward tried to look away, but found he couldn't.
"Why would you want to hurt little ole me? I haven't done anything to you or anyone else. Hell, I haven't been here long enough to piss anyone off, yet."
Buffy's husky voice vibrated throughout the room. It wrapped around the men, affecting them in different ways. Jean-Claude's body remembered her touch of only hours ago. Edward's responded to the closeness of her body and that husky voice. Damian watched fascinated as she reeled in the famous "Death" before snapping her trap shut. Buffy held them all enthralled without even realizing it.
"Now, you want to tell me don't you, Eddy. Who wants to hurt me?" She leaned forward, murmuring in his ear as her fingers rubbed across his cheekbones.
Translations:mon petit doré l'un
- my small golden onemon petit cadeau
- my little giftma tendre aimée
- my dear loveSombre idiot
- you idiotmon sombre amour
- my dark loverMontre-moi ton amour
- show me your lovemon amore, jet atim ami
- My love, I love youMa petite dorée
- my little golden onebien-aimé
- Holy bluechére
- dearMon Dieu
- My God