FIC: Pulp Faith (2/?)
“’Kay.” Forcing back her growing panic, Faith grabbed a hold of Xander’s shoulder, pulled him up then dragged him deeper into the alley’s shadows before spinning him around to face her. “This can’t be right, right?” Faith choked down a near-hysterical laugh. “1937?”
Xander’s face tightened. “Look around Faith, it’s not our New York anymore.”
“But that’s impossible!”
“And so are vampires, werewolves, and witches,” Xander rejoined. “That asshole claimed to be the god of time, and based on the evidence I believe him. Someone with more than enough juice to send us over seventy years in the past.”
“Shit, how do we get back?” Faith slumped against the wall, her hands stuffed into her pockets as she struggled to comprehend just what had happened.
“Time travel isn’t my area of expertise.” Xander grimaced. “I don’t know if we can get back.”
That hit home like a body blow, driving the air from her. Life in the future wasn’t all flying cars and Jetsons, but she had her buds, her life, and her purpose. To just disappear, to never return, scared her more than she’d willingly admit. “’Kay, then how are we gonna play this?” Faith’s eyes narrowed when Xander smiled as he reached into his jacket and pulled a gold chain over his head. “You figurin’ on pawnin’ that?”
“No,” Xander passed her the chain, “see that ring?”
Faith peered at the gold signet ring dangling from the chain, a ‘W’ sitting inside a ‘C’ adorning the ring’s surface. “What is that?”
“Ever since the first banks and money-houses, the Watchers’ Council has developed a global network of accounts and deposit boxes containing funds for their Watchers to use if they are cut off from the Council and need funds.”
Faith’s forehead furrowed. “I’ve never heard that before.”
Xander flushed and rubbed self-consciously at his eye-patch “Only Watchers and senior Watchers at that know about it.” Xander raised a hand when Faith’s eyes darkened. “Don’t shoot the messenger, I told Giles that every senior Slayer should know too, but he complained about re-designing the system, increased possibility of leaks, and etc.”
Xander grinned. “I stopped listening at that point.”
“So what happens, you go into a bank, show them that ring and they give you money?” Faith’s nose wrinkled as a worrying thought occurred. “Jesus, Xan. What happens if they contact the Council? They were real pricks in the nineties, I doubt they were much better a few decades earlier.”
“Probably worse,” Xander conceded. “But you’re forgetting this isn’t the 1990s. Even if they do contact the Council, it will take them days to get here. We’ll have plenty of time to clear them out and get outta town.”
“Cool,” Faith nodded. Her eyes narrowed. “Wait, how much money does the Council have in its New York accounts?”
“There’s three banks in New York, each with a safety deposit box with ten thousand bucks in it, set up at the turn of the century,” Xander replied. “There’s also two banks in California, one in Chicago, and one in Dallas.”
“Thirty k?” Faith’s nose wrinkled. That didn’t sound like much. “How long will that last us?”
“It should last a few years,” Xander soothed.
Faith shook her head as she looked out into the alley, revulsion filling her at the fashions she saw hurrying past the alley entrance. “Dude, no way in hell we’re stayin’ here for a few years. We have gotta find a way home, stat!”
“Hey, are you the Long-Terms Deposit officer?”
“Why yes I-.” Barry Bockwinkel’s practiced smile faltered as he looked up from his desk at the New York National Bank to find a quite extraordinary couple stood before him. The man was tall and well-built, with wavy black hair and an easy smile that was belied by the air of menace added via his eye-patch, his tan was that of a traveller to exotic climes. However, it was his companion that really caught the eye, a mind-bogglingly beautiful brunette whose curves were gripped in a pair of scandalously tight black leather pants and a matching waistcoat over a silken white blouse with the top two buttons undone.
Barry forced his amazement under control and returned to the job in hand. “Why yes I am.” He forced his attention to the one-eyed man. “How may I help you sir?”
His amazement grew when the dangerous-looking stranger dropped a ring on a chain onto his desk. “I need the contents of the box that ring opens.”
Barry looked at the ring, then the stranger, then his beautiful and daringly-attired companion. “Yes sir, if you’ll come this way sir.” He scooped up the chain, rose and led the couple into the bank’s rear. Passing the two security guards at the rear, Barry quickly unlocked the deposit room’s door and led the pair into a room lined with shelves upon shelves of shining deposit boxes. His skin prickling from the pair of oddballs behind him, he hurriedly unlocked the relevant deposit box and pulled it out. “Huh,” he turned back to the waiting pair, his eyes resolutely ignoring the dark-eyed beauty, “I forgot to ask, I need your name for paperwork.”
“Oh yeah,” the young man’s replying smirk could only be described as ‘evil’, “put the name of ‘Quentin Travers’ on any paperwork.”
“Yes sir.” Bockwinkel nodded. As far as he was concerned he wanted this meeting to be over as soon as possible.
Faith elbowed Xander in his side as the bank clerk bent over his desk and filled out some paperwork. “Whose this Travers dude?”
Her companion shot her a confused look then nodded. “Oh yeah, you probably wasn’t around then, Travers was the head of the Council in the nineties, a real bastard. Some old Council family will probably end up scratching their head wondering how in the hell their little angel managed to empty a bank account thousands of miles away.”
Faith laughed throatily. “Tweaking those old fossils’ noses. I like it, Harris.”
“Glad ma’am approves.” Xander looked towards the strangely twitchy clerk. “Thanks for your assistance, sir.”
“A…a pleasure sir,” the man’s eyes fair bulged when Xander casually passed him a crisp twenty dollar bill before slipping the rest of bill bundles into the rucksack he always carried around with him for his Slaying equipment.
Faith dropped in beside Xander, sauntering out of the bank’s rear and past the windowed teller stations, into its marble-floored reception area., palm trees lining either wall.
“Oh you have go to be kiddin’ me!” Faith groaned as a quartet of Tommy-gun wielding thugs wearing suits crashed through the bank’s entrance.
“Everyone hit the floor!” the group’s leader, a swarthy fireplug with tree trunks for limbs and piggy eyes fired up into the bank’s ceiling as he climbed up on the desk stood central to the reception area. “We’re here for money and we intend to take it!”
Faith glanced to Xander only to see her Watcher getting on his knees, a forced smile written across his face. “One thing I learnt in Africa is always obey the nice men with guns. Wait until there’s an opportunity.”
“Five by five,” Faith grimaced as she joined Xander on the floor, eyes burning through the nearest of men.
Who unfortunately noticed her and started towards her, thick lips parted in a cruel smirk. “So the dame thinks dressing like a man makes her a man does she?”
Xander groaned as the man started towards them. He shot Faith an accusing look even as he readied himself to explode into action.
“The Shadow knows the evil that lurks in men’s hearts!”
Xander gasped as a tall, lean man wearing a wide-brimmed black fedora, matching trenchcoat, and a crimson silken scarf covering his face from his nose down, materialised brandishing a pair of .45 automatics. “Unbelievable,” he muttered. Shaking off his shock, he noted that all four of the gunmen had been distracted by the newcomer’s sudden appearance, turned and nodded at Faith. “Now.”
“Don’t need to tell me twice,” Faith snarled, a cold smile tugging on her curved lips as she leapt up behind the nearest gunman, reached around, grabbed his tommy-gun by its barrel, and tore his sub-machine gun out of his hands while simultaneously driving her knee into the man’s lower back, and finishing him off with the machine gun’s butt to his forehead.
For his part Xander didn’t bother rising, simply lunging forward on the polished floor, sliding on his belly to the table with hands outstretched. The moment his fingers reached the table legs he grabbed a hold and pulled, sending the gunman stood on the table crashing to the ground, then flipping the table on top of him.
“Come on,” Xander pulled himself up on the downed table then grabbed Faith by the elbow and started guiding her to the bank’s entrance, the interloper having already dealt with the other pair of thugs, “let’s get here before the police turn up.”
“I hear that,” Faith muttered, her distaste and distrust for the police dating back long before she’d ever been in prison.
The moment they were out on the busy sidewalk, Xander hailed a cab. “We best collect the rest of our money.” Xander shook his head. “I can’t believe we saw him, one of the first.”
“One of the first what?” Faith shot Xander a puzzled look as he climbed into the car beside her.
Xander made sure the taxi’s partition was closed before turning to her. “Don’t you remember from your American History? That guy had to be the Shadow, one of the first super-heroes-.”
“Dude,” Faith shook her head and snorted, “I got my G.E.D. in prison, for some reason they’re none too hot on teaching super-heroes to inmates.”
“Oh right,” Xander flushed. “Of course. Well in the early 1930s, perhaps in a reaction to the Great Depression and a general lack of hope in the country, there came the first generation of superheroes – guys like the Phantom, the Green Hornet, the Spirit, Doc Savage, and of course the Shadow. Then of course there came the war generation – the Human Torch, Citizen V, the Sub-Mariner, Bucky Barnes, and of course Captain America.”
“Rrrright.” Faith pursed her lips. She’d grown up on stories on what was probably considered the fourth generation of super-heroes – dudes like the Fantastic Four, Spiderman, and Daredevil, but she’d never been overly impressed with them. After all they’d never helped her or a thousand abused kids like her.
Shaking her head, she returned to concentrating on the matter in hand. “So what’s the plan for the rest of the day?”
“First we clean out the other two banks and then we find ourselves a hotel to stay in.”
“What’s the plan for getting us back to our time?” Faith looked around their elaborately furnished hotel room. “I mean this place is choice, but I don’t intend to spend the next fifty years waiting to catch up on myself.”
“You remember being told about Darth Willow?”
“Sure,” Faith shrugged. The idea of an ‘evil’ Willow was frankly weird to her, about the worst thing she could ever imagine the witch doing was keeping her library books overdue, but the fact was something had changed the witch during the time Faith had been imprisoned.
“Afterwards I asked Giles if I was his only plan. That there had to be another way of dealing with Willow, somebody more powerful in magics than she was.”
“He just smiled and said there’s always the Sorcerer Supreme.”
Someone more powerful than Willow, that sort of power might have the juice to pull off a time travelling spell. There was just one problem. “Anyone Giles was talkin’ ‘bout then will only be a kid now.”
“No,” Xander shook his head. “The way Giles said it, it sounded like ‘Sorcerer Supreme’ was a title passed from person to person.”
Faith pouted thoughtfully. “And how do we find who or where he is?”
Xander winced. “No idea.”
“Well how in the he-.” Faith was interrupted by a knock at the door. Shaking her head, Faith strode over to the door and opened it to find the black bell-hop stood by the door, wide eyes stuck on his shoes. “Can I help you?”
“Invitation for you ma’am.” The black passed them a white card with embossed, golden writing on it.
“Yeah, thanks.” Faith passed the bell-hop a buck before closing the door behind him and turning to Xander. “You figure the Council knows we’re here already?”
“They can’t.” Xander shook his head as he took the invitation from her. “Lamont Cranston requests our presence at a party he’s throwing tomorrow night.”
“Who the hell is he?”
“No idea,” Xander shook his head. “And the only way we find out how he knows us is by accepting the invitation.”