Jesse and Steve
Dr. Mark Sloan
Louis and Sammo
word wount: 4930
“Is the tranq gun really necessary?” Willow asked as she and Cordelia followed him through the maze of alleys that this part of LA seemed to be made of.
“It was Cordy's idea.” He murmured, tilting his head and listening.
“And it’s a good idea. You might be faster and stronger than us; maybe you're almost as strong as Buffy. But I for one don't want to tangle with a pissed off Slayer.”
Willow was quiet for a moment, checking to make sure she had loaded the gun properly. “Good point...just as long as she knows it wasn't my idea.”
“Something's going on up ahead.”
“What kind of something?”
“Is it a Buffy kind of something?”
“Her scent is faint but she's been here.” He frowned. “It’s a fight kind of something. Let's go.”
They followed him as close as they could, though they hung back when they saw the thugs that had surrounded a lone figure. A lone figure who was male and certainly not Buffy, yet he looked like he was doing pretty well, considering he was out numbered. Up until they started to pull the knives out.
The girls looked at him, and Willow grimaced. “They're human aren't they?”
“How fast can you reload and will it hurt them?”
“Pretty fast. I've been practicing, and considering I'm loaded for Slayer they should be okay...what with them all being really big guys. I packed darts that would make her dizzy, not knock her out.”
“Good, stay back here then...try not to shoot me.”
And he joined the fray.
The guy at the center of the circle saw him, but made no contact, Xander wasn't sure whether the guy would want the help or not. Too bad. He grabbed the first man, wedgie style and tossed him behind him. There was a click and a pained gasp. Go Willow.
Since his element of surprise was gone he had to move fast...though he felt kind of like a klutz floundering in jello compared to the guy he was trying to rescue. Whoever he was, he'd been using some form of martial arts for frickin' years. When they ended up back to back Xander laughed.
“Name's Alex. You?”
“Nice to meet you.” And they whirled, switching bad guys, though he tossed a few more towards the girls, the comforting click of the tranq gun sounding after a pained yelp...which was possibly a kick to the balls as someone tried to get grabby with Cordelia.
“You make it a habit of saving people?”
“Only when they're crazy outnumbered.”
The last thug got lucky, and Louis ended up with a blade in his arm. Xander promptly knocked the guy out and then took off his belt using it as a tourniquet above the wound. “Thanks kid.”
“No problem. Don't suppose you have a hankie or something so I can get the bleeding stopped?”
“Nope.” Louis replied through gritted teeth.
“Okay then.” Xander took off his t-shirt, thankful for the under shirt he wore underneath it and started tearing it into pieces. Sirens sounded in the distance, and they were coming in fast.
Louis managed to chuckle. “Now my back up gets here.”
Xander froze. “You're a cop?” He spoke extra loud, and flicked his gaze to the girls who gaped at him before scurrying into the shadows. The last thing they needed was to get caught walking around with a weapon in public.
“Yeah. Want to tell me about your friends, the ones with the gun?”
“Come on kid, I saw those girls.”
“I know not of what you speak.”
“Right. You'll have to thank them for me.”
“I know not of what you speak.”
Louis rolled his eyes just as the squad cars and an unmarked car entered the alley. The first cop to exit was a shorter man...Asian was all Xander could tell...though he didn't look Japanese. He didn't let it distract him as he carefully pulled the knife out of Louis' arm.
“Shouldn't you leave it in?”
“This is not my first time playing nurse.” Hurriedly he pressed the pad he'd made of his ripped up shirt over the wound before winding it tightly with the rest that he'd torn into strips. “This will keep you together until you get to a hospital.”
“You are hurt.”
“Just a scratch buddy.”
Xander shook his head. “More like a ginormous gash that's gonna need stitches and some disinfectant.”
“You helped him?”
“Helped me? The kid saved me. Never seen a civilian fight like that.”
“What can I say? Self defense has saved my bacon a time or two.”
Another cop came up to them, this one tall, like taller than Giles. His square face held a serious expression, even as his wavy brown hair did soften the effect some. “Don't suppose one of you can tell me how several of your attackers ended up with tranquilizer darts in them.”
Louis gave Xander a look. “Kid wasn't alone. Two girls were with him. Couldn't see much of them, too dark.”
All eyes focused on Xander. “I know not of what you speak?”
“Nice try kid.” The tall cop smiled. “Come on, we're going to Community General...all of us.”
“Well monkey poop.”
At the hospital Louis was rushed into a surgery suite where a Doctor Jesse Travis...who didn't look old enough to be a doctor began taking care of the guy's arm. Detective Sammo Law staid nearby, practically hovering over his partner as the doctor stitched him up.
Xander smiled a bit at the scene...even as he sighed in long sufferance as Doctor Mark Sloan, father to the freakishly tall Detective Steve Sloan, continued to check him over. Steve watched the proceedings with an inquisitive look and tried to continue his questions.
“What were you doing in that alley Alex...?”
Detective Sloan wrote the name in his notebook. “So, Alex LaVelle. What were you--”
Dr. Sloan rolled his eyes. “Steve, please. I'm trying to examine a patient.”
“What he said...also I'm a minor so isn't kinda illegal for you to question me?”
“How old are you?”
“Damn. You're right. I don't like questioning kids anyway. Don't suppose your parents would be in town?”
“Fine, Alex. You saved Louis, and we're thankful for that. We just want to know why you were there.”
Dr. Sloan put away his blood pressure cuff, and looked at him expectantly; the kindly grandpa face was his undoing. “I was looking...for a friend.” He sighed. “She ran away after a fight with her mom. Everyone back home is worried about her.”
Dr. Sloan gave his shoulder a pat. “Where is home Alex?”
Steve nodded. “That's not far from LA.”
“Which is why I'm looking for her here.”
Detective Sammo knocked on the door frame. “Where did you learn to fight? Louis said you were very good.”
Steve winced. “Uh...Sammo. Technically we can't question him. He's underage.”
“It’s just a question. It doesn't have anything to do with our case. So, where did you learn?”
“Well, after I watched a friend get killed when he got caught up in the crossfire of two rival gangs I thought it would increase my own chance of survival if I could defend myself.” He paused. “Also my dad finally stopped beating the crap out of me when I learned to hit back. He hasn't touched me or Mom since.”
All three men stared at him. Detective Sammo nodded in acceptance. “The friend you are looking for, what's her name?”
“What does she look like?”
“About yay tall, blonde, green eyes. Itty bitty cheerleader type.”
Dr. Sloan blinked in surprise. “No wonder you're worried about her.”
Xander just shrugged and looked sheepish. Steve snorted and motioned for Sammo and Mark to follow him back into the hallway. Mark gave his son a confused look. “There's something off about his story.”
Sammo glanced toward the room. “I agree. He is not telling us everything; Louis said he had friends with him who hid in the shadows. Two girls, one with a dart gun.”
Steve sighed. “Yeah, that part irks me and doesn't fit his story, but he's not involved in our case. The guys we busted that are still conscious swear they've never seen him before. Now the only question is, what do we do with him?”
Mark blinked. “What?”
“He's a minor Dad. I can't just release him, especially since he still has friends out there that are armed with a dart gun.”
“At least it isn't a deadly weapon...You aren't going to take him to Child Services are you?”
“No, they're overcrowded and he's a little too old.”
Sammo looked confused. “Then where?”
“I don't like it...but Juvie.”
“Oh no, Steve. You can't do that.”
Sammo nodded. “He saved Louis.”
“I know...but there are rules.”
“You can take custody of him right? Until a guardian can be reached...or I can?”
“Just for the night?”
“Or I could watch him.” Sammo offered.
Steve buckled. “Alright, fine. You two can fight it out.” He led them back toward the examination room...it was empty.
Sammo made the understatement of the night. “Uh oh.”
Steve sighed. “You said it Sammo.”
Xander shifted from foot to foot as he waited for the call to go through...and prayed that no one noticed him at the payphone. He'd practically just escaped police custody...a new experience for him. “Come on Cordy.”
There was a click. “Hello?”
He grinned. “Hey there gorgeous, how's about you helpin' a guy out.”
“Xander where are you? How'd you get away from the police?”
“Snuck out when they were trying to decide what to do with me. They seem like decent guys...just cleverer than the cops we're used to.”
“They didn't want to take me to juvie...were even gonna take me in themselves.”
“You're right, they do sound decent...LA is so weird.”
“Tell me about it. So I saved them the trouble of deciding.”
“So where are you?”
“Can you find Community General Hospital?”
“Hang on.” There was some murmuring he couldn't quite make out...and then she was back. “Willow says yes.”
“Cool, there's a McDonalds close to it. Look for those golden arches Queen C, that's where I'll be.”
“Okay, see you soon.”
Sammo and Steve stared in surprise; their most recent escapee was sitting inside McDonalds with two girls. They continued to stare as the worker at the window gave them their food and wished them a good night. Sammo drove around the building carefully and parked his car.
Alex and his friends exited the burger joint and headed to a flashy red sports car. Both men ducked down when the boy paused and looked around the parking lot...and sniffed? Then the three teens got in the car, the brunette girl got behind the wheel, and the redhead got in the back, leaving Alex riding shotgun.
“Will ya look at that?” Steve murmured, not quite believing their luck.
Sammo nodded. “It is a good thing we were hungry...are we going to follow them?”
“Good. I want to thank the girls as well.”
“So are you sure you can find Marshal?” Cordelia asked him, skepticism coloring her voice.
“Yes. Turn here.”
“I can't...it’s a one way street...also there's a blue caddy convertible following us.”
Willow glanced out the back window. “How do you know it’s a Cadillac?”
“Cordy knows her cars...there!”
“That bar, Caritas.”
Cordelia parked the car; the blue Cadillac parked a ways behind them. Willow looked at the sign. “Why here?”
“Look.” He pointed and they saw Marshal sitting at the top of some steps that led down to the bar's entrance. He got out of the car and they followed him.
As they got closer, Willow stood straighter. “I feel magic.”
He nodded in agreement. “Yeah.”
“I don't feel anything...we going in?”
“Yeah. Hey Marshal, any luck?”
Yep. I know where she's staying...also you remember that cult of vampire worshipers? They nodded. A girl that was a part of the cult is in LA. She recognized Buffy...and Buffy is helping her find her boyfriend.
Xander smiled, even after running away Buffy was still helping people. “He went missing.”
“Bummer.” Willow whispered.
Cordelia raised a hand. “So you're at a bar why?”
It’s a sanctuary. I mean come on people; there are things in this city that eat cats! The owner is cool and has been letting me stay here.
“Guess I should thank him.”
Er...there's a no violence policy...and everyone is welcome. Everything is welcome.
“Hence the sanctuary bit, I get it. No fighting and all are welcome. Cool.”
Marshal rolled his eyes and led them down into the...demon bar. Steve and Sammo waited until they were out of sight before they followed the teens...and the cat.
Passing through security was interesting. They had to leave their various weapons and holy water at the entrance. The demon that gave them their receipt was sort of wide-eyed and quivering by the time he had all their weapons.
“Whoa.” Cordelia and Willow stared out at the room filled with demons, demons in every shape and color.
Willow gulped. “I've only ever seen this many demons in one place...and that was in Giles' books.”
Xander snorted and shrugged. “I'll admit it’s a little more varied than Willie's back home, classier too. I bet the pretzels aren't even stale at this place.”
Marshal laughed a bit and settled on the nearest table. Lorne! A green demon in a bright blue suit waved at the cat, though his eyes didn't leave another demon that was currently singing karaoke on the stage.
Cordelia sat at the table. “This is bizarre.”
Willow joined her, her knees being a bit weak. “Xander...his aura...it’s pretty.”
He nodded. The demon Lorne did have some interesting colors swarming about him. He blinked and shook the sight away. “He's got some sort of psychic gift, Kuwabara and his sister look like that sometimes...don't look too long Wills.”
She blinked and nodded. “Right.”
Lorne's an empath. He reads auras and destinies when people...or demons sing.
Xander blinked and smiled. “That is way more advanced than us, since all we can do is comment on the pretty colors.”
“Or the shiny.” Willow added helpfully.
“You two are weird.”
Marshal growled a bit. Sit down already.
Xander shot him a look. “Easy Marshal. I was just waiting for the detectives to join us.” Willow and Cordelia looked toward the entrance where the two men were handing over their guns. Steve did not look happy...and he looked sort of shell shocked. Sammo however seemed at ease...now that was interesting.
When they joined them...Sammo was still looking quite at home, and Steve was taking everything in...just a little wild eyed. Xander sat down with a smirk. “Detectives.”
Steve seemed to snap back to himself. “You're underage.”
“We're not here for drinks. The green guy over there has been taking care of my cat. Just wanted to thank him.”
Steve gave him a skeptical look. “What is all this? A costume is mandatory bar?”
Sammo just grinned. “It is a demon bar. We have some like this in Shanghai. This is a quality place.”
Xander grinned back. “I kinda like the no violence rule myself.”
Steve looked back and forth between them. “Demon bar?”
Cordelia let her chin rest on her hand with a groan. “Great, a virgin.”
Willow elbowed her, with a blush. “Cordelia!” She gave Steve an apologetic smile. “She just meant you weren't in the...know...about demons and the supernatural...or preternatural beings...and that they're sorta...real.”
“Right...well...my dad and a friend took out what they claimed was a vampire once.”
Xander blinked. “The doc? Really? Did it turn to dust? Cause when you stake a vamp through the heart they go poof.”
“No...there was a body...they said she could fly though.”
“A flying vampire?” Willow and Cordelia shared a look. “That's kinda corny.”
“You guys are forgetting that The Master and Drusilla had powers...and The Anointed One could call lesser vamps to him just because he existed.” They blinked, and then shuddered.
Cordelia nodded. “Right. Thank your dad for us. The last thing we want to face is a vamp that can fly.”
“Not to interrupt you...but how do you kids know about demons?” Sammo asked.
Cordelia shrugged. “We're from the Hellmouth.”
Willow nodded. “Our home town was built on top of a portal to a hell dimension...basically the mouth of hell. And it’s pretty much demon central.”
Xander smirked. “And our school library is right above it. It opened a little once.”
“And a squiggly tentacle demon nearly dragged me into it.” Willow nodded sagely.
“That night was horrible with all the vampires and the screaming.” Cordelia shuddered. “Too bad we can't get drinks...I think I need one.”
“So there are demons at your school?” Steve asked.
“More often than we'd like, but not all of them are bad. The neutrals are pretty cool.”
Lorne joined them then and addressed Marshal. “Who're your friends, kitten?”
Marshal flicked his tail and pointed at them as he introduced them. This is Xander, Cordelia, and Willow. I don't know the cops. They followed Xander here.
Steve stared opened mouthed at Marshal...Sammo seemed to just be curious. Xander gave Lorne his best smile. “Nice to meet you. Lorne right?” He held out his hand to shake...and Lorne blinked in surprise when he saw the ring.
“My my. It’s an honor to meet you Your Majesty.” He gently took Xander's hand, turned it, and kissed the ring.
Xander blinked...that had never happened before. “Uh...thanks. And thanks for taking care of Marshal for me...”
Lorne winked. “Not used to the royal treatment huh kiddo?”
He shook his head. “Nope. Except that big brother decreed that I was not on the menu back home.”
Steve focused on him again. “So you're royalty? Xander? Guess your name is really Alexander then.”
“Call me Xander...and technically. Yusuke, my brother, gave up his kingdom in the Makai to avoid war with the two other countries. Now Makai only has one ruler. But some habits are hard to break...so technically I'm a Prince.”
Lorne gasped as he sat down. “My stars. King Urameshi's little brother in my humble abode; a real descendant of the late King Raizen. How about a round of non-alcoholic drinks on the house?”
Willow and Cordelia gave him hopeful looks but Xander shook his head and gave Lorne an apologetic smile. “Rain check? We just came to thank you. We're in a bit of a hurry.”
“You're looking for your friend, the Slayer, right?”
Xander, Cordelia and Willow all glared at Marshal, whose ears drooped a bit. What? Lorne's a neutral.
“What's a slayer?” Steve asked.
Sammo put his hand on Steve's arm and shook his head. “Tell you later.”
Xander sighed and gave Marshal a pat. “My Spirit Beast has a big mouth...but yeah. We need to find her.”
Lorne nodded. “How about I give you a quick reading before you go?”
He smiled and shook his head. “No thanks. I don't want to make your brain explode.”
“Sugar, never happen.”
Xander stood and leaned forward to whisper in Lorne's ear. “The Fates have already labeled me a Prophecy Breaker...and they don't like me. I don't want a forecast.” He leaned back and spoke louder. “I have enough on my plate right now.”
Lorne took his hand and kissed the ring again. “Okay kiddo. But next time you're in town stop by for that rain check.”
Xander nodded and led his group out, and he tried not to snicker at Steve and Sammo's exchange.
“Those horns were real?”
Lorne watched the group leave, still a little breathless; who knew real royalty could be so pretty! Those big gorgeous brown eyes--
He turned to one of his patrons. “Yes sugar?”
“Who was that kid?”
“A Makai Prince.”
The demon snorted and a little bit of blue smoke slithered from his ears. “Looked human to me.”
Lorne grinned. “Hempy, he wore Raizen's crest. That my friend, was Yusuke Urameshi's little brother.”
Hempy stared, slack jawed. “Wow...he was a pretty one wasn't he?”
They all stared at the pool of slimy black goo. The lackeys they'd knocked out lay on the ground...their false faces had gotten ripped off in the fight. Cordelia was standing with her hands on her hips and glaring at the pool. “Why couldn't she have gotten into normal trouble? Like saving some hooker from her abusive pimp or something?”
“Cause she's Buffy.” Xander sighed and gave Cordelia a kiss. “You and Willow stay here, Marshal guard them.” He eyed Steve and Sammo. “I guess I can't convince you to stay here.”
“Not a chance.”
“We are going with you.”
“Great...follow me.” And he jumped into the goo...and landed on a floor about six feet down. “Well...that was anticlimactic.” He moved out of the way just as Steve and Sammo came through.
“I don't want to know how that happened...do I?”
Sammo shook his head. “Just go with the flow.”
“Shh. Come on.”
They snuck around the...well he wasn't sure where they were...but he was pretty sure they were underground somewhere...in this...hell dimension? Wherever they were it wasn't pretty what with the human slaves and...Buffy?
“What the hell?”
“Shhh. Looks like they're giving the new slaves the itinerary.”
“What are we waiting for?”
Sammo gave him a look. “What is it?”
“Won't know till she does it.”
They watched as...one of the ugliest demons Xander had ever seen, gave his speech. “You work, you live. You do not do anything besides live and work. Whatever you were in your world, you are nothing here. You are no one.” The demon stopped in front of one guy, probably no older than Xander. “Who are you?”
The demon knocked the poor guy to the ground and went to the next person. “Who are you?”
“Great...brain washing.” It went on, the demon asked; the humans gave him the answer he wanted...until he got to Buffy. “Oh boy...get ready.”
“Who are you?”
Buffy looked up, and gave the demon a perky, if sinister smile. “I'm Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Who are you?”
“Now?” Steve asked as the demon attacked Buffy...and got its ass kicked.
Xander shook his head. “Wait, she'll lead them out...then you need to shadow Buffy's group.” He ordered, as they watched Buffy take out the demons around her. “Take out any bad guys that follow.”
Steve gave him a look at the order. “Anything else commander?”
He ignored the sarcasm. “Keep to the shadows. Don't get outnumbered.”
Sammo put a hand on his shoulder. “What will you do?”
“Get outnumbered.” He dashed ahead, following after Buffy, leaving the detectives behind to watch their backs. Xander caught up to her just as she was swinging around a pole, taking out some more demons.
“Fancy meeting you here.” He gave her a grin...and she smiled back.
“What are you...never mind. I'll ask later.”
They ran together then, causing quite the ruckus and a much needed distraction, right up onto a platform...that seemed a little too conveniently placed. And then out of nowhere a demon went flying away from them and Sammo joined the fray, saving their necks. Buffy stared and Xander rolled his eyes.
“You don't follow orders well.”
“Sometimes I do.”
They continued to fight...but there were simply too many...and then...one of the demons saw Xander's ring.
“Stop!” And he knelt. “Stop you fools! This one is of Mazoku blood!” And just like that the fighting stopped. Demons all around them knelt.
“Who cares!? Kill them---AHHH!” The ringleader screamed as a familiar blond girl pushed him from a ledge.
“Tell you later. Run now.”
The three of them ran, the demons parted for them, most of them dropping to one knee as they passed. Steve already had the girl and was leading Buffy's group of merry escapees when they caught up with them.
The gate brought the group to a halt. Steve tried to lift it and it would not budge. “Damn.”
“Move.” Buffy pushed him aside and took one side of the gate, Xander took the other and together they lifted it up.
“Move it people, this thing is heavy!”
The others ran and Sammo had to drag a wide-eyed Steve, but everyone got clear, just as the ringleader came at them. Buffy and Xander just managed to move out of the way and the gate came down on the demon, piercing his legs.
“You! Why would they bow to a human?”
Xander shrugged. “Well...I'm mostly human. But dude, what demon in his right mind would make one of Raizen's kids a slave?”
“Yeah...I've got demon blood. Long story. Tell you when we've escaped hell.”
“Looks like you might have broken Ken.”
Ken looked at them. “Raizen...”
Xander leaned down a bit. “My brother Yusuke Urameshi would be on you like fire ants on honey.”
“Hey Xander, move.” He did and she glared at Ken. “Hey Ken, heads up.” And splat...there went the demon brain.
Doctor's Sloan's house was nice, big...and on the frickin beach in Malibu. Cordelia was in heaven, the view alone was perfect. Though to her credit she stayed by his side when Buffy tried to question him. Willow, showing more sense was off to the side, staying out of what could turn into an argument between alphas.
The good Doctor and the three detectives were still sitting sort of gob smacked by their conversation. Guess even Sammo had a breaking point.
“You haven't told me anything.” Buffy's fists clenched.
“Just...give me time. Give yourself time Buffy. I know you need it.”
“What I need is answers.”
He sighed. “No, what you need is time to mourn.”
Her glare lessened. “I can't...I can't go home.”
The tears started to trickle down her cheeks. “Mom kicked me out.”
“Oh...Oh geeze Buff.” He thought for a minute. “I'll talk to your mom. Yusuke...his old teacher, Genkai, has a place way out in the mountains far away from anything. You can go there, get your bearings.”
“And how am I supposed to get to Japan Xander?”
Xander slid his communicator out of his pocket and pushed a button. Botan's voice came over the waves shrill and in a minor panic. “What on earth were you thinking? You don't just hop into a hell dimension for the fun of it!”
“We weren't doing it for fun Botan. Buffy needs a ride to Genkai's. She's already packed.”
There was a click and a portal opened...in the center of the room. Botan slid through as herself, her glamour of Tonya gone. “Does Genkai know she's about to have company?”
“You're either brave or insane.”
“Whatever you say Botan.”
“I remember her...” Buffy was examining Botan closely. “We met back when Kagome was in town.”
Botan nodded. “You also know me as Tonya, Tor's older sister.” Botan sighed. “Where do you want to go?”
“Not home...” She looked at Xander, the glare starting to come back. “We're not finished.”
Buffy hmphed, picked up her duffle, and let Botan guide her back through the portal; which vanished in a small flash of light.
Louis blinked at where the portal had been. “It’s gotta be the pain killers.”
Sammo put his hand on Louis' shoulder and gently squeezed. “No, Louis, that was real.”
“Aren't they a cute couple.” Cordelia smirked at them...which caused Sammo to try to move his hand back...but Louis kept it in place with a knowing smile.
“Well.” Willow stood and looked at Xander. “Now what? My parents think I'm already on my way to Tokyo to spend the summer with Kagome.”
“Call Giles, give him an update. Then tell Oz to be ready, Botan will pick you up, then him, and then take the two of you to Kagome's.”
“What are you gonna do Xan?”
“When I can work up the nerve...I'm gonna call Joyce.”