Grosse Pointe Buff
Disclaimer:Spike, Buffy and all the other members of the Sunnydale crowd belong to Joss Whedon, UPN, Fox, and so on, and so on. Grosse Point Blank was written by Tom Jankiewicz, D V deVincentis, S K Boatman & the vastly talented John Cusack. It is of course owned by Hollywood Pictures and Caravan Pictures and not me. I'm ripping the owners of them both off for no profit whatsoever, other than the happies I may get when and if you lovely people review.
Feedback:Please, please, please. I'm kind of struggling to get myself started on the second chapter, so reviews would no doubt help me get my ass in gear. ([email protected])
Rating:PG-13 for now basically for language. May go up, I haven't decided.
The young man watched round the edge of his open hotel room window, looking out at the elegant high rise opposite. He had an individual style, but he adapted his look to fit in wherever his career took him. Today, since he was in a four star hotel on New York's Upper East Side , his old leather duster was packed away in his suitcase in the trunk of his hire car. He wore a high-end black suit with a black shirt and tie. His hair was bleached to a startling white-blonde, which had it been natural should have been accompanied by pink irises. Instead his eyes were blue, varying with his mood from the grey-tinted shade of a stormy ocean to the deepest ultramarine.
He used a headset attached to his cell-phone to speak to his secretary while he rinsed said eyes with a saline solution using an eye-bath. "The shipment's arrived? One thousand rounds .357 magnum, steelcore. One thousand rounds .380, soft points. Okay, authorise the funds transfer from account 2795683 to account 76-845-69469-33484."
The man paced impatiently to his left, glancing out of the corner window, which afforded him a view for several blocks down the street. A movement out of synch with the general flow of the traffic attracted his attention. He picked up the rifle that sat ready-assembled on a chair set back from the window, looking through the attached scope. A few blocks down a bicycle messenger wove through the slow moving cars, with a large black shoulder bag slung across his body to rest against his hip. As he moved, his hand was hidden within the bag.
"You know, Spike," his secretary baited him, "there was a very interesting letter in the mail this morning."
"Spit it out, Cordy. Somethin's obviously got you pissin' your knickers." Spike continued to watch the messenger as he came nearer to his position. On the opposite side of the road a doorman dressed in a double-breasted coat with gold epaulettes and braid held open the door for the man Spike had been expecting, and his four bodyguards. Spike, however, kept his eye trained on the messenger as he came ever closer.
"Dear Sunnydale High Alumni,
Would you believe your tenth anniversary reunion has come round so fast? Or maybe High School seems a century ago? Some of the class of '90 have definitely moved on to bigger and brighter things. Anya Jenkins is now a partner at one of the most prestigious firms on Wall Street. Aura Buckingham is working as a model and has been featured in several major fashion magazines and TV advertising campaigns—."
"Yeah. For incontinence pads." Spike put on a girlish voice (for him). "Incontinence isn't just something that happens to older people. Lots of women our age have problems too."
"Looking at yearbooks and old photographs brings back lots of memories, some good, some bad. Whenever news of you filters back, the school is excited and proud of your accomplishments."
Sighting once more on the messenger he tracked his movement using the rifle, leading slightly, watching first through the leftmost window, following smoothly through as the cyclist was obscured from sight by the wall. When the messenger came back into view his hand was no longer hidden in the satchel. The businessman's bodyguards had just noticed the submachine gun in his hand, and were drawing their guns looking this way and that in panic as the cyclist's chest exploded from the impact of the bullet from Spike's silenced rifle. Before the effects of Spike's shot had fully registered a dozen shots from four different pistols had also impacted into the cyclist's chest and the businessman had been pushed to the ground. Still, the messenger's momentum carried him forward until the cycle hit the side of a stationary car at the nearby junction, spilling the lifeless body onto its hood.
"As a graduate of the class of '90, you are someone special. Remember, there's nowhere you can go in life that you didn't learn how to reach at "Sunnydale High
"Bin it, Cordy," Spike continued his conversation as he turned away from the window to dismantle the rifle with practised efficiency, stowing the pieces in their case as he broke it down.
"I thought it might be good for you… Open some new accounts… Network."
"Don't tease me, princess. You know what I do for a living."
Over his shoulder a scene unfolded. The doorman poked his head around the decorative pillar behind which he had taken shelter. The entrepreneur lay on the ground as three of his bodyguards stood over him, the fourth having moved off to check on the cyclist. Behind them in the shadows the doorman unhooked the last couple of buttons on his coat. Even as Spike clicked the case holding the rifle pieces closed, the doorman pulled out a pair of chromed magnum pistols, alternating hands as he emptied two full loads into the surprised bodyguards and the body mass of the group's central figure. He tossed the empty guns down on top of his corpse.
Hearing the first shots, Spike positioned himself with his back against the wall next to the central window. He twisted his neck to look down on the scene, for the first time noticing the doorman's face.
"Soddin' great Poof! Cordy, gotta go." Spike's movements accelerated. The remaining items of equipment were slotted quickly into their spaces in his other case, the headset for his phone dropped into his jacket pocket and he headed rapidly for the hotel's side door as police sirens became audible in the distance.
Liam Angelus stepped back through the glass doors into the foyer of the apartment building and from there through to the service exit. As soon as he was out of sight of the street he slipped off the greatcoat to reveal a three-quarter-length leather jacket and black dress pants underneath. By the time he pushed open the door at the back of the building, the distinctive braid-covered coat and its accompanying gloves and hat were inconspicuously stowed in a carrier bag, which he threw into the back seat of his hire car.
"I just got off the phone with a very unsatisfied customer."
"I don't give a toss, pet. Tell them as far as I'm concerned I was paid for one job, 'n' that was the messenger. I don't do two-for-one specials." Spike was on his cell-phone again, pacing impatiently up and down in front of his vehicle, one hand cradling the instrument to his ear as the other brought the cigarette, which was his stress-relief mechanism, to his mouth for a deep intake of carcinogens every time Cordy spoke. He and his hired black Lincoln town car were clear of the gridlock that was central New York, and he had parked up in an industrial area between there and the airport to take the call.
"They're not happy."
"You think I was overjoyed to see that poker-haired wanker? Why don't you find out what that git was doing there and then maybe we can talk."
"I have that poker-haired wanker on the line for you. Why don't you ask him."
"Patch him through."
"William, me boy, where are ya?" Every now and then Angelus betrayed a hint of the distinctive Irish brogue he'd worked so hard to get rid of, especially when he was being patronising.
"Very nice. I can just imagine you …riding on the trolley cars."
A second almost identical town car appeared from around a corner and pulled up sharply in front of the lay-by where Spike was parked. He threw his half-smoked cigarette down to the ground.
"I thought maybe we could talk," said Angelus as he and Spike eyed each other, cell-phone held to one ear, his other hand poised just under the edge of the leather coat.
"Well, tell you what, why don't you drop me an e-mail or summat?" Spike suggested.
"Nah, I was thinking more one-on-one, mano e mano, you know." Angelus opened the car door, tossed his phone onto the passenger seat and walked toward Spike, one hand still inside his coat as he spoke.
"Cut the crap, Peaches. What d'you want?" Spike laid down his own handset on the car's bonnet, mirroring Angelus's posture.
"Hey, I'm putting together a co-operative, a sort of joint venture for those of us in our rarefied line of work. Avoid embarrassing …overlaps?"
"Like a union?" The blonde gave him a sceptical look.
"I was thinking more like a club. Membership by invitation only. Work less, make more."
"Hey, well, great idea, Peaches. Let me know how you go with that."
"You're saying no?" Angelus apparently made a rapid change of topic. "Remember Peking, that rebellion."
"Yeah, so. Ain't old enough to be senile yet?"
"That loony, General Woo? …You were like a colonel or something in that army, weren't you?"
Spike rubbed a finger over his left eyebrow, a subconscious gesture caused by the reminder about the scar's origin. "Yeah, well he can't have been that loony. Sold you all those surplus tanks, didn't he? An' you shipped them to Alabama or Georgia or somewhere. How much d'you lose on that little deal?"
"Yeah, well, I took a bath on that," Angelus admitted.
"Yeah. That was fun."
"See, that's what I mean. We could be together again; the old team, spreading death and destruction all round the globe. You know, make the big bucks, kill important people. Like I said, I want to make it like a co-op, everybody gets a share of the pie, according to what they bring to the table."
"'N' since you're organising it all, it's safe to assume you'd be entitled to a bigger share than anybody else. Forget it."
"Look, what with everything that's been happening in the Eastern Bloc an' all, the employers are getting us a lot cheaper, 'cause there's so many of us."
"Yeah. The market's flooded." Spike drawled sarcastically, his eyebrow raised. 'Like anything this po-faced pillock had to say was news. All he was after was a share of everybody else's money.'
"See, that's what we're all lookin' at. Now if we had some sort of consolidated bargaining…"
Spike snorted his disdain.
"Look, boy," argued Angelus. "I don't think you want to take us on. This is real. It's all coming together as we speak."
"So who have you got in your little circus then?"
"Francis Doyle, uh, we got the Host…"
"That the one that slips stuff into people's drinks?"
"Yeah, we've got Charles Gun."
"We got Fred Burkel."
"The queen of the hotel hits. I thought she'd be too smart to get mixed up with this. You got a great crew."
"Yeah, well, everybody's in."
"Yeah, well, not me. I don't want any part of your dirty little scam."
"Alright, William. Life's full of second chances, and here's yours. You just think about coming back to the fold. You think about coming back 'cause one way or another, boy, I'll get ya." Angelus moved back toward his car, glowering at Spike as he reached behind his back for the door handle.
"Yeah, well, you better bring all of your army with you."
"Yeah? One little shot. You wouldn't even see us."
"Yeah, right. Whatever you say… Nice to see you again." Spike treated him to a faux-bright smile and a glare that would have cut glass."
"Yeah, well, good to see you too, kid." Angelus pulled the car door open. "You like that Pacific North West country? Here it gets kinda misty up that way."
"Can't say as I remember. S'been years since I was up there."
Angelus gave a twisted smile and then turned his back as if to get in the car before emitting a stream of dog noises somewhere between yelps and barks, closely followed by the cry of, "Boom!" as he threw his hands up and wide in imitation of an explosion.
Behind his back Spike flinched at the noise.
"Catch you." Angelus called a final greeting as he climbed into the car.
"Yeah. Drive safe now," Spike said sarcastically as Angelus threw the car into reverse and screeched tyres as he made a one-eighty before taking off in the direction he'd appeared from.
The dust hadn't settled on the road before Spike's cell-phone started ringing again. He swiped it off the hood and pressed the answer button. Cordy's voice came through the headset loud and clear, "So come on back to the old alma mater signed "Sunnydale High School Reunion Committee.""
"Cordy, you can take that letter and shove it right up your arse along with you next colonic and the pink slip I'm about to order you to fill in for yourself if you ever mention one word about that bloody reunion ever again."
"Don't hang up. Wait! Did you read yesterday's offer?" interrupted Cordy trying to get her message out at ninety words a minute before he did just that.
"Hold on a minute." Spike looked down at the car's fax machine, pulling off a full colour fax with a picture of a sailboat on it.
Cordy continued on excitedly as she heard him tear it from the machine. "It's a Greenpeace boat. It'd be so easy."
"Bollocks off," retorted Spike. "I have scruples… You know I won't work for the French." Spike fished in his pocket pulling out his pack of cigarettes and a Zippo lighter. He lit up and inhaled sharply before he continued.
"Listen, pet is everything all set up for Miami?"
"Well, duh. What do you think you pay me for?"
"Fine, fine, okay."
"Spike, are you alright? You don't really seem like yourself lately. Is it the job? Are you gonna have to quit, 'cause I haven't exactly been ploughing funds into my pension plan, if you know what I mean? Is it getting to you? I mean ten year reunion, that means life's kinda slipping by."
"Are you talking about realising I'm not going to live forever or about being afraid of dying?"
"I kinda hadn't looked at it like that."
"Then why are you so interested in me going to my high school reunion?"
"I just think it's funny that you have one. I sort of imagined you being boxed up and shipped over here in a packing case, with a big sign on the side saying do not open except in case of emergency. Kinda like a real life GI Joe ninja doll."
Spike sighed. "My grandmother died when I was fourteen. After that, mum had no family left in England so we moved out to California to be near my dad's folks. Okay? Does that satisfy your overdeveloped curiosity?"
Spike sat cross-legged on the floor of his Miami hotel room. The only light on his sculpted features was the harsh blue and pink of the neon tubes outside. He wasn't meditating or anything. Yoga wasn't his thing. In front of him there was a hole in the floor. Two planks were lain lengthways over the hole with a gap in the middle. Below the hole which he'd made was a ceiling vent leading to the room below. Below the vent was a double bed in which a stocky middle aged man lay on his back sleeping.
Spike's gloved hands lowered a fibre optic cable with a miniature low-light video camera down through the vent grating into the lower room and he checked his target was in position as anticipated. Then he turned his attention to the equipment that rested on top of the planks. A tripod supported a strange looking set up. Spike fed out some thick black thread from a reel, so that the end of the thread dangled mere inches above the open mouth of the sleeping man. Once this was in place Spike turned the tap at the base of a syringe positioned over the thread and pressed down on the syringe's plunger.
The viscous blue liquid in the syringe dripped silently onto the thread as he maintained a constant pressure. He traced the progress of the liquid not wanting to cause the man to ingest more than necessary, lest it show up in the pathology report. It took less than a minute for the liquid to drain down the end of the thread. Unfortunately, mere seconds before the first drop fell, the man twisted in his sleep. His head shifted a fraction and the first drop, which by this time Spike could do nothing to stop landed half an inch to the right of the man's mouth, startling him into consciousness.
"Oh fuck," muttered Spike rapidly pulling camera and string back up into his own room. He unholstered a silenced pistol and ran for the stairs. Before the other man had woken up enough to do more than reach for his own weapon from the bedside cabinet Spike had kicked in his room door and the recoil from Spike's first shot hitting him square in the chest drove him back onto the bed.
He still managed to speak, despite his pain and terror. "Whatever it is that I'm doing that you don't like, I'll stop doing it."
Spike treated him to a dispassionate smile as he raised his arm to administer the coup de grace. "It's not me."
Spike pulled up his vintage de Soto at the back of his Chicago office block. Or rather, the block his office was in. It was reminiscent of the one Humphrey Bogart had in the Big Sleep. Filing cabinets rested against the half height wood panelling on one side of the long thin area that he rented. Above the cabinets ribbed glass allowed light through from a central corridor, but offered only a distorted view in. On the opposite side the windows gave a view of the city.
The area was divided into two unequal sections with more panelling and glass. The area at one end was barely big enough for Cordy's desk and space to walk around it. The other side afforded yards before you came to a single chair, supposedly for clients but no one actually hired him in person. All the arrangements were made anonymously, electronically. At the far end of the office in front of a cream coloured wall was Spike's desk.
Spike came in through the door leading directly to his part of the office, made his way through the permanently open double doors into Cordy's section and greeted her. "Morning, sunshine."
As soon as she had replied he wandered back toward his own desk, before she could say anything else.
Cordy pressed the button on the intercom, causing a high pitched beep before her voice echoed from the speaker on her employer's desk "Spike, are you ready for your messages?"
"Uh, gimme a second."
He lit up a cigarette and wandered aimlessly around his end of the area, straightening pictures that were already straight before picking up a motorbike magazine and sitting down behind his desk.
Cordy moved in her seat to watch him and when he sat down she picked up a bulky brown envelope and a red wallet wrapped in several layers of cling film, hovering by the connecting doors.
"They're not happy."
"They're not. I'm not bloody happy neither," Spike retorted.
"It was supposed to look like a heart attack. He was supposed to die in his sleep."
"Yeah, well, he moved.
His sleep research pattern suggested a deep sleep at that time. There's bugger all to be done about it."
"This is a very valuable client." The brunette tried to make him take it seriously.
"Cordy, if we must do this now at least get your arse in the same room."
The secretary sashayed into the room, coming to a halt a couple of feet from Spike's desk. "We've done a lot of business with them over the years… and they're putting the blame for this on you. They say you've got to make amends."
"There's someone due to testify in court on Monday morning. The jobs got to be done this weekend."
"Sod off. What do they want, a bloody miracle? There's no way I can set up a job in that sort of time. Tell them I need my normal lead time."
The look on Cordelia's face told him that no amount of bluster was going to change what needed to be done.
"Well, that's the funny thing, I mean welcome to The Twilight Zone, Spikey. It's in So Cal. You can drop in take care of business and then drop by the High School for your reunion."
Spike burst out of his chair as if she'd spilled boiling water in his lap. "I thought I told you to shut the fuck up about that."
"Touchy, touchy! Look, you cockney numbskull, it's out of my hands. The fates want you to go back to Sunnydale, and they want you to make the sanction while you're there."
"So, the client's not going to budge on this."
"Not an inch. I booked you on an early flight for tomorrow morning."
Spike held out his hand toward Cordy. "Dossier… All right. I'm goin' to be callin' you from California. Make sure you pick up the dry-cleaning and feed the cat… Okay?"
"Don't forget your identity." Cordy handed him the brown envelope, heaving a sigh of relief when he left the office, only to be cut short when he opened the door again.
"Luv, can you ring Doc Rosenberg. Tell 'er I'm on my way over."
She waited until she was sure he'd gone for good this time to let out an exultant, "yes!"
Spike sat in a plush armchair in the cosily decorated psychiatrist's office. "So I got this invite to my ten year high school reunion. But, well, I'm in two minds whether I should go or not. I mean what am I going to say to anyone. I mean they're all going to be married with kids and dogs and houses. They're all part of something and they can talk about their jobs. What am I meant to say? I killed the president of Paraguay with a fork, and how have you been? It's going to be a right bloody pisser… Shouldn't you be taking notes or something?"
"William, I'm not taking notes because you're not my patient." The diminutive psychiatrist tried once more to make her point, knowing it would be futile.
"Oh, don't start all that crap again, pet."
"William, I'm emotionally involved with you."
Spike leered in her direction. "I think I might have noticed, luv." He wiggled an eyebrow at the cute redhead.
"I'm gay. I'm emotionally involved because I'm afraid of you. That's an emotional involvement. It would be unethical if I were to work with you under these conditions. William, you didn't tell me what you did."
"I bloody did."
"You didn't tell me till we had already had four sessions, William. Then I said I didn't want you to keep coming, but every week, same time, there you are. And I'm required by law to report it if you commit or are thinking about committing a crime."
"For one thing, if you keep repeating my name to give some sort of connection, you should know nobody I like actually calls me William any more. It's Spike. An' I know the law, pet, but what's the point of coming here if I can't tell you about the stuff that's bugging me. Besides I know where you live."
"Hey-y-y, that's not very nice. That's a blatant threat. H-How am I meant to function as-as an unbiased professional when you're saying things like that so that I'm left trying to come up with something creative in case you decide to just shoot me? And I don't even want to know where the name Spike comes from."
"Not where you think. It was somebody's warped sense of humour 'cause I was so skinny in high school. An' I wouldn't even think of killing you. I was just kidding."
"Spike, you thought about it or you wouldn't have said it. You kill people all the time. How am I supposed to know you won't kill me? Spike, if you want these sessions to continue, even in their present capacity you are going to have to quit with the threats." The normally quiet, almost elfin doctor seemed to light up like a firecracker. Obviously she could only be pushed so far.
"Look, I just want to work through all this stuff. I read your books The Annihilation of Death, Kill Who? A Warrior's Dilemma. They were on the New York Times Top Twenty best-sellers list. I got the impression you might have a feel for my situation."
"Spike, the books were ghost written. Look, I don't know what I'm meant to say." The doctor pinched at the bridge of her nose as if she were getting a headache.
"What do you say to all your other patients? Ask me how I am or something?"
"How are you, Spike?"
Spike sighed. "I don't know. I'm not real focussed. I'm pissed off a lot. There's been a lot of problems with work and I'm bored and sort of restless."
The woman made another attempt, actually sounding almost perky. "Well, hey. I don't want to make you uncomfortable, but maybe it's remorse for all the people you kill that's making you feel like that. Maybe, deep down you're not happy in your work."
"Screw that, Red. I've been doin' this for years and it's only lately I've been havin' all these problems. If I turn up at your door, the chances are you did something to bring me there. I couldn't give a toss about those people." If anything Spike protested too much, as if he was spouting arguments he no longer really believed.
As if he realised this he changed track. "I don't want to talk about work. It's not like someone's job defines who they are as a person."
The physician hid her sceptical glance behind her hand. "Okay. What do you want to talk about?" she asked.
"I don't know. Should I talk about dreams? You want me to talk about dreams?"
This time it was Dr. Rosenberg who sighed. "If you want to talk about dreams, talk about dreams. It's your dime."
"I had another dream about Buffy."
"The girl you're obsessed with?"
"I wouldn't call it an obsession," Spike said defensively.
"Ten years worth of dreams about loss and angst centred on the same girl? To me, that sounds like an obsession. Look. Go to this reunion. Go see what these people mean to you. See this girl…"
"Buffy," 'he blonde supplied when the shrink seemed at a loss.
"Right. See Buffy and - just this one weekend …Don't kill anyone. See what it feels like."
"Don't try, William. Just don't do it."
End of Chapter 1
Next chapter:You can never go home again.