Looking For That Perfect Drink
A TWPOS fanfic
Any and all C+C is appreciated. You can contact me at
Standard Disclaimer: I actually own the rights to the characters, if not the movie this thing is based on.
Forward: This is the gang that debuted from the old Shampoo ½ series. Once again I'm having a little fun with D'Amour and some of the crew up to their usual antics. Nothing deep here, just lighthearted, pointless humor and parody. You'll figure out what movie the opening is a parody of fairly quickly.
Captain D'Amour brushed his blue manteau over his shoulder before leaning back in the cushioned chair provided by his rather rotund host, Wei Lo. The restaurant D'Amour was currently in (located on the fifth floor of a building also owned by Lo) was loud and extravagant, exactly as had been described to him by others that had dined there before. Expensive gourmet food, lavish decorations with a Southeast Asia motif, elaborate floor shows for entertainment, and the most important detail of all, one of the largest stocked bars in the Orient, were all present. Even now D'Amour could see a huge table only holding a hundred filled glasses of champagne off to the side. It was like a slice of heaven.
D'Amour was far from the only patron on this night. The restaurant was packed with many other tables filled with finely dressed patrons. The tables formed the border that surrounded the open performance area in the center of the room. Currently a Caucasian woman was singing in the midst of a flurry of brightly dressed dancers who performed carefully choreographed numbers around her, complementing her singing without upstaging the star of the performance. The singer was belting out some tune about how 'Anything Goes'. D'Amour wouldn't have minded 'Everything Going' when it came to that gorgeous blonde, especially her clothing. She was an entertainer, after all, and her body was something he could entertain himself with for a while.
Well below the edge of the table, an elbow buried itself in his side. "Quit leering. We're dealing in serious money here," Aki whispered.
D'Amour looked his dinner 'companion' over. While Aki did look cute in a white stole dangling over her shoulders and a red dress that hugged her fit frame quite nicely, the captain wasn't taken in by her appearance. No amount of good looks could counter the little drawback concerning her inability to control her strength when she became excited. No woman in the world was worth a broken set of ribs, not when there were so many other significantly less dangerous, and better looking, ones out there.
It was a shame his first choice of companion, his ship's Exotic Dancer (and back up physician) Bubbles, couldn't come along. He had asked her -using all the considerable charm he could muster- yet despite that she made reluctance to accompany him known when one of her scalpels 'slipped,' the blade nearly impaling the captain's crotch. A lesser man, ignorant in the ways of women, would have misinterpreted the sign as disinterest. But D'Amour was experienced and could read between the lines. She wanted him, but wasn't quite ready to admit it to herself.
So that left Aki to accompany him. Admittedly, she had uses other than the usual ones that sparked his interest when it came to women. She could come in handy on this meeting, especially since Lo had made D'Amour leave his sword behind. It and the ship being two the few true companions he had his whole life. He felt naked and vulnerable without his blade. One never knew when a violent woman from his past might show up and become unreasonably angry with him for misunderstanding something he had said. That was the problem with women. They took pillow talk WAY too seriously.
"Mr. D'Amour?" Lo inquired from his seat across from the still leering man.
"That's 'Captain'," D'Amour corrected and looked over the man he was conducting this business transaction with. Lo was dressed in an impeccable white suit that reeked of money. D'Amour had no doubts the outfit cost more than what he paid his entire crew in a month. It was such a waste. No suit in the world could make the corpulent cow attractive to members of the opposite sex. The man had to weigh over three hundred pounds, and that was on a five-five frame. He might as well have worn a sweat suit and saved the money.
Flanking Lo were a pair of men who also weighed over three hundred pounds, however their mass was all muscle distributed over mammoth frames that were nearly seven foot in height. They were tall enough to stare Brunt in the eye. They wore matching suits, nicely tailored, though inferior to Lo's, and had to have been brothers, since they were identical in appearance.
"Nice set of bookends you got there." D'Amour indicated by nodding his head at the duo.
The reference seemed to please Lo. "Yes. The one on the right refers to himself as 'Assault' while his brother is 'Battery'. They are arena fighters who went unbeaten in four years. Of course they never faced one another. They are quite an impressive pair."
While the statement was true, they weren't exactly the sort of 'impressive pair' D'Amour liked to stare at. "Wait a minute, Aren't they the professional fighters that got kicked out of competing in any sanctioned tournament because they injured every opponent they ever fought?"
"Little people. They break too easy," one of them muttered in a slight Italian accent.
D'Amour chuckled. "You should ask Aki here about that."
A swift kick met him in the shin, causing his eye to water in pain.
"Are you all right?" Lo asked.
"Fine," D'Amour bit out. He was thinking of having a peg leg installed anyway.
Lo stared admiringly at the large men. "They cost me a lot, but they're worth it. They're very efficient at what they do."
"And that is?" D'Amour asked.
"Taking people apart and then putting them back together."
"That doesn't sound so bad, as long as they put them back together." D'Amour casually lounged back in his chair.
Lo scratched his chin in thought. "Well, not exactly. They're not very handy with parts. There tend to be a few left lying around when they're finished reassembling things."
"I… see," D'Amour said.
"Let's get down to business." Lo's eyes fairly sparkled as he wrung his hands in anticipation. "Do you have the item?"
D'Amour put on his cocky grin and somehow made his hand swagger as he pulled a leather bag from a hidden inner pocket of his suit. He set the bag on the table, then opened the top and pulled a small, ancient glass jar bearing an inscription on the top, from within. He set the bottle on the table, showing the inscription to the Lo.
Lo read the words and squealed in joy. "Give it to me." He reached out with his pudgy fingers.
D'Amour snatched it back. "Ah, ah, ah. Money first, and I'm afraid it's going to be double my original estimate."
"Oh?" Lo asked.
"Expenses. I warned you about them," D'Amour explained. "I racked up a lot in the course of recovering this. Your bottle was located deep in the heart of Africa, in the middle of a lost city full of irate, albino mutant killer apes. Worse, there was an active volcano that was in the middle of erupting just when we arrived. Me and my crew barely made it out alive."
"That sounds a bit unbelievable," Lo commented.
"It's true," Aki said. She removed her stole and showed it to him. Attached to one end was a large, irate, albino mutant killer ape head. Its fangs were bared, and even dead, the creature appeared vicious and eager enough to still greedily chomp on anyone that dared draw too close.
"I… see." Lo shook off his surprise and snapped his fingers.
Assault responded by pulling out a small cloth bag from the interior of his suit. It jingled with the sound of many small, metal objects striking each other. He tossed it on the table in front of him.
The table top was was built on a swivel. It was simple enough for D'Amour to spin the top around so the money was next to him while Lo had the bottle.
Tears formed in Lo's eyes as he cradled the item in his hands like it was a precious child. "At last, my ancestor's ashes will be returned to their rightful shrine. The spirit of Hung Lo will be laid to rest at last."
"Hung Lo, eh? A lot of guys say that, but only some of us are telling the truth." D'Amour doubled over in laughter.
Everyone else just stared.
"No one appreciates a good pun around here," D'Amour grumbled as he handed the bag to Aki.
She took a moment to count the money. "This will do," she said approvingly.
D'Amour held out on open palm. "Why don't I keep a hold of it?"
Aki scowled at the man. "Because the crew needs to be paid, not all of the hookers in Shanghai."
"But as captain, it's my duty to keep the money safe."
"Which is why it will stay with me." She kept the money close to her bosom.
"Damn it, girl, I'm the captain. Show me the respect that is my due."
"You want me to throw a drink in your face and knee you in the groin?"
"Why don't we toast to our mutual success?" Lo asked, interrupting the argument before it came to actual blows.
The mention of receiving a drink calmed D'Amour. He waited politely like a child who was told he'd be given a toy if he remained quiet.
Lo waved at a nearby waiter. The man brought over a tray with two expensive crystal glasses already filled.
"Oooo." There was a hungry gleam to D'Amour's eyes. Once the waiter brought the tray within the captain's reach, he snatched a glass and finished the drink in a single gulp.
The waiter, awed by the speed, hesitated a moment before removing the other glass and placing it next to Aki. Or tried to place it next to her. Instead, just as he released his grip on the stem of the crystal D'Amour snatched that glass too. Placing the first back on the tray, he downed the second even faster.
Lo appeared distraught at the move.
D'Amour waved the empty glass in the rotund man's direction. "Not bad." He placed the second glass on the tray and instructed the waiter to, "Get me some more of that, only this time see to it it's still in the bottle." Heshooed the man away to hurry him along.
Lo's dismay turned to mirth. He began laughing hard.
D'Amour smiled in return. "Glad to see you're so happy with the transaction. Maybe a little more free booze will get you a discount the next time you need the services of an 'Obtainer of Rare Goods' such as myself."
Lo's laughter doubled. "Like the drink, did you?"
"Not much kick to it, but free alcohol is always acceptable," D'Amour said.
Lo continued laughing harder than he should. As he chuckled, he pulled out a clear glass vial containing a blue liquid. He toyed with it in his hand, displaying it for D'Amour's benefit.
D'Amour laughed politely. It died quickly as he turned and called out, "I need some help over here!"
Lo cleared his throat, gaining D'Amour's attention. He waved the vial back and forth.
D'Amour nodded, then turned around again, snapping his fingers. "Someone, I need a drink!"
Lo grunted more loudly. Seeing he once again had the captain's attention, he asked, "Aren't you curious about this vial?"
D'Amour stared at the blue liquid. "Blueberry Schnapps?"
"That's nice," D'Amour said. He then turned around again and shouted, ""What does it take to get some service around here?"
Aki finally broke down, slapping the captain in the back of the head and making him face the table. To Lo, she asked, "Okay, it's antidote to what?"
Seeing he finally had someone's full interest, Lo explained. "It's antidote to the highly fatal poison the two of you drank." He rethought that. "I mean, that the captain has imbibed."
D'Amour's mouth fell open in stunned disbelief. He half rose out of his seat and bellowed, "You stinking bastard!"
Lo taunted him by waving the vial warningly. "You must keep calm, Captain."
"The hell I will! You think I won't lose my temper over you watering down your drinks?"
It was Lo's turn to have his mouth open in disbelief. It took much longer for him to recover than it had for D'Amour. "I think perhaps you're missing the point. You have been poisoned."
"Yes, I seem to recall you mentioning that." D'Amour appeared panicked.
Seeing his prey's growing alarm, Lo sat still and watched contentedly as D'Amour squirmed.
"Ah, there's one." D'Amour placed his hand to his lips and whistled. "Waitress, I need a little something to quench by thirst!" Seeing he had her attention, and she was reacting to his request, he relaxed. "That was close. I didn't think anyone was going to wait on me."
Lo slammed his fists on the table. "Damn it, Man. If you don't get this antidote, you'll die!"
D'Amour said in a low, menacing voice, "If I don't get a drink soon, I'll die from that even quicker."
"Just return the money to me, and I'll give you the antidote," Lo snarled.
Aki finally interjected herself into the conversation. "You seem to be making one small error in your offer there, Mr. Lo."
The man looked at her curiously. "Yes?"
"I have the money, and I'm not poisoned."
"True, but your captain is," Lo pointed out.
"I really don't see a problem with that," Aki explained. "Actually, the only way you would be getting your hands on the money is if you were offering to poison the captain. Then I would have an important decision to make. As it stands now, I let things remain as they are, and everything works out better than anyone could have anticipated."
"Thank god," D'Amour cried out as a waitress in a slinky green and white dress, similar to what the dancers wore, approached. She held a tray in hand, a white napkin draped over the top and dangling over the side. "I'd like to place an order. A martini, if you would."
"If you don't tell your woman to give me the money, it'll be the last drink you ever have," Lo threatened.
D'Amour considered that, then said to the waitress. "Make it a double."
Lo's face turned red in apoplectic rage. "Damn you, take me seriously!"
D'Amour sighed in disgust. "Very well, I'll wait on that drink." He snapped his fingers.
The waitress pulled up the napkin so that it was no longer over the side. It revealed a gun that she was holding under the tray, helping to prop it up. The barrel was pointed directly at Lo.
Everyone looked at D'Amour in shock, even Aki, who was clearly stunned by the waitress's identity, Hostess Kin.
The captain laughed. "Stupid wanna-be corpulent evil mastermind type, you think I didn't suspect you'd betray me? Don't be absurd. Hell, my crew turns on me all the time, and I trust them a lot more than I trust you." D'Amour said, then in a softer voice added, "Although I admit, even I didn't think you were low enough to water down your drinks."
Lo's face turned even redder.
D'Amour decided to really rub it in. "I had it all planned from the start. I told my Ship's Hostess, Kin, to sneak in, impersonate one of the waitresses, and wait for my signal, which was the whistle. Then she was to come over and help me turn the tables on you. Now, I'll be taking that antidote."
D'Amour reached over the table and snatched the vial from Lo's pudgy fingers. It was the captain's turn to taunt him with the antidote. "It looks like the tables have turned. Literally, in this case." He spun the table top around. "I have the antidote, the money, and if I had any interest in dusty old guys, I'd take your ancestor, too. But since I don't, I'll let you keep him." D'Amour leaned back in his chair and gave the man a contemptuous smile. "That's right, I have complete control of the situation. Nothing can stop me now, nothing." His free hand rose up and fondled the waitress's bottom.
His eyes bulged as he turned on her in surprise. "You're not Kin."
In response, the woman unleashed a sweeping upward backhand, knocking the antidote out of D'Amour's grasp. The vial went sailing across the room, landing among the glasses of champagne at the open table.
'Kin' turned the gun on the captain. She then clutched the bottom of her neck and peeled the skin away in an upward motion, revealing a second layer of darker skin underneath. She continued peeling the false cover away, only stopping once it was entirely removed. With the mask gone, everyone at the table gasped at the true identity of the waitress.
D'Amour made a strangled noise. "Madame Lao."
The infamous pirate slaver shot a smirk of superiority at the closest thing she had to an arch-nemesis. "So, we meet again, Captain."
"Why are you here?" D'Amour snarled.
Eyes gleaming in delight, Lao explained, "I heard about this transaction going down and decided to interject myself into it, getting revenge both on yourself and Mr. Lo, who once double-crossed me in a similar manner." She turned to the fat man. "I told you at the time, no one ever betrays me twice, since they always pay for it the first time."
"I prefer the term 'Renegotiating' myself," Lo said.
Lao replied, "I prefer calling it getting my pound of flesh, or in your case, ten pounds. I'll be taking the money, the ashes, and the antidote." She looked Aki over. "And the girl. She's a bit rough around the edges, but I think I can get a good price for her with a little proper training."
"Hey!" Aki snapped.
"What about my hostess?" D'Amour asked. You didn't come across a great body like Kin's too often. Letting it fall into Lao's hands would be the ultimate loss.
"Oh, her? She's fine. It was fortunate I recognized her back in the kitchen where she was watching you. I offered to take her place in your little scheme."
D'Amour said, "Liar. She would never sell me out for all the money in the world."
"Actually, it didn't cost me a thing. She let me take her place under the condition you didn't leave here alive."
D'Amour snorted in derision. "As though you expect me to believe that. She's one of the most loyal members of my crew."
"Of that, I have no doubt," Lao said drolly. "So, Captain, after constantly confounding my schemes, irritating me to no end with your brainless antics, insulting my appearance, and humiliating me in front of others, you have at last come to your end. Is there anything you have to say?"
D'Amour looked at his hand in disgust. "Ewww. You tricked me into touching your bottom. I feel so defiled." He turned to Lo. "Got any Handi-Wipes around? I really need to wash this off."
Lao turned as red as Lo had earlier. "Fool! Rather than amuse myself by watching you slowly die of poison, I shall shoot you instead!" She leveled the gun at his head.
As she did so, the barrel of the weapon passed over the table. That was the opportunity Battery was waiting for as he put both hands on the tabletop and pushed downward with all his strength. The force of the maneuver shattered the swivel mechanism in the middle, tilting the top like a seesaw. The opposite end sailed upward, swatting the gun from Lao's hands and causing it to be hurled halfway across the room to where it skidded across the floor and out of sight under a group of table.
Seeing the pirate's advantage had finally been lost, Lo bellowed orders to his men. "Kill them!"
Assault and Battery responded as one, rising out of their seats and drawing their fists back in identical fashion. They then brought their limbs forward, aimed at the same target, the still seated D'Amour's head.
The captain barely ducked in time as the fists met each other with a thunderous crash right where his head had been scant seconds before.
"Not him! He's already a dead man from the poison! Kill his bodyguard and that accursed pirate!" Lo shouted.
Assault went after Aki while Battery went after Lao.
D'Amour smacked his hand to his forehead. He had forgotten about the poison. "Aki, as a loyal member of my crew, I order you to bravely hold off our foes while I recover the antidote!"
Aki barely ducked a sweeping fist directed at her own head. "I'm only fighting him because he's attacking me!" She aimed a punch at the big man's gut and connected. "How'd you like that?" she snapped at the miniature colossus.
Even her attacker seemed surprised by the force the small girl could wield. He rubbed at the spot the blow landed, then growled and went after Aki again. He was more cautious now, probing her defenses with calculated attacks in an effort to gauge her skill.
As that fight raged, Battery moved in to confront his own opponent. While she backed away to gain more room to maneuver, Lao was more amused than concerned by the hulking giant intent on twisting her into shapes even she couldn't contort into. "I never cared much for firearms anyway." She flowed out of the way of his first blow, sneaking in a chop aimed at his sternum. Rather than breaking it, as she had hoped, her hand bounced off. She rubbed it as it felt sore from the impact.
Battery pounded his fist several times into the same spot she struck. "Your water based style of martial arts are good for evasion, but not aggression. Water breaks against a dam." He flexed his broad chest muscled to reinforce the analogy.
"Water wears down everything, in time." Lao took on a more formal stance, openly taking the fight more seriously.
With the chaotic fight now out in the open, the entire room of patrons had transformed into a panicked mob. As with all mobs, they were a disorganized crush of people running frantically back and forth with no idea of what they were doing or where they were going. To further complicate the matter, Lo had ordered the doors to the room locked to prevent any chance of the money escaping, and thus the number of people remained the same as the panic only grew and the mob sought other ways of escaping the melee.
D'Amour, while moving quickly, was far from panicked as he lay on the floor and began crawling away. It was not that he was acting cowardly, it was just that he didn't want to distract Aki by showing his face, since she might become concerned with his welfare and turn in combat at a critical moment. So instead he crawled across the open floor that the dance number had previously occupied, weathering the occasional stiletto heel driven into his back by some frightened dancer or restaurant patron. That wasn't so bad, since he sort of enjoyed women dancing up and down on his back from time to time.
Finally, he arrived at his destination: the table that the antidote had fallen onto. He rose to his feet, the ocean of champagne filled glasses somehow avoiding being toppled by the mob. It was one of the most delightful sights the captain had ever seen.
As he looked the sea of alcohol over, it occurred to him that if the antidote had fallen into one of the glasses, the stopper had come undone, and someone tossed aside the vial, he would have no way of knowing which glass now contained the antidote. There was only thing to do to ensure his survival.
"Come to Papa!" D'Amour declared as he began picking up the glasses and draining them all one by one.
Lao found herself hard pressed by her foe. He was not without some measure of skill. She had no doubt she would win, merely that it would take time and she would have to work for it.
Just as the pirate slaver was about to deliver a strike across the bridge of her foe's nose, one of the panicked patrons came toward her from her blind spot and struck Lao in the back, shoving the pirate forward. Off balance, she moved right into the fist that had been aimed at her mid-section. Even with her superior physique, she was badly winded as the blow to her solar plexus knocked all the air from her lungs. Lao fell to the ground, doubled over in pain.
She forced herself to come out of the ball she wanted to curl into and looked up to see the Battery looming over her, grim smile etched on his face. Obviously he was going to enjoy this, even if she wasn't.
Lao prepared to roll out of the way, though even if she evaded the first strike she had no idea how she could dodge a second with how out of breath she was, when an empty wine glass shattered against the giant's face. The unexpected attack distracted and angered him at the same time as the shards cut his face in a number of places.
Lao and Battery looked in the direction that the glass had originated. They saw D'Amour, his attention riveted to the table of drinks, tossing empty glasses blindly over his shoulder as he drained each one. He had made amazing progress, and already a significant number of glasses were now in pieces on the floor.
D'Amour was intent on removing even more of the drinks, both hands holding empty glasses as he had finished them simultaneously, when he sensed an ominous presence behind him. Since ominous presences tended to interrupt one's drinking habits, he turned to see what the nature of the disturbance was.
He looked up into the bleeding face of an enraged Battery, the man's fist drawn back.
"Wait!" D'Amour shouted, holding the empty vessels before him. "You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses, would you?"
Battery's face contorted in even more pain from the pun, and he managed to bring more power behind his blow. The first narrowly missed the captain's head as he ducked out of the way.
The break in the fight had given Lao a chance to rise to her feet and catch her wind. So, D'Amour had saved her. It was about time fate screwed him over instead of it being the other way around. Still, Lao was not without appreciation for the gesture, inadvertent though it was. If the opportunity presented itself, she would make his death quick and painless. Well, relatively painless compared to the tortures she really wanted to inflict upon him.
Lao braced a hand against the table of drinks, and was amazed to see a familiar vial sticking out of one of the glasses. Her catlike grin resurfaced at the sight of the familiar item. She fished it out of the drink and slid the vial down the front of her dress. She patted it, making certain it was affixed snugly in her brassier, before returning to the battle.
Battery had finally snared D'Amour by the back of his pants as the captain lay sprawled across the table on his stomach, crying at the top of his lungs as a multitude of the glasses were knocked over and their contents lost forever.
As amusing as watching D'Amour being beaten to death would be, survival took precedence over entertainment, and Lao's chances at the former went up significantly without the presence of the hulking brute.
With his back to her, and her existence momentarily forgotten in the heat of battle, the large man presented Lao with an ideal target. She was quick to take advantage of the situation by attempting a finishing maneuver. Lighting fast, her hands darted out, striking identical pressure points on the sides of her foe's unprotected neck.
The blows were on target and the technique effective as Lao altered the blood flow to the Battery's brain. He had a moment to grasp at his head, before he spun, his eyes rolling in the back of his skull. He crashed to the floor, his chin shattering the wooden floor.
Lao placed her hands on her hips, taking a moment to revel in delight at her handiwork. And better yet, she would have a chance to finish off D'Amour personally. It was turning into the perfect evening.
And then something hard connected with the back of Lao's head. The blow stunned her and sent her reeling backward. A part of her combat-honed mind realized she was fortunate her skull hadn't been caved in by the strike. She had fallen into the same trap Battery had in forgetting her surroundings in favor of punishing D'Amour. Damn that man for being such a distraction.
She had just a glimpse of the rotund Wei Lo, moving with surprising speed for a man of his bulk. In his hands he held a something akin to a mace on the end of a golden pole, one of the weapons that had been decorating a wall for ornamentation. While it was obviously designed for aesthetics rather than combat, it served effectively enough to batter the unarmed Lao.
He swung the weapon again. Lao had enough of her wits to bring her arm up and partially block the blow. Unfortunately for her, Lo put his weight behind the swing, and powered his way through her defenses, rendering her arm nearly useless and sending her further away.
"I shall become famous… for killing the invincible pirate… queen of the… seven seas," Lo wheezed out between gasps for air as his face turned red from more physical exertion in a handful of moments than he had managed all year.
Somewhere in her reeling mind, Lao cursed at this humiliation. It appeared Lo's prophecy would come true, assuming his cholesterol didn't drop him first.
He swung the weapon back again. Lao brought her good arm up and attempted to turn her injured side away from the swing. Lo outsmarted her, however, as he jabbed forward with the weapon. Its blunt head buried itself in her gut, shoving her back and winding her once again.
Lao's combat senses wondered why the fat man would go for the change in attacks when his swings had been far more effective and damaging. She discovered the reason as her back met one of the tall windows that lined the outer wall of the restaurant. The force from Lo's blow was enough for the pirate's body to shatter the glass as she fell backward. Momentum and gravity conspired to draw her out of the building. Her uninjured hand lashed out, fingertips barely catching the edge of the window frame. Luck was with her as the glass in that spot had been totally knocked out rather than having jagged remnants that would have sliced through the skin and muscle of her hand like a knife. She was only able to hold on for a second, barely arresting most of her momentum, before her grasping fingers slipped from their precarious hold and she continued to fall.
Her body was perpendicular to the ground as she started to plummet feet first toward the street far below. She tried catching onto the ledge below the window, but her hand slid across the concrete, unable to find purchase.
And then there was no more ledge, and Lao began the inevitable plummet to her death. Her eyes darted downward toward the street below, where the people looked like ants scurrying back and forth. She knew that even with her considerable skills, she wouldn't be walking away from the fall. She didn't bother with any prayers before dying. Whatever else she might have been, she was above serving false platitudes or regrets. She knew what she was, and long ago decided to live with the consequences of her actions.
Her downward progress was stopped almost as quickly as it began as someone snared her upraised wrist and prevented her from falling. She gasped at the unexpected salvation.
Above her, a male voice said, "Hey there, Babe. Since I saved you, a little reciprocation might be in order. And believe me, honey, I know how you can repay—"
Lao looked upward.
D'Amour's lecherous grin reversed itself and became a frown. "Oh, it's you."
Lao couldn't believe her eyes. For the second time in the evening, her worst enemy had come to her rescue, this time unquestionably saving her life. While she was willing to believe the errant glass had been an accident, it seemed impossible that D'Amour's preventing her from plummeting to her death was one as well. Perhaps, for all of his vocal (very vocal) insults and protests, he was actually attracted to her, and that was his perverse way of showing affection for someone he felt he shouldn't be enamored with. She had heard of some men having difficulty admitting their interest in a woman, and hid behind their doubts with a shield of insults in an effort to keep themselves from becoming vulnerable. Could it be D'Amour was such a man? Yes, she was almost certain of it.
Lao stared upward, looking for some hint of adoration in his deep blue (and not altogether unappealing) eyes.
Then she felt D'Amour release his grip.
Lao's reflexes were fast enough that she managed to grab his wrist before she had a chance to fall. "What are you doing?" she cried out.
D'Amour wiggled his arm in an effort to loosen her hold. "Leggo, skank. I thought you were a good-looking chick I was going to rescue and would be recompensed with some hot and heavy sex. I didn't realize it was you."
"You can't let me fall to my death!" Lao protested. Especially since she hadn't killed him yet.
D'Amour continued wiggling his arm. "I think if I can shake you free, I'll manage it."
Desperately, Lao said, "I have the antidote."
D'Amour stopped trying to remove her from his arm, though there was a look of suspicion in his eyes that said this was only going to last for a second. "You're lying to save your bloated behind."
"I am not lying and my behind is not bloated!"
"You'd say anything to get me to pull you up."
Lao was worried he was about to change his mind. She could feel his body shifting. She said, "I swear upon my honor as a ship's captain that I am telling the truth."
"You're a pirate and a slaver."
"But I always keep my word, and deal harshly with those that don't. I have a reputation to uphold, and it is impeccable. Even you cannot deny that."
D'Amour openly considered the statement. His face shifted through a whole gamut of emotions each second. After a handful of moments, he settled on a look of surrender. With surprising strength, Lao felt his grip on her wrist return and she was hoisted up.
Rather than being gentlemanly placed back on her feet, D'Amour threw Lao roughly back into the building. The brusque nature of her 'salvation' caught her off guard, and she fell hard onto her stomach.
"Ah!" she cried out, rolling instantly onto her back. She reached into her dress and tried to locate the vial in its hiding place. Her fingers brushed against the tube, and she determined it was still intact. She tried to carefully remove it, but as the tube slid from its satin sheath, the glass, strained from the original fall, cracked open. Lao felt the liquid splash between her breasts and trickle down her body. She pulled her dress outward, hoping to keep the liquid from being absorbed by her garment.
"What is it?" D'Amour asked.
"The vial the antidote was in broke," she said.
"I knew you were lying," he spat.
"I am not lying!" Lao took a deep intake of breath. "There's still a significant portion of it laying on my body. If you…." For a moment, Lao considered how much her honor was worth to her. What she was about to suggest was easily the most repulsive act she had ever willingly engaged in. But D'Amour had saved her life. Still, if word got out of what she was about to suggest, it would be the most shameful thing she would ever have to live with, and shame was a concept Lao thought she had abandoned long ago.
The words came out slowly, as though someone was nudging her with a cattle prod to force them out. "If you lick it off my body, there might be enough to save you."
D'Amour stared at her. "Now I know why you became a slaver. You could never hook up with anyone using lame pick up lines like that."
"IT IS NOT AN ATTEMPT TO SEDUCE YOU!" Lao roared. She should have fallen to her death. It wouldn't have been so humiliating. "I am only suggesting this because honor demands it, otherwise I would be more than happy to watch you slowly die an agonizing death! Besides, it's your fault it broke in the first place! If you had set me down like a lady, instead of tossing me around like a sack of rice, the vial would not have broken!"
"Oh yeah! Well if you had a real set of knockers, instead of those saggy bags of flesh attached to your chest, the vial would never have broken either. So I say it's your fault."
It was taken every ounce of willpower Lao had ever possessed to keep from strangling the captain. He deserved death a thousand times over for his unforgiving insults. But it could only happen after she saved him.
"Well?" she prodded. The sooner she saved him, the sooner she could kill him.
D'Amour ran his hands through his hair in frustration. "I'm not sure it's worth it. People are going to think the wrong thing, and it'll ruin my reputation."
Every facial tic Lao ever had came storming out at once. "Your reputation is that of a loud-mouthed braggart, perpetual drunkard, obnoxious Casanova, and the worst captain of the worst ship that ever sailed the ocean."
"And imagine how much shittier it'll get if word gets out I slept with you. My reputation would be ruined forever. I'd never be able to live something like that down. I honestly think death would be preferable."
Lao sat up and was standing before D'Amour's in an instant, hands clutching his throat as she throttled him. "Many men would give their souls to sleep with me! Throughout the world, they whisper in the darkest corners of every bar and sea haunt of how no one has the courage to try to 'Tame the Tigeress', though their voices drip with desire that cannot be ignored! How dare you stand there and reject my offers of sexual contact with me as though the very concept is an affront to you!"
"What can I say? I got standards, Babe."
"Die!" her hands tightened on his throat.
Weakly, D'Amour pointed above her shoulder. "Behind… you."
"No one ever falls for that!"
A familiar sound reached Lao's ears as she was once again struck in the back of the head by Lo's weapon. Her hands slipped from D'Amour's neck as she fell to the ground, unconscious this time.
"Skanky and stupid. What a combination." D'Amour said to her semi-conscious form as he rubbed his neck, trying to return the flow of blood to it and remove the marks her fingertips had left digging into his flesh.
Lo brought back his weapon and swung it at D'Amour's head. The captain casually snatched it from the fat man's grasp.
"My back isn't turned to you," D'Amour said, insulted at the nature of the attack.
"Need any help over there?" Aki asked.
D'Amour noted Assault was pummeled into the floor like a giant tent peg and wouldn't be bothering anyone for some time. Aki didn't look the worse for wear for the fight. The large idiot had probably tried to hit her in the head. Like that would do any damage.
Lo stared at D'Amour in disbelief. "I don't understand. You should be dead, or at the very least in the throes of your death. You shouldn't have been in any condition to resist my attack."
D'Amour looked himself over. "Actually, I feel pretty damn great." He went over to a nearby mirror and posed a few times.
Aki appeared vexed at her captain's condition. She said to Lo, "Hey, I thought you said you poisoned him."
"I did. I poured the poison in the drink myself. It was in both of the specially marked glasses he drank," Lo responded.
"Maybe you used a different kind of poison. One that takes longer to have an effect?" Aki asked hopefully.
Lo shook his head. "I only had one kind of poison. By now it should have caused him internal bleeding as it ate through the walls of his liver."
"Wait a minute. You used a poison that affects the liver?" Aki asked.
"Yes, it's one of the most lethal, exotic varieties I could find, while having an antidote and the time to administer it. I can't very well threaten to poison someone if it kills them immediately."
Aki punched Lo in the face, breaking his nose and rendering him unconscious. "Baka! He's been poisoning his liver with gallons of alcohol every day for years. If that hasn't destroyed it by now, nothing can!" She kicked his unconscious form in the side. "That's what you get for getting my hopes up like that, jerk."
D'Amour bent down and extracted the bottle of ashes from Lo's fallen form. He then moved over to the broken window, opened the top of the container, and threw the ashes out. They caught the breeze and sailed on the wind.
The captain waved at the ashes. "You were cooped up in there for way too long. Enjoy your freedom."
Seeing his employer and his chief bodyguards fallen, one of the staff decided escape would be a good idea and unlocked the doors to the restaurant, allowing the panicked masses to flee.
Once the crowds filtered out, D'Amour looked over the evacuated scene of devastation. "Now this was one hell of a party." He grabbed a bottle of liquor that had survived the destruction and took a swig from it.
Lao, now somewhat recovered, moved shakily toward the captain. "I heard what he said. It appears you don't need the antidote after all."
D'Amour waved the bottle at her. "This is the only antidote I'll ever need."
"Typical," Lao snorted.
The captain smiled so that his teeth gleamed. "Well, Madame Lao, it appears I have once again evaded your inept attempt to seduce me. I know, I know. Regardless of what your mouth says, you're secretly attracted to me, like so many other women I've come into contact with over the years. However, let me assure you that while I am attracted to them, I have no interest whatsoever in you. So go ahead and keep on kidnapping people, since they're the only ones you can force to have sex with you."
Lao shot him a look that would have rendered a less oblivious person dead. "I am allowing you to leave here alive."
"You really don't have to," Aki threw in.
"No. I do, or I wouldn't be doing it," Lao assured her. She returned her attention to the captain. "We are now even. The next time we meet, I will see to it you suffer ten times the humiliation I have on this day."
"In the name of God, woman, how many times must I keep telling you I'm not going to sleep with you no matter what."
"LEAVE NOW OR DIE!" she roared.
"Fine." D'Amour headed for the exit, snagging a number of bottles and holding them like a bundle of firewood. Aki stayed close behind, a mournful look on her face and her shoulders slumped in defeat.
Aki began to slowly cry. She had been so close to losing him this time, too. Maybe it was time to take up alcoholism as a hobby. It was the only way to deal with the misery in her life that no one could remove from it.
[END NOTES] Indiana Jones, eat your heart out. ^_^
Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed. Oh yeah, and Jim Bader created Madame Lao, not I.