Title: The Case of the Kidnapped Cutie: Starlet Fever

Author: Sami

Email: Zgirlaz11aol.com

Summary: Gwen saves a damsel in distress.

Notes: Set in the 'Birthday' verse.

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Gwen turned away from the window and back toward the mirror. It was Sunday and following a Tokyo tradition, she was completely decked out. Wearing a kimono of red silk woven with a thunderstorm scene and tied with a blue obi, she was quite the dish. She fiddled with the blue chopsticks in her bun before grabbing her silk pouch, which she put in her obi, and walked out the door.

She was closing the door when a skinny specimen of a man said slowly in Japanese,

"Hello, are you Gwen Raiden?" He had a greasy voice and a thick accent.

"Yeah, and you are?" She asked in English to give the poor man a break. Gwen really hoped this wouldn't take long. She was already late for her meeting at the Tanaka Teahouse. When he pulled out a piece and started firing. Upon reflection she ought to have figured something was up when a shabby white Chicagoan on her doorstep knew her name. She saw the bullet leave and felt the electricity rush through her. It flowed through every capillary from head to toe before flying from her fingertips into the gunman. The lightening hit the bullet on the way to his chest. Both man and molten metal hit the floor with a plop. Gwen was thankful that she left her gloves in her obi.

She bent over the guy and gave him a jolt to start him up again. She pulled her pouch from her obi and pulled on her blue gloves. She didn't worry about the gunshots attracting police. She lived in a condo building filled with Tokyo's more shady citizens. The police had already learned to stay away.

Gwen pressed the tip of her blue high heels into his throat. He struggled but was weak as a kitten from the jolt. She just pressed the heel harder.

"Who sent you?" She asked.

"What the hell are you?" He was scared, she thought, good.

"I'm a freak who is pissed off and currently late for a very important appointment. Who sent you?"

"Never tell," he rasped.

"You will," she sighed as she pulled off a glove and let sparks dance on her fingertips, "now."

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Gwen was now officially pissed off. Her apartment was being bugged, the Tokyo branch of Wolfram & Hart wanted her for one of their clients, they had tried to tranquilize her, and she was more than fashionably late for the meeting. She fumed as her rickshaw bumped its way to the Tanaka Teahouse. Gwen was too angry to appreciate the beauty of Tokyo. She loved Tokyo, day or night it didn't matter. But the only thing on her mind was where she was

going to move. She really liked her apartment and it had finally gotten homey.

Gwen paid the rickshaw and hopped out. She walked up to the front door of the Teahouse and let herself in. Ordinarily there would be hostesses or waitresses but the Tanaka provided the best privacy of any Teahouse in Tokyo. It was basically self-serve. She went into room four as agreed. She took off her shoes and closed the paper door. Gwen was relieved to find that

she was alone. She knelt at the low table and poured herself some sake from a waiting tray that contained sake and magazines. She was the most colorful thing in the room of cream hues and dark woods. She was sipping sake and reading a Japanese magazine when the door slid open.

Gwen noticed his shoes first, which he didn't take off, and his voice accented like a New Yorker turned California against its will but it was his mismatched face and body that drew attention. He was like Fatty Arbuckle's head on Clark Gable's body. He mumbled something about chairs before sitting cross-legged across from her. It was refreshing to her to find a Californian who could care less about culture.

"Ms. Raiden, please excuse me for being late. I have all the information in this file." He lifted up a briefcase and set it on the table before pulling out a manila envelope.

"There is contact info and everything you need. Just call me Bertie when you call." Bertie pushed the briefcase toward her. "Here's a third of your payment. You get the rest when the job is done."

Gwen nodded as she checked the briefcase. She was too used to secretive clients to be shocked by Bertie. Hell, she tried hard not to notice more than she needed to. She opened the file and drank sake while she read.

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Gwen usually didn't steal anything alive but with the money Bertie was throwing her way you just couldn't say no. She was on the train heading toward Kyoto. Where with some luck she would be able to steal back Cordelia Chase. Cordelia was the star of the hit show 'Cordy' which was ending this year. She had been kidnapped on the Kyoto set of 'Memoirs of a Geisha' where she was playing Mameha. Bertie knew about demons and the like and in the file he was sure that they were involved so he didn't go to the police. Gwen didn't blame him. They knew where Cordelia was; the problem was getting her out of the building. She looked over the plans of the building and she decided that while difficult, it wasn't impossible.

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It was early in the morning, early enough to still be dark out. She usually did her work at night but she wanted to be able to get a taxi or to the subway and just lost in the crowds. Her mind was calm just like it always was before a job and she mentally went over the blueprints and info. The building wasn't anything special. It looked just like every other skyscraper Gwen had seen. And like every other modern building it was easy for her to break into. She first knocked out the power by melting the cord and connecting it to the electrical system. Usually she wouldn't have destroyed it completely but Cordelia was in the basement. She didn't need any elevator. She wanted to be the only electricity in the building. She walked through the front door. The lobby was as bland as a dentist's office, navy carpeting, beige walls, and years old magazines on boring end tables next to boring chairs. The only thing of interest was a bronze mural behind the service desk. She pressed her back against a wall as rapidly shape-shifting demons ran passed. Gwen found an air conditioning control panel and jolted the second story's electric to confuse them more. She didn't think that it would hold them but she figured more chaos was a good thing.

The hall looked eerie by the light of the sparks in her palm and after seeing where the basement door was, which was marked basement personnel only, she let the sparks die. She walked in the dark with one hand on the wall so she could count the five doors that lead to the basement. Gwen easily blended into the darkness with her black vinyl cat suit on. She had grown so adept at wearing them that she made no noise. Her hair was in a tight bun with lock picks sticking out of it. She pulled a pick from the batch and knelt in front of the doorknob. She had to hurry. Soon they would figure out what was going on.

She cursed inwardly. Lock picking wasn't something she was very good at. She inserted the pick into the keyhole and hoped that she was jiggling it right. The pick made soft scratching sounds but not the click that opened the door. She pulled another one from her bun and slid it inside the lock. She worked both of them for around a minute before the bolt clicked.

She stood and opened the door. Looking around for an electrical outlet with a little spark for illumination she put the picks back in place. She found the outlet and pressed her palm against it and lit up every other floor for five minutes. She kept an ear out for anyone or anything. She was worried that Cordelia might be someplace else. She bit her lip and thought before deciding to take a chance. She lit up the basement with enough juice for a few minutes. She was rewarded with a familiar feminine yell.

"Is anyone there? Hello!"

Gwen ran down the stairs. Cordelia was tied to a chair and blindfolded. The basement was filled with boxes and old office equipment.

"Don't worry, Ms. Chase, I'm here to rescue you," She said as she crouched down to untie Cordelia's hands and feet. She murmured comforting nonsense as she struggled to get her free. The knots were complicated and she had to burn a few of them. Cordelia stood up and pulled off her own blindfold.

"Now, we have to get you out of here. You don't know any way to get out of here without going through lobby do you?"

Cordelia shook her head looking fairly ill and scared.

Gwen shrugged and said, "Yeah, I didn't think so. Well, prepare for the hard way out."

She almost grabbed the other woman's hand as they ran up the stairs when she

almost tripped.

"The lights will go off soon. Don't be worried but if you want to cling or anything be sure not to touch my bare skin." Cordelia nodded. They walked up the stairs and the lights went out. She opened the door and flashed some sparks to make sure the coast was clear. Her respect for Cordelia went up when the woman didn't gasp or run. They tip toed down the hall. Everything

was quiet even the sound of their breathing was muted. She didn't trust it. They were walking into a trap and there was nothing to do but hope for the best. She mostly hoped that she could get Cordelia out the door before frying whom ever was waiting.

The hallway became lighter as they neared the lobby. She could see the bronze mural flickering in the weak morning sun. She could also see demon shaped shadows in it.

"Cordelia, when we get in the lobby. Run outside." Gwen told her in a calm voice. She was centering herself, the only useful thing that she got out of her teenage brushes with Wicca.

When they reached the lobby, Gwen already had a backup plan. There were around ten demons in the room. They were lavender colored and had dread-like tentacles on their bodies making them look like purple porcupines. She put out her hands and yelled, "Run!"

At her word Cordelia dashed towards the door and lightening rushed out of her hands and into the demons. She had long ago learned to detach herself from this so the sounds of demons hitting the floor and the smell of burning flesh didn't faze her. When the air cleared only one demon remained. He rushed toward her with a cry of despair. Gwen high kicked him in the head. He fell back but not far enough for her taste. He punched her stomach and received a jolt for his trouble when his fist melted a hole in her cat suit. She now noticed that her boot had lost most of its sole. She cursed and kicked him over the desk before screaming from the pain. He grabbed a chair and threw it at her. She was hit in the shoulder and fell to the ground.

Reaching toward the mural, she let lose a torrent of lightening. The demon flew back and hit the now burning mural. He seemed to howl for eternity.

Gwen staggered out of the building where surprisingly no police were, just Cordelia who looked rather concerned and vaguely guilty. When Gwen looked down and saw the jagged hole in her cat suit and the sorry state the rest of it was in she didn't blame her. She decided that they couldn't blend into the crowd with her in this condition or with Cordelia looking like she was going to pass out. Gwen felt for the only pocket in her cat suit, where she kept some spare change. She cursed when she found that it had been ripped off during the fight.

"Hey, Cordelia, you got any change?" She asked before passing out.

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When she was coming to she noticed how cold it was and in trying to pull her blankets high above her head she came to an upsetting realization. Her eyes popped open. She was in a warm cream-colored room with white sofas and chairs. She hesitated in calling it a living room. Especially with the vampires and lawyers, your typical bloodsuckers, dressed in dark business attire and closed blank faces. She didn't bother trying to appear asleep. She wouldn't fool any

vampires.

That odd calm enveloped her and she took stock of her situation. She was on her back on a table with heavy iron chains attached to her ankles and wrists. Zapping wouldn't solve much since she would just burn herself and

still be chained. She noted with slight nausea that she had been bathed and dressed in a thin white linen nightie. How the hell they managed that was beyond her. Then she noticed that there was something square, light and metal attached to her chest.

She didn't worry about that, what she worried about was that she couldn't even spark. Usually when she got this annoyed there were at least some flickers and maybe some glow. She wondered what they did to her. Her calm

was now broken by fear.

The alive were watching the dead in the room vigilantly and the dead, obviously enjoying it, flashed some fang every so often. They weren't all quiet but neither were they loud. A solemn quiet entombed the room or at least on the vampire side.

The door opened and in walked various people and Cordelia who was distinguished by being the prettiest and the only other white person in this Japanese assembly. They too were in dark uniform and Cordelia was looking especially lovely in her little black dress with her dark hair up in a tight bun. Gwen smiled grimly, so she had been walking into a trap after all. She felt satisfaction when she saw the bags under Cordelia's eyes. She really hoped

that bitched paid.

There was bowing all around. One of the newcomers, who was obviously the leader, said in Japanese, "Welcome all! We are all here to witness the joyous ascension of Miura Ichiro! With this sacrifice the Goddess Michizono will make him wholly demon! Prepare the sacrifice! Now as previously agreed on, we from Wolfram & Hart will go behind a magical shield that only absorbs electricity! Nothing more!"

Now Gwen was getting little more than upset. She concentrated on something small like the Wolfram & Hart leader's audible use of exclamation points. And his smiling mouth and his eyes that made Antartica seem warm. Now she was calm again. With that calm came the realization that it had to be the metal square that was messing with her electricity. She didn't smell any new or usual odors that went hand in hand with magic nor was there any paint on her. More would have dawned on her if some vampires weren't rubbing cold oil on to her chest and painfully pulling off the square. Her theory was proven when she started to spark. It had been the square. She would

really want to be keeping that after she escaped.

"Miura Ichiro! Miura Ichiro! Miura Ichiro!" The vampires chanted when a hunchbacked and hideously skeletal thing walked in. He had claws and a skull like face. She assumed it was a vampire, a very old vampire. He looked pleased but it could have been how his wrinkles always looked. Miura Ichiro walked up to the table and walked around it three times muttering something. He took a claw and ran it across her chest. Gwen grimaced and looked away into the eyes of Cordelia Chase, who was looking aloof but her eyes gave away her guilt. Gwen was glad for the guilt but neither that nor her pretty face would stop Gwen from getting some pay back. The oil stung her fresh cut but she didn't look at it. She didn't want to see Miura Ichiro licking her blood.

"I am purified! Goddess Michizono, hear my cry. I have worship and honored you for scores of centuries. Pray fulfill my lowly wish. Lightening in the blood, oil on her heart, and it all in me! Lightening in the blood, oil on her heart, and it all in me! Goddess Michizono, hear my cry! Hear my cry! The thunder shall make you see! Hear my cry!"

Oily black smoke filled the room. A small dark Japanese woman walked out of gloom. Her eyes were a shining white that looked odd in contrast with her dark face. She looked like a Geisha in reverse. She was coming for Gwen. Michizono had heard Miura Ichiro's cry. Michizono lifted her hand and the chains broke. If Michizono wanted lightening then she was going to get it. Miura Ichiro stood rigidly and that's when Gwen struck. She pressed her palm against his back and pushed as much electricity as she could into him. It was such a warm beautiful feeling. She loved it when she could let it all loose. Michizono looked calmly on. When the electricity ran out she pushed him toward the goddess.

The ensuing blast blinded her and she fell flat back against the table covering her eyes. When she couldn't see her arm bone anymore she removed her arms and sat up. The vampires looked quite distraught and the lawyers

took it all in stride. Michizono and Muira Ichiro were gone and everything was painfully dark. Gwen recovered her electricity stores and sparks appeared on her fingertips. She got off the table and hoped that her knees

wouldn't buckle.

"I'm going home right now. Don't try to stop me." She walked to the door and before leaving she glanced at Cordelia. "I'll be seeing you, Cordy." She wished she could have been more dramatic or witty but she was too damn

tired.

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Gwen was lying on her new sofa watching TV in her new apartment two months after she 'rescued' Cordelia Chase. Her new apartment still didn't feel like home and the wound on her stomach was now a big scab but she was feeling alright. She had gone with a red color scheme for this apartment and it was blinding. She liked it. The doorbell rang and with a groan she stood up and walked to the door. Cordelia Chase was on the other side of it. Her hair was loose about her shoulders and she was wearing an expensive looking knee length blue dress. She had a tiny black box. She looked nice and really guilty.

"Hey, I know that you want to kill me and everything and I don't blame you. But I think that you should at least hear my motives and have this." She handed Gwen the box.

"So, what you want to get married?"

Cordelia smiled, "I don't think its legal here. I didn't know that any people would be hurt until I signed the paper."

"Why did you sign it? Your 'Cordy', America's Sweetheart." Gwen asked as she fiddled with the box trying to open it.

"Do you know how hard it is to get over a show like 'Cordy'? I could get a job and Wolfram & Hart helped me and guaranteed that I'd always be a household name."

She opened the box and there inside was the light, metal square.

"That's called LISA. They used it on you." Cordelia said and waited a second before continuing, "I thought that you would want it. Well, bye."

Gwen knew that it was LISA and not Cordelia's almost apology that made her not want to kill her. She didn'twatch Cordelia walk away and she only looked up when Cordelia yelled,"Please, don't tell anyone about all of this." She waved before going inside.

Gwen could have kissed that Hollywood bitch if she hadn't ran off. She put LISA on her chest and tried to spark without success. Scratch that, she thought, she would fuck her. It was that good.