Summary: A person familiar to us all is harassed by drunken hoodlums in a bar. . .and gives them cause to regret it.

Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine, as they remain the property of their owners and/or creators.

Rating: PG-13, for violence and mild language.

Time Frame: Alternate universe, after the end of the third season.

Author's Note: This story is a follow-up to "The Unicorn and the Slayer," in which Buffy discovers that she is the daughter of Bleys, Prince of Amber.


EMERITUS


The bartender poured me a glass of Bayle's Best, and I waited a moment before taking a sip. I've never been a big fan of wine, but this had been recommended highly, and I found the taste pleasant.

I took a moment to examine my surroundings: my profession has caused me to adopt a certain amount of caution wherever I am, but my new instructor has chided me for being far too careless with my safety, and when drinking in an establishment known as "Bloody Al's", an excess of caution is never a bad idea. I saw a young couple at a corner table, giggling and flushed with the wonders of young love. There were a couple of men sitting alone at tables, clearly seeking the comfort of their cups without disturbance. Also, inevitably, there was a group of five ill-dressed hoodlums, clearly up to no good and not above bothering a young lady foolish enough to wander into this establishment.

Sure enough, one of the men wandered up to me and asked, "Can me and me friends buy you a drink, sweetie?" His words were almost lost in his drunken drawl, and his buddies broke into loud and boisterous laughter as they wandered over. I glanced at them, noting that they didn't seemed to be armed; at most, they might have a dagger or two hidden in their boots.

I gave them a dismissive glance and replied, "No thank you," and returned to my wine. I knew that that wouldn't be the end of it, and sure enough the first guy slammed his fist down onto the bar, knocking over two glasses and sending the other nearby patrons scurrying away. The bartender looked apologetic, but he clearly did not intend to intervene. I turned and glared at the drunken fool, whispering, "That was rude."

The drunk blinked; clearly, my glare had unnerved him a bit, but unfortunately his buddies weren't impressed. One of them laughed and commented, "Well, boys, this high and mighty lady seems to think she's too good for us. . .maybe we should teach her some manners of her own. . .coming in here all fancy and wearing high-faluting tokens of nobility." His eyes went to the clasp on my cloak: it was red and gold, and displayed an image of a phoenix along with a short phrase in Latin traced along its border. He reached out quickly and tore away the clasp, asking, "Now what do we have here? The sign of the phoenix, and some odd writing. . .now what could this mean?"

The sound of a barstool being pushed away distracted him and caused him to look up: he saw a diminutive blonde woman giving him a death stare, and heard her whisper, "What it means is that you've seriously pissed me off." I reached back and delivered a perfect uppercut, sending the irritating man flying ten feet through the air. He struck the far wall and was unconscious before he hit the floor.

The other four men circled me, wary at having seen my little display of temper, and it was a few seconds before one of them made a move, throwing a decent left jab. I slipped the punch and grasped his arm, snapping his wrist and sending him to the ground writhing in agony. The other three guys blinked at this, but they quickly recovered and all rushed me at once.

It had been months since I had been in an all out brawl like this one, and I was having a good time. The three guys who were left weren't as drunk as the other two, and they seemed to know what they were doing. I fought defensively, occasionally throwing a hard punch or kick that staggered one of them for a moment, but I passed up some opportunities to finish one of them off. . .no need to finish a good fight off this early.

I saw motion at the entrance of the bar: a dark-haired man of massive build and heavy beard walked in with a grin on his face. He spotted me, and his face clouded with concern as he started forward. I met his eyes and shook my head: he frowned at me, but complied, sitting down at a vacant table and observing the unfolding melee.

One of them got a lucky punch in: it didn't hurt me, but it did annoy me. It was time to end this. I gathered myself, then. . .one: I delivered a straight kick to the gut of the first guy to my left, causing him to fly back ten feet into a groaning heap. Two, I grasped the arm of the second guy as he tried a punch and threw him across the room into a table, which shattered and left him unconscious in its remains. Three, as the last one charged at me in a desperate rage, I delivered a spinning side kick to his jaw, stopping him in his tracks. He swayed for a long moment, then dropped to the floor, out like a light.

There was absolute silence on the room, and I walked over to the bartender. I pulled out a few gold coins and dropped them on the bar, commenting, "My apologies for the damage." I then turned away and walked over to the guy who had taken my clasp: he was coming around, and started in genuine fear when he saw me glaring down at him. I reached out and took the clasp from him, explaining, "The clasp is a gift from some good friends of mine from a shadow far from here. The inscription is Latin: it translates as "Senior Slayer." I smiled coldly at him and continued, "I came here recently to meet my father's family. . .and I've liked it so much that I'm sticking around." I grinned and concluded, "By the way, the next time you pick a fight with a young lady, you might want to make sure that she's not a member of the Royal Family of Amber." The thug's eyes rolled up as he lost consciousness again, and I dismissed him from my thoughts as I re-fastened my cloak and walked over to where the large man was giving me a disapproving look. I sat down and commented, "Good grief, Gérard, you'd think that you had just caught me storming the Courts of Chaos armed with a slingshot and a butter knife." I was still getting the hang of Thari, and I found it annoying that my side of conversations sounded more like something out of a Gwynneth Paltrow costume drama than how they would when I used to hang out with Willow and Xander. Not a problem, though. . .I would deal.

Gérard shook his head and sighed sadly, then replied, "Buffy, I promised your father that I would keep you out of trouble, and getting into bar fights at Bloody Al's is definitely trouble." He sighed again and replied, "None of your aunts used to get into this kind of trouble. . .well, maybe Deirdre occasionally, but that was a long time ago. You're not a vampire Slayer any more. . .can't you be. . .I don't know, more ladylike?"

I laughed out loud at that comment, then replied quietly, "I don't go looking for fights, Gérard, but I don't dodge them when they pop up, either. . .besides, those goons will spread the word around, and maybe a young woman who shows up here will be able to drink in peace from now on." I grinned at him and called over to the bartender, "Ale for my overly protective uncle, please, and bring me another glass of Bayle's Best." Gérard laughed at this, and the light reflecting from our glasses as we toasted to good fortune glinted off of my Slayer's clasp, reminding me of my past as I celebrated my future.





As always, comments are welcomed and desired.