Author: babies stole my dingo (agilebrit)
Rating: PG-13 for demon ass-kicking and assorted bad language from Spike.
Length: Short story (about 2500 words)
Disclaimer: Joss is the genius behind these characters; I am but a lowly follower. I make no money from any of this, so please don't sue me.
Written for: Estepheia's Friendship Ficathon. Ivytree2 requested Spike and Gunn, with two of these four elements: a library, a department store, spring (the season), a coffee bar.
They came around the end of the stacks in the public library near closing time and bumped into each other. "Spike!" "Charlie!" "What are you doing here?" they said simultaneously.
"Um, nothin', man," Gunn said, hastily hiding a DVD behind his back. "Pickin' up some entertainment is all. What've you got there?"
Spike, looking everywhere but at Gunn, also hid something behind his back. "A little reading material. Nothing the others need to know about."
Gunn relaxed and smiled a little. "Looks like we're both busted. Show me yours and I'll show you mine. We don't gotta tell anyone else."
Spike glanced over both shoulders, then shamefacedly showed Gunn his book. "I can't help writing the stuff. But what comes out of my pen would choke a Vogon, and I wanted to see if there's anything in here that'll help me improve it."
"'Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Poetry,'" Gunn read. "Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, right? I didn't know you were a poet."
"Not a good one," Spike muttered. "Angel knows. Silly bugger even said he liked my poems."
"Ouch. He likes Barry Manilow."
"Tell me about it. So, give. What've you got, Charlie-boy?"
"They put the songs in my head," Gunn said, showing Spike the DVD, "but I've never seen any of the operas. Thought I'd check one out."
"Pirates of Penzance. Good choice," Spike approved. "And now that we've proven to each other what absolute poofters we are, we should go out and kill something."
"I am secure in my manhood. But I wouldn't object to gettin' a little violence on. You got a line on anything? Some vamp nest needs takin' out? Uh, no offense."
Spike grinned. "None taken. Don't mind the odd spot of vamp-dusting myself. The graveyard's usually good for finding trouble."
"I'm in. Let's go."
Finding trouble in Los Angeles was never difficult. They decided to make it fun by leaning on each other drunkenly, passing a bottle in a brown paper bag back and forth, and singing opera off-key. In no time, they were surrounded by five large, male, sneering vampires - who were quite surprised when their "easy victims" dusted two of their number before they knew what hit them. The other three roared and attacked.
Spike ducked under one of them as it leaped at him, and it rolled over his back and hit the ground with a thud. He straightened just in time to meet a second vamp and ram a stake through its heart, then spun and sent his stake flying into the chest of his first adversary. He whirled around and saw Gunn's opponent turn to ash and blow away.
Spike wiped his hands on his jeans. "Well, that was a bit of a letdown."
"They were big, but not bright." Gunn sighed. "Man, what a bunch of losers."
A stranger, dressed in an obviously expensive business suit, stepped out from behind a mausoleum, applauding enthusiastically. "You two, on the other hand, are anything but losers," he said. "I haven't seen moves like that in a Vengeance Demon's age. Well done."
"Who the hell are you?" Gunn said.
"I need your help, Mr. Gunn. Isn't that what you do? Help the helpless?"
"You don't look all that helpless to me," Spike pointed out. "In your posh nancy-boy suit. Looks like you can afford to hire anyone to do whatever it is you need done."
The man lifted an eyebrow. "Can I hire you?"
"To do what?" Spike crossed his arms.
"I have a problem that you two are uniquely qualified to handle. Especially now that you're more inclined - " He nodded at Gunn. " - to work for people like me."
Spike sniffed. "Except you're not 'people,' so much, are you?"
"You know," Gunn said, "that smelling thing you vamps do is freaky, man."
"Useful, though. What's your deal, then, demon in disguise?"
"Have you heard of a group that calls themselves 'the Scourge'? Your boss had a run-in with them a few years back." Gunn shook his head, so the demon explained. "They're a group of pure-blood demons who hate half-breeds, think they should be eliminated because they dilute the gene pool. They're pretty fanatical. And they've got my wife and daughter. My wife is human; my daughter...isn't. And I don't know where else to go for help."
Spike and Gunn exchanged a look. Not their normal thing - but the wife was human, the daughter half-human, so...damsels in distress, right up their alley. "How do you know they haven't killed them already?" Gunn said.
He sighed. "I used to be one of them. Did some creative accounting, stuff like that. I thought I truly believed that mating with humans was horrible miscegenation. Then I met Marilyn."
Spike lifted an eyebrow. "True love conquered years of ingrained prejudice?"
"Oh, it didn't happen all at once. She was a demon-rights activist, but not a suck-up like a lot of them are. And she didn't take any crap either. She got right up in the face of one of the leaders once, and that's when I started respecting her." His eyes went dreamy for a second. "She's a spunky one."
"Not that the tale of you two lovebirds isn't riveting, man, but the question was 'how do you know they're not dead already,' not 'how did you two crazy kids meet?'" Gunn pointed out.
The well-dressed demon shook himself. "Oh, ah, sorry. They're using them as leverage. They want me to come back and work for them. If they just kill them right off, they don't have any way to persuade me to do that."
"Fair enough. Any idea where they're being held, and how many guards, all that good stuff?" Spike asked.
"I can show you that." He held out his hand. "I'm Melvin, by the way."
Gunn shook it with a speculative expression on his face. "Let's go by the office. I've got some stuff I might be able to do, legally."
"Aw, come on, Charlie," Spike protested. "Forget about all that law mumbo-jumbo. Let's kick some demon ass."
"No sense kicking demon ass if it gets the wife and daughter killed."
"Were you this boring before they stuck all that crap in your head?" Spike said grouchily.
Gunn clapped him on the shoulder. "Cheer up. They'll probably ignore it, and you'll get your chance to hit things anyway. This'll just buy us some time, probably."
They drove back to Wolfram and Hart in Gunn's black Jaguar XJ12 ("Nice wheels," Spike commented), where Gunn drew up some paperwork. Spike paced around his office, complaining about the time it was taking. "A restraining order, a cease and desist, and an injunction," Gunn explained, dialing the phone on his desk. "Judge Burton? Charles Gunn with Wolfram and Hart. Yeah, I know it's after midnight; if it wasn't an emergency I wouldn't be calling you. Just giving you a head's-up that I'll be dropping by in a little while to get you to sign a few things for me."
After he hung up, Spike said, "He didn't sound happy."
"Too bad," Gunn replied. "He's one of our go-to guys when we need something signed with no questions asked. Good thing I haven't changed out of my suit yet; makes it look more respectable. Let's ride."
After the annoyed judge signed their papers in his bathrobe on his front porch, they rode out to the warehouse district. Clouds raced menacingly across the moon, and lightning flickered overhead. Spike, lighting a cigarette, cast an eye upward as they exited the Jag. "Think it's going to rain?"
"Hope not, man. They're in there?" Gunn said to Melvin.
Melvin swallowed. "They'll have five or six of them guarding Marilyn and Melanie. They won't be armed, because they don't think they need to be."
"No offense, Charlie," Spike said, "but I think your bits of paper might give them pause for about four seconds before they avalanche down on our heads. I'll hold them off while you get the wife and daughter out. Once they're safe, you get back in there and help. I've got a feeling they'll be somewhat tougher than the vamps were." He tossed his half-smoked cigarette away. "Let's do this."
They strode into the warehouse like they owned it, to be confronted by a leather-clad, green-horned demon, flanked by four others. A woman and a not-quite-human little girl hovered anxiously in the background. "That's Gripthurl," Melvin whispered, nodding at the head demon.
Gripthurl crossed his arms and shook his head. "Melvin, Melvin, Melvin. What are we going to do with you?"
"The question," Gunn said, stepping forward and thrusting the paperwork into the demon's hands, "is what we're going to do with you if you don't give up the man's wife and little girl."
Gripthurl leafed contemptuously through the legal documents. "Do you really expect us to abide by these ridiculous things?"
"You want to make an enemy of Wolfram and Hart, you go right ahead," Gunn said. "No skin off my nose either way."
"Oh, bugger this," Spike said, and waded into the demon minions, fists flying.
"Crap. Spike!" Gunn protested, while sidling around the melee towards Marilyn and Melanie and making shooing motions at them. They headed towards the back door.
"I'm all right. Ow! Get out! I'll be - oof - right behind you." The door opened to a lightning flash and a crash of thunder, too close for comfort, and rain began sluicing down from the sky.
Spike reflected that he'd possibly bitten off more than he could comfortably chew, at least all in one go, anyway. The demons were large and strong, and apparently correct about not needing weapons. A cut on his forehead leaked into his eye, blinding him temporarily, and he thought his nose (Always the nose, he thought) might be broken. Two demons grabbed an arm apiece, while a third began punching him. This didn't last long; using the two as leverage, he swung his legs up, kicked the one in the jaw, and backflipped over, twisting his arms out of their grasps. He hoped Charlie had gotten the girls gone.
A crossbow bolt whizzed past his shoulder and transfixed the demon in front of him, and Gunn's banshee yell told him that a reinforcement had arrived. Gripthurl and one of the remaining demons broke off from Spike to confront the new threat.
"Puny little lawyer man, you think you can urk!" Gripthurl's taunt was cut short by an arrow to his throat, and he was out. The other demon was upon Gunn before he could reload, swiping at him with its talons. That was all Spike had time to see before he was abruptly reminded that he had his own problems to deal with.
He met one demon's rush with a high spinning kick that connected with its head, knocking it back and putting him in position to deal with the other. A hard punch connected to his chest, and his own fist did some damage to the demon's nose. "Payback!" he snarled, before a shove sent him stumbling into the arms of the demon he'd just hit. It grabbed him around the torso in a bear hug and lifted him off the ground, while the second demon clawed his back.
Spike took advantage of the freedom the demon had left his arms and crooked his elbow around its throat. Right before his ribs gave way, he snapped its neck with a satisfying crack. It collapsed bonelessly to the ground, and he faced off with his last opponent. It roared and charged; he sidestepped and tripped it, landing with his knees on its back a microsecond later. In one motion, he grasped its horns and viciously twisted its head, and it lay still beneath him.
He hadn't forgotten Charlie, but he'd done all right on his own. Disheveled and breathing hard, but whole, he stood over his dead adversary and kicked it a couple of times just to be sure. "You okay, man?" he said.
"Right as rain," Spike answered. "Bit sore."
"Bit bloody, too." Gunn looked him up and down.
Spike lit a cigarette and raised a sardonic eyebrow. "I'm not the only one, Charlie-boy. I think we deserve a drink." He sucked the soothing smoke down into his lungs. "You see the accountant and his girls off?"
"Yeah. Told him I'd send him a bill. Let's find us a bar. I'll even buy the first round."
"I'm for that."
They walked out of the warehouse to find that the thunderstorm had intensified. They were soaked to the skin in about two seconds. "Oh, well, I guess this suit was toast anyway," Gunn grumped, making a run for the Jag.
"Hard to get blood out of Armani silk. You can afford it." Spike yanked the car door open, leaped inside, and slammed it shut behind him.
"Hey! No smoking in the Jag, man!" Gunn had moved with the same alacrity and was sitting in the driver's seat.
Spike took his cigarette out of his mouth and looked at it mournfully. "Rain put it out anyway. Bugger all. Find us a bar, Charlie."
"I know just the place," Gunn assured him. Twenty minutes later, they pulled up in front of a neon-lit building not far from Wolfram and Hart - just as the lights went out.
"What the bloody hell...?"
They got out of the Jag and walked up to the door. The bouncer stopped them, one hand in the air, keeping them out in the rain. "Sorry, guys. Closed for the night."
"Closed?" Gunn looked at his watch. Two-oh-five AM. Crap. "Well, so much for that idea."
Spike's shoulders slumped as he stood there, soaking in the downpour. His eyes scanned the street, then his chin came up. "It'll have to do, Charlie. Coffee bar. Was hopin' for something a bit stronger, but any port in a - " He grimaced up at the sky. " - storm."
They trudged down the street and entered the all-night coffee bar. The barista gave them a gimlet eye as they looked at the menu, dripping on her floor, obviously having been in a fight. "What'll you have?" she asked dubiously.
"I'll have the biggest caramel mocha espresso you've got," Gunn said.
"Make that two," Spike added. "Can't get one kind of buzz, we'll have to settle for another, eh, Charlie?"
Gunn tipped her generously, and they sat at a tall table by the window and sipped their drinks. One side of Gunn's mouth turned up as he watched Spike. "You know your hair goes all curly when it's wet?"
"Yeah, well, yours...doesn't." Spike swallowed a mouthful of espresso. "This is sodding fantastic. Guess we scored one for the good guys tonight. Slapped the bad guys with a bit of habeus corpses."
Gunn groaned. "Dude, don't ever do that again. Bound to be something or other in that style book you got out of the library about horrible puns."
"Bound to be. Tonight? I don't care. Between getting my ass kicked and having my cigarette put out, I'm just happy we found anything at all to drink tonight."
Gunn raised his cup in a toast. "Here's to doing good, even if it leaves us bruised and bloody."
Spike tapped the edge of his cup on Gunn's. "I'll drink to that."
And they sat in companionable silence, watching the lightning play over the night city.