Title: Trail Of The Pbuffalo
Author: Beer Good
Word Count: 760
Characters: Dawn, Faith, Vi, Rona, Giles
Summary: Post-series. Just a small interlude from the everyday life of a couple of monster fighters. As the new Slayers start to get more slayage experience, it's time to fill them in on some crucial but little-known history concerning Slayers, demons, certain urban legends, and just how the hell the Council made its fortune.
Trail Of The Pbuffalo
Of course, the rumours of a demon invasion in a small town in Kentucky turned out to be false - or not exactly false, but one rather mangy vampire versus half a dozen Slayers really wasn't much of a fight, even if most of them were new at this. After the long roadtrip, it's a little frustrating – especially when the bus breaks down right afterwards.
Still, at least the local diner turned out to be nice. The pie was excellent, the waitress called them "hon", the jukebox played something by Tammy Wynette, and it still had the original 1970s furniture. They ate in silence while waiting for Giles to get back from the repair shop.
"I wonder how many naugas had to die to for this," Vi said as she ran her hand over the booth's shiny not-really-leather upholstery.
"What?" Rona, who had spent the whole trip doing her best Vasquez-in-Aliens impersonation but had been moodily quiet ever since they took down the poor vamp in 2.4 seconds flat, stirred her coffee impatiently.
"I-I said... nevermind. It was just a dumb joke." Vi pretended to show interest in the menu for a few seconds, then abruptly continued. "I just meant that these are Naugahyde booths, and I know it's just fake leather but there's this old joke that it's really from some animal called the nauga, and so I asked how many -"
"Four," Dawn interrupted.
"It takes about four of them to cover a booth this size." Dawn discreetly elbowed Faith, who'd been staring at the ceiling for a while. "Right, Faith?"
"Huh?" Faith mentally rewound the conversation, then grinned, leaned into Vi's personal space and looked at her seat. "Oh, yeah. Definitely a four-skin job."
"Wha-wait. You're joking, right? There's no animal called -"
"Not an animal, obviously." Dawn put on her Wise And Patient Watcher (In Training) voice. "The Naugh'xa is a demon. Lives in packs, feeds on people's dreams by making them sleep a little better, usually harmless but dangerous if provoked. Oh, and obviously, has great skin." She patted the seat cushion for emphasis. "And since their skin keeps some of their power, they're great for creating a relaxing environment."
The younger Slayers looked to Faith for denial, but she just grinned and nodded.
"But..." Vi did the math. Four skins in this booth, ten booths in this diner, one diner per every X thousand people throughout the US... "That would mean someone's..."
"...making a killing off it, yeah. How do you think the old Council got so rich, anyway?" Faith was starting to enjoy this. "Back in the old days, they used to send the Slayer out on Naugsa hunts a couple of times a year, then they took the skins and sold'em. I only did it once, didn't really feel like making money for someone else, plus skinning them is pretty disgusting. But B could probably tell you some stories."
"Yup." Dawn nodded thoughtfully. "Some of the old – and I'm talking really old – texts aren't even clear on whether you guys are supposed to be called Slayers or Flayers. Oh, by the way, remind me to ask Giles if we need to re-stock, feeding hundreds of Slayers isn't cheap..."
Before the newbies had a chance to do anything but stare in disbelief, the door opened and Giles walked in. "Right. Have you paid up? We need to -"
"Oh no," Faith interrupted him. "We slay, you pay, that's the deal, remember?"
"Um, Mr Giles?" Vi raised her hand. "Is it true that the Council used to send the Slayer out to hunt nauga demons and sell their skins to upholstery companies?"
"What? Of course not. Whatever gave you that -" Giles noticed Dawn blinking frantically at him. "Is there something the matter with your eye?"
"Uh, no. Nothing."
He got out his wallet and paid the waitress. "Good. Because it would be a pity if you were to use your new position to spread ridiculous urban legends. We have quite enough demons to deal with in the real world without introducing new ones. Now, if you're all finished..."
"What's the rush, yo?" Faith signalled the waitress for another cup of coffee. "If they fixed the bus, we might as well relax for another hour before hitting the road again."
"Well, that's precisely it. The problem with the bus was... a little out of the local mechanic's field of expertise."
"What do you mean?"
Giles looked slightly embarrassed. "It seems there's, um, a gremlin on the side of the bus."