Prompt/Prompter: Declawed_gecko (angeluscado at TTH) wished for a CSI/BtVS crossover where Dawn and Greg meet in a bar (shippy or non-shippy). "Wish granted!"
Warnings: Light language, violence, barely edited, kinda goofy...
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or CSI. Written for fun, not profit.
Author's Note: CSI setting season 7, Buffy setting post-finale. By my guestimate, Dawn is 19, edging into 20. Greg is a perpetual child ;) I didn't write this one, it wrote itself—I swear, it was supposed to be a 500 word witty encounter, but Dawn and Greg just had to get themselves into trouble…
"L'Eggo My Gr'Eggo"
Dawn Summers was badass.
At least, that's what she told herself when she walked into Cluckershack's, a shady hole-in-the-wall bar bearing a permanent sign that said "Members' Night"—aka, "Demons Only" for those in-the-know—and directly deposited in what every vacationer knew to be "the bad side" of Las Vegas. South. Off the strip. Away from the populace and the gamblers. Dawn half expected to be handed an "Easy Target" t-shirt when she stepped into the realm of numbered and lettered streets, just beyond the cheap façade of neon grandeur. But, despite her misgivings, she'd ventured on. Which is where the badass-ery of it all came into play.
As soon as she shoulder past the hulking loner leaving the bar, a half breed she couldn't identify, despite her thorough Council education, the smell of cigarettes, hard liquor, and spilled blood slapped her across the face and told her to go crying home to big sis.
Instead of turning tail, she lifted her narrow chin a little higher, pretended she wasn't wobbling in her Doc Martens—while kinda thanking every god she could name that she'd heeded Spike's old "heels make you a Happy Meal" speech he'd given her when she was fifteen and smitten with Buffy's stilettos—and pretended she wasn't bothered by the half dozen or so other patrons staring her down. Because, okay, she'd seen most of the bad the world had to offer, sure, but Dawn would never be able to stride confidently into a demon infested nest without something akin to the jitters.
Dawn took a breath, heaved her carry-on-sized purse more securely onto her shoulder, and zoomed in on a seat at the counter. A good position, putting her at an easy angle to survey the rest of the floor and close to what she really hoped was the back exit and not a private kitten gambling room. With a little trepidation, she nodded at the only other demon sitting on a stool, a massive Skench with a long straw sticking out of his round, gaping orifice. He gurgled in response. Shadowy eyes moved over her, but were uninterested a moment later.
"Oh, thank you, Will," she muttered, giving a crooked smile.
The pheromones were working. It was a little something her favorite super-witch had cooked for the girls to try out when going "undercover." The main ingredient was harvested from the rare female Cookalook demon, and the clear liquid gave off a scent undetectable to humans but repugnant to other demons (who weren't male Cookalook demons—Dawn was so happy it wasn't mating season for the species). She watched the massive Skench shift his weight, moving another seat down, further from her. And her stench. A few seconds later, he got up to leave.
"Badass," Dawn confirmed, rather proudly.
Now to business: find the Gorans bragging about their new bone bowl.
She was told her "casual surveillance" lacked a certain, well, casualness, so she decided to go with the "I'm looking for someone" tactic, which, while not subtle, was more up her alley in the acting department. Dawn gave a nod to the game-face wearing vamp wiping dust out of tumblers behind the counter and let her gaze sweep the tables, and their occupants.
Two Torto demons were sitting near the back, looking cozy and chuckling over frothy concoctions of the deep-red variety. If the spiraling ram's horns protruding from their heads and scaled green skin wasn't proof of their species, the long-necked, black-haired heads sticking out of their torsos were dead-giveaways. Dawn shuttered when the two parasites/appendages started making with the PDA.
"That's just not right…"
Then her eyes fell on the group sitting at front and center. She'd almost ignored them at first, assuming they were some sort of human look-alikes, definitely not the Goran Clan members she was searching for. All three of them were dressed like truckers. Heavy clothes, flannel button-ups, blanketed vests, and base-ball caps. Basic enough. But then there was something strange about the way they moved. For starters, there were definitely voices drifting from their direction, but their lips remained closed. In fact, the more Dawn stared, the more rubbery their cheeks looked, the more glass-like their unblinking eyes appeared.
There was also the matter of their shirts moving, right at the chest, like short puffs of air were being released between the button holes.
"This isn't good."
And wasn't that just the way?
Get sent on a simple mission while on Christmas break because a pair of slayers got waylaid by a vampire fan-club, only to discover said-slayers have misidentified the demonic species. Because it all came together horribly well, why the slayers would have assumed it was a Goran who took the bowl. After all, Gorans were fairly humanoid looking from a distance and there was the constant power struggle amongst their demon factions—apparently, a bone bowl that could turn one type of bone into another type of bone was on their Amazon wishlist. Then there'd been the whole non-lethal decapitating thing. Signs all pointing toward the Goran demons.
The Goran, who were usually pretty open to negotiations, so long as their warring clans weren't involved. The Goran, who weren't really listed amongst the most dangerous of demons around. The Goran, who had giant, pointy friggin' ears ! Dawn growled. These were so not Goran, and she knew at least two slayers who were re-attending that Demon Identification seminar.
Defeated, Dawn released a sigh and asked for a beer. She really hated having to call for back-up. Trying not to look totally obvious in front of the vampire barkeep, she made a move for her cell phone, cursing under her breath, but before she could press in the usual 911 text, the main door opened, drawing the attention of the false-faced trio.
Dawn's eyes widened.
"Oh, this really isn't good."
Tires slowed to a stop a good block away from the scene. There was still plenty of room to reverse, cut his wheels, and drive back onto the main road. The road that would take him home. The road that led to him getting on a plane and making the hop-skip to his Christmas-sweater-clad awaiting family.
He was expected to show up, after all, if he didn't have to work, and, after the past few months he'd had, it had been more than easy for Greg to get the time off. In fact, the extra time off had been recommended. So, why wasn't he there, home? The real place?
Greg hummed a nervous little tune, strumming his fingers against the steering wheel, but, in this case, a bit of Marilyn Manson just didn't suffice. Finally, sucking in a breath for courage, he put the car in park, and opened the door.
His headlights cast a steady glow over the empty road in front of him. Greg tried not to think about the last time he'd stopped where he wasn't supposed to, about watching the gang try to beat a man to death, about killing a kid, about the smell of the hospital…
"Not the same," he reminded himself, shaking it off. "Not even the same place."
Somehow that didn't lift his spirits.
Greg wondered what Grissom would say about him wandering down a darkened street in the middle of the night. It was dangerous, frightening. Did it mean he had a death wish? Greg didn't think so. No, this wasn't about him. This was about the case. This was about following the evidence.
His cell phone buzzed in his pocket with a new message, no doubt reminding him that he was supposed to be packing for a weekend away. For a weekend eating pie and hearing Papa Olaf's greatest tales retold for the hundredth time.
But Greg just couldn't drop the thought nagging at the back of his mind, about the bone they'd processed a day ago. A finger bone, proximal phalange, stripped of flesh and covered in what appeared to be yellow bile. Only the bile had turned out to be organic, but not human. Or canine. Or anything they else could identify. With nothing else to work with, other cases, more urgent than a lone bone and a strange substance, had been assigned. Rightly so. Only…There had been this one other thing Greg had found. Of course, there was plenty of trash down the alleyway, too much to be relevant, but this one strip of flesh-toned latex had caught him off guard. It had been thick, torn, shaped almost like a nose.
It probably meant nothing. Still, Greg had checked it out, found adhesive on one side, the kind used to glue masks and special effect pieces onto human skin. And, more importantly, it had been splattered with the same strange bile. Somehow, the latex was related to the bone.
Surely, they'd missed something else at the drop scene.
If not, it certainly wouldn't hurt to give the place another look-over before heading out. He pulled his flashlight from the floorboard, and shut his door behind him, fully aware that his engine was still running in a bad part of town, known for car-jacking. That inkling of fear left over from his attack wouldn't let him lock up the vehicle behind him, though—he might have to leave, and in a hurry.
Greg stopped at the entrance to the alleyway, shining his light down it. Not a soul remained in the open, and he kept a cautious eye on the lone dumpster. The finger bone had been found about twelve feet away, the latex further down.
He was halfway down the alleyway, when he heard it, the sound of footsteps. Greg turned, casting his light back down the direction he'd come from. A passerby was stopped, side to the alley, and the beam of light.
Greg squinted at the figure, but hesitated to call out. Something about the shape was…wrong.
"This is not good," Greg whispered.
For starters, the person, man, his mind corrected, looked hunched forward, and was holding something oval in his arms. It wasn't until he turned, that Greg realized what was off about him.
"Wrong place. Wrong time," the stranger growled, dropping the plastic head in his hands. Only, the voice didn't come from his mouth, but his chest.
Greg froze, his flashlight quaking with his hand. "This really isn't good."
In retrospect, the missing-a-head part should have been a lot more obvious.
Dawn was never, ever, upon pain of death, going to tell her sister she'd dropped the stake. Not that she'd been going for the stake. The purse was entirely too large, and the bigger the dagger, the more likely it was to sink to the bottom. The stake had simply slipped out while she fumbled.
Thankfully, the vampire barkeep had given it one wide-eyed look and ran out the back door. It wasn't the first time she'd been mistaken for a slayer. Dawn didn't have time to breath a "one down" though, because, there was still the little matter of the Blemmyes demon hauling in the evening's main course.
"Tasty," one growled, in case Dawn had any doubt of what they had planned for the man.
Blemmyes. Three in disguise and the newbie made four. As if the new arrival had rung a dinner bell, the group at the table stood, hissing chuckles blowing out of their shirts, and stripped off their masks. That is to say, heads. They lifted them off, the latex tips of the neck stretching as it popped free from the flat muscle of their shoulders, and slammed them down onto the table like emptied brewskies. They stripped their buttons down, displaying the wide, distorted faces across their breast. Hungry eyes hung above, wide flared noses, and toothy mouths stretched from nipple to nipple.
It had to be Blemmyes, Dawn decided, because of course she'd run into a group of near-extinct demons who were supposed to be living it up in northern Africa. She wouldn't be Dawn Summers if an easy mission actually turned out easy, now would she?
Dawn sent the text, knowing it would arrive too late to be of any use, and pulled the foot-long dagger from its leather sheath. "Heads up," no pun intended, "there's a handful of slayers," two, "on their way," an hour out. Dawn raised her chin, and added, "Do yourself a favor and drop him."
Okay, that worked almost never, Dawn knew, but it did help with the distraction, and boy, did the poor guy shoved into the demon's arm pit need the distraction.
The laughter woke Greg from his dazed, half-conscious state. He blinked, wincing at the suddenly bright light of the bar, the steady stream of blood flowing from his hairline reminding him of why his vision wasn't exactly to be trusted. The situation came back to him in a rush, and he struggled against the muscular arm holding him low and cutting off his air supply. It didn't do any good.
His feet tripped uselessly over the doorway, not letting him stand up fully, and he put his efforts into clenching on to the creature—because people had heads, damn it—in some last ditch effort to work himself loose from the choke-hold.
"Tasty," something hissed.
The chuckles continued. From more than one…There was more than one. Greg's shallow breaths quickened in panic. No, no, no, please…But he couldn't manage to sputter out the manic mantra.
"Heads up—" A voice broke through, feminine, distant, but he couldn't lift his head to see if it had come from one of the monsters. "There's a handful of slayers on their way. Do yourself a favor and drop him."
The creature holding him seemed surprised by the statement. Greg wasn't sure why, but that didn't stop him from taking advantage of the opportunity. With one last pull, he yanked its forearm down enough to slip out. His balance betrayed him instantly, and he tripped back, footing lost, and slammed against the floor.
Someone, two someones, stepped over him and out the front door. Two someones with horns and scales. Greg groaned, cradling his throbbing head with one hand. Hallucinating, he told himself. He'd been exposed to some sort of hallucinogen in the alleyway and attacked. Drugs and a head wound explained the—
Greg scrambled out of the way before one of the headless monsters could tackle him, face-boob first. The flattened features glared at their missed prey, crooked teeth snapping and dripping yellow bile. Hallucination or not, someone was trying to kill him.
Greg reached back, his hands finding the feet of a spindly wooden chair, and he tilted it forward. Still on hands and knees, the creature lunged forward, aiming for his legs. One thrust shoved the back of the chair into the gaping mouth across its breast.
The monster convulsed, choking, and slapping its arms against the sides of the chair.
"Doesn't feel so good, does it?" Greg asked, sliding away. That line had sounded more badass when it was still in his fractured skull.
When he looked up, he realized he was in a bar, a nearly empty bar. There was another headless creature collapsed next to the chair-eater, manner of death unknown. A crash brought his eyes up, and he figured out where the female voice had come from.
A brunette was lying across a table, long legs raised and one foot lodged deep into the chest-mouth of one monster, the other boot trying to push the same creature off. She screeched something about new shoes at the monster.
Greg blinked, dizzy at the sight. Doc Martens are in again? Then he saw it, another one of the monsters picking itself up out of a pile of wood and approaching her from behind.
Greg decided it was better not to think too hard about his hallucinations.
He saw the glisten of metal on the floor beside the table, and dove for it. Eyes closed, he absently stabbed upward, catching flesh. Teeth grazed his forearm, but the promised bite never came. The creature fell over, the dagger still sticking out of the roof of its mouth.
Greg reached for the edge of the table and hauled himself up. The brunette smiled up at him, her cheeks flushed, hair spread around her head. God, he was happy she had a head, and it was a pretty one, too. He returned the smile, knowing it probably looked more under-the-influence than charming.
"Mind helping me get this demon off my foot?"
Greg blinked at the standing monster. It was still, slouched forward, as if dead. Greg gave it a hard shove, and it fell backwards, releasing her boot from its maul.
"Steel toe, huh?"
"Useful," she chirped. She pushed herself up onto her elbows, huffing at the effort, and shook her head at the slick layer of yellow goo dripping off her shoe. "Very Eugene Tooms," she noted, with disgust.
Greg raised a brow. "You watch The X-Files?"
"Pretty much lived it. Minus the aliens."
Now he was sure his grin was more goofy than charming. "I'm Greg. You're perfect."
"Thanks." She smiled back. "But you can call me Dawn."
"The sink hole?"
"The very same. Though, it wasn't a sink hole while I was living there." Dawn pressed a napkin against his head wound and pushed the beer forward. "I'm pretty sure doctors advise against this." She shrugged. "Oh well. If you pass out, I'll just push you out of my speeding car while I drive by an ER."
Greg put his weight against the bar to steady himself, and held his hand up over hers to take the makeshift bandage. "That's neat—the sink hole thing, not the dump and run thing. I'm from San Gabriel, originally."
Dawn tried to fight off the huge smile threatening the break her face. If Buffy picked up guys while slaying evil, it was cool for her to do it, too, right? "I'm currently going to Stanford, so I'm still a Californian, I suppose. This is my first time visiting Vegas on my own." Dawn stared at him through her lashes. "Too bad I haven't had a chance to see much of it yet."
He sat up a little straighter. "I know everything."
She raised a brow.
Greg shook his head. "I mean, about Vegas. I'm even thinking about writing a book about the shady underbelly…" His words trailed off as he surveyed the trashed bar. "You know, this might deserve its own chapter."
Dawn hopped off her bar stool. "Well, then, it's official: you're going to show me the town."
"Umm, nice idea in theory but…" Greg frowned, staring at the pile of headless corpses. "What about…? I mean, I work with the police, so, it's kind of standard for me to report this kind of thing."
Dawn cocked her head. "And you'd say what exactly? That demons tried to eat you? Now, wouldn't it be more fun to leave that to the experts?"
She tugged at his hand, pulling him from his seat. Let the slayers do the clean up…and find the bowl lodged in Blemmyes demon #3's throat. "Come on, Greggo. I've got Sin City to explore, and I need a buddy."
Dawn stepped close to him, holding his gaze. "Do you trust me?"
"I just met you," Greg said, and smirked, looking dazed by the thought alone. "But my head-wound is working in your favor."
"That's what I like to hear."