Archive | September 2, 2016

The Hellmouth Job, Chapters 15 & 16 (A Leverage/Buffy Fanfic)

Part I
Part Ia
Part II
Part III
Chapters 7 & 8
Chapter 9 & 10
Chapters 11 & 12
Chapters 13 & 14

Fifteen: Next Chapter

The hotel suite was one of the nicest in Sunnydale. It still felt crowded and uncomfortable. And it was made all the more uncomfortable by the way Tara was pacing.

“First, you can’t stay in a hotel, not here. You need a place that belongs to you. A threshold. A home.”

“A home? Hells no. we’re just here for a little operation — tell her, Nate! Tell her!” Hardison had been hanging garlic from the curtain rods since Eliot and Parker started on their way back.

“We could afford a house,” Nate answered slowly. “Or we could steal on. Tara, why is it we need a house?”

“Vampires. They can’t come over the threshold of a home. Hotels, motels, those don’t count as homes, though I did see a hobo once make his cardboard fort so nice it held off vampires.”

Nate studied her skeptically. “We’re buying a house because vampires can’t…”

“Can’t enter a home without an invitation, yes.” Tara raised one elegant eyebrow at him. “Sophie called me in because I’m your expert. Do you want me expertise?”

“She’s right, Nate.” Eliot had flopped into a chair and hadn’t moved or spoken since they returned. He hardly moved now. “Vampires have a very strict set of rules, and they can’t break them. Problem is, they can do just about anything else.”

“I think you should call off this whole operation.” Tara twisted to look at Sophie. “That girl… if she doesn’t want us here, we’re not going to get much done here. She made your earpiece, Eliot, Parker, and she could hear them.”

“I’ve been looking for the hack,” Hardison complained, “and I can’t find anything.”

“Didn’t you hear me?” Tara leaned forward. “She didn’t hack the comms — she heard them. She kills vampires, she can hear better than anyone has a right to… Eliot, would you say she was preternaturally strong?”

Eliot glowered. “She was strong,” he grumbled. “Even a vampire, it’s not easy to shove something through them — Parker could do it, but she’s Parker. I could do it, people like me could do it fine. That girl made it look easy.”

”Vampires,” Hardison complained. “Man, no. We fight con men. Cheats and big businesses. LIars and cover-uppers. This is… no. This is not what we do, man.”

Tara sat down next to Hardison, knees nearly touching him, leaning forward in earnest. “You help people who are up against forces larger than themselves. You help people ‘suffering under enormous weight’. You provide Leverage against things too big to move. Tell me, Hardison, one girl in all the world chosen to fight vampires until they kill her…. how does that not sound like an enormous weight?”

“That girl?” Eliot frowned. “She’s not old enough for black ops.”

“She’s not,” Tara agreed, “but you saw her. Did she look like she knew what she was doing?”

“She looked tired.” Elliot leaned forward, a frown growing. “She looked like she was bored. I’ve seen people get that look, usually just before they crack. She’s been killing for too long. She doesn’t count the deaths anymore.”

“She’s holding a weight,” Parker agreed. “So are her friends. And they didn’t buy our story at all. So… what do we do?”

Nate looked at his team. “We can pull out. Vampires—” he shook his head. “We haven’t gone up against vampires before. I didn’t know such a thing existed until today.” He looked over at Tara. “You seem to know something about them. You can serve as our expert in the field?”

That elicited a small smile from Tara. “You could definitely say that.”

“All right. So… I’m staying. What the rest of you do is up to you, but Hardison, if you’re staying, you might want to look into buying us a house. Sophie, Tara, she hasn’t met you yet, even if she’s heard you on the earpieces. I think we need to approach our friend a little differently. Eliot, Parker, we stick to the original plan.”

“And what will you be doing?” Sophie raised her eyebrows pointedly.

Nate stood up and stretched before reaching for his cane and a garish purple fedora. “Reconnaissance.”

Sixteen: Next Chapter

“And then she just bent over and staked the guy. While she was around his neck. How do I do that? Giles, show me how to do that.”

Giles coughed. “More importantly at the moment, how did she do it? And, while we are asking questions, why did she do it?”

“Well, I mean, vampire. She’d just seen me stake one, and I tossed her the stick. What else was she going to do?”

“That’s exactly it. Most people would run away, or cower, wouldn’t they?”

“Well, yeah, lots of people cower, but that’s not any fun.”

“So they can handle themselves. I think we may have to accept that they might also be ‘handling’ our missing students.”

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Meta-Conversation Part Five: Biology and History

You, the readers, asked Jaco of Lady Taisiya’s Fourth Husband some questions, and he’s already discussed someand then some moreand then he got upset… but you guys calmed him down. Now, it’s time for him to wrap up and go home to his lady:

Jaco takes his time looking at the final questions.

“The Treaty,” he says slowly, “they control everything. Everyone here — all the groups — signed the treaty. It was, um, a couple generations after landfall, and everything was getting, I dunno, all violent. Three times as many men as women, things get a little tense.” He jingles his chains demonstratively. “Hard to stab someone like this, though. So, chains.

“It’s not just chains. I think they’d dictate the number of eggs we could hatch if they thought we could get away with it, but the planet’s still too knew, and rich women are still going to end up with more eggs than poor women, no matter how many laws you try to put in place. I mean, regulate stuff too much, and then you end up with people incubating egglings in barns and caves, and trust me, that just turns into a mess.”

He looks back at the map for a moment. “We’ve been here ten generations. Where we came from… I don’t know. Some of the old books, they say something about The Company, or The Boyden Company. But none of them say where we were before. Maybe it’s because, well, they mixed us up to survive here, like something in a cake batter?” He shrugs eloquently and goes back to the cards.

“Okay, this one’s good. Who lays the egglings?” He shudders, just for show. “The ladies. I can’t imagine trying to… well, I can’t. And they carry the eggs for about a month and a half before they lay them.

“We’re all the same species, I guess, as far as I know. The raiders are, at least. I’ve seen some people that look really different, visitors, but I don’t know if they just look different, or if they’re some other things.” He snorts out something like a laugh. “Heck, they could even be real aliens. I wouldn’t know the difference.”

He spends some time looking at another question. “We can dream all we want. The thing is, what our brains do and what our bodies do, well—” he holds up his wrists with their chains. “When we’re kids, sometimes if a boy shows a lot of promise, they’ll encourage him — his fathers, his mother — to train for the military or the academy. You focus, you spend all your life on that, then, until you come of age and you see if that’s a route you can take — or if you’re going to end up in chains anyway.

“But the rest, it depends a lot on the wife. Some women don’t let their husbands out of the house at all. Most women, really. Some just let them go into town for errands, that sort of things. And there’s a couple out there who let their husbands — especially their first and second husbands — even pick up a career outside the house, if there’s someone at home to pick up the housework and the child-care.” He smiles crookedly. “Or maybe that’s just lies women tell men they’re thinking of marrying, to make them come more easily to the alter.”

He stands up and bows politely to the whole group. “Thank you. I don’t get out much, after all.”

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Whatif…a very AU story Continued, Continued

Goes with this:
and then this:
And then this:
and then this:

He was handsome. That wasn’t the first thing she noticed; the first thing (after how worn he looked) was ahh. He wasn’t all of what was missing, but he was definitely some of it.

(If only she had any idea who he was).

Then he grabbed her hand and started running. Cynara’s first feeling was one of immense satisfaction: this was right. It was perfect.

Then someone shouted behind them, and she realized they were actually running from something immediate.

They needed a way out. They needed a safe place to talk where nobody would bother them. She needed to know why he was exactly what she’d been looking for and yet not quite right.

“Left!” She yanked them into an alley. She hadn’t known it was there a moment ago, but somehow she knew it was perfect, and… yes. They reached its end and found themselves facing a small back road — with left, right, or an open door as options.

Right seemed the best, so she yanked them that way. He was stronger than her, a lot stronger — and how did she know that? — so she had to trust that he’d come along.

She trusted, and ran. Down another series of crooked streets, through a building — nobody noticed — and then they were at a worn-down little park, where a stone maintenance building waited, its lock long since broken.

“Here.” Inside it was picked clean, nothing but a few unredeemable bottles left. She sank down on the floor and looked at the boy.

“Hi,” she offered, suddenly shy. What if he thought she was crazy? What if she was crazy? “I don’t know you, but I’ve been looking for you.”

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