Traffic in this city is worse than bloody Hell A, but I get to junior broody's office eventually and without beatin' the crap out of the cabby who must have been milkin' this for every pound. They're worse than some demon's I know. Least they would've dropped me off close to where I'd said.
The place is on the third floor and I go in, smirkin' as he tells me off, glancin' at his watch. Can just see the Pouf in his stance, all brassed off, actin' like I'm puttin' him out.
“Hey, I'm no pansy-assed sun worshipper.”
I light up a smoke and sit on the desk. “You ready to do this? Play starts soon.”
Another huff, another roll of the eyes. Should tape this, sit back with 'Bit one night and have a right laugh. All he needs now is stock in Vidal Sassoon and a growl.
He's right. About the play - not about not being a pansy-ass. I heard about the little marshmallows in hot chocolate.
“Yeah,” I toss him a small sword and take my axe. I don't expect a fight, but you never know and you can never be too prepared. We're going to meet the demon's in the bar a block from the one we went to the other night.
“What happened to you the other day?” He just disappeared. I was happy in a way. He and Dawn are too close for my liking, but it was…weird.
What am I saying? He's weird…sorta.
Right. Would ask 'bout that. Wonder if 'Bit said somethin'. I take a drag from the fag and blow it in his general direction, holding in the smile as he gets all pissy ‘bout it. Just like seein' him squirm.
“Saw somethin'. Went to check it out, is all.”
Saw something's a bit of an understatement. Might as well tell him I saw the dead walk again – literally. Still not sure if it was who, or what I thought it was. Either way, couldn't risk it, risk them, if it was him.
I head for the door and open it, walkin' out. “You heard of any new vamps in town? Powerful, old?”
“Nothing. And no increased activity. At least none that I've seen.” My eyes narrow. He's not telling me something. Father said Spike never did share well.
“Why? You know about something?”
Doesn't share is an understatement. It's like trying to rob a bank to get something out of Spike when he doesn't want to say. You can see the bars drop in his eyes and he looks away, grabbing another cigarette. And the chain smoking starts.
I snort. Can't help it.
“I know a lot of things.”
We hit the evening air, cool and crisp, and I change the subject. Couldn't get into it now even if I wanted to - and I don't want to. From what I remember of this bloke, well, even Boy Wonder himself'd get his arse kicked. If he was lucky.
“How're things with you and 'Bit?”
I lead the way since walking is faster than getting a cab this time of evening.
“Dawn and I are good.”
I don't particularly like discussing my relationship with him. Dawn's eyes light up when she talks about him and it's not like I'm jealous or anything, but he's known her a lot longer and they have all these friends in common, experiences that I'll never have with her. Sometimes I feel like an outsider when he's around. And it's not his fault, it just is.
“I'm really proud of her.”
“Yeah, 'Bit's going places.”
We round a corner and pass the bar from the other night. I give him a sideways look, hoping he doesn't start asking about that again, but he's otherwise distracted. 'S not like it was a special night, or a special place. Shouldn't have seen him there. Hell, I didn't think on him after that one night, years ago. But, he's not payin' any attention. Dawn'll do that to a bloke.
“So what's the mission? Kill or recon?”
I need to know how far to take it if things…become intense.
“Recon,” I tell him. “Or kill, if they aren't…agreeable.” I grin, sorta hoping they aren't agreeable.
“In here," I say, leading the way into the bar.
Demon bars here have a bit more class it seems, then the ones in Sunnyhell, 'cause it looks just like any other bar 'cept for a noticeable lack of mirrors behind the bar itself. Grateful for that, I am. Don't like other's - should they be complete bumblin' idiots - knowin' what I am. Like the surprise of it.
He heads toward a table near the rear of the place and I follow about ten paces behind. I see the Gra'lack nod at the boy, his eyes - all six of them - flickering over to another of his comrades, who give a signal to one over by the door.
Nice little set up they've got.
“Bloody perfect,” I mumble to myself.
I slip into the booth across from the demon. I just hope Spike has my back like he said he would. I've got two of the demons literally to my back. Never a good thing, but I'll manage.
“Yeah, you Connor?” He asks, his voice gruff and gravelly. I just smile and get to the point.
“The subways, the attacks? They gotta stop. This is New York City , not some backwards cow town.” I say. The demon looks shocked and I just kind of laugh and shake my head, getting a look at Spike's position.
Spike's got my back and I feel oddly comforted by that. I realize that I trust him like I trust Father. Still not completely, but hey, it's a start.
I need a good shrink.
“You are getting the bill for this,” I say, takin' off my duster. It's covered in gore. "Was gonna wear it to 'Bit's performance. You know how she likes it."
Maybe the boy can growl.
His arse is smirkin' now though as I toss the duster on the kitchen floor. I think this is amusing to him, rilin' those demons with outrageous demands and then tearin' them to shreds when the baulk at his ‘request'. He is his father's child. Scary that.
Showered and changed, we are both lookin' decent enough to make 'Bit proud.
Oh God. She'll squeal.
“Sure. I'll just give the bill to Angel.”
I grab my own coat and we head out, taking a cab to the theatre. He starts in on how Father spoils me, which is true, but not exclusive, and he knows it. I think he's got a soft spot for Father. Some type of, been there, done that, lived to tell the tale thing. Must come with age...lots and lots of age.
“He indulges you much more than he does me,” I say.
HA! The eyebrow rises just as intended and he scowls. Now I get to hear a story. I like Spike's stories about Father. They stink of truth. Father doesn't like these 'stories'. He says they paint him in a bad light. What does he expect? He was evil for over a hundred years and I'd heard stories most of my childhood from Holtz.
“Angel indulges me?” I repeat and wonder if the boy is puttin' me on.
He just nods, assured that he's right 'bout this. Arrogant little prick.
“Well yeah, of course, he indulged my every whim. His indulgence took the form of chains, a whip, and me - broken and bleeding. Oh and begging, can't forget that.”
The boy is smilin', lookin' like Darla when she had a secret. That look usually meant trouble, but it's just genetics at work here. I bloody hope.
I just stare out the window and ignore him the rest of the ride, knowin' I've been played, but I haven't sorted out how yet. Or even what to do 'bout it. Could mess with 'Bit. That always gets him steamed.
Inside the theatre's lobby
Kennedy looks great. She always looks nice, but I think this is more her element. I mean her parents are rich and she spent her whole life going to places like this, wearing really low-cut, revealing dresses, boy look at those!
“Thanks sweetie,” I smile as she hands me a drink. I frown and look around hoping to see Connor and Spike. They should be here already.
Knowing them, anything could've happened.
“Stop worrying. They'll get here. Spike maybe an asshole…” Willow manages to look affronted and protective at the same time. “Okay, he may be a little odd, but he wouldn't miss a second of this.”
She's smiling again and I grin back, taking a sip.
Oh…these are kinda strong. “Drink up.” I tell her; I'll have my wicked way with her tonight.
I'm about to ask her if she is trying to get me drunk when, I feel it, that dark presence that is Spike and turn around just as he and Connor spot us.
I wave them over, feeling a little giddy. It's almost like the gangs all here. Almost.
“Hey, don't you guys look all spiffy.”
Spike is actually wearing slacks and a mock turtleneck sweater, black of course, no changing that.
We get inside with a few minutes to spare, but I'd wage Willow is biting her lip worrying. She needs to relax more.
I see her and Kennedy, imbibing already, which is good, in case the play is boring. Not that ‘Bit'll disappoint. She'll carry the whole cast if need be.
“Yeah, got all dressed up for our girl. And you two look smashing.” I toss a look at Connor, as the house lights flash off and on. “Let's get seated, yeah?'
Willow leads the way until one of those ushers take over and we get in seated just as the lights go down.
The boy is grinning and he pulls out a small hand held digital thing-a-ma-bob, shrugging.
“Promised Father,” he says.