Title: The Section Seven Chronicles - Calendar Girls (5700 words)
Copyrighted: July 2001
Keywords: Highlander/Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Xena-Warrior Princess.
Summary: This particular story depicts a Wandererverse adventure featuring the New Amazons and the men who love them.
Highlander: All rights and properties are owned by Rysher Entertainment.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: All rights and properties are owned by Joss Whedon, Fox Studios and Mutant Enemy, etc.
The Legendary Adventures of Hercules/Xena-Warrior Princess: All rights and properties are owned by Renaissance and Flat Earth Productions.
Lara Croft/Tomb Raider: All rights and properties belong to EIDOS and Paramount Studios.
Red Sonja: All rights and properties belong to the successors to Robert Howard.
X-files: All rights and properties belong to Chris Carter and Fox Studios.
The Pretender: All rights and properties belong to Warner Bros. Studios.
Any characters, whose names and descriptions are used, are the property of their original owners, and no copyright infringement is intended or meant.
No money can be made from this story. It may be distributed freely so long as it is kept in its entirety, with all notices and copyright information remaining intact.
The characters of Shaw Hunter and Maxine belong to Tim Knight.
The Wandererverse is a creation of Steve Pantovich.
Comments and Criticisms are appreciated, please post to the above referenced E-mail.
Special Thanks to my Beta Readers: Tim Knight
Author's Notes: Words expressed within < > are thoughts. Cordelia became an Amazon, along with Jenny Calendar (who did not die because Passions did not occur in this universe), Amy, and Willow, in Steve's Training Blues Series - How Cordelia Got Her Amazon Groove, so don't blame me! <G> Gabrielle of Potadea, Red Sonja, Dana Scully, Melissa Scully, Maxine, and Andrea Parker are Immortals and Amazons.
Special thanks goes to Tim Knight for giving me the idea with one of Faith's petnames for Jenny in one of his stories.
Building, V.A.N. Ltd. Boardroom
10 June 1999
"Christ, B," Melissa Scully overheard Faith whisper to the bottle-blonde Slayer, "if Blondie doesn't shut her yap in the next minute or so, just stake me and put me outta my misery!"
Melissa squirmed in her chair as Gabrielle finished her report. Glancing about, she noted that Buffy and Faith, the nonvoting members of Virtual Amazon Nation, Ltd.'s board of directors, were nearly in a coma. That realization led her to relax somewhat. Although she was nowhere near the level of warrior as most of the women in the plush boardroom, she was certain she would have the motivation to outrun everyone except for the two Slayers. If they were still out of it after her little presentation, she believed she might be able to keep her head a little longer.
"Well," drawled Gabrielle, "it would appear that our relief efforts to feed hungry women and children in famine areas is a rewarding, yet dry subject." Then she tossed a mock frown at Cordelia and Andrea in response to their wide yawns of apathy. "Now on to new business. The last item on our agenda is our Director of Health and Human Services' presentation regarding a new means of funding our relief efforts. She believes it could also provide funds to support our search for the lost descendants of the ancient Amazon tribes. Melissa..."
She stood up and surreptitiously checked to make sure she had unfettered access to the door for a quick escape. "Thank you, your highness. Princesses, directors, and Slayers," she started, then cleared her throat. "Although raising money from contributions has been a rewarding process and has catapulted our efforts to rebuild our nation for the next century and beyond, it has come to my attention from various sources that contributions alone won't provide consistent funds for our endeavors. Other charitable organizations, in an effort to supplement donations, have chosen to sell some sort of product to augment their revenue."
Dana Scully pursed her full lips as she regarded her older sister. "Missy, what sort of product can we market?"
"Yeah, right," Maxine said. "What could we push supernatural security services or potions?"
Melissa bit her bottom lip. "Er...actually, I think...we could follow the lead of that ladies club in England...the one that sold calendars filled with pictures of the ladies in the club..." Then a trickle of perspiration trailed down her chest and nestled uncomfortably in the valley between her breasts.
At that moment, Willow 'eeped' and asked in a hushed voice, "Wasn't that the one where they posed with no clothes on?"
"Well...yes," Melissa stammered. "But ours will be different! No nudity...just a little sexy, that's all. Everyone would be fully clothed."
"Fully clothed, huh?"
"Too bad, M," Faith drawled and glanced down at her own body. Then she eyed Melissa appreciatively and shot a saucy look her way. "No guts, no glory."
Stunned, Melissa shook her head. Andrea then snapped, "Oh great! Look what you did to poor Willow. She's apoplectic!"
Willow had stopped breathing; her face had turned almost as red as her hair.
Gabrielle sighed. "Willow? Sweetie?" The little witch turned and regarded her Queen. "Honey... breathe."
Willow forcibly inhaled. "Wow...oxygen definitely an issue there!" Then a concerned look clouded her pixie-like face. "Um...no one else sees light green and purplish spots floating in the air, right?"
Buffy smirked. "Don't worry, Will. They'll go away after your head clears."
Gabrielle regarded Melissa with hooded eyes. "Who would take the photographs for the calendar, Lady Scully?"
Melissa gulped. Gabrielle had called her by her formal title, which meant that she had better provide an acceptable answer. "Lady Croft, the famous photojournalist, my Queen." Melissa chuckled inside. Two can play at that game, she thought.
An awestruck Maxine said, "Wow...the Tomb Raider herself! That's so bitchin!"
The Queen stroked her chin for a moment, before a broad smile flashed onto her face. "I think it's a splendid idea, Missy," she chirped. "Do I hear a motion?"
Dana smiled and announced, "I move that we adopt Melissa's plan to pose for and produce a calendar with the understanding that the proceeds will go to fund our relief efforts and operations."
Cordelia said, "I second the motion."
The women looked around the room at one another. Cordy said, "Well, duh! I seconded the motion, didn't I? I'm in."
"Me, too," Amy chirped.
"Why not?" offered Maxine.
"Although I can't imagine why anyone would want to see pictures of me," Jenny muttered, "I'll do it."
Willow scoffed. "Puh-leeze, Jenny! You'll probably be the most popular month!" Then Willow looked down at her hands. "Do you think I could pose, too?"
Faith, trying to be helpful, offered, "Why not, Red? I'm sure there'll be some yahoos out there who are into the 'Lolita' trip Hey!" She yelped, "Why'd you kick me, B?"
Ignoring the Dark Slayer's outburst, Gabrielle flashed a gentle smile at her Wiccan princess. "Please do, Willow. We need to show our best to the world."
Willow's chest swelled with pride. "Okay, then. I'm in, too."
"Ditto for me," Sonja said. Gabrielle smiled at the scarlet-maned warrior, took Sonja's hand into her own, and brought her long time lover's hand to her lips for a tender kiss.
"Ewwww," Cordelia moaned. "Make me yack! No 'Ellen and Anne' PDA in front of impressionable young minds, if you please!"
After clearing her throat to draw everyone's attention away from the Warrior Princess's politically incorrect diatribe, the Crown Princess said, "I'm sure that I speak for both Scully women when I say we're in, right Missy?"
"Unfortunately," Andrea murmured, "I can't do it...I'm supposed to be dead to the Centre."
"That's true, my Lady. It is a crime that the world is to be deprived of your beauty," Gabrielle said and Andrea blushed. Then Gabrielle added, "I'll pose as well. That leaves three open months."
Just then, Faith cackled. "Hey, team, don't get your panties in a bunch! B and I will pose, too. Right, B?"
Not sounding certain at all, Buffy said, "Er...sure. I guess so."
"Thank you, Slayer Pryce and Slayer Summers," Gabrielle noted for the record. "That leaves one slot. Who can we get to fill it?"
The room fell silent for a long moment before a knowing, wicked look spread across the Dark Slayer's face. "I know. I'll get Religion Girl to do it."
Amy snorted. "Shaw? My uptight, shy, priestess cousin Shaw? No way!"
Faith defiantly regarded the teenaged witch. "WAY! Since you don't have faith in my powers of persuasion, why don't we have a little action going on the side?"
Amy stared at the brunette for a second before a sly grin touched her lips. "Fine. Name your stakes."
"A racy 'arrest me' red string bikini from Bimini Swimwear."
"Is it on sale?"
"'Til Sunday. How 'bout you?"
"Prada leather skirt from Neiman Marcus."
"Okay," the blonde nodded, "you've got until Sunday to get her to do it."
Faith smirked. "You're on, Sabrina."
01 November 1999
< My life just sucks, > Willy thought as he resignedly set the newly washed glasses on his bar.
Three vamps who used to be members of the Hell's Angels were hassling some human bikers near the pool tables in the back. He knew he shouldn't get in the middle of the fracas, but he wanted to avoid an altercation that would lead to significant property damage and possibly drive his other customers away. Although violence wasn't much of a concern for the hardcore demonic clientele and bikers, he wasn't as certain of the sensibilities of the new customers who had started coming to his establishment, like the professorial looking guys, the military types, and the frat boys. For some reason, these folks outnumbered his old clients two to one and business was booming.
The only reason that came to mind for his reversal of fortune was the presence of the Slayers and their playmates. Whenever they came in to roust the place, they seemed to attract a lot of attention, particularly of the male persuasion (except for the little red witch who for some reason was popular with the distaff clientele as well), both demonic and human. Willy snorted. < So where are they when you need them, > he mused.
He stepped between the vamp that was 'Wilt Chamberlain' tall and the burly biker and snapped, "Hey, hey! Not in here, okay? If you've got a beef with one another, take it outside!"
The vamp scowled and hissed at him. "What's this? The Slayers' little bitch is telling me what to do?"
Willy smelled the alcohol on its breath and swallowed a hard lump lodged in his throat. "Hey...I just don't want no trouble, that's all. Why don't we just settle down and I'll get you and your friends some packets of human blood," then he turned slightly to regard the biker and his group, "while I get you guys a bottle of my best whisky."
Suddenly, the vamp growled and said, "I've got a better idea, you little weasel." Then he grabbed Willy by the throat and pulled him toward his open mouth and protruding fangs. "How 'bout I drain you?"
Willy wheezed and coughed. "Wait...wait...let's not be...hasty..."
The vamp sneered. "How does it feel, Willy...to die, knowing you're nothing but a pitiful excuse for a human being and a bitch for the Slayers and their ho's...?"
"Well, it's probably better than being dusted, fangboy."
Everyone in the room turned to regard the source of the New England accented taunt. Faith strode into the bar dressed in the micromesh, formfitting body armor fashioned by Xanatos Industries for VAN. To her left stood Willow in her leather-like micromesh body armor with a fringe of red enhancing her cleavage while the Scully sisters, clad in their body armor, snapped open the restraining strap of their holstered Glock pistols.
Faith sauntered toward the vampire and its intended victim. "Normally," she drawled, "either I or my friends here," she indicated the Scullys with a nod, "would just dust you. Now if you were a real pain in the ass," she hesitated, letting a wicked grin show on her lovely face, "I'd give you to Red and let her...play with you for awhile. Isn't that right, Red?"
Willow nodded and allowed a little girl's smile to curl on her lips, which frightened Willy more than any of the vilest demons that had ever darkened his bar's doorstep. "Play now?" she cooed.
"Hold on a sec', Will." Then she regarded the vamp again. "But guess what, Sparky? This is your lucky day! We've got to talk to your Happy Meal, so if you let him go and get lost without me having to kick your ass, you won't get slain today. How does that grab you?"
The vamp growled. "You ain't that Summers bitch, girl. From what I hear you're just sloppy seconds. But don't worry; I've always had a hankering for Slayer blood, so I'll do you." Then it threw Willy into the pool table, grabbed a pool stick, and charged the Dark Slayer.
As it raised the stick over its shoulder, Faith calmly waited until it started its downward swing. Then before Willy's startled eyes, she thrust a shattering forearm up into the cue, breaking it. She lashed out with her booted foot and kicked her opponent hard in its groin while she simultaneously snatched the shaft out of midair. Then she spun one hundred and eighty degrees and thrust the broken shaft with a backhanded motion into the doubled over torso of the vampire straight through its undead heart. While the demon screamed as its body turned to dust, the Slayer twirled the makeshift stake like a baton and whipped it into the heart of the dusted vamp's comrade twenty feet behind her. As it exploded in a shower of dust, Dana drew her pistol and fired a composite wood bullet into the third vampire's heart, slaying it as well.
When the dust settled, Willow strode over to Faith and clasped her on her shoulder. "You know you're second to no one, right?"
Glancing over her shoulder, Faith smiled tenderly at the little red witch. "No problem, Will. I'm five by five. But...thanks anyway."
Then there was a raucous round of applause from the other patrons. As the four women looked about the room, confusion apparent on their faces, a few people shouted, "Thanks for the show!" while one guy yelled, "Hey, pool cue babe! Can I have your autograph and phone number?"
The Dark Slayer grinned and shouted back, "Maybe later!" Then as the room quieted down, she turned to Willy and cooed, "Don't you think it's time we had our little...chat?"
He felt the acid start to crawl from his stomach up his esophagus. What was that saying...out of the frying pan, into the fire?
Belying the fright he felt at being the object of interest for the four beautiful but deadly women, he murmured, "Thanks for the save and for keeping the property damage to a minimum. What can I do for you ladies?"
"Grab a table, Slick," the Dark Slayer directed, "and listen to what the nice lady has to say to ya." She indicated Melissa with a tilt of her head.
After they sat at the table, Willy stared at Melissa. "I'm listening."
Melissa took a deep breath and said, "Our sources have indicated that your brother owns a printing company just outside of Los Angeles."
Willy wiped his index finger under his nose and snorted. "Yeah, yeah, that's right. But, he ain't involved in any of the stuff you ladies deal with. He's strictly legit."
"We know," Dana said. "I've already checked him out."
"Yes, Willy...may I call you 'Willy?'"
Melissa's courtesy brought him up short; he wasn't used to treatment like that. "Uh, yeah...sure."
"Thank you," she said, flashing a gentle smile on her face. "Well, Willy, we don't mean your brother any harm. In fact, we would love to present a business proposition to him. You see, we have a little problem that he could help us with. Our...company is producing a calendar to raise money for various relief efforts we carry on in the world. We had another company contracted to print the calendar for us and they committed to produce three hundred thousand units. Unfortunately, we showed the calendar to various buyers in New York the other day and they told us that we'd need at least six hundred thousand calendars to meet projected sales."
Willy stroked his chin, then said, "...and your contractor has all of his production tied up for the Christmas rush, eh?"
Melissa frowned. "Yes. You understand our dilemma. We think your brother's company could take up the slack and help make a dent in our shortfall, so we could be sure to raise enough money to help those who so desperately need it."
"So...you want me to call him and see if he could take you on?"
The auburn haired beauty nodded. "Yes. Would you?"
He stroked his five o'clock shadow for a moment. Then he murmured, "Yeah...sure, I'll do it." He turned in his seat and glanced at his assistant behind the bar. "Joe," he called and the bartender looked up at him. "Bring me the phone, would ya?" As he waited for the phone, he turned back to Melissa. "So, no threats, no beatings?"
Melissa gave him a confused look. "No. Why would we do that?"
He shrugged. "Well, I'm just used to getting manhandled by the Slayers and their pals, that's all."
Dana shot an icy cold look at him. "If you were doing something wrong, or if you had information that could help us save lives and weren't forthcoming, we'd jack you up and let Willow or Faith have their way with you. But this is business, pure and simple. We don't use intimidation or threats of violence to gain a competitive advantage in business affairs."
Faith snickered and shot a glance at Willow. "Brrr! Is it just me or did the temperature suddenly drop in here?"
Willow glimpsed at Faith and dead-panned, "No, that's just the effect Dana has on a room when she's in 'Federal Agent' mode."
"Right," Faith drawled. "The Ice Queen cometh."
While Dana blasted them both with a look of extreme annoyance, Willy observed, "I'm glad your group is so ethical."
Faith snorted. "That's rich coming from you, weasel-boy! Maybe you should try it yourself sometime."
When his man gave him the phone, Willy started to dial his brother's number. Just then, a waitress approached and asked the women, "Ladies, all the men in the bar say that your drinks are on them. May I take your orders?"
As he waited for his brother to answer, he noticed the admiring glances directed at his four lovely tablemates. His merchant mind awoke and recognized an opportunity beating at his door. "Ladies," he drawled, "I have one small favor to ask in return..."
01 December 1999
The peroxide blonde vampire struggled to contain his glee but failed miserably.
Charlie slapped Spike's shoulder hard and whispered harshly, "Get a hold of yourself! You want to ruin everything?"
Spike stifled a giggle, took a deep, but unnecessary breath, then straightened up. "Okay, okay!" He shrugged his shoulders inside his black leather duster and cracked both sides of his neck by tilting his head side to side. "I'm cool, mate."
A worried look crossed the African-American vampire's face. "You're sure we ought to pull this on Giles? He doesn't strike me as someone who'd be all that fun to rile up."
A great white shark's grin played on Spike's gaunt face. "Trust me, mate. If this goes right, we're gonna get ole' Ripper to come out and play. Then we'll really have some fun!"
Giles was lost in his book as he studied various Sumerian inscriptions concerning relics that may have been connected to the First Slayer. Although he concentrated on the text, he was aware enough of the knock on the front door to call to one of his charges. "Xander, could you please see who is at the door?"
Xander whined, "How come I've got to be the one who always gets the door? Why can't Oz get the door sometimes?"
Giles, still lost in the text, muttered, "Because I asked you. Now be a good fellow and answer it, please."
Xander slinked toward the door and grumbled, "Your wish is my command, Sir G."
Giles cringed. "Oh, and Xander...?"
"Don't. Call. Me. That."
Xander audibly gulped and opened the door. "Spike, Charlie. What's up, fellas?"
Spike had a grim look on his face. "Hello, Xander. Where's the Watcher? We've got somethin' he's gotta see."
Xander looked worried. "What's wrong? You guys look like somebody just stole all of your Christmas presents."
"Xander, it's bad. Trust me on that, okay?" Charlie said.
Seeing both of his friends so somber, Xander stepped aside and pointed toward Giles. "He's over there."
After closing the door, Xander followed the two vampires. Oz and Giles glanced up from their books almost at the same time. Giles, noting the grim countenance of both of the Section Seven undercover operatives, put aside his book and turned his full attention to them.
"William, Charles," Giles said with a nod to each. "What is the problem?"
"Oi, Watcher...I hate to be the bearer of grim tidings and all..." Spike said hesitantly. "But you probably oughtta know about this."
"Know about what?"
"This," the vampire said and dropped a large manila folder in front of Giles.
As Giles bent over to open the file, Xander and Oz moved behind him, while Charlie leaned surreptitiously toward Spike and whispered, "You put the promotional pics in the right order to get the best effect?"
Spike hid his grin behind his hand and whispered back, "Oh...yeah..."
Giles' fingers brushed back the top flap of the folder to reveal several photographs. The top one showed a sultry red head lying on a mussed bed clad in a black lace bra and panty set. Her blue eyes peered at him as he held the picture in his hand, drawing his gaze to her coolly beautiful face, her voluptuous body, and her milky white skin speckled with freckles...
He heard Xander whisper, "Oh. My. God. That's Dana!"
"Wha...wha...what?" he stammered.
"I said that's Dana!" Xander turned toward Oz. "That's Dana, isn't it?"
"Looks like her," the taciturn werewolf noted.
Giles struggled to tear his gaze from the beautiful woman he regarded as a close friend. His mind sought to explain the existence of the sexy picture. "It...it," he stammered, "must be doctored." Then he asked in a strained voice, "Spike, where did you get these?"
"Charlie and I got 'em when we did an undercover sweep of Willy's place, Rupes."
"Are the rest more of the same?"
"Er..." Charlie's hesitation caused Giles to glance over his shoulder at him. "Not exactly. You just have to see for yourself."
He turned back to the stack, setting Dana's picture aside. The next picture showed a thin but very athletic-looking blonde woman wearing a black, pointed witch's hat that cast a shadow over her twinkling eyes. She wore a black satin bikini top and black satin thong panties that didn't leave much to the imagination concerning her lovely body. He noted also that she straddled a broomstick as well.
"That's...that's..." he stuttered.
"It's Amy! Christ...it's..." Xander's voice failed him.
"Amy," Oz finished for him.
Xander shook his head and stammered, "Doctored...that's it. Giles has got to be right. They must be doctored photos."
When Giles swept Amy's picture aside, Xander shrieked like a girl. "Willow! That's Willow!"
Giles stared at the red head. She had a twinkle in her witch-green eyes and a wanton grin plastered on her face. She leaned on a desk that looked like one that a teacher would use in a classroom. Her red hair was slightly mussed and she wore a Catholic High School girl's uniform. However, if there were Sisters nearby, they would have taken a ruler to her for the naughty way she modeled the ensemble. Her white oxford shirt was open down to the second button above her waistband, revealing a turquoise lace pushup bra that showcased her small perfect breasts to perfection. Her plaid pleated skirt was hiked up over her upper thighs, revealing her matching panties and her taunt legs. The crowning touch was the apple that she held in her hand as a gift for some lucky instructor. Giles found it hard to breathe; her picture mesmerized him. She was the embodiment of Nabakov's Lolita, innocence and sensuality rolled into one. He knew he ought to feel like a dirty old man for ogling her like this but at the moment he didn't care.
Before he could study the picture any further, he heard an animalistic growl and had it snatched from his fingers. "Move on, Watcher," Oz snarled.
It was then that Xander found his voice. "Cordy?!?" he screeched.
Giles looked down and found the next picture did indeed depict the dark haired beauty lounging on a red satin backdrop dressed in a maroon string bikini that barely contained her bountiful breasts and showcased her long, tan legs. Her lips were slightly parted, allowing her white teeth to show, while her cat-like eyes seemed to reach for him, drawing him in.
Again Giles felt someone snatching a picture from his hands. "Gimme that, G-man," Xander snapped. The young man carefully scrutinized his lover's photograph and moaned. "My God...this isn't doctored. It's really her!"
"G'wan," Spike drawled. "You mean to tell me that's really your lady love doing a pretty good Playmate impression in that photo?"
"It's her, I tell you! She's got this birthmark on her left thigh that looks like a horseshoe, see..." he offered the picture to the vampire for a split second, then regained his senses and snatched it back. "Wait! On second thought, don't see, okay?"
Spike looked chagrined. "Well, mate. You did offer "
"Just forget I said anything, all right?" Xander barked.
The blonde vampire shrugged in response. "Always do when it's you."
Giles, though, hadn't paid much attention to the altercation behind him because the next picture nearly made his heart seize up in his chest. A sultry, dark haired beauty posed beneath a waterfall, her wet, "arrest me" red string bikini clinging to her ample bosom and boyish hips like a film of plastic. Her eyes were closed in rapture, her dark lashes curling against the pale skin of her cheeks, and her ruby red lips curved in a sexy Mona Lisa smile as she crouched in the shallow pool, allowing the water to lovingly caress her body.
"Faith," he whispered, his voice unsteady. "Dear God in heaven, it's my Slayer, Faith."
Xander gasped. "Jesus! That water must've been cold! Just look at her nips! Man, for such a little thing, her points are even bigger than Cor "
"Dude!" Oz snapped, cutting the taller man off. "Way too much info."
Looking chagrined, Xander said, "Er...right. Sorry."
Meanwhile, Giles had started to tremble as his body struggled to maintain its equilibrium. Now working on automatic pilot, his hand reluctantly set aside Faith's picture and he mewled. The next picture revealed a petite, bottle-blonde bombshell with her hair in braids and her bikini top adorned in a white and red checkerboard pattern. She lay across several bays of hay in a set that looked like the inside of a barn. She wore cutoff jean short-shorts with frayed threads hugging her tan and muscular thighs. Her pert breasts filled her top nicely and her blue-green eyes were complemented by the painted-pink lips that were pursed in a sensuous pout as a lucky straw was caught between them.
"Oh. Dear. God." he murmured, breathless. "Buffy."
"Wow, Rupes!" Spike drawled. "The Slayer's sorta got a naughty 'Rebecca of Sunnyhell Farm' thing going there, doesn't sh "
"Spike!" Giles snapped, cutting the vampire off. "Another word, you're dust."
As Giles flipped to the last picture, he missed the playful nudge Spike gave Charlie's arm. Then he felt his face flush and his blood boil when he saw it. A sensual, beloved face stared proudly out of the picture, her raven black hair languidly falling about her deceptively powerful shoulders. She wore a purple satin bikini, not as daring as Faith's, but still quite revealing. The royal vestment was a perfect complement to her bearing, so like that of a Gypsy Queen. Her full breasts, long legs, and sexy hips, normally hidden from the world, were there for all to see.
"Isn't that Jenny, Giles?" Charlie asked.
Giles sat quietly, saying nothing.
"Giles?" Xander asked softly. He received no response. "Giles...G-man?" Giles still did not respond. "Giles, don't do this to us, man! Say somethin..."
"Bloody Hell!" Giles roared. He pushed away from the table and ripped his glasses off his face. "You two wankers," he said in a Cockney accent, pointing at the vampires, "take me to where you found these bleedin' photos." Crossing over to his weapons chest, the Watcher muttered, "Some pillock is bloody well gonna need those ER blokes to fix 'em up after I'm done with 'em!"
As the two wide-eyed young men and the two wide-eyed vampires watched the Watcher rip open the container and angrily pull weapons from it, Spike leaned over to Charlie and murmured, "Mate...hold onto your cajones and say a cheerie 'ello to 'Ripper.'"
Impressed, Charlie stood silently and nodded in response.
01 December 1999
< My life is just wonderful, > Willy thought as he happily dumped another load of empty beer bottles into the dumpster in the alley behind his bar. As he started to turn to return to his boisterous and thirsty customers, someone...or something slammed him into the rusting metal container hard.
Someone or something pressed his face into the unforgiving steel. "Don't talk," a Cockney-accented voice directed. "Just listen. I want to know who took those pictures of my girls and my woman. I want to know how you got 'em. I want you to take me to the wanker who's responsible for this." Then his assailant flipped him over. He came face to face with the Slayers' Watcher. Right behind the Englishman stood Xander Harris and the little red witch's boyfriend. "If you give me what I want," Giles said, "I might not turn you into a paraplegic."
Willy trembled uncontrollably and stammered, "Lis...listen, man I mean sir...I didn't do nothin' wrong. Just go inside and ask 'em!"
Giles snarled at him. "Ask whom, you little pissant?" he hissed and tightened his grip around Willy's throat.
"Us, G-man," a Boston accented voice said behind the Englishman.
Giles turned to look over his shoulder and Willy followed his assailant's gaze with his own. He saw three grim looking Slayers standing in the alley.
"Release him, Lord Giles," the West Indian Slayer directed.
"Yeah, Giles, leave the poor guy alone," added the Immortal Slayer.
"Stay out of this, you three," Giles snapped. "I'll make him tell me how he was able to compromise Faith and Buffy "
"Geez, Alfred! Have you got it all wrong," Faith said. "Willy had nothin' to do with the pictures. Lara Croft took 'em."
Giles's eyes opened wide. "What? What are you saying?"
"Giles," Buffy spoke to him like he was a mentally challenged child, "Lady Croft took the pictures for a calendar that VAN is selling to raise money for charity. The Amazons, Faith, Shaw, and I posed for those pictures. The ones you saw must have been the promotional pics that someone swiped from Willy earlier."
Xander audibly gasped. "You mean to tell us that you posed for a calendar?"
"Yep," Faith drawled. "And with Gabrielle, Sonja, the Scullys, and the rest of us showing off our goodies, it's selling like hotcakes!"
"Okay, but why are you here at Willy's?" Oz asked.
"Well," Buffy responded, "Willy helped solve a production problem for us and as repayment, he asked VAN and us to appear at his bar and sign calendars for his patrons."
Kendra nodded. "And I just came along to make sure there wasn't any trouble."
"So," Giles stammered, "you volunteered to have those photographs taken of you?"
"Uh-huh," Buffy said.
"They weren't the result of any demonic possession or involuntary servitude?"
"Unh-uh," Buffy said.
"And we were going to see this calendar "
"As your stocking stuffers at Christmas," Faith said, jumping ahead of the Watcher.
Her answer deflated the Englishman. "Oh. I see." He turned and gently straightened Willy's collar. "I suppose I should offer you an apology, er...uhm...Willy? Yes...an apology is definitely in order."
Willy's blood boiled. "Damn straight! I don't mind getting rousted when I'm doing something wrong, but I'm not going to stand for it when I'm innocent!"
"Oh, puh-leeze!" Faith scoffed. "Ain't you kinda like the boy who cried wolf? So pipe down!" Then she considered something and turned to Oz. "No offense, Fangface."
"None taken," Oz said.
Giles noisily cleared his throat and said, "Well, I suppose that we should leave you to your signing."
Faith smiled. "Yeah, G-man. Hey," her smile grew wider, "you wanna come in and have a look-see? It's pretty cool. Red has been a surprisingly hot item. She's getting the college professor-types and the old guys clamoring for her at her table."
"That's true," Kendra noted with an index finger caressing her chin, "but she's also received a lot of attention from some of the more...masculine looking female customers as well."
The three women considered that for a moment, then shrugged. "Shaw's also doing well," noted Buffy.
"Shaw?" Xander screeched. "How did you get Religion Girl to pose for a sordid calendar?"
Buffy scowled at him. "Hey! There's nothing sordid about it, Dweebboy!" Then she shot an admiring smile at the Dark Slayer. "Faith did it."
Faith basked in the warmth of the senior Slayer's smile. "Tweren't nothin'. Just sold Redeye on the idea she'd be helping a lot of hungry women and children and all she had to do was wear a full backed Speedo swim suit with a sarong around her waist to cover her legs. Worked like a charm."
Giles shook his head. "Although it sounds very...interesting, it would probably be better if we left you to your engagement."
"Okay, Alfred." Faith said. As the Watcher and his companions turned to leave, Faith cooed, "Oh, G-man..."
Giles turned back toward his Slayers.
"Do you want your 'girls' to tell your 'woman' you were out here rousting our benefactor in a back-alley or do you want to tell Jenny about it when she gets home?" Buffy asked while sporting a wicked grin.
The color drained from his face. "You..." he stammered, "you heard?"
Kendra regarded him coolly with her feline-like eyes. "You, of all people, should know about the extreme sensitivity of Slayer hearing."
The Watcher tried to recover, drawing himself up to his full height for a moment before his shoulders slumped in defeat. "What do you want?" he murmured, a beaten man.
The Slayers turned to one another, seemed to communicate telepathically for a brief second, then turned to regard their mentor. "We'll let you know at our next training session...Santa," Buffy quipped.
Giles nodded and turned to leave. Over his shoulder, he heard Faith say, "Yeah, maybe when we go over our wish list with ya, we could even sit in your lap, 'St. Nick.'"
As the dejected men slinked away from the bemused Slayers, Giles growled to Xander and Oz, "When I get my hands on those vampires..."
The wind whipped through their dusters, billowing the tails of their coats in the night breeze like proud battle flags. As they stood on the rooftop across from the rear of Willy's bar, their enhanced, vampiric hearing allowing them to listen to the entire transaction, the peroxide blonde grinned as his African-American friend doubled over in laughter.
Spike sighed, drew an unnecessary breath, and drawled, "That was so...so..."
Then he turned and regarded his laughing friend. "Neat!"
Soon, Spike's howls of laughter joined Charlie's in the warm, Sunnydale night.