Title: Something like a Plan
Chapter: 14th story of the BlindSided Verse
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Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. No harm, no foul, no money made.
Prompt: tamingthemuse's "Straight from the dead guy's mouth"
Word Count: 1654
They hit the street, Spike taking up Harris' blindside without much thought, though why he was stuck carrying the long bag with the tranq gun was beyond him. Lad had worked hard for those muscles and ought to use 'em. On the other hand, this was a hunt, so he should be focused on his surroundings, not biceps.
Even as he was thinking that, something tickled his throat, causing him to cough. Harris turned down the reeking alley.
"This where you found the mutt?"
"Stop snuffling, you sound like Dawnie with a cold." Xander wandered towards a dumpster, pointing out large tracks in the spilled rice left from the Chinese restaurant out front. "Yup, I'm thinking it might hole up near here."
Spike looked around; glad he didn't have to breathe in the combined odors of alley plus canine. Not only the prints but the tuff of fur still attached to the dumpster told him all he needed to know. Harris had been right. Werewolf.
"And you deducted that all by yourself?" Spike managed to herd them out of the alley. Wet dog had never been his favorite scent.
Moving, but otherwise ignoring Spike, he continued, "So I'm thinking we go classic." Despite claiming that it was his turn to plan, Harris began sketching out an idea. "Find somewhere with a good line of sight for the tranq gun and then play bait."
And yet, despite the self preservation skills of one of his beloved doughnuts, Harris had survived Sunnyhell. Offering himself as bait? Beyond reckless that. Didn't fancy this self-destructive streak he seemed to have. Lad had to know he was worth more alive than dead.
Bait. He shuddered. He hated being bait. Angelus had used him that way a few times, before he started saying no. But he could survive a few starches or nips, and if he let Harris go wolfie he'd definitely hear from the rest of the Scoobies. Having the Slayer and the world's most powerful Witch on his ass? Not in this life time. But what worried him is what would happen if the Niblet found out. That one was right scary when she wanted to be.
So, instead, he just hunched his shoulders. "Fine. Where do you want to shoot from?"
"We'll need to get some meat and blood to lure it with and--" Harris' head snapped around to glare at him. "What do you mean where do I want to shoot from? You with the preternatural sight and speed will be wielding that gun while I reprise my well honed skills at damselling." He stood there, looking the furthest thing from a damsel with arms akimbo, his demeanor his sternest since they’d had the Star Trek versus Babylon Five debate.
In most cities they'd be blocking the sidewalk, but this was LA, land of the car, and there were few pedestrians on the street. Good thing, both for fewer victims and less of an audience for what might pass for a Punch and Judy show. Spike wasn't changing his mind on this.
"First, you told me some of those Africa stories; sounds like you're a decent shot." He raised his hand to prevent the automatic self-deprecating retort of his partner.
"Second, I'm dead. No chance of going hairy once a month." Yeah, that stopped his gob right proper. "So makes sense I'm the bait. And do you think we could have this discussion not on the street corner? Any idea where a butcher's is?"
That last one seemed to catch him off guard. Not sure why that was. Was a good idea. But after a second just spun on his heels and said over his shoulder, "This way--they're used to unusual orders."
** ** **
And yet again, Harris had mastered the art of understatement. The place was down yet another dark alley--he thought the lad knew better than that--with a sign so grimy from the LA smog that the words were indistinguishable from the dark grey background. The grime also coated the plate glass window, making it better at obscuring rather than revealing its wares.
The whole atmosphere was less than enticing, but Harris blithely pushed the door open. A bell chimed cheerfully as they entered, but Spike also felt the tingle of a barrier spell. Actually the tingle was less noticeable than most fluorescent lights; that meant the spell was a good one.
"Xander! What do you need tonight? And who's your friend?" Spike blinked twice as he thought he saw Clem behind the counter, wearing an apron splashed with various colored ichors.
"Sam, this is Spike. He's--"
"From Sunnydale! Hey, Clem'll be just tickled to hear that I saw you. Actually it's a good thing that he's in Arizona right now or he'd be on your doorstep. Great to meet you, he's told me all about you. Well, me and anyone who stands still for two minutes. A bit long winded when he gets on a topic, our Clem." The demon – Sam--turned back to Harris. "So, the usual?"
"Not tonight, Sam. We need some scraps and a few pints of blood. Animal and not too pricey."
Spike heard the words but was too busy staring. Finally his brain kicked into gear. "Hate to ask, mate, but..."
"Clem's my brother, our parents are big Mark Twain fans and I lucked out with Samuel. That leaping frog story gets them every time."
Sometimes the world was a small, small place. Shaking his head, he commented, "Pass on my regards to Clem, but tell him I wouldn't recommend LA as a vacation spot any time soon."
Sam was nodding, causing all his jowls to quiver like Jell-o. "Yup that whole rain of fire really hit the bottom line last year. Scraps, you said?" With that Sam wandered into the back.
Spike took that opportunity to look at the rest of the shop. It wasn't your usual shop, it definitely wasn't a usual shop, not with the various demon delicacies he could see in the glass cabinets. And Harris was a frequent customer.
"What the hell are you doing in a place like this? How the hell did you find it in the first place? And they serve you?" Wait, that wasn't being the supportive sidekick that Harris needed.
But the only reaction to his rant and at one point that tone caused his minions to quake in their boots he was sure he remembered that, was an eye-roll.
"Slayerette, here. Where did you think I was buying your O-neg from? Just looked in the Yellow Pages for butchers dealing in exotics. Most of the time it doesn't mean buffalo, but Sam carries that as well."
"And the barrier? It felt like it was to keep" He didn't want to say mundanes, because Harris was anything but. However that spell was to stop all but demons from entering.
That earned him a wrinkled forehead over the band of the eye-patch. "Barrier? Oh. Will's Open Sesame charm. And seeing who was behind the counter, I just called him, Clem and then," he just shrugged.
Spike countered with a nod. Given Sam's reaction, nothing more needed to be explained. But something in what he'd said was tugging at him.
"You've got an open door charm and instead of going in, you were lurking in MY hallway? Are you nuts?" And again with the support, but really he was dealing with an idiot here. The place Lindsey rented was definitely on the dicier side of town. Sure Harris could hold his own in a fight, but why fight? Boy, did he have it bad.
His internal rant was interrupted by Sam's return. He was carrying a couple of large plastic bags.
"Need anything else? And I wouldn't use these for stew."
Harris had turned his attention back to the shopkeeper, and asked with a straight face. "Any dog biscuits?"
"Dog?" The demon's face squished then cleared in understanding. "So you're going after the werewolf. Clem said you both were in the hero business." Sam looked pleased, "We try to stay out of the mainstream's eye, but a rogue were, well that upsets the balance. L.A. somehow managed to convince itself that last May didn't happen, but I'm not sure how much more denial they've got."
He turned towards the back, "Wait a second. Let me get you something else that should work better, and it's on the house." He scurried off again leaving the two of them looking at each other.
"On the house?"
Sam was back in a few moments with something that caused Spike to sneeze in self-defense.
"Christ, mate. No way is that fresh kill!"
"Straight from the mouth of the dead guy, but he's right. Won't that scare, or at least tip off, the wolf? I mean Oz liked his burgers on the rare-side but--"
"Trust me. There's a pack of weres who have a standing order for this stuff. Should attract it like a charm. Demons like L.A. because it doesn't look beyond special effect. But rogues like that make it hard for the rest of us."
"I've never been one to question other's assistance. Thanks, Sam. Say hi to Clem for me!"
With that, although he was still gagging, they each carried two packed bags and headed out to catch a wolf.
They'd barely returned to the main street when there was a howl, one that sounded like a cheesy horror effect done in someone’s basement rather than any live animal.
They turned to look at each other, "Newbie."
That solved one problem; the newly turned rarely had strategy, mostly running on instinct. Bugger. Instinct was mighty powerful in and of itself. Even if last night's activities only sounded like playing with its food, rather than actually hunting.
And now they just had to find it. And he got to play bait. Bugger again.