Buffy and Faith moved silently through the run down streets and alleyways of the poorer sections of London. Their strange and scandalous garb would normally draw stares and shouts from any who saw them but in this part of the city superstition ruled and unusual things were ignored. And few were as unusual as two beautiful women dressed in reveling clothes, who moved like wraiths slipping easily and swiftly though the shadows and leaping walls and fences that most men could not climb over even with help. Soon they reached the destination they had been searching for.
The two Slayers concealed themselves in some bushes on a small hill overlooking a run down and neglected cemetery. They had been tracking the vampires for several days now suspecting that there was a large nest of them somewhere in the poorer area of the city and last night had finally tracked them to here. The sun was just setting and soon they would emerge from their crypts and vaults to prey on those foolish enough to roam the night time streets of the seedier parts of London. Checking that their weapons were ready they moved slowly towards the cemetery ready to take the vampires as they started their nightly hunt.
“Shit,” Buffy hissed as two well dressed gentlemen, one wearing a top hat and carrying a cane and the other wearing s bowler hat approached walking in a purposeful manner. “We have two happy meals with legs incoming,” she whispered just loud enough for Faith’s enhanced hearing.
“This way, Watson,” Holmes gestured with his cane down a darkened street. The gaslights prevalent in the more affluent areas of the city were absent here and the rapidly setting sun cast long, deep shadows across the streets and between the dilapidated buildings. The two men continued on in the deepening gloom towards a run down cemetery. The once ornate wrought iron fence was now rusted with large gaps where the metal had been taken away by scavengers and the once proud brick piers supporting it crumbling as the mortar wore away with age. Marble mausoleums stood all but buried by thick vines of ivy and grave stones lay forgotten and broken pushed over by the roots of spreading trees.
A strange hush seemed to fall over the area as the last edge of the sun slipped below the horizon. Holmes’ sharp eye caught Watson pat the heavy bulge of his revolver in his coat pocket reassuring himself that it was still there within easy reach. Holmes smiled faintly, for all his friends’ education and intelligence he still harbored a deep root of superstition. Though Holmes had to admit, even if just to himself, that something was running icy fingers over that deep part of the human psyche that told him to fear the dark.
“Well, well, well. Wha ‘ave we ‘ere?” A large and scruffy looking man stepped out of the shadows blocking the two men’s path. He was dressed in clothes that would have looked more at home on a pirate of the last century rather than a modern 19th century man. “Looks like our prey is comin’ to us this evening, it does.” As he stood looking the two up and down more men and a few women seemed to flow out of the shadows forming a circle around Holmes and Watson.
“Step aside,” Holmes’ voice held the edge of command. He tightened his grip on his cane which was well weighted for use as a singlestick a weapon with which he was quite skilled, and if that was not enough it also housed a sword blade. Between his weapons, his skills as a boxer and Watson’s revolver he felt secure in the knowledge that they would prevail if it came down to a fight. In his experience once the leaders of a mob were put to flight the rest would quickly follow.
“Oh, step aside? Step aside so our betters can pass?” the leader answered with a smirk. “Not tonight, guvner,” his face morphed in to the visage of a vampire and his eyes yellowed as he advanced on the two men. Holmes raised his cane and Watson fumbled his revolver from his pocket taking aim and firing a single shot in to the vampire’s chest. “Now look what you’ve gone and done, put a ’ole in me favorite shirt, you did.” Holmes held his cane in front of himself to fend off the vampire’s attack only to have the vampire explode in a cloud of dust before reaching him. As the dust settled he found himself face to face with the tiny blond woman he had been searching the city for.
“Run!” Buffy shouted as Faith dusted two vampires behind the men clearing a path for their escape.
Holmes and Watson stood stunned as the faces of the surrounding crowd twisted and the monsters charged at the two young women. The action was almost too fast to follow as the two Slayers danced among the raging vampires kicking, punching, blocking and stabbing with their wooden stakes causing their opponents to burst in to dust. The once large crowd of vampires dwindled down until only a very few remained. Holmes was amazed that any stayed to fight once it was obvious that they stood no chance against the women. It was as if they were driven with a single minded ferocity to fight instead of take flight like any rational being would when faced with such a powerful adversary.
Soon only one remained and the smaller woman grabbed the hair of the beast that must have easily been twice her size and bent it back as she raised her stake for the killing blow. As the weapon descended the vampire looked up at her from its position on its knees with a shocked expression and uttered one word before it too was reduced to dust. “Slayer.”
“Yo, B. That was the most fun I’ve had since we got here,” Faith said as she brushed the dust of several vampires from her tight leather pants. “Damn, I wish there was a good club around ‘cause I’ve definitely got that H and H feeling coming on.” With her last words she looked at the two men they had just rescued with a hungry look that had the two men wondering if they would have been safer with the vampires.
“Yeah, I can just picture that. You grinding up against some repressed tweedy dude as Lurch plays the harpsichord in the background,” Buffy turned to the two men who were still staring at them in stunned silence. “Don’t you guys know what run means? I mean did this look like a good place to be? And speaking of which what are two well dressed guys doing in this part of town anyway?” She glared at them suspiciously.
“I… We…” Holmes stopped and took a deep breath to compose himself. His very view of the world had just been severely shaken. He had lead Watson to the suspicion that vampires were involved but that had been more in the nature of a joke on his good friend and he, himself, had never believed in them. Until now. “I’m Sherlock Holmes and this is my companion, Dr. Watson.”
“Sherlock Holmes?” Faith said incredulously, “No way! B, is Sherlock Holmes even real?”
Buffy shrugged and reached out and poked Holmes a couple of times. “Seems to be.” She turned back to Holmes, “So, you’re Sherlock Holmes? THE Sherlock Holmes. Like in ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’ Sherlock Holmes?”
“I assure you, miss. He is indeed the renowned detective Sherlock Holmes and I am his companion and chronicler Dr. Watson. And who may I ask are you?”
“Oh, I’m Buffy and that’s Faith,” Buffy gestured towards the Dark Slayer. “Wow, wait till we tell Giles we met Sherlock Holmes. He’ll freak.”
“Giles? You know Mr. Giles?” At Holmes words both Slayers turned on him and their good natured smiles disappeared in a flash.
“How do you know Giles?” Buffy’s words held an edge of steel that caused a rippled of fear to go down both men’s spines. “Rupert Giles?”
“No, a Mr. Anthony Stewart Giles. We met him and a Mr. Travers at the Watchers Council this very afternoon. I have their cards here” Holmes watched the reaction on Buffy’s face at the mention of Mr. Travers as he took the cards from his pocket.
“Quentin Travers?” Buffy’s voice carried a touch of fear and Holmes wondered what about Mr. Travers could frighten someone who had just done what he had witnessed.
“No, Thomas Travers,” Holmes handed the cards to Buffy.
“Ancestors?” Buffy asked Faith as she looked at the cards before handing them to Faith.
“Beats me. This is more Andrews’s area. Or maybe Xan-man or even the G-man himself.” Faith handed the cards back to Holmes after looking at them.
“Did the Council send you looking for us? Is that why you’re here?” Buffy asked Holmes.
“No…” Holmes stood stunned by the sudden change in the young woman. Her voice carried the power of command usually only seen in high military officers who have been blooded in battle. “No. We have been pursuing clues about a recent killing. A young woman, a…,” he paused not wanting to bring up such sordid things in front of a young woman but looking in her eyes that carried years of experience beyond what anyone her age should hold he continued. “She was a lady of ill repute, a prostitute. It was witnessed by a patrolman and he described a man, or creature, such as these.” Holmes gestured to the small piles of dust that even now were disappearing in the faint evening breezes. “Though I have to say if they have been in contact with some in Scotland Yard as we have I hold no doubt that they have heard tale of your battle with and defeat of a similar foe as you have faced this evening.”
“Damn,” Buffy cursed under her breath, the last thing she wanted was for the Council to come looking for them.
Watson started as an owl hooted nearby and something rustled in the underbrush. “Perhaps me might move this conversation to a less hostile locale? I’m sure Mrs. Hudson could be prevailed upon to provide a tea service and some biscuits.”
“Could this Mrs. Hudson be prevailed upon to provide some coffee? I’ve got a wicked caffeine deficiency,” Faith asked.
“Yes,” said Holmes. “Her coffee is first rate.”
“Let’s go,” said Buffy, “I need something to wash this vamp dust out of my throat and I’m at least as caffeine deprived as Faith.”