Originally my day was to have been Tuesday last week, but at a slightly later point it seemed to make sense to switch to today, which was then vacant.
However, BECAUSE I AM A MORON I actually posted on Tuesday, which was NOT MY DAY. I apologised properly to the lovely sintonia, who was extremely kind and gracious about it.
So, today is officially my day. And it so happens I have another chapter of my fic, Hotel Suite ready to post. And a banner I made to go with it. This is the landscape you should imagine, folks.
Still PG at most - and that only because of Spike's language.
Chapter One is here.
As soon as he had seen the back of his beloved, Spike started to move fast. Well, as fast as the Tube would let him on a late December evening. Back in the day a nearly-empty carriage on the City Branch had been good pickings and good eating. Now it was just bloody annoying plonkers nodding their heads in time to whatever crap came out of their earphones.
It took forever to get to Waterloo – probably should have taken a different route, but how the hell was he to know? Should have got a bleeding taxi for that matter – and shafted old Rupes for the cash to pay for it too.
Still, in the end he was back at his basement pad, ready to pick up the gear and go on to Heathrow. He hoped to all the Powers that Red’s cloaking spell would work, or he might just have to eat a baggage handler. This time he was getting a cab, cost or no cost; the bags were easy enough to heft but bulky, a real bugger to manoeuvre. Last thing before he left he double-checked the small box in his pocket. Yup, both there.
He was in mid-air when he realised his fancy suit was still in its bag back at the flat. He swore fluently enough to get at least one admiring look amidst the frowns turned on him. Black leather, red shirt, black everything else it was going to have to be, then. His schedule allowed no time for suit shopping and that far up-country they would probably only have kilts to offer. He’d put his foot down about that already. Not bleeding likely.
The lights of the airport were part-obscured by the snow, even this far south. It was going to be a fun road-trip. He chucked his bags in the boot, making them clank loudly, swung into the seat of his hired car, hooked up his music thing, a present from Dawn, and pulled away with the Ramones blasting his eardrums. At last, he could relax, with a good ten hours to such sunrise as there might be, a decent set of snowchains and an open road ahead. He couldn't stick that wanker Clarkson, but on one thing they were agreed – twisty roads and powerful cars were a match made, if not in heaven, at least in a car factory.
He made it to the mansion more or less at the same time as the helicopter landed. He could have gone that way too, but the thought of the less-than-enthusiastic company of Rupert Giles and Lord Nelson was too much for him. Xander might consider himself more the Nick Fury type, but Nelson had, according to Darla, been a ponsy little squirt, which Spike felt fitted the boy better. Mind you, Darla had probably been in a fit of pique over being turned down by the famous sailor when she said that, but what the hell.
The hotel staff were waiting in a satisfyingly long line, just as he remembered from the days his Mamma had taken him on country house visits in his teens. They didn’t exactly curtsey, but they looked respectful, and that would do. The manager bloke oozed respect like cheap margarine. He was being paid enough for it. Giles and Harris were settled down by the fire, one with crappy Yank beer, the other with a fine malt, and Spike was taken round the place.
It was, as he told himself, a fine choice. All the ancestral panelling you could wish for, roaring log fires, deep pile carpets, the works. He inspected the special suite with particular interest, pointing out a few deficiencies, then approved a pretty room for his girl. He gave a few special orders, then slipped back to join the others. He supposed he’d have to call them his best men, though the words almost choked him.
He briefed them on all the unimportant stuff they needed to know, while putting himself round a fine old Laphroaig, then made his excuses and left. He strode up the wide stairs, coat flapping appropriately, across the hall, then sharp right and down the narrow steps once only used by servants, and now very convenient for vampires. Two hours to sunrise, and there was a blasted heath to find.
He slipped out of the side door. For a moment his hand stuck to the brass handle, but he tore it away, his impatience matching his temper. The latter went up several notches, however, when he saw the courtesy transport provided by the management.
A sodding golf cart.
This was all very well for driving the blissful newlyweds around the estate to catch the golden rays of the sun with their pricey photographer. Well that was going to happen. Golden rays of dust-inducing lethality – he was going to take great care to stay out of that. Right now his problem was getting the stupid little thing to move faster than he could walk, and across the lumpy snow.
It took an hour to reach the artful ruins. Great. He was really going to push the time envelope here. Nobody else was going to arrange this sort of wedding entertainment but him. And he was determined to make this shebang memorable.
He moved carefully down the slimy, icy steps. At the bottom a rotting plank door blocked his way. One hearty kick and it was no longer an issue.
Inside three weird, haggard figures turned to face him. Surprise in varying degrees flooded their expressions. The shortest one even dropped the dried amphibian she was holding.
“Where shall we four meet again?” Spike folded his arms and smiled the smile of the comfortable vampire. The women stared more widely and backed away.
“I saw your advert. I am Mr DuSang. I believe we have a contract you have to fulfil.”
One of the witches gasped, just a little. The most crabbed and bent hobbled forward, however, and took his pale hand in her gnarled fingers.
“Of course, of course. What a pleasure to meet you at last. I gather you require our services for event disruption?”
Spike lodged himself comfortably on a crude table. “Yes indeed. How do you feel about a wedding?”
So, my apologies for my extreme ineptitude. Comments, even those berating me, are as balm to my soul...