Author's Note: For some reason, my husband just adores the ditzy Harmony Kendall. Thinks she's great comic relief and will happily re-watch any episode she's in, particularly those after she's become a vampire. After seeing the AtS episode Disharmony, he gave me the inspiration for this fic. Remember, the business cards are all his fault.
The setting draws very loosely on elements of the "Life in Sunnydale" series (Spike is involved with the Magic Box). It's sometime beyond the end of S6 and Spike and Buffy are getting along. This is supposed to be silly and fluffy, written primarily to entertain my husband during an illness.
"They're just want I wanted!" she squealed, her voice echoing through the Sunnydale Business District branch of Kinko's. She practically jumped up and down in excitement before she remembered that Master Vampires did not jump up and down. Composing herself, she adopted a haughty attitude. "They are quite acceptable."
She wondered why the clerk behind the counter looked so nervous and acted like he wanted to be anywhere but there.
It was the most hideous thing he had ever seen and that was saying something, given nearly a century and a quarter of living and who his companions had been for some of that period. Kitschy flower background made worse by the pathetic unicorn in the corner. The choice of typeface was revolting to all sense of design and who in their right mind would want to have a business card that said, "Harmony Kendall, Master Vampire?"
Oh. Just wasn't his day, now was it?
Despite the small voice in his head that screamed for him to run for the hills before the horror that was Harm, Spike couldn't resist silently sauntering up behind her, then reaching out to pluck the card from her fingers. "You have got to be kidding."
She spun around at the sound of his voice, looking for all the world like she'd been caught doing something she shouldn't. "Spikey! I mean, Spike."
This was too delicious. She was trying to puff herself up again, be the Big Bad instead of the spoilt child who'd stomped her way out of his lair. Somehow, the memory of the crossbow bolt she'd embedded in his shoulder had faded with time. "What could you possibly be thinking, Harm? I mean, business cards? Evening, Charlie."
The clerk looked a little less nervous. "Hi, Spike. The fliers will be ready in a few minutes."
And here he was, criticizing her for business cards. "Fliers? Isn't that a little declassy?"
"It's 'déclassé' and I'll have you know this is legitimate business."
Harmony put her expert eye to work. Spike still sported the same peroxide blonde hair and what looked to be the same black jeans and fashion mistake work boots. He had added a different shirt, a dark paisley print on -- what else? -- black that might have been acceptable if she was in a forgiving mood. "What? Promoting a punk rock band?"
His eyes narrowed. "Don't go there, Harm. I still haven't forgiven you for my albums."
"Oh, I'm so frightened. What are you going to do? Stake me right here in front of everyone?"
Harmony almost hoped he'd try. She'd been practicing Tae Bo ever since she'd discovered vampires could indeed gain weight and figured some of the kicks might make Spike realize she wasn't the put on little person who used to hang around with him. To her disappointment, he merely snickered.
Did she really think he was going to whip out a stake and do her in right here in the middle of Kinko's? Especially since she was letting her body sink into some pseudo-martial arts fighting stance? Please. He had better things to do with his time. "I don't understand why you're still standing here taking up space. I thought you liked to get your stuff then eviscerate the help."
She shifted her weight from one leg to another. "Well, I would…but they made me pre-pay. Doesn't seem the same if you've already paid for it."
Spike wished he could find the idiot vampire who'd sired her; delightful thoughts of lingering torture filled his head. He could probably even get the Scoobies to help on that one.
"Here you are, Spike." Charlie dropped a box on the counter. "Sign the invoice and you're good to go."
Not for the first time, Spike was glad Giles had had the foresight to set up a corporate account here. "Thanks, mate."
"No problem. You guys decided on the new stationery yet."
Not something he wanted to discuss with Harmony standing there glaring at him. Maybe he should stake her, put himself out of his misery. Instead, he opened the box to make certain the fliers were okay.
They were lovely. Problem was, they were also for a campus Wicca group called the Daughters of Gaia and the dance recital they'd scheduled in two weeks. "Uh, Charlie?"
Charlie looked down. "Oops, grabbed the wrong box. Yours are still in back. Sir? Your fliers are done."
Harmony happily found herself distracted by the dark-haired man who approached the counter. He was just the type she'd always favored, the sensitive, poetic-looking type with deep, soulful eyes. That he was poetic was confirmed by the book he carried under his arm. It was thick and clearly philosophy.
Well, to tell the truth, Harmony liked football players too. But this one she'd look good walking into a party with. "Thanks," he said. "How much do I owe you?"
While the clerk rang up the bill, Harmony moved closer. "Ooh, Daughters of Gaia," she said, whatever that was. The trick worked, though as he turned to look at her.
"You're a sister?" he asked, brown eyes checking her out. The smile grew a little wider when he finished.
"Uh, no. But it looks interesting." She moved a little closer. "Maybe you could explain it to me."
You're a Wicca?" Spike asked, then made that annoying snorting noise of his. "Think you have the wrong equipment."
For a moment, it looked as if he might know Spike. That would be bad. If he did, Spike might say nasty things about her before Harmony had the chance to get him interested. The moment passed, though, and he smiled a meltable smile. "I'm helping a friend. I believe one has to be broadminded."
To Harmony's relief, he turned his back on Spike and focused his attention where it belonged: on her. "It's really very interesting."
"Sounds like it. I'm Harmony Kendall."
He held out his hand. "Parker Abrams."
That's why the git looked so familiar; this was the idiot boy Buffy had had her tragic one-night stand with. It'd clearly been the use of the bag of broody, sensitive poofter tricks that had done it, perfect bait for a defenseless slayer who was mourning over the loss of her broody, sensitive poofter love. Good thing she'd come to her senses since then.
Now he was practicing his tricks on Harmony. This should be entertaining.
"So what is this dance recital about?" she asked. Oh, great. Harmony was getting that gooey expression she used to put on when she'd want to talk about their "relationship." All big eyes and listening.
The prat rattled on about dancing as an expression of a woman's natural beauty, melding with the moon and a bunch of other crap he must have picked up out of a book. 'Cause it certainly bore no resemblance to anything he'd see regarding Wicca in the last century.
And Harmony was eating it up.
Where the hell were his fliers?
He was soooo sensitive. Harmony loved just listening to him -- the way his mouth formed the words, the way he acted as if she were the only person around. It was nice to actually be the center of attention; she deserved it and didn't get it often enough.
The clerk came back with his change and she panicked a little, wondering how to keep him from slipping away. A thought slipped into her mind. If she could get him alone, maybe she could keep him from never leaving. Of course, that might well mean she got blood on her new pants and it might never come out, but some things were worth the sacrifice. "Um, would you like get some coffee?" she asked.
He smiled at her. "Sounds great. I'm done here. Are you?"
She looked over at Spike. He was checking a new box and seemed satisfied this time. "Just one thing."
Harmony marched the very short distance between her and Spike. "I'm leaving now. I'm going to go have coffee with Parker because he's much more interesting than you."
Spike looked up from the fliers. Magic Box? What was he doing with fliers for a sale at the Magic Box? "You do that. Take your time. See you in, oh, a century? But don't rush on my account."
He always had to be mean, ruin everything. "I'll do that. Here." She dug into her box and dropped several cards on top of his stupid fliers. "Take those to remember me by. Be sure the Slayer gets one."
With that, she turned around, all smile. "Ready to go."
Spike was still chuckling as he walked into the Magic Box. "You are not going to believe who I ran into."
The assembled Scoobies looked up. "I'm assuming you're hoping we'll ask who," Giles said.
Dropping the box on the counter, Spike settled himself onto one of the two bar chairs. "Harmony is back in town. How she's managed to avoid getting herself staked is beyond me."
"Harmony?" Buffy wrinkled her nose. "So not interested."
"Neither am I, pet, if that's what you're worried about. Charlie was wondering if we'd made a decision on the stationery yet, Giles."
Giles grumbled, turning back to the books. "What was Harmony doing?" Willow asked.
"Getting business cards printed, of all things." He popped the top of the flier box and grabbed one. "You'll love this."
With a flourish, he dropped the card onto the research table, grinning as Buffy and Willow leaned forward. "You have got to be joking," Buffy said. "Master Vampire? Master Ditz is more like it."
That brought Giles' attention out of the books. "Harmony is presenting herself as a Master Vampire?"
Spike returned to his place at the counter. "Hysterical, ain't it?"
"I'm surprised you, of all people, Spike, don't recognize the seriousness of this. A new master in Sunnydale is…well, we could be in for some trouble."
"It's Harmony," Willow said, the surprise in her voice sounding more connected to the idea Giles would given weight to this than anything else.
"And I can assure you, Rupert, that based on personal experience, Harmony has no understanding whatsoever of what a Master Vampire is supposed to be." Spike shook his head. "Bloody bint has no understanding of vampire lore period, no matter how hard I tried to tell her. I seriously doubt she's a threat. Well, maybe to the bloke she picked up at Kinko's."
"Harmony picked someone up?" Buffy started to stand. "We'd better go and rescue him. I mean, death by Harmony? Ewwww."
"It was Parker Abrams."
Buffy sat back down.
"Stinky Parker Man got picked up by Harmony? Ewwww. Poor Harmony."
"Maybe we shouldn't go rushing off half-cocked," Buffy said. "I mean, it's not like we know she's going to eat him."
"Buffy, I can't believe you're saying this. We're talking about a human life here."
"Giles, this is the guy I clunked over the head when I was the cave slayer."
"Oh." Giles began cleaning his glasses. "Well, we shouldn't let personal feeling get in the way, but I think I can understand certain feelings of reluctance."
"Can I have a vote?" Spike interjected. "This Parker git seems like the type who'd keep avoiding being staked and would be around forever to torture you. He'd run away rather than face the slayer. Do you really want to put up with that?"
There was a long pause. "Do I have to save him?"
"Comes with the job, pet."
Grumping, Buffy got up and headed for the training room. "I never get any fun," she groused.
She was definitely going to turn him, Harmony decided, resting her chin on her hand as she listened to him talk. The thing that made it so sad," he said, "was that there was a lot of stuff he didn't get to finish. Like, he thought there'd always be this future out there, and then there wasn't. It's made me think about, you know, living for now."
"That is so sad," Harmony cooed, not moving her chin from her hand. "You must miss your dad. And that's really great what you said, about living for now. It's so deep."
He smiled at her and she felt her insides melt. "Well, everyone says they get it: "oh, man, me too, live for today," but what they really want is an excuse to goof off and not study for finals."
"Oh, I so totally agree with that. It's not like I have to take finals anymore, but I can understand why people want out of them."
He blinked prettily at her, a bit confused. Harmony had this dreadful feeling that she'd said something wrong. Damn. Why did cute guys get her tongue-tied? "What I meant, was…"
Parker reached across the table to lay his hand on hers. "It's okay, Harmony. It's good to be able to speak your thoughts."
Okay, melt time again. Quick, think of something. "What's your major?" Good. That was neutral and he was smiling again.
"Well, I declared pre-med but I hated it. I switched to History."
"Wow. That's heavy."
He shrugged. "People think it's dull. But there's something amazing about these huge events, that when you dig down into them, they're all about people. Regular people, just trying to make choices."
"Do you have a script you follow, because I swear I've heard those lines before."
Harmony spun around in her chair. Standing in the entrance of the near-deserted Espresso Pump was Buffy, with Spike -- Spike! -- right behind her. "Buffy!"
"You couldn't get the hint, could you, Harmony? Just couldn't stay away."
"Uh, Harmony, you know these people?"
The look on the stupid git's face was priceless. Yeah, he recognized Buffy. Probably the only one of his conquests he ever did remember. Spike decided it was a shame he hadn't let her bring the ax like she wanted. Might have been a bit much for a public place, but it would have added to the entertainment factor.
And there was Harmony, opening and closing her mouth like a fish that'd landed on dry land. Spike wouldn't mind applying a little stake, but he wasn't foolish enough to get himself between the Slayer and her quarry at this moment.
Of course, whether that quarry was the vampire or the jerk was still up in the air.
"You have no right to interrupt us," Harmony squeaked. "I mean, I know I'm your mortal enemy…"
"'Mortal enemy?' Get real. Mortal pain-in-the-ass, perhaps, but you hardly fit in the enemy category. And what's with even thinking about turning this loser? By the way, hello, Parker."
Loser? What did she mean dishing Harmony's taste in men? "Oh, like you were always Miss Popular and had boys swooning at your feet."
To her immense annoyance, Buffy rolled her eyes heavenward. "Remember Angel? We used to date."
"Yeah, deathless love and all that."
At least the dirty look Buffy shot Spike made Harmony feel a tiny bit better. "I'm in the middle of a date. I'm going to ask you to leave."
"Right. Parker, you bit off more than you could chew with this one. Rather, she's going to bite you."
Parker was standing. "Maybe I should go…"
Harmony stood as well. She couldn't let him slip away. "No, I'll be done here in a moment." Turning back to Buffy, she let her game face slide into place. "That's it. You're going to pay for interrupting."
Buffy held out her hand. Spike, evil grin on his face, dropped a stake into it. "We'll see about that."
Harmony hesitated. I am a Master Vampire, she told herself. I am in control of my unlife. I can actualize my potential.
Having recited her personal affirmation mantra, she lunged, fangs wide.
It was one of the most pitiful tussles Spike had ever seen, more a catfight than a proper vampire/slayer battle. Sure, Harmony had fangs, but she seemed more intent on using her nails, clearly having forgotten every move he'd ever bothered to show her. Part of him was tempted to step in and show her how it was done, especially when Buffy grabbed her hair and gave it a sharp tug. That, however, would only gain him a sharp look and no goodnight kiss.
Harmony clawed. Buffy sidestepped. Harmony lunged. Buffy pulled Harmony's hair. Again. Squealing, Harmony tried to kick Buffy, who casually tossed her into the wall of the Espresso Pump. Oh, and Parker just happened to be in the way.
Parker's body managed to provide a cushion between Harmony and the wall. She'd wanted to find herself in is arms, but this was not the way she'd imagined it. "Parker, honey, are you okay?"
He looked up at her and screamed. "Get away from me!"
"But, honey bear…"
Parker was pushing frantically along the concrete, trying to get away. "Get away, get away, get away!"
Harmony felt her heart break. He'd been so sensitive and she'd wanted to drown in those dark eyes forever. Realizing all was lost, she stood up, grabbed her box of cards and prepared to flee. "This is all your fault. You'll pay for this!"
Spike rubbed his sore ankle. "You could have stopped her."
Buffy couldn't seem to stop laughing. "It was too funny. Has to kick you in the ankle as she runs out."
"Maybe you should have tried to stake her while she was busy doing it."
"That's Harmony's secret weapon. She does something so insanely stupid, you just have to stop and stare while she gets away."
He grumbled some more, but saw he wasn't going to get much sympathy. "What about him?"
Parker was still on the floor, staring at them with eyes wide. With a sigh, Buffy moved toward him, but didn't get too close. "Are you okay? Did she bite you?"
Parker shook his head and Spike caught Buffy's muttered, "Damn." "What was that?" the boy demanded.
Buffy cocked her head to one side. "Let's just say that sometimes going for the flow can come back and bite you in the ass. Or the neck, as it were. Remember that next time. Might want to get a new script, too. Old one's getting a bit worn."
Not bothering to help him up, Buffy turned back to Spike. "I think we're done here."
With a grin, Spike slid his arm around Buffy's waist and they started across the street to the Magic Box together. "Still say you should have let me bring the ax…"