How I Spent My Summer Vacation

by Beetle


I couldn’t shake him loose and trying was getting me nowhere. I groaned, and risked looking into his eyes again. Still blue. Still . . . thrall-y. The last of my struggles tapered off without any permission from my AWOL brain. “Look, I’m a loser, okay? So not worth the thralling, or subverting, or whatever it is you’re doing. Please, let me go--leave me alone.”

“Can’t. See, I’m in the market for a Consort, Xanderrr . . . and you’re in the running. In the bloody lead,” he added, his eyes getting closer and closer. “Think you might be interested?”

“C-consort?” I stammered, wracking my brain for what that meant.

“Didn’t feature runnin’ into any of you white hats here, of all places. Gotta figure something put you in my path for a reason.”

Yeah, and the something? Would be Jack Daniels, I thought, but was still smart enough to not say. “But--you’re evil!”

“Well, you’re not nearly as slow as you put on, are you?” There goes the sneer. But even without it, I know sarcasm when I hear it. No way was I gonna ask him what the hell a Consort was if I was gonna get the eyebrow of ‘you simpleton’ for my trouble.

Anyway, I was pretty sure Consort was a step above minion, or Slayer-bait, and didn’t involve death or soul-loss. Something like a jumped-up side-kick. Either way, evil incarnate was offering me a job. “Uh . . . you’re kidding me, right--?”

More winky gold light in his eyes. “Well, it doesn’t carry the same cachet of glamour that dishwashing and hauling trash does, but the pay’s excellent.”

“Wait a minute--there’s pay?” I asked, which was stupid. I should’ve been screaming my head off, or at least pretending I was noble enough not to be curious about the wages of sin. “How much?”

“Monetarily? Dunno, exactly. . . .” Spike purred lazily and pulled me flush against him. There was either a gun in his pocket or he was really happy to see me. “But I can promise you great personal satisfaction.”

And suddenly I was remembering what being a Consort entailed--at least according to Giles’s huge and dusty old books.


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