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A Highly Valued Employee

By MrBillyD

Adventure / Thriller

Chapter 1

The sun was about to set, when Harmony’s alarm went off.  The 23-year-old woke up naked, with a naked dead guy in her bed.  She’d always felt good when that happened.  She couldn’t think of a better way to start the night.  Then she thanked God for what she’d had to eat.

She got up and stood in front of the mirror, brushing her fangs, combing her yellow, shoulder length hair, and fixing her make-up.  The full figured Harmony, wondered why no one else could see a vampire’s reflection, but she could see her own.  She liked what she saw.  When she extended her fangs, her face did not become disfigured, like they did on those fictitious vampires, who were featured on certain popular TV shows.

She thought, I’m a deadly beauty.

She put on her bright yellow dress, with matching vest and pumps, and picked up her matching handbag.

She reached in her handbag, and took out a copy of the “Vampire’s Handbook”; which was subtitled “Being a Vampire Doesn’t Have to Suck”.  Under the subtitle was a cartoon smiley face with fangs.  Under the smiley face was the blurb “What every new vampire should know.”

She walked over to the bed, put a copy of the handbook between the dead guy’s limp fingers, gave him a kiss on the cheek, and went out the door.

Harmony worked nights, as a receptionist, on the 38th floor, of the Wolfram and Hart Building, which stood 50 stories high, in the middle of Downtown.  Her desk faced across the Lobby toward the Executive Offices, with a bank of three elevators to her left.

This evening, living and undead employees, stepped off the elevators, dressed in business attire.  The men and women moved through the Lobby, heading for their offices, along the corridor to Harmony’s right, at the beginning of the worknight.

There were copies of the 48 page “Vampire’s Handbook” stacked on the desk, for anyone to pick up.  On the desk, there were also copies of this month’s edition, of “Undead Living Magazine”.

A sign hung on the wall behind Harmony, facing the elevators, declaring:

“WOLRAM AND HART HEADQUARTERS, IS A

VIOLENCE RESTRICTED ZONE.  NO KILLING

OF ANY W & H EMPLOYEES OR VISITORS IS--

PERMITTED ON THESE PREMISES, EXCEPT

BY THOSE INDIVIDUALS AUTHORIZED TO

ENFORCE SECURITY, AT THEIR OWN

DISCRETION.  ANY EMPLOYEE, IN VIOLATION

OF THIS PROHIBITION WILL BE IMMEDIATELY

DISMISSED.

W. & H. MANAGEMENT.”

This evening, Harmony sat at the Reception Desk, speaking with Winifred Berkle; “The sweetest gal alive (a usually temporary condition) at Wolfram and Hart”.  The dark haired “Winnie” stood beside the desk, wearing glasses and a white lab coat. She held a clear plastic sandwich bag.

Harmony asked her, “Have you got any plans for this weekend?”

“Not really.”

“Well Winnie girl, I’ve been thinking.  I’d like to help you celebrate your engagement to our boss, Mr. Wesley Wyndham-Price.”

“Why thank you Harmony, but I don’t know.  When I turned sweet sixteen, some of the girls back in Texas ‘helped me celebrate’, by getting me drunk, getting me naked, getting me laid by a guy on the football team, in the back seat of his car, and getting away with it.”

Harmony laughed, “When I was sixteen Winnie, I never needed anyone’s help to get a guy to lay me; and in a lot better places than back seats.”

“Neither did I, by the time I was seventeen Harm.  I was getting it good, and I was known for giving it good.

“The difference is,” Winnie went on, “that when that part of the celebration was over, he and I went back into the house, where the party was being held.  I had a great big grin on my face, while I carried my skirt thrown over my shoulder, and he whirled my panties over his head.”

Harmony laughed, “You were a wild one, weren’t you?”

“As wild as every other girl at the party that night; but it’s been a long time, since I’ve been an airhead schoolgirl.”

Then Winnie said, “The celebration you’re planning won’t end like my Sweet Sixteen Harmony.  When your celebration’s over, I’ll be too dead to even to grin, let along whirl anything.”

“No you won’t Winnie.”  Harmony assured her.  “When it over, you’ll be undead, with a very sharp grin on your face.”

Then Winnie said, “Forget it.”

“To get serious,” she said, “Wesley and I have got to start making honeymoon plans now.  I’m wondering where’s a good romantic place to go?  You’ve been to Mexico.  What’s it like?”

“Believe me Winnie,” Harmony told her, “it was wonderful.  Just try to imagine warm tropical nights, under the moon and the stars; making love to the man you love under palm trees; and listening to mariachis playing in the distance, while gulping down the warm blood of dying hombres.”

Winnie sighed, “Ahhh!  It sounds like a perfect place for two vampires in love; but I’m not a vampire and neither is Wesley.”

Harmony smiled.  “But you will be, long before your Wedding.”

Winnie stiffened.  “How long before?”

“I wouldn’t go out shopping for groceries again, unless it’s for a six-pack of blood, either pig or human.  Listen Winnie.  You’re a very cute gal, with a very appetizing neck, and a lot of vampire guys around here, who would love to sink their fangs into it.”

“Thank you Harm, but the only guy, I want sticking any part of himself into me is Wesley.”

A tall dark haired man, wearing a dark three-piece suit and glasses, stepped off an elevator into the Lobby, carrying a briefcase.

Harmony grinned.  “And here he comes; your fiancé, Mr. Wesley Wyndham-Price himself.”

The man with the briefcase made his way through the crowd, to the reception desk.

Winnie grinned. “Hi Wesley.”

He spoke with an upper class British accent.  “Good evening Winifred.”

“Harmony.”  He asked, “Are you doing anything that will take you away from your desk, within this half hour?”

The Receptionist smiled.  “No.  I’m just trying to kill your fiancée, and she’s talking dirty.”

As always, Wesley didn’t respond to Harmony’s playful tease.

He told her, “I’m expecting a very important package to arrive from Sunnydale, within this half hour.”

Harmony repeated, “Sunnydale?”

“Yes.”  He nodded. “Your hometown and the site of your High School Alma Mater.”

She added, “Where I got killed and vamped, on the night of my High School Prom.  That was right after Buffy Summers, the Vampire Slayer, received that lame ‘Class Protector’ Award.”

She laughed, “I wish I hadn’t been too dead, to see the look on her face.””

He told her, “I want you to send the person who delivers the package into my office, as soon as he arrives.  After I’ve completed my business with him, I’ll have you come into my office.  Then I’ll want you to...”

“Take him someplace, and kill him?”

That was the usual reason, why Wesley wanted Harmony to enter his Office, when he dealt with some “person”.

This time he said, “That remains to be seen.”

He turned to his fiancée.  “See you later Winnie.”

Wesley then headed to his office, across the Lobby from the Reception Desk, went inside and shut the door.

“So Harmony.”  Winnie told her, “There’s something that I’d like you to be one of the first people to know about.  It’s a major breakthrough for vampires everywhere.”

Harmony asked, “Major breakthrough?”

“Up in the Lab, we’ve developed a formula that will accelerate the vampiric transformation process.”

“Accelerate the transformation?”

“When a vampire uses the formula, before he or she bites someone, the person who he or she bites, will revive as a vampire, in about four hours.”

“You mean he won’t have to be buried, and dig his way up out of his grave, like I did?”

“Exactly.  What do you think about that?”

“I wish the guy who vamped me, had taken the formula.”

The researcher told her, “Now we have to run some tests.  How’d you like to volunteer?”

Harmony grinned, “Sure.”

“Good.  Just wait a minute.”

Harmony playfully opened her mouth, and extended her fangs, looking hungrily at Winnie’s neck.

Winnie ignored the fangs.  She opened her clear plastic bag, and removed a small, plastic drug vial.

Then she told Harmony, “Here are some lozenges.”

She put the vial on the desk.

The vampire said, “Lozenges?”

“That’s right.  Just suck on one of these, about a half hour before you go hunting.”

Harmony retracted her fangs.

She said, “That’s not what I’d been hoping to suck on.”

“Sorry to disappoint you Harm, but I can’t possibly monitor the test, if I’m dead, can I?”

Harmony told her, “If you get vamped, during this test, it’ll be an authorized killing, so no one will lose his job.  It’ll be much more considerate of you, than just waiting to get grabbed and dragged into a closet by some vamp, who’ll give it to you wham, bam, thank you ma’am; and then get fired for it.”

Winnie told her, “I don’t want anyone fired; and back where I come from, we women prefer wham and bam.”

“You do? I can’t believe Wesley...”

“Believe it girl, and he’s always a gentleman, who says ‘Thank you ma’am.’”

Then she added, “When I do get vamped, I’ll choose who I want to wham and bam me, and I’ll choose the place where it happens.  It won’t be in here, and he won’t have long to wait.” 

The five-minute warning bell rang, and the Lobby quickly cleared of all employees, except Winnie and Harmony.

The double doors of an elevator opened.  A dark haired living guy, in his early twenties, stepped out into the lobby, carrying a brown, sealed, cardboard box that was a foot wide and a foot high.  He wore a zipped open light brown jacket, over a white shirt, and dark blue jeans.  He had a deep suntan, and looked around nervously.  He saw the sign, declaring Wolfram and Hart Headquarters, to be a Violence Restricted Zone, but he still looked uneasy.

He stepped up to the reception desk, and exclaimed,

“Harmony?”

The receptionist said, “Xander?  Xander Harris?”

Harmony grinned hungrily at Xander who became even more nervous.

“Winnie.”  She said pleasantly, “This is Alexander Harris. I went to Sunnydale High with him.  I’m glad you brought me these lozenges.”

Winnie said, “Good evening Mr. Harris.  So you’re the one from Sunnydale.”

Xander shook visibly.

He repeated, “’The one’?”

Xander reached in his jacket pocket, took out a cross, and held it trembling, up close to Harmony’s face.

Harmony extended her fangs, and sat there calmly.

Winnie shouted, “What are you doing?  Those things are forbidden here!”

Xander looked frantically back and forth, between Harmony and Winnie.  He saw Harmony sitting there calmly.  Not affected by the presence of the cross.

She said, “It’s okay Winnie.  He can’t hurt me with that.”

Xander asked, “What’s going on?  You’re not cringing?”

Harmony reached out, and grabbed the cross out of Xander’s hand.

He asked, “How can you be holding that?”

Harmony announced, “I’m a born again Christian Mr. Harris.”

“But you’re a vampire.”  He told her, “You’re showing me your fangs.”

Harmony handed the cross to Winnie, who put it in a pocket of her lab coat.

“Some of God’s people got fangs.”

Harmony retracted her fangs.

She asked, “Are you ready to be a civilized adult, and behave like a gentleman now, Xander?”

“I will, if you will.”

Winnie asked, “Are things okay now?”

“Sure Winnie.”  Harmony told her, “He’s not leaving this building alive.”

“Good.”  The researcher told her, “Well I’ve got to get on up to the Lab.  See you later Harm.”

“So I’ll talk to you during lunch Winnie.”

“Right.  See you then.”

Winnie headed away from the desk, and boarded an elevator.

Harmony was now alone with Xander.

He repeated, “’Harm’?  That nickname really fits.”

“Wait’ll you see just how much.”

“The last time I saw you,” he said, “you were lying dead, in the parking lot, right after our Senior Prom let out.”

“Yeah.  That got me out of having to take any finals.”

“And now you’re a vampire employee, of the vampire owned and operated Wolfram and Hart Corporation.”

“Where my services are well appreciated, and well compensated.  Something you’ll never be able to say.”

He said, “I beg to disagree with you, my bloodthirsty beauty.”

Xander placed the box on the desk in front of Harmony.

He said, “In this box, I have the fulfillment of every vampire’s deepest wish.”

Xander picked up a human bone letter opener, from a human skull pencil holder on Harmony’s desk.  He cut the tape around the edges, and opened the box.

“Just take a look inside and see, oh skeptical deadly one.”

Harmony stood and looked inside the box.

“A woman’s head?”  She observed, “Blonde.”

The receptionist reached into the box, and took out the head of a young woman, in her early twenties.

Harmony howled in delight.  “You’ve killed Buffy Summers!  The Vampire Slayer is dead!  This is wonderful!  Ding-dong!  The bitch is dead!”

Harmony put down the head, rushed around the desk, threw her arms around Xander, kissed him and hugged him tight, pushing her large firm breasts against him.  Xander grabbed Harmony’s lower ribs, trying to push her away, but the vampire was much too strong for him.

“You’re a hero Xander!”

He was horrified.  “A hero?  Me?”

“And a hero deserves the reward, of immortality!”

Harmony extended her fangs.

“Wait!”  Xander told her, “This would be an unauthorized killing, in a Violence Restricted Zone!  You’d get fired!”

She said, “I’ve been given the authority.  It’s entirely up to my discretion, which I exercise regularly.”

“But can’t you come up with a different reward, other than immortality?”

“Sure, but you’re also a villain Xander.  I’m killing you for the betrayal and murder of Buffy Summers.  You deserve to die for that.”

Harmony put her mouth against his neck, and was about to chomp.

“Wait!”  Xander shouted, “I’m not the one who killed her!  Do you really think I’d have the ability?  Think about it.”

Harmony hesitated to bite, but she kept her fangs, and her licking tongue against his neck.

“Think about it.”  He asked, “You’re an ordinary vampire, who’s about to kill me, with no trouble at all; so how could I, of all people, kill a Vampire Slayer?”

She removed her mouth from his neck, let go of him, and stepped back from Xander saying, “Okay.  You get to live another minute or two.

“So tell me, since you didn’t kill her, who did?”

He asked, “Do you remember Anya?  More properly known as Anyanka, the Wish Granting Vengeance Demon?”

“Oh yes.”  Harmony smirked, “I know all about you and your ex-fiancée.  You left her standing at the altar?  In her wedding dress?  If I wasn’t a vampire, and you’d done that to me, I’d have ripped your throat open, with my bare teeth, and sucked you dry anyway.

“Why’d she kill Buffy and not you?”

“Anya’s a Wish Granting Vengeance Demon.  She’d have only been able to do that, if someone had wished for that.  Somehow, nobody ever did.”

“That’s okay.  I’ll take care of it now.”

Harmony again clamped her arms around Xander, and put her open mouth against his neck.  Then she hesitated, and stepped back from him again.

She asked, “So tell me.  What happened with Buffy?”

He took a deep breath.

“It happened last night.”  Xander explained, “At Sunnydale U.  There were these Frat Guys who, just for fun, did something very sleazy, to humiliate a defenseless Co-ed.

“They held, what they called a ‘Pig Party’.  She’d been invited to attend a party at the Frat House.  You know; Sigma Gamma Sleazebags.  She’d been invited by one of the members; who she thought was very nice; but when they got there, all the guys in the room started making oinking noises; including the guy who’d invited her.

“She started crying, and they oinked even louder.  She ran for the door, and the oinking turned into roaring.

“When she got to the door she turned around.  Then she told them, ‘I wish that all of you would know how it feels, to have your hearts ripped out.’

“So Anya granted her wish.”

Harmony said, “Good for her.”

“And Buffy said that she knew what she had to do.

“And I knew what I had to do.”

Xander had driven to the Frat House, where he’d found Anya, standing in the parlor, outside the room, where about two dozen Frat Guys lay dead in their own blood, with their hearts lying on the floor.

The 1100-year-old Vengeance Demon looked like a brunette co-ed in her early twenties.

She said, “Do you have any idea what they did to her Xander?”

He told her, “This isn’t an intervention Anya.  My motor’s running.  Get in the car now.  Buffy’s coming to kill you.”

His ex-fiancée spoke calmly.  “You mean she’s coming to try.”

He threw up his hands.  “Has everyone had their Crazy Flakes today?”

“I’m a demon.” Anya explained, “She’s a demon slayer.  It was bound to come to this someday; and tonight, the Slayer dies.”

He told her, “I can’t count the number of demons, who I’ve heard say that, just before they were the ones who died.”

Behind him, he heard Buffy speak.  “Get out of the way Xander!”

Xander turned to face Buffy, who carried a sword.

He stood in front of Anya, shielding her from the Slayer.

“No!”  He said, “You’re trying to kill the woman I love!  You’ll have to go through me first!”

Anya shouted behind him.  “Get out of the way Xander!”

He looked and saw Anya’s demon face, all pale, and full of thick, pulsing veins.

She shoved Xander aside; then lunged at Buffy.

Xander stayed down, which was always the smartest thing to do, when Buffy began flailing with anything that could be used as a weapon.

He watched as Anya and Buffy engaged in a swashbuckling fight, going back and forth, all over the room.

Anya shouted, “This is just like you, isn’t it Buffy?  Are there any friends of yours, who you haven’t tried to kill?”

The brawl continued, with the sword passing back and forth between the two supernatural warriors; until Buffy finally had Anya pinned up against the wall, with the point of the sword between her breasts.

Xander shouted “No!”

Buffy thrust the sword, all the way through Anya, fastening her to the wall.

The woman Xander loved cried out and died.

Anya hung dead against the wall, showing her human face.  She had a tear on her cheek.

Xander couldn’t remember, if he’d said anything to Buffy at that moment.  He remembered that they couldn’t look at each other.

Then Anya gagged.  She reached up, and pulled the sword out of herself.

She asked, “What did you think Buffy?  That a sword through the chest, would be enough to kill a Vengeance Demon?  I thought you knew better.”

Anya lunged forward with the sword.  She made a single slash, and chopped Buffy’s head off.

The Vampire Slayer’s headless body collapsed, spurting blood from her neck stump, while her head rolled to the side of the room.

Xander stood up.  He looked at the headless body, and its separated head.  Anya stood victoriously above the remains of the woman, who had been the center of her ex-fiancé’s life, for the past seven years.

“Everything’s over.”  He told Harmony, “In an instant; in the twinkling of an eye.  It’s all gone.”

Anya had slapped the side of the bloody sword blade across her shoulder, and strutted toward the door.

She shouted, “Bring her head Xander!”

As she stepped through the doorway, out into the night, he heard Anyanka the Vengeance Demon shout; “Sunnydale is mine!”

Now in the Lobby, of the Executive Offices of Wolfram and Hart, Harmony told Xander,

“That’s horrible!  It’s an inexcusable waste!  Do you know how many vampires could have been fed, with the blood of two dozen Frat guys?  And the Slayer?

“So Xander,” she said, “you’re not a villain or a hero.  You don’t deserve to die for that.”

“Thank you Harmony.”

“But I’m still killing you, for leaving Anya at the altar.”

She again threw her arms around Xander in an unbreakable grip.

“And I’m not gonna be wasting one drop of your blood.”

She again put her open mouth and fangs against his neck.

He shouted, “I have an appointment!  With Mr. Wesley Wyndham-Price himself!”

Harmony sighed in frustration, and let him go once more.

“Oh yes.”  She spoke with annoyance.  “He’s expecting you. It might actually cause some minor inconvenience if I killed you, before your meeting.

“Mr. Wyndham-Price’s Office is right over there.”

Xander stepped over to the reception desk, and put Buffy’s head back in the box.

Harmony said, “I’m sure he’ll be just as glad as the rest of us, that the Slayer problem has finally been taken care of.”

He told her, “The Vampires’ problem with Buffy has been solved, but not the problem of the Slayers.  That’s what this appointment’s all about.

“Thank you Harmony.  I’d be lying if I said it was good to see you again.”

Xander picked up the box, tucking it under his right arm, and headed toward Wesley’s office.

Harmony stepped back behind her desk, and returned to her seat, as Xander stepped inside the Office, and shut the door behind himself.

Harmony then picked up the small plastic medicine vial, and flipped open the lid.  She took out a green lozenge, and put it on her tongue.  It had a minty taste.





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