A Highly Valued Employee

Chapter 3

3

At Wolfram and Hart Headquarters, Harmony thought, there really wasn't that much to "tour". Mostly there were just ordinary offices.

"But," she told Xander, "There are a few facilities here, that you just have to see."

They first stopped off in the Preservation Room; a dark, cramped backroom, containing strong smelling, steaming vats. There were crowded shelves, where shrunken heads, human skulls, complete heads, and other parts of human and non-human anatomies had been placed.

Harmony left Buffy's head with the guy at the counter. He took the head and gave Harmony a receipt, which she placed in her handbag. Then she and Xander continued the tour.

They went past the cafeteria, which wasn't yet open for lunch.

"They serve cooked meals for the live employees and warm blood for us vamps."

Harmony then escorted him along the corridors, with her hand firmly gripping his arm, too strongly for him to pull away. She escorted him to the Publications Department, where "The Vampire's Handbook" was published. W&H's chief publication, "Undead Living" Magazine, was also produced here.

"I've read the Vampire's Handbook." Xander told her, "Everyone in Buffy's Gang has read it. We've memorized every word. Buffy also had a monthly subscription to "Undead Living".

Harmony asked, "Have you seen this?"

She'd picked up a copy of this year's Deadly Gals Calendar, and opened it to the picture of Miss April.

Xander said, "You? Harmony, you're naked?"

"This is a reprint of an old photo," she explained, "that was taken before I received Salvation; so if you're interested..."

"Thank you Harmony. I would be flattered, if you weren't being described as 'deadly'."

"What I started to say, is if you're interested in me that way, I don't feel that way about you, so that's not gonna happen; but I still want your final moments to be as pleasant for you as possible."

"So do I Harmony, but not 'til I'm at least 85."

They then toured the facilities of the W&H Undead Network; Channel 666 on Satellite and Cable TV.

"Buffy subscribed to this too." Xander said. "She never missed the Demonic News. She always wanted to be on top of whatever was going on, in the Supernatural Realm.

"I myself like the Hellish Sports; especially those Demon Swordswoman, who fight to the death, wearing only their shoes. Anya doesn't like me watching that. Neither did Buffy, or Dawn, or Willow, or Tara; so I didn't get to see it all that often."

They then went to the Lab, where Fred greeted them.

She told Xander, "We've just developed a formula that will hopefully speed up the vamping process, so anyone killed by a vampire, will revive undead in only a few hours, instead of after his or her burial.

"Right now we're analyzing the Gems of Amara. We're trying to discover what qualities they have, that keep the vampires who wear them from burning up in daylight. If we can isolate those qualities, we can distribute them to all the undead. Then they can function both day and night just like the living."

He and Harmony left the Lab, and continued the Tour.

Xander said, "I suppose some people, would call what they're doing, 'progress'."

Harmony said, "I've agreed to assist in the testing."

"Before you begin testing on me Harmony, there are some things you should consider first.

"I know the Slayer's gone, and she can't protect me; but I still have Anyanka the Vengeance Demon on my side; and don't forget the very powerful witch Willow Rosenberg. She and I are life long friends.

"You may have heard about the way she flayed Warren Mears alive. I was there. She just waved her arms, and all his skin was peeled off in a second. Then he was just muscles over a skeleton, like you see in biology textbooks. She also has the ability to levitate, and shoot lightning out from her fingertips."

He added, "So you should ask yourself, if the few moments of pleasure you'll have killing me, for a mid-evening snack, is worth getting your heart ripped out and your skin flayed off."

"Xander." She told him, "Whatever you say, Anya will thank me for fulfilling her wish."

Harmony continued escorting Xander along the corridors. The next stop was the Trophy Room.

They stood before a line of young women's heads, which were displayed on a long shelf.

She told him, "These are the heads of every Vampire Slayer, who's been killed in the last 118 years."

She pointed. "These are the heads of Kendra and Faith. I'm sure you remember them both."

Xander said, "I remember Kendra, and I remember Faith even more. She was the first girl I ever had sex with."

"You mean my good friend Cordelia wasn't your first?"

"No. We didn't date long enough to get that far."

"Yeah." Harmony smirked, "She broke up with you, 'cause she caught you screwing Willow. That was before she became the powerful witch, who you think is gonna show up here and try to flay me."

"Willow and I weren't screwing. We were kissing. It was after that when I did it with Faith; in a sleazy motel room where she was staying. That's why Willow and I broke up."

Harmony told him, "That doesn't matter now. What matters is that Buffy's head will be displayed right beside hers."

Xander said, "I'm sure that Anya will feel honored knowing that she had a hand in adding to your collection."

"And so should you Xander."

Harmony clutched his upper arm with a powerful grip that he couldn't pull away from. She stood in front of him, and clutched his other arm just as tightly.

Xander asked, "What's next on the Tour?"

She smiled. "Tour's over. It's time to die."

Harmony threw her arms around his back, holding him in an unbreakably tight grip, pressing her breasts and her entire body up against him.

"Harmony." He said, "Remember. If you kill me, Willow Rosenberg will be coming here to flay you alive, or undead, and don't forget Anyanka."

"If Willow comes looking for trouble at Wolfram and Hart, she's the one who'll get flayed; and she will remain flayed, after she becomes undead; and Anyanka sent you here to get killed."

She put her hand against the back of his neck, pulled down his head, and put her open mouth against his neck one more time. Then she chomped her fangs deep, into his warm flesh. She hummed in relief, to finally taste his warm nourishing blood gush into her mouth, and began gulping it down.

Harmony remembered trying to kill Willow once back in Sunnydale, when Buffy wasn't around. That was a few months after the Graduation Ceremony, which Harmony had been too dead to attend.

Willow and her boyfriend Oz had both stuck crosses in her face.

That was really mean, Harmony thought. I was trying to be nice to my old classmate, and make her a vampire. Becoming a vampire is the best thing that can happen to anybody. Xander'll find that out soon enough.

Harmony continued purring as she gulped down Xander's blood, which surged into her mouth, while he collapsed to the floor. She sank to her knees with him.

She continued holding him tight, until he died in less than a minute, and rolled onto the floor of the Trophy Room.

Then the vampire prayed, "Thank you Lord, for providing me with this nourishing meal. In Jesus Name. Amen."

Harmony rose up, and stood above his body.

She said, "Thank you Xander. It's been fun."


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