And here's a little Faith action for you - enjoy!
Title: Bar Bill
Summary: There ain’t no such thing as a night off when you live on the Hellmouth.
Characters: Faith and Iron Man
Disclaimer: They ain't mine. Buffy and the gang belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Iron Man is all Marvel’s.
Faith was trying to figure out a way to light her cigarette without burning her eyebrows off when the phone rang.
“Yo?” she said, flipping it open one-handed, still staring at the tiki flame. “This had better be good guys, I’m meant to be off the clock right now.”
A smooth, polished mans voice that she didn’t recognise greeted her. There was a strange undertone of static and machinery that her slayer hearing managed to also pick out and process. “I do apologise for interrupting your evening, but I could rather do with a spot of assistance right now.”
Faith checked out the cell’s screen. Unknown caller. Giving up on the whole cig idea for the moment, she moved away from her new bunch of friends to a slightly less busy corner of the rooftop bar. Still amazed that anyone would be doing a Hawaii style party in freaking Cleveland, she shook her head, and blew kisses towards the hunkiest of her new acquaintances. Turning away, her face set, she answered “And you would be…?”
The signal fuzzed for a moment, and cleared. “This is Iron Man, Avengers priority code TOS39. Approaching Cleveland at mach 1.3 right now, and could really do with some of that assistance I mentioned earlier.”
Faith closed her eyes for a moment, and felt a headache coming on. Was this how Giles felt all the time? “Listen Andrew, this is no time for you and Xander to play around. When I get back, you are so dead. Dead. And worse, you’re interrupting my cig. Dead man walking.”
“I assure you, this is not a hoax. I repeat, I am currently inbound to Cleveland, triangulating on your signal right now,” the voice squawked. Faith just rolled her eyes and thought longingly of just what she was gonna do to those two when she got back. Slayer strength wedgies just for the start. No one interrupted her evening off.
The phone beeped again.
“Yeah, yeah,” Faith said bored beyond belief, “I got another call. Hold on.”
“No, wait!” the metallic voice answered, sounding almost panicked for the first time, “I have a 50 megaton bomb on my tail and you’re….”
The other line was Buffy.
“B?” said Faith, somewhat concerned. After all, B knew just how much she wanted this evening out. Three solid weeks of sewer duty and general apocalypse prevention should buy you a little slack at the very least.
“Sorry to do this to you, Faith,” Buffy started, and Faith’s heart sank. “Little case of an unscheduled apocalypse coming up tonight, so we’ve pulled everyone we could reach together and we’re heading out right now.”
Crap. She was never gonna get that cig tonight, was she? “Where do you want me to meet you?” said Faith, resigned.
“No, no,” Buffy laughed, “We know how hard you’ve been going this month, and we should be able to handle it easy ourselves. Just calling to let you know that we’ve stuck the call forwarding onto your cell phone while we’re busy. Enjoy your night out!”
“Wait a moment...” Faith said confused. This meant hoaxy boy was on the level?
“I know it’s not midnight yet, but Happy Birthday, Faith,” smirked Buffy. “Looks like the surprise party is off, but all your presents are still waiting for you when you get back anyhow.”
Faith had thought she couldn’t get more confused, but she was obviously wrong. “What the hell?” she mumbled, “Let me get this straight. You sent me off for a night out, just to set up a surprise party.”
“But an apocalypse came up.”
“Yup. And I have to say thank god, my birthday curse is now being passed around.”
“And all the calls are now being forwarded to here.”
Faith stared at the phone for a moment. “That’s… that’s… insane! Are you people nuts?!!”
Her only reply was a mass chorus of “Happy Birthday” being sung down the phone line.
Faith swallowed hard. Tough girls didn’t cry. Right?
The singing finished, and Buffy came back on the line. “Anyhow, almost there now, so we’re off. Have a great night, and we promise to kill some demons for you! Later!”
Faith stared at the phone again. That, she hadn’t been expecting. Ever.
So… other call. If she’d learned anything from her time Slaying it was Apocalypse first, personal trauma later. Hitting the redial, she put it back up to her ear. “Um, yeah. Hi?” High above the Cleveland rooftop bar, two fast moving lights zoomed past, one following the other closely. Nah….
“Thank you,” snapped the smooth voice on the other end of the line, managing to pack into as much sarcasm as possible. Faith doubted even Giles could approach that level. “If it would be convenient for you to get around to me, I’d appreciate it.”
“Hey!” snapped Faith back, suddenly prickly, “It’s not like anyone even bothered to tell me I was on call tonight. Or even that there was a call system!”
She took a deep breath, then released it slowly. God, she wished she had that cig now. “So, Iron Man, huh?”
The voice sounded a little more mollified, if not entirely calmed down. “Yes. Now, if we can turn to the matter of this megaton bomb locked onto me?”
Looking up against the night sky, Faith could see the two lights manoeuvring around the city skyline once more. “I think I can see you above me now. So, what exactly do you expect from me, Mr Rocketman? No way in hell I can jump on old big bang there and punch its lights out…”
“Ah,” said Iron Man.
There was a pause. “No witches there?”
Faith pursed her lips in thought. “Is there nothing you can do?” Above her, the two lights danced a complex pattern, like demented fireflies.
The metallic voice sounded equally as lost in thought. “I could quite easily use my repulsors to destroy it, except that it’s too close to me right now. With the sensors it has operational, it would detect my turning around, and close the gap instantly to detonate.”
“Wait a mo,” said Faith, puzzled. “That mean it’s just chasing you for the hell of it right now?”
“Never let it be said that Victor Von Doom does not have a sense of humour,” remarked Iron Man, “A strange, twisted one mind you, but it is there.”
“Huh. You learn something new everyday,” mused Faith. A smile started to twitch at the side of her mouth. A strange, twisted sense of humour, huh? Maybe she’d been hanging out with Xander too much recently, but damn if she wasn’t starting to get an idea…
“Current sit rep is that I don’t have enough fuel to exit Cleveland airspace, and your organisation was the only locally known possibilities in the Avengers files,” continued Iron Man.
“Yeah, yeah. Cool yer jets,” said Faith off handedly into the phone, running though the idea forming in her head. Then, realising what she’d said, “Well, don’t cool them, I mean, keep em running. I have a plan.”
Far away, in the middle of a fight, Xander Harris felt a chill down his spine.
Faith strode towards the bar on the rooftop, phone still clamped to her ear. “You’re Tony Stark’s bodyguard, right? That mean you have an expense account?”
“I... can certainly draw on certain of Mr Stark’s monies, yes,” confirmed the confused sounding voice.
“Great!” enthused Faith, trying to catch the bartender’s gaze. Dammit! Boy must be gay. “Start making a pass right over my bar, willya? And make sure you duck when I say so.” She waved a hand frantically at the crowded bar. “Yo! Gimme your most alcoholic bottle!”
“Oh, I see what you’re planning,” Iron Man observed, sounding a little impressed, “That might just work. Beginning my run now.”
Faith was seriously starting to consider breaking bones to get served now. “You’d better have a damn good expense account,” she muttered into the cell. Tucking it away slightly, she yelled loudly over the music, “I’ll buy everyone a drink if I can just get served NOW!”
There was a pause while heads swung to look at her. And then, all of a sudden, there was a gap forming at the bar directly in front of her and not one, but two bar staff were standing there. Faith smiled sweetly, and stepped forward. “Two bottles of your most alcoholic bottled stuff, please. Hold the ice.”
The bottles appeared almost instantly. Faith took one of them experimentally by the neck and tested the weight. Lofting it carefully in one hand, she looked up and caught sight of the two approaching lights. “You ready for this?” she asked quietly, moving quickly away till she was standing by the tiki flame at the corner of the building.
“Lined up on your signal, and coming in fast. Ten seconds.”
Faith counted to five in her head and threw the bottle as hard and as directly at the leading light as she could. “Now!” she yelled into the phone.
Above her, Iron Man heard the sound of a second proximity alert in his suit, and reacted immediately. Shifting his trajectory slightly to the side, the bottle missed him completely.
It hit the pursuing missile directly on its sensors, and shattered. The alcohol quickly coated the sensors and before the missile could adjust quickly enough to the change, Iron Man and then the missile flew directly through the tiki torch.
Iron Man’s armour was untouched.
The alcohol sodden sensors burst into flame. Frantically, the system tried to make sense of the conflicting data, the sudden change in temperature and loss of components, but before it could reacquire its target, a blast of repulsors destroyed it.
“Yes!” exclaimed Faith, pumping her arm in victory. Beside her, the bar patrons gaped in amazement at the sudden fireworks beside their building.
A whir of servos filled the air, as Iron Man brought himself level with her. Standing in the air, his arms crossed, he regarded her. “Thank you for your assistance, Miss…” he inquired.
“Faith. Just Faith’ll do,” she said into the phone, before realising he’d said that out loud. Flushing slightly, she hung up and stowed the cell away.
“Now that nasty business is out of the way,” she smirked, “I believe it’s your round?”