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Catalysis

CatalysisWith a pair of demon infestations located at opposite ends of town to take care of in one night, resources were stretched thin.

Dawn had spent the morning trying to wrangle some assistance. So far she'd managed to wangle a couple of junior Slayers, who were more than happy to kill monsters for a fee. Wolf had also promised to send someone her way. It would have to do; she just hoped it was enough.

Rolling her chair back, Dawn glared at the phone. "Do you know anyone who can handle themselves in a fight without screaming like a girl and running away when they find out exactly what they're up against?"

Rachel snorted. "Oh yeah, can you picture Colin facing a Skrelak? We could hear him screaming from here and I'd lose a very useful public servant." She cocked her head to the side in thought. "Who'd have thought? A useful public servant. I just may have him bronzed."

It was enough to break Dawn out in giggles. "You do realise that whether you bronze young Colin or he gets eaten by something large and slobbery, you're still down a Records clerk?"

Putting her feet up on her desk, Rachel made a dismissing motion. "I wouldn't use real bronze. Like you said, that would defeat the purpose. Maybe I could dress him up in some bronze Speedos..." A look of utter horror stopped Rachel mid-musing. "Oh god. I just got the most awful mental picture."

Dawn's giggles gave way to laughter that left her doubled over in her chair. "You're not helping matters." Her attempt at stern might have worked better without the silly grin. "Just remember; Spike may have the Skrelak nest, but it's your boyfriend who has to deal with the Murloor problem." That reminder sobered them both up.

"Who are the Council sending over?"

Picking up the notepad she'd been scribbling on, Dawn read out the names. "I think one of them is from Xander's African run. The other one, I don't recognise at all. I just hope they have some field experience or they could be more of a hindrance than a help."

A buzz announced the office door opening. Dawn opened an application window to view the security camera feed from the lobby.

"Oh no. She couldn't have. I'll kill her." Dawn grabbed the handset and stabbed at the phone's keypad in anger.

"What?" Rachel checked the security feed and saw a young, perfectly normal-looking woman hitting the intercom button to announce her arrival. "I'll go get her a coffee."

Placing a hand over the mouthpiece, Dawn hissed through clenched teeth. "That's Ceallach."

Stopping in front of Dawn's desk, Rachel looked towards the door in curiosity. "The girl who had the crush on Spike?"

"Also the girl who hunts unspecified things on her lunch break." Dawn glared at the phone, willing everyone involved with the making, selling and installation of the appalling computerised phone routing system to spontaneously combust.

"So, at least there's a good chance she'll be of use." Rachel shrugged and, leaving Dawn to the mind-melting on-hold muzak, she opened the door that led to the lobby.

As far as Rachel could tell, Ceallach seemed fine. She was confident, friendly and unmistakably Irish. Sure, she had somewhat eccentric hair, but considering their neighbourhood, it was tame in comparison.

Rachel got a coffee for Ceallach, showed her where their tiny kitchen was located and made a little small talk. She told her Dawn would be out shortly and left her to flick through the waiting room magazines.

Shaking her head at the soft snickers as she headed back into the office, Rachel had to wonder at the weirdness of it all. Spike had found it amusing to get the office a subscription to Weekly World News, it looked like Ceallach shared his taste in tabloids.

"Any luck getting through?" The phone was back on the hook, but Dawn didn't look any happier.

"Oh, yes. It seems she's just gotten back from her training and needs to stretch her legs with a gentle field exercise." You could hear Dawn grinding her teeth in frustration. "Apparently Wolf thinks demon eviction is a stroll in the park." She stood up, nearly tipping over her chair in the process and started pacing. "So now we have three newbies, with little or no actual hands-on experience, and they're supposed to provide support for Spike and Declán. The boys are in serious trouble. How are you with an axe?"

Rachel was sitting on the edge of Dawn's desk watching her pace. "I can find you the home address and phone number of the racist troll on the mailing list you were complaining about this morning. I can even arrange for him to get a personal visit from the local black power representative and his trusty pickaxe handle, but if you give me an axe, I'll only manage to hurt myself with it." She rolled up the sleeve of her shirt and showed Dawn the scar above her elbow. "Tripped over Buster and went through a plate glass window. Twenty stitches."

There was a commotion from Dawn's computer. "What now?" She walked around to look at the monitor and toggled through the security cameras until she saw Ceallach, who appeared to be trying to stab the counter with a fork. "Did you explain the coffee ritual to Ceallach?"

"Oops." The coffee ritual involved asking the Retjull demons that lived in the office toaster to grant their permission prior to making a cup. They were hopelessly addicted to caffeine and saw all forms as their gods. If you didn't ask nicely before helping yourself to a large scoop of ground god — double mocha espresso this week, a fine god indeed — they tended to get miffed and were exceedingly good shots. "I'll go separate them."

Before she could get up the door buzzer sounded again. The noise was enough to distract Ceallach, who stopped trying to impale the Retjulls. Dawn toggled the cameras again and saw why the woman was distracted. The two Slayers had arrived, but they'd brought company. "We might have got an extra set of strong arms."

"Is she drooling?" Rachel didn't mean in a figurative way either. "You do know that we may have just found the perfect solution to keeping our boys unmanhandled."

Dawn smiled brightly, with just a hint of malevolence, as she watched the monitor. "Is it just me? Or can you see her wearing thigh-high patent leather boots and leading him around by a leash?"

"Oh no, it's not just you." Rachel shook her head, she couldn't believe she was seeing the second person of the day enjoying their magazine collection. "Do you think we should warn him?"

"No. I think we'll let true love run its course. Let's go introduce them."

Dawn and Rachel entered the lobby to meet the gathering. "Ceallach." Dawn shook the young woman's hand and smiled pleasantly, her professional business manner firmly in place. "Nice to see you back from Canada. I'd like you to meet Xander. Xander, Ceallach. You'll be working together tonight.

"I'm sure you'll get on like a house on fire."


leni_ba's cya_ficathon master list for moonbeamsfanfic — write something for moon
Part of the London!verse and the Wolf&Declán!verse

Many thanks to the luscious moonbeamsfanfic for volunteering as beta and supplying the title, all without knowing it was written for her.

Runner Up of the Round Four Lie To Me Key To Dimensions Award

Comments

( 11 howls — talk to the wolf )
pheral
12th Apr, 2005 12:32 (UTC)
lol...
::mallicious lopsided grin::

You hate him, you want me to hurt him, i love him, i wanna hurt him. This is the best arrangement ever. >:P

This is the best lunch-entertainment. Love it.
redwolf
12th Apr, 2005 23:15 (UTC)
Re: lol...
Xander has a bit of a problem bossing women around, I thought it would be a nice change to have him try it on someone who won't take his shit.

Feel free to do as you will with him, I certainly won't complain about the bruises.
pheral
13th Apr, 2005 19:48 (UTC)
Re: lol...
I accept my task with abiding humility. And chopsticks.
moonbeamsfanfic
12th Apr, 2005 13:34 (UTC)
You sneaky devil. ::laughs::
redwolf
12th Apr, 2005 23:17 (UTC)
Leni was kind enough to take my challenge when the muse borked and she said that you're doing fill-in but didn't offer a challenge. So my challenge was to write something for you that you'd like.

Hopefully a nice surprise and I hope it fit the bill.
edenfalling
12th Apr, 2005 14:36 (UTC)
It would have to do;, she just hoped it was enough.

I just got the most awful mental picture.

The Retjull demons! *sporfle* Spike's waiting-room reading material! Rachel's explanation of her skills! Random bureaucratic inconvencience!

For some reason, everything in this piece just clicked for me.
redwolf
12th Apr, 2005 23:21 (UTC)
I'm sure my beta spotted those and it's my fault for a sudden case of domestic blindness in missing them. That's for the catch.

Running you're own business is never smooth sailing. The clients are always insane, there's demons living in the kitchen, you just can't win.

I'm really pleased this clicked for you. It was a fun piece to write.
myfeetshowit
12th Apr, 2005 14:59 (UTC)
LOL! Although, I question the taste of anyone with a crush of Spike, who would be distracted by Xander! Maybe ... maybe Xander fresh and manly, all buff from the African bush... maybe.
redwolf
12th Apr, 2005 23:24 (UTC)
Ceallach knows that Spike is taken and she's easily distracted by shiny things. Spike isn't in the room, Xander is. If both were there, she'd probably drool on both.

Xander may live to regret this chain of circumstances.
chessie_reeves
15th Apr, 2005 10:11 (UTC)
*giggles* Go Dawn! The coffee ritual was a perfect way to say "welcome."
redwolf
15th Apr, 2005 10:17 (UTC)
It might have been if they'd mentioned it. Killing the office demons wouldn't be the best way to introduce yourself to office life.
( 11 howls — talk to the wolf )