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A/N: Just to let fans of 'His Dirty Little Secret' know, so they don't start loading their crossbows, I am not putting it on hiatus. I considered it for a while, but the end is nigh and I want to finish it. Unfortunately RL has other plans for me at the moment. So this is my version of a peace offering - I wrote this chapter a while ago and planned on posting it as my next fic after finishing 'His Dirty Little Secret' (as for 'Nice To Naughty that will probably be on hiatus until I get some inspiration) but wanting to give you something to read, I decided to post it now. Hope you enjoy and please review - I'm working on the next chapter of 'HDLS' as I type and I need some encouragement to finish it.
Wesley Price and Charlie Gunn stepped past the bouncers standing at the door to the Bronze, the most popular nightclub in Sunnydale.
“I tell you, Gunn,” Wes said as they headed for the bar. “If any of Rayne’s boys are here tonight, they’d better watch out.”
“Really?” Gunn asked, cynicism apparent in his voice.
“Yeah, they’re no match for me. Not with my new 9mm.”
Gunn stifled a chuckle. Wes was always mouthing off with a macho attitude, fondly thinking everyone was afraid of him. Truth was he was happy to start a fight but would sooner turn tail and run than have anyone mess with his pretty face.
Both Wes and Charlie were members of the Summers mafia family. Although they were not related to Hank Summers, they were had joined the gang when they started hanging out with Hank’s nephew, Angel Summers, one of the most feared members of the Sunnydale Mafioso.
Though it was obvious to all inhabitants of the city, Hank Summers continued to front his criminal activities with several profitable businesses. Almost all of Sunnydale’s industries and establishments were ultimately owned by either Hank or his arch rival, Ethan Rayne, the head of the other leading mafia family in Sunnydale.
The Bronze was one of the few places that were neutral ground for the two families, as it was owned by the Mayor’s cousin, Willie. Richard Wilkins, the Mayor of Sunnydale, had decided that he wanted a place he could go to without appearing to favor either family. Considering the amount of revenue and employment opportunities that Hank and Ethan brought to the city, Wilkins tended to turn a blind eye to their criminal activities, but he had put a strict restriction on any public gun-toting. Wilkins cared very much about his public appearance and was staunchly against those gang members who enjoyed bloodshed for bloodshed’s sake. In fact it had been almost a year since any fights between the two gangs had broken out.
“You’re all talk, man,” Gunn said.
“Oh, I’ve got more than talk. I’ll put bullets in the head of any man who swears by Rayne. Women, too. Like Anya and Willow.”
“Why the women?” Gunn asked, deciding to humor his friend. “The rivalry is between us and Rayne’s men. Why’d you wanna get rid of the ladies? Rayne’s they may be, but man, their fucking beautiful. It’d be a waste is all I’m saying.”
“Then maybe I’ll screw them. Both. Together. That’s guaranteed to piss off Xander and Oz.”
“Speaking of,” Gunn said, motioning to the arrival of Daniel ‘Oz’ Osbourne, one of Rayne’s boys. Like Wes and Gunn, Oz was not related to the family he worked for, but was pretty much seen as being so.
“Well, well,” Wes said, making sure his pistol was within reach. “Look what the cat dragged in. You know, I’m really spoiling for a fight.”
Gunn kept his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Hang on, Wes. We can’t go starting no more fights. Wilkins won’t stand for it.”
“We won’t have to start it,” Wes reasoned. “Just get him angry enough. Then all we’re doing is defending ourselves.”
Gunn grinned. He hated the thought of passing up a chance to get under Oz’s skin. They headed over to the bar where Oz was ordering a beer.
Oz turned and seeing who was calling his name, the normally placid guy scowled. “What do you fuckers want?”
“Hey, take it easy, man,” Gunn said with a smirk that said his words were anything but sincere. “Wes was just gonna ask how your redhead chick’s doing?”
“Why the hell do you wanna know?” As Wes had predicted, Oz was mounting the offensive. Nothing got under his skin more than someone showing any kind of interest in his girl.
Wes smirked. “I heard she was asking after me.”
Oz walked up to the pair until their faces were inches from each other. “Are you trying to say you reckon my girl’d rather be with you than with me?”
Wes didn’t back down. “Maybe I am, maybe I’m not.”
Oz refused to accept Wes’s vague reply. “Is that what you’re trying to say?”
Wes shot a look at Gunn. They both knew that if Wes admitted that that was what his remark had been implying that they would both be in as much trouble as Oz if he started a fight. It was one thing to anger your enemy, but deliberate baiting was as frowned upon by Wilkins as out-and-out combat. Gunn put his hand on Wes’s shoulder as if to halt his friend from any further goading and sensibly, Wes decided to heed his warning.
“Forget it, Osbourne. It was just a joke.”
But Oz didn’t move away and his fists began to clench and unclench, something Gunn noticed with glee. “Do you want a fight, Osbourne?” he asked.
“A fight? With you fuckers. Why waste my time?” he said with a smirk, relaxing and turning back to the bar.
“A waste of our time, don’t you mean, Osbourne?” Wes said, not liking the way Oz had put them down. “I’m pretty handy with a pistol, you know.”
“Do you think you’re better than me?” Oz asked.
As Wes hesitated in answering – he knew how good Oz was and he also knew that to say he was better would more than likely start the fight he wasn’t sure he still wanted – Gunn saw Angel enter the club.
“Say yes, Wes,” Gunn whispered to his friend. “Angel’s just arrived and he’s no match for this rainbow-haired freak.”
Wes smiled. “Absolutely.”
A look of rage crossed Oz’s face and he swung his fist, clipping Wes’s nose. After a quick recovery, Wes reacted, lifting his pistol out of its shoulder holster and pointing it at Oz. “Come on, fucker!”
As Oz took hold of his own pistol, Xander Rayne appeared and put up his hands to call a halt to the rapidly escalating battle between his friend and his enemy, his pistol within reach if required. Xander was Ethan Rayne’s nephew and though he was as good with a pistol as Oz, he was far more interested in keeping the peace between the rivaling families, having seen enough blood shed to last two lifetimes.
“What the hell are you doing? Put your pistols away. This is stupid.”
None of the four had seen Angel approach until he grabbed hold of Xander’s and Oz’s collars and yanked them away from Wes and Gunn, before turning to his two enemies. Seeing the turn of events, the other patrons started edging towards the exit.
“You trying to stop a good fight from happening, Xander?” Angel asked, an evil grin on his face. “Shame on you. You used to thrive on a good battle. And without your pistol?” He tasked him and pulled his leather coat open to show two pistols contained in his shoulder holster. “Big mistake.”
Xander rose from the floor. “I’m not interested in a fight, Angel. It’s not worth it. Your pistols are best served in keeping our friends apart.”
Angel’s grin faded. “You’re talking about peace? That word disgusts me as all of Ethan Rayne’s scum disgusts me. Especially you.”
With the speed of light, he lifted one pistol from its holster and fired, the bullet hitting Oz in the shoulder and sending him back to the floor. Xander grabbed his weapon and returned fire, sending bullets flying around the club.
“Hank, Ethan,” Mayor Richard Wilkins greeted the two men as they sat in his office the following morning.
“This is getting out of hand. Now I understand that the two of you are not the best of friends but there’s no good reason for what happened last night at the Bronze.”
After the first shot had been fired, Willie the bartender had called 911 and the police had soon arrived, carting all those involved off to the city jail. Wilkins had then decided against calling the heads of the families in until the morning, preferring to let the boys spend the night in lockup.
“Now if the inhabitants of my city don’t feel safe then they’re not happy. And if they’re not happy, then I’m not happy. I have put up with these public brawls long enough and there’s only one option. If this happens again, the perpetrators will face the death penalty, whatever family they belong to. You know I don’t play favorites, but I am the Mayor and I have to lay down the law. I can’t keep putting the people of this city at risk. Are these terms clear?”
Both Ethan and Hank nodded their acknowledgement.
Minutes later, Ethan stood in the parking lot of the council buildings with his wife, Drusilla and his nephew, Xander.
“Care to explain your actions last night, Xander?” he asked the boy who was like a son to him.
“Summers’ boys, Wes and Gunn were baiting Oz and I stepped in to stop the fight. But then Angel came along and decided to mount an offensive. My actions were all in defense.”
“Well, I’m just glad no one got seriously hurt,” Drusilla said. “And I’m even more glad that William wasn’t involved.” Drusilla cared deeply for her only son – they had shared a special bond since Will was born.
“He’s doesn’t hang around with Oz and me much anymore.”
Ethan frowned. “Something’s definitely troubling him. He’s hardly ever home and when he is, he just locks himself in his room, writing in that journal of his. I try to talk to him, but he’s not interested.”
“I’m gonna see if I can find him,” Xander suggested. “Maybe I can get him to talk to me.”
Ethan patted him on the shoulder in thanks, before getting into his limousine alongside his wife. Xander jumped into his Ferrari and drove out of the parking lot heading down towards the beach. He knew that Will liked spending time there, especially so early in the morning when it was pretty quiet. On arrival, he saw Will’s DeSoto convertible and he parked alongside it. He soon spotted his cousin sitting on the sand, his journal lying beside him and headed over.
Will looked over at him. “What time is it?”
Xander looked at his watch. “Nine o’clock.”
“My, doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun.” The sarcasm was evident in Will’s voice.
“What’s crawled up your ass?”
“Nothing. Just not in the mood for bunnies and happy sunbeams.”
“Love.” Will practically spat the word.
“What’s wrong with love? It’s amazing.”
“Unless you’re me – in love with a girl who doesn’t love you back,” Will said, pulling a cigarette from his pack, lighting it and taking a deep drag. Suddenly noticing the bruises on his cousin’s face and arms, he narrowed his eyes. “Have you been in a fight? Actually, don’t tell me, I can guess. You ran into some of Hank Summers’ boys, right? You know I don’t get you – you tell me you hate all the bloodshed and death that comes along with being part of the Rayne family, yet you still get involved in these battles. I reckon you love the fight more than you say.”
“Hey, don’t take your black mood out on me. Look, cuz, I feel for you, I do. I know what its like to be in love with someone who doesn’t love you back. Remember Willow?” A few years ago, Xander had been in love with Willow Rosenberg, one of Ethan’s legit employees, but she’d gone and fallen for Oz, leaving Xander heartbroken until he’d met Anya.
“Love’s a bitch, mate. It cuts you deep and rips you to shreds.” Taking a final drag of his cigarette, Will threw the butt in the sand. “Forgive me, Xan, but I’m not feeling very sociable this morning. I just want to be alone.”
“No you don’t. You have to snap out of this Will. It can’t be that bad. Who is it you’ve fallen for?”
Xander nodded in understanding. “Beautiful girl.”
“Beautiful. And witty. And…amazing. But she’s got some bee in her bonnet about staying true to her faith. Her family are devout Catholics and she’s decided on chastity and a life at the convent.”
“Jeez, what a waste.” Xander paused. “Look, Will, forget about her.”
“How can I?” Will asked. “I love her.”
“Come on, there’s plenty more fish in the sea. Don’t waste your love on a girl who’s practically married to the man upstairs.”
“But I can’t help wondering what could have been. Besides, there’s no one like Cecily.”
“Oh Will, you need to get out more.”
“Fine,” Will replied. “Show me what I’m supposedly missing. But I guarantee it’ll be a waste of your time and mine.”
Xander grinned. “A challenge? You know how I love a good wager. Will, you’re on. I guarantee by the end of tonight, you’ll be saying ‘Cecily who?’”
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