"Tell me again what we're looking for?" Spike stared around at the passing countryside. Even in the dark, he could see the green of the rice paddies on either side of the dusty lane. "And why we're looking for it out here in the middle of nowhere?"
"We're seeking a statue of a god... wearing a shawl and a hat. Red ones, if I recall."
"A statue wearing clothes? You needed my muscle for that?"
"Someone has to carry it. And we <i>are </i>in a foreign country. Angel told me you speak Japanese. That you once killed a Japanese slayer?"
"She was <i>Chinese!</i> And I didn't speak her language either. That's why you brought me? Because the bloody poof is losing his memory in his old age?"
"Well, that and there's a possibility that the statue was taken by a ...*cough*rogueslayer*cough*"
"A what?" Spike glared at Wesley. "I'm not killing a slayer. Get yourself another vampire, Oxford. This one's retired."
"No one wants you to kill her, Spike. We just need to convince her that she's working for the wrong side. The statue should to go back to the village it belongs to."
"A demon village."
"They hired us. That makes them clients. They want their Jizō back and we have been appointed to see that it happens."
"Please tell me I misunderstood what you just said..."
"If you heard anything but the name of a Japanese deity, you have not been paying attention."
"Alright. So, we're to rescue this Jizzy god, that belongs to a village of demons, and he's being guarded by some slayerette. Why? I mean, why is she keeping it?"
"She seems to think – mistakenly so – that the demon village has no right to a statue of a diety whose job it is to protect small children."
"Seems reasonable to me." Spike stuck his hands in his pockets and stopped walking. "Why do we want to help them get it back?"
"Did you not hear the part where they are paying us? These are our clients. We don't ask them 'why', we just do the job and collect the fee."
"None of which actually goes to me," Spike grumbled as he started walking again.
"Unless you have given up stealing Angel's blood from his refrigerator, some of it goes directly into your ungrateful stomach."
"Now what the hell do I do?" Spike snarled, clinging for all he was worth to the extremely angry girl cursing at him in Japanese. The slayer was young and not well-trained, but even so, it had taken him a good fifteen minutes to find a way to immobilize her without actually hurting her badly. Not having been hampered by any such restrictions, the slayer had gouged a piece out of his leg with her stake and blacked one eye with a wild, but powerful punch.
"Just hang on to her while I try to explain...." Wesley was thumbing through a book of common Japanese phrases. "Ummm.... gomennasai?"
The girl just rolled her eyes at him and renewed her struggles to free herself from the vampire that for some reason had not yet bitten her, but was surely going to any second.
"Uh... we come in peace? No, that won't do. We don't want to harm you. We just need to take the statue back to its rightful owners. Wa..." he studied the book again. "Wakarimasuka?"
"Baka," she snapped, trying to free an arm and reach her stake lying just out of reach.
"Did she just call me a name?"
"Think she just called you 'stupid'" Spike said, unable to hide a grin.
"Right then. Enough of this." Wesley put down the phrase book and pulled out a pistol, pointing it at the girl whose eyes went wide with fear. She froze and quit struggling against Spike, who cautiously let her go and stepped away.
"Stupid bint has William the Bloody at her throat and she's afraid of a starter pistol!" He shook his head in disgust. "I should just bite her on general principle."
"Just grab the statue and let's go."
Spike scooped up the stone statue, grateful that it was only a couple of feet tall, and hoisted it to his shoulder.
"Sayonara, slayer," he said with a cheerful wave. "Better luck next time."
The villagers who owned the statue were very grateful to have it back, and Spike and Wesley left town with their "doomo arigatoo"s ringing in their ears. Spike waved back and yelled, "dooitashimashite," to the waving demon children.
"I thought you couldn't speak Japanese," Wesley grumbled. "You might have saved us a lot of trouble with that slayer if you had just explained it to her."
Spike just shook his head. "Told you, I don't speak it. Just enough phrases to get by." His gaze turned wistful. "Been a long time since I got to fight a Slayer. Made me miss... I might have to take a couple of weeks off when we get back. Think it's time to let somebody know I'm back...."
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