[identity profile] afteriwake.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] demonicforensics
Title: An Old Annoyance
Author: Ragna ([livejournal.com profile] afteriwake)
Fandom: CSI: NY/Supernatural/Buffyverse
Rating: PG
Warnings: None
Disclaimer: None of the characters from any of these shows belong to me.
Author's Notes: This is my answer to the crossover fic challenge at [livejournal.com profile] whedonland.

--

“Well, well, well. So the rumors were true.”

Bela Talbot froze in her tracks. New York was a large city…how on earth did he find her? She turned around slowly, and there he was, smirking at her. She put on her “screw you smile” and looked at him intently. “Ethan Rayne. So, you managed to get out of that government run prison after all.”

“I had some help,” he said, pushing away from the doorway he’d been leaning in. “Apparently the government decided I was no longer a threat, but that was most likely because I bribed the warden with some of the spells I’d picked up over the years. I went into hiding for a while. A long while, actually.” The smirk faded slightly. “I need something, and you’re to go-to girl to get them from.”

She shook her head. “I was. I’m no longer in the business of trafficking illegal magical items.”

He looked shocked. “You’ve quit? What on earth would make you do that?”

“A trip to Hell, that’s what.” She was getting impatient. She had a date with her boyfriend that she really didn’t want to be late for; with his busy schedule a free evening was rare and hard to come by. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be on my way.” She turned and not a moment later she felt a hand wrap around her upper arm. “Let me go, Ethan.”

“Look, love, I’m desperate. I need something and you’re the only person in the city that I can turn to.” She glared at him and let go of her arm. “For old times sake.”

She scoffed. “The last time we did business together you sent a rather insipid lackey to get your money back. If there’s anything to be said for old times sake it’s that you should know better than to try and take back what I rightfully earned.”

“All I need is the Fraedon amulet. And I can top any price you may have had for it. I heard rumors you kept that for your personal collection.”

She looked at his eyes and sighed. “As it happens, it’s no longer in my personal collection. I gave it to a friend who took care of some business for me.”

It was his turn to scoff. “You don’t have friends, Bela. Just marks and clients.”

“I don’t need to stand here on the street and argue with you about my personal life,” she said, getting angry, gesturing to the alley nearby them. “I’ve changed since my imprisonment. Apparently, you haven’t.”

“I need it,” he said, following her into the alley.

She sighed again. “All right. If my friend no longer needs it, I can see about arranging a meeting.”

Relief flared in his eyes. “Thank you, Bela.”

“Now, remember one thing here, Ethan,” she said quietly. “Should you try and double cross me in any way, my friend who owns the amulet is a New York City homicide detective. And my boyfriend is also a Homicide detective. Should you in any way try to hurt me or retaliate if she doesn’t give you that amulet, they will find you and they will severely hurt you. Understood?”

“Understood.”

“All right, then.” She pulled out her cell phone. “Provided she’s not too busy, I’ll call her now and ask about a trade or a monetary offer. Which will it be?”

“A trade. I have the Book of Huratshima.”

Bela’s eyes widened. “How did you get a hold of that book?”

“I found it in the wreckage of the Watcher’s Council,” he said with a slight shrug. “It was in protective casing so it survived the bombing intact.”

“I know what the Watcher’s Council is, Ethan. That book belongs to the Slayers.”

“Well, apparently you’ve learned quite a bit these days,” he said. “But as you always said, if it’s worth stealing it’s worth selling, and that book has a high market value.”

She shook her head and hit a speed dial number before putting the phone to her ear. “Sometimes I regret the things that came out of my mouth before I went to Hell,” she muttered.

“You don’t really regret that valuble tidbit of advice, do you?” he asked.

“Actually, yes I—“ She blinked slightly and then smiled. “Are you busy right now, Jessica?”

“No, not really,” Jessica Angell replied. “It’s my day off.”

“Perfect,” Bela said. “Do you remember that amulet you took for keeping an eye on my financial affairs?”

“The Fraedon amulet? Yeah,” she said. “Why?”

“I have a former customer of mine who is in great need of it and is willing to make a trade.”

“Well, I don’t have it any more.”

“You don’t?” Bela asked.

“Nope. Gave it to Buffy. Maybe she’ll do the trade.”

“I’ll call her then,” Bela said. “Talk to you later.”

“Yeah, I have a patrol going on tonight, so it’ll have to be tomorrow evening.”

“I shall call you tomorrow, then,” she said. “Bye.”

“Bye,” Angell replied.

Bela hung up her phone and looked at Ethan, a smile forming on her face. “I’m afraid my friend no longer has the amulet.”

Ethan scowled. “Then why are you smiling?”

“As it so happens, another friend of mine has it. One that you’ve crossed paths with before.”

The scowl turned into a worried frown. “Who?”

“Buffy Summers,” she said, her smile turning wicked.

“Oh, bloody hell,” Ethan said. “Are you serious?”

“Oh, very much so.” She gestured to her phone. “Perhaps she would like to trade.”

Ethan thought for a moment. “Only if you keep my name out of it.”

“Oh, no,” Bela said. “No, if you want the amulet you’ll have to deal with her yourself. I hope you won’t be too disappointed if she turns you down flat.”

“I’ll be dead if she turns me down flat.”

“More’s the pity,” Bela said with a shrug. “Do you want me to call or not?”

Ethan sighed. “Call her.”

Bela dialed another number on her speed dial. Buffy picked up on the second ring. “Hello?”

“Buffy, I have a man who’s interested in doing a trade for the Fraedon amulet. He has a book he stole from the Watcher’s Council that he would like to offer up.”

“Which book?” Buffy asked, sounding interested.

“The Book of Huratshima.”

“Giles has been looking everywhere for that book,” Buffy said, sounding even more interested. “And all he wants is the amulet?”

“Yes. But there’s a slight snag in this trade.”

“What is it?”

“The man who wants the amulet is Ethan Rayne.”

There was a pause. “You’re kidding me, right?”

“No, sadly, I am not. He and I did business once, and he tracked me down and asked for the amulet, since it was in my personal collection. Only I gave it to Jessica…”

“And she gave it to me,” Buffy said with a sigh. “But Ethan? My life always gets complicated when he’s around.”

Bela looked Ethan over and then pulled the phone away slightly. “She says things get complicated when you’re around.”

“I apologize for the costumes, the mess with Eyghon, the Halloween candy and turning Rupert into a Fyarl demon,” he said, raising his voice so that Buffy could hear over the phone. “But I need that amulet. It’s life or death.”

“His life or death?” Buffy asked Bela.

“Apparently, yes,” Bela said.

There was another long pause, and then Buffy sighed. “I’ll do the trade. But I want it done on neutral ground, with Danny, Don and Jessica as back-up. I think three cops should send a strong message.”

“I’ll call Don and see if he doesn’t mind postponing our date tonight,” Bela said.

“Thanks,” Buffy said. “How about five o’clock at the park bench that I showed you?”

“We’ll be there.” Bela hung up and glared at Ethan. “I’m going with you to get the damn book and then we’re taking a trip to Central Park.”

“So she’ll do it?” Ethan said, surprised.

“I get the feeling she’s only doing it to get the book back to one of its rightful owners.” She pulled out her phone. “Start moving as I make this phone call.”

“Thank you, Bela,” he said.

“Your thanks are not enough to make up for a ruined evening,” she muttered as they stepped out of the alley.

--

At five o’clock everyone was gathered at the bench. Danny and Flack stood there with their guns and badges clearly visible, and Ethan looked at them warily.

“Don’t think I won’t shoot you if you try something,” Danny said, crossing his arms.

“I don’t doubt that for a moment,” he said, holding the book forward. “Here’s the book.”

“Giles told me there’s a spell on a certain page in Latin,” Buffy said, taking the book and flipping through it. When she found it she took a piece of paper out of her pocket and looked at its contents. Then she looked back at the page, and went back and forth until she was satisfied. “This is the book.”

“I would never have tricked you,” Ethan said. Buffy rolled her eyes as Bela scoffed. “I may have tricked her,” he added, looking at Bela, “but not you.”

“And why is that?” Buffy asked, handing the book to Danny.

“Because you could make me hurt in ways that Bela here could not,” he said with a slight shrug.

“You’re right, mostly because I’d simply kill you,” Bela said, glaring at him.

“But Buffy here would make me long for death,” he said. “With your way of dealing with it there would no longer be a problem.”

“You’re the one making the deal to save your neck,” Bela retorted.

“All right, stop it,” Flack said, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Can we just finish this so Bela and I can go get something to eat?”

That one is your boyfriend?” Ethan asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Make one more remark and I’ll grab his gun and shoot you,” Bela said.

He held his hands up in a gesture of defeat and then looked at Buffy. “We had a deal.”

Buffy reached into her other pocket and pulled out a gold chain. At the bottom of the chain there was a small gold amulet with a garnet set in the middle. “Here. Take it and leave me alone. Forever.”

Ethan took the amulet, eyed it closely, and then nodded. “It’s the real deal,” he said.

“I wouldn’t cheat you,” Buffy said in an irritated tone of voice.

“Yes, of course not,” he said, putting the chain around his neck and tucking the amulet under his shirt. “Well, I’ll be off now.”

“And kindly forget that you ever knew me,” Bela called out after him once he started walking away.

“Me too,” Buffy said. The five of them watched him walk farther down the path before Danny went over to Buffy and handed her the book. She looked at it and smiled. “Giles is going to be happy. But I think I need to deliver this personally. I already made a reservation for a flight to leave tonight.”

Danny nodded. “Your bag’s in the car, and there’s a carry-on bag and a box for the book. I’ll take you to the airport when you’re ready.”

“Let’s head off now,” Buffy said with a nod. “See you guys in a few days.”

Angell, Flack and Bela said they’re good-byes as Danny and Buffy walked down the opposite path that Ethan took. Angell looked at the other two and grinned. “Well, that went well,” she said.

“I’m just hoping it didn’t go too well,” Bela said. “Ethan is a practitioner of chaos magic, and that always makes me a bit uneasy.” She thought for a moment. “Though with Buffy taking the book to England now, perhaps any problems that might happen will be avoided.”

“Hopefully,” Flack said. Then he turned to Bela. “Ready to go eat?”

“Yes. I’m famished,” she said with a smile before turning back to Angell. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Bye,” Angell said with a smile before heading down the path that Ethan had taken.

“You know, I really hope you’re not right about the Ethan guy. I want this to be the end of things,” Flack said, putting an arm around her shoulders.

She snaked an arm around his waist. “I hope so, too. I don’t like him very much. Especially after what he did to me the last time we did business together.”

“Should I track him down and shoot him for you?” Flack asked with a grin.

Bela laughed. “No, no. Not unless he tries to take the book back again. Then by all means shoot him.”

“I’ll remember that,” he said.

Bela relaxed as they made their way out of the park. Ethan shouldn’t pose any problems, if she was lucky. But if she wasn’t, she didn’t want to know what kind of trouble the man would get her into. For now, she just wanted to enjoy a night with Flack and relax, and that was just what she intended to do.
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