Genre: Man from UNCLE, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Word Count: 1402
Prompt: Mr. Waverly, Xander, tape measure
alynwa, I hope you like this little trip through Sunnydale! My thanks to sparky955 for her beta help!
Mr. Waverly walked as quickly as he could, trying to stay in the shadows as much as possible. When he was younger, it had been such an easy task to shake a tail. He remembered once, in Germany, he had five men on his heels and he slipped away from all of them and was able to deliver a microdot that spared hundreds of soldiers. However, as the saying went, that was then and this was now. He tried all his usual tricks to no avail. Alexander Waverly had found the unshakable tail.
He paused, all too conscious of how fast he was breathing because how hard his heart was pounding. If he didn’t find refuge soon, he would save his tail the necessity of killing him and his heart would give out. He wished now his bodyguards had been a bit less trusting of him. However, he needed a place where he could smoke his pipe. Couldn’t at the hotel, so he’d taken a walk. Had he only known what was in store for him.
This stay had been arranged at the last moment and Waverly couldn’t understand for the life of him how THRUSH even knew of it. He’d slipped out of his hotel room easily enough. He could hear his agents next door, talking earnestly about something obviously near and dear to their hearts. It had been an excellent opportunity for him and his pipe.
However, he’d only gotten a few blocks, not even proper city blocks, but much shorter ones when he attracted unwanted attention. He’d been passing by one of the numerous graveyards in this small California town and realized he was not alone.
Sadly, at this time of the night, most businesses were closed up tight. Finally, he saw a beacon of hope in the form of a dimly lit stained glass window. Above the door was a sign, The Tape Measure Pub and Grill.
“Tape Measure?” Waverly wondered out loud, then the sound of a can being accidently kicked sent him scurrying, well, what amounted to scurrying at his age, across the street. As he reached for the handle, he murmured a soft prayer that it be open. Happily the door pushed in easily and the sight and sounds of a bar greeted him.
He looked around, dismayed that he appeared to be the only one in the place. He found a small table in the corner and headed there, staring at the doorway.
Shadows helped to mask him and a moment later his tail appeared. He paused to look around and finally settled on a table at the far side of the room. Waverly couldn’t budge from his table with the tail seeing him.
A young man walked up to him and grinned, dropping a cocktail napkin down onto the worn table top. “Xander Harris at your service, what will you have? Only don’t get the fish and chips because at this time of the night, the oil is really gnarly by now.”
Waverly didn’t know exactly what gnarly meant, but that was okay. It was easy enough to get it from the context. “Why is this establishment called--?”
“The Tape Measure? It was supposed to be Tap and Pleasure and we are looking at a textbook example of why the low bid is not always the best call. And the boss is too cheap to change it. So, whatever you want, we have it made to measure.” Xander gestured with his hands and Waverly smiled.
“Well played. Do you have a full bar?”
“Pretty much, unless you want some of that fancy smancy city stuff.”
“Can you manage an old fashioned?”
“Um… I can if it’s in the book.”
“Let me see if I can help you out.” Mr. Waverly took a pen from his pocket and jotted down a few words and a set of numbers on the napkin and handed it back. I am in danger. Please help. Call UNCLE HQ. A Waverly
Xander looked at the napkin and frowned. “Bitters, huh? Okay, you want bar or brand name whiskey with that?” He winked and Waverly took a relieved breath.
“Oh, Glenlivet, of course.”
Xander saluted and headed for the bar. The jukebox started and Waverly glanced in its direction. His tail was standing there, staring at him, as if trying to decide whether to take him on there or not.
The jukebox started playing I’m Gonna Live Til I Die by Frank Sinatra and Waverly couldn’t help but wonder if it was foreshadowing or not. The man took a step, then retreated as Xander reappeared with a tray and a basket on it.
“Okay, here we go. Something for you to munch on while I’m getting you dinner.” He placed the drink down and grinned, nodding.
Waverly lifted the glass and saw the words, all taken care of. A surge of calm seeped through him. He sipped the drink and was surprised. It wasn’t bad at all. Perhaps this would turn out all right after all.
He’d nearly finished his drink when a group of young people tumbled into the bar. Laughing and talking all at once, as young people frequently did, they sat a few tables away from Waverly and a young blonde gave him a wide smile and winked.
Suddenly, Mr. Waverly felt a bit flushed. Of course, it was only that he’d downed his drink more quickly than he intended, not that a lovely young lady was flirting with him.
“Hey, Buff, what are you and the gang having?”
“Scooby snacks?” suggested a red-haired girl and the group started to laugh.
Xander leaned in close to the blonde and murmured something to him. She glanced over at the tail, now reseated at his table and nodded slightly.
“How about I rustle you up something special from the back?”
“But not the fish and chips.”
“Never the fish and chips.” Xander paused by Waverly’s table. “Another one?”
“I shouldn’t, but I suppose that never stopped me before.”
Xander pointed a finger at him and clicked his tongue. Waverly wondered what he would do or say if he pulled his weapon out and pointed it back. Probably not the time or the place for that.
The young blonde was dancing to the music. Waverly didn’t recognize the singer, but it was something about a Deadman’s Party.
The tail stood up and started in his direction, apparently tired of waiting. Xander appeared just then with another drink and a huge basket of French fries. Instantly, Mr. Waverly was descended upon by the young people, all helping him with his task of eating the fries. They laughed and chatted until Waverly realized he was surrounded by them.
His tail was looking helpless and angry from his spot by the dance floor. The blonde danced up to him and said something.
There seemed a sudden scuffle and his vision was abruptly blocked. When the young woman moved, the blonde was standing alone and there was no sign of his tail.
“What on earth?” he murmured.
The redhead waved. “Bye!” and immediately the group was gone, except for Xander. He was carrying a broom and dustpan as he walked a pile of dirt on the floor. He was busy muttering to himself as he swept up the debris and deposited it into a garbage pail.
A blast of cold air raced through the room as the door opened and Waverly’s bodyguards stepped in. The leader glanced around until he spotted Waverly and made a bee line to the table.
“Did you have a nice evening, sir?” There was a slight sound of reprimand in the agent’s voice.
Waverly gestured to a nearby chair as they approached. “Yes, Mr. Solo. I did.”
Napoleon sat as did his partner. “The phone call indicated you had picked up a tail. You seem to be the only one here.”
Waverly motioned Xander over. “This is the young man who was my savior. He made the call to you. I had a tail, but he seems to have vanished into thin air.”
“It’s funny, stuff like that happens all the time in Sunnydale.” Xander brushed some dust from his hands and grinned. “Welcome to the Tape Measure. Now, what can I get you gents?”
Illya looked at the bar menu. “What about the fish and chips?”
Waverly looked at Xander and smiled. In unison they replied, “Gnarly.”