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Finding William Pratt by Verity Watson
Ch. 2: Angry Moon
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Buffy wandered down Carson Street, the surprisingly hip thoroughfare of Pittsburgh’s South Side. She’d grabbed a latte. The murders had the whole place on edge, and even before lunchtime, she could feel the tension in the air. Now she was looking for inspiration down alleys and in random faces, wondering if the city’s anxiety would spark something her camera could capture.

And then a storefront caught her attention, and she couldn’t say why.

Among the few commissions she’d ever rejected was a feature from a regional mag on local tattoo artists. Nothing personal against the craft – it just wasn’t something she understood. And the girlie reflexes of Buffy-past still made her shiver to think of needles.

So finding herself transfixed by an intricately carved wooden sign above the door to a tattoo parlor? That was surprising.

“Angry Moon,” she murmured, reaching out a finger to trace the design repeating on the window and door. The half moon snarled at her, fierce.

With a flash, she remembered tracing Spike’s elaborate tattoo on that night.

Buffy would later insist that she’d never decided to walk into the parlor; she’d just followed her feet inside.

Her fingertips burned as she traced the patterns on display. These weren’t the usual hearts and comic book characters. Truth was, she couldn’t tell what they were or where they came from, but Buffy was quite certain that they were art. Genius, maybe.

She recalled the pattern on Spike’s bicep and wondered if it was possible that it had been done here. It seemed like a long shot, but she’d never seen anything quite like it anywhere else.

Too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence.

“Welcome to Angry Moon.” The girl gave Buffy the critical girl-meets-girl once over. But unlike her early days in LA, Buffy knew that she looked the part of an uber-hip chic of the urban persuasion. It wasn’t just her fashionable Planette leather boots and cropped hair cut, but the whole attitude.


“So did you have something in mind?”

Buffy paused. There was something off about the girl. She was Buffy’s size, Buffy’s age – even had Buffy’s hair color almost. “Maybe. These are different. Your designs?”

“My business partner.”

A curtain at the back of the shop rustled, catching her attention.

“Hello, cutie.”


Buffy’s jaw dropped.

“Veruca, love, it’s about time for a caffeine top-off.”

The girl arched an eyebrow, but shoved off for the coffee shop without objection.

“Is she a vampire?”

Spike nodded towards the sunlight. “Werewolf.”

“Oh.” Brilliant, Buffy, she mentally kicked herself. First time you see the guy in all these years and you bring the jealous out first. “So, you’re a tattoo artist?”

He shrugged, “I’ve always liked to sketch.”

“I didn’t know you were so talented.”

“Sure you did, pet.”

“Easy, cowboy. Won’t your girlfriend mind?”


“Right. Like you’re God’s gift.”

“Wouldn’t be half as much fun if I were.”

“I think I’d better go,” she managed to choke out, though everything in her brain was screaming stay.

“Tell me you’ve never thought about it.” She wasn’t sure what he meant, but followed his gaze and realized he meant a tattoo.

“Not my thing.”

“You sure?” He fiddled with a pencil and a sketchbook.

Buffy hesitated.

“She’s not my girlfriend.”

Buffy tried not to look relieved. “Draw what you’d choose for me.”

“Pull up a seat.”

She did. Spike angled the notebook away from her and carefully sketched.

“So, I should say thank you.”

“No need, love.”

“Still. Thank you.”

He met her eyes and Buffy felt an electric current course through her body. “You’re welcome.” Spike flipped the notebook towards her.

“That’s huge!”


“I should go.”

“Someone waiting for you, then?”

“Sort of. Client deadline.”

Spike arched an eyebrow.

“I became a photographer.”

“You don’t say.”

Buffy bit her lip. She’d like to say a lot, but this was just so weird.

“I’ll be by Halo Café tonight around eight. Towards the back right.”

She nodded, knowing that she’d be there.


Her pulse raced.

Spike is here. Spike is here. Spike is here.

She hoped she’d managed to leave the shop with a confident swagger, but really, what were the odds? The best sex of her life had been courtesy of a man standing in a tattoo parlor just a dozen blocks from her hotel.

This was not good.

She rang Willow's cell, then remembered that it was barely 9 a.m. in LA. Willow was still nocturnal, and Buffy figured she’d better hang up quick.

To her surprise, her phone rang back almost immediately.

“Hey, Buffy. Is everything okay?”

“Oh, hi Tara. Yeah. I just … ran into an old friend. Well, someone Willow and I knew back at Caritas, and I was just going to tell her. Then I remembered the time difference.”

“An old friend?”

“No one important. I mean … it’ll keep.”

“Are you okay, Buffy?”

“Yeah. Just too much caffeine. And too much work, I guess.”

“Okay. We’ll be around if you need anything. Or want to talk about … old friends.”

“Um, thanks. Bye.”


Buffy flopped on the bed, flipping through channels. She paused on the local news.

“The police have released the identity of the fourth victim of the South Side killer. Harmony Kendall, 21, was a nursing student at the University of Pittsburgh. The body was recovered at the Sarah Street playground yesterday morning. Police have refused to comment on leads, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.”

She clicked the television off and looked for another diversion.


She’d been accidentally upgraded to a whirlpool suite when she’d checked in – something about overbookings at the special internet rate, would she mind? It seemed funny to be in a luxe suite in a hotel she’d booked on TravelBargains.com, but why argue?

She had yet to dip a toe in the ginormous tub, but now, desperate to be off the street and away from temptation, she filled it to overflowing with water and the hotel’s complimentary bath gel.

Buffy was up to her chin before she read the warning about not using bubbles with the jets, and her eyes went wide as she realized the foam was whipped up to overflow as a result of her oversight.

“Pretty blonde of me,” she laughed, and shrugged it off.

Before Alley Buffy would’ve leapt out and tried to clean up the foam. After Alley Buffy? Figured she’d leave a tenner for housekeeping and slipped deeper into the suds, willing the time to pass.


It was time.

She’d thoroughly pruned herself in the tub. She’d spent a few more hours flipping through material on her laptop over a salad in the hotel’s café. And now she’d spent more time getting dressed since prom back in Sunnydale. And for this night, she had no fancy gown, no special strapless, backless bra with adhesive patches. Nope. She was going for low-key, not-trying-hard urban chic. And she’d done it, too, in a snug bottle green cowl neck with artistically slit bell sleeves and skinny, faded coffee-colored cargos. She was weather-appropriate for fall in the Mid Atlantic, she insisted, as she tossed on her Vema Clarke corduroy jacket and zipped up her trusty leather boots that made her two inches taller.

She was almost out the door when she remembered her camera.

A/N: If you're so inclined, you really *can* get a tattoo at Angry Moon on Pittsburgh's South Side. The proprietors are not werewolves or vampires ... er, at least to best of my knowledge. I'm using real places from my former hometown for this story. Kind of a lovesong to a place left behind. Thanks for reading.
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