Title: Creature Feature (1/?)
Author: Saone
Summary: AU. There are stranger things in heaven and earth... and Orlando’s determined to find at least one of them.
Pairing: V/O eventually
Rating: Adult
Warnings: Real Person Slash ahead, people
Remarks: Second time with this pairing. First time with an AU. All mistakes are mine. All comments are appreciated.

Part 1, Part 2


The picture was shaky and out of focus, but the voice that accompanied it rang out loud and clear, if not a bit tremulous. "For anyone watching this... My name is Elijah Wood. My friends and I, we, we came out here looking for something... a monster, but it found us instead. Billy's gone, and Orli... there's blood, blood everywhere. I am so scared. I-"

“’Lijah, you cunt, stop playing Blair Witch Project.”

The face in the tiny view screen scowled. “Fuck off, Dom.” Elijah said. “I’m trying to have a cinematic moment here.”

“Cinematic moment?” Dominic scoffed. “You’d be lucky to spell that, forget about having one.”

Billy snickered as two fingered salutes were given and received. “You guys aren’t going to attack each other again, right?” He glanced around the cramped and crowded extra room in Orlando’s apartment that served as their office. “Or, if you do, at least go into the hallway, okay? There’s less breakable stuff out there.”

“We didn’t attack each other.” Dom said indigently. “We had a-”

“Scuffle.” Elijah supplied.

“That’s right. A scuffle.”

“A scuffle that broke Orlando’s favorite Buffy mug?”

Elijah and Dom traded uneasy glances. “Yes, well...” Dom cleared his throat. “So, what are you up do?”

Billy bemusedly shook his head and turned his attention back to his laptop. “Just checking our email.” He said. “I think there may be something wrong with our server. Only two new messages have come through today."

“We only got one yesterday.” Elijah started chewing on a nail.

"Great, something else that doesn't work around here." Dom muttered. “Should I just add that to the list of things that need to be fixed or replaced?”

"Behave, Dominic." Billy said. “It’ll get taken care of.”

“What will get taken care of?” Orlando asked from the doorway.

The three seated men turned to acknowledge the appearance of the fourth member of their team, but their eyes were immediately riveted by the large white box he held.

"I call jelly!" Elijah jumped up and grabbed the box. "The jelly filled is mine!"

"You always get the jelly." Dom quickly made a play for the box, but Elijah danced out of the way. "I want the jelly."

"I called it."

"You can't call donuts."

"Well, obviously you can, 'cause I did."

"Guys." Orlando grabbed both smaller men by the scruff of their necks and propelled them back towards the table. "They're all jelly. Now, sit the fuck
down, yeah?"

Billy looked distrustfully at the box. "You got all jelly? You hate jelly."

"All jelly? Either we're dying or..." Dom's eyes widened as he sank back into his chair. "Are you firing us?"

"You can't fire us!" Elijah exclaimed from around a mouthful of pastry.

“Can you be fired from a job you aren’t really paid for?” Billy asked.

"No one's getting fired, or dying, as far as I know." Orlando said.

Billy squinted at him. "But you are softening us up for something, right?"

Orlando sighed and took a seat at the table with his friends. "We're in a bit of trouble, mates. I don't know if any of you have looked at the numbers recently-"

Billy nodded. "Subscriptions are off by about fifty percent."

"Shit." Elijah suddenly lost his appetite.

“You’re kidding?” Dom leaned back into his chair. “I thought we were doing good. The business was finally starting to pay for itself. Hell, we were even talking about quitting our day jobs to do this full time.”

“We were doing good, and the business was paying for itself... for about a month.” Orlando began to absently pick apart a donut. “What we do isn’t cheap. Replacing and maintaining the equipment, not just the electronics, but keeping the van running, what we spend on gas, food, it adds up. We take these long trips every weekend, and we never come back with anything to show for it. I guess people got fed up of spending their money to watch us fail over and over again.”

“Whoa! Fail? That’s a pretty strong word.” Elijah said.

“It fits, though.” Orlando said. “We’ve been hunting monsters for almost two years and what do we have to show for it? The Jersey Devil, the Dover Demon, Bessie, Chessie, Champ... All we end up with are lovely, scenic pictures of calm lakes, and quite forests. And the occasional case of poison ivy. Can’t forget that.”

“Hey, just because we’ve never gotten actual pictures of anything doesn’t mean we didn’t come close.” Dom said. “The Pine Barrens was fucking scary, man. There was something there with us that night.”

"Yeah, well, unfortunately you can't digitize atmosphere.”

"We need to draw people back in, right?” Dom asked. “Well, how about we darken things up a bit. Play up the gore factor. Maybe even start doing reenactments."

"Reenactments?" Billy asked dubiously.

"Yeah. We could maybe get some costumes, and-"

"No. No, absolutely not.” Elijah crossed his arms over his chest. “That was one thing we agreed on in the beginning, Dom. Nothing fake. We break that and our credibility goes down the toilet.

"I'm not talking about planting hair samples, for Christ's sake, I'm just-"

"I know what you were 'just'."

"Cunt."

"Prick."

"Bastard."

"Fuckface."

"Gentlemen!" Billy motioned with his head towards their fearless leader who happened to be softly banging his head against the table.

Orlando looked up. "Oh, no, please don't stop on my account."

Dom and Elijah managed to look properly chagrined.

"Elijah's right. One thing we do manage to have left is our integrity." Orlando held up a hand in anticipation of Dom's tirade. "And, I know you weren't talking
about faking evidence, Dommie, but there are some people out there, and we all know who I'm talking about, who would see it that way."

Elijah scowled. "And who wouldn't hesitate to stick his big, fat nose into our business, and try to ridicule us again."

"Stupid bloody bastard Bean." Dom muttered darkly.

"So, no reenactments."

Billy cleared his throat. "I have a suggestion. What if we... broadened our horizons a bit?"

"Broadened our horizons?” Dom raised an eyebrow. “We spend most of our time looking for sea monsters, and missing links, how much broader do you want to get?"

"Ghosts."

The other three men looked at him skeptically.

"I don't know, Bills." Orlando said. "It's not really our niche."

"I know, but it could be. All we have to do is find a haunted house, or a nice, active graveyard, and set up a camera. If nothing else I bet we could capture an
orb or two."

"Orbs?" Elijah scoffed. "Please. My grandma could take pictures of orbs."

Billy frowned. "Oh, and I suppose your grand idea involves setting cameras up in a field and getting footage of drunk college students making crop circles."

"The Truth is out there!"

Elijah’s announcement was met with hearty groans.

Undaunted, the youngest of the team continued. "Hey, you know what, this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Area 51! We could, I don't know, go out there,
poke around, do a live feed!"

"I assume you mean before we get shot?" Billy asked.

"Or deported." Orlando added.

"Or sent to a detention center never to be heard from again." Dom said darkly.

"Well... yeah. Think of the people we could pull in."

"No." Said Orlando.

"But-"

"No aliens. No reenactments. And, sorry Bills, no ghosts. That's not what we're about.” Orlando said. “Our site is for strange creatures, cryptozoological discoveries, missing links in the evolutionary chain. We're about looking for monsters.”

“And, that’s obviously worked so well for us.” Dom remarked snidely.

Orlando’s eyes flashed, and Billy tensed. His favorite Highlander mug was on the table, and the precedent of crockery destruction had been set.

"Wait a minute... Wait a minute!" Elijah's already huge blue eyes grew impossibly larger. "I think... I'm getting an idea."

"Good thing there are no children about, this could get messy." Billy relaxed. The tension was diffused. Duncan was safe, for the moment.

"Fuck off, listen up, and hand me the laptop." Elijah grabbed the computer, and his started flying over the keyboard. "Most people, they get up, go to work, come home and fall asleep in front of the television. For them an adventure is trying a different kind of syrup in their Frappuccino." Elijah looked up, his eyes bright. "We'll draw them back by giving them the excitement they'll never get on their own."

"I assume you have a plan to do that?" Dom asked.

"Yeah, I think I do. Let's look at what's stopped working. What do we always do? We pick a creature, go to where it's been spotted, get anecdotal evidence
that could be decades old, and then traipse out to some godforsaken patch of woods trying to find something which may or may not have even existed. No wonder people don't want to pay to get full access to our site anymore."

Orlando looked bleak. "Actually, when you put it like that..."

"It's like we're detectives,” Elijah said, ignoring him. “Investigating a murder based solely on eyewitness testimony. What we need is physical evidence. We need a body."

"You want us to go out and kill somebody?” Billy asked. “'Cause, I can think of a few people-"

Dom scowled. "Bloody bastard Bean."

Elijah shook his head, and turned the laptop around. "The dirty work's already been done."

Dom put down and pushed away what was to be his third jelly donut. "You couldn't have waited until after we ate?"

Orlando leaned closer to the screen. "Three goats and...” he scrolled down. “a cow. Animal mutilations. Where'd they come from?"

"Anonymous email by way of Bumfuck Georgia. It had your basic strange things happening around a small town blah blah blah, but attached, were those pictures." Elijah shrugged. “I didn’t think anything of them at first, but maybe this is what we need. Something completely unknown.”

The men peered at the digitized death.

“Looks like their throats were torn out.” Billy remarked. “But there doesn’t seem to be much blood.”

Elijah looked smug. “According to the text of the email, they were all missing their hearts.”

That little tidbit of information brought appreciative murmurs from the group.

“Still,” Billy said. "They could be staged."

Orlando tilted his head. "A prank. An animal attack. A cult."

"A chupacabra." Dom said. "Oh, come on, we're all thinking it."

Orlando turned his attention back to the youngest member of the team. "What are you thinking, ‘Lijah?"

"I think it could be any of those things. I think we go there, post hourly reports on what we find, behind a password protected link, of course. And even if the answer does turn out to be something mundane, well... Normal to us is still gonnna be pretty damn freaky to a guy in a cubefarm in Des Moines."

"Damn, Elijah." Billy said, wiping an imaginary tear from his eye. "I may have to be a wee bit impressed with you."

"More than a 'wee bit'." Orlando's eyes sparkled. "You've done good, Elijah. I know I’ve got some vacation time saved up, how about you guys?” There were nods all around. “Then let’s start planning. We’ve got a monster to hunt.”


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