the pearl

Snatch And Grab

There's a set routine when robbing an apartment building. Or, at least, there was one for Gwen.

First, choose the right type of building. Good security, high income level, filled with urban professionals who spend long hours in the office and have entire floors devoted to their latest gadgets. Fancy cars in the garage, fancier entertainment system in the living room, and it's the perfect space.

Second, scope it out. She spends a week just checking the place out. Making sure the doorman recognizes her as someone who belongs there. Actually going on a tour of one of the empty apartments. Making a delivery. Everything so that, when she does come in, no one will notice the teenager with the long curly hair.

Third, security systems can be destroyed. Or, even better, they can be altered to act like nothing happened. One quick jolt across a system and it's like a circuit tripped. It shuts down. She goes in. Another quick jolt as she leaves, and everything's was turned on again. No problem.

Fourth, only take jewellery and cash. Small things. Stuff them into her pockets, walk out of the apartment calmly, head home, count the funds, and everything's fantastic.


The entire building was filled with lawyers. Owned by a major law firm and one of the perks of advancement. She spent a week pretending to be a bike messenger and then strolled through one day, a backpack on one shoulder, a smile on her face, and a few places already scammed.

The first had a sizeable diamond collection — more than enough to make Gwen think that particular lawyer wasn't keeping a tax-deductible 401k. The second — a safe full of polaroids of naked children and a shoebox filled with fifties. She bundled up the fifties and threw the polaroids all over the house, laughing as she imagined that phone call to the cops.

She twisted open the lock on the door of the third. Smaller than the other two, with papers scattered and bottles strewn and the faint scent of perfume in a place that seemed so male. She checked the closet, found an abused pair of workboots and a dusty acoustic guitar, checked the safe and found a few obscure charms, then moved towards the bedroom, hoping, at least, for cufflinks.

She took a few steps, then froze.

She wasn't alone.

And the other woman looked at her coolly.


She was small, blonde, and pale, sharp eyes staring at Gwen. She sat in bed, a blanket wrapped around her and an expression of boredom on her face. Was she actually bored while watching someone rob her home?

Gwen stared at her, not knowing what to say.

"He keeps his cufflinks in the closet," the woman finally said, her voice soft.

Gwen blinked. "Excuse me?"

"Cufflinks. In the closet. In the dresser. Mostly gold." The woman didn't turn away, still looking at Gwen. "You don't look like you're prepared to take anything larger."

"I'm not taking anything," Gwen said quickly. "I'm checking the cable."

The woman smirked. "Sure you are."

Gwen glared at the woman and turned to the closet. "In the dresser?" she said, refusing to look back at the blonde.

"Top drawer." There was a faint rustle as the woman climbed out of the bed.

Gwen found a few pairs of cufflinks and a rolex in the top drawer, and quickly stuffed them into her pocket. She rifled through the other drawers, checking for anything, and slammed them shut.

She sensed something behind her, and turned quickly.

The woman stood there, face transfigured, teeth glinting sharp and ready.


Her teeth were sharp and her eyes were sharper and Gwen froze for the second time today, her eyes locked on the woman's.

The woman smirked, leaned forward, brushed a tendril of hair off of Gwen's neck, and...


Gwen felt it before she did, the rush, the flash, the spark of that constant hum in her body.


She landed back onto the ground, snarling up at Gwen. She scrambled back from her, slamming back against the closet wall. "...the fuck?" she swore, glaring up at the girl.

Gwen shrugged and reached down to help her up with a gloved hand. "It's something I've got. Like that whole face thing — that's something you got."

The woman swore again and pushed aside the hand, helping herself up. She sighed tiredly when she stood, then tensed, staring at the other woman. "You got what you came for," she said, her voice low. "Get out."

Gwen raised an eyebrow, looking at the other woman critically. "What are you?" she said, taking a step closer.

The other woman straightened, her chin raised, defiant. "Vampire."

Gwen smiled, sharper than anything the other woman had. "And your name?" she asked, stepping even closer.



Even through a layer of leather and the faint rubbing of rubber against silk, Gwen knew something was different about Darla. Not just the vampire thing, of course, but there were secrets buried, like a safe that Gwen thought that maybe with time, and effort, and a little bit of that spark, she could open and see the treasures within.

Darla gasped and moaned breathily against her, trying to charm and smile and pull her down. Gwen stood above her, straight, tall, refusing to soften even as her hand slid against Darla's breast.

There was no heartbeat, and Darla's wriggling body was chill, even through the layers of clothing Gwen wore. She pushed against her closer, pushing her against the wall, pushing her up and against and so close to slamming her through.

Darla's teeth were shimmering sharp in the half-reflected light from the bedroom. She leaned close again, barely an inch from Gwen's exposed skin, and the arc of electricity from her skin to her teeth strobed across the darkness of the closet, making Darla recoil in anger.

"Get out!" she screamed, pushing Gwen away. "Take whatever you want and leave!"

Gwen nodded, stepped back, and left the room.


She broke in again three weeks later, for another quick snatch and grab. There was another collection of diamonds in apartment one, more polaroids to scatter in apartment two...

The apartment she knew as Darla's was silent, still, empty. There were no scarves draped over chairs, no single shoe trapped under the bed, no faint scent of perfume, nothing that even faintly acknowledged a woman ever lived there. Just the scent of aftershave and masculinity reeking from the bedding.

The guitar she remembered from the closet sat on the sofa, dusted, cleaned, expectant. Waiting for the return of whoever lived here.

Gwen knocked it onto the ground as she walked out.

This Angel/Buffy the Vampire Slayer story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at