The Shrewd One
Title: The Shrewd One
Characters: Nathaniel, Willow
Disclaimer: LKH owns AB, Joss Whedon owns BTVS.
Spoilers: S7 Finale for BTVS, NIC for AB
Summary: Reflections on a visitor . . .
Ma petite wants her to live, and so she lives.
There was no other reason why I allowed this strange woman to roam so freely inside my territories. Anita's protection was all that kept this girl from being ousted from the city by a handful of my minions. It bothered me that I had to allow her to stay at all, not when the power she gave off made my skin crawl and nerves shake. She was too powerful of a creature to just be left to herself, running all over as she saw fit. Only ma petite's insistence on her safety kept me from acting as I should. But make no mistake about it. If Anita was not in the picture, I would have had this redhead killed the minute she entered my city.
Of course, that is, if she can killed. I doubt someone with her kind of power would go down easily.
Maybe that's what scares me so much about her. The knowledge that even if Anita is wrong about this woman, there was nothing I or any other creature at my disposal could do to stop her. She seemed to be beyond anyone's ability to eliminate. Her power rolls off of her in waves and there are times when even I shocked at the extent of it. Never, in all my centuries on this Earth have I sensed anything with even a fraction of the power I sense in her. She wears her magic like a second skin, or perhaps a shield, for I cannot think of one weapon that would stand a chance against her.
And yet, she is only human.
There is no question of that. She is completely and utterly human. She has power that I, perhaps even the whole of the Vampire Council, can dream of, but she is human. She is still mortal, a body as fragile as any others. All one would have to do is catch her off guard and then snap that lovely but oh-so-delicate neck of hers.
But again, I doubt she would ever let her guard down enough to give anyone a chance to do that. She is too wise this one; it is like she has seen all of this before, and maybe she has. Maybe she has, maybe she has even seen worse.
After all, she is from another world.
Anita told me this, told me all she could of this strange girl who fell onto her lap. Ma petite tells me all she can about this witch and her mission. I listened to all of it, but I understood very little. Never had I heard of differment dimensions, worlds like our own but different in their own world. With different kinds of demons and vampires in each world, everyone with their own version of magic and reality. It was an amazing revelation.
However, it did nothing to quell the fears I have about this Willow. She is far too powerful for one so young. Her power outshadows even Anita's, and yet she shows no real sign of it. Had I no way to sense her magic, I would have assumed her as innocent as a young babe. Her smile alone is enough to bring up images of purity and sweetness.
It was a quite an illusion.
I shifted in my seat, sending another look to the creature that had been dominating my thoughts since her arrival. Anita had to work tonight, so she informed me that I would be entertaining the adorable witch and her chosen bodyguard. And so I sat here, behind my desk, watching her sitting on the floor of my office, Nathaniel stretched out on the sofa at her back. She was hard at work, scrawling something onto a pad of paper, the tip of her tongue peeking out of the corner of her mouth as she worked.
It was not uncommon to see her in such a way. The girl did not speak to anyone, communicating solely through her smiles and gestures. She put onto paper whatever she couldn't convey through her body language. Anita confiscated these papers, stating that they were clues as to what tools the girl would need in her task. And Willow was quite meticulous in her instructions. I once saw her drawing out a diagram to accompany them, complete with smiling stick figures and labels. The girl was interesting.
And she had an effect on all those she crossed. Nathaniel, her chosen bodyguard, was one prime example of that. It was not a blatantly obvious change, but one that everyone would recognize in time. As things stood now, even Anita did not see this transformation that was taking place in her wereleopard, but I could see it and what it would become.
Nathaniel stood taller than before. And I knew it was her doing. I could almost smell the trace her magic had left on him. It was very faint, almost not even noticeable, but it was there. Willow had worked some magic over him, opening something inside Nathaniel that many thought had been lost forever.
Before, his posture had been slightly guarded, like he expected to be attacked at any given moment. I know the boy had been damaged before, through his former Nimir-Raj. He was very often in trouble, finding himself in dangerous situations entirely of his own making. Nathaniel was a submissive creature, and unfortunately for him he only seemed to be drawn to those dominant creatures who had no real regard for his well-being. Anita often said he looked like a kicked puppy, wide fearful eyes awaiting the nasty master who would come to deliver him even more punishment than before.
But that would not be the case for much longer.
Perhaps the transformation would not be complete for many years, but as time went on, they would be there. Nathaniel was slowly changing; he might never become an alpha, or even a creature of that much power or prestige. But given time, he would not be that kicked puppy anymore. This witch, she did something to him, something that was leading him down this path. He would be better for it, I know this.
But this does not mean I trust the witch any more than before.
She is still a mystery, refusing to share much with anyone other than Anita. She did the strangest things, had the strangest mannerisms. At the drop of a hat, she had some other urgent errand that needed completing. Just yesterday Anita had sent her Nimir-Raj Micah along with Caleb and Zane to somewhere in India, with a map drawn by the redhead herself that would apparently lead them to some trinket imperative for her misson's successful conclusion. Anita went to great lengths to make sure that all these outings and inquries were kept silent, but even she could not prevent the gossip from spreading.
News of the redhead has spread out of St. Louis, touching the ears of powerful creatures all over the world. Even now I herald many calls from the Vampire Council, demanding answers about this girl. I know her presence is putting many people on guard. Her power frightened many creatures, to the point where they were becoming dangerously defensive. The Master of New York insists I am harbouring the witch in return for her help in overthrowing the Council. A presposterous idea, but one with merits. Perhaps I would bring it up to ma petite later on.
She raised her head, as if registering my surveillance finally. For a split second her pencil stops scratching its path on her paper. Her green eyes meet mine and the white in her hair becomes slightly more prominent. The power of my eyes is easily deflected and for curiosity's sake, I give her shield a tiny push. I feel myself run right up against an iron door, something I have no hopes of breaking down. I dropped my attempt and a smile touched her lips.
Amused, I watched as Willow climbed to her feet, pulling Nathaniel along with her. I know what she wants and I nod my head before Nathaniel can even ask. She smiled even brighter than before, impishly blowing me a kiss before dragging her bodyguard out of my office.
I leaned back into my desk chair, knowing that she was heading to the Circus kitchen. She would go for ice cream, knowing that I had the fridge packed with cartons of the dessert after Anita told about her obsession with the treat.
A complete mystery she was. A child and a goddess, seemingly wrapped up into one little body. I have no doubt that she will see her mission through to completion. I can expect nothing else. The next few weeks should be very interesting, even dangerous at points. I may have to face down the most powerful beings on this earth, just so that she could finish what she came here for. I might not even survive all that is coming. There could very well be a war on the horizon.
And it was all because of her.