Summary: Xander, Willow, Dawn, and a two-year-old need a place to hide. Willow finds an alternate world where vampires are legal, and thinks it’s perfect. After all, who would suspect famous vampire hunters of hiding in a world where the law protects vamps?
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds of BTVS/ATS and Anita Blake. The creators of these worlds have far more talent and money than I do.
Warnings: SLASH. Also known as GUY-ON-GUY sex and WOMAN-ON-WOMAN sex. I don’t know how much plainer I can make it, and this warning will remain for the entire story, just to be safe. Eh, mentions of past abuse and general foul language. The warnings will change for each chapter – it depends on who I’m writing about. After all *authoress pauses to smirk and lick her lips* does anyone think sex with Asher would be very vanilla?
Chapter 1: Politics Suck
“It won’t be so bad, Xan,” Willow said in a wheedling tone, aiming her third-strongest set of puppy eyes at him. The first and second sets were reserved for more important occasions.
The One-Who-Sees, also known in the Slayer preternatural world as the White Knight – Xander was still cursing Deadboy for that one – glared. Fiercely. “You want us to hide in a dimension where vampires are legal and don’t turn to dust when staked. Where is the goodness, Willow-tree?” Xander resolutely avoided looking at Willow’s eyes. He’d been trained since kindergarten to give in to that look.
“They have souls,” she explained. “Vamps don’t go around feeding off the general public. I checked the laws for the United States of that Earth. Vampires can’t feed off of anyone under the age of eighteen, and it has to be consensual. AND vamps can’t use mind powers to persuade their blood donors. They can own businesses and stuff, just like normal people. And they have people – like, LEGAL people – to hunt down rogues that break the laws. This applies to vampires, shifters, and magic-users.”
“So why aren’t we just parking ourselves in some little, out-of-the-way town with no preternatural stuff?” Dawn wanted to know. “Why do we have to go to a big city that has a resident vampire Master and a really large shifter population?”
“We need to hide in plain sight,” Willow said with a sigh. “Giles says the magic hunter that the demons sent after us always nails his targets when they flee into hiding in little, out-of-the-way places. The hunter will have a harder time tracking us when we’re in a different dimension, and St. Louis in that world is a magical and preternatural hotspot. If, by some chance, the hunter DOES trace us to that Earth, he’ll have a heck of a time tracing our auras in that place. The power in that city is nearly equal to a Hellmouth, without the demonic influence.”
“Oh well, if GILES says so…” Xander growled sarcastically.
“Come on Xan, you get along with Spike now, don’t you? It’ll be like Spike…only multiplied. Lots of vamps just doing normal, human things.”
“Thank you, Willow, for filling my head with the utterly terrifying image of multiple Spikes running around.” Xander shivered. “That’s just…so wrong.”
“I’m with Xan on that one,” Dawn muttered. “I love Spike, I really do, but the world doesn’t DESERVE more than one of him. The collective populations of our Earth and that St. Louis’ Earth don’t deserve more than one Spike. And hey, Spike spends all of his time with Xander, me, and Mirabel. How come HE doesn’t have to go hide in creepy Vamps-R-Us Land?”
“Because he’s a vampire, and the hunter ignores vampires. Which is really stupid of him,” Willow muttered.
“Language, Dawn,” Xander and Willow said automatically and simultaneously, and the nineteen-year-old rolled her eyes.
“At any rate, because the hunter ignores vamps, the rest of the Scoobies should be able to take him out soon. It’s just that there’s an apocalypse coming up that Buffy and Angel have to deal with, and Spike’s playing bodyguard to Wes, Cordy, Fred, and Gunn, which is a more than full-time job. So it might be a few months before the hunter’s out of the picture,” Willow explained. “I’ve made us all fake IDs and given us access to most of our private funds, so none of us have to go and get jobs. We look like lazy rich kids hanging out together.”
“That’s not so bad,” Xander said, softening. “So we can goof off for, what…three months?”
“Umm…” Willow bit her lip, and reminded herself to pick up cookie ingredients after this conversation. “After talking with Buffy and Giles about the apocalypses and stuff…it’s looking more like eleven months to a year.”
“A YEAR?!” Xander and Dawn yelled together. “How come nobody told US?!”
“I only just found out it would be that long, I swear! Buffy was all with the apocalypsy thingy and Giles was hmming with some swamp demon thingie and then Buffy killed the swamp thing and Giles started yelling about waste of resources and Buffy went off to spend time with Angel and Connor threw a hissy so I sent him to this coven I made friends with to keep him busy and then I got sidetracked when one of the baby Slayers found a mugrath with extra tentacles and then-“
Xander clamped a hand over the babbling Red Witch’s mouth. “We get the point, Wills.” He looked over at Dawn, who was rubbing her temples and looking highly irritated. “I take it Buff didn’t talk to you about this?”
“She spends all of her spare time with Angel, Xan, you know that,” Dawn fairly snarled, then made a face and said, “Sorry, I mean, she deserves some happiness with Angel now that Wills and Wes have figured out how to blend soul and demon without bringing evil insane Angelus back. It’s just that I really wanted to get that Masters in ancient languages this year so I could start working on the PhD. This little trip is going to waste so much of my time.”
“On the plus side, you won’t have Buffster overseeing and worrying about your every movement,” Xander pointed out helpfully. “Me and Wills think you’re a grown-up, so you can go to the library in St. Louis and read to your little nerdy heart’s content, and no Slayers will come ‘sneaking’ in to guard you.”
Dawn grinned wryly. “There is that,” she agreed. “I wonder if Buffy’s realized that yet.”
“She hasn’t,” Willow informed her. “She’s too busy making with the googly eyes at Angel.” All three of them snickered at the thought of what the First Slayer’s reaction would be when she realized her precious baby sister was out of her reach. “And at any rate, Dawn, I went over the credentials for your Masters, and they’re the same in St. Louis of that world as they are here. I can enroll you in the University of St. Louis’ masters’ program if you want.” Dawn sighed, and nodded.
All three Scoobies turned toward a doorway in Xander’s kitchen that led to the hallway and bedrooms of his house. A toddler just two years of age with a riot of black curls and big brown eyes eerily like Xander’s stood in the doorway rubbing at her eyes with one tiny fist. On cue, all three Scoobies’ expressions softened into a look that screamed ‘Awwww!!’
Xander stepped forward and scooped the little girl into his arms, nuzzling into her curls and making her giggle. “Whatcha doin’ out of bed, princess? And how did you get out of bed? There’s a magical forcefield that’s supposed to keep you from falling out of the bed and keep bad guys from getting in.”
She grinned up at him. “Unca’ Spike teacheded me.”
Xander groaned. “It figures. Oh well, since you’re here, I gots a question for ya.”
“What do you think about living in a city full of vamps that you can’t stake ‘cause it’s against the rules?”
The toddler stared for a long moment, then asked, “Are they nice vamps?”
The toddler stared some more, then asked, “Do I gets to be wif you an’ Dawnie an’ Auntie Will an’ Unca’ Spike an’ Gwampa Ruper’ an’ –“
“You’d only get to be with me, Wills, and Dawnie,” Xander interrupted, since the list of people the toddler considered family was quite long. “And it would be for a whole year.”
The little girl stared some more, then looked at Willow with wide eyes. “Auntie Will, whadja do?”
“I didn’t do anything!” Willow said indignantly. “Why is it my fault? And what’s my fault?”
“Unca’ Xan wouldn’ move to a city fulla vamps he couldn’ stake,” the toddler said in a matter-of-fact tone. “An’ Dawnie woul’ only go t’ keep you an’ Unca’ Xan outta twouble. Dat means you made da twouble.”
Willow sulked while the other two Scoobies snickered. “This thing was your idea, Wills, so she’s right,” Xander pointed out.
“Shut up, Xan.”
“Yeah, yeah.” The White Knight turned his attention back to the little girl. “Mira, we really do haveta go. It’s to keep us safe while Aunt Buffy and your Grampas and Uncle Spike and Uncle Angel get the bad guys that are trying to hurt us,” he explained in the simplest terms, gesturing at the group.
The little girl, whose legal name was Mirabel Harris-Summers, considered this, then nodded.
Xander glanced at Willow. It was a last-ditch attempt, but he had to try. “Couldn’t we just ignore the laws there and do the lone-ranger-hunter thing?”
“No.” The answer was flatly and undeniably given.
Xander scowled. “Yeah, well, politics suck.”
***lalala, time passes, Willow pesters Xan and Dawn into packing, etc.***
“Fucking hell, Willow!” two voices shouted simultaneously in pain.
“Kiss my ass,” Xander growled, still cradling Mira protectively. The toddler was giggling excessively at all of the bad words being used around her.
“Unca’ Xan, don’ swear,” Mira said scoldingly between giggles.
“Sorry, Mira,” Xander sighed out, then looked around. “Where’ve you dumped us, Will?”
“I’ve brought us to the outskirts of St. Louis,” Willow answered a bit crossly. “I did warn you the trip was going to be rough, so don’t get all growl-y with me, Xander.”
“Willow, ‘rough’ would have been a few bruises, maybe a headache. That was a twenty-foot drop onto solid pavement and extreme migraines for both Xander and myself,” Dawn snapped. “Mira could have been seriously hurt.”
“Don’t be silly, Dawn. I put layers and layers of protection spells on her before transporting us to this alternate reality.”
“You couldn’t have done that for us too, Will?” Xander asked, well and truly tired. The transport had drained all of them – except Mira – of their physical strength.
“Not without alerting the hunter, no,” Willow said, her own tone exhausted and reproachful now. “I would have if I could, Xan.”
Xander sighed, and gave a quick, one-armed hug. “I know you would have, Wills. So where do we go from here?”
Willow dug into the backpack she had slung across her shoulder, and pulled out a mojo-ed cell phone. She dialed a number, spoke quietly for a few moments, then hung up. “I’ve called a taxi to take us to our apartment for the next year. It’s actually an entire suite, so we each get our own rooms.”
The grumpy Scoobies nodded in understanding, then sat on the edge of the curb to wait for the taxi that would take them into the heart of Vamps-R-Us Land.
Author’s note: Mira will be explained in the upcoming chapters. She is solely my creation, because I wanted to complicate the Scoobies’ lives a bit by having a relatively innocent child living with them. Mira hasn’t had the benefit of ever being around Anya the way Dawn was. She is also going to be the ONLY major character that is originally not from the Anita Blake books or BTVS/ATS. Yes, I know I was lazy with plot development as far as Willow getting them to St. Louis is concerned, but I wanted to get to the smexy vampires.