Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things AB belong to Laurell K Hamilton, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Notes: Just a bit of Halloween fluff.
"Now remember --" Willow began, her mouth snapping shut as she glared at the man next to her. "Was that a sigh? It better not have been a sigh."
"It was a sigh."
She frowned, slapping his arm lightly. "C'mon! This is serious stuff, Richard."
"Serious stuff that you've been over about a dozen times -today-?" He half-joked, brown eyes sparkling.
Willow reached out, playing with a few strands of his long, brown hair. She bit her lip. "It's just, you know. Sunnydale. Halloween. If Buffy hadn't insisted that we show up for her party --"
Richard grabbed hold of her hand, placing a gentle kiss on the back of her knuckles. His voice dropped to a whisper. "I'm a full grown werewolf, remember? I can take care of myself. Demons and those abominations you call vampires don't scare me. Besides, it's just one night. - what could possibly go wrong?"
The red head gasped, yanking her hand away as if he was the most vile thing to ever touch her. She glanced around, wondering how it was that her hysteria had gone unnoticed by the other passengers on the plane. Sunnydale obliviousness must have already taken over, she assumed, attention being drawn back all too quickly to the man sitting next to her.
"You've done it now." She snapped angrily. She reached up, flicking a piece of her hair back behind her shoulder. Suddenly the plane couldn't land soon enough. The one thing that he shouldn't have done. Well, one of the many things, actually. And there he was, doing it without a care in the world!
Willow frowned, crossing her arms and trying her best to look menacing. He didn't know, the reasonable side of her brain tried to tell her. But the other part of her, the one that knew very well where they were going and what was in store for them, was in a state of panic.
"You invoked the 'what could go wrong' demons."
"The 'what could go wrong' demons?" He repeated blankly.
"Uh huh," she nodded. "The little guys that make hell every time some idiot dares to utter the phrase 'what could go wrong'. It's the one sure fire way to make sure that something, anything, happens in Sunnydale. You just better hope its not on the apocalyptic scale, Mister. Love only goes so far, you know; and if I have to avert any catastrophes while I'm here, it on -your- head."
Richard leaned over and pressed his lips to hers before her babble could continue, smiling at the look of indignant outrage that flooded her eyes a moment before she gave into the warmth of the kiss. When he parted, she looked slightly less frazzled, though no less irritated.
"Don't think a kiss can fix this."
"I can think of other things, other than kissing. . ." He offered, raising his eyebrows suggestively.
Willow rolled her eyes, pulling back to look at him with a glare. Sure, he didn't know better, but now that he did he could at least try to act like he cared. Instead it was all this being sexy stuff which, yeah, she had to admit worked like a charm the other ninety-nine percent of the time. "You're taking this way too lightly."
"Ever think you're taking it way to seriously?" He joked. "Its a silly superstition. Like being afraid of black cats or stepping on cracks."
"Superstition, huh? Okay, fine. Be that way. But you just wait and see - when a demon comes looking to have you for a light snack tonight, don't turn to me because I'm just supersticious, 'kay?"
Richard shrugged. "Like I said, I'm a big boy. Don't worry, I can take care of myself."
She snorted, doubting that seriously. He may be one of the most powerful Ulfrics the country had ever seen, but that didn't mean that he could survive what the Hellmouth could dish out on a -good- day.
"He did -what-?" Xander shrieked, glancing from Willow to Richard and then back again. "Oh, man. This is bad. Did you tell him how bad this is?"
Buffy crossed her arms, glaring at the werewolf with open hostility. "This is the first party I've planned in -forever- and you had to go and do something stupid, didn't you?"
Willow bit her lip to keep from chuckling at the expression on Richard's face. Apparently he hadn't been all that intimidated when -she- had told him about the curse of the 'what could go wrong' demons, but the fact that Xander and Buffy believed it, too, was starting to get to him. Just a little. Enough to make that sparkle fade from his eyes.
"I didn't think --"
"That's right," Xander fumed. "You didn't."
"Calm down, guys," the red head finally cut in, laughter fully suppressed. "No worries, Richard has assured me that he's a big boy and able to take care of himself, just in case. So I'm thinking we sit back and let whatever baddie decides to show up play with him for a while."
"Sounds like a plan to me." Buffy shrugged. "Just make sure it happens -outside-, as in where the party -isn't-."
"Oh," Xander moaned, shaking his head with laughter. "This is going to be fun after all."
Fun wasn't really the word Richard would have used to describe the party an hour into the so-called festivities. The only people that were there that he actually knew on a first name basis were Buffy, Willow, Xander and Dawn. And they had all wandered off to places unknown at least half an hour before, under the guise of reminiscing about Halloweens gone by; something about a little three inch tall demon and costumes that were too real.
He turned, nostrils flaring as he caught scent of something. . .unpleasant. That was the only way he could describe the altogether acrid smell that wafted gently to his nose. It was faint, almost as if a smell of something long gone. But he had been here before, to this very house, and he had never smelled anything like this.
Wandering from room to room, Richard tried not to be too conspicuous as he tried to pinpoint the origin of the odor. It was strongest, he found, in the kitchen, right next to the basement door.
Well that didn't look too promising. He sighed, running a hand back through his hair. Basements, Willow had been very quick to tell him, were notorious for being sites of so-called 'badness'. And now there was something odd coming from this one.
He recalled all too vividly the way the others had been horrified at his simple statement of 'what could go wrong' - and had a feeling that he could possibly be about to find out exactly what -could- happen when those 'demons' were invoked.
The door knob turned easily in his hand and he reached inside the darkened space cautiously, hand fumbling on the wall for the the light switch. The room flooded with dingy orange-tinted light, providing just enough illumination for him to see with, even given his preternatural senses.
There was no sound in the basement as he began his downwards descent, stair after rickety wooden stair creaking beneath his feet. The smell grew stronger, more putrid, as he came closer to the bottom of the stairs and the dirty floor of the basement. He turned, blinking into the darkness.
It was hard not to take a step back when he saw them, congregated in one corner of the basement. The earth at their feet was freshly turned up, as if they had crawled from the graved themselves. It was a far cry from any getup he had ever seen, and that said alot considering he had dated one of the most powerful zombie raisers currently living in this country. There was no sign of blood. Nothing to show how or why they had been rasied, or who had done it.
In fact, he mused with a growing smile on his face, this looked like a scene from a horror movie. One of those low quality B flicks that made you cuddle close to the one you love.
It was all a setup, he concluded.
"Right, guys - ha ha," he smirked, glancing around for Willow and her friends. "Funny, really. I've learned my lesson - no more risking the wrath of those kooky Sunnydale gods."
But no one answered his mocking tone. No one jumped from behind the boxes to say that this wasn't a joke.
And the more he looked at the zombies, the more he began to realize that they were, in fact, real. He swallowed hard, fighting down the natural urge of his beast to rip them into shreds. It wouldn't do any good, after after all. A zombie would keep right on going until the one that resurrected it, or another like-strengthed animator, forced it back into the grave. At least these guys weren't doing anything dangerous.
They turned as one, as if noticing for the first time that he was standing there, at the bottom of the stairs. Their eyes were filled with the blankness of death, sparks of something he couldn't understand flitting through them.
He took a step back, then another, back towards the stairs. Willow probably knew someone that could put them back. Or he could bite the bullet and call Anita. She wouldn't come herself, of course, but she'd still find someone local to help. He turned, slamming face first into a warm chest.
A very soft, warm chest.
"You've found my pets."
It wasn't a question, merely a statement of fact. He backed up a step, taking a good look at the newcomer. A girl, no older than early teens, in a black robe. She had a wicked smirk on her face and her eyes --
He shivered involuntarily. Her eyes were glowing from within, their brown depths seeming to shine with warm chocolatey light.
"Your pets?" He asked quietly. This girl wasn't all there. There was light in her eyes, sure. But it was one of those 'lights are on, but nobody's home' type of things.
"Party favors," she shrugged lightly, moving past him. Her robe swished across the ground, stirring up the dust and dirt that had collected over the years in the neglected room. "Or, more like, entertainment. They're so hungry, too."
Richard felt his eyes go wide. She was going to unleash those things on the party. All those innocent people up there and she was going to just set those zombies loose? He couldn't let it happen, of course.
"I won't let you do that."
She laughed girlishly, clapping her hands together. The glow never once faded, though as her laughter died out her lips pressed together in a tight imitation of a smile.
"You can't stop me."
He couldn't. That was true. Anita had always called him a boy scout because he couldn't stand the thought of killing someone. This . . .girl. . .was no exception. And he doubted he could force her into putting the zombies back down.
Richard breathed a sigh of relief, recognizing the familar voice without even having to turn to see her.
"Hey, sweetie." He murmured, feeling her hand run down his back as she moved past him.
"Found yourself something going wrong, hmmm?" She joked with a wink before turning back to the girl.
"Just what is it that's got your panties in such a bunch, missy?"
"You don't care," the girl spat angrily.
"You're right," Willow shrugged. "I really don't. It just seemed like something I should ask."
She stepped right up to the girl, their faces inches apart. Richard felt his beast leap within the cages of his humanity, begging to be set free if one hand was laid on Willow.
"Return them to the ground." Willow whispered to the girl.
And, slowly, she did.
"What was that?" Richard frowned, giving his girlfriend a look.
"Modified spell that I learned from a friend in England. They call it a curse, but wow if it doesn't come in handy. You take over the person's control and make them do what you want. Nifty, huh?"
"Just as long as you never use it on me." He smirked, pulling her in for a quick kiss.
"So - still thing it was all just supersticion?" Her smile was nearly as wide as her face, and he knew there was no getting around it.
"You're going to say it, aren't you?"
She laughed, resting her head on his chest. "Told you so."