1- Allow Me
Title: Allow Me
Author: Jinni (email@example.com)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things AB belong to Laurell K Hamilton, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Summary: All it takes is a little spark to start a fire.
She didn't want to be here.
Not in this room.
Not in this city.
No where near here, for that matter.
St. Louis just gave her the uber-creeps.
Willow shivered, rubbing lightly at her arms. She was waiting for the so-called Master of the City to make an appearance at an appointment he had scheduled with her for seven that evening. It was not almost eight and yet she was still waiting, in this cold little ante-chamber, for him to even show his face. Every so often someone would peek in, ask if she needed something, and then disappear just as quickly as they'd come when her annoyed glare met their eyes.
This was the last time she did a favor for Giles. The absolute last time she offered to play liason for the damn Watchers' Council. If they wanted to speak in depth to the big scary Master of St. Louis, well they could just do it themselves next time. Let Giles be the one to carry his merry little ass down here and wait in a half-dark room for the Master to send for him.
She rolled her eyes, glaring as the door opened again. Great. Someone else to annoy her with another request to make her wait 'more comfortable'.
But this wasn't one of the Circus' many live-in shifters. It wasn't even one of the few humans that she'd seen wandering the halls.
It was a vampire.
She sat up a little straighter, watching with curiosity as he entered the room. Long blonde hair covered half of his face, but the parts that she could see spoke of beauty. The kind of artistic elegance that had been painted time and again on the face of angels.
The red head didn't need to have read up on the non-Hellmouth-y vampires to know that he was different. She could tell just by looking at him. There was something there, in his eyes. A soul. This creature, for all that he had been dead only Goddess knew how many years, was not a demon. Not like the vampires she had been putting to rest for years now.
"I apologize for the delay, Miss Rosenberg. Jean-Claude has been delayed. . ."
He paused, as if there was more he would say and shouldn't. She gave a great mental sigh and rose slowly to her feet. A sexy French vampire had come to relay the regrets of the Master to her. She was getting more and more frustrated by the minute. Had this night been a complete waste of her time?
"And you are?" Her tone was as light and pleasant as she could make it, even with all of the irritation bubbling in her system.
"Asher, Jean-Claude's second."
Ah. So someone important, then. Or, relatively so, she supposed. He still wasn't the vamp she was supposed to be meeting with tonight. Not the one that she had a notebook full of questions to ask for the Council.
"Any idea when he'll be done with whatever's keeping him?"
Asher shrugged. "I honestly do not know in this matter."
Willow frowned, her eyes meeting the one blue eye of his that wasn't covered by hair. She wondered why he wore it like that, covering half of such a lovely face.
"You aren't afraid to meet my gaze?" He murmured, taking a step further into the room and thereby placing himself closer to her.
"Should I be?"
Another shrug of those elegant shoulders. "Most would. Unless you are immune?"
She was, though he didn't know that. Which meant he hadn't tried to push his will on her. Brownie points for him, then, she decided.
"I am," she admitted with a slight nod of her head. "But thank you for not taking it upon yourself to check."
The corner of his mouth twitched upwards. "That would be rude, non?"
"Of course," she felt herself smile. "Just like me retaliating by lighting you up like the fourth of July would be rude, in return."
The smile grew on his lips, spreading upwards until his eyes were sparkling. "I am glad we have this . . . agreement."
Willow nodded. "So - no clue on when I can get this over with?"
"I am afraid not. It could still be hours."
The witch sighed sharply, shutting her eyes. So much for getting this over and done with, back on a place to the Council's new headquarters to report her findings.
"Would you like to wait? I can reschedule for tomorrow night."
"I guess. . .yeah," she shrugged. "Resheduling seems to be the only alternative right now. What a waste of a night."
He raised his eyebrow. "The night is still young, cherie."
Did he have to do that? That slow, seductive French accent complete with sprinkling of French words? He had no lack of willing donors, she was sure. Any girl worth her salt would be more than willing to crawl into bed with someone that looked and sounded like that.
"I can provide you an escort to some of the local nightspots if you wish."
She snorted. There it was, the subtle hint that they'd rather she didn't wander the city alone. Such was the drawback of being one of the most powerful witches in the country, she supposed. "You mean one of those over eager shifters that kept bugging me? No thank you."
"You find them . . . annoying?"
"Is it that obvious?" Willow sighed. "Thanks for the offer, but I can just go back to my hotel and rest. . .or something. I promise not to get into any trouble."
He smirked. "This is a promise you make often?"
"As often as necessary," she grinned. "I'll be a good little witch and sit there, bored or not, no worries."
"Would you allow me to show you the city instead?" He offered softly. "I promise not to be as. . .eager. . .as our shifter friends."
She blinked once, twice, fighting to keep her mouth from dropping open in shock. -Let him- show her the city? A night on the town with a handsome escort - even if he was a member of the undead- nothing to scoff at.
"Um.. . sure," she smiled. "That'd be great."
He nodded once, eyes growing distant. "Before we depart, however. I feel that I should be upfront with you regarding some. . .aspects of my appearance. So that you are not shocked at a later time."
She felt the space between her eyebrows crease at the ominous tone of his words, only to feel that dread fall right to the pit of her stomach as he lifted the hair that had been covering half of his face. She bit the inside of her cheek - hard - to keep from gasping aloud at the sight that greeted her. His face, on that side, was a mess of scars. Like wax that had been held up to the fire, his skin was melted into a ruin of that beauty that the other side showed so openly.
"Priests with holy water," was all that he said, but she found herself nodding. Holy water would do that, she supposed. If used as a torture method, slowly over a period of time. And that had to have been what happened.
She clamped down tight on the negative emotions that came with the viewing.
"Alright," she forced a smile to her lips. "Are you ready to go or do you need to change clothes. . .?"
He raised his eyebrows, letting the hair fall back down to cover his scars. "I am ready if you are, cherie."
"Good - because I'm antsy. Dancing would be fun. Do you dance?"