TITLE: A Place Less Ordinary
PAIRINGS: W/Asher X/Nathaniel
SUMMARY: Asher and Nathaniel find themselves in a place not their own and make new friends.
AUTHOR: Lady Chipmunk
DISCLAIMER: I don’t own any of the recognizable characters or worlds and no money is being made.
AUTHOR’S NOTES: This is a Secret Santa fic for Delwyn. I hope it’s acceptable. I do apologize if it’s not. I had a bit of writer’s block.
Things in St. Louis had been a bit rough of late, but that had not meant Asher wanted to be sent away. Even if he had being dropped into a portal with a wounded wereleopard wouldn’t have been his choice of departure methods.
Then again people rarely asked his opinion on these things. Especially Anita. And to be fair their hadn’t been much choice. Nathaniel was dying, for some reason he wasn’t shifting, and so wasn’t healing, they had been in the middle of a gun fight, and the wizard swore this would save the boy.
Asher just hadn’t intended to trip on Nathaniel’s long hair and fall in after him.
Now the golden-haired vampire was sitting on the floor in a bedroom. On his lap Nathaniel laid, looking peaceful except for the blood that covered his chest. That blood looked out of place in the child-like innocence of this room with it’s flowered bedspread and empty aquarium.
Who kept an aquarium with no fish?
Willow sighed as she unlocked the door to her parent’s house. She wasn’t entirely sure why Xander was suddenly so eager to help her move all her books into the dorm, but she wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
“So, you’re sure, Xander? I mean if you and Anya have plans or anything, I can get this by myself. I mean it’s been months anyway, and maybe Buffy can help, and...”
“Breath, Willow. I’m glad to help. What else are best buddies for? Besides, I think I need a break from Anya for a bit, you know take some cleansing breaths.”
“Things not going well?” Willow asked, seeing the grimace on Xander’s face and they headed up the stairs.
“They’re okay, I guess. It just feels like we’re—Willow, why is there a dead man on you’re bed?”
Asher moved to stand between these intruders and Nathaniel. He had expected some reaction the the use of vampire speed, but not that both of the humans would draw stakes. It seemed wherever he was vampires were not granted quite the same courtesy they were in St. Louis. Then again, he had for all intents and purposes broken into these people’s home.
“Non, he is not dead. Just badly hurt. We came looking for help.”
“You’re a vampire, and you want us to help you?” the boy snapped. He was a brave one certainly, but it was the girl that caught Asher’s attention. She was lovely, with flame-colored hair and emerald eyes. And she exuded power. Asher caight her gaze and was barely surprised when she was unaffected by his powers.
“Non. I want her,” he gestured to the girl, “to help him.”
Willow looked at the three people in the room. Xander was standing slightly in front of her, blocking her view of the bed, but she could still tell whoever was on it needed help. And he wasn’t human. She wasn’t sure how she knew that, but she was sure.
Just as she was sure that these people hadn’t come to harm them. Maybe it had something to do with not bringing your wounded to hunt people. Maybe it was just the pain she saw on this vampire’s face, at least the part of it she could see. He kept himself cloaked in his hair and shadows letting the light from the aquarium fall on only one half of his body.
When he looked at her she saw that his eyes were a beautiful color, like blue tinted glass or ice in winter. She was so wrapped up in her examination that she barely heard the conversation around her until Xander started yelling.
“No. You stay away from Willow! I don’t know what you want, but—“
“They want help, Xander. And I want to help them.” Willow tried to ignore the look of betrayl on her friend’s face as she walked past him and the vampire to the the man on her bed.
Asher could feel the boy, Xander she’d called him, glaring at his back, but he paid little attention. It was the redheaded with that absorbed him.
She’d moved past him to the wereleopard and sat at the edge of the bed. She moved with a strange grace that defied qualification, and Asher found himself entranced as she moved Nathaniel’s hair from his face and gently removed his shirt to look at the wounds. She seemed to be talking to herself, whispering so softly that even with vampiric hearing he couldn’t make out words. Then her hands glowed softly, a pale golden light flowing from them into Nathaniel, and the wereleopard shifted to animal form. He was still sleeping, but the wounds on his chest began to close.
He heard Xander gasp as Nathaniel changed, felt it when the boy jumped forward, but he didn’t move. Somehow he knew it was the girl, this Willow, that controlled the situation.
“Xander.” Willow whispered. “It’s okay. They’re not evil, not really. But, they...they don’t belong here, and we have to help them get home before someone notices. So, please, please just let me finish this so we can work it all out.”
Asher felt himself nodding though the words weren’t directed at him, and he saw Xander from the corner of his eye come to a complete standstill as he reacehed the side of the bed.
Later, Asher would be hard pressed to say who was most surprised when Xander just stood there and whispered, “Wow. What a pretty cat.”
It had been three months and Willow couldn’t help but be frustrated. She’d hoped that healing Nathaniel completely would send them home and then she could stop being haunted by Asher’s sad gaze. But, it hadn’t worked out that way and the more time went by the less likely it was they’d ever get the two bck to their own dimension.
A thought that had its good and bad sides. After all, Xander seemed much happier now that Nathaniel was doing well. The two spent a lot of time either hanging at the Bronze or just walking around Sunnydale. Anya had objected at first to Xander’s new friend, she’d even forbidden Xander to be around him. So, Xander and Anya were finished. If only for that Willow adored the wereleopard. And, hey, the look in his pale purple eyes when he asked if Willow was interested in Xander anymore, who could possibly nopt want to take care of the guy after seeing that. Willow just hoped Xander was ready for what was going to happen when Nathaniel made his feelings clear. Especially since Willow was fairly sure they were returned.
But then there was Asher. Willow had no idea what to do about him. Buffy had been less than thrilled with the idea of another vampire entering their fold. Her displeasure had been greater when Willow admitted she had a crush on him. Buffy meant well, of course, after all her own relationships with vampires had been less than stellar in the final count.
Not that it mattered in the slightest becase Asher barely spoke to her. At first she’d thought he might be interested, but it had turned out it had just been gratitude for helping them. And it hurt to be around him.
So, she needed to get them home, but she wanted them to stay, if only for Xander’s sake. Not that it mattered since she had no idea how she was supposed to send them back anyway. Nothing worked.
With a sigh she tossed the spellbook she was reading against the wall.
“Really, little one, did the book deserve such violence?”
Willow jumped and turned to face the doorway. Of course Asher would be standing there, watching her little temper tantrum. And Xander and Nathaniel were right behind him. Even better.
Wait. Xander and Nathaniel were grinning. And holding hands. Well, at least she’d been right about something. And Asher was smiling, a small, shy little grin. She’d never really seen him smile before. What the frilly heck was going on?
“Willow,” Asher breathed as he suddenly appeared beside her, “your friend has informed me that I am, as he put it “a big, blind idiot”. He and Nathaniel insisted that I correct this condition at once. Do you object?”
Willow looked up into Asher’s eyes. She had no idea what he was talking about, and she didn’t care as long as his hand kept caressing her cheek that way. She managed to whisper a barely audible “no”.
And then he kissed her. It was beautiful, soft lips like rose petals against hers, she could swear she could hear a symphony playing, though that may have just been Xander and Nathaniel cheering. The world swayed beneath her as his strong arms held her tight—
And then there was a voice.
“I see you brought something back from your trip, mon ami.”
Willow sighed as Asher’s lips left hers, and she looked around. Nathaniel and Xander were standing in a corner with a dark haired woman glaring at them. Willow couldn’t hear what was said, but she appeared to be giving Xander the third degree.
Asher meanwhile wrapped his arms around her waist, and faced the black-haired vampire before them. “IT appears I have, Jean-Claude. And, Willow, welcome to St. Louis.”