Title: Naughty or Nice
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.
Summary: Secret Santa fic for Kithain.
“She’s making a list. . .and checkin’ it twice. . .”
Asher looked up from the book in his hand, raising an eyebrow at the red haired pixie fluttering about his room. Had he not asked her to stay out of his private space?
“What are you doing?” he sighed, shutting the book.
The blonde haired vampire frowned. “That much is obvious. Perhaps I should be asking –why- you are in my room spreading this. . .cheer?”
She paused in hanging the obnoxious green and red garland from his bedposts, looking at him with the most innocent look he could ever recall seeing. If only it were a real expression and not something she pasted on her face when she was in the midst of being something of a pain in his –
“Because I can?” she answered with a shrug. “And because you could use a little cheer?”
Asher sighed. Why did Jean-Claude put up with her? Was it for because of the aura she had around her? One of power tempered by gentleness? Was it because she was as beautiful as she was intelligent?
Perhaps. Or perhaps it was because they had an agreement between them. He kept her safe from all the ‘nasties’, as she referred to them, and she leant her power to help secure his power base.
Jean-Claude had, admittedly, gotten the better end of the bargain. The witch was quite capable of taking care of herself. But living at the Circus, he had come to find, gave her something she couldn’t get on her own.
She enjoyed being around them; however much she detested the way they ran their so-called lives.
“I do not need ‘cheer’,” he replied back in as even a tone as he could manage. He rose, grabbing hold of one end of her garland. With a light tug it was down, off of the bed posts.
Willow looked from him, to the garland, to the bed, then back to him. The corner of her mouth twisted up in a smirk.
“You’re a bad boy, Asher. You know Santa doesn’t bring presents for naughty boys, right?”
Asher rolled his eyes. “Is there a reason you do this to me? Is there no one else for you to torture with your ‘cheer’?”
The red head’s smirk grew and she shook her head. “I don’t want to give anyone else my cheer, blondie.”
“Why?” He pressed his lips together, trying to look as imposing as he could to a woman that had never had the good grace to even attempt to look impressed by his considerable powers. She was immune to his gaze, her mind could not be rolled unless she chose to drop her shields, which she wouldn’t do.
What did she have to fear from him? Nothing, that was the answer.
“Because I like you, silly,” she shook her head, moving backwards towards the door, that same infuriating smirk on her lips. “Now be a good boy or Santa won’t leave you any gifts.”
And then she was gone, disappearing just as quick as she’d come, leaving him in the silence of his rooms.
Leaving him alone, once again, he told himself, knowing it should make him feel overjoyed to be rid of her presence.
Yet he didn’t. That was the torture of it. Being near her was just short of annoying, and being away from her was like losing the sun all over again. He was, to put it mildly, quite thoroughly taken with her, despite all he’d done to the contrary.
And all she could see to do was torment him with her presence, coming and going so as to capture him in eternal torment with her absences. It would be better, he knew for sure, if she would not come around anymore. Then he could slowly forget what it was like to be around her, to hear her voice.
But that was impossible. She was here indefinitely, until such time as she was ready to return back to her friends and home, if ever that was.
So – the torture.
He reached up, fingers brushing over the scars of his face. Those same scars that covered an entire half of his body, from head to toes. It was because of those that he stood no chance, his mind whispered tauntingly. In his glory days he would have had her begging for his attentions. Not now, however. Now he was less than whole, not the beauty he had once been.
She came by only to torture him.
And he was no stranger to torture.
Willow crept quietly through the halls of the Circus, knowing even as she did so that the stealthy movements were unnecessary. The denizens of this place were nocturnal, something she was slowly becoming accustomed to herself, for that matter. She could run screaming down the halls and few would wake – and even then only the shifters. The vampires slept like the dead during the day.
She stopped in mid-step, rolling her eyes at her own pun. That was a bad one, she chided herself. Maybe living here was slowly taking its toll on her sanity.
Asher’s room was at the end of one of the more heavily guarded halls, but none of the daytime guards paid any notice of her. They were used to seeing her come and go around the Circus as she pleased, day or night. Why would they care if she was doing just that today?
Even if it –was- Christmas.
She shifted the large shopping bag from her right to left hand and quietly opened the door to Asher’s room. He was asleep, as was to be expected. From the doorway she could just see the spill of his hair over his silk-covered pillows.
Her heart caught in her throat as she crept around the bed, the scars coming into view. How she wished she could go back in time and lay down some serious punishment on the ignorant priests that had done such damage to him. Not just on the outside, either; there was plenty of damage on the inside.
Like this stupid hang up he had about his looks.
“No one can love me like this,” she murmured to herself in a mocking tone, sticking her tongue out at the figure on the bed. “I’m a monster.”
Obviously he’d been too wrapped up in his looks before the whole torture thing happened.
Well, she thought he was still very nice to look at, even if he did take every chance possible to put as much distance between himself and her as possible. It was almost as if he were pained to be around her.
And she didn’t want that for him, she told herself. She wanted to make him a very happy vampire. Like Jean-Claude and Anita were. . .well, when they weren’t fighting, that was. A match made in undead heaven, if there was such a thing.
She could be his match.
But that wasn’t going to happen today. Or tonight – though she’d be ready just in case. Next week look doubtful, too. Asher was a tough nut to crack, but goddess-darnit-all, she was gonna crack him one of these days.
It was Jean-Claude’s fault, she admitted, as she began to pull her supplies from the bag. If he had never mentioned that Asher found her desirable, she would definitely not be doing all of this. Chasing after a vampire, or anyone for that matter, was a very un-Willow-y thing to do.
He was worth it, though.
She dumped the contents of her bag onto the bed next to Asher, grinning at the assorted goodies.
Time to get to work.
He was aware that something was ‘off’ as he slowly left behind his daytime death to rejoin the waking world. Asher’s eyes snapped open, nostrils twitching.
Cinnamon. His room smelled like cinnamon.
The vampire sat up slowly, his eyes widening as he took in the sight before him.
The room was decorated like the very postcard image of Christmas, right down to a small tree on his nightstand, sparkling with little lights in a multitude of clashing colors. A candle burning next to it gave off the cinnamon scent that was so strong he already worried that it would not leave the room for days, if not weeks.
And there, at the very end of his bed –
He reached for the stocking, tugging it free of the ribbons that had held it hanging in place. Upending it onto the bed, the blonde haired vampire bit back a snort of laughter. Wax vampire teeth? Packets of fake blood?
There was only one person that could have done this, of course. Only one that would have dared, he added, as he sifted through the contents of the stocking. His very own personal Christmas pixie.
A flash of an image ran through his brain – Willow dressed in one of those red and white dresses that the female ‘elves’ at the club had been wearing the night before. It was more than they usually wore for work, but still indecently short.
And now he was picturing Her wearing that.
Dear God, what had he done to deserve this sweet torture?
His eyes caught sight of the last item in the stocking at the same time his fingers brushed across it. A small book, but the title alone was enough to put him in a further state than he was already in.
The Joy of –
He growled, turning it to a page that had quite obviously been book-marked. One golden eyebrow rose at the crude illustration.
Quite surprising to find that she had it in her to be this. . .forward.
Even more surprising to find that he was actually contemplating exiting his room and going to find her, to demand what she wanted from him.
“Did you like?”
Asher raised his head to look towards the doorway, surprised to find that he hadn’t heard her coming down the hall, or her heartbeat as she undoubtedly stood there watching him.
“It is. . unexpected, ma petite.”
She smiled broadly. “The best presents always are.”
“Oui,” he tilted his head to the side, regarding her evenly. Her heart was racing, there was no mistaking it now. The scent of her body was overwhelming even that of the cinnamon candle still burning next to his bed. He held the book up so that she could see it, taking silent delight at the blush that spread over her cheeks. Ah, so not as forward about dealing with her actions face to face, it appeared. “What am I to do with this, cherie?”
“Learn?” she shrugged, wiping her hands on her skirt.
He laughed, the sound rolling through the room. Her eyes widened, and her breath caught, heart thudding rapidly in her chest.
“You’re not shielding,” he accused, the laugh dying immediately.
“No,” she shook her head. “And I’ll never do it again if you promise to keep laughing like that. I mean, wow. Talk about a tingly feeling all over.”
And then she was blushing again.
“Why do you do this?” he whispered, forcing himself to calm from the heightened state her sweet scent and delicate blushes were putting him in.
“I already told you,” she whispered almost too softly for him to hear. “I like you. –Like- you, like you.” She tilted her chin up defiantly. “And I’m gonna get you, Mister. You can either surrender peacefully now – or you can put up a fight.”
“Get. Me?” he enunciated each word clearly, searching her face for any signs that she was just playing with him, toying with his very soul.
“Yeah,” she nodded, her confidence returning. “So, um, read the book. Brush up. . .and I’ll see you soon, ‘kay?”
He watched her scamper from the room, an amused chuckle breaking from his lips. Brush up? He tossed the book aside, hearing it hit the wall and not caring.
The things he knew of the art of pleasure could fill a library.
She didn’t know that, however.