Title: No Longer Watching
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things Highlander belong to Davis/Panzer, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Summary: Willow’s new job gives her the opportunity to meet someone pretty . . .unique.
“Dammit!” Willow cursed, endeavoring to not look quite as frantic as she felt as she exited the small store she’d just spent the better part of twenty minutes in. This was the first time since taking on her current assignment that she had managed to lose her target entirely. She’d looked throughout the shop, convinced that he couldn’t possibly have gotten to the front door without her noticing.
But he must have. Otherwise how had Adam Pierson just disappeared from under her nose?
She sighed, blinking into the bright afternoon sunlight. This was just like him. Always trying to lose his Watchers. It was part of what made Watching him such a challenge, she supposed. No one had been able to keep a close eye on him. No one. . .until her, that was. She had talents the others didn’t. Her magic, for one thing. Excellent computer and research skills for another.
So it came as no great shock to her to find herself immensely irritated that he’d finally managed to escape her watchful eyes.
Well, there was nothing to be done about it now except go back to her hotel room and start trying to find the annoying, if not good-looking Immortal.
“Why did I let Giles talk me into this?” she whispered ruefully to herself, kicking a small rock off the sidewalk. The answer was simple, of course; and she knew it. The question was more rhetorical than anything. She had taken up the offer to train with this branch of the Watchers because she had nothing else to do with her life. And this seemed exciting enough, at least at the outset of things. Immortals were real – not just some myth in a book somewhere. And she was going to get to study them, their histories, their lives. It was the type of opportunity she could never have imagined in a million years.
And yet, there it was, dropped right into her lap. Go off to London to study with the Immortal Watchers and get the chance of a lifetime. All that history. Those secrets.
She should have known they’d expect more from her. Like watching Adam Pierson. It wasn’t that he was skilled at evasion or was otherwise remarkable in any way. The thing that made Adam so difficult to keep an eye on was that he not only knew about Watchers, he knew all their secrets. He had been a Watcher, after all, right up until his First Death. And now he seemed to have it in for anyone that got assigned to them. Nothing malicious, provided getting written up by one’s superior’s for not being able to do one’s job properly wasn’t malicious. The organization considered her one of their greatest assets when she had proved competent enough to Watch him with no large gaps in coverage. She was there with him, from city to city, place to place.
And now – this.
The young Watcher sat down on a bench, across from the shop where she’d lost her current assignment, and shut her eyes. Just for a few minutes, she told herself; then she’d get up and go about finding Adam. That infuriating, cocky, annoying –
Handsome, somewhat charming from all accounts, the lighter side of her mind cut in with a whispery sigh. She groaned silently. Oh yes, let the part of her that was crushing on him come out to play. That was just what she needed. As if losing him wasn’t agony enough, now the unrequited lust was going to be a part of this?
“I think not,” she whispered.
Willow let out a small ‘eep’, eyes opening suddenly to stare at the man sitting next to her.
“N-nothing,” she stammered, blushing. If this didn’t take the cake, she didn’t know what did. Her assignment was sitting next to her, apparently engaging in conversation.
“Ah. Well, then,” he smiled slightly. “You’re awfully young for a Watcher.”
Willow shook her head, the denial already on her lips. “Watcher? What’s a Watcher?”
He chuckled, leaning back on the bench so that his legs were out in front of him, crossed at the ankles. He looked comfortable. Definitely more comfortable than –she- was feeling at the moment. This was unlike him, if his short Chronicle was any indication. He had never made contact with any of the half dozen prior Watchers. What had she done to induce such torment?
“Of course you’re not,” he drawled. “It’s just a remarkable coincidence that you always manage to be there – right behind me. Like a shadow.”
She didn’t answer. His statement didn’t require one and there was nothing she really could say without incriminating herself further. The Council was going to have her head for this – maybe literally. Getting chummy with an Immortal was against the rules. Well, unless your name was Joe Dawson. Then and only then could you get away with making such powerful friends . . .and enemies.
“So – if you’re not my Watcher,” he continued on, giving Willow the vague feeling that he was laughing inside at her discomfort. “Then you’re free for dinner tonight?”
Willow paled. Dinner with Adam Pierson, while something that she’d like very much on a simply female level, was something she just couldn’t do on a Watcher level.
“No one will know,” he murmured. “Just me and you. Quiet little restaurant. Just think, if you are my Watcher, you’ll have up close experience.”
“Nothing I could put in your Chronicle,” she snorted, clapping a hand over her mouth when she realized the heinous mistake she’d just made.
“Knew it,” Adam smirked. “Come on, then. You and me, an early dinner.”
“I can’t and you know it,” she hissed, cheeks flushing.
“Because of the rules?” Adam shook his head. “You’ll waste your life living by those rules, you know. Die old and lonely. It’s no way to live – take it from someone that was in for a few years.”
Willow could scarcely form a coherent thought, much less say anything in response to what he’d just said. She nodded slowly, though, her subconscious understanding completely and taking over where the rest of her mind was suddenly failing.
“Right – so now that we’ve got that straight – do you like Italian?”
That snapped her out of her stunned thoughts and back to reality quicker than anything else he could have said at that moment. She regarded him evenly, trying to calm the pounding of her heart.
“Because otherwise we can go to this little steakhouse –“
“No,” she shook her head. “Why are you doing this?”
“Maybe because I enjoy the idea of making the Council squirm by courting one of their newest members,” he shrugged. “Or maybe I’ve been Watching you, too. You’re an interesting girl, Willow.”
Eyes wide, the red head didn’t even realize that he’d pulled her off of the bench until they were halfway down the block.
If he knew her name, then he’d been watching her more than just a little.
She bit the inside of her cheek, determined not to smile despite the fluttery feeling in her stomach. This was bad. It went against every rule, every vow, that she’d sworn.
Still – he was handsome. Boyishly so. Like the grad student he’d been before his First Death.
Alright, she grinned. Maybe just a little smile.
~*~The End. No Sequel. No Prequel~*~