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As it Was

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Summary: *Complete* W/Asher. Willow starts to experience some weird dreams when some newcomers arrive in Sunnydale after Buffy's death.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > Willow-Centered > Pairing: Asher(Site Founder)JinniFR18620,9094815,0933 Jan 0310 Jun 03Yes

As it Was

Title: As it Was
Author: Jinni (druscilla@cox.net)
Rating: R
Pairing: W/Asher (A.Blake Crossover)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS and AtS belong to Joss and/or whomever is claiming current responsibility for them. Anita Blake and company are the creation of Laurell K Hamilton. If you haven't read her books - go get them. Now.
Distribution: A Witch's Love, Near Her Always, Willow's Little Secret, and The Sunnydale-St.Louis Connection. Anyone else who has some of my stuff can have this one, too. All others, please ask first.
Dedication: For the person who wanted my last AB crossover fic to be an Asher one. This one's for you.
~*~Prologue~*~

The Hellmouth was no one's territory.

No Master of the City controlled it. There wasn't an Ulfric or a Nimir-Ra to control the local packs or pards. This was for one major reason, it seemed - all of the 'monsters' on the Hellmouth were warped, twisted, deformed in some way. There were few of them, and justly so. The vampires, for instance, changed into horrid creatures that looked more animal than human when they grew excited or hungry. At that point they bore no resemblance to members of their own 'kind' that had been created in other parts of the world. These creatures were anathema, forbidden. They were, in fact, kill on sight, even to the members of law enforcement.

Enter the Slayer.

The one girl in the entire world chosen to fight the forces of darkness. In older times that had meant she was able to slaughter countless numbers of vampires, shapeshifters, and other harmless creatures without a second thought. In these more civilized times it meant nothing more than patrolling the Hellmouth and keeping those misfits out of the normal areas of the world. She worked in loose conjunction with the police to help maintain order and to keep the dangerous creatures that Hell sent forward from ever reaching a major city.

And so, when the Slayer died, and the one that had been called to take her place at another time was still locked away in jail for a crime she committed in the human world, there was no one left to maintain the order. The Vampire Council, full of wisdom and, perhaps, spite, decreed that one of it's least favorite Masters should send some of his people to keep order until such time as they could work through the proper legal channels to secure the release of the dark-haired Slayer.

Jean-Claude was upset and angered by this. But he had no choice. He and his people had only narrowly escaped the wrath of the Council once. It would do no one any good to try to come up against them in something like this and would, in all respects, probably only get them all killed. The Council didn't care that he needed his people there, with him, in St. Louis, to secure his own power base. They didn't care for the petty machinations that were always underfoot in that city. Nor did they care that he only had one person he could trust with the task and that sending him away would be devastating to Jean-Claude.

Or maybe they did realize all of this, and did it anyway. Spiteful though they were, the Council was definitely not stupid.

And so it was that Asher and some select others made their way to the Hellmouth - to Sunnydale.

~*~Part One~*~

Giles frowned, dropping the letter from the Watcher's Council to the table. He couldn't believe it. A month after Buffy's death, after he and the remaining children he had cared so much for and tried so hard to protect had done their damnedest to keep the Hellmouth safe and trouble-free; the Watcher's Council, in conjunction with the Vampire Council, had come to the decision that they would intervene.

"They're sending a bloody vampire to patrol the Hellmouth. How ironic." He muttered, glaring at the letter. Whatever had possessed them to do this was beyond him. But, it also was no longer his concern. His flight back to England would be leaving in less than two hours. He prayed, for the sake of Willow and Xander, that this newcomer would have what it took to keep them safe.

The phone rang, breaking the silence of the house and Giles' thoughts. He picked up the receiver, his voice steady as he spoke. "Hello?"

"Hey Giles. Just calling to make sure you still need us over there at two and not sooner."

The former watcher paused for a moment. He needed to tell them about what was going to arrive in the next couple days. Better to have them come over earlier. "Actually, Willow, if you and Xander could come over about ten minutes before that it would be perfect."

"Okie. See you in a little while." Willow chirped, hanging up the phone.

Giles stood there for a moment, the empty dial tone in his ear, wondering if he was doing the right thing by leaving them here to deal with it all by themselves. He was certainly no use as he currently was, however. His doctor had told him that he needed to cut back on any stressful activities before he ended up giving himself a heart attack. Willow and Xander knew that, of course. He doubted they begrudged him this time away; he needed the time to relax and let his body heal itself of the damage he had caused it over the past few years by playing superhero with them.

And it had been so long since he saw England, his home.

He sat down on the couch, placing the phone back into its cradle. His eyes shut as he leaned his head back, taking a moment of rest before Xander and Willow arrived.

~*~*~

"Does anyone else see something wrong with this situation?" Xander asked, looking around the room. Besides himself and Willow, Anya was also present for the conversation taking place in Giles' living room. "A vampire protecting the Hellmouth?"

"Oh come on, Xander." Willow sighed, giving her best friend a sad look. "We need all the help we can get. And besides, those vampires out there are different from the ones we grow here at home."

The dark haired young man snorted, shaking his head. "Just sounds like we're importing trouble, to me."

"Well we really don't have much of a choice in the matter." Giles spoke up, giving Xander a measuring look. He knew the boy didn't like this. For that matter, Giles himself didn't like it. But there was no choice. This new vampire would be arriving any day now, complete with entourage, to help the 'crisis' in Sunnydale until the Watcher's Council could finish whatever legal maneuvering they were engaging in to get Faith released from prison.

Not that she was a much better choice for Sunnydale's protector. She had, at one point, schemed to do things that would have destroyed everyone living in the town. In fact, in light of those memories, the vampire actually seemed to be the more logical choice - at least one knew what to expect from those creatures, Faith was totally unpredictable.

Xander frowned, crossing his arms. His head shook with vehement anger. "This is a bad idea."

"And again, Xander. I have no control over it. Should I be regretting telling you this in the first place? Should I have let you find out for yourselves?"

"No - no!" Willow cried out, glaring at her best friend. She turned to Giles, apologetic. "Don't mind him, it's just a shock is all. And, to top it all off, you're leaving. It all around sucks."

"Sucking -is- what vampires are known for." Anya chimed in. "I was also known for sucking around the seventeenth century. But that's a different story altogether."

"An - you. I can't believe. Like I really needed to know that. Why…?" Xander threw his hands up in frustration, adding his girlfriend to his list of unfavorite people for the day.

Giles sighed, taking off his glasses and polishing them on the edge of the t-shirt he was wearing. For once his clothing had been chosen more out of a need for comfort than for a desire to dress in any particular style of fashion. He sighed, glancing at the clock. "We need to be going, children, if I am to catch my plane on time."

Willow's face fell, her eyes tearing up at the mention of the very reason they were there in the first place. They were driving Giles to the airport. He was leaving them. Leaving them with a vampire to take care of everything. She sighed, wiping the tears from her eyes. "Gonna miss you, Giles."

"And I shall miss you, Willow. You can always call or write, however. And I will come back and visit, don't you worry."

She nodded. The house was still full of furniture and she looked at him blearily, curious. "Not taking the rest of your things?"

The former Watcher shook his head. "The Council purchased the house and the furniture in it from me. I am assuming it will be given to their new lackeys when they arrive."

That statement, of course, set Xander off on another tirade about the ineffectiveness of sending a vampire to contain the Hellmouth. It was a short tirade, though, and before Willow knew it they were leaving the house for the last time, taking Giles to the airport.

'And so it ends.' Willow thought glumly, watching with teary eyes as her surrogate father flew off back to his homeland.

~*~Part Two~*~

The next night found Xander and Willow wandering through the graveyard. Anya had chosen to stay at home, something for which Willow was particularly grateful. It wasn't that she didn't like the former demon, she just didn't like the way the woman acted. The constant little girl whining and out of line comments got old after a while. Maybe if she would at least -try- to get over her very obvious social faults it would be a little easier to become her friend. At this rate, though, Willow was pretty sure that the demon was forever to remain in the category of 'my friend's girlfriend' and never quite make it to being her own friend.

"Fangface at twelve o'clock."

Willow looked to where Xander was pointing, sighing. Why couldn't the stupid fledge have stayed in the ground until -after- they were done patrolling? She was tired and ready to just go home and sleep, not slay the newly risen. The past two nights had been slow, why couldn't this one be, too? "Yours or mine?"

"Yours." Xander shrugged. At one point in their lives staking a vampire had been a life or death situation, something to get the blood rushing and the heart pounding. A team effort. Now it was so routine that they took turns. He wrinkled his nose, the smell of freshly turned earth heavy in the air. It was one of those smells that you either really enjoyed, like gardeners did, or really hated. The fledgling was still looking around, trying to orient itself, and never saw Willow sneak up, stake in hand. It looked like just another textbook staking was about to take place.

Until the vampires hiding next to the mausoleum stepped into view.

"Back off, witch."

Willow felt herself yanked from the earth. She felt the air rush past her as she was tossed, head first, towards the same mausoleum the vampires had used as a hiding spot. Twisting in mid-air, the red head managed to hit the cold stone with her back and not her head. That didn't mean the landing was without pain, though. She struggled for a breath, her back aching. Through tears of pain she could see Xander, surrounded by a gang of at least five vampires, with another standing off to one side. They all looked newly made. Someone had been a busy little bloodsucker. "Xan…"

"So now we finally get to deal with the Slayer's pet humans." The oldest of the group, a female, growled. She was standing near the others, though far enough away that it was pretty clear that she was the leader. They were her children. She was their master. Her game face was out, eyes a yellowish amber color. "The two of you are nothing without that bitch around. She was a weak little whore."

The sound of the vampire speaking in such a foul way about Buffy tore a growl from Willow's throat. She rose, her legs unstable, stake in hand, and advanced towards the vampires.

"Please, witch. Can't you see I'm dealing with -him- right now? I'll get to you, don't worry."

A heavy hand came down across Willow's face, knocking her to the ground. A sob escaped her lips. There was no way she could make it to Spike's crypt, get him to help and get back in time to save Xander. For that matter, she doubted she could make it a few steps before either the head vamp's minions grabbed her or she fell down from the pain in her back.

"Let the boy go."

'Okies… I must have been hit too hard.' The young witch thought dully, her eyes unfocused, blind from pain. 'I'm hearing some guy with a sexy French accent telling her to let Xander go…Frenchie to the rescue…'

She laughed, the sound barely bubbling past her lips before she gave in to the unconsciousness that had been waiting to overtake her.

~*~*~

"My love, come to me."

She turned, a smile gracing her lips. Her eyes were those of the bedroom, half-lidded and full of barely concealed passion. And they were completely for the man lying on the bed. Stretched out, half propped on pillows, he could have been a Greek god and not an aristocratic French man. His long blonde hair fell in unbound waves around his head and shoulders.

Picking up the skirts of the overly formal dress she was wearing to the banquet that evening, the woman made her way to the bed. Her smile had turned into something not as innocent, a look that was hungry and desiring.

"You are beautiful."

"And you, my darling, are divinity itself."

The man grinned, a flash of teeth. "Allow me to show you heaven, then?"

He lifted the heavy skirts of her dress, pulling her into his lap until she was straddling his waist. In moments they were locked in an embrace of passion, her warmth holding tight to his hardness. She was moaning, and so was he, their cries mixing. He pulled back from her lips, the pupils of his eyes faded to nothing more then pinpoints, lost amidst the color of his eyes. His mouth opened, fangs barely visible, and he fastened onto her neck. She screamed in orgasm, the power of his mind alone bringing her to the heights of ecstasy. Within her she could feel him giving into his own passions as he suckled gently from the wound on her neck.

"Love you…" She whispered, her eyes closing. Her hand came up to stroke his hair, admiring the beautiful color of it through the haze of desire still hanging over her vision.

The vampire lifted his head, licking his lips to be sure there were no stray drops of her blood upon them. He turned her sleepy face to him, smiling down at her, the expression joyous. "And I love you, my Julianna."

~*~*~

Willow heard voices, so close to her. The ground beneath her hand no longer felt like, well, ground. It was softer, more like sheets on a bed. And hadn't she been having the best dream ever? Why did people have to make so much noise? Couldn't they see she was sleeping? She felt someone lift her arm, their fingers on her wrist. They were taking her pulse. Did that mean she was sick? She didn't feel sick. After that dream she doubted she could feel anything but post-orgasmic. It had been like her very own French fantasy, complete with handsome French guy, well, vampire. She had even -spoken- French in the dream. She didn't know who Julianna was, nor did she care. He could have called her whatever he wanted as long as he was doing -that- to her. She concentrated, trying to get back to that happy place she had just been in.

The effort was short-lived though. The soft hands touched a tender spot on her face and she cried out, her eyes fluttering open. A woman was leaning over her, concern on her face. She was pretty, though definitely wore too much makeup. "W- Who are you?" Willow asked.

The woman gave her a reassuring smile. "My name is Cherry. I'm just looking over your injuries… I promise to be gentle."

Willow nodded, wincing as the pain in her head doubled its efforts to turn her brain to mush. "Oh! Oh!" She struggled to sit up, fighting against the gentle, yet strong hands of her would-be nurse. The memories of the fight with the vampires had caught up to her at last. "Xander? Was there a man with me? Dark hair? Sort of goofy?"

"Please stay still before you hurt yourself -more-!" Cherry insisted, pushing on the red head's shoulders until the distressed woman was back in a prone position. "Your friend is fine. He is downstairs with the rest of us…"

"The rest of you?" Willow asked. It came upon her suddenly that she had never seen this woman before. Not in passing on the street or any other place. And Sunnydale wasn't that large of a town. The room looked familiar, though. 'This is Giles' room. His bedroom.' Her brain churned out sluggishly. She looked around, tears filling her eyes. There was his dresser and this? This was his bed. He was in England by now, happily frolicking about his motherland. And what had she and Xander done to commemorate him leaving? They had almost got themselves killed. "Wait… You're the people the Councils sent?"

The woman nodded. "Yep. That's us. "

"You don't look much like a Master Vampire to me." Willow stated blandly.

Cherry laughed. "That's because I'm not." She opened her mouth, prepared to explain exactly what she was, and then snapped it shut again. She turned her head, looking at the doorway expectantly.

Willow felt the presence in the doorway before she actually saw the person standing there. She knew without a doubt that Cherry wasn't the master. Hell, she wasn't even a vampire if this guy was any indication of it. Her eyes traveled from the tips of his shoes upwards, taking into account the very spiffy way he was dressed. Sort of classy, like Angel, though in a much more old-fashioned way. It was his face that got her attention like nothing else had, though. One half was scarred, as though it had been melted like it was nothing more than wax. The other half, though, was a different story.

That side was that of the man in her dream.

~*~End Part P-2~*~
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