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Wicked Witch (formerly Willow gets a cold)

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Summary: One of Willows spells goes awry landing her Faith and Dawn in St Louis. Witch against Vamp, Slayer against Wolf, and the Key still in need of rescuing.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > Willow-Centered > Pairing: AsheryakuitFR18431,52933313,8702 May 0420 Aug 06Yes

Willow gets a cold revised

Willow gets a cold PART 1-17 Completed

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Buffy and Angel people belong to Joss and
Mutant Enemy. The Anita Blake verse belongs to Laurell K Hamilton. Basically I own nothing.

Synopsis: Willow spell goes awry landing her, Faith & Dawn in St Louis
Set after Buffy dies. Faith has been released from Prison and is helping the scoobies. Willow has been attempting deeper and darker black magic, developing her power so she can attempt the final spell for resurrecting Buffy. Unknown to the others, Faith & Dawn have been helping her.


Sunnydale (nightime)

“I feel stupid”

“Me too…tell me again Willow, why we are wearing these dumb capes”. Faith pushed her hood back off her face, Dawn followed suit, clearly not happy with looking like an extra from a Klu Klux Klan movie, The eyeholes cut into the hoods made them look spooky, this coupled with the deep rich red crimson only enhanced the look.

Willow sighed; it was going to be a long night......
“Look guys, its in the book”, she said thrusting a gothic engraved tome under their noses “I want to get this just right, it’s important ok, if I can get this transportation spell, well if forms the basis for the Ju Risu spell.”

Faith was examining the book with renewed interest, flicking from page to page “hey these guys are in the buff…No offence Willow but no way am I getting naked and what’s with the lizard, insects and stuff? We don’t have a lizard?”

“Oh Man! Look at that picture Faith… what is she doing with that horn?” Dawn was amazed this was better than sex ed, The pictures were in full Technicolor with gold engraving highlighting the interesting bits!.

Willow finally had enough, “just sit down ok”, “no we aren’t getting naked – Faith. We aren’t doing that spell with the horn - Dawn, and well as to the lizard the pet shop had run out so I had to improvise I have a rabbit”. With a flourish like a magician she pulled out a white rabbit from beneath her cape.

“Awww… that’s so cute.. Can I keep it PLEASE… I promise to look after it, I’ll feed it and take it for walks and stuff… ohh PPPLEASE Willow can I keep it… its so cute… come here you cute bunny” Dawn starting to stroke and croon over the rabbit.

Faith rolled her eyes “Dawn – the rabbit is the sacrifice!” Dawn shrieked in outrage hugging the squirming bunny closer.

Willow sighed again – it was definitely going to be a long night.

Unknown to them a demon was watching them, stalking them, not often did such tasty morsels come his way, this was going to be some feast, a three course dinner with perhaps the rabbit as an aperitif. He wondered about the hooded capes, but shrugged who was he to know about the latest fads. Smiling broadly showing row upon row of razor sharp teeth, he crept closer for the best attack position.

Finally Willow was ready, after the standard rituals, and chanting. She blew the powder over the fire, before picking up the ceremonial knife. She held the bunny firmly by the ears ready to strike down. Ignoring Dawn’s sniffling, her whole mind was attuned to her power and her connection to the elements. Chanting softly, she raised the knife, unaware of the wind picking up speed or of the shadow slowly stalking nearer. Dawn and Faith continued chanting, hands held firmly, forming a protective circle around Willow.

The demon jumped between them with an inhuman howl, grabbing Dawn and knocking Willow to the ground, he bared his fangs, slime oozing from it, prepared to strike. With Slayer Speed and precision, Faith grabbed the ceremonial knife from Willow, stabbing the demon directly through the heart. The demon shrieked in rage and fear before disappearing completely. In his place there appeared to be a vortex of light, swirling furiously around.

“Oh Boy” Willow was aghast this wasn’t supposed to happen, this was just a harmless spell to transport them back home, there wasn’t meant to be swirly light things “Don’t move, don’t say anything” she whispered warningly, while her mind raced furiously to think of a way to undo this. Suddenly she sneezed and it all went to hell.

ST LOUIS

Jean Claude sighed; it was going to be a long night. Richard had requested his presence at the Lupanar. He had finally to some extent embraced his beast and had followed Jean Claude’s example of using Anita, to scare the dissenters in his pack. Except instead of Anita he was using Jean Claude. It would have been vaguely amusing except judging from the looks of terror on some of the younger Wolves faces, he would have trouble staffing some of his many establishments in the next few months.

Richard was ranting again, almost frothing at the mouth, he was quite worked up with one young pup that was now prostrate at his feet, yelping in fear and supplication. Jean Claude stifled another yawn; Richard should just punish one of them and then get on with business. This was too long-winded; he had been here over two hours. Really even a master Vampire had limits to his patience. He rolled his eyes at Asher, who hid a smirk behind his long golden hair. He sighed again wishing that something interesting would happen, some bloodletting wouldn’t go amiss and surely with all these naked bodies somebody would be interested in some sex… just a bit to feed his ardeur.

He idly noticed the wind was getting stronger, thunder rolling in the distance… perhaps if it rained he could return home.

“OUF”,

Jean Claude turned in surprise at the noise, to see a red hooded figure sitting on Asher’s prone body, there was 2 more flashes of light and 2 more hooded figures appeared. My, My, - the night was looking up. Richard had stopped ranting and was now bellowing “WHO DARES INVADES MY LUPANAR”, eyes bulging with emotion. It was really quite impressive; the trees themselves trembled with his rage.
Asher struggled to his feet attempting to hold the wriggling figure beneath him. The other red robed devil jumped on his back and then everything went to hell.
Willow couldn’t believe it… how had something so simple gone so badly wrong. They seemed to have materialised in some nudist colony, there was a lot of very naked people running around hysterically. She was having trouble not ogling all the wobbly bits, there were some hot looking people here.

From they way that some of them were screaming, you think they never saw anybody materialise before and ……… Ooohhhmygod, was that a wolf!
Oh shit they were in real trouble – it looked like a gathering of werewolves. Not a good sign, she still remembered when Oz had tried to eat her and judging by the man rapidly striding towards her she could still be dinner.

Faith was struggling with the man she had landed on, when Dawn came flying through air striking at his head. The man snarled and shrugged her off like a gnat. Faith erupted into Slayer mode and everything happened very fast after that. She took out Blondie before starting on 2 wolves that pounced, Willow never got tired of watching a Slayer in action and Faith especially was all power and action with deadly grace.

The naked men starting approaching more cautiously, Willow heard mutters of ‘Human First whacko’, and wondered briefly what that meant. She became aware of a greater power to her right and shifted position to counter. A Vamp if she wasn’t mistaken, and lordy he would give Angel a run for his money – he was a hottie! Too bad she would have to dust him. She spun and drew a stake from her robes, breathing heavily under the hood. The Vamp smiled chillingly and then laughed, deep blue eyes burning, his voice caressing her body, she felt shivers running from her toes to her head, she could drown forever in that voice. Hmmmmm judging by his reaction not a good sign, perhaps another approach was called for. She ran back to Faith who was downing the blonde vamp for the second time. Faith threw the ceremonial knife at the vamp who rolled with a quickness that was almost slayerlike, the knife imbedded beside his head. Blondie looked at the knife, then Faith and snarled. Dawn knocked him out with a large branch.

“There’s too many … come on we need to get out of here, we can come back with the gang later and finish this, watch my back”. Willow screamed to both Faith and Dawn. Two Red hoods nodded simultaneously.

Faith was charged up and didn’t want to leave the fight early – she was just starting to enjoy herself, tonight had started up a little dull, but first the fangy demon thing and now this… it was going be a good night after all. Still Dawn could be a bit of a wuss sometimes, maybe she could come back later, with better weapons, Xander and Spike were always up for a good fight. With that thought brightening her mood. She started clearing a path for Willow and Dawn.

Willow was chanting. Wind swirling around her. She threw a ball to the ground, and a thick white cloud obscured them from view. “Come on” she screamed to the others and they ran full pelt through the woods. With Willow chanting and throwing things on the ground that hissed and sprouted smoke.

After an age they came to a clearing with a car, Dawn shrieked with joy, when she found it unlocked. They all piled in with Dawn between them, who started looking through the glove compartment and behind the visor.
“No Key” groaned Dawn, “No Problem”, countered Faith grinning under her hood, she disappeared under the dashboard. A few seconds later the car roared into action, wheels spinned, gravel flew, and the car sped into the night carrying its unusually occupants to safety.
Faith ripped off her hood and whooped with joy, before skidding around another bend “That was fun… I thought hanging around with you guys would be sooo boring, but that was the best ever, did you see Dawnie take out that blond hottie, POW! POW! Never thought you had it in you Dawnie and what were those smokey things Willow? - That was Cool Magic!”
“Errmm actually, it was special concoction of smoke and tear gas, specially adapted to effect creepy things. I kind of acquired/stole some from the Iniative, thought it might be handy one day”.
They all burst into Hysterical laughter. “Vamp tear gas… “ Sniggered Faith “I gotta get some of those”.

“Phewey these robes are hot,” said Willow, removing her hood and running sticky fingers through her hair “ Whoa can you drive Faith and how did you know how to hotwire a car?”

Faith sniggered again “what do you think I learnt in Prison – knitting! I can pick any lock, and I am a very good pickpocket - I could remove your undies without you noticing, as to driving well lets just say Spike’s been giving me lessons, but no licence yet, so we need to ditch the car before we run into men with flashing lights”.

“Anybody any ideas of where we are?” Said Willow pressing her face to the window, I don’t recognise this place. ‘SMACK’ a half man, half wolf suddenly smashed into the side of the car before wrenching the door open and grabbing Willow. Dawn and Willow screamed, Willow holding on for dear life to Dawn as an unequal tug of war took place. Dawn pulled out a bottle and sprayed the contents into Wolfman’s face. The Wolf gave a surprised yelp of pain before letting go entirely, Faith spun the car and the Werewolf careened off into a nearby tree.

“That was close”, gulped Dawn. Willow nodded, speechless for once. Dawn looked at the bottle – Rape spray – a girl can never be too careful!

There was complete silence for the next five minutes with occasional glances back into the forest. Faith drove like a maniac until they reached a main highway. They all looked on speechless at the strange city bathed in lights before them.

“That was some spell” commented Dawn quietly.
“Lets find out where Willow has taken us, I hope you guys have money. It looks like we might be far from home and I don’t fancy hitchhiking.
“It’s not my fault, muttered Willow “it was that demony thing, and you killed it Faith”.
“Aha but you sneezed”
“Told you we shouldn’t have tried to kill the Bunny” put in Dawn “It brings bad Karma, only creepy things should be killed like lizards, spiders, bats and Yuk things”.
“SHUT UP ABOUT THE BUNNY”, shouted Willow in frustration.
“Temper, Temper”, Chided Faith, she was grinning enormously. “Look there’s a petrol station ahead we’ll stop there and ditch the car”



BACK AT THE LUPANAR

Richard was comforting his wolves, all of whom were affected by the strange gas. Tears streamed down faces. The younger ones unable to help themselves had shifted. Jean Claude and Asher, pan faced stood huddled to the side of the clearing, red tears trickling down their faces, they too had been affected by the smoke. Pursuit of the three had been feeble at best and the vampires were still smarting from this.
“Mon ami, she was strong, possibly a were but she didn’t have the feel or the rush of power of one, I was unprepared otherwise she never would have thrown me”
“Of course Mon ami” JC said soothingly “One of them was a witch I could taste it, like Julianne” at the mention of her name Asher stiffened, and Jean Claude winced inwardly “forgive me Mon Chardonnet”
“They Got AWAY DAMNIT”, they turned to look at Richard who was towered over a bruised and bleeding Jason.
“I got a glimpse of one, I would recognise her face or scent again”, whispered Jason pleadingly. Richard growled and raised his fist, claws glinting in the moonlight, Jason cowered away. Before the clawed fist could descend. Jean Claude had appeared by Richards’s side, and held his fist easily. Richard strained against the hold, muscles straining, before shrugging Jean Claude off and striding back to his throne.

“Come my wolf lets retire to the circus, and work out who these miscreants are and where they are”.
Only a centuries old vamp would use a word like miscreants thought Jason, he swallowed hard before giving Jean Claude the bad news “They took the Jag”. Jean Claude stopped and didn’t say a word; never one for modern methods of travel, the Jaguar was the first car that he actually would choose to travel in. It had been especially adapted to his tastes with a shiny Black outer and a creamy white leather interior. Men drooled at his car – it was literally sex on wheels. He clenched his fists. Asher approached warily. “Come lets fly, we will find these invaders and your car”. Jean Claude nodded briefly before striding off with Asher.
Richard was still sulking on his throne when Jamil gave a cry of astonishment and pulled out a white rabbit from behind a bush.

PIT STOP
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“ Damn, we are in trouble – seems like Willow’s spell landed us near St Louis”, commented Faith holding up a city map she had found in the glove compartment. Rummaging around she pulled out a mixture of chocolate snacks and used sweetie wrappers. Then with a whoop of excitement she flourished a mans’ wallet. “Lookie what I found” she said with glee. Perusing the contents she was overjoyed to find a wad of cash and an assortment of ID and credit cards.
“Whoa, that’s stealing Faith”.
“Ermmm excuse me but didn’t we just commit grand theft auto – stop being such a girl scout. I saw the jacket you gave for Buffy’s birthday – nice taste by the way. Look we’ll just take what we need and write an IOU, YOU can pay it back when we reach Sunnydale”.
“OK, OK, lets not tell Willow, I am not up to one of her babbling sermons”, huffed Dawn, embarrassed that Faith too seemed to know about her shoplifting stage.
Willow appeared from the shop clutching a stack of newspapers, before hurrying over to the car, her face paler than usual.
“We are in serious shit, look at this”, Willow said hysterically before piling the newspapers on Dawns lap.
“Hey, whose this President Johnson?”
“Oh boy, what is this shit - look at this Vampires LEGALISED!!! Zombie’s for hire!!”
Dawn her face fearful whispered, “this is the future, the hellmouth has taken over, everything has gone to hell”.
“Nope”, said Willow “Its worse, this is an alternative reality, look at the date the same day we left, there is no Sunnydale I just checked out a map. I don’t know how we got here… or how in the hell we are going to get back”.

“Definitely Hell!” stated Dawn quietly.



CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Jean Claude was having a meeting. It seemed every vamp of note was there, crammed into his office. You could almost taste his rage as it flowed through the air.

“The Jag was found in the tenderloin district, they are still here…FIND THEM, and BRING THEM TO ME, THEY will learn who is the MASTER OF THE CITY”. His voice thundered, echoing off the walls. He dismissed the troops gesturing to Jason and Damien to stay behind with Asher, who was lurking in the shadows as usual.

“Speak Jason”.
Jason swallowed, before recounting his encounter with the car. He was nervous as JC’s bodyguard it didn’t bode well that he had been thrown by a couple of girls, even with teargas.
But Jean Claude was quiet as he turned to Asher “So what do you think Mon ami”.
“All three are females – young possibly in the twenties. One is definitely a Witch, the other was too strong and quick for a human, but did not feel like a were, as to the third, she went down easily – I would guess she was human. They appeared from nowhere, in Richards sacred Lupanar”; this was said with a snigger, “These three may be a source of power. Certainly it takes powerful magic for a spell of that magnitude, or just incredibly unlucky. Their garb was strange, perhaps a Klu Klux Klan version of Humans First.” He shrugged carelessly before continuing irritably, “Whoever and whatever they are I would like to have a private meeting with the tall one, she will not find me so easy this time”.
“D’accord”, replied Jean Claude with the first hint of a smile all evening.
“There’s something else”, all eyes turned to Jason who was sitting glumly on the couch, “They know how to hotwire a car, and, and… they have my wallet now and all my tips for the last 2 weeks!”


JOE’S MOTEL STOP
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

They were sharing a double bed, with Faith on the Sofa, which she had pushed against the door; to give them advance warning of any attack. Despite having nearly seven hundred in cash, Willow was being frugal, reasoning that they did not know how long they would be here for. Which was why they were stuck in roach motel.
On the wall was a large paper diagram of stick figures detailing how they came to be here.
“Look its simple, Magic got us here magic is going to get us back, Willow just needs to figure out what she did and then do it backwards or something”. To Faith it was that simple, and Willow really wished it was. She was terrified. Both Faith and Dawn were looking at her expectantly, this was her big moment and it looked like as usual she was going to fluff it.
“I don’t know how this happened or how to stop it, I need to do some research, I need to visit the library, I need my laptop and modem – do they even have the internet, oh god I need Giles ”, she wailed.
“Come on Wills, you’ve done harder stuff, I’ll help and Faith can, errr well… protect us from vamps and stuff. It will be fine truly we’ll figure it out. Perhaps we need a plan”.
Willow nodded, yes, yes a plan would be good, she could cope with a plan.
“Ok we need to find out more about where we are and what we are dealing with, we need newspapers and we need to hit the library. If I am to reverse the spell I need unlimited access to a laptop and modem. I will also need some magical paraphelia. All this takes money, and with seven hundred bucks that’s not enough. We need to get a job, a high paid job! We have one other problem, if I can find a spell to reverse the previous one, I will need the knife, which last I saw was nearly imbedded in a vamp, We need to find that Vamp”.
“ No Problemo, leave that one to me” said Faith with a grin holding up an employee card with in big letters blazoned across it ‘GUILTY PLEASURES’.
Willow sneezed, “We have another problem, I feel terrible I think I have a cold”.


2 DAYS LATER AT KELLY’S EMPOYMENT BRANCH

It was Dawn who had noticed the ad in the papers for bar staff for Guilty Pleasures. But it was Faith who was applying. Dawn was still sulking about that one – a male strip joint – WOW. She had once snuck out with some mates to see the Chippendales, unfortunately that was cut short just as he was removing his pants, by a gate crashing vamp. Spike had bailed her out and had promised not to tell, although he never did explain what he was doing there.
“Got it” Said Faith triumphantly almost skipping with joy and holding a sheaf of papers”.
“Cool! Willows fake computer records must have worked, my turn now.”
“ OK but remember some where normal and safe – McDonalds girl or something. Willow will kill me if something happens to you”.

Half an hour later, Willow emerged from the office, a broad smile on her face. “I’m a ticket girl at a circus!”

Back at Roach motel, and Dawn was excitedly telling a wan faced sniffling, coughing Willow about her interview.
“Its my first job Willow, and it pays $10 an hour with tips, I’m just going to smile all the time and pull in the tips, cos you get extra tips if you smile right??”
Willow sneezed.
Her Cold had turned out to be a major bout of the flu. She felt terrible. With the last of the cash they had brought an old antiquated laptop that was now humming away merrily. It took ages to download, but she had made some minor adjustments to the motherboard and under her careful hands she was now surfing the big blue.
It had taken a day to hack into the local databases and create records for Faith and Dawn. She probably could have tried hacking a bank. But it would just bring too much notice to them. What amazed her was the amount of information on the supernatural. She had a few ideas about how to recreate and reverse her spell, but after the last few disastrous attempts of simple spells she decided to rest up until Friday. It seemed the Flu was affecting her magic.

“I’ve made a list of magic stuff I need and local spell shops. We also need some food; we are paid up till Saturday in this fleapit. So we need $200 each and that should cover everything. We can attempt the spell on Saturday – IF Faith gets the knife”.
“Leave that to me”, smiled Faith. She was dressed in her leathers that she had been wearing under her robes with a black tank top. She looked hot, how could Mr J Schuyler resist her. He would be putty in her hands.
In the clothes department, Dawn & Willow hadn’t fared so well, following the books instructions they had stripped down to their underwear. They had stolen some jeans and stuff off a washing line for her. But Willow was alternating between all 3 crimson robes.
“Gosh, its nearly six, we gotta go, I can’t be late on my first day”, cried Dawn running to the bathroom and checking her reflection.
Faith rolled her eyes and yawned “relax kid, it’s just a job. But we better go, see you later Willow”.



GUILTY PLEASURES
………………………………………………………

Faith looked around the office with interest, kind of a fuddy duddy place full of antiques and stark colours – somebody had a thing for black leather & velvet. Not what she expected from a strip joint. She wished the personnel manager would hurry up with her uniform; she was itching to get started.
She had parted company with Dawn halfway through the suburbs, Faith not wanting Dawn to come to this seedy part of town. But truth be told this was her type of place – Guilty Pleasures looked like real fun. Ah it was hard work being a slayer!
The door opened and Faith instantly stiffened, as a weird crackling energy seemed to surround the intruder.
“HI I am Cherry, Personnel Manager for JC Corporation. Welcome to the team” The lady held out her hand expectantly a friendly smile on her lips.
“Errmmm Hi, I’m Faith”, said Faith hesitantly, battling her slayer instincts to take this woman down. She was dressed in the tiniest black suit with sheer black silk stockings, she would almost look like a high earning lawyer or stockbroker, if it wasn’t for the thick black makeup and dog collar. The end effect was rather stunning.
“I am so glad you could start at such short notice, some of our other staff have been well errr …calling in sick, following some minor problems. I just need you to complete some forms, sign a waiver, and then we’ll get you fitted in your outfit”, said Cherry cheerily, holding up a black silk affair that seemed to be a mass of straps and buckles. Faith gulped.




CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Dawn had been kind of surprised when she had first spotted the Circus. Large Fluorescent vampire Clowns faces dripping fake blood, she had realised that this might not be quite like the type of Circus back home. She had almost turned back to the motel, but they needed the money and she had to stop being such a wimp. It was a circus for goodness sake – they sold candyfloss it couldn’t be that bad.

Now 3 hours later, she wasn’t so sure – she was wearing a red silk sheath mid length cocktail dress with a slit indecently high. Her hair had been tied up into a sophisticated knot. Seemed like the Manager like the glamorous look. But despite all this and despite smiling continuously for over 2 hours she had only made a few dollars tips. All the customers that shuffled past her were so busy staring at all the sights, craning to get glimpses of the Vamp security guard, that they didn’t seem to notice her at all. She felt almost invisible.
The Show had been on for nearly 2 hours, no more customers to sell tickets to, she was to tidy her position and count up. Before greeting the crowds when they started leaving.
“Well, well who have we here”, sneered a voice.
She spun around her heart nearly stopping in fright, how had he managed to creep up on her.
“Would you like a ticket, the shows nearly finished, but you can catch the finishing act, I am sure its very good”, Dawn found herself babbling, wide eyed at the red headed man.
The man grinned showing two very pointy and sharp fangs, “Your fear is…intoxicating young one”.
Oh my god another vampire, thought Dawn, Willow was going to kill her. Spike had once told her that most vamps were all posture and like any bullies loved to instil fear!
“Look Buster, don’t start or I will call security”, not mentioning to him that security was also a vamp and they would probably take turns taking a bite out of her. She met his eyes, giving him the full, what she called, The Buffy stare.

The vampire look startled, and then confused. His face mirrored his surprise. ‘HA that showed him’ thought Dawn triumphantly.
“DAMIEN leave the new staff alone, I can’t afford any more staff leaving, or do you want to take her place”.
Dawn spun around, letting out a small squeak of fear when she recognised the 2 vampires from the forest, standing at the entrance. The black haired one was glowering at them.
‘Oh my god - Dawn get your self together and act natural’ she chided herself. She was quivering in fear this was not good.
The black haired vampire sighed, “Mademsoille, please ignore my companion Damien’s’ ill manners, sometimes he forgets himself. My name is Jean Claude, I am the manager of this establishment, this is Asher my second in command. I can assure you, you are quite safe here”.
Damien hissed, “ I cannot roll her master”.
Suddenly Dawn found herself with the full attention of all three vampires on her.

Jean Claude walked toward her, circling her appraisingly.

“Elle tres jolie n’est pas Asher”
“Yes but what is she, that she can meet Damien’s stare, only Anita has managed that feat, There is more to this than meets the eye”
“I agree Mon ami, let us see what we can find out before she faints with fear. This little one is no match for us”
Dawn listened to them speak fluent French; she wished she had studied it at school. What were they saying and what did rolling mean? Should she roll about on the carpet, she didn’t think so.

“ What are you little one, you are not human?”, asked Asher not unkindly. He had stayed in the shadows and Dawn wished he would move away from the entrance so she would have a clear escape path.
“I…. I am just ordinary garden variety human”, babbled Dawn, this wasn’t quite true but hey what was in semantics.
Jean Claude paused, before musingly continuing his perusal “Just a human…hmmm I think not little one! Where are you from and where are you staying?”
This was dangerous ground to Dawn, Sunnydale didn’t exist and she couldn’t remember what fake address Willow had put on her application form.
“ Errmm Los Angelas, I am from Los Angelas, staying with friend just now - in the tenderloin”.

The vampires exchanged looks before continuing their questions. Jean Claude in particular seemed to examine her eyes with every question. She could feel herself getting sleepy and wondered if she was getting Willows bug, everything seemed to be slowing down and becoming surreal, all she could see were Jean Claude’s eyes which were like two pools of pure blue fire, she felt herself sinking into them. She realised that she had answered 2 questions without thinking, what was wrong with her.

She closed her eyes briefly and thought of Buffy, the pain of this giving her new strength. “ I want to leave now”.
“She is lying, Jean Claude, perhaps nobody has told her not to lie to a master vampire” stated Asher in French with some amusement.
“Oui she is not human but what is she? She can also meet my eyes, I nearly had her, but she resisted”
“What! C’est Non possible”

Dawn had had enough, they were ignoring her request to leave, and were treating her as some insignificant bothersome child. Jean Claude was holding her shoulder firmly while he continued conversing with Blondie in French as though she wasn’t there.
Time to take action, praying that this would work. She swivelled suddenly on the balls of her feet, bringing her knee up into Jean Claude’s balls. He gave a very satisfying OUF before releasing her to collapse on the ground. She barely spared him a glance before rushing to the Entrance, as she expected the blond vampire started moving to intercept, the shock on his face would have almost been comical. She shifted course, completing a double somersault before landing on his chest. The pencil she clutched in her hand aiming for his heart. OUF the pencil struck, but he remained there – no turning to dust, his face didn’t even go bumpy. He looked furious though. She rolled off him, bewildered and spun to the exit.

Behind her she heard Jean Claude shout hoarsely “Alive, Damien”. She glanced around just in time to meet Damien’s fist. She collapsed unconscious.
“Take her to my quarters”, thundered Asher, the pencil still sticking out from his chest, before crossing to help Jean Claude to his feet.

ROACH MOTEL
…………………………………………

Willow had finished surfing the net for information about the spell and incantations she needed to do, and had stumbled on a website called the Executioner Link. Hacking into the member only site. She was aghast at the information she had discovered about this reality.
When they had first arrived here, she had done her homework and briefed the gang on laws and what was normal. Vampires were legalised, Were animals were more predominate than back in Sunnydale, and there was more variety. But this site completely blew her away, it seemed that the vamps possessed different powers and abilities in this reality. One section was devoted to separating fact & myth. The documented evidence and eyewitness accounts had vamps flying, disappearing, controlling animals, enthralling, decomposing…Yuk it was too horrible. Even worse they seemed harder to kill, a simple stake too the heart wouldn’t do it. Suggestions had included cutting heart out and chopping head off before incinerating body.
Oh god and she had let Dawn and Faith out without this information.



GUILTY PLEASURES
……………………………………………………………………………..
Faith was tired, her feet were aching and her ears were ringing from all the hysterical screaming. Honestly every time Nathaniel – who seemed to be the favourite – thrust his groin or gyrated to the music the decibel level would just rise to the next level.
She had finally met Mr J Schuyler, who turned out to be a Jason Schuyler an ex stripper at Guilty Pleasures, who now seemed to be part manager. He was a hottie; she was a little worried about her ability to wow him. But her fears proved to be misplaced when he had sauntered up to her and given her the cheesiest pick up lines ever. She had pretended to be flattered and had flirted and teased him until she had eventually wrangled a date for tomorrow. They had exchanged a mouth-watering kiss, before Jason’s pager had gone off and he had reluctantly left due to work commitments. Annoyingly she hadn’t been able to follow him as Cherry had chosen that moment to give her a few words of advice about Jason. Seemed Jason had a bad reputation. Well that was OK; she could be a bad girl too!
Now she was making her way back to Roach motel, she was looking forward to a steaming bath and a shot of brandy. What she was likely to get was a lukewarm shower and a cup of coco.
She hadn’t even turned the handle and Willow was there.
“Oh god Faith, Dawn hasn’t come back, she should have been back hours ago.”
“Calm down, she probably stayed on to see the clowns or stroke the horses, you know what Dawn is like”.

“ AT TWO IN THE MORNING”

Faith winced, and conceded Willow may have a point.
“I did a check on circuses in St Louis – the only Circus is called Circus of the damned, its full of Vamps, were’s and zombies, she can’t be stroking zombies!!!!!! Something has happened to her”.
Faith, her face hardening to Slayer mode strode to the dresser and started kitting up with weapons “I’ll find her ok, you need to get back to bed before you collapse”, as Willow convulsed into another bout of sneezing and coughing.
“There’s something else, these vamps are very powerful, maybe as powerful as the MASTER, look what I found on the website”.


CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED
…………………………………………………………………………….

“She looks very innocent”. Commented Asher “one would never think that such a small thing could contain such violence”. He was most disproving, still smarting from being attacked and taken down not once but twice in a week.
Dawn was lying, still unconscious, on the bed. Her feet and hands had been firmly tied; they did not want a repeat performance. Jean Claude was furious and was still walking slightly stiff legged when nobody was looking.
Extra Guards had been posted, everybody was alert, and Jason had been paged to come to the circus to see whether this was the girl – the witch, though Asher didn’t think so.

“Wake her”, commanded Jean Claude “She has been out long enough”.

Asher exchanged a look at Damien whose punch had been too strong for one so delicate as this one. Before kneeling on the bed alternatively stroking and slapping her face lightly.
She moaned, her eyelashes fluttering, eyes confused and befuddled before lifting her bound hands to Asher’s face “Are you an angel”, she whispered before closing her eyes in pain. Asher exchanged a bemused look with Jean Claude.
There was a knock on the door, and Jason entered, eyebrows raised at the strange girl on the bed.
“Is this the one?” questioned Jean Claude.
“No”, was Jason’s instant response, he sniffed the air, before climbing on the bed, and snuffling her neck. “She smells of the witch though”, he said triumphantly.

“So” said Jean Claude, “if she is not the witch, she is not the tall one, so she must be…”
“The one who knocked me out with a tree trunk”, muttered Asher angrily. He started slapping her again not so gently this time”.
“WHO ARE YOU?”
Dawn finally opened her eyes, understanding of where she was gradually filtering through her brain.
“YOU shouldn’t have done that, YOU better let me go now, before SHE comes, she will make you sorry”.
“WHO WILL COME”?
Dawn muttered something before succumbing to oblivion again.
“What did she say”, questioned Damien who up to now had remained silent polishing his sword.

“She said the Slayer would come”.



OUTSIDE THE CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED
…………………………………………………….
It had taken some persuasion to make Willow sit this first one out.
She only agreed if she could act as the driver – really Willow
watched far too many movies. They had located a nice beamer and a
large black Harley for Faith, all of which Faith had hotwired ready
for possible action. All Willow had to do was press the button,
well that and just one small tiny little insignificant spell.
Faith surveyed the entrance, all looked quiet. Despite her
assurances to Willow she still hadn't quite formulated a plan, she
was pretty much a fly by the seat of your pants kind of girl. She
could go in all slayer bad attitude and kick up some butt, or
perhaps she thought spying Jason guarding the entrance, perhaps
girlfriend mode.
She sauntered out from behind the car cooing gaily "Yooohoooo Jason".
Jason looked shocked to see her, and slightly chagrined, when the
vamps he was with starting sniggering. He quickly grabbed her by
the arm and hustled through the entrance. Shutting the main door
behind him. ‘Bingo!’ Thought Faith triumphantly.
"WHAT are you doing here?"
"Cherry told me that you were here, I thought I would come by, we
never finished what we started", pouted Faith prettily, throwing her arms around him.
"Now is NOT a good time", gritted Jason "YOU should go".
"I thought you liked me Jason? Come on show me where you work,
perhaps I can make your mood better". Faith had steadily been
working Jason back towards the main arena.

Jason was trying to disentangle her arms from around his neck when
he caught her scent; he stiffened and pushed her back his eyes
narrowed. "You're with them I can smell it, I didn't at Guilty
Pleasures too many other distracting smells around but I can smell
it now".
Faith smiled, all pretence gone, "let me pass Jason I don't want to
hurt you".
"You and whose army", growled Jason before charging her.
Faith sidestepped, and Jason crashed into the wall with an OUF,
growling he began to stalk her, his eyes bleeding to amber. Faith lifted an eyebrow in surprise but otherwise remained motionless, until he rushed her again. She swivelled around so fast she appeared a blur,
even to Jason's prenaturnal abilities. Her whole body in motion,
she high kicked him twice before flipping him over onto the ground
where he remained motionless.
"Down & Out", muttered Faith before cautiously making her way into
the arena. The lights here were dimmed, but everything seemed too
quiet, too normal. She hesitated, but not having many options she
began to make her way to the back of the arena, where she could just
make out a small unassuming metal door.
All the lights in the circus went on, bathing the sand dusted floored
stadium and a dozen or so vamps and other supernatural beings
encircling her in an eerie blue light.
"Welcome, to my home THE CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED, I am the master OF
THE CITY and whom are you to dare enter my domain". Jean Claude's
voice rolled and echoed around the arena intimidating.

Faith kept her head down, shielding her eyes from being light
dazzled, before straightening and shucking off her long overcoat she
was wearing.
"I'm the slayer". She said simply.
There was a pause and a few surprised mutterings; she wasn't sure
whether this was due to her announcement or to the multitude of
weapons that were hidden under the coat.
"YOU are the SLAYER? The BOGEYMAN that your friend has been
threatening dismemberment and blood shed by? YOU?" Stated Jean
Claude incredulously; perhaps he had overreacted to the threat.
Still one would not think Ma petite was a danger until she had a gun
pointed at your privates. He would reserve judgement until he had
this slayer girl in his control.
Faith licked her lips; these guys were hot! Dressed like a wet dream poster for the Chippendales, they had Angel beat hands down. The head vampire was wearing a crimson red silk shirt, buttoned to the midriff, allowing glimpses of a perfect six pack. His fellow companions only seemed to complement him in complimenting colours, although the red head looked a bit uncomfortable in Silver spandex pants, that hid nothing from the imagination. Inwardly Faith grinned this was going to be so much fun! It wasn’t often that she got to eye up such top totty!!

"Look boys, we can do this the hard way or the easy way, all I want
is my friend back, and then we will be on our merry way".
This produced sniggering, which really pissed the slayer off. If
there's one thing Faith hated was not being taking seriously.
"Bring it on fang face, the more the merrier".
Jean Claude suddenly motioned to a set of four vamps.
"Alive, but not necessarily whole".
They grinned confidently, Built like brick houses, muscles rippled as they sauntered arrogantly forward. One of them cracking his knuckles before they encircled her, shouting jibes and insults.
Faith yawned, her full attention firmly on Jean Claude-the top
honcho!

It was all over in a minute. Even Jean Claude his face still
expressionless was amazed. She had spun into action producing from
nowhere a black nightstick and a specially adapted taser gun. In
less than a minute, all three of the vamps were either motionless or
attempting to crawl away from this berserk girl. The fourth vamp
she held above her head before throwing him into the bandstand".
”Mon Dieu, she is strong, shall I Call the others mes ami”
”Non, not yet, keep them hidden, I want to know where the witch is
first before I show my hand, I have called my wolf to bring this
Dawn girl here, we may need her as a bargaining chip”
Faith stretched her arms, yawned, " Next? I'm just getting warmed
up Boys".
"Damien, Asher", Jean Claude motioned.
Damien had a huge smile on his face, as he unsheathed his Viking
broadsword, it wasn't often that he got to play. Asher too was
excited -now a chance for retribution.

Faith continued too look bored, although inwardly she acknowledged
that these vampires were vastly superior to the last. They held
their weapons as they were made to be held, and their cool confidant
stance, was a bit unnerving.
She drew from her shoulder sheaths two very wicked looking blades,
and grinned broadly. "Five by Five".
They began to circle. The next ten minutes were a whir of swords
flashing, and fancy footwork. The vampires were used to fighting
where their speed and power made the difference, but their agility
was nowhere near the slayers, as she rolled, jump-kicked and
somersaulted into action. She was used to fighting in situations
where she was outnumbered, her skills razor sharp from many such
battles, used to exploiting any slips the vamps made. The other
advantage she had was they wanted to take her alive, whereas she had
no such compunction. Still she was tiring and if the black haired
vampire decided to assist, she would not be able to hold out for
long.
He was clever he kept the other vampires back knowing that they
would just get in the way providing distractions for her to
exploit. Slowly, ever so slowly she was being forced back against
the wall, which limited her fighting tactics. She got a nasty scare
when the blonde vamp had levitated off the ground. But she had
thrown some flying jacks at him, unable to avoid them; he had
careened to the ground. Not attempting to levitate again.
She kicked the blond headed vamp in the stomach, sending him
crashing into a nearby post. Turning her attention to the red head
she blocked his swing in a clash of steel and sparks.
"You're very good Red", she commented with a huge grin, running an approving glance down his figure hugging costume, she liked to
keep a running banter going when she fought, kept them off guard. "Maybe we can get a coffee after this".
The red head looked surprised at her constant chatter, clearly
unused to this strange American method of fighting.
"Why do you not surrender Child, resistance is futile, you cannot
possibly win against us." His eyes flickered behind her, and Faith
just turned in time, as Asher grabbed her in a bear hug. She
reached behind, hooking her leg behind his, flipping him over,
before somersaulting out of Damien sword swing.

"I am not a child Red". She grinned swords flashing, " and I can go for another few rounds how about you guys?" Then with a casual flick of her wrist she slashed at his costume leaving a six inch gash exposing the most perfect buttock that Faith had ever seen. Pausing to admire the view, Faith raised her right eyebrow and gave him her most suggestive leer. Completely incensed Damien gave a growl of anger and rushed towards her, she easily darted out of reach. Taunting him with witty retorts. The fight continued until with a swift twist of her wrist she disarmed him, and thrusting a sword against his neck, she called out "Anybody moves and Mr Red here gets a new look".
Asher looked towards Jean Claude in time to see Jason pulling a
struggling Dawn towards him. Jean Claude gave the barest nod, and
Asher smiled everything was going along to plan.
"SLAYER DESIST, or your companion Dawn will suffer for it".
Faith looked up and swore softly. An unsmiling Jason bearing bruises from their previous scuffle was holding Dawn in a bear grip. Dawn, looking stunning in a red cocktail dress, squirmed and struggled uselessly before screaming obscenities that even had Faith wincing. The master vamp only smiled mockingly before yanking her head back exposing her long slender neck, stopping Dawn’s tirade in midstream. He tenderly began to caress her cheek, before turning to the Slayer, “Your answer Slayer?” His voice was like liquid
"Are you OK?"
"Just peachy", shouted Dawn after prompting from Jean Claude. "Get
away from here – save yourself, it's a tr…. ", added Dawn, before
Jason muffled her mouth with his hand.
"As you can see your companion is quite unhurt, now lower your
weapons SLAYER", the master vampires voiced boomed and echoed throughout the air, Faith felt a shiver right to her toes.
With a sigh Faith lowered her swords slowly, then Damien with a
smug look threw her to the ground straddling her body with his.
"NOW would be a good time - RED". Muttered Faith, a slight
crackling coming from under her shirt.

Damien looked confused, was she talking to him? Understanding came
swiftly and he tore her shirt open to reveal a kid's walkie-talkie
strapped to her chest.
CRASH, the whole arena seemed to explode in a shower of dust and
debris. Everybody dove to the ground for cover as projectiles went
flying. There was a deafening silence following the initial
explosion, and everybody looked up so see the sky, where once there
had been a brick wall now there was a large gaping hole, and in
amongst the mound of rubble stood a red headed witch.

Faith was delighted, it was not often that plans went to schedule but
this was working like a dream. Always seemed that the baddies
couldn't resist from showing off their kidnap victims and she and
Willow had counted on this. From the shocked expression of the
vamps they had clearly not being expecting this.
Willow lifted her hand, concentrating hard, sweat pouring off her
face, muttered "Lupuis expediatis", and Jason and the vamps holding
Dawn were swept back like bowling pins. "Utricxa uberisi", Dawns
bonds unravelled, she gave a squeal of joy and started running
towards Willow.
Meantime Faith unable to resist herself, grabbed Damien's face,
giving him a lusty kiss before flipping him over her head. Jumping
to her feet, she spared a quick glance to Asher who had been bowled
over by a large flying piece of debris. Before clearing a passage
for Dawn.
Jean Claude was furious; it is not often that a master vampire gets
knocked over and by a girl of all things. He closed his eyes and
summoned the wolves and the rest of his vampires. Before
concentrating his power, and sending it towards the witch. She saw
it and rebuffed it, staggering back with the force of it, before
sending out another tendril of power, but this was weaker than
before, and only the weaker member of his troop fell down.

”She is weakening mon ami, concentrate on the witch, she will
collapse soon if she expends any more power -like a shifter,
shifting too many times”, cried Asher limping to his side.
”Oui, we must work together”
”Remember how we first bedded Julianne”
Jean Claude suddenly grinned at the memory it had been very erotic and very effective.

Willow was struggling, she had doped herself up with stimulants so
that she could concentrate on the magic she needed, but she could
feel her power ebbing with her strength.
Faith and Dawn ran past her, climbing on to the Harley. Willow
started to creep back, before rushing to the Cadillac. "GO we'll
meet up later", screamed Willow, already shifting the gear into
first, aiming for the second exit. Glancing in her rear view
mirror she saw a sight that horrified her. Without hesitation, she
skidded to a halt and clambered out of the car.
Faith checked for signs of pursuit before gunning the throttle and
with a hearty roar the Harley sped off for the first exit, before
they reached it, a wall of wolves started to converge before them,
fangs bared. "Hold on" Shouted Faith, gunning the throttle even
more as she attempted to rush by.
Willow raised her hand feeling more tired than when she fought with
Glory, concentrating with her whole mind "Lupuis expediatis", the
wolves were pushed back and Faith rode off into the night, the
wolves baying futilely behind her as they attempted to give chase.

Now to her own escape, she looked behind her to see Wolves and vamps
nearly at her car, she lifted her hand and pushed - nothing
happened. With a shriek of fear she clambered back into the car and
attempted to drive off hoping that the car had good acceleration.
The drive wheels spun uselessly in the air, and with panic she
realised the back end of the car was being lifted slowly up.
Glancing to the rear she was horrified to find one man a triumphant
smile on his face lifting the whole car. Oh my goodness he was as
strong as a slayer. Fighting down the rising panic, she opened the
sunroof and climbed out onto the roof. Closing her eyes and
remembering how she had levitated the pencil, she concentrated her
mind and slowly began to lift up as the wolves snapped at her feet.

Some thirty feet in the air, she allowed herself to drift towards a warehouse roof where she could land safely and plan her escape. Nearly there, she allowed herself a small smile at the ease of her escape and how strong her powers were becoming despite her illness.
Which was why it was such a surprise when somebody grabbed her, up there thirty feet in the air! She shrieked and started plummeting to the ground, concentration completely shattered. The man tightened his grip and their descent halted a mere eight feet from the roof tops. Willow’s eyes widened in shock
“Bonsoir mon petite rouge sorciere, do not struggle”, purred a voice in her ear, as he rubbed his face along her cheek.
Willow gasped in shock, her eyes wide. Wriggling to get a look at the man holding her, she recognised the blond vamp that they had knocked out in the forest. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted another vampire flying towards them - the black haired master vampire. Good god, she could now be an eyewitness account that Vampires do fly here after all.
Gritting her teeth against fatigue, she whispered an easy incantation, her finger suddenly sprouted a small blue flame, which she touched to the hand wrapped around her midriff.
Asher gasped, momentarily letting go of his prize, she fell to the rooftop with a soft grunt. Quickly rolling over Willow limped to her feet to confront the 2 vampires that had now alighted also and began to stalk her.
“Ma petite sorciere, you cannot run, you cannot hide”.
“You must be tired come with us, we will look after you”.
“Do you not want to sleep Petite rouge?”
“There is nothing to fear young one, come with us.”
Their voices were seductive, smooth, insidious and Willow could feel herself falling under their spell. Their voices were sweet as honey flowing and trickling over body and mind. She could feel her movements becoming erratic and sluggish, her mind fogged up. She bit her cheek, her fingers digging into her thigh as she slowly limped back from them, her breathing heavy and laboured.

Summoning the last of her will power she muttered another incantation and a small wall of fire appeared between her and the vampires. They paused momentarily, until the flames spluttered out. Merciless they continued to stalk her.
Willow gulped, she was too tired and even her magic was now deserting her. She tried again this time she only succeeded in a brief flame before this too petered out, the cost of show of power forced her to her knees more tired than she had ever been her life, all she wanted was to put her head down and sleep. Gritting her teeth against this irresistible urge she staggered to her feet, only to be knocked down by a blast of power from the master vampire.
“Have you run out of power little one?” He drawled mockingly.
“Perhaps you did you not know that using excessive power would drain you until you are as helpless as a kitten. That is how so many witches were caught and burned at the stake, you do not want that fate do you petite rouge?”
“Come little one, do not resist, you are so tired”.
Willow whimpered and tried to crawl away, her vision cloudy and indistinct, before collapsing - too tired too care.

Somebody turned her over, her face cradled in cool hands, as they told her to open her eyes. Unable to resist, her eyes flickered open and met his.
The world became a jumble of colour and swirls of sound, she felt herself being swept away in a rush of emotion and tiredness. It seemed to last for eternity, and yet only a few seconds. Somebody was whispering to her, words as yet unclear in her head, but all that seemed to matter was that voice and those striking eyes. In a dreamlike state she did as ordered and wrapped her arms around the blond vampires neck, and then succumbed to his last whispered command,
“Sleep little one until I call”.


MOACH HOTEL

“She should have been here by now Faith”.
“We’ll give her another 30 minutes”.
“No something has happened, they have got her!”
Faith closed her eyes, before sighing, “ Yes, I think you are right, she would have been here by now”.
Dawn threw an anguished look to Faith, “this is all my fault, I was just trying to help, I thought a Circus would be safe with clowns and candyfloss.”
Dawn started weeping, “God I am such a loser, its just like when Buffy died, that was my fault too”.
“HEY NO, NO Dawnie, none of this is your fault, NONE OF IT. It’s their fault - they are the bad guys, not us and NOT YOU. Buffy died doing her duty, her life - protecting the innocents, protecting the world. There is nothing that she or any of us wouldn’t do for you”.
“I’m weak, I’m a liability – Buffy, Willow none of it would happen if it wasn’t for me!”
“NO DAWN, you are the best of us, You are the one that gave something for Buffy to hold onto, the light by which she could carry on, without you Buffy could have turned out like me, or worse she would have given up.”
Faith paused, trying to find the right words to express herself, she wasn’t good at this touchy feely stuff and wished Willow was there.
“Dawn, Being the Slayer is an unasked for vocation, and sometimes deep in a fight I would almost welcome death. Until you, Buffy was the same. She once told me after she first killed Angelous, that she ran away to end it all. Once you were in her life, you gave her something to fight for, but more importantly something to live for”.

Dawn was sobbing now, almost hysterical, the shock of being captured and being used as she was used by Glory was bringing everything to surface.
Faith’s face, usually cool and aloof, softened as she took the younger girl in her arms, her tears already starting to fall. “Let it all out Dawn, it’s been long overdue, Buffy’s gone, but she died because you were worth dying for. She loved you - more than anything she loved you and that Dawn is a very precious gift.”
The two girls stood there, both crying. Both mourning what they had lost.
Finally Dawn shook herself. “Ok I’m ok now, well not ok, but we need to get Willow back. Lets go and kick some BUTT”.
“Way to go Dawn! We’ll teach these vamps not to mess with the Scoobies”.




CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED
…………………………………………………………..
Jean Claude and Asher were surveying the huge hole in the circus, as his minions rushed around to fix it before daybreak. Despite the destruction and the loss of the battle, they were quite pleased, they had the Witch – the others would follow.

“Sacre Bleu, who would have thought that, that child could have so much power”
“Oui, it is incredible, and she is as yet virtually untrained, she has not yet realised her full potential. She feels very much like Anita was when I first met her”
“Was that when you decided to make her your human servant”. replied Asher with an easy grin.
“It is true, she was intoxicating, like breathing a heady wine. The power was there rippling under the surface and only I truly realised her true capability, that is when I decided that she would be my human servant. It’s taken no less than a total of 10 vampire marks, death, sex, and destruction, but now finally she is coming around”.
“Ho, sometimes mes ami, I think perhaps you are coming around to her”
“Only until the fourth mark mes amis, then she will truly be my human servant. She will crave my touch, my presence and where once I would have savoured my moment of victory, now I will just rejoice to be her master, to have her by my side for all eternity”
“Or under you” said Asher with a smirk. They both laughed in masculine amusement.
Jason came bounding up to them, puzzled by their laughter, “The Wall will be temporarily fixed by dawn, I have called your construction company they will be here at daybreak to fix this and start on the additional security measures.”

“and the hunt, did they manage to track down the other two?”
“Richard says they got away, they couldn’t track them on the Harley, too much fumes”.
Jean Claude was quiet as he studied Jason, tasting his scent, “What are you not saying my wolf, repeat his exact words. I do not blame you for your Ulfric’s lack of protocol.”
Jason steeled himself, he hated being caught in the middle.
“…He says he’s played your wolf enough tonight and has gone home, he has taking his wolves home too”. He added placating “some have stayed – Jamil included, they will follow your lead, they think Richard is wrong, but they will not openly defy him”.
“Does he know we caught the witch?”
“No, none of us could see where she flew to, they think she escaped over the rooftops, out of all the wolves only I know”.
“See that it remains so My Wolf”, added Jean Claude warningly.
Jason waited, relief showing clearly on his face as Jean Claude dismissed him to go and work with the others.
“He has gone too far”, exclaimed Asher angrily “Call them Jean Claude, they will not resist your summons. You must punish Richard, his weakness, his disloyalty is a weakness to all. His wolves know it.”
“… and what then, Richard will never back down, he is waiting for a fight and he wants a confrontation. This I will not give him, he wishes to prove to Anita that I am the monster, in the belief she will turn to him”, spat out Jean Claude.
“Call his beast then mes amis, you have never shown your true hand with him, this I could never understand. He thinks he is your equal because you treat him as such and WHY because of Anita!”
“…and for Juilianne, did you not also make compromises?”
“Bah, I should seduce Richard for you, that would end his boy scouts notions”.
Jean Claude and Asher shared a glance before laughing amusedly at the notion.
Walking back to the underground section, they began discussing the nights’ events and tactics.
“We have the Witch, she is under your enthrallment, she will obey you and most eagerly.”
“Oui, though I do not think I would have caught her so easily if she had not drained her powers so much. I tried to enthral the slayer and it was like rolling off a brick wall, she never even blinked and well you saw what happened when I tried with Dawn”.
“Hmmm, I do not think I have ever seen you so taken aback, and she has a wicked right hook - non, even with her hands bound”.
“I am one of the best Jean Claude, but this Dawn she has the taste of the slayer in her ability to hold out. But instead of a wall that I could perhaps learn to climb, it was like gazing into a well of water, I would call out, almost catching her and then she would slip through my fingers as water, there was nothing for me to catch. I do not think she totally human, she may be a necromancer like Anita”.

“Non, she has no feel of the dead, but whatever she is, we will soon discover when she is in our hands again. But I agree my friend she is the unknown element we must take additional precautions with her. She may prove to be the most dangerous, certainly why send her to the lions dens if she is the weakest. I fear there is some underhand game going on”. Jean Claude shook his head in bemusement before continuing, “We will use the Witch to catch the others. I do not believe they mean us direct harm, but I am puzzled by their intentions. I thought perhaps they were human first activists or perhaps servants of a master testing our hold of the city, but now… now I truly do not know, I have never met anything quite like them”.
“D’accord, The slayer was quite incredible – very tasty too. She would make a good bed partner all fire and energy”.
“Oui, I think our Damien is quite taken, he is still smarting from being bested by a woman, but I think her kiss has awaken a spark in him that has been missing since Anita got her claws into him.”
“Ahh Anita…you still wish to keep this from her”.
“But of course, she is the one that has run off too some god forsaken place, no telephone, no letter…she opens the marks when I need. But I do not need her added complication. She would just shoot somebody and matters would be worse, sometimes I disapprove of ma petite’s passion for her toys”.
“…and if these people call the Police…”.
“That is one thing that we do not have to worry about, something tells me they would not welcome Police involvement…and anyhow I have already started to take steps to neutralise that area. It will allow me greater control over the city, that no other master has yet attained”.
“ah… so that is why you had have been spending so much time briefing that blonde bombshell vampire… You were always good at playing the game Jean Claude”, chuckled Asher.

“Come lets awaken our guest, I admit to looking forward to making her acquaintance”.
“Yes, I too am most eager”.


SOMEWHERE NEARBY
…………………………………………………….

“It’s no good Dawn, every vamp and monster seems to be camped outside the circus. Even if we wait till dawn breaks, the vamps are too riled up for us to get any further than the main entrance”. Faith sighed angrily, before taking another drag on her cigarette. “I hate the thought of leaving Willow with them, but I don’t see we have any option. I cannot take them all on”.
“The Police?”
Faith snorted in disgust at the thought, “Police are the same everywhere, we would have to answer a hundred million questions, and then they file it, also we have no real status here, who knows what they would do to us or worse probably that Master vamp Jean Claude has the Police in his pocket, remember the mayor?”

“ummmmm I suppose so, I wonder whether they could deport us as illegal aliens from another dimension”.
“What we really need is reinforcements”.
“Yeah another slayer, and a few spikes & angels wouldn’t go a miss neither”.
Faith smiled suddenly, “maybe we need to find allies, people willing to help us go up against theses big bad boys. From what I can gather Vamps have only just be legalised. There must have been somebody taking them out!”
“Like another Slayer! I could do some research on the net, you know check out the local news, see who’s who. This Jean Claude vamp seems to have the city in his pocket and from what I overheard, when I was a captured, he runs the JC Corporation. If he has a business, there will be records”
“Okay lets head back to the motel, there only a few hours till morning”.



CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED
………………………………………………………

“Little one – Awaken now. Your master calls you”
Willow stirred uneasily. Her pale face, framed by her vibrant red hair, was stark white against the blood red silk of Asher’s bed. Jean Claude idly mused that black silk sheets would be a better complement, if she stayed with them he would have to order some, as well as some new clothing – Perhaps some of the outfits that Anita refused to wear would fit with some adjustment.
“Awaken Now Little One, I command you”, repeated Asher, he was lying full length along the bed beside her, his hands stroking her through her robes as one would a cat. Careful as always, that his golden hair masked his scarred face. The sight of which he was sure would traumatize her from her enthrallment.
Willow groaned groggily, but was unable to resist the summons.
“Wh.. Whats happening? Whherrre am I?” she slurred tiredly, propping up on her elbow. She gazed in shock at Asher and Jean Claude, memory starting to flood back. Her eyes grew wide, she began to strain against Asher’s restraining hands.
Her ragged breathing was the only noise that could be heard in the opulent room, its air thick with a mixture of lust, fear and anticipation. Willow was prying useless at Asher’s hands that held her immobile on the bed. She whispered a quick incantation then stared in bewildered shock, Asher smiled condescendingly, as nothing happened, her powers were completely drained. Not even a squeak of magic, while she was helpless against two of the most powerful vampires she had ever met.
Jean Claude joined them on the bed, effectively imprisoning her between them. “Hush little one, do not fear? He whispered huskily, his voice sending tremors of feeling through her body. Before adding to Asher in French “Now mes amis, while she is still in shock, strengthen the bond.”

Asher grasped her hair, pulling her head back and exposing her throat, he gazed in her eyes, his eyes pure pools of colour, with no white showing, crooning softly to her. Her eyes wide with panic became glazed and soft as he rolled her once again.
Asher stroked her hair from her face, her body now limp, he gathered her into his arms. Tenderly as with a lover he bent over her, fangs extended as they slowly began to pierce her flesh.
He groaned as her hot sweet blood began to flow. Her body bucked and contorted against this alien embrace, her inner mind acknowledging her danger. The two vampires eased closer, controlling her rebellious movements, ensuring there was no escape. All the while Jean Claude caressed and murmured softly in her ear, his expression one of lust and hunger as he too fed from both Asher’s and Willow’s increasing arousal.
Eventually Willow began to groan and pant, her body writhing against Asher. Feelings too powerful too deny overwhelming her as with an incredible rush she came.
Finally Asher drew back with a gasp of repletion, “Enough, she is incredible. Most intoxicating, sweet as honey and as powerful as a were”.
Willow lay gasping on the bed like a junkie after her first fix. Cocooned between the two powerful vampires, her mind was a jumble of emotions and feelings.
“…and now little one we would like some answers”, added Asher gazing into her eyes once more.

Willow’s eyes became heavy and glazed again as she nodded automatically, part of her deep, deep inside her was screaming. But her full concentration was only on the blonde man in front of her. He was the only thing that mattered now.
“What is your name little one? And where are you from?”
“Willow, from Sunnydale in California”.
The two vampires looked at each other questioningly, and Jean Claude shrugged his shoulders “probably just a hick town, I will get Jason to check it out”.
“Ah Willow such a pretty name, for one so beautiful, tell me little one, where are your friends now? And what are their powers?”
Willow shifted uneasily, the inner voice louder now, protesting as her mind began to struggle against Asher’s hold. Asher soothed her, whispering false words of comfort and reassurance.

“She is strong mes amis, she will not betray her friends even unconsciously, we must take slow steps, otherwise I will loose my hold over her. She already struggles, she is not yet fully mine to call, even with her blood pumping in my veins”
“Oui, perhaps try an easier question, one that does not question her loyalty to her friends” replied Jean Claude.
“Why have you come here little one?” continued Asher.
“I didn’t mean to, it was the spell that went wrong somehow, that nasty demons fault”.

Asher and Jean Claude exchanged alarmed looks. A demon was always bad news and Vampires went out of their way to avoid them.

“Tell us everything Willow, how did you come here, who sent you?”
Willow stirred uneasy, unable to fully the answer the question posed, she began to babble reverting to Willow mode.
“I sneezed, didn’t mean to, really I didn’t, it was the rabbit, I’m allergic to dogs too. Faith killed the demon so it was her fault too. But I sneezed. I was trying to bring back Buffy, she died after fighting Glory who was a god, she tried to get Dawn to be a key. Buffy killed Glory but then she died to save the world. I needed to learn better magic to bring her back, it was a meant to be a simple spell - truly. We would have popped up in Xanders living room. Boy he would have been surprised, unless he was making out with Anya, his fiancée. Eughhh Yuk. I don’t know why he would want to marry a demon well an ex demon. She is such an airhead! And now we are in this hell dimension and we have to get back to stop the hellmouth and save the world…… again…”. Willow continued to babble hysterically, her words beginning to make less and less sense, to the confused vampires.
“She speaks the truth, I can taste it”, commented Jean Claude slowly, “Although I cannot entirely follow her ramblings”.

Asher was gazing at Willow with a mixture of fascination and concern.
He reached out, pressing his hand against her forehead.
“Merde, she has fever, she is burning up”, stated Asher in alarm.
Jean Claude pressed his hand to her face, Willow moaned with relief, rubbing her cheek along his cold palm. “Oui, she is delirous”.
“JASON”, he summoned, the door opened and Jason snuck his head around the door from where he had been standing guard.
“Bring some ice and one of the red silk shifts from my closet”. Jason with a curious glance at Willow rushed of to do his masters bidding.

Asher pulled Willow to a sitting position and worked the heavy thick red robe over her head. Clad in only her underwear, he could not resist stroking a smooth thigh and was shocked despite himself at how hot she was. He rolled off the bed, walking to the bathroom, returning with a small bowl of cool water, and fluffy towels.

Taking turns they began to wipe her down, the traditional method in their time for reducing fever. Jean Claude despite himself was bemused at this turn of events playing nurse maid to the very Witch that had challenged him.
Willow muttering in feverish anxiety, resisted their effort, twisting and turning. Until Asher commanded her to be still.
“She is breathtaking, I think I am a little too enamoured my friend”.
“D’accord, Do you mean to keep her”
Asher stared at her, before starting to wipe the tears streaming from her face, “She would resist once she saw my face in all its glory”, he laughed bitterly.
Jean Claude’s face hardened at his closest friends distress. “Take her, make her yours, bed her and bleed her. We will take her friends and she will have no choice but to stay with you until you tire of her”.
“That may be the problem, I fear I would never tire of her, her blood flows through me now, I have tasted her, her power, I can feel a bond and a closeness that I have not felt since…” Asher broke off, before continuing angrily “She would never come willingly to my hand, even I cannot face what I look like and I would never take another unwillingly into my bed to face the monster I have become”.
Jean Claude was silent at his friend’s despair. He had thought that his Asher’s suffering and loneliness had eased now he was here, but it seemed he had only hidden his true thoughts.
Jason sauntered into the room, the gown draped over his arm. His eyes lighting with lust at the sight of Willow body, he licked his lips appreciatively “Can anybody join in?”
Asher growled at him instinctively warning him off with a possessiveness that surprised both Jason and himself. Jason averted his eyes, quickly passing to Jean Claude the ice and gown as he hurried from the room, usually Asher was not so touchy!



ROACH MOTEL
………………………………………………………..

“I think I’ve found something”, exclaimed Dawn excitedly, she was lying full length on the bed, hair in disarray and still wearing the scarlet cocktail dress. Her full attention was engrossed on the flickering display lights of the laptop.
Faith bounced on the bed beside her peering intently at the laptop “What you found shortstuff?” she ruffled Dawns hair making it ever more tousled.
“I’m not as good as Willow at hacking into files, but I found a whole site dedicated to Executioners for the state. Seems that each State has a dedicated slayer of vamps and other creepies. It’s their job to hunt down nasties”.
“You gotta be joking, it’s a JOB HERE! They get PAID!” replied Faith indignant.
Dawn threw Faith an exasperated look, before continuing, “Look the Executioner for this state is a lady, by the name of the Anita Blake. She has 4 stars beside her name that’s pretty good, the others mostly have 2-3stars, there’s a couple in Montana with 5, but that’s too far away”.
“Look She’s a resident of St Louis too, but no address details.”
“Well Duh, she wouldn’t advertise where she lives. We should meet this lady and ask her some questions”.
“Yeah, like does she get Medical and dental?” Snorted Faith, still irritated that somebody should get paid to dust vampires, while she got nadda, and worked as a checkout girl at a 7/11.
“She’s kind of small, don’t you think”, commented Dawn critically.
“Well Sugar …size ain’t everything”, drawled Faith suggestively.
Dawn giggled, she was still a little bit in awe of Faith. Like the others it had taken her some time to fully accept Faith back in the gang. But Faith had never tried to overprotect her or mother her as the others did. Instead she had pulled Dawn out of the dark ages giving her advice on how to snog and the best way to knee a man in the balls.

“Okay looks like we have a plan, check the chick out, see what you can find and where she lives” Faith rapped out, “We also need to locate more info on this Jean Claude character and blue prints of the circus wouldn’t go amiss”.
“Okay, okay, don’t rush me… sit over there and stop pestering me”, mumbled Dawn, as she began to type out more commands and parameters to search on.








WILLOW
…………………………………………..

Willow moaned before stretching out in delight, the sun was beating down and the grass was cool against her back. She could smell the faint tang of the forest all green and earthy! This was heaven, but boy was she thirsty, opening her eyes against the glare, she looked around wondering whether there was a local store nearby. She was wearing a skimpy halter neck top with casual shorts, her usual attire for summer hikes in the forest.

She noticed a man dressed in black leather overcoat, he seemed to appear from nowhere, he jumped around excitedly, arms flailing about. Then he began to roll along the ground in an apparent fit. Finally he paused and sat up abruptly, his hand raised against the harsh rays of the sun beating down. Even from here she could feel first his shock, fear and then his bemusement as he touched and prodded his skin. He turned as he noted her presence and with a slight hesitation he began to stroll towards her, his golden hair glinting in the sun.

His face was hidden from view behind a curtain of flowing locks of pure golden hair. But still Willow felt an instant attraction and recognition - Asher!
Surprisingly she felt no fear, just an intense feeling of excitement that seemed to flow through her entire body. Her stomach was doing major flip-flops.
He stopped in front of her, one eyebrow raised questioningly, “Bonjour Ma cherie?”
“What are you doing here?” questioned Willow idly, trying her best to go for the cool and nonchalant look, “I thought Vampires frizzled in the sun”.
The Vampire smiled slowly, before sitting down beside her his body brushing accidentally against her. Willow’s stomach lurched in excitement.

“Ah Ma Cherie, it is you that has summoned me, to your dream, I thought only my kind had that power. You have called me to your dreams and a dream-sun cannot as you say ‘frizzle me’ ”.
“Oh, so this is a dream, its not real”, said Willow disappointedly,
“Usually I dream of studying for the wrong exam, or going to school with no clothes on, I suppose this is better” she mused.
“Sometimes you say the oddest things…… you are very different my little witch, a mixture of youth, innocence and power… an intoxicating mix”, whispered Asher huskily. His breath caressing her ear, as he slowly, sensuously began to nibble on her earlobe.
Willow shivered, a tingling feeling running down her backbone. Asher smiled seductively at her reaction, stroking her midriff with a long elegant finger making lazy circles on her skin.
Willow gasped at the multiple sensations assailing her body, and turned a becoming shade of pink, as erotic thoughts began to jumble her mind.
“Stop it Willow, get a grip this is isn’t real, just a figment of an overactive libido”, Willow chided herself talking aloud.
Asher chuckled then burst out into a full belly laugh, rolling on the grass in pure amusement.
The seductive moment passed and Willow stiffened in annoyance. ‘This was her dream! Her stud! He shouldn’t be laughing at her’, she thought in displeasure.

Asher started to get a hold of himself wiping tears of mirth from his eyes, “I am sorry Ma Cherrie, but this situation is quite ironic, I had planned to bring you to my dream and instead I find myself in yours”.
“This is a dream. You are just a figment of my entirely overactive imagination”, said Willow stiffly “I shouldn’t even talk to you, you don’t exist here”, she added warningly as Asher’s eyes started to crease up again in mirth
With difficulty Asher got himself under control, he did not want his little witch to send him crashing out of such a nice fantasy.
“A dream, but of course ma cherie, but this can be so much more. It is very pleasurable to share ones dreams in this way ma Cherie. I am surprised that you called me, but not disappointed”, he murmured softly against her hair, his thigh brushing against hers bare legs sending little sparks of pleasure at every contact.
“This is nice Ma Cherie, it has been centuries since I felt the suns rays on my face. I had forgotten how nice it was to gaze without fear at the suns warming rays”.
His fingers toyed with the ties on her halter-neck, gently stroking her neck, as he began to slowly loosen the knot. She squeaked in surprise as her halter neck began to slip down. Asher smiled, his eyes full of promise of naughty things to come. Willow swallowed, this was her dream, perhaps she needed to take control. Reaching up, she began to slowly unbutton his shirt buttons, before slipping a warm hand inside. Asher stiffened, then gently removed her hand and softly began kissing each digit.

Willow recognised an evasive reaction when she saw one. Tilting her
head to one side, she studied his expression and posture which was a
tad too defensive. "Why do you hide behind by your hair, I admit its
your best feature, but I seem to be constantly making peek a boo with
your eyes it's a little bit off putting".
Asher stilled his movements, becoming totally motionless as only an
age old vampire can do.
"The sight of my face and body is horrific, it is a sight that even
the monsters fear and you my little dove would run screaming." He
answered in derision, "But in the dark, my little witch we are all
the same".
Willow felt the pain behind his words, and her heart softened, his
pain accomplishing what his seductive caresses could not.
"Let me see" she replied gently "I will not fear you".

"Perhaps my witch, it is time you come to my dreams".

The air began to swirl around Willow. The skies darkened, the sun
slid away, as a bright silvery moon began to rise, the forest
becoming alive with the sounds of the night.
She looked around, Asher had disappeared, but she could feel him,
whispering her name, beckoning her forward. She glanced at herself,
surprised to see she was dressed as an aristocrat in a old fashioned
ball gown complete with corset. It was doing wonders for her
cleavage, pushing her up making her seem more voluptuous than she
would have dreamed possible.
She rose unsteadily to her feet and started walking. Presently she
came to a lake, Asher stood in the water, waist deep, his face as
always in shadows.
They stood facing each other neither speaking. Willow began to walk
to him, wading through the water. Trailing her fingers along the
surface uncaring that her ball gown was becoming wet and sodden.
She pressed one finger against his lips, "shush".
Asher stilled, as Willow began to stroke his hair from his face,
feeling the puckering and scarring. Asher shied away, but she held
on, reaching up on her tip toes she began to place feathery light
kisses along his scarred face.
" By night or day, I would never run from you".


ANITAS HOUSE
Anita yawned, and slowly eased herself out of her car, the sun was
already starting to rise, but she barely glanced at the myriad of
colours chasing across the morning sky. She was really looking
forward to a hot cup of cocoa, giving Sigmund a big hug and ten hours
of solid no dreaming sleep. It was the simple things that seemed to
give her the most pleasure these days. She wondered how long she
could put off calling the boys, Jean Claude would know as soon he
awakened that she was back, but Richard was not so aware of her. She
frowned on that thought and filed it away to ponder over another day,
before reaching back into the car, wrestling with a small suitcase
and a large Police file box.

Damn Dolph for calling her with another case, and double damn him for
leaving it so long. There had been a series of attacks to both human
and animals over the last 5 days, the violence rapidly escalating, so far only 3 deaths. But it was the last death that had prompted him to
call Bert and arrange for her to take a temporary break from her
latest assignment in LA.

She had not been a happy camper to be woken by the LAPD from her
hotel bed, hustled to the airport with a police escort, and then to
be met by a glowering Dolph in St Louis. He had sped her off to an
old cemetery to view the latest victim, and Anita much to her chagrin
had lost her courtesy airline dinner - must have been the jet lag.
She was not usually so squeamish but the sight of a half eaten brain
with mashed eyes was too much even for her. For once nobody made any
wise-ass side cracks.

She was a bit stumped as to what type of monster this could be, and
had promised Dolph to read up on the police evidence and call him
with any lead. There was also the unspoken question that she would
speak with the master of the city to check out what he knew. Any
monster killings were bad news for all, and Jean Claude especially
liked to keep a clean city at least on the surface. For now Dolph
was playing the waiting game - waiting for the next victim to show
up, but he had warned thus far the media was unaware, but any more
victims and he would get the mayor's authority to start bashing down
some doors starting with Jean Claude's.

She dumped the files on the coffee table, looked wistfully at the
kitchen before making her way to the bedroom, the cocoa could wait
she needed Sigmund.


ROACH MOTEL
…………………………………

“ God What is it with Slayers and vamps, I can’t believe she’s doing the horizontal with the big evil”.
“Hey I never slept with a Vamp, well ok I tried with Angel, but that was just to get Buffy riled up and all”.
Dawn threw her a knowing look “ oh yeah, so you wouldn’t want to get all dirty with Angel – he’s a real hottie?”
“Angel is an exception, he… well he’s hot and he has a sensitive soul”.
“Uh huh and was that just a new fighting technique you were trying with that red headed vamp, kiss him to death tongue karate”, replied Dawn smugly
Faith decided to change the subject; Dawn could be a real brat sometimes. “Ok what else have you got on this ‘rent a slayer’, found her address yet?”

Dawn smiled triumphantly, “oh yeah and look what else I’ve got. Blue prints for the circus of the damned, all the locations of various establishments of the JC Corporation, damn even the Profit & loss accounts. The best is this tabloid stuff, seems this journalist Irving has a real hard on for the Master, he’s done a whole series of articles about him. Lots of background stuff and a supernatural who’s who in St Louis – unfortunately no enemies listed.”

“Am I good, or am I just brilliant?” finished Dawn with a cheesy grin.
“ Not bad… not bad at all, and I thought you were just playing games on your computer”, nodded Faith impressed.
“Willow has been teaching me, you know how she gets into geek mode when you put a computer in front of her, I’ve just paid attention that’s all” replied Dawn, feeling sad as she thought of her friend.
“Don’t worry short stuff we’ll get her back, but I am bushed if we are to be of any use to Willow we need to catch a few hours kip and then its time we paid this executioner a visit”.
“Yeah if the master is all hot for this chick perhaps we can do a swap”.
“Dawn my thoughts exactly!” agreed Faith.



CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED
…………………………………………………………


Boy was she tired, she wanted to go back to sleep but her nose was itchy and she couldn’t seem to scratch it, it was really irritating her, she also had a nagging feeling that she had forgotten something important, like an exam. The thought persisted and with an irritated yawn, she realised she needed to get up. Half awake now she opened her bleary eyes and wondered where she was, it sure wasn’t her room.

Everything was in soft focus, but that could be due to the candles flickering on the night table, she tried to bring her arms down to rub her nose and with a jolt that chased away the last remnants of sleep she realised her hands had been bound to the top headboard of a four poster.
“Hello Sleepy head”, said an amused voice.
Willow twisted her body around, realising with growing alarm that both her hands and feet had been bound together and then tethered loosely to the bed.
She wasn’t sure whether she was relieved or disappointed when she spied the young werewolf called Jason in front of her. She vaguely remembered him from the previous night.
He was leering at her, and with a yelp of embarrassment she realised she was only wearing a short red silk shift that barely came to her mid thighs. She also seemed to be going commando!

“YOU PERVERT where’s my clothes” screamed Willow absolutely infuriated as she began to wriggle and pull in vain at her bonds. She saw to her fury that the silken ties exactly matched her silk shift. What was this bondage fashion! She swore at Jason furiously, spouting forth a flow of abuse.
“Temper, temper”, chided Jason chuckling, “you weren’t saying that last night when Asher was undressing you, it was more of ‘OH YES… OH YES, ASHER just a little bit more, OH YES”.
Willow went even redder as memories of the previous night started filtering through. “Oh my”, she muttered. It was all still a bit hazy but some images she remembered in crystal clear clarity. She glared at Jason impotently and muttered one of her favourite incantations, always guaranteed to reduce bullies to jelly. Nothing happened. She swore again
Jason cocked his head to one side, reminding her of a Xanders old cocker spaniel.
“Trying Magic - Willow? Asher told me that he has de-magiced you for a while”.
He put down his book he had been reading, and crouched over her, “Asher expected you to sleep until he awakened, but I wouldn’t have missed this for anything - has anybody told you, that you’re cute when you’re cross, why I could just lick you all up.

“Let ME GO…You dirty lowlife scum, dirt bag, pervert, pompous ………… I’m going to turn you into a … a… a… “, Willow struggled to think of something really horrible for this wolfboy “… a turkey”.
Jason just roared with laughter, which only made Willow more cross.
“Calm Down Willow – you ain’t going anywhere and if you get too frisky I will take you to Asher”.
Willow simmered but refrained from screaming at Jason, not ready yet to face Asher after last night. This was worse than a thousand one night stands. How on earth could she act like that with a vamp of all people? She was mortified, and she had even dreamed of Asher, oh my god she was turning into a nymphomaniac.
“I need the toilet”, sniffed Willow, not looking at Jason.
Jason grinned; reaching down he untied first her feet and then loosened her bound hands from the bed. “Any tricks and I will truss you up like a Christmas turkey and deliver you to Asher”, he warned.
“The bathrooms through there, you can have a bath if you like. Don’t try and escape there’s only one entrance, no windows and I can be a very bad wolf if you test me”.
Willow ignored him, stretching sore muscles she limped in the direction of the bathroom. Slamming the door gave her a lot of satisfaction.

She could hear Jason laughing at her. She attended her needs first before turning both bath taps full on to mask her sounds as she investigated her prison. But it was as Jason told her, there were no windows of course - this was a vampire’s lair after all. No handy air ducts or laundry chutes. Nothing! And nothing that she could remotely use as a weapon, there was toiletries in small delicate glass bottles, but nothing heavy or substantial enough to hurt or disable a man let alone a werewolf.
She sighed, looked at the rapidly filling bath it was built for two in black marble. Shame to not to use it she thought and poured in the entire contents of a small purple bottle. It smelled heavenly. She filled the bath to the brim before sinking down amongst the bubbles.
Oh it felt so good, she still felt a little weak kneed and light headed from her bout of flu, but at least her fever was gone. She had a vague recollection of Asher caressing her sweaty brow, but she hastily thought of something else, anything less embarrassing.
The others were safe, they would have gloated if they had caught them, so she was the only one in trouble, she had to think her way out of this before the gang tried to rescue her. She didn’t think the vamps would be caught unawares again. It was up to her. But for now she would enjoy this bath. Never look a gift horse in the mouth her mother always said, and Willow wholeheartedly agreed as she found the Jacuzzi power button.
Outside the door, Jason relaxed as he smelled and heard the familiar sounds and scents of somebody taking a bath. Whistling softly and with a glint in his eyes he sat down. His imagination on overdrive over erotic images of Willow naked in a bath.

Half an hour later, Willow poked her head through the door, rosy and flush from the bath, she made a becoming picture as she clutched a white fluffy towel around her. “I want my clothes back,” she demanded.
Jason got up, and picking up a strappy black number from a chair, he held it out “Asher chose this for you”.
Willow looked at it, and then at him, totally shocked “ NO WAY you have got to be kidding, I’ve seen bathing costumes with more material”.
Jason shrugged; he didn’t see the problem.
Willow slitted her eyes in frustration, spotting a wardrobe she thrust the strappy thing back at him and marched over. Rooting around she eventually came up with a pair of men’s black Jeans and a sky-blue silk shirt. It would drown her but at least she wouldn’t feel so naked. Ignoring Jason she retired back to the bathroom to try out her new ensemble.

‘Not bad’ she thought surveying her image in the mirror, perhaps a bit waif like. If she had some lipstick and mascara perhaps that would help. “Oh god, I’m worried about my appearance to a vamp,” she muttered disgustedly. Just then she caught a glimpse of two pinprick marks on her neck like a hickey. She felt a rush of anger. That damn Vampire had bit her, she wondered why she was still alive, usually vamps didn’t leave their dinner half finished.
She had to escape and soon.
Jason booed as she came out “I preferred the towel, it was much more enticing, all naked and wet underneath”, he licked his lips suggestively.
Willow stared at him, she had finally figured out whom Jason reminded her of – Xander, a cruder more sexually charged Xander, but definitely from a Xander mould. Though that perhaps was being a bit unkind to Xander.
Well she could always handle Xander, Jason couldn’t be too bad.
She sat down across from him, and smiled sweetly. Jason looked at her warily.
“Soooo Jason, what you reading?” enquired Willow, bracing herself for some pornographic novel.
Jason looked embarrassed, then with a shrug he held up his book so she could read the book cover. “Chaos & the Universe” by Dr Hawkins
“Wow, I didn’t think they would have this here”, said Willow excitedly, geek mode already taking over, “ Have you read the bit about black holes?”
Despite herself Willow got caught up in their conversation, Jason to her surprise was actually very articulate and it was nice to discuss such things with somebody that knew what she was talking about and didn’t go all eyes glazed over look. Jason too was enjoying himself despite cutting college last year; he still tried to maintain some brain challenging exercise despite Jean Claude’s scoffs.

Willows tummy rumbled and looking apologetically at Jason, she asked him whether he had some food around, as it had been a few days since her last proper meal.
After warning her not to move, and that he would be back shortly he left the room, shutting the door firmly behind him.
Willow crept to the door and carefully tried the handle. “Damn it he’s locked it”, she muttered and gave the door a hefty kick in frustration.
From behind the door, Jason chuckled before nodding to Jaimal as he made his way to the Kitchen. Asher’s witch sure did have a temper!
Inside the room Willow swore to herself, now he was going to be alerted. She scouted around the room, but there was nothing that could be remotely thought of as a weapon.
“THINK WILLOW, there has to be something”.


OUTSIDE ANITA’S HOUSE
…………………………………………………………

“Nice set up – obviously the pay’s good”, commented Faith contemplating the quaint cottage, with its white picket fencing. She noticed that the front door seemed to peppered with small holes that had been painted over. Either this executioner had a really bad case of woodworm or she had been in a small gun battle. ‘All the more reason to be careful’ she mused. Dawn shifted anxiously beside her not entirely happy with Faith’s plan.
“Ready Dawn.”
“I suppose so”.
“Lets go then”, said Faith excitedly.



CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED
…………………………………………………………

Willow thought through her plan, it was a little hasty, probably ill conceived. She shrugged – what the heck, it wasn’t like things could get any worse!



ANITA’S HOUSE
………………………………………………

DRIINNG…DRINNG………DRINNG
Anita opened her eyes groggily, where was she and what was that god damn awful racket. She felt a strange lumpy thing clutched in her hands – Sigmund – well she was home at least. She peered blearily around the room noting that the sun was leaching into the room despite her heavy blackout curtains.
DRINNG DRINNG DRING
Damn it – Somebody was going was going to get shot. She mentally ran through the list of people it could be. The Police would phone, Richard was not speaking to her, all the vamps would be asleep, Ronnie had a key, Edward wouldn’t bother he would just pick the lock, and bad guys never rang the doorbell – it only left Nathaniel, only he was this persistent and this annoying.
“Okay okay… I’m comin”, she grumbled as she stumbled from her bedclothes, reaching up she ruffled her curly hair, then stomped downstairs her anger rising with each step.

“Damn doorbell, should have taken the batteries out….”
DRINNG DRINNG DRINNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGG

“GOD DAMN IT – I AM COMING”, she screamed at full decibel, as she unbolted the deadlocks. Not even looking through the peephole. She threw the door open and there was a stunned silence as both parties got a good look at each other. Damn it, it wasn’t Nathaniel but some pesky girl scouts.
“Errr Hello, we’re collecting for poor and starving puppies,” announced the two girls chirpily holding up a tin can.
Anita looked at them and then the tin can in angry disbelief. “NOT INTERESTED - Goodbye” she gritted out through clenched teeth, and attempted to shut the door

The girl stuck her foot in the doorjamb. “Whoa Lady, just a few minutes of your time please, there’s dying puppies out there surely you can spare a few dollars?”
“Okay Okay, just leave me in peace”, replied Anita, she stomped to the table before stopping midway. Her brain suddenly clicking into gear – Puppies – girl scouts in leather pants – Nah! She never bothered to turn, just dived behind the couch, reaching for the knife blades she stowed there for just such an emergency. She swivelled on her back and threw a blade at the door, it imbedded itself to the hilt, the younger girl looked at the quivering blade, her eyes wide in astonishment.
“Wow, you must hate puppies”.
“Where’s your friend” Anita snarled back, another blade already in her hands, she swore under her breath wishing she had her faithful browning and Richard said she was being paranoid wearing a gun to bed!
“Right here lady”.
Anita rolled again, throwing the blade simultaneously, she gasped in shock as leather girl caught it, tossed it in the air, before throwing it back at her. It missed her by a whiskers breath. Before she could grab another one, something large and heavy crashed down on her. Her last conscious thought was she needed more guns.



CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED
……………………………………………………

Jason balanced the tray on his knee, as he unlocked the door.
“Grubs up Willow – hope you like … WILLOW?” he cried out spotting Willow lying crumpled in a heap on the floor. He sprung forward, and went flying as he tripped over the strategically placed glass bottles, his arms flailed and the dinner tray crashed to the ground, he tried to maintain his balance but his feet went skidding as they encountered a layer of thick oily gloop and he too crashed to the ground with an ouff.
Willow sprung up and leaped over Jason using his back as a springboard. She dashed out the door, straight into a very hard and masculine chest.
Two large arms encircled her and lifted her off her feet.
“Going somewhere?” rumbled the man politely.
Willow drew back her arm and punched the man in his midriff; it was like hitting a brick wall.
“Ow!”
The man just chuckled, “You ok Jason?”
“Yeah, I’m ok”.
Jaimal laughed even harder when he saw Jason, covered from head to foot in multicoloured oil, wiping more slime from his face. He sniffed the air experimentally, “Whew you smell like a bordello”.
Jason glowered at him, before turning his attention to Willow.
“I’m taking you to Asher”.



ANITA’S HOUSE
…………………………………………………

Anita strained at her bonds for the umpteenth time. But to no avail this Faith Girl knew her knots. She had woken up after being knocked out to find herself tied down to her chair. The two girls who she discovered were called Dawn and Faith for the most part seemed to ignore her, instead they used her shower, ransacked her fridge before sitting down to watch her TV and woof down her microwave meals
Faith gave a burp “excuse me”, she turned and catching Anita’s eyes she pulled up a chair and straddled it.
“Sooo tell me what’s the pay like, are you on a retainer or do you just get paid per execution?” asked Faith conversationally.

Anita stared at her, disbelief on her face “you didn’t kidnap me to find out about my job, so lets cut to the chase what do you want and who do work for”.
“okay so much for small talk”, snapped Faith irritably. “Your lover boy has our friend and so we want to make a swap”.
Anita stared at her “which one”, she blurted without thinking.
“which one?, what do you mean which one? How many vamps are you dating?”
Anita closed her eyes and swore briefly - Jean Claude. She glanced at Faith appraisingly, she had a hardness to her, a certain coldness in the eyes that told her that Faith had seen her share of death. She knew because she saw the same look in her eyes when she looked in the mirror. The other girl Dawn didn’t have it, there was a freshness and innocence to her, despite the sadness she had seen lurking in the young girls expression. Dawn was the weak link, the one to exploit if she was to get out of this. She didn’t doubt that Jean Claude had their friend, but the master vampire never did anything without a reason, and for him to flaunt the law so fragrantly meant trouble. Jean Claude was a survivor if nothing else. Besides which Anita hated being used as a bargaining chip, she was used to being a player, not a commodity to be traded.

Anita opened the marks, Richard as usual rebuffed her attempts and cut himself off. But Jean Claude despite it being daylight she felt an answering call, faint at first but then a definite flow of power flooded into her. He knew she was in trouble but he would be powerless to help until the sun fell. Great she was on her own with psycho girl until then. Damn Richard.
Faith seemed oblivious, but Dawn looked up her expression confused, her body shivering. She looking uneasily at Anita, “What was that?”
‘Just great she had magic or was power sensitive’ thought Anita.
Faith narrowed her eyes glancing at Dawn and Anita in turn. “Whatever you just did lady – knock it off or I will knock off you. You okay short stuff?”
“ Yeah, it was weird like somebody walking on my grave”.
Both girls looked suspiciously at her. Anita adopted a Jean Claude bland expression, while she tested her bonds again.

“It doesn’t matter, we want you to make a few calls to your lover?” stated Faith menacingly.
“In your dreams, Let me go and then we’ll talk”.
Faith picked up a knife and began to peel an apple menacingly. Anita was unimpressed, when you have seen somebody skin a were, an apple was a pretty poor follow up. Faith seeing Anita couldn’t be intimidated went back to lets piss her off mode. Before long the two women were exchanging insults ranging from Anita’s choice of bed partners to Faith’s underhand fighting techniques.
Dawn had grown bored with the conversation, and was rifling through Anita’s belongings. She picked up a manila folder and several A4 full Technicolor photographs of the latest crime scene fell. Dawn blanched before looking away in disgust.
“Faith looks at this”.
Faith glanced down before looking at Anita, her face-hardening “you are one weird chick”
Anita sighed, “Look OK I am on a police investigation, these are murder crime shots that I have been asked to look at, I was actually wondering whether you had any involvement”
Faith shot her a look, before going over to where Dawn had dumped a manila folder crammed full of police files. She began sifting through it her face expressionless as she viewed the photo’s stark offerings.
Dawn began whispering to her and Faith nodded agreement.
Dawn faced Anita, and said haltingly “Its not human the thing that did this”.
Anita rolled her eyes “Tell me something I don’t know”, she said cuttingly.
Dawn nodded undeterred “I keep forgetting that you know about monsters where we are from this would be labelled as a maniac killing or wild dogs”.
Anita nodded, her mind latching on to the ‘where we are from’ statement what was that supposed to mean.
“Look we want our friend back, but we can’t not help not when something is killing people, we are the good guys, usually it is up to us to stop the monsters”.
“If you want to help, let me go, this thing could be killing somebody as we speak”, persuaded Anita. Dawn whitened, her face starting to show doubts. She glanced back at Faith,

“Not likely this monster is a nocturnal hunter”, stated Faith from the table where she had lain out all the photos. “ Its not a vampire or a were, my guess would be a demon possibly of the Gorull variety, they like hanging around deserted and haunted places, especially cemeteries”.
Anita was unimpressed “ What do you know about murder investigations and murder scenes. I have been the Police monster expert witness for years and I am not sure what caused this”.
“ Faith has been battling monsters since she was fifteen, every night she has seen more death and monsters than most people will see in a lifetime – she is the slayer, listen to her please”, replied Dawn earnestly.

Faith held up a photo “Look at this victim, his head has been cracked open and the brain half eaten, and this one the killer has eviscerated this man, but left the remains, his eyes are missing though and the crime scene is drenched in blood. A vamp is not interested in meat, just blood and this thing wastes it. Weres would go after the belly and other soft meaty parts, why take the trouble to crack the skull when the flesh is much more accessible. A Gorull variety demon has no molars just razor sharp frontal teeth almost like a sharks, great for cracking open skulls not so great for chewing down meat, they have a particular penchant for soft oozy parts like the brain. And a certain vamp one told me that they consider eyes to be great delicacies. This police report states that the murderer was disturbed that’s why the eyes are only half eaten”.

“Euggh yuck Faith, thanks for the in-depth account, that’s an image I want to remember” grimaced Dawn, her face now even whiter.
“Its not a demon”, scoffed Anita, “The victims souls were untouched and demons aren’t interested in flesh or brains”.
Dawn and Faith exchanged a horrified look, understanding coming to them simultaneously.
“Perhaps the demon is not from around here”.


CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED

“NOOOOOOOOO LETMEGO you BULLY”, Willow was yelling and thrashing about so much, that in the end, Jason slung her over his shoulder as they made their way down to the coffin room. Willow was beating her small hands against Jason’s back, resisting Jaimal’s efforts to retie her hands, he was laughing so much that both Willow and Jason stopped their struggles to shout at him. Which only increased his laughter, Asher’s Witch was so funny and so cute he wanted to tickle her belly. Even funnier was Jason - the ultimate smoothy - covered in a layer of gunk. He couldn’t wait until he next saw the pack, they would love this story.

Finally they came to thick steel hardened metal door, Jason manoeuvred Willow on his shoulder, before unlocking the door - which sprung noiseless open. Inside the room only dim shapes could be made out. Willow had stopped struggling and was trying to look at where Jason was taking her. He walked into the middle of the room, before dumping her in a heap on the floor. Now that he was here he was a bit undecided on what to do next, he had used this as the ultimate threat to scare Willow into submission but after her latest stunt he lost his temper and brought her here. He couldn’t put her with Asher, there was no telling what she might do, and he didn’t have the meanness in him to lock her in an empty coffin which was his original plan. He sighed noisily wondering whether he could scare her a bit and then tie her up upstairs again. Jaimal was silent now, his amusement fled after entering the room he could smell death here.

“You don’t have to do this Jason”, stated Jaimal quietly, realising the young werewolfs doubts.

Willow shivered on the floor, wondering at Jaimal’ words, she was beside some large boxes, she squinted her eyes in the candlelight dimness and tried to make sense of the room. She gasped as she realised the boxes were coffins, and began to back away from Jason, crawling over the rough concrete floor, until she bumped into another coffin. Fear coming off her in waves – were they planning to kill her. Taking a deep breath, she let her senses out, fear boosting her drained powers.

Jason smelling her fear and stepped towards her guiltily his palms held out, he had let things get out of hand “Willow I am sor…”

Willows eyes widened in shock, her head swivelling around to the coffin behind her as she breathed out one word in absolute horror “ASHER”. Her brain refusing to believe what her magic was telling her.

Jason stopped exchanging confused looks with Jaimal, “Willow its ok, we can go now”,

Willow wasn’t listening, her whole attention focused on the coffin in front of her. Her body rigid with emotion.

Power suddenly filled the room, dark power that made the candles flitter and dance and the air become thick with dread. Willow uttered a small phrase and the coffin lid flew off, smashing to smithereens against the wall.

Willow choked on seeing Asher lying in the coffin, her mind shutdown as feelings of unimaginable grief assailed her.

“ NO … NO…” Willow was screaming, her face a mix of absolute denial and shock.

Jason gulped and stepped towards her, thinking to grab her and take her back to the room before she tried to damage Asher. Willow turned to him, and he shrunk back not at the look of absolute fury but at her eyes which had turned completely black, power lurked there, power that his wolf was afraid of. She hissed at him low and furious, then with a flick of her eyes he found himself with Jaimal propelled out of the room by an unseen force to come crashing against the wall, a second later the door slammed shut and no amount of werewolf strength could get it to open.

Willow surveyed her love, she couldn’t understand her grief, she should hate him, hate this vampire, instead her soul felt like somebody had taken a stake to it. She remembered her dream, and finally accepted that it had been no dream, they had shared something precious. She had a glimpse of being a part of somebody - now that was gone.
She placed a trembling hand on his chest, no life, no soul lurked there he was gone that much she knew. Nothing inhabited this body that was frozen to the touch. He was so cold, so very cold in death.

Why he hadn’t turned to dust she wasn’t sure, but at least she could touch him one last time. She brushed his hair away from his face, exposing his scars that she had stroked last night in their dreams. Even in death he sought to cover them, tears falling she caressed his face with kisses that he would never feel. Rubbing her cheek next to his, she whispered words he would never hear. Somebody would pay for this, somebody would suffer tortures of hell, she would kill anybody that had a part in Asher’s death.

She lifted her face and screamed in denial, eyes glowing black, power filling her, bloating her as in her rage she summoned on all her magic and power, the room swirled with it. Whispering and then shouting she began chanting half remembered spells.

She hadn’t been able to save Buffy. But she wasn’t going to let Asher go without a fight. The magic intensified and she gasped at the force of it, she had never experienced anything like this. There was too much. She bit her wrist and as the blood flowed down her arm, she placed it against Asher’s lips, remembering how Buffy had once saved Angel this way. Then she let the power go in a rush; the magic swarmed through her, through Asher and then through the room in an explosion of magic that could be felt throughout the circus as the very foundations shook.

She was barely conscious when a pair of hands, warm hands reached up and cradled her face.

CH13(I think)


Jean Claude stretched and yawned lazily, exulting in this feeling of power and magic still lingering in his body. Asher’s little witch sure packed a powerful punch. It was still two in the afternoon, but after Willow’s little wake up call, he was at peak strength. Warm blood coursed through his beating heart and he felt flushed and sated as though he had fed from Jason. He would definitely insist that Willow joined his retinue and now he had tasted her power, he had absolutely no qualms about using any method to achieve this.

He allowed himself a small smile, and glanced over at his friend and one time lover. The girl was sitting on his lap, her face lost in his shoulder hidden by a cascade of golden hair. Asher was murmuring soothing noises as Willow sobbed. Asher caught his glance and shrugged his shoulders, his expression a strange mix of bewilderment, longing and desire. Jean Claude was taken back at his friend’s apparent attachment to the girl in such a short period of time, and although a part of him was cheered by his companion’s interest, he could not help but feel concerned - not just for his plans but for Asher also. He did not think Asher could take another rejection.

Finally Asher sighed in concern and in one fluid movement, that was not wholly human, he rose, swinging Willow into his arms, he strode out of the room, his face set, but Jean Claude could taste the desire and rightly guessed that Asher was going to use his own method of calming her down.

Jean Claude finally turned to the two men kneeling on the floor. “So… my young wolves perhaps you can tell me why Willow was in this room and why my pomme de sang you are wearing the contents of my bathroom?”.

Jason closed his eyes as he felt another thick dollop of gloop travel down his nose and splatter on the cold concrete. This was not going to go well for him.



ANITAS HOUSE

Faith and Anita were still arguing furiously, the argument taking on all the panache of a schoolroom slanging match. Dawn was ignoring them as she drew lines and crosses on a St Louis City Map. Frowning in concentration, her small mouth pursed together, she finally began to make sense of the emerging pattern.

“KNOCK IT OFF YOU TWO”, Dawn bellowed. “I’ve figured it out - where the next attack is going to take place”.

Faith and Anita looked up in irritation at being interrupted. Before Anita snorted inelegantly “No way kid - the entire police department has spent all week on this, no way in 10 minutes can you just bust this case wide open”. Dawn just shrugged unapologetically.

“Ok lets see what you got short stuff”, commented Faith coming around the table to peer at the heavily drawn upon map. Anita despite herself craned her head trying to see the map. Dawn obligingly moved the table over so Anita had an unobstructed view.

“OK, I have taken a few far out assumptions but it all seems to add up. I have taken our ‘landing area’ so to speak as a pivotal point, then added in all the murder scenes, incidents of disturbances etc, these are all in red. Following me so far?”

“Uh huh”.
“ I don’t see any pattern though”.
“Welll then I have added in our locations at these times, or more specifically yours Faith…”.
“Mine”, exclaimed Faith in shock.
“Ha, I just knew you were involved somehow in this”, stated Anita snidely.
“Whoa, back up a minute bitch, I said HER location not the murder scene, if you look at the blue dots that’s Faith, which is in a direct line with the red cross and with our landing area”.
Both women looked at her in confusion. Dawn sighed how could they be so dense.

“Look, Faith is a bit of a magnet for evil things, it comes from being the slayer, anointed one, the chosen one… yadda yadda. Anyhow suppose that the thing Faith killed wasn’t really dead just jumped to errmmm… this place to escape. Now he is going to be mightily peeved that he got stabbed in the heart even if he didn’t just disintegrate as he should have done. So Mr demon wants revenge, he can probably track Faith to some extent and tracks her after nightfall, however being a big old nasty demony thing he gets hungry along the way and stops for a quick snack at the nearest cemetery, which probably delays him enough that Faith has moved on since then. Look at the latest two attacks; first one was at 10pm, bang in line with Guilty pleasures, then later on he’s moved in the direct route from that site towards the circus. I think then it gets too near daylight and he heads back towards the landing area, causing another disturbance here. He’s made like a triangle - see with the pivotal point being the landing area. He’s probably made a den near there, no chance of being stumbled upon. My guess is if we stay here after dark, Mr demon will follow this direct line to us, which goes right through St Michaels cemetery”. Dawn stopped for breath looking at each of them pleadingly, her chest heaving.

The two women considered each other, then Dawn, before studying the map again.
“I don’t know whether you are a genius or just plain weird, kid, that’s a lot of assumptions you have made but it does seem to add up in a strange way”, stated Anita.
Faith nodded in agreement, before adding “If this is the same demon, then no doubt it had something to do with us being here, Lets stake out the cemetery, trap the demon and make it take us back to sunnydale”.
“First things first, we need to get Willow back, we can swap ‘her’ for Willow hightail it back to the cemetery, catch this thing and let Willow do her willowy magic thing”.
“Sounds like we have a plan” replied Faith approvingly.
“Whoa… slow down, this ain’t a game kids, people will get hurt if you do this alone. Leave it to the professionals. Let me loose now, and I will not press charges, I promise.” Seeing Faith’s stony countenance she appealed to the younger girl instead, hoping to sway her, “I can arrange protective custody for you both until we have this murderer on a slab or behind bars, you will be safe I will protect you with my life I promise”.

Faith looked at her with interest, recognising an oath of honour, despite herself she was starting to like this rent a slayer woman.

It was Dawn however who answered, “Sheesh, its only one little demon, not even a major category one at that”.

Anita was shocked and exasperated at their nonchalance “I have a record of over 20 vamp kills and I would not take on this alone with no back up”. Anita had added the last boastful comment in an effort to impress upon them, it usually, in fact always worked, and she never even added in the illegal kills.

“Hmmm…Not bad, not bad at all… my top record is over 50 a night, I kind of lost track after that, and I don’t have to worry about that silly law like you do, its just wham bang, and stake em up”, Faith commented breezily sitting down opposite Anita as she settled down happily for a bit of slayer chat. Something she missed doing with Buffy.

Anita just stared at her, eyes wide “Fifty?”



CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED

“WOW”, panted Willow.

“Oui Ma petite Sorciere”, grinned Asher smugly, far too satisfied with himself. Willow peered at him evilly before planting small gushy kisses on his chest, finally grazing his nipple with her teeth, Asher groaned and then yelped in surprise as she bit down sharply. Willow giggled as Asher dived on her.

Outside the suite, Jason scowled irritably, relegated back to guard duty, he was most put out by the noises and smells coming from Asher’s room. It sounded like Asher was getting the best lay of his life while he Jason, stud extraordinaire was left on the sidelines.
Sometime later Willow lay contentedly curled into Asher’s side, her head resting on his chest, listening to his heart beat very slow but definitely there, it was soothing, her eyes closed and she could feel herself drifting off.
“Talk to me my little witch, tell me about yourself, what do you like, what do you hate…I already have a good idea of what you love…”whispered Asher slyly.
Willow blushed before grumbling half-heartedly “Hey that’s my line – ‘lets talk’ why you fall asleep”.
Asher chuckled seductively, before nibbling on her earlobe, “shall I wake you up ma petite rouge”.
“ Uh Oh, No definitely not…NO NO no more… Ohhhmyyygoddd…truce truce no more noooo ohhhhhh ummmm oh hmmmm noooo, no… no… …oohhhh ok ok ok …ummmm keep going ohmygodddd ohyes…OH YESSSS keep going…”.

Outside Jason scowled and shifted uncomfortably as Willow’s shrieks filled the hallway, good god it was enough to awaken the dead. Did Asher have no shame. Jean Claude could not have picked a worse punishment, next time he would just accept a beating. This was absolute agony in every sense.

Inside the room, Willow hit Asher with a pillow after she had caught her breath back. Asher for once looked surprised, this was not the usual response to multiple orgasms. Willow huffed before muttering about seeing why Buffy got so upset with the no sleeping with Angel rule.
She glanced up at him shrewdly, “How come you have a soul? You haven’t been cursed, faced with eternal damnation if you experience one moment of pure happiness?”
Asher looked confused and then delighted. “I have a soul, you can see my soul?”
“Sure” shrugged Willow squinting at him “Its all shimmery and golden, its why I thought you were truly dead in the vault room. I could sense nothing - no you, no soul, no life, just complete death, I have never felt that before in a vampire. Your soul pulls at me, it feels right this being together, even though you are a vampire. It just doesn’t seem to matter, I love you”.
Asher stilled at her proclamation, his body rigid with rejection. Hair falling almost magically over his scarred side of his face.
Willow smiled sadly, before kissing his face softly, “somebody sure did a number on you. Yes I love you, I don’t why or how, I should hate you really hate you. But this feels so right, lying beside you, talking to you I have never felt so content, so alive as I do now. The funny thing is, this connection feels so strong I know you feel the same”.
“It… It is difficult for me, I have lived for so long with this” Asher indicated his scarred body bitterly, “that I cannot accept as you can. How can you look at me with love, when even I cannot gaze at myself without loathing, only Jean Claude and Anita can gaze at me without distaste and then I fear it is more pity that I see in their gazes. For decades now my looks have been used a punishment for lesser vampires in need of a lesson. I cannot change, cannot change who I am, who I have become”.

Willow smiled brushing his hair away from his face gazing into his eyes, “look through my eyes then, see what I see, feel what I feel.”

Asher paled and looked deep into Willows eyes, his breathing strenuous. Red tinged tears falling down his cheeks.
“Mon dieu, you are an angel”.
“Not quite”.
“Willow the scars are not just on the outside, you do not know what I am what I have done, I fear I am as scarred inside as out now”
“Tell me then, tell me it all, tell me about how you and Jean Claude met,…and you can tell me about this Anita lady too”, replied Willow piqued by the mention of another women.
Asher chuckled amused despite himself, at the flash of jealously in her voice.




Ch 14 ANITAS HOUSE

“Wow, have you got some sort of Rambo thing going here”, quipped Dawn surveying the huge array of weaponry they had assembled from Anita’s various gun cupboards and hidey holes. “this is so much cooler than Buffy’s Chest!”

“Yeah nice blades”, commented Faith handling a metre long Samurai sword. Getting a feel for the weight and balance, she practised some standard swings. This felt good, real good, a real quality piece not like some of the crap she and Buffy had to use, this must have cost a fortune. She could work 12 hour shifts for the next year and still not be able to afford a piece like this. This rent a slayer business sure did pay well.
Anita was getting angry, bad enough that she had been brought down and tied up by two kids, but now they were playing with her pride and joy. She hated anyone even touching her stuff, and as Dawn started fiddling with her Glock handgun, she could feel her tension levels rising irritably. She had argued, pleaded, shouted until they had finally threatened to gag her, it didn’t make any difference, they just ignored her and went on merrily making their crazy plans. Dawn had even gone so far as to pat her on the head and tell her not to worry.
Anita was the executioner for 2 states, she was the bogeyman for the monsters. But these two… two GIRLS treated her like some bimbo chick. Okay Faith seemed to be able to handle herself, but she must be delusional, nobody could take out the number of vamps that she had boasted about. It just wasn’t possible, she was too young, too immature, too unscarred! Besides if that amount of vampires had started dying or disappearing there would have been a national outcry from the pro vamp movement and celebrations from the HAV groups.

ENOUGH. It was time to call in the troops, with a fog horn if needed. She closed her eyes centring her self as Marianne had taught her, her body went limp as she channelled her energy, feeling her aura glow and shimmer around her. Gradually she called on the marks, focusing more and more power, until with a rush she let it go. Let Richard ignore this one, it would have the punch of a sledgehammer.
Anita opened her eyes, letting her breathing slowly come back to normal. Both the girls seemed to be unaware, Dawn briefly rubbed her arms, before going back to poking at the various guns and knives, she really was like a kid in the toy shop. Faith had progressed from simple stances and was executing some pretty complicated moves.
Good she had controlled the marks this time, Marianne’s training was paying off. Now she just had to wait for the cavalry to turn up. Anita grimaced painfully, she had once told Jean Claude that she would never wait to be rescued, and now here she was doing exactly that. She consoled herself with the thought that she was probably saving these two girls lives too, as long as Jean Claude kept his temper. She was not concerned with Richard he wasn’t a killer; he would be more likely to ask them to talk it over a cup of coffee.

CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED

Jean Claude, stormed down the corridor, his anger so strong, Jason could smell it. He instinctively cowered on the floor, submissively. Eyes downcast. Praying his masters’ temper wasn’t with him. But Jean Claude barely spared him a glance as he crashed the heavy doors to Asher suite open. Willow gave a startled shriek, and Jason caught a glimpse of whirling pale limbs as she darted under the sheets until all that could be seen was two bright green eyes under a mass of red hair. Jason swallowed a grin as the doors swung close.
Willow was mortified this was so embarrassing. Asher, the sneak was howling with laughter, showing no shame in his nude body. She kicked him, he only laughed harder.
Jean Claude stood amazed his anger momentarily forgotten, it had been a long time since he had seen Asher so happy, so obviously at peace with himself. He shook his head and glowered at Willow who gave a small squeak and ducked under the covers.
Asher started to calm down, it really was quite amusing, he had not laughed this much in decades. “Mon Ami, what has happened that you are so angry with my amour”.
Jean Claude face was a mask, showing no emotion, but inside he was amazed at Asher calling his witch his love. This situation needed some contemplation, this was moving too fast, Asher was far too enamoured in their unwilling guest or as it turns out quite willing guest”.
“Anita has returned and is danger she has called through the marks. Anita never calls for help - her need must indeed be great. Five minutes ago she telephoned and says she is being held by two girl scouts who want to trade her for their friend Willow…Anita sounded most displeased with me”, added Jean Claude.

Willow groaned under the covers, she poked her head out, smiling apologetically at Jean Claude “I think we need to call a truce, before things get out of hand”.
“A truce?” Whispered Jean Claude silkily, gliding towards her, Willows eyes opened wider. “Oh I think not, I think you will instruct your compatriots to surrender before I have them torn asunder for their impudence and you my dear will do exactly as I say”.
Willow sat up, her eyes beginning to leak to black, her own anger beginning to show, the candles flickered. “I am Witch, I am Death, Destroyer of vampires, demons, gods and icky creepy things. I am not under your control or your command. Do not dare to threaten me. I offer friendship, but I can also offer death”.
Jean Claude glanced at Asher, who should have this impertinent witch under control. He only gave a very gallic shrug before commenting in rapid French “It is as she says my friend, she can break my enthrallment if she wishes, her power is indeed impressive. If she has power to give us life during the day, then I would not like to see what she could do against us. But Mon ami I would lay my life that she means us no harm, and she would be a powerful ally for us”

Both men were shocked when Willow replied back in fluent French “Oui, you have my word and blood oath as a witch”.

Jean Claude stared at her, before bowing and kissing her hand gently “So Willow, a truce it will be between us, my word as Master of the City”.

He gazed at her a few seconds longer, a small smile on his lips, until Willow realising where his eyes were straying to whipped her hand away and covered her breasts. Her face going red in embarrassment.

Jean Claude laughed, just an ordinary laugh this time, no sexy mojo to it. He glanced at Asher in amusement “You are right mon ami she is a delight, I will leave you to get attired, bring her to my office, so we can resolve this situation with her friends”.

Willow glanced at Asher, after Jean Claude had departed, “well you were no help”. Asher grinned unrepentant – “ Ahh but you were so delightful to watch. Also you have forced Jean Claude to treat you as an equal, as an alpha, it will give you certain privileges and respect”.
He kissed her idly running his tongue down her collarbone, she groaned and squirmed from beneath him and began searching for her clothing which he had torn off her in their haste earlier. “Behave Asher, We need to get dressed, playtime later”, she stated firmly.
Asher mock pouted, and preened himself on the bed, trying to entice her into a quick tumble.
“ermmm I don’t suppose you have anything else to wear”, said Willow grumpily holding up the shreds of what once was a pair of black 501’s. Asher just grinned.


ANITAS HOUSE

Anita had just finished her call to the master of the city, and judging by her expression she wasn’t too impressed.

Dawn shrugged and went back to playing with the Glock, practising stances in front of the mirror, her eyes narrowed, lips sneering as she pointed the gun at the mirror and whispered throatily “Go on…make my day PUNK”. This was so cool. She burled the gun around. BANG, the gun went off with a tremendous roar, everybody ducked as a huge hole appeared in the door. Dawn shrieked and dropped the gun.
“ohmygod, ohmygod, your door, I shot your door”, babbled Dawn in fright.
“Yeah and next time you might just kill it, leave my guns alone, they are not toys”, shouted Anita absolutely infuriated, she had only just got that door fixed.
Faith shook her head, picked up the gun and unloaded it with professional ease. “Guns are no good Dawn, swords, axes and even Mr pointy is better”, she admonished.
A groan came from the door, and everybody turned around in shock. Dawn gasped in horror “Ohmygod, I shot somebody”.

CHAPTER 15
CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED

“Sounds like a load of bullshit to me”, exclaimed Jason angrily, he could no longer contain himself after listening to Willow’s fantasy tale.
“Enough Jason, I can taste the truth in her words, however impossible it may seem. I am satisfied – Jean Claude?”
“Oui, there is no subterfuge on how your lovely Witch arrived here” agreed Jean Claude before turning to Willow, “However my sweet, I would know more about your companions and their intentions, before we discuss this … truce?” the last was sent with a smile that allowed her a glimpse of fang, just enough to probably be intimidating. A silent warning of whom she was dealing with.

Willow glanced at Asher who was standing as Jean Claude’s second beside him. They were inside Jean Claude’s private office. And despite herself Willow couldn’t help admiring the Vamps sense of flair even if his style did have a slight edge of kink to it. She was facing Jean Claude across a black lacquer coffee table, everthing else was either black or white all in leather or velvet. The only colour to add relief were two vivid scarlet cushions against the white leather chaise longue. They looked like pearls of blood, similar to fangmarks. She wondered whether this was deliberate symbolism, but knowing how sick vampires could be it probably was.

Asher was no help at all, his pale eyes, had darkened to deep blue pools of desire and Willow felt herself blush in embarrassment and need as she realised the direction of his thoughts. Jean Claude suddenly snapped at him in rapid French, disliking that Asher was loosing his self-control over this girl-witch.

Jason shuffled closer to Willow, sniffing her in a way that was definitely not human. His arousal clear to her as it jutted forward, brushing against her body.
“I can smell their desire master”, breathed Jason excitedly.
Willow was mortified and without thinking she swung at him with a roundhouse punch, that met his nose with a satisfying crunch. “Why you…you… dirty mongrel, get out, get out…before I make it fall off ”. Jason yelped and moved to a safer distance, still aroused, but not willing to risk any limb especially that one against an enraged witch.
Jean Claude laughed, his good humour restored. His laugh seemed to fill the room, bouncing off all the occupants and raising the sexual tension tenfold. Willow’s whole body shivered in reaction, her eyes rolling back, fingers digging into the leather, “Oh God… please don’t do that, not right now…”

“Jason, leave us”, commanded Asher his eyes never leaving Willow’s as he came by her side, fingertips just caressing her cheek. Jason pouted but left swiftly at a warning glance from Jean Claude, his eyes bleeding to a pure blue of total lust.

Willow shuddered again and arched her back, as Asher’s fingers brushed lightly against her puckered nipples, caressing them through the flimsy silk sheath she wore. She closed her eyes letting her magic spread out, trying to desperately to find balance even as she parted her lips sucking one of Asher’s fingers in. Her magic spread outwards intermingling with Asher’s power bringing a soft gasp and moan from him and then Jean Claude’s.
“You’re a succubus”. Willow turned accusing eyes first at Jean Claude, then at Asher, half disbelieving what her senses our telling her.

It wasn’t a question and the effect was the same as cold bucket of water. Asher drew back, slightly hurt, his fists clenched as he strode to the other side of the room, struggling to regain control.
Willow drew deep breaths of air before turning to Jean Claude accusingly. Jean Claude shrugged unrepentantly, his eyes still a pure blue. He took her hand and kissed it softly, whispering “Oui the ardour is one of my gifts and my thanks for the snack little one”.

ANITAS HOUSE


They had dragged the body in, Dawn crying.
“He’s not dead, I’ve got a pulse, quick grab some towels I need to stop the bleeding, then call for an ambulance”.
Anita was frantic in her bonds straining her head to see who it was. “Who is it, Let me go you bitch”.
Faith had ripped the man’s shirt opened, idly noticing the well-developed abdominal muscles. The wound had entered his lower stomach and exited out his back. There was a lot of blood and if she didn’t get the blood stopped soon, he would never make it before they could call for an ambulance.
Dawn thrust some more towels at her and Faith held them firmly over the wound. Good the bleeding seemed to slowing, in fact thought Faith in confusion the wound seemed to be getting smaller. She glanced at the mans face, and instinct took over, as the man let out a snarl, she flipped back, the mans clawed fist narrowly missing taking off her head. `
Dawn scooted back on her bottom in complete panic, feet trying to get a purchase on the lino floor which was thick with blood. He was horrible like some monster half human, half beast, he hadn’t looked like that 5 minutes ago. She crawled around Anita’s chair.
“Richard? Richard is that you??… Richard…Richard don’t hurt them they are just kids”, Anita shouted at him.
He snarled at her, nothing human was left in those eyes. He ignored Anita, advancing on the terrified Dawn.
“Don’t show fear, don’t run it only makes it worse…RICHARD, RICHARD LISTEN TO ME LEAVE HER ALONE”.
Richard swung around, backhanding her across the cheek, Anita complete with chair went flying into the other room. His head slowly swivelled and two amber eyes fixed on Dawn, salvia dribbling from large canine teeth inside a still barely human mouth.

“Hey dog breath, come play stick”. Faith somersaulted landing between him and Dawn. The creature bared his fangs, and without warning pounced. Faith swung the Kan-tan stick like a baseball and Richard went flying into Anita’s dresser, crockery smashed. From the other room came a moan and Dawn after a glance at Faith went to check on Anita.
Faith took up stance, this was a dance of death. The beast was in a killing frenzy.

CH 16
Anita woke up to the sound of smashing glass, and animalistic growls. It sounded like a full scale battle in her living room. Her head was pounding and she could feel Jean Claude’s insistent call through the marks. She blearily opened her eyes she was lying face down on the floor still tied to the chair. Damn this was humiliating.
“Are you okay?”
“What do you think, untie me NOW, I have to get to Richard?” Snapped Anita struggling against her bonds.
“You know this…this Richard?”

Anita stilled hearing the unspoken word ‘MONSTER’ in the young girls question. Until today she had never thought of Richard as being truly one of the monsters, but she would never forget his face as he had hit her, he had known damn him, he may be more wolf now, but it was the human part the real monster that was controlling him. Later if they all survived this he would regret, he would wallow in self hatred, blaming his wolf for his lapse and if she hadn’t seen his eyes she may have agreed with him. But God help her, God help them all she knew now.
“Yeah – look he is not himself, and getting gut shot probably didn’t help matters. Come on Kid let me up before somebody gets hurt real bad”.
“Uh – I don’…”
“There is only two outcomes here, he won’t stop until its finished either way. ONE: Faith kills Richard in which case I will kill you and your buddy. TWO: Richard kills Faith and then you and possibly me as well. That would be an automatic death sentence for him. I would personally see to it that I raise you from the dead and make your suffer over and over”, Anita ranted. Way to go she thought start with the threats while you are still tied up, face down on the carpet. Sometimes she just wasn’t the calm negotiating type.

Surprisingly the girl just laughed and pulled out a knife holding it at Anita’s neck, “my sister was like you, perhaps we can work something out – a truce maybe, I want my friends back safely, and you will want that demon thing killed and Richard in one piece – Agreed”.
Anita sighed and then winced as she heard the unmistakable sound of a body being thrown through a wall. She had just decorated that room.
“Agreed a truce, you have my word as the executioner, now get me the frigging hell out of here”.
Dawn grinned and shook one of Anita’s hands still bound to the chair, before sawing away at the ropes binding her, “Truce then my word as a Summers – you got a plan?” added Dawn
“Yeah I do”, as she stiffly got to her feet, “hand me that telephone”.
After threatening dismemberment to some lackey, Anita had been put through to Jean Claude. For some reason he had been amused regarding Anita’s Truce but he had grown very quiet on hearing about Richard’s madness. There was a muted conversation in French before he answered her.
“It is as you say ma petite, I have called through the marks, but in his madness I cannot connect. He is my animal to call, but while the Sun is up, my power is not enough to soothe his beast from this distance. I will not be able to come to your aid, ma petite for some time, and by then I am afraid it may be too late Anita… Too late for us all”.
Anita closed her eyes, things were bad when Jean Claude called her Anita, “Jean Claude, I do not think it is his animal that is the problem”, she admitted, her heart breaking at this admission.
“Oui Ma petite I know”, Jean Claude agreed gently, “But for now we must stop him any way we can, or we will all suffer. Afterwards… after I will do what I must to help Richard, help his wolf, only I can do this with or without his permission Anita”.
There was a warning there and a question. Anita closed her eyes briefly remembering Richards face as he had hit her “Agreed Jean Claude. But what about now, I have to stop him before he kills this girl and I am not keen on committing suicide by trying to shoot him”.
“Ma petite, Anita I must link through you to call his beast. You must touch him skin to skin, but it maybe that by soothing his beast, it will trigger the Ardeur in us both - you must be prepared”.
By fucking him, Anita thought sourly, not happy with his plan at all, especially with two girl scouts in the house she was going to feel like the whore of Babylon. But she was all out of options and hearing another crash, out of time”.
“OK, this had better work”, sighed Anita as she shed her penguin pyjama top, Thankful at least that she was still wearing a bra.

Dawn looked shocked, this wasn’t the usual method for stopping monsters.

“Here take this its loaded with silver bullets, if I fail, well go for a head shot nothing else will keep him down”, Anita paused and glanced at the hole in the door, “actually just give the gun to Faith, I have a feeling she can shoot”.
Dawn nodded wide-eyed, and then watched as Anita casually strolled into the living room, just short of where Richard and Faith were fighting. She seemed to be shimmering and Dawn started scratching her skin, whatever Anita was doing it felt yuk.

“Richard, Richard, hear me – hear your Lupa, come to me”, Anita ran her hands down her body, arching her back, offering herself to him. Richard turned towards her his gaze feral, he snarled at her, and took a small step towards her. Anita glanced at Faith, and motioned with her eyes for her to back down. For once Faith saw the wisdom in this and cautiously slowly retreated to Dawn’s side.

Richard snarled again but it was less aggressive now, his attention drawn to Anita who smelt of pack and heat. He took another step towards her his face still a mask of hatred, but lust was now starting to show through.
Anita her eyes firmly focused on him, took out a small silver penknife, he growled, his body tense.
Anita made a small cut on her hand, blood dripping freely she offered it to him, “Come my Ulfric, drink of me, drink what is freely given”.
He growled again, but softer this time, his whole attention now focused on her blood dripping onto the cream carpet. In a movement almost too quick to be seen he pounced and straddling her body he reached out and began licking her hand, growling at her warning her not to resist. Anita grabbed hold of his hair and tugging him down she French kissed him, sharing the blood between them. ‘Now Jean Claude’, she whispered. Through the marks came a cool wind of power, a blue fire, she took this power and forced it through Richard. She could feel Jean Claude in her mind and for once she didn’t resist, the stakes were too high. Richard screamed, a sound that no human or animal should ever make. He collapsed on her his breathing ragged as violent tremors shook his body. She held him tight, stroking his back it was over for now.

Gradually she realised his shudders was stifled sobs that were racking his body, he rolled over his hand in his face. “Oh God Anita, what have I become I nearly killed you”.
She didn’t say anything, what was there for her to say now. She stroked his hair, but he jerked back, rejecting her touch. Sighing she sat up, glancing around she saw Faith and Dawn standing gaping. She motioned at them to leave her for a minute. She didn’t want anybody to see Richard in this state.
………………………………………………………………………………………



“Ma Petite how fares my wolf, I can feel his distress”,

“He is alive”, that was all Anita could say. He was physically and emotionally a wreck, he hadn’t spoken since the attack. He stared vacant eyed at the wall, refusing to meet her eyes or listen to her. Curled up foetus like on her bed.

Jean Claude paused he could feel Anita’s pain too, but knowing Anita’s penchant for not showing weakness, he decided to wait until he was there before offering comfort.
“I will bring him to my Circus, As alpha he cannot afford to show weakness to his pack, he will stay secluded until I am sure that he is…well”.
“And you cannot afford to have a weak triumvariate member, you manipulative bastard”, Anita commented bitterly but without much heat.
“I think of us all Anita, I cannot risk news of this leaking out. The council itself will take this as a sign of weakness, and his lesser pack members will jostle for power. There would be bloodshed”.
“Fine, Fine, I can’t deal with this now, we are going to this cemetery now to set up this ambush. It will be dark in 2 hours so I will meet you at the gates”.
“D’accord, I will see you then Ma petite”, he murmured her name as a caress, a dirty promise of wicked things in the night. Anita felt her face heat up. Honest to god that man should carry a government health warning.
Dawn was making frantic motions and jumping up down. Anita rolled her eyes, “Hold on Dawn wants to speak to her friend”.
“Of course, until tonight Ma petite”, There was quick conversation in French and a hesitant voice came on the phone, “Dawn?” Anita passed the phone over to an overexcited Dawn, who proceeded to give a blow by blow rundown of today’s events. Anita shook her head, and wondered whether she had ever been that eager.
She caught Faith’s eye, who shrugged back. She was actually beginning to like this girl. She held no grudge against Richard for trying to kill her and had brushed off Anita’s thanks with “no biggie”. In many ways they were very similar, and she could feel a sense of commaderie building as they discussed tactics for tonight.

CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED

Willow carefully put the phone down, her brow furrowed in concentration. Asher came up behind her kissing her gently on the head, he began to massage her shoulders. “What troubles you my little Willow”.
“Something is not right, this doesn’t make sense. I need to speak to Jason, I also need to purchase some items, magical items, I don’t have much time”.
Asher stilled, his hand resting on her shoulders.
“You are leaving too”, it wasn’t a question.
“I must they are my friends, they need me, I cannot leave them yet, not now, please, please understand”, she turned around in his arms, tears flowing down her cheeks. Asher closed his eyes so she couldn’t see his own pain, and gently began to kiss her tears away.
“Then lets us not waste time in tears and regrets, I would have you remember these last few hours of joy not sorrow”.
“Ok”.
“Bonne! I will call Jason, you may ask your questions and then he can get you your items that you require. Then you are mine completely, until sundown, we will do the wicked dance one more time, my Willow”.
“Ok”.
Willow smiled at him, teary eyed, and then held him closer, not wanting to let him go just yet.

CH 17
ST MICHAELS CEMETERY

“I hope she knows what she is doing, I have never met anybody that would meet a demon with only a sword”.

“Hey this is overkill for Faith, besides she is bait, not good to have the bait too tanked up, the monsters might not bite”. Dawn chatted unconcernedly happily munching on a bag of crisps she had purloined from Anita’s as they both kept watch from behind an old tree.
Faith sat cross-legged on a fallen gravestone, chanting aloud from a book that Anita had given her, the scene looked all mystical and inviting. The fact that the book was an old cookbook from Anita’s kitchen and Faith was reciting dirty limericks was not really an issue.
Faith was getting restless, she was freezing her butt off and damn it this gravestone was hard, next time she must remember to bring a cushion. Would this demon just hurry up, she felt like standing up and yelling ‘Yooohooo come and get me Mr Demon’. But she had a feeling Anita wouldn’t approve, talk about being tight arsed, Anita needed to lighten up!

On the other side of the cemetery Willow was hurrying to the rescue, Asher and Jean Claude flanked her on either side, with Damien taking up the rear.
“Relax Ma Cherie, Anita is with your companions, she will ensure their safety, she is rather adept at this sort of thing”.
Willow just snorted, and rolled her eyes. Suddenly there came the sound of gunshots, Jean Claude and Asher exchanged glances, there was a whoosh of air as they almost seemed to disappear they flew so fast. Damien followed in their wake running with inhuman speed, leaving Willow gaping in their wake. “Show offs”, she muttered before jogging to catch up with them.

The vampires stopped in amazement. Faith was in full fight with the demon as they exchanged punches and blows. The vampires inwardly winced as the Slayer viciously high-kicked his groin before double flipping it. The demon retaliated with a roundhouse punch. Around the two fighters Anita was dancing about, waving her little gun as she tried to get a clear shot.
“Don’t worry, Faith has everything under control, Anita is just adding some extra colour so to speak”, commented Dawn who was casually sitting on a gravestone happily munching some crisps and watching the fight in the same manner as one at the movies. She caught sight of Willow jogging up the pathway and gave a shriek of delight that caused the vampires to wince.
“WILLOW”.
“DAWN”.
“Willow, wow you look so great what a cool outfit, man I am so jealous, I had to borrow some sweats from Anita and she is just so small”. Willow hugged the girl back glad she was ok, “Yeah Asher picked it out, pretty Witchy huh”.
“I say”.
The two girls gushed over each other in their excitement to tell everything that had been happening. Finally Jean Claude interrupted with a loud “Ahem”. The two girls glanced up in surprise to find the vampires viewing them with something in between Shock and bemusement.

“Oh I’m sorry, this is my friend Dawn Summers, Dawn this is Jean Claude master of the city, Damien and this is…This is Asher!”
“Asher huh”, Dawn glanced between the two, her mouth agape, eyes speculative! Willow blushed.
“Enchanted as we are Ma Cherie”, Said Jean Claude bowing over Dawn and kissing her hand lightly “But should we not help your companion”, nodding at Faith who was now pummelling the demon.
“errrrr, huh, uh oh…Faith… yeah ok Faith she wanted at least half hour workout”, managed Dawn completely bowled over by Jean Claude’s sleek voice and gentle kiss. Forgetting her earlier fear of the vampires who had previously held her captive.
Willow snorted inelegantly and waved her finger warningly at Jean Claude, ”No sexy Mojo, you bad vampire… Dawn is not even legal yet”.
“But of course ma petite rouge”. Willow scowled at him, she had a funny feeling he was laughing at her.
“hmmph”, Willow turned her attention to Faith, letting out an ear splitting wolf whistle. Faith, Anita and the demon all turned and looked at her questioningly.
“Faith stop playing with the demon and stake it, I don’t need him now”.
Faith looked enquiringly at her, eyebrows raised. Then shrugging, she turned back to the demon. “Sorry”, she stated flipping out her stake. The demon growled and rushed her yet again. Faith swivelled around, planting the stake firmly in his heart. The demon had a scant second to look surprised before he went oufff and disappeared in a cloud of dust.

Anita prodded at the small pile of dust left behind, “Does this always happen?”
“Pretty much… it’s your standard demon, self cleaning, although the stains can be hell to get out of whites… which one belongs to you, dibs on the red head”, Faith changed the subject without taking a breath dusting her self down from demon dust.
Anita gave her one of her hard executioner stares, and decided to ignore her question for now, after all – Damien was hers. “Are you Ok, you took some hard knocks there?”
“Five by Five”, replied Faith distractedly eyeing up Damien with a wicked smile, before sauntering towards the waiting vampires and her friends.

“Hey Willow – cute outfit, kinky but kind of you in a girl scout meets leather Witch”. Willow just grinned and hugged her back, “nice fighting Faith”.
“So you going to introduce me to the hotties?”
Jean Claude smiled slowly two white fangs just peeking out the corners of his mouth. “Enchanted Ma Cherie, Jean Claude at your service madamesoille, this is my second in command - Asher and Damien”. Jean Claude gave a slight bow, but for once did not kiss the ladies hand. His eyes were watchful, face betraying no emotion he watched her as one would watch a predator a very hungry predator.

Faith noticed his wary stance and her grin became wider as she casually strolled around him, surveying him from top to toe. “Hmmmm nice very nice”. Jean Claude eyes widened in surprise.

Anita growled, her eyes narrowing at Faith warningly, “Hands and eyes off he’s mine – all mine”.
Asher laughed, the sound so alien, that the other two vampires turned to look at him strangely. Willow smiled and held his hand. Faith looked at the two of them and the entwined hands. “WILLOW!”
“Whattt”, Willow tried to look innocent, but ended up blushing as Asher bent over and nibbled her neck.
“Geeesh, Chill Willow, just never expected you to do the horizontal with a neck biter,… so you got a plan now or I have just dusted our only ticket out of here”.
“Actually”, Willow replied spying Jason running towards them a large bag draped over his shoulder, “my plan is just coming together, Dawn if you can make a pentagon shape with the paint in that clearing, Faith can you move those gravestone its not quite Feng Shui with the clearing, we need to hurry guys we need to get this done while the moon is still high”.
“We’re on it”, replied Faith as she and Dawn moved to follow her orders.

Willow felt a slight tugging on her mind, she turned, Asher was solemnly gazing at her, his eyes as clear as the artic sky. Willows eyes filled up and she thought her heart would break at what she had to do next. “give me a moment guys”.
Faith struggled to get a purchase on Willows offending gravestone, muttering swearwords in exasperation when the moss covered stone slipped for the second time.
“Ma cherie, please allow us to do such heavy work, one so delicate should not be lifting such heavy objects”.
Faith glanced up and frowned at Jean Claude, condescending bastard she thought, “You’re looking for a visit by Mr Pointy…”. She spied Damien behind him, staring at her. She grinned, “…why thank you, why don’t you get that slab over there and me and Red will get this one. Jean Claude’s face look slightly puzzled but he acquiesced and moved to the other fallen gravestone. Damn but he had a fine butt thought Faith inconsequentially.

Damien his gaze still intent moved opposite Faith and grasped the other side of the slab, as they slowly raised it before heaving it to the side.
“You could have handled this by yourself,” it wasn’t a question.
“Well sure honey but I do like the way you move under all that leather”.
Damien’s face was carefully blank but his eyes showed some inner turmoil and confusion. Faith rolled her eyes in exasperation. “Sheesh”, was all she said before grabbing his head and kissing him. When they finally stopped they were both panting. Damien looked around everybody was occupied, Willow was trying to crawl inside Asher, Dawn and Jean Claude were bickering over the over how many sides a pentagon should have, Jason and Anita were sorting out Willow’s magic stuff. He held out his hand and then nodded at an old crypt, Faith considered him then glanced at the crypt. “ Kinky” was all she said before grabbing his hand and running with him.

“Ma Petite enfant, I have been drawing magic circles before your grandparents were even born, my pentagon is not crooked”.
“HA, Willows’s pentagon are always perfect, yours looks lopsided and I am NOT your infant stop calling me that fangface”.
“Fine, Fine…we will redraw you a perfect pentagon”, gritted out Jean Claude, really this child was too obnoxious. “Jason stop playing with it, it is not a pet, come help me remove this paint while we redraw a perfect pentagon, Miss Summers is not happy”. Dawn glowered at him.
Anita finished sorting all Willows magic herbs and artefacts out, Jason had no appreciation for this stuff and had thrown the whole lot in together with no thought to the implications of allowing wolfsblane to touch the mandrake root. She looked up and just caught Faith and Damien returning to the clearing. Faith looked smug and relaxed and …and Damien was smiling!

Faith picked up her fallen sword, swinging it in a slow arc, she savoured the feel of it. Then sighing reluctantly, she strode over to Anita, “Thanks for the blade, didn’t use it much, didn’t like to scratch it, but it sure is a nice piece”.
“Keep it” Anita shrugged “I’ve got others besides I have a feeling you are going to need it more than me”.
“Whoa! Thanks man…”, Faith looked uncomfortable, “oh shucks here take this, it’s my favourite - dusted a lot of monsters with this baby including my first ubervamp”. Faith proffered a wooden stake to Anita. “Its even got my initials on it see, I call it Mr Pointy”.
Anita looked at the stake and then Faith, before taking the stake with a dazed nod.
“Come on Willow, enough with the tongue tango, I would like to make it back for tonight, the X files is on cable”.

Willow and Asher slowly disentangled, Willows face all screwed up and teary. Asher leant down and whispered in her ear, Willow grabbed him again. They kissed lingeringly, before they broke apart. Asher reached inside his pockets and carefully pulled out a ceremonial knife, which he pressed into Willow’s hand. She shuddered, then turned, took a deep breath, shook herself and faced them with her Willow’s resolve face.

“Okay Jason – you got it?”
“Yes”.
“Pentagon ready?”
“Check”
“Magic stuff”
“Here”
“Okay lets do this thing, Dawn, Faith same positions as before…and Dawn?”
“Uh Huh?”
“Get rid of those crisps”.

Willow held the rabbit firmly by its ears, eyes slowly began to bleed to black as she raised the ceremonial knife high. Winds screaming around them in a swirl of dust and smoke. The rabbit squealed sensing its impending doom, Dawn closed her eyes but kept her hands firmly clasped to Faith’s. The Rabbit stopped squirming, its eyes opened gleaming red, a forked tongue appeared, gradually its white fur disappearing under thick gooey layer of scaley brown skin and the rabbit demon started hissing.

“Eughuck”,

“Foolish witch release me before I send you to a dimension of blood and vomit”.
“Uh Uh, I don’t think so, you take us back, or I will skewer you like a shish Rabbit Kebab”.
“No deals witch,
“Ok, no problem”, retorted Willow and plunged the knife firmly through its heart. There was a blinding flash of light, and everybody looked away, when they looked back the circle was empty.

Jean Claude raised his eyebrows.
Jason swallowed hard, “Shhhiiitte I nearly ate that rabbit”.
Anita strode forward and poked at the smoking fire suspiciously. “How the hell do I explain this to Dolph”, she muttered.
Jean-Claude contemplated Asher he could taste his suffering.

“I am sorry Mon ami, you should have let me force her to stay”.
Asher shook his head, “No she has a job to do, she wouldn’t be my Willow if I held her here…She will be back”.
“You are so certain mon ami?”
“I have shared the first mark, she will be back.”
Jean Claude stared at him in horror, for once lost for words. Asher smiled sadly and gazed back at the clearing “I can wait an eternity”, he whispered.


SUNNYDALE

“Whoa, that was some ride Willow, never thought I would be happy to see Sunnydale”.

“We’re back we’re back”, Dawn gave them all a big hug. “Willow you are amazing how did you know that cute little bunny was a bloodsucking inter dimensionally hopping demon rabbit”
“Its just witchy stuff Dawn”, shrugged Willow.
“Whatever, Boy I am just so not ever having a bunny as pet, now I know why Anya hates rabbits”.
“Come on guys, last one back gets to make the popcorn”.

Dawn and Faith rushed off bickering as they went. Willow smiled everything was back to normal, well not quite, she felt connected, connected to the earth, the moon, connected to everything, it was a heady feeling. But she could also feel one tenuous connection, a link so fragile but building in strength with every heartbeat. Willow gave one final glance at the small-blackened ring of grass, her fingers absently touched the small hickey mark on her neck, a small smile playing on her lips. “Wait for Me Asher”.

THE END


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