Where You Lead - 3
~ The Mansion, Sunday, 8:00 am ~
“If you need to get up, you can say so.” Spike finally said. He had felt Willow wake up several minutes earlier. It was an odd sensation, the deep breaths being replaced by shallow, the heart going from a gentle thud to a fast patter. He expected the girl to fidget but instead she froze, unsure whether it was safe to move.
“I need to go.” She whispered.
“I’ll just bet you do.” He teased, his deep sleepy voice disturbing Willow far more than it should. “But we need you here, so you’re not going anywhere.”
“I mean, I need to go. You know, like when you gotta go, you gotta go?” Willow’s voice had a tinge of panic in it.
Spike knew full well what she meant, and decided not to play with her any more; after all, it could get messy. He slid off the bed and helped her up. Wrapping her arm around his neck, he helped her hobble down the hallway to the bathroom. “Take care of your business; I’ll be out here.”
Shutting the door, Willow took a deep breath. She needed to come up with a plan. Obviously making a run for it wouldn’t work. Working her way past the sink, she paused. “Um, Spike. There’s no toilet paper.” She called out through the door.
“Well, what the bloody hell were you expecting? This is a vampire lair, not a Hilton!” Spike called back. Willow began scanning the room, looking for any sign that it had actually been used in the last decade. Looking under the sink, she found some random empty bottles that probably belonged to Angel at one point.
Hearing Willow fuss about, Spike mumbled through the door, “Alright, alright, don’t get your knickers in a twist. I’ll get you something.” Knowing how Angel liked to play house when he lived there, Spike was willing to bet there would be toilet paper as well as every hair product known to man in the master bathroom. He’d just get a roll, let Willow do her business, then get back to bed. It was nearly three in the afternoon, and Spike thought it was a damn shame to waste the day being awake.
Asher heard some noise through his deathlike sleep, and instinctively knew someone had invaded his personal space. In a blink of an eye, he was up and pinning the invader against the wall.
“Great reflexes mate, but the choke hold doesn’t work so good on those of us who don’t fuckin’ breathe.” Spike glared at his attacker.
Asher released Spike, refusing to apologize. “Perhaps not, but it accomplished what it needed to. What are you doing here?”
“Red needs some stuff from there.” Spike nodded towards the door in the back of the master bedroom.
“Anything in particular?” Asher asked, suspiciously.
“Look, just let me get her some damn toilet paper and you can go back to being dead, alright?”
“I am already awake, I will bring it to her. You may go back to your room.” Asher dismissed the younger vampire with a condescending wave. Spike left the room, muttering something about damn Frenchies.
A few minutes later Willow heard a knock on the bathroom door. “Did you find any, Spike?” Willow asked, nervously. By now she really had to pee.
“Oui, I have what you need.” Asher answered. “Please open the door.” Willow cracked the door open a bit and stuck out her hand, assuming the vampire would just place the roll and leave. “Please open the door a bit wider, mademoiselle.” Asher requested, hiding his mirth. She was so modest, nothing at all like his Julianna in that regard.
“Yeah?” Willow peeked her head out of the door.
Asher took advantage of the situation to push the door wider and step into the small bathroom. “I have brought you several necessities.” He set a stack down on the sink. “Would you like to take a shower mademoiselle?”
“Oh, thanks.” Willow bit her lip as she studied the bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Underneath the bottles were a clean set of towels, a clean white dress shirt, and a roll of toilet paper. Glancing back up she noticed Asher was still standing there. “Um, thanks?” She looked at him expectantly.
“I hope they are all to your standards.” Asher noticed how Willow flushed slightly. Her skin was so pale and delicate he could practically see the blood pumping through her veins.
“ Um, sure, they’re fine.” Willow was getting more and more anxious.
“Is there anything else I can get for you, before the shower?” Asher asked, eyeing the girl hungrily. He knew he shouldn’t have held off eating for so long, he could already feel the pangs that would only worsen as the night fell.
“Um, some privacy perhaps?” Willow hoped that wasn’t too subtle.
Asher seemed impervious to the rebuff. “You’re sure you do not need assistance with your leg? If you need me to be with you …”
“Okay, that’s it. You, out, now!” Willow began swatting at Asher pushing him out the door. As soon as he was out, the door slammed and the lock clicked.
Asher turned around to go face to face with a laughing Spike. “Ha! You bloody wanker, thought you could sneak a little snack in, eh? Welcome to the liberated American woman.”
Asher coolly ignored the taunts and went straight for the kitchen. He needed a drink.
“Pour me one, too.” Spike followed the older vampire into the kitchen, eyeing the bottle of bloodwine hungrily. Asher arched his brow, but complied. “That’s a nice drink you got here.” Spike said, enjoying his first sip. “I don’t suppose you have anything thing for the chit to eat? She’s going to be hungry as soon as she’s out of the shower.”
Asher let loose a string of French expletives under his breath. Spike chuckled as the seemingly stoic vampire completely lost his cool. “So I take it, that’s a no?”
“I had not planned on having company.” Asher replied, taking an unneeded breath to calm himself.
“Well, we’re leaving as soon as it’s dark. We’ll stop someplace then.” Spike shrugged. “You can’t let her get under your skin, she’s just a snack to our kind.”
“You call her a snack, but isn’t she also your potential salvation?” Asher chided the cocky Brit.
“What? You want to saint her? She hasn’t even done anything yet.”
“You are more familiar with the area. Where do you suggest we go tonight?” Asher ignored Spike’s dig.
“We’re going to get the hell out of Sunnydale, that’s for sure.”
“Is that really necessary?”
“Look, I know how this town works. The longer you stay the more you get screwed.”
“And yet you keep coming back?” Asher commented wryly, taking a long slow sip of wine.
“Yeah, well.” Spike mumbled.
“Shall we wait for Mademoiselle Rosenberg to discuss our moves?” Asher asked when Spike refused to comment for a minute.
“Look the more power you give Red, the more she’ll use it to stab you in the back. That’s how her group operates.” Spike answered bitterly, remembering the sorry state he had found his grandsire in. His rant was frozen by a loud thud from upstairs.
In an instant Asher had left the kitchen and was pulling open the bathroom door. “Are you okay, ma cherie?”
“Eeep!” Willow looked up embarrassed. She had gotten mostly dressed, but in attempting to get her shorts on over the cast, she had managed to fall on her back end.
“Allow me.” In a smooth sweep, Asher had lifted Willow back up, and leaned her against him. Willow rapidly fastened her shorts, blushing furiously. “Now, are you ready to talk?” Asher asked, carefully studying the redhead, who was rolling up the sleeves of his dress shirt to keep from drowning in the fabric.
“I suppose.” She answered, keeping her head down.
Asher picked her up and carried her out of the bathroom, picking up a comb on the way out. Carefully, he carried her down the stairs, into the living room, and sat down on the sofa, setting her down in his lap. “Monsieur Spike, could you please join us in the living room and bring my glass.”
“Aye, guv’ner, and what for the missus?” Spike yelled back sarcastically.
“A glass of water would be nice.” Willow replied, not willing to let Spike taunt her so easily.
Spike soon emerged from the kitchen, balancing three glasses, having refilled his to the top. “So what’s the plan, almighty Council Master?” Spike asked, making Asher’s rank sound like an insult.
“You say we need to leave this city. I suggest Los Angeles, as it is the closest big city.”
“Whoa, why are we going where?!” Willow asked startled by the conversation. “I’m not going anywhere with two vampires.”
“Hate to break it to you, toots, but you’re already somewhere with two vampires. Saving your hide is a lost cause at this point.” Spike lounged in a nearby chair, resting his leg over the arm.
“But, travel is bad.”
“Of course you’re going to say that. After all, it’ll be much easier for Slutty to rescue you if you stay in one place.”
“Hey! I resent that remark!”
“And your friend resembles that remark. We’re going to L.A.” Spike turned his attention from Willow to Asher, deciding to ignore the girl from there after. “Do you have a place in L.A. that’s safe?”
“My sire has a childe in that city. It can be arranged.” Asher replied quietly.
“Your sire already had a minion here, and she decided to send you to the colonies anyway? You must have really pissed her off, man. What’d you do, leave her for a human?” Spike picked on the older vampire.
“If you have any desire to remove your impediment, you would do well to keep your observations to yourself.” Asher answered curtly. Feeling anxious, he decided to do something with his hands. “Now, Monsieur Spike, tell us everything you remember about the place you were held.” Tenderly, Asher removed the towel turban from Willow’s head and began combing through her hair, darkened to a lovely blood red by the shower.
“Not much to say, they drugged the blood so I was out most of the time.” Spike watched as Willow tried not to flinch at Asher’s gentle touch. “Once I figured that out, I faked my feeding. When they came to get me, I attacked the doctor and used him as a shield against the guard; then I grabbed the key thing from around his neck and let the vampire next to me out. We ran down a corridor and were nearly out when these alarms started blaring. I ran one way, he ran the other, and I came out at this storm drain in the forest behind the school.”
“What are your thoughts, ma chaton?” Asher asked Willow, who was frowning.
“Huh?” Willow looked up a bit startled. “Oh, there’s a lot of questions about that, but I’m not sure where to start. For example, if I had a Sunnydale map and a computer, it might be worthwhile to try to identify the storm drain and possible map where this prison thing is. Also, if there was an automated alarm system, that would need to be disabled, so I would have to know more about it if we had to break in to get files. On the up side though, if there is an automated alarm system it probably means a high tech security risk, which probably means substantial computer records.”
“So we need to get you a computer, eh?”
“We could go to Cyberworld on Main Street, they’re having good sales this season.” Willow offered cautiously.
“No.” Spike emphatically answered. “We’re not going to any of Red’s favorite stores where she can convince a clerk to call for help. That’s not an option. We’ll stop at some computer mega-store in L.A.”
“Ma chaton, I do believe Monsieur Spike is right on this point. We do not have time to shop here.” Asher rested his hands on Willow’s shoulder. She bristled as if to shake him off, but decided against angering the potentially dangerous vampire, who had up to this point acted in her favor. “So it is decided, at nightfall, we shall take my car to Los Angeles, stopping for dinner and a computer.”
“Does your friend already have a computer? I’m not sure I trust this one in a store.” Spike eyed Willow warily.
“I shall call him from the car, but it is unlikely. Besides, I’m sure m’rouge would not cause us any problems.”
“You obviously do not know Red.”
“She is lame, she will not be able to run away.” Asher replied.
“That doesn’t mean she won’t find a way out. These chits always do.”
“Hello, I’m sitting right here!” Willow interrupted, annoyed by the conversation. On one hand she was highly irritated that Spike would be so distrustful since she had always prided herself on her loyalty and trustworthiness; on the other hand, she didn’t want Spike to give Asher any ideas in case she could find an escape at the store. The vampires just looked at her as if she were crazy.
“Yes, mademoiselle, I am quite aware that you are here.” Asher answered confusedly, wrapping his arms around her.
“And we don’t care, so quit complaining.” Spike pulled out a pack of cigarettes from his duster and lit one.
“You know, that’s a disgusting habit.” Willow commented.
Spike took a deep breath, and blew a smoke ring in Willow’s direction. “Yeah, well, funny thing, it’s also great for headaches and right now, that’s what you’re giving me.”
“Now, now. Ma cherie, let us get packed and ready to leave.” Asher stood up, giving a weary glance towards Spike. He scooped Willow up off of the couch, and carried her to his room, hoping some distance would stop the bickering.
“Why me?” Asher heard the redhead whisper softly to herself.
“Why not?” He replied, gently placing her on the bed. She glanced away, not wanting to answer that. He pulled his suitcase out of the closet and began the task of folding all of the items hanging in his closet. “For all that he speaks, I think Monsieur Spike has a great deal of respect for you. Otherwise he would not have mentioned your name first when I asked him who he felt would be the smartest person we could have working on his problem.”
“Oh.” That gave Willow something to think about. Was it really a good thing to be respected by your enemies? If they respected you, were they really still your enemy? Having seen Spike in pain and Asher deep in worried thought, she couldn’t help but feel empathy towards the two, despite their natures.
“What puzzles you so?” Asher watched the redhead bite her bottom lip, staring absently at the door.
“Nothing, I just … you’re not being evil.”
Asher smiled wistfully. “It would be easier, no? If one could always hate the bad and love the good.” Carefully he placed laid another pair of pants in the suitcase. “But that is one of the hard lessons of the world. Good does not always stay good, bad does not always stay bad, and love and hate have no regard for the difference.”