Court and Spark - 1
~ Hyperion Hotel, Tuesday, 8:52 a.m.~
“Oh dear god.” Willow announced, staring at the computer screen in front of her.
“I normally go by Spike, but that works too.” Spike had just walked into the dining room, which looked more like Mission Control with random computer manuals, boxes, and styrofoam scattered all over. When they had gotten Willow’s modem hooked up, she had gone straight to work. Angel and Asher had immediately begun hovering over her. It had been funny to watch for the first hour, since Angel and Asher were so intent on posturing, completely oblivious to the fact that Willow was paying far more attention to the screen then either of their preening. Spike had gone outside for a bit of smoke when he realized that Willow wasn’t going to be trying anything funny with the two broody ones lurking over her shoulder. He had finished half a pack by the time he decided it was time to go back in. The other two vampires had felt the call of the dawn as well and gone to rest, but Spike felt someone should keep an eye on the girl.
“Not you, silly.” Willow shook her head, glancing away from the glowing blue screen, trying to hide a yawn.
“So you’re worshipping your computer now?”
“No.” Willow frowned irritably, typing furiously.
“So are you going to tell me?” Spike flipped around the chair Angel had been using before sinking onto it.
“I think I found it.” Willow answered without glancing over at Spike..
“I think the division I want is called the Initiative, but it could also be Project 314, or maybe they’re both projects in the section I want.”
“In other words you don’t know anything.” Spike leaned back in frustration.
“Listen to this.” Willow was rapidly scrolling down a screen. “Initial doctor’s report for Hostile 15: Subject was taken into custody by Alpha unit... yadda yadda… green epidermal pigmentation, external protrusions on both lateral lobes, red eye pigmentation…yadda yadda… attempting to feed on rattus rattus... yadda yadda.”
“What’s your point, Red?”
“Name something that’s green, with red eyes and horns.” She finally turned to face Spike a smirk on her face.
“Well, that describes a lot of demons, like this Fyarl I used to play poker with when I was trying to avoid Harm.”
“Fyarls are known for causing harm, not avoiding it.” She looked at him skeptically.
“Not that harm, the other Harm, the daft bint, you know- dumb blonde, obsessed with unicorns, she was in your bloody class.”
“Harmony?” Willow frowned. “Oh that’s right, you dated her for a bit. Were you like drunk or something?”
“Drop it.” Spike let out a low growl, causing Willow to refocus on the computer screen. Spike smirked; it was nice to know the chit didn’t think she had domesticated him yet.
“Right. So there’s a capture date, a few days before you were taken, and there are coordinates here. I think that’s California, but I’d have to double check.” She said, scribbling down some numbers on the legal pad on her right. “Anyway, the report goes on and on.” She scrolled, frowning. She jotted a few more details down then decided to move onto the next file, carefully closing out of the doctor’s log.
“That’s it? You found some description of a green thing and we’re supposed to call this progress? That description could be some frog or something.” Spike angrily stood up. He didn’t go through all the humiliation of accepting Council help just to follow a false lead. He stretched like a cat, keeping his yellowed eyes on the redhead.
Willow shuddered at the mention of frogs. “Well, it’s better then what you could have done. It’s not like it’s easy getting around all of the army’s firewalls and encryptions and stuff.” She answered defensively.
“Yeah, well.” Spike muttered, not wanting to admit that she was right.
“Look, if you want to be useful, take these coordinates and find an atlas or something in Angel’s study. It will tell us where this Alpha unit is and I’ll know whether we’re close or not.” Willow was trying to scan the next file documenting the capture of something labeled Hostile 17. Absently she tore off the corner of her paper and handed it to Spike.
“I’m not your secretary, little miss…”
“Damn.” Willow frowned, clicking on the mouse repeatedly.
“Wait. You can’t just say damn and not say why.”
“Oh yeah, watch me.” Willow stuck her tongue out at Spike. “Damn damn damn.” She turned back to the computer and started typing furiously, making little whimpering noises, before finally slamming her palm against the edge of the table.
Spike looked up sharply. “What’s wrong?”
“The session timed out. The doctor booted me off before I could get into any more of his files.” Willow frowned.
“I was breaking in using a password from some doctor. As long as he’s online, I can get into any files he has access to, but once he signs off, I’d either have to correctly guess the password encryption or find another back door.”
“So, Dr. Angleman has logged off at work. I’ll either have to wait until he comes back
tomorrow or try to find someone else with an easy to guess password.”
“So, find someone else. You did it once. You can do it again.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence.” Willow rolled her eyes.
“Any time, luv.” Spike replied, thoroughly frustrated. It sounded like they were finally getting somewhere, and now the girl wanted to give up for the day. He wasn’t sure he could handle another day of hearing her pulse and not being able to feed. It was cruel and unusual.
“Well, I think I’ll go look up those coordinates now.” Willow reached for the paper in Spike’s hand.
“What do you mean no?” Willow scowled, the effect lost in a huge yawn.
“I did not spend an hour listening to some pimpled teenage waste of a type O just so that you could look something up in a musty old book!” Spike shot back. “Now get to typing.
“No.” Willow ground in her heels.
“Type.” He snarled.
“No.” Willow faced off against him. “You see this? This is my resolve face. Even Buffy knows
better than to cross this.”
“Well, Buffy isn’t here right now, is she?” Spike brought out his game face hoping to scare her.
Willow opened her mouth to say something, but changed her mind at the last moment and threw a box at Spike. She took advantage of his momentary drowning in foam peanuts to make a break for the hallway. “Oh no you don’t!” Spike yelled as he ripped the box off his head, swatting the peanuts off his shoulder. He threw himself in front of the lobby, expecting her to head for the front door, but instead she turned and hobbled straight into Asher’s room, slamming the door behind her.
Willow realized it was a dumb idea to try to outrun a vampire, but if she had to spend five more minutes trying to type while vampires were breathing down her back, she’d go crazy. Even in extreme apocalypses, Giles had told her to take breaks when she was getting frustrated. She just couldn’t keep at it.
Asher’s head had only been on the pillow for an hour when a loud noise woke him from the deathlike slumber. He watched as the redhead slammed the door, leaning her back against it. Her eyes were closed and her heart was pounding so he guessed she was trying to run away from Spike, and had accidentally run into his room. Still, the master knew that any accident could be turned into an advantage. He floated towards the door until he stood just a foot from Willow. “I was just wishing for pleasant dreams, and my love came to my door. I am truly a lucky man.”
“Eep!” Willow squealed, jumping at the sudden whisper. Unfortunately, casts weren’t meant to jump in and she stumbled and would have fallen if Asher hadn’t reached out for her. “Don’t do that!”
“Don’t make observations of my good fortune? Why ever not?” Asher smiled charmingly.
“Don’t sneak up on me.” Willow frowned, her heart still pounding in their ears.
“Come, ma chaton, tell me why you are trying to run up a tree again.” Asher offered Willow his arm as he locked the door to avoid any unfortunate interruptions. He heard a quiet “wanker” muttered outside as Spike heard the tumblers click in the lock. Carefully he guided her to the bed in the dark, letting her settle down to a much less frantic state.
“It’s just so stupid.” Willow sighed.
“What is stupid?” Asher ran his hand across her brow, tucking the stray hairs behind her ear.
“I’ve been on that machine for seven straight hours. I came so close, but I kept hitting walls. I just wanted to take a short break, and Spike went all psycho on me. It’s so stupid. It’s not like he could get any closer than I was on his own. I just can’t.” Willow clinched her eyes in near tears.
“Oh, saulette, you should not cry.”
“But it’s just so frustrating.” Willow sniffed, not wanting to break down.
“You have not slept at all this past night, and we kept you awake the night before, no?” Willow nodded tiredly. “You have been staring at that flashing screen for seven hours, oui?” Willow nodded again, he shoulders slumping. “You need a break. Lie down.”
“But if I don’t find this, you guys are going to kill me.” She mumbled, her mind in that sleep deprived state of nonsense.
“If you do not lie down right now, I will kill you.” Asher said, keeping a straight face.
“Huh?” Willow’s fear suddenly spiked up.
“I am only teasing, ma chaton, but I do worry that you may kill yourself if you push too hard. Lie down.”
“I too have a resolve face.” He answered solemnly. Willow stared in the darkness at the shadows covering Asher’s form. It was impossible to tell if he was bluffing, so she slowly laid down on the bed.
“Roll over.” He commanded.
“You know, I’m not some pet that does tricks.” Willow frowned.
“Trust me, you will want to roll over.” Asher’s icy cold voice left no room for disagreement, so with a slight whimper, Willow turned face down on the fluffy comforter.
Asher quirked up the corner of his mouth, in a small smile. He carefully straddled the girl and laid his hands upon her shoulder blades. “What are you doing?” Willow asked, slightly worried. Asher held back an answer, instead rolling his hands over her shoulders. “Ow!”
“Ma chaton, you are too tense. Your muscles should not be so tight.”
“Well what do you expect? I’ve been in front of a computer all night.” Willow tried to explain.
“Shh. You have worked hard tonight. Now allow me to work my specialty.” Asher leaned down to whisper. Slowly his hands rolled down her shoulders again, using a lighter touch to avoid causing her any discomfort.
“Ooh, that feels nice.” Willow murmured after a minute.
“It will only get better.” Asher’s deep voice tickled Willow’s nerves, sending a delightful shiver down her back. He worked at all the knots in her muscles, enjoying the feel of warm flesh under his fingers. The innocent touches teased his ardeur, the warmth pulse teased his demon, and the contented moans from Willow teased his manly pride. Oh yes, her arrival in his room was indeed a nice twist of fate.
“Ma chaton, how does that feel?” He whispered after half an hour. He was met with the quiet even breathing of a sleeping Willow. “C’est bon.” He muttered, curling up next the girl for his own rest, letting his fingers linger on her sleeping form.