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Summary: A response to Jinni's five song challenge- Asher is sent by the council to investigate reports of military activity near the Hellmouth

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > Willow-Centered > Pairing: AsherdulcineaFR1855165,32913100123,4992 May 043 Sep 06Yes

The Garden - 2

~ Giles’ Residence, Saturday, 9:00 a.m. ~

“GILES!” The scream echoed through the tiny residence.

“Yes? What is it?” Giles sprinted down the stairs at the sound of the panicked slayer, tripping over his shoes.

“Oh my god, it’s all my fault, I feel so bad.” Buffy muttered anxiously watching her watcher stumble around the hallway looking for the glasses he could have sworn he had left on the counter.

“What is your fault?”

“She didn’t come home last night! I made her go to this party, and I know she probably hates me now, but she was supposed to have fun, but I lost her.” Buffy took a deep breath giving Giles a chance to interrupt.

“I assume you’re talking about Willow?”

“Yes! I’m afraid something horrible happened to her, she could have been attacked by vampires, or demons, or drunken frat boys…. And why aren’t you worried?!” Buffy stomped around the hallway.

“Because she’s sleeping on the couch?” Giles asked amused by Buffy’s fit.

“Was sleeping… it’s hard to sleep through all that, despite the yummy pain killers.” Willow’s voice wafted up to them.

“Willow! Oh my gosh, I so didn’t mean to leave you there, and by the time I noticed you were gone, well, you were gone.” Buffy ran over to her friend feeling horribly guilty and relieved at the same time.

“That’s okay. I kinda figured that’s what happened.” Willow shrugged.

“Oh my gosh! What happened to your leg?” Buffy saw the cast and froze.

“I fell out of a tree, but don’t worry. I’ll be fine, just not as fine as if I had super healing powers like you.” Willow smiled shyly then yawned.

“A tree?” Buffy tilted her head in question, but it appeared that Willow was content to go back to sleep.

“Yes, it was a tree.” Giles confirmed, finally finding his glasses.

“So no new demon to research?” Buffy asked hopefully.

“Actually, there is a new demon to research, a vampire that goes by the name Asher.” Giles busied himself in the kitchen, putting the kettle on. He had planned to sleep for another hour, but with Buffy already here, his hour of sleep was quickly replaced with a cup of tea.

“Asher? That’s an odd name. Is he trying to take over the world?”

“No, he’s nice, and he’s got the best blonde hair. Even better than yours, no roots showing; I think it might be naturally blonde.” Willow mumbled, her eyes still closed as she feigned sleep.

“My roots are showing?” Buffy asked, panicking.

“I think you’ve missed the point.” Giles muttered, wondering yet again how a woman with such skewed values managed to be one of the most successful slayers in history.

“So I should be looking in the books for a vampire named Asher with to die for hair?” Buffy rolled her eyes, and picked a book up at random.

Giles eyed the book she picked up and rolled his eyes. “I suppose you could look through the Grimoires of Asia and the Pacific… or you could just throw it on the shelf. There’s no way that would include any European vampires, and this one appears to have spent most of his time in France judging by his accent. Really, Buffy, must you research so haphazardly?”

“You actually talked to him? Why didn’t you stake him?”

“I’m not quite sure. It probably has something to do with him holding Willow at the time.” Giles answered wryly.

“You know, sarcasm should not be attempted before noon, especially on Saturdays.” Buffy answered, moving to another shelf. “So we’re looking at the Watchers’ diaries?”

“Sure, pass me one, Buff.” Willow opened her eyes and sat up on the sofa, keeping her leg stretched out.

“Ooh, here you go, 1870 something.” Buffy threw a red book at the couch.

“Please do not throw those volumes, some of them are originals.” Giles winced. “And I doubt Willow has become fluent in Mandarin this week.” Giles remarked noting the book Willow had been given.

“Oh, but you know you can look inside anyway, sometimes they have pretty pictures.” Buffy smiled at Willow.

“Thanks Buffy.” Willow smiled. “I don’t suppose you could throw me a donut while you’re at it? You know, since I’m an invalid and all.”

“Sorry, no donuts to throw.” Buffy pouted then quickly recovered her smile, picking up a book in an equally obscure language, flipping through the pages to pacify Giles. “So, how’d you fall out of a tree?”

“Well, after the party, I kinda wanted to get some fresh air, so I picked up a bag and headed for the garden on campus.”

“Ew, the gardens? Don’t you think that’s a little…?” Buffy made a yuck face.

“What? Dark? I wasn’t really scared about that.” Willow shrugged it off.

“Well, yeah, dark, but that’s not what I mean. I mean, it’s like one of the major hook-up spots. Just yesterday I had to listen to Victoria blab on and on in the bathroom ‘blah blah, I lost my virginity there, twice, to a gypsy poet guy, and that football player with blonde hair, you know the one that like, catches the ball?’ Ugh.” Buffy mimicked the obnoxious girl from down the hall. “I mean what a ditz, how can you know, you know, twice?”

“I really would prefer you not answer that question.” Giles commented, not even raising his eyes from the book he was reading. Willow turned bright red as she thought through Giles comment.

“Oh, ew!” Buffy squealed two minutes later, finally getting the hint.

Around ten there was a knock on the door, and Xander entered before anyone could get up to let him in. “You know, you shouldn’t leave your door unlocked like that.” Xander commented, setting a box of donuts down at the kitchen table where Giles was sitting. “And I so hope Wills and Buffy are here, because if not there might be a problem.”

“Oh?” Giles looked up

“Yeah, I was supposed to meet Willow for breakfast, but she never showed, so I called the room and no answer. That’s not like my girls.”

“Your girls?” Buffy smirked.

“Ah! There you are, my lovely ladies, and … Wills, what’s with the cast?!” Xander turned his head to face the living room.

“I broke my leg.” Willow smiled.

“Can I sign it?” Willow nodded. “Oh this is so neato!” Xander grabbed a black pen from Giles’ desk.

“Xander! It’s not neato, she has a broken leg… and you should really wait and do that with a sharpie, it shows up better.” Buffy scolded.

“Oh right.” Xander blushed, setting the pen back down. “So what happened? Did you fight off evil creatures of the night?”

“I fell out of a tree.” Willow replied.

“Was it an evil tree?” Xander nodded thoughtfully.

“The evilest.” Willow replied, keeping her face as serious as possible.

“Ah, I see. Hence the research party.” He looked around at the books scattered around the girls. “Well, I bet you’re glad that I thought ahead and got donuts. And let me tell you, it was a tough mission. There must have been a dozen people waiting in line, and they got those new retractable rope line thingies, so I felt like this mouse inside a maze trying to get my piece of cheese. And there was this really fat lady in front of me who kept batting her eyes at me, like some Mimi clone. Oh, and it took me forever because the guy at the front of the line couldn’t make up his mind, so he kept wandering around in a daze trying to decide between four or five of the sprinkles. I almost didn’t make it out of there alive and with a smile on my face, but now no one seems to care. That’s okay. I understand.” Xander’s monologue halted, as he watched Buffy walk right past him to grab her favorite before Giles took it.

“We care. Thanks for the donuts.” Buffy said, licking the powdered sugar from her fingers before taking a bite.

“Yeah, thanks for the donuts. I don’t suppose you have delivery to couches, my bestest bud?” Willow looked up with puppy dog eyes.

“Sure thing, what kind do you want? Nevermind, I know that.” Xander smiled, picking out a donut for Willow and two for himself before joining her at the couch.

“Oh, I have something.” Giles said finally glancing up. The others looked up at him expectantly. “Yes, it appears that Asher is quite old. Here’s a record of his torture during the Witch Hunts two hundred years ago.”

“He was tortured? That’s horrible.” Willow frowned.

“Wills, he’s a vampire.” Buffy replied.

“Well, yes, but he was a very nice vampire. He carried me all the way from campus to Giles’ house.” She replied.

“Yes, well, you are not the first human he has befriended. It says here that he was captured along with a human servant, Julianna van… I can’t tell, the ink has smeared.” Giles muttered.

“Well, he did say he never had to feed on anyone against their will.” Willow mused.

“Indeed?” Giles took note of the fact, then quickly returned to the passage he found. “Ah, but his human servant was killed by the Church. He must be feeding on some other person or persons now. We should probably discover whom.”

“How wrong is that? The Church is supposed to be some big protection, but it’s the human that dies, not the vampire.” Xander frowned.

“Well, actually, the priests did some damage to Asher as well. It says here that they questioned him under holy water punishment for two weeks, scarring the entire right side of his body, before he was rescued by another vampire, I would assume his sire.” Giles commented.

“That’s funny.” Willow frowned. “I would have thought holy water wouldn’t hurt him. After all, I hit him pretty hard with a cross and nothing happened. Of course, he said it was because I was Jewish, but that’s sort of weird. The other vampires seem to be affected by it.”

“Why didn’t you say you hit him with a cross?” Giles scowled, writing furiously on his legal pad.

“Um, kinda preoccupied with the leg and all.” Willow rolled her eyes.

“Yes, well, there are two possible explanations. Either it is because he is relatively old and thus has gained immunity…”

“They can do that?” Buffy interrupted.

“…Or he is from one of the more immune lines.” Giles finished. “Was there anything else peculiar you could tell us about him?”

“Well, he got up into the tree by flying. That’s sort of weird, right?” Willow offered, feeling like she was somehow betraying the vampire she had just met. “But maybe this isn’t the same vampire that you’re reading about; after all, I didn’t notice any scars. Did you?”

“Well no, but he was always in the shadow. Hmm, how peculiar, now that you mention it. He shouldn’t have been in the shadow in that awful hospital lighting, and yet, I still remember shadows around his face. Perhaps he can manipulate them?”

“Whoa there.” Buffy frowned. “I don’t like this. You never told me vampires could be immune to crosses, or fly, or move shadows. What’s going on here?”

“Well, quite honestly, you rarely find these traits outside of Europe, so it was hardly worth mentioning.” Giles answered. “If he is truly one of those, then we may be in for bigger problems then we thought.” Giles grabbed his address book from his desk and rapidly flipped through pages.

“Giles? What’s wrong?” Buffy frowned.

Giles just held up a hand to silence her as he dialed a long distance number. “Hello, Charles? Yes, it’s Rupert. I trust you are well.” Giles gestured for Xander to bring him his writing pad. “How are things on the Hellmouth? Things here are lovely, really, why I never want to leave this place.” He rolled his eyes at the idea that this was the closest thing he had to a friend still on the Council. “Listen, I think we may have a situation, but I don’t think it’s worth Travers’ attention yet. Could you please send me any information you have on the current members of the Vampire Council in France? I’m afraid they may have sent an envoy to the Hellmouth.”

Song 1: The Garden- Guns ‘n’ Roses
You know you're all alone
Your friends they aren't at home
Everybody's gone to the garden
As you look into the trees
You can look but you don't see
The flowers seem to tease you at the garden
Everybody's there, but you don't seem to care
What's it with you man, and this garden

Turned into my worst phobia,
A crazy man's utopia
If you're lost no one can show ya,
But it sure was glad to know ya
Only poor boys take a chance,
On the garden's song and dance,
Feel her flowers as they wrap around,
But only smart boys do without

You can find it all inside
No need to wrestle with your pride
No you ain't losin' your mind
You're just in the garden
They can lead you to yourself
Or you can throw it on the shelf
But you know you can look inside
For the garden

I wasn't really scared
Lost my virginity there,
To a gypsy with blond hair
But now no one seems to care
Like a mouse inside a maze
Wandering round 4 daze
With a smile upon my face,
I never wanna leave this place
Only poor boys take a chance,
On the garden's song and dance,
Feel her flowers as they wrap around,
But only smart boys do without
Turned into my worst phobia,
A crazy man's utopia
If you're lost no one can show ya,
But it sure was glad to know ya
Bye bye
So long, bye bye
It's glad to know ya
Bye bye
Bye bye long
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