Court and Spark - 10
~ Sunnydale High, Tuesday, 7:49 p.m.~
They had no sooner gotten through the doors of the school gym, when Anya scampered off to say hi to old friends. The music was loud, the dance floor was packed with people flailing their arms, tails, and tentacles, and everyone was dressed to impress. In Willow’s opinion, it looked an awful lot like the Bronze. Of course, that was a vast improvement over the charred remains of the school pool, but still, Anya had some serious groveling to do to make up for this disaster in the making.
“Would you like something to drink?” Asher practically yelled to be heard over the music blaring. He was beginning to doubt the wisdom of bringing Willow to such a place.
“Would it be a good reason why we’re not dancing?” She replied, eyeing the dance floor with trepidation.
“Of course.” Asher smiled in relief that Willow didn’t expect him to writhe in what passed as dancing nowadays. He led her slowly through the crowd to the refreshments. There were four large bowls of punch, each a different color. “Allow me.” Asher ladled red punch into a plastic cup. Willow reached for it, but Asher took a sip first then drank the glass down. “I don’t think you would like that. It is, how do you call it, a bloody Mary.”
“Oh.” Willow nodded with a slight smile. “Good call, I’m not really into alcohol.”
“You would put alcohol in a bloody Mary?”
“Oh,” Willow gulped. “That kind of bloody Mary.”
Asher sipped at the cup that looked like it held lemonade and promptly spewed. “This is not for you either.” He bypassed the bowl with the sparkly silver liquid and went straight to the bowl of blue liquid. Most college students would have incorrectly identified it as Curaçao, but Willow’s first thought was tidy bowl cleanser. He took a quick sip, smiled, and poured a large cup of blue for Willow.
“What is it?” Willow took the glass hesitantly.
“Smurf juice.” Asher replied with a straight face.
“It’s not made with real smurfs is it?” Willow felt herself getting sick.
“Mon Dieu! Of course not!” Asher chuckled. “It is a very sweet berry juice that just happens to come from that dimension. It is perfectly safe.”
“Oh, okay.” Willow took a tiny sip, then a longer one. “Mmm; it’s sort of like a liquid pixiestix.”
Asher thought that over carefully. His one experience with pixies involved no sticks and he was quite happy to keep it that way. “If you say so…”
“So what’s the silver stuff?” Willow couldn’t help but be curious.
“Ah, that is not fit for human consumption, but it is a must for every demon party ever thrown.” Asher smirked slightly. “It is a mixed punch of Branwyn’s Tears, cinnamon schnapps, and unicorn piss.” Willow made a face and turned back to her blue cup, sure it looked the worst of the four but at least it was just berry juice. “It works like alcohol on most demon species, but on humans it is an uncontrollable aphrodisiac.”
“Ah.” Willow nodded. “I’m not sure I want any more refreshments.” She didn’t even want to know what was on the snack side of the table.
“Indeed. Shall we…” He was about to ask if she wanted to sit down but was interrupted by someone’s hand running up his arm. With Willow on the other side, he could rule out the more favorable option. Slowly he turned to face his assailant.
“Asher, fancy meeting you here.” The leggy blonde purred.
“Gretchen, how long has it been?” Asher smiled falsely. If only Jean-Claude had staked his little opium-den night of indiscretion before she rose.
“Twenty years, give or take a few. Two very long decades.” She flickered her eyelashes in a bizarre motion that he guessed she thought was seductive.
“Not nearly long enough.” Asher muttered, pulling Willow closer to him. He could smell the bloody Marys on the vampire’s breath even from a foot away.
“So did you just come for the party, or do you have business on the Hellmouth?” Gretchen refused to acknowledge Asher’s discomfort despite his grumblings.
“I follow the queen’s orders.” Asher shrugged off the question.
“Well that’s nice. And does your queen know of your new pet?” Gretchen eyed Willow in such a way that Willow couldn’t help but feel dirty. “Or is this just the hors d’oevres?”
“She is mine.” Asher growled.
“Funny I don’t see any marks.” Gretchen reached out to grab Willow, but Asher was too quick.
“The mark is in a more intimate location.” Asher stepped between the two women.
“No visible marks mean she’s fair game.” Gretchen grinned wickedly. The feud between her master and Asher was legendary. Jean-Claude would be so proud to hear she had taken Asher’s human.
“Do not start something you are not capable of finishing, mademoiselle.” Asher glared at Gretchen. “Come on, my dear.” Asher took Willow quite forcefully by the elbow away from the enraged vampire.
“You can’t do that! This is neutral territory. She’s anyone’s meal!” Gretchen was outraged that Asher would dare walk away from her, and tipsy enough to think she’d have a shot at taking Asher on. Asher didn’t respond, but Willow turned around and stuck her tongue out at the annoying twit. Even Harmony as a vampire would have been preferred company.
Gretchen ran up and put herself directly in Asher’s past. “Your pet insulted me!”
“So you acknowledge she is mine?” Asher arched a brow.
“She stuck her tongue out at me! I demand justice.” Gretchen pouted. There was no way she was letting Asher get away with this.
“Please say you didn’t.” Asher whispered to Willow, who just looked slightly guilty but not quite repentant. “Gretchen, you are weak and a fool. You deserved it.” Asher grumbled.
“I demand justice.” By this point they had attracted the attention of some of the other demons who were trying to reach the punch bowls.
“Hey pal, the lady asked for justice. She deserves a fair swing at the pet.” A nosy blue thing interrupted. Several others chimed in. After all, rules were rules, and this was a neutral ground.
“This is impossible! She is a human, with a broken leg. How can she fight that?” Asher tried
to point out the obvious stupidity to the others, but they weren’t buying it. “She should have thought of it before she stuck her tongue out.” One of them shouted, and most of them agreed.
“Um, what exactly does this mean?” Willow looked up at Asher hoping she was misunderstanding what was going on.
“It means you must fight her.” Asher whispered back.
“But, I thought this was neutral turf. What kind of neutrality includes fighting?”
“You’re not allowed to use weapons.” Asher shrugged.
“And it can’t go more than five minutes.” Asher added hopefully.
“Even better.” Willow grumbled. “I don’t suppose I can have a second or anything?”
“No, I am afraid the severity of your insult does not give you that luxury.” Asher frowned.
“Um, okay, well, wish me luck.”
“With all my heart.” He kissed her head lightly and then turned her to Gretchen.
It was amazing how fast after the call “Catfight!” went out that a circle formed around the two women. Gretchen would strike out, but Willow would duck. They circled nervously until Gretchen managed to back herself into the punch table. Willow couldn’t help but have a karate kid moment, being the underdog facing impossible odds with a broken leg. As she toyed with the idea of pulling the stork move with her cast, Gretchen slapped her across the face.
“OUCH! You, you, you… poopyhead!” Willow screamed and went in for the kill. Gretchen was expecting a hit to the chest or face, and wasn’t prepared when Willow reached around and grabbed her hair, pulling the vampire’s head back.
“Aaah!” Gretchen screamed, causing most of the demons to cover their ears and tympanums in pain. Finally she succeeded in yanking away, leaving Willow with a handful of hair.
“You bitch!” Gretchen screamed and grabbed the punch bowl behind her. As she drenched the redhead in the silvery liquid, the rest of the demons called for Zoltan.
Willow turned away as the liquid hit her so she missed the large, three-eyed, and impeccably dressed demon enter the circle and restrain Gretchen. “By forcing her opponent to go for a weapon, this fight has been won by Asher’s pet!” A large cry rose from the crowd, half cheering for the human, half yelling that the cat-fight was over too quickly.
“I pulled her hair.” Willow muttered, her eyes meeting Asher’s face in a dazed stare.
“What did she pour on you?” Asher approached to claim his pet and finally was able to see what kind of liquid was dripping off his lovely redhead. As the silvery liquid dripped from her hair to her face and down her shirt, Asher stared in horror. He hoped the party hosts hadn’t put too much Branwyn’s Tears in the punch and that it hadn’t had a time to go through the skin yet, or Willow might never find her sanity again “We have to get you out of those clothes before it soaks all the way through.”
“Yes, please?” Willow’s look of confusion was quickly turning into a look of unabashed adoration of her hero.
“Mon Dieu! It has started. We must get you to a shower. Ma chaton, do you know where we may find water for you?” Asher clutched Willow by the shoulders, trying to keep enough control not to shake her. He wasn’t sure who would stake him first if this girl became too lovestruck to function.
“The locker rooms?” Willow said with a silly grin, her cheeks flushing lightly.
“Good enough, tell me where.” He flipped her over his shoulder and carried her off caveman style as she steered him towards the old girls locker room. He prayed the showers still worked in this part of the condemned structure.
Anya shoved her way through the crowds to reach the fight sight just in time to see Willow’s head flopped over Asher’s shoulders leaving through the gym’s double doors. “Now there goes a happy pet.” Zoltan commented to Anya.
“Oh really?” Anya watched the couple disappear into the hallway.
“Oh yeah. She took a hit of Lovers’ Punch defending her owner’s honor. He can’t help but screw her brains out now.”
“Really? That’s just what she needed! Go Willow!” Anya did a little cheer for her friend, glad to see that rumors of the fight were greatly exaggerated. She ran back to the dance floor where Hallie was trying to convince the d.j. to break out the Time Warp, again.