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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: AsherdulcineaFR1855165,32913100123,5112 May 043 Sep 06Yes

Court and Spark - 12

~ Sunnydale High School Locker Room, Tuesday, 8:21 p.m.~

“Asher? Has anyone ever told you that you’re really tall?” Willow grinned goofily at the vampire who was propping her up against the wall while trying to get the door to the locker room open.

“Oui, it has been mentioned before.” Asher absently commented as he carried Willow into the room, locking the door behind them to make sure none of the more unsavory demons decided to intrude without giving them warning.

“And you have beautiful hair.” Willow giggled.

“Oui.” Asher brought her past aisles of lockers to reach the showers. “Mademoiselle, we must get you under the water and get the punch out of your shirt.” Asher instructed, trying to keep Willow from getting her fingers tangled in his hair.

“Goody!” She chirped letting him set her against a row of lockers. Well, that certainly made his job easier. Turning on the faucet, he was glad to see the water had not been cut off to this part of the school despite the building being condemned and the other half of the school being nothing more than charred remains. He rolled up his sleeve and stuck his hand under the water to check the temperature. “Asher, if you could be a constellation, which constellation would you be?” Willow’s dreamy voice echoed softly in the showers.


‘If you could be a constellation, which constellation would you be?”

“That is what I thought you had said.” Asher frowned. It was a rather random question for someone under the influence of Branwyn’s Tears; normally their one thought was to maximize skin contact anyway possible. Perhaps she wasn’t as affected as he had thought. “I believe I would be Orion. Both the stars and the story are quite captivating. Why do you ask?”

“Remember in L.A., how we were looking at the stars and the moon?” Willow took a step closer to where Asher stood.

“Ah yes, the moon and the wolf.” Asher felt the hot water finally turn on. “The water is at a proper temperature.” He muttered to Willow, not quite sure what to make of her conversation. Was she really in so much control of her senses that she was able to form coherent thoughts? If so, did they need to wash the Branwyn’s Tears off her? His questions were answered by her next action.

“Hunt me, Orion!” Willow launched herself at Asher, sending them both against the tiled bathroom wall and locking their lips in a passionate kiss.

~ Sunnydale High School Stadium, Tuesday, 8:25 p.m.~

“I gotta answer that.” Graham muttered as Thumper Two called for a check in.

“Don’t!” Buffy responded quickly.

“If he doesn’t, they’ll send more units this way.” Riley answered.

“Delay them or something.”

Graham looked to Riley for advice. “Tell them that you’ve got civilians within firing range that you need to move out first.” Riley answered. It wasn’t exactly a lie so it wasn’t exactly like Graham was perjuring in a report.

“This is Pansy One.” Graham pressed the button on his radio, trying hard not to sneeze as he did so.

“Are you at your station?” Thumper Two sounded bored.

“There’s a bit of a problem. We’ve run into some civilians making out in the bleachers.” They could hear Thumper Two chuckle in the distance. “I’ve sent Daisy One to chase them off.” Riley nodded at Graham’s stall tactic.

“How long do you think it will take?”

“Is five minutes acceptable?” Riley nodded as Thumper Two responded with an affirmative. “You have five minutes to clear the back entrance of civilians.” The call ended abruptly.

“Great, now what happens in five minutes?” Buffy asked the question that was on everyone’s mind.

“We’ll come up with something.” Riley muttered.

“There’s someone coming out of the back door.” Buffy cut off their silent brooding. She had spotted the figure long before the two soldiers had noticed, and was off down the bleachers faster than either of the men could run.

“Xander!” She waved her friend over.

“Buffy, great, you’re here.”

“Where’s Giles?”

“Funny thing, it’s sort of a madhouse in there.”


“Giles is stuck.”

“Please tell me he isn’t literally stuck.” Buffy cringed.

“No, he’s just stuck on the other side of the room while Angel is talking to the d.j. It’s going to be awhile.”

“We don’t have awhile.”

“Sure we do, the party’s just getting started.”

“The army dudes that took us hostage are going to attack in five minutes.” Buffy answered. It was only now that Riley and Graham had managed to catch up.

“Oh crap.” Xander muttered. “So now would probably be a bad time to bring up the thirty hostages Anya found that are probably going to be the midnight snack?”

“Hostages?” Graham and Riley immediately perked up.

“Yeah, they’re being kept in the storage room, you know, the place all the P.E. equipment was stored in? Anya’s watching the door.”

“We need to get them out now.”

“There’s a back door to the storage room, but it’s locked from the inside.”

“Which one is it?” Graham asked.

“That one,” Xander pointed to the right of the door he had come out of.

“We need to get the hostages out now.” Buffy nodded to Riley and Graham who immediately went to do that. “Can you guys get out of here in five minutes? If the army guys are hanging around here, we don’t want to get caught again.”

“I don’t know. It’s going to be hard getting to Angel, and we sent Spike off to find Willow and Asher five minutes ago and they still haven’t come back.”

“I hope they’re okay.”

~ Sunnydale High Locker Rooms, Tuesday, 8:26 p.m.~

“Oh goddess!” Willow leaned in for another kiss before Asher could stop her. If he were being honest with himself, he was not really trying that hard.

“Ma chaton, we must stop.” Asher closed his eyes and shivered as Willow nibbled along his neck. “You are not yourself.”

“I want you. Please?” Asher nearly lost it at the please, but gathered up enough strength to open his eyes and take a step back. “We can not risk rousing the ardeur. I will not take advantage of you.”

“But what if I want you to take advantage of me?” Asher watched Willow’s eyes become glassier as though he was putting her under a thrall, but he knew that wasn’t the case.

“You do not know what you are saying. We need to get the Branwyn’s off you.” He began leading her to the shower head.

“Oh yes, good idea.” She reached across to start undoing the buttons on his shirt.

He gently swatted her hands away. “Stop that.” He instructed sternly, returning to the task at hand.

Willow’s fingers found their way back to his chest trying to undo the buttons. He swatted her away again, but her fingers kept moving back.

“Mademoiselle, please do not interfere so much.” He instructed sternly. He knew she had no idea just how she was winding him up, but it was still rather infuriating.

“Look who’s being the kitten now.” Willow giggled as he swatted her hands away. “Here kitty, kitty, kitty.”

“That’s it! Under the water for you, ma chaton.” Asher yanked the shirt up over Willow’s head and tossed it into the shower, dragging Willow that direction as well.

~ Sunnydale High School Gym, Tuesday, 8:27 p.m.~

“Angelus!” A voice called from directly behind the pair standing on the corner of the d.j.’s platform.

Angel turned, yanking Giles’ along with him. “Mind the shoulder.” Giles hissed.

“Angelus! By the devils, it’s really you!” A green scaly demon approached the pair, wobbling just a bit as he walked.

“Zoltan! It’s been long time!” Angel tried to sound enthusiastic. Giles took a second look at the demon before them. This was the demon the others all feared? He was so normal looking, for a demon. His manicured nails hardly resembled the talons from the compendium’s illustrations. His style of dress would complement Buffy’s in that outlandish, just shy of tacky way that California was known for.

“Whatcha got there?” Zoltan waved a martini glass filled with yellow liquid at Giles.

“It’s the watcher.” Angel carefully led Giles around to face Zoltan. “I promised Anyanka I’d offer her first dibs. I don’t suppose you’ve seen her?”

“For a woman so content with smiting down guys, she sure does get around.” Zoltan’s words slurred slightly, causing Giles to wonder if this was a difficult language for his kind of demon to speak. “First I saw her with Asher. Do you remember Asher? Man I would kill for his hair. Hell, I probably have killed for his hair. Didn’t do me a slight bit of good. Blonde and green don’t really go together, maybe I should try red; what do you think?”

“Huh?” Angel tried to follow the conversation, but it was clear to him that Zoltan had started drinking way before the evening got started.

“Where was I? Oh yeah, Anyanka. Then she had this gorgeous brunette number. Really, he looked too adorable with her, for a human. I can’t wait to see the grandkids from that pair. Now, you want Anyanka. Ironic isn’t it?”

“Um, sure. Do you know where she is?”

“Try the punch table.”

“You saw her there?”

“The punch is delicious. Clem really outdid himself.”

“Thanks. I’ll try it.” Angel muttered, confused by the answer.

“TTFN! That’s ta-ta for now, you know.” Zoltan winked and turned, where he began a new conversation with one of the music speakers.

~ Sunnydale High School, Tuesday, 8:28 p.m.~

Spike had followed the direction of Anya’s head bob out the gym and into the nearly deserted hallway. He wandered a bit until he came upon two fledglings listening through a door and snickering. He came up behind them, patting their backs. “Hey boys, whatcha listening to?”

The two jumped back guiltily before remembering that they were demons, and demons didn’t do guilt. “Nothin’.”

“Nothing?” Spike’s deliberate voice let them know he wasn’t buying it; pinning one of them against the wall just cemented the fact. “Let’s try this again. What are you listening to?”

“Come on, you saw it. How could we not listen?” The one not pinned against the wall pleaded.

“Saw what?”

“The fight.” The other one choked out.

“What fight?” Spike released his hold, letting the fledgling slide down the wall.

“Dude, you totally missed it!”

“Yeah, man, it was totally awesome.” Spike rolled his eyes. No wonder no master had succeeded in holding the Hellmouth; with local minions like these guys, any attempt would be screwed from the start. “There was this old chick, Gretel or something, and she was like ‘dude, I want your pet.’ Then the dude was like, ‘No way, bi-atch!’ and walked away, but then his pet stuck her tongue out at the old chick.”

“Right, so then the old chick was like ‘You insult my honor, prepare to die!’ which was like total overkill.” Tweedle-dumber interrupted.

“Dude, so then this catfight breaks out between old chick and old dude’s pet. It looks like the pet’s about to bite it, but no! She pulls old chick’s hair. Old chick took a whole bowl of that silver punch stuff and dumps it on the girl’s head. Bam!”

“Silver punch?”

“Yeah, you know, the shiny stuff?”

“On a human?” Spike was beginning to regret he missed this show; undoubtedly it was losing something in the retelling.

“Oh, yeah.” Tweedle-dumb and Tweedle-dumber nodded.

Spike broke into laughter as he realized just what must have been in the silver punch. “The pet’s probably about to pop! That’s hilarious.”

“Yeah, and old dude is in there right now, ‘washing it off’.” Tweedle-dumb said, complete with winks and air quotes.

“Ah.” Spike chuckled. Pervy fledges. Granted, if he didn’t have to find Red and Blondie, he’d probably be listening in too.

“You haven’t even heard the really funny part.” Tweedle-dumber couldn’t help but add. “The pet was that total nerd from high school, Willow Rosenberg.”

“Oh bloody hell!” Spike kicked the door with all his might.

“Dude, take a chill pill.”

~Sunnydale High Locker Rooms, Tuesday, 8:28 p.m.~

“Oh Asher, I love you!” Willow muttered between kissing every available inch of skin while the blonde vampire tried to lead her to the shower.

“Do not say things you don’t mean, ma chaton.” Asher murmured.

“You could complete me, and I’d complete you.” Willow whispered into Asher’s ear. The vampire shivered, praying that the ardeur did not choose this moment to overflow. Even centuries of practiced control could not help him under these circumstances. He was so hungry and she was so willing, it took every ounce of patience he had not to ravish her.

“Take me, now!” Willow pressed herself up against Asher and rubbed, ruining his last hope of getting out of this with dry clothes.

“Please…” Asher tried to direct her to lean back and get her hair wet, hoping to rinse the Tears away.

“Yes, please!” Willow cried as Asher ran her fingers through her hair. Asher tried to hold her up and keep the cast out of the spray while getting more of her under the water. Already the Tears were affecting Willow in a bad way. Her heart was pounding twice as fast as it should.

Or maybe it was not her heart that was pounding so hard. “I think I hear something…” Willow cut off Asher with a kiss, “… at the door. It sounded like…” more smooching, “… someone trying to break in.” Asher gave up, letting Willow drag him completely under the spray, barely managing to keep her cast out of the water as she wrapped her legs around his waist.

“Bloody Hell, my eyes!” A shout interrupted their snogging.

“Mon Dieu, Monsieur Spike!” Asher glanced up in shock, but Willow just kept on nibbling at Asher’s neck. “It is not what it looks like.”

“Bullshit. It’s exactly what it looks like. Red’s trying to screw your brains out.” Put that way, Asher had to agree. “I heard about the fight.”

“And so why are you interrupting?” Asher couldn’t help but wrap his arms tighter around the girl. Who would have thought his kitten would be such a minx.

“Frankly, if it was just me, I wouldn’t.” Spike tilted his head to get a better look at the nearly naked Willow. “I had no idea she could…” He shook his head and tried to focus on Asher, but his eyes kept straying. “The slayer’s going to crash the party any minute now and Red needs to be elsewhere.”

“Her friends can not see her like this.” Asher immediately went on the defensive. “If they find out…”

“We’re screwed, or rather you get screwed and I get staked.” Spike admitted. “Take her somewhere, I’ll cover.”

“The mansion.” Asher offered.

“Works for me. I’ll let the slayer know you’re out and meet you back there. You two better still be there when this is all over.”

“You have my…” Asher had to take a deep breath as Willow’s teeth traced his scarred neck. Asher wished he wasn’t so obliged to uphold her honor. “You have my word.” Asher exhaled.

~Sunnydale High School Stadium, Tuesday, 8:30 p.m.~

Spike was the last of the group to reach the appointed meeting place in the football stadium bleachers. “Where’s Willow?” Buffy immediately demanded.

“Asher’s taken her back to his mansion.”

“My mansion.” Angel muttered.

“He figured it would take them longer to get back, you know, broken leg and whatnot.” Spike shrugged. Anyone who knew Spike would have known he wasn’t quite telling the truth; Angel just
couldn’t figure out what part of the sentence was a lie. “So why are you hanging around here wasting time? What happened to storming the castle?” Spike turned the focus back on Buffy.

“We’re not attacking.” Angel offered.

“What? No fight?”

“We’re not going to fight.” Giles replied.

“What? But this was my chance to see the slayer truly outnumbered and desperate.”

“I’m not fighting.” Buffy pouted.

“Why the hell not?” At that moment a shot sounded from the front of the building.

“That’s why. Shall we watch from the announcer’s booth?” Giles directed everyone up the bleachers to the little windowed room that offered a perfect view of the high school. Last in were Riley and Graham, leaving Forrest still passed out in the bleachers. Looking behind them, a crowd of teenagers stolen from the Bronze were running away from the school as fast as they could. In front of them, the soldiers crawled out to form lines facing the front entrance.

“They’re really marching in like that?” Angel couldn’t help but ask.

“Yeah, not the brightest maneuver.” Riley agreed with the man he still hadn’t gotten to courage to ask Buffy about.

“Hey, aren’t you Hostile 17?” Graham said between sneezes, squinting to get a better look at the blonde man watching the action from the corner.

“Nah, that’s not him.” Riley quickly cut in before anyone could answer. “You must just be having side effects from the antibiotics. You’re on antibiotics, right?”

“Are you kidding? Walsh pumped me so full of drugs this morning I was probably sweating antibiotics.” Graham joked. “I guess you’re right.” Graham watched the soldiers move into formation, their right flank completely missing the fact that there was a side door to the gym on that side. “Do you think we should radio down and tell them they’re losing H.S.T.s from the side?”

“Do you think it would help?” Another shot sounded and suddenly a crowd of demons came rushing out to meet the soldiers. Many were stunned, but more got through the first barrage of soldier fire.

“Is it just me, or are the humans going to get trounced in this fight?” Buffy asked.

“You may be correct. Normally, I’d suggest that we help protect the human lives, but I’m afraid this time I just don’t care.” Giles watched the clash with mild academic interest.

“Yeah, do we fight against the bad guys who took us hostage, or do we fight against the bad guys who eat children for breakfast?” Buffy asked, admiring some of the demons’ fighting techniques.

“I don’t know about you, but I think watching them kill each other off is a great option.” Xander mused. Both Riley and Anya protested with a “Hey!” thinking of their friends on opposite sides.

“Ew! Tell me he did not just zap a Garbrik demon. We’ve all seen those stains; they’ll never come out of that uniform!” For once Giles had to agree with Buffy. Every beginning watcher soon learned that Garbriks were mostly harmless but extraordinarily messy.

They watched quietly as the battle raged on below. Most of the demons made a break for it, choosing to run instead of fight. “Should I radio down and tell them that all the demons are going out the back door and that Forrest and I can’t cover it?” Graham sniffled, watching the exodus of demons.

“Does it look like anyone down there could answer your call?” Riley answered quietly.

“Well, no.”

“Then why bother?”

“What’s gotten into you, Iowa? You used to be all rule happy and now you’re all W.O.L. and encouraging me to go too.” Graham muttered, his eyelids dropping. He wished he could just take his flu to bed.

“If Walsh bothered to review her orders for me, the last standing order was to stay with Summers and Giles. It’s not my fault if they decide to break out of the quarantine cell and try to help their friends. If Walsh asks, just tell her that I’m still following her orders.” Riley’s playful whisper was overheard by Spike and Angel.

“Very sneaky, Finn.” Graham sneezed.

“You’re getting worse.” Riley observed.

“Time for more meds.”

“I guess so.”

“Look, you guys might want to book it soon, if you leave before the fight is over, no one will ever know you were here.” Graham offered.

“Oh my gosh!” Anya’s cry startled the quiet conversation. “Those idiots took Zoltan.”

“That’s the big bad?” They watched as the green scaly demon was subdued with stun guns and loaded onto a paddy wagon. “I thought Zoltan was supposed to be really fierce and stuff. He didn’t even try to fight.” Buffy observed.

“Well, as he is immortal and capable of delivering plagues just by sight, he hardly needs to develop hand to hand combat skills.” Giles offered an explanation.

“Plus, he was so drunk when we talked to him, that he probably hasn’t even noticed he’s been taken prisoner yet.” Angel offered a more probable response. “I’d hate to be around when his hangover hits.”

“You can say that again.” Anya started. “I remember this time when I had just gotten back from cursing this guy with …”

“Anya!” By now Xander had learned to cut Anya off before she got to the next part of the story.

“I’m just saying, he tends to curse anything that moves when he’s hung over. I mean, how else do you think mad cow disease started?”

“Right.” Giles shifted uncomfortably. “Well, I suppose we should go find Willow while the fighters are distracted.” The group slowly agreed, filing out of the announcer’s box and making their way down the bleachers.

“You’re not going to rat on us, are you?” Riley asked Graham, meeting his friend’s eyes.

“If it weren’t for those guys, I doubt we’d have gotten those hostages out of the storage room in time. I know when to keep my mouth shut.” Graham stared at Forrest. “I just hope he wakes up soon.”

“He’ll be fine, and if not just call him a big baby. After all, he got taken down by a girl.” Riley grinned. “I’ll see you around.”

“Are you going to contact Walsh? Let her know your position?” Graham called as Riley followed his new unit consisting of Giles and Buffy away from the school.

“Take care of yourself.” Riley yelled back, ignoring the question. Honestly he didn’t know what to do next. He was getting by on a technicality. If Walsh had worded her orders in any other way, he’d have been A.W.O.L. by now. Still he couldn’t help but think he was doing the right thing. It was better to rescue hostages than take part in a suicide attack, wasn’t it? It was better to research the beasts that seemed to congregate here than just randomly shoot them, wasn’t it?
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