Title: Deja Vu
Category: Buffy/Anita Blake
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Buffy or Anitaverse characters. They are owned by the Gods...otherwise known as Joss Whedon and Laurell K. Hamilton.
Distribution: Gotta ask me first
Rating: Pg-13, for possible language
Spoilers: Buffy season finale and Cerulean Sins.
Summary: Just read the darn thing.
Genre: Anita Blake
Max Rating: 18
Characters: Willow, Asher or Richard
Want To See: Anita and Willow as friends
Not Want To See: character death
My head fell with a hard thud onto my computer desk. Okay, well this kind of sucked. I knew that life was a circle, but I didn't think it would be this much of a circle. My life as of late felt like one big case of deja vu. I moved the design for my graduation invitations down to the bottom of the screen and looked at the page behind it. My eyes raked over the list on the screen one more time.
Strong powerful woman .... Check. Anita and Buffy had to meet soon.
Goofy best friend..... Check. Jason and Xander should never meet...... maybe that was true of Anita and Buffy as well.
Werewolf who doesn't accept his beast .....Check. Although Richard was better, just not complete.
Vampire with too much charisma for his own darn good..... Check. At least Spike had that whole I tried to put a broken bottle in you face thing. Kind of took away from his attractiveness.
Annoyingly snoopy Council..... Check. I'm still not sure whose more evil.
Danger at almost every turn..... Check. Can take the girl out of Sunnydale, hell can blow up Sunnydale, but can't take the danger out of the girl.
Brooding Vampire..... Check. Handsome sexy irritatingly ignorant vampire.... definitely check.
Wanton desire to make brooding vampire less so..... that was a whole new ball game. My head hit the table with another loud thud. "Ow."
If this were Sunnydale I would have been so attracted to Richard with his boy scout ways and shy mannerisms that Asher wouldn't have even entered my consciousness, let alone stolen my heart. But I was years away from Sunnydale and the city that used to be. She had helped Giles set up the Council of Guides. Cause they weren't allowed to just watch anymore, they had to guide as well. They had to be teachers and mentors and fighters. But they also had to be scientists and researchers and politicians. And those last three are where I really stepped in a big pile of doggie do.
"Willow, have you ever thought of studying biology?" I should have known that Giles was being sneaky. Leaving little pamphlets around the house for me to find. Watching the Nature channel all the time. Damn him and my hyper curious brain. "Sure Giles, I would love to go to St. Louis and get my Masters in Preternatural Biology. That sounds like a lot of fun." Can you hear the sarcasm? Apparently Giles didn't.
So I became not only Willow Rosenburg, supreme Wiccan and bad ass evil fighter, but also Willow Rosenburg, college student. Oh the joy. Yeah, I know, I'm not exactly brimming with the fun today, but I'll get to my crankiness later. There was only one problem in Gile's attempt to get me all nice and edumicated. And his name was Jean Claude. The man, well vamp........ man, is such a pain in the patoot. He oozes sex in ways that Spike couldn't even attempt. And of all the vamps in Sunnydale, my horny doppleganger excluded, Spike oozed the most sex. Jean Claude far surpassed him.
"So, ma petit Willow, tell me what it is again that a Witch of your power is doing in St. Louis?" He smiled and tilted his head to the side in a small show of innocence and sincerity.
I almost snorted. Cause that's all it was, a show. A pretty show but a show all the same. I caught myself before I could finish channeling Buffy. "I'm getting my Masters degree in preternatural biology so that I can better help the Council of Guides. But I believe Mr. Giles told you that over the phone."
"And why would I want one of the Council of Guides most powerful members to learn anymore ways to kill my kind?" His smile was becoming less and less sincere and more and more aggressive.
"Because, you have a big heart?" I gave him my own sincere and innocent smile. It wasn't working. In fact, he was doing that creepy stone thing that vamps like to do when they're trying to show off. Maybe mentioning his heart after he mentioned killing wasn't the best of ideas. "Because I can learn this stuff at another university, but this one is the best. Because it's better to have the Wicked Wicca of the West on your side than not. Because two years is a long time to have an ally like me. And because I can offer you something that no one else in the world can offer you."
I waited for him to ask the question. For like two minutes, before I finally gave up at the ridiculous waiting game, (impatient, who me?) and told him. "Cause I can treat Monsieur Asher."
His eyebrows went damn near sky high at that. But his seriousness was captured in the breathless tone of his next question. "You can cure him?"
I could feel my hair brush across my chin as I shook my head no. I was getting used to my hair being short again. My break up with Kennedy had led to a total overhaul. I was back to wearing more flowy skirts although my shirts stayed a little more fitting. But the hair had been cut to my chin. It made me look younger, but I felt younger too so it all balanced out in the end. "No, no. I said I could treat him. My magic can heal, but not like that. I can help diminish the scars. I might be able to heal some of them. But even I can't fix damage like that. Believe me I've tried. If I can't give Xander back his eye, I can't cure Asher. But I can lighten the damage."
"What would this treatment detail?"
I couldn't help but jump a few inches as the voice came from the corner. "Bells. Gotta buy ya'all bells." I waited till my breathing and heart rate went back to normal before answering the figure in the corner wrapped so carefully in the shadows. "Walks in the park mainly."
"Walks in the park?" His laughter didn't hold any joy. "You hear that Jean Claude, all we needed to fix my scars was to walk through the park! Now why didn't I think of that?!" He stepped into the light and I gritted my teeth for a brief second to better get a handle on what I had gotten myself into. One side of his face was almost completely swallowed by scars. His eyes, his nose and his lips were left untouched. Nice lips. Gorgeous blue eyes, golden hair.... and quite the scornful laugh.
"Walks in the park with a Wiccan powerful enough to end the world. Yeah, that'll help." He turned to look at me again. "Listen I can't promise perfection. What I can promise is improvement. At least physical, cause your attitude leaves much to be desired and I have seen far better brooders in my day." I turned away from the now silent, and yes brooding, blonde and faced the Master of the City. "So, can I study here or not?"
Jean Claude turned to face Asher who gave the simplest of nods. He turned back to me with a small smile. "Yes, yes you may."
I almost wish he had said no. Two years in St. Louis was like two years in Sunnydale. I made fast friends with Anita and Jason. They became my Buffy and Xander. My serious but sarcastic heroine and crazy buddy. I helped Anita with her magic, and she let me play with her kittens. Get your mind out of the gutter. It was completely not sexual. Her pard made me feel at home and I in turn helped some of them with a less than stellar education get their GED's and try some night courses. I also helped with the bad guys when I could. I didn't always agree with Anita's kill first tactics but at least she was on my side. Go team.
But now, onto the bad mood. Asher hasn't shown up. At all. Our walks through the park have really helped his scars. The ones on his face are such a light pink now that he can be in direct lighting and people may not notice. But the walks became so much more. After the initial sulking and dry wit, he began to talk to me. He began to teach me French. It started out as a game. He'd point to something and I'd tell him the word in some strange demon language, and then he'd tell it to me in French. With in six months I had a working knowledge of French and a working crush.
I know what you are thinking and this was not like my Xander crush. This was love for someone who I knew inside and out. Our talks in the park became more and more personal as time went on. He talked of his constant turmoil with his love for Anita. He talked of his rejection by Belle. I told him all of my secrets and he did not judge. But somehow most of our conversations always came back to Anita. Was love enough when he knew he was only one of many? I couldn't answer the question for him. And I was way to chicken to tell him of my own feeling until I knew was he had decided to do on the issue. And that left me where I am now. Smiling vaguely through tears as I say good-bye to everyone who came for my graduation party. J.C, he hates the nickname but Jean Claude is way to snotty for a man who moans like that when I make Anita eat my homemade chocolate chip cookies. J.C. kissed my cheek and wished me well.
"I will see you tomorrow when you drop off the keys, no?"
Tomorrow I was going to drop off my extra keys to the Circus before I left for my flight back to London. J.C. owned the house but I was subletting it until the lease was up. The Guides had paid for the whole year. Okay, so I had paid for the full year hoping that Asher would give me a reason to stay. "Yeah, tomorrow." I waved good-bye as he sauntered towards the limo.
"Are you checking out his but?"
"No, Anita. You know I'm just like you. A eyes and hair kind of girl."
Anita smile at me as she slipped her coat on. She stopped as she stepped outside the door. She made some serious eye contact and I know that she knew. "I'm sorry he didn't come. I know how much you wanted...... to at least say good-bye." I nodded at her. She didn't do well with tears and saying anything at that moment would have brought on a good water works. I gave her a small wave good-bye and stepped back in.
"Who did not come to your party, Willow?"
I nearly jumped out of my skin. He was standing in the corner still skulking in the shadows. It was a habit I think he was going to keep for life. If I ever got together with a vamp I was tying bells in his or her hair.
"You." I started to clean up the area around me. If he thought that showing up at the end of the party was gonna endear me to him, than he was all wrong. Maybe he just came to pick up his extra coffin from the basement. "Don't forget your coffin. I don't want the sub letters to renegotiate the rent." I tried to make my voice sound jolly as I threw paper plates and cups into the large black garbage bag. I moved about the room picking up trash as I went keeping on eye on the unmoving vamp while avoiding eye contact. One minute he was across the room and now he was standing right in front of me. His hand wrapped around the wrist reaching for the next cup. He held it still in his warm hands. Borrowed warmth at it's best.
"Why are you behaving like this?"
"Like I killed your kitten."
Images of Ms. Kitty Fantastico and Dawn's poor placement of her crossbow made all higher functions in my brain cease. I threw the pile of garbage at his feet. "I'm not acting like you killed my damn cat. I'm acting like you broke my damn heart." As soon as the words were out of my mouth I knew that I had made a mistake. But I was too damn stubborn to leave the room. I watched as multiple emotions ran across his face. I recognized only a few of them. But when his gaze finally settled the intensity of his eyes was startling. I might have been immune to the vampire stare from my time in Sunnydale, but his eyes still made something inside of me quake.
"One can only break what belongs to them." He reached his free hand up and wiped the tears off my face. When had I started to cry?
"It does belong to you." I tried to smile a little as his gaze never left my face. "You could always take it back though maybe trade it in for a larger......" His lips were softer than they looked. They felt too soft, too textured to be flesh. Like the touch of an apricot before the first bite. He deepened the kiss and it was better than apricots. It was like fleshy and sweet and wet and tart.
He pulled away when I needed air to breathe. Pesky air. "No, I think I like it just the way it is." He raised my captured wrist to his lips and placed a soft kiss there. He had never acted interested before, not even a little. His heart had always been with Anita. I had to know why.
"Goody. Me too. But what about Anita?"
"What about her?" I raised an eyebrow and he continued to stare at me.
"All that confusion over do you love her or not?" Our faces were still very close together so I saw the knowledge come into his eyes. But they never lost their intensity.
"I love her but not like I love Jean Claude, not like I love you. Does that bother you? That I love Jean Claude?"
"Hey, I thought I was a strict lesbian for awhile. So what's a little same sex canoodling between lovers?" He laughed and it was so pure and free that couldn't help but stand on tiptoe and brush my own lips across his. Maybe this wasn't deja vu, maybe this was good old fashioned carpe diem. And carpe I did.
(I am very sorry for the lateness of this but my life has gone crazy this last month. I was gonna originally write Richard as the hero, but then my cousin was in an accident where he was seriously burned (they have to do skin graphs and everything but apparently identical twins are good for something) so Asher got put in his place. It started out one way and ended up in first person, which just felt weird for me to write. So here it is, hope you like) And cheers to the list mom. I love twisting the hellmouth and am wondering why this stuff never happens to some of the crappy sites out there.... oh yeah, if they aren't any good, no one goes there. ;-)