Disclaimer: Willow and Anya belong to Joss Whedon, ME, UPN, WB, and FOX, Anita Blake characters belong to Laurell K. Hamilton.
Distribution: My site, http://magical-worlds.us/musings/ , NHA, TtH anyone else with other fics of mine, anyone else that wants it just let me know first.
Summary: Willow has reason to believe Anya may not be dead.
Spoilers: Through Chosen. Nothing specific for AB but through Incubus Dreams to be safe.
Author’s Notes: This is for Lisa, its gone way beyond the promised drabble but Merry Christmas anyway.
Also thanks to Leslie, Jen, and Gillian for beta-ing this for me.
Willow glanced around the busy city. This had to be the right place, and this was the last dimension. If she wasn’t here, it was over. Well, not the last dimension but the last likely one. All that would be left were the Heavenly and Hell dimensions, and she would not believe that Anya would be trapped in hell, it wasn’t possible. If she was in a Heavenly dimension Willow wasn’t going to even try to find her. She wouldn’t ask her friend to leave Heaven, not after what happened with Buffy.
She had been searching for months now, ever since D’Hoffryn summoned her. He had told her that it was possible Anya wasn’t dead. Gone certainly, but not necessarily dead. He said that occasionally when a demon was killed they were simply moved to a new dimension where their particular…talents could be useful. Even though she was no longer a demon it was possible this had happened to Anya. He wasn’t able to travel dimensions, at least not to ones that weren’t created by one of his demons, but he sensed Anya’s presence still. He knew Xander was still grieving, even after two years, and Willow was the only one, human or demon, that he knew that may have the power to find her.
D’Hoffryn had also told Willow that he was certain Anya would be in a dimension similar to theirs. Hell dimensions had little call for a specialized vengeance demon; they existed to cause suffering anyway , so a demon like Anyanka would be redundant. The Heavenly dimensions frowned on vengeance so she wouldn’t be there, not unless she was truly dead. He had given her a list of possibilities and even offered assistance in searching if she needed it.
Willow had accepted the list, but refused the assistance. As, Anya’s last contact with D’Hoffryn’s people had ended in Halfreck’s death, she wouldn’t trust them if they did find her. That left Willow searching alone. She had to do it alone. Buffy and Giles were busy with the new Council, and she didn’t want to bother them. Xander would’ve helped, obviously, but she didn’t want to tell him. She wasn’t going to tell him that there was a chance Anya was alive somewhere, not until she had proof. Not until she could bring the other woman back with her. So she hadn’t told anyone except Kennedy. Kennedy knew what was happening; she wasn’t happy about it but she knew. She didn’t think Willow should be wasting time searching for Anya. The dead should remain dead.
Willow knew that. She had learned that lesson well when she brought Buffy back. That’s why she didn’t just do a spell to call Anya back. Why she had spent months searching countless dimensions. She would find her and ask her to come back. If Anya wanted to stay, she would leave and go home. No one else would ever know what she had found. Xander would continue to grieve but would adjust eventually. He wouldn’t be further hurt by knowing she was out there somewhere.
Now here she was in the last place she had to search, she wasn’t ready to give up yet, Anya had to be here. She wasn’t willing to accept that all her work had been for nothing. This place was the closet to her own; she knew that before she arrived. She had researched the dimension thoroughly after ending up in more than a few dangerous places because she hadn’t known what to expect. The only difference was that here, all the things she had known existed for years were also known and accepted by everyone else. Vampires and werewolves were a part of society here; they didn’t hide. They weren’t hunted, they just existed.
She was in St. Louis now; this was the first dimension that she had found any information at all that pointed toward Anya. She had started in California, near Sunnydale and had followed the rumors of a witch attacking men. Every rumor had involved a man who had recently left a relationship. Now that Willow was here, she needed to find a place to stay and try searching for Anya in the morning. She would try a locator spell as soon as she got some rest.
She stopped and stared at the building in front of her after having only gone a few blocks. Iit had clowns dancing on the rooftop. At first she hadn’t thought anything of it; it was cute and she could only see part of the sign, the part that said ‘Circus’ so it fit, now she was closer and realized the clowns had fangs. There were banners advertising zombies and werewolves as well as several other monster-type shows. She started moving forward to get a closer look at the banners, ignoring her surroundings except for the sign and walked right into someone crossing the parking lot. She stumbled and begun to fall backwards when a hand reached out and grabbed her, pulling her back to her feet.
“I’m so sorry,” Willow said nervously, “I wasn’t…”
“It’s my fault,” the man responded grinning, “I don’t usually miss pretty girls walking right in front of me like that.”
Willow looked at him and smiled, he was probably about her age, his blue eyes obviously laughing at her. “No, it’s me, I was so caught up in those signs I wasn’t paying attention.”
“Never been to the circus before?”
“The circus yes, but this is not a circus,” Willow responded stepping back and gesturing to the building in front of them.
“It’s a circus. It has side shows and rides and everything,” he insisted, “A show’s starting in a few minutes, want to see.”
“I don’t,” Willow hesitated, she didn’t know this man and she could feel his power washing over her. He wasn’t human, at least not entirely, “I’m just looking for a place to stay for the night.”
“I can offer that too,” his grin widened, making her blush.
“I don’t even know your name,” Willow said her blush creeping down her neck, “And that’s not what I meant. I just need directions to a hotel.”
“I’m Jason. Come see the show and I’ll personally take you to a hotel afterward.”
Willow’s eyes narrowed suspiciously, “I’m Willow. I’ll see the show, but just directions after right?”
“Okay, Willow,” he said eyes dancing, “If you only want directions, I’ll just give you directions, can’t say I won’t be disappointed though.”
“Alright, ’lets see the circus,” Willow followed him toward the building but stopped when he headed toward the back, instead of the main entrance with the people lined up outside. “Where are we going?”
“Employee entrance,” Jason explained, “Better view and you don’t have to buy a ticket.”
“You work here?”
“I live here,” he responded as he knocked on the door and it swung open, “But if you don’t hurry you’re going to miss the show. And you really don’t want to miss the beginning.”
Two hours later he walked her back outside, still unsure of Willow’s reaction to the show. She hadn’t said much, beyond the fact that she was from somewhere that the monsters weren’t quite as out in the open as they were here. She hadn’t wanted to elaborate on where she was from. “Did you like the show?”
“It was…different,” she answered, “I had no idea that werewolves could change anytime, I mean I’ve seen Oz change but it was always during the full moon and he was locked up.”
“Old boyfriend,” she responded, “Now where is the nearest hotel?”
“Nearest?” Jason shrugged, “I wouldn’t recommend that one, are you sure you don’t want a ride?”
“I can walk,” Willow responded, “Really I’m tougher than I look.”
Jason’s eyes traveled her body he would’ve doubted her claim but he could feel her power. He wasn’t sure what it was exactly, but she was powerful. He was also well aware that size didn’t make someone less dangerous. “I’m sure you are.”
“Jason,” both Willow and Jason turned to find the owner of the voice calling to him, “Jean-Claude is looking for you.”
“I’ll be right in, Asher,” Jason frowned, “I have to see what he wants. Why don’t you come in and we can call to make sure the hotel has rooms available.”
Willow’s eyes narrowed suspiciously, “I don’t…”
“…Know me,” Jason finished, “There will be at least twelve other people in there right now, including Anita. Asher, tell her she’ll be safe.”
Willow watched the man near the door glide toward them, she wasn’t sure that glide was the right word but it certainly wasn’t walking. As he moved closer she realized two things, the first was that he was a vampire, the second was that he was purposely covering half of his face with his hair and shadows. “Hi,” she said smiling.
“I can promise you that Jason will not harm you tonight,” The man called Asher said softly as he reached them.
Willow frowned at his words, “Just tonight? And what about you?”
“Why would I harm you, Ma Cherie?”
“Right, sorry,” Willow blushed, she could feel his power but he didn’t feel dangerous, “Forgot vampires here are a good thing.”
“Not always good,” he smiled, “But I would not harm such a beautiful woman.”
“And everyone else in there?” She motioned to the building, “They’re all vampires?”
“Mostly yes,” Asher agreed, “Or Jean-Claude’s wolves.”
“Jean-Claude’s wol…” Willow stopped and looked at Jason, she knew the power she was feeling from him was familiar but hadn’t been able to place it earlier. “You’re a werewolf.”
“Yeah, now can we go in before Jean-Claude gets angry,” Jason responded.
Willow shrugged, she didn’t want to wander alone out here at night and neither man seemed all that threatening, other than the demon thing, so she agreed and followed them in. Kennedy knew where she was and would contact Buffy if she didn’t contact her at the scheduled time, and the vampires and werewolves were probably her best chance for information about Anya.