Seventh in the Feathers series
Similar sort of content, may be some violence and mild romance.
Main characters: Willow Rosenberg and Warren Worthington the third.
Disclaimer: Willow is the creation of Joss; Warren Worthington is the creation of Marvel comics. No profit is being made.
Distribution: if you have the previous Feathers, then yes. Otherwise, ask.
Notes: AU post s5 for BtVS, before OZT for Marvel, and Warren is not dating Betsy.
She was trying not to be nervous. Last night, Warren had taken her to see 'Cats' on Broadway, and it had been delightful. They'd had dinner at a fancy restaurant, and just had a lovely evening.
Today, she was going to have a picnic with him and his friends. The friends that were his family, the way Xander and Anya were her family. Except that Warren's other family were also the X-Men. What if they didn't like her? What if they thought he should date someone else?
Shaking her head, she tucked the saran wrap around the plate of cookies, and tried to convince herself yet again that everything was fine. Hopefully, her clothing would be okay, not too casual or too dressy, and if things went really bad, it was something that she could fight in. Plate of cookies in hand, she went down the elevator and out to her car, already certain that the directions Warren had given her were in the glove box. She had another copy tucked into the back pocket of her shorts if that got lost, just in case.
Eventually, she turned onto Greymalkin lane, which felt rather out of the way. Anybody out here would certainly have their privacy, that was for sure. As the road meandered, a brick wall seemed to emerge from the trees, running beside the road. After several minutes, it was broken by a pair of massive wrought iron gates, with scrolling letters proclaiming 'Xavier's School for the Gifted' over the driveway. Beyond the gates was something that she could only describe as an estate, a mansion surrounded by several lesser buildings. Willow tried to resist a feeling of insignificance.
She parked near a few other cars, noticing a definite difference. She'd picked her friendly Saturn for it's safety record, which obviously wasn't the case for the two Harley motorcycles, the little red convertible, the dark green convertible, or Warren's impressive automobile that seemed to scoff at the idea of being described as a mere car. "I recognize that one, so this must be the place."
"Willow, I was starting to worry that you'd changed your mind." Warren was walking towards her, smiling. He'd left the image inducer somewhere else, and in casual clothing he looked younger, and happier.
She almost didn't notice the second man. He was a bit shorter than Warren, and didn't have wings. Dressed in a pair of cut off shorts and an old, faded shirt that might have been green at some point, he had long reddish brown hair and a pair of sunglasses hiding his eyes. He grinned at her, making her blush and immediately peg him as a flirt.
"I wasn't sure how long it would take to find this place. It's pretty far off the beaten path." Willow smiled, and pulled the cookies out of the car. "Who's your friend?"
"Suddenly, Remy don' mind the delay one bit. Warren prob'ly don' mind either." The man in sunglasses drawled, his voice thick with an accent. "Where did you get cookies?"
"Don't mind Remy, you get used to him after a while. He followed Ororo home, and just... wouldn't leave." Warren sighed, accompanying the words with an exaggerated roll of his eyes.
"Stormy needs someone to help her remember to smile. Not enough of dat here." Remy protested.
Willow fought a smile, managing not to laugh. It was so obvious to her that they were teasing each other. "Actually, I spent the morning baking. The cookies are home-made."
"Warren found someone who knows computers and cooking?" Remy put one hand to his forehead, and looked upwards. "He's already rich, why does he need dat sort of luck?"
Warren slipped one arm around Willow, and grinned at Remy. "Somebody upstairs must like me."
Remy just shook his head, and leaned closer, looking at Willow with striking red on black eyes. "If he ever gets too stuffy, I can show you a good time, hmm?"
Willow snickered, and patted Remy's cheek. "You are a shameless flirt, saying things like that in front of my boyfriend. I think I'm sort of flattered, but I don't think I'll need to take you up on that."
She wondered if anyone else noticed Warren's tiny sigh of relief.
They made their way around the mansion, revealing a broad expanse of yard, sloping down to meet the edge of a large mass of water. Several people were there, some of them looking normal, and some of them not quite as normal. There was a slender dark blue man with a tail, looking rather like a medieval demon illustration. Another blue man had fluffy fur and sunlight glinting from glasses, and there was that half recognizing sensation, as if she'd seen his picture somewhere. There was a large busted woman with a white streak running through brown curls, hovering about three feet in the air with a super soaker.
A red haired woman turned towards them, smiling. "So we finally get to meet Warren's new girlfriend. I'm Jean."
"I'm Willow," she could feel herself blushing. Hadn't Jean been the name of Warren's friend that was telekinetic? Maybe Jean could help her work on improving her control... A coffee mug here or there wasn't a crisis, and the window had needed replaced anyhow, but she might not always be so lucky.
"I think I might be able to help you a little." Jean smiled, and then looked at the plate of cookies. "Warren said you'd shattered a mug, but not that you'd be bringing cookies."
"One mug in front of Warren, and he promised that the carpet would be just fine." Willow muttered, and then glanced at the others. "Why do I have the oddest feeling that I should know who the blue guy is? The one with the big shoulders and no tail, I mean, because there's two blue guys over there, and Warren's blue, but... oh, I'll be quiet now."
Everyone started to chuckle, and Jean made a gesture towards the plate of cookies, which floated out of Willow's hands and towards the assembled food. "Blue with the tail is Kurt Wagner, blue with the shoulders is Hank McCoy. My fiancé Scott is the guy with the red sunglasses, Rogue has the squirt gun, Ororo's... Where is Ororo?"
Willow had been following Jean's pointed finger to match names to the assorted people. "Hank McCoy... Dr. Henry McCoy? The one with an oodle of patents, very public mutant, used to be on the Avengers, that McCoy?"
"I've read some of his papers." Willow smiled, letting her mind consider the opportunity. Closing her eyes, she tried to get a feel for the energies of this place, what sort of environment - besides dripping with money and seclusion - did Warren spend his time in. The place wasn't that bad, certainly a great deal safer than a Hellmouth, but there was a knot of energy up above, in the clouds. A mingling of female energy, sky energy, and something else... "There's a woman up in the sky. She feels like... a rainstorm, I guess, but not quite."
"I know you can't see her." Warren murmured. "I can't even see her. Can you point her out, the direction?"
Eyes still closed, Willow took one of Warren's hands, using the other to point towards the feeling of the woman. "Up there. Is that Ororo?"
"That's Ororo." Jean agreed, and smiled. "Come on and say hello to the rest, they won't bite."
"Should I be worried?" Warren asked, whispering into Willow's ear.
"I'm dating you, not the furry blue doctor." Willow tried to reassure Warren. "It's just better when I can talk to the people in the life of the person I'm dating. And I'm pretty sure I saw something about him dating that reporter woman."
"Are you another mutant? You did pick Stormy right out, even though we can't see her." Remy asked, something between a smile and a smirk on his face.
Willow arched an eyebrow at him. "I've never requested a test done for the X-factor, so I can't be sure. I'm a witch."
"Candles and girl power, or chanting an' rituals?" He countered, suddenly no longer teasing.
"Don't knock girl-power, especially not here, Remy." Jean called, and then smiled. "So, what does being a witch mean?"
"I can do spells. Read auras, sense the energy feel of a place." Willow shrugged, and smiled. "Sometimes, things don't go quite the way that they're supposed to."
"Where's a nice computer expert learn about magic spells?" Remy asked.
"I grew up in Sunnydale. I moved here after one of my best friends died." Willow looked at him, and decided to try a simple thing to find out just how much Remy knew. "Her name was Buffy Summers."
Remy tensed, his eyes meeting hers. "Sorry, didn' mean to bring up bad memories."
"I'm coping." Willow shrugged, and rubbed the back of Warren's hand. "I'm making a good life here, and it gets easier. Easier to remember the good without as much pain. Remembering how she lived instead of how she died."
Warren hugged her, murmuring, "This was supposed to just be a picnic, not an inquisition from my friends."
"They're worried, and trying to watch out for you. It's a friend thing, though I'd really appreiciate it if someone would stop trying to get my background from Sunnydale. The medical's not too bad, but the police couldn't find a clue unless you circled it, shone a big spotlight, and then pointed it out."
"If you could deal with that, you can deal with the sort of things we get here." Remy smiled, and gave something that wasn't quite a salute. "Tante Mattie told me a little about that sort of thing, made me glad I didn't have to dodge that sort of thing as well as the problems I had."
Warren was giving Remy a strange look, but all he said was, "I'm glad that my friends aren't going to try to chase my girlfriend away. I've finally found one that's not after my money, my social connections, or trying to kidnap me. I'd like to enjoy things for a while before the next..."
Willow put her hand over Warren's lips, preventing him from finishing that sentence. "Never invite chaos like that, sweetie. It shows up soon enough without an invitation."
Jean and Remy laughed, and they made their way towards the other people. Warren just sighed, and dryly said, "yes, dear."
Maybe things wouldn't be that bad. His friends were interesting, and they didn't seem to be pushing her away. Jean might be able to help with control, Remy knew about the supernatural, and Hank McCoy... all around scientific genius. Yes, life was good.
End Feathers 7: Feathered Nests.
End Feathers series.