Arise, little girl
by Te
January 2003

Disclaimers: Nothing is mine. NOTHING.

Spoilers: The Wish and School Hard. Sort of.

Summary: Five things that never happened to Willow.

Ratings Note: NC-17. Contains content some readers may find

Author's Note: A sequel to "Justice," one of the vignettes in "Five
Bastardized Virtues: Xander." You should probably read that first:

Acknowledgments: To the Spike and Jenn for audiencing. To
Kita for issuing the challenge and Basingstoke for inspiring it.


I. Paradigm Shift

It's the screaming that wakes her up.

It doesn't sound right, and Willow has time in the haze between
truly asleep and very awake to reflect on that. What, exactly, is a
proper scream?

Why is this one wrong?

Just because it's deep?

That doesn't seem right. It seems pretty darned wrong, really, that
only girls should get to scream their lungs out. Clearly her mother
was right about the effect of popular media on the minds of even
the most intelligent youth.


That's her *father* screaming.

She opens her eyes to something she's reasonably sure she's going
to learn about whenever they get around to studying Freud. Her
biggest crush, her best friend, and her father.

And that position doesn't look possible. Something snaps, her
father... *jerks* and no, definitely not possible.

But so... fascinating.

In such a strange way.

There's something she's not quite... there's something *new*
here that needs to be savored, but it's all about the flash of the
overhead on her father's bald spot, and the pattern of blood on
the ceiling, old and new.

Some so old she has to wonder just how long they've been...

Well, torturing is the word for this, isn't it?

Yes. Torturing.

She should be upset about this.

And why are her clothes all torn?

It comes back in a long, slow flood of memory so intense her
skin prickles. Jesse and Xander, missing for days and now on her
doorstep. Smiling at her, eyes like shiny pennies.

Her mother absently lecturing Xander on the statistics about
teenaged runaways.

Xander nodding, smiling, and tearing her throat out and Jesse's
arms around her and enough time to think *vampires* before
the night began.

Her father gurgles, and snaps her back to attention. When she
looks up this time, both Xander and Jesse are watching her. Even
as they do *that* to her father.

Watching her so hungry, and smiling just like they had the night

"And here I was beginning to think you were a hopeless slugabed,"
says Xander.

"Wanna taste?" says Jesse, and yanks her father up by the... scalp.

"You are *such* a pimp."

"A *pimp*?"

"A blood pimp. Always with the 'are you hungry, wanna taste, ooh,
I bet *she's* not anemic --"

"Dude, shut up. Fledges are always hungry."

"Who says?"

"The Master. My sire."

"This is all getting a little D&D, don't you think?"

Her father hits the floor in a heap as they argue, and Willow thinks:
the carpeting will soak up all the blood.

She really hopes Xander isn't *completely* gay.

She *does* want a taste.

Cool air from the open windows on her skin and she's thinking -- no,
not entirely gay -- and she's smiling and she's. Crawling.

Jesse and Xander's voices a pleasant and absolutely meaningless
hum somewhere above.

Twitching old man on the floor, Ira Ira Ira, such a funny word said
all out like that and --

"Oh, God, Willow, no!"

"Shut up," she says, and bites deep.


II. That Thing

She's beginning to think Jesse and Xander have some kind of *thing*
about her clothes. There's nothing left in her closet but rags and

There's nothing left on her *body* but rags and shoes.

And... makeup.


She goes to look in the mirror, but...

"Most of the myths are kinda dead-on," says Jesse, and he at least
sounds apologetic.

"But you look good!" says Xander. And his face... changes. Not in
that way all of their faces change now, but in a... it's an *adult*
way, kind of.

It makes her thighs feel hot.

"Really good." Jesse's voice isn't apologetic anymore.

Guess she's not the only one with the sweet and easy emotional
ride. But he *does* sound...

"Hey," she says, because it's the only thing she can think of when
Jesse's hands find her breasts.

Not that it's all that hard to do, considering the state of her Hello
Kitty sweater, but she'd kinda forgotten about that. They hadn't.

Xander looks like he can't decide whether to stare at Willow's face
for reactions or at what Jesse's hands are...

"Oh..." And that's... mm.

"We didn't get enough time to play before you died on us, Wills..."
Xander's voice is closer to a growl than anything else.

"And you weren't exactly, like, all that conscious toward the end
there..." Jesse pinches her nipples hard and Willow lets her head
fall back against her shoulder.

He smells like blood and boy and death. She wants to rub up
against it until Xander has to stop watching and *do* something.
"I'm awake now," she says, and covers Jesse's hands with her

Slides them down her chest, over her belly.

Into her curiously whole panties. Hunh. Another look reveals that
they aren't the panties she put on yesterday. She grins as Jesse
starts playing with her hair, bumps back against him. "You put
panties *on* me?"

"Mmm, not me. All Xander. I was gonna leave you naked and
spread-eagled and..." Growl against her throat and blunt-toothed
bite. Jesse's hard behind her. Xander's...

"You looked so pretty, Wills... you know I always liked to play
with pretty things." Finger tracing over her cheek, down the
other side of her neck. Breasts.


And before she can answer Xander's kissing her, slow and easy
and... it's like being spoken to. Only it's not like any speech
Xander's actually capable of out loud, or maybe he is now, but
it's *good*.

Good all over, warm all over, and she hadn't even known she
was cold.

Xander's hard cock pressed to her belly, mommy and daddy's
blood filling it up for their baby girl.

Jesse says, "Xandman, you have *so* many good ideas."


III. Disillusion

"You don't call, you don't write... and you bring home strays. Really,
Jesse, is this what I've taught you?"

'The Master' looks a great deal like a dead rodent. Willow's tempted
to be vocally unimpressed, but... everyone here looks at him like
someone who can and probably will crush their skulls on a whim.
She remains silent.

"... should have asked first, but Willow's a genius and Xander's no
slouch and, well. I just really think you'll like them."

The Master taps his sunken cheek with one long, sharp fingernail
and just *looks* at Jesse. If he has an expression on his face, Willow
can't tell what it might be. He smells... he smells *old*. Like
museums and, weirdly, certain parts of the high school library.

And then he smiles, a wide, horrid thing that nonetheless makes
something deep in Willow's belly curl up and sizzle. Like bacon
frying. He waves a hand. "Oh, as if I can resist it when a young
vampire shows as much promise and initiative as you do!" The
smile falls off his face like water from a flat earth. "Of course, if
you do it again, I'll make your death last years."

"Uh... Understood."

"Now, since you've got your own 'gang' and all -- so precocious! --
here's something you can do for me. Sadly, not every vampire in
the world is your friend, Jesse."

"... no?"

"Oh, it was different when I was your age, all fresh-faced and
stinking of humanity... but no. We've spread too much. *Bred*
too much, and sometimes... well, sometimes vampires are made
that simply aren't very bright." A pointed look at the cage
dangling above him and to the right. "Isn't that right, Darla?"

"Please..." the vampire slurs. She looks starved, and her hair is a
matted, filthy tangle.

"*Darla* used to be my favorite daughter. And then she turned
a benighted, ale-addled, Irish lout and decided to run off with

"I accepted this. These things happen, after all. Someday, even
you will probably want to wander."

"With a walking stereotype? Doubtful. I mean -- ow." Xander
reacts more to Jesse's look than his elbow.

Willow bites her lip to hold in a laugh, and knows her eyes look
huge and anything but innocent.

The Master raises what would be an eyebrow on just about anyone
or thing else. "There rarely is any accounting for taste."

And okay, that's good.

"In any event, one foolish decision led to another and the lout --
now calling himself 'Angelus' of all things -- wound up angering a
collection of witches and warlocks. And now? He has a soul." The
Master leans back in his chair and waits for this to sink in.

This is clearly supposed to be important.

"Oh, for the love of -- it's what you don't *have*. Don't children
*read* anymore?"

"Books on the occult? Not so much," says Willow, but... "Not that
it doesn't seem like a really good idea all of a sudden. Hunh." She's
going to have to think on that.

"So you're saying we're soulless denizens of the night, doomed to
walk the earth bringing pain and suffering to hapless mortals?"

The Master is rubbing his temples. "Yes... Xander, is it? That's
generally the idea." Deep, heartfelt sigh. "In any event, a vampire
with a soul is a *bad* thing, as he has all of our powers and now
feels the need to use them against us." A pause, and dubious look
at all three of them. "That means he's killing us."

Well, he's clearly decided they're the village idiots, which grates,
and yet... it could be useful. Willow keeps her eyes big and moony.

"... the Bronze? Man, I was gonna go there the other night."

"And you *are* going to go there tonight, Jesse. And you're going
to bring me back a nice trophy, aren't you? Large, broody, liable to
attack you if you try to eat around him -- really, he's difficult to
miss." Expectant look.

"Oh. Oh! Well, yeah." Jesse yanks the chair out from under the
vaguely catatonic minion that's been eyeing them and kicks him a
few times before searching him quickly and thoroughly.

He tosses Xander a length of chain.

He tosses Willow a knife, and keeps still another for himself. Smiles
at her and gestures expansively for the sewer exit. "Spike is always
*way* too heavily armed for a guy who just sits around waiting to

Xander swings his chain in a few loops. "Overcompensate, much?"

Jesse shrugs, leaps up the ladder. "Supposedly, he was this big
tough guy. And then his girlfriend got sick and died or whatever."

Willow tugs on his shirt, earning a smile that could quickly lead to
a lot of distraction. But. "I thought we didn't get sick."

"Hunh. Oh, well, I don't have all the details, but she got attacked
by some angry mob. Went kinda nuts. Or maybe she already
was." Another shrug. "Anyway, he brought her here to the
Hellmouth --"

"And can I just say that I *never* knew Sunnydale was this

Willow kicks Xander. "Let him finish. This could be important."

Jesse rolls his eyes. "Nah. Just so long as we don't, you know,
go psycho and attack the Master. That's kinda life-threatening
around here."

She taps her lip with the knife, digging in once just for the hell of
it. "Or..."

"Yeah, Wills?"

"Maybe we shouldn't attack the Master without... planning."

Jesse stops in his tracks, shocked and grinning. "Willow, you
power-mad *bitch*!"

Willow licks the blood off her lips and grins, leaning back into the
embrace from Xander she can *feel* coming. "Flatterer."

"So... what are you planning *now*, O Evil One?"

Shivers happily at the rumble of Xander's voice, just one or two
notes above the hunger-voice, all for her. "Well, it all depends
on... Angelus."


IV. Show and prove

It takes a minute, maybe more for Willow to truly acclimate to the
Bronze. It's louder, brighter, *headier* than anything she

Young sweat and sex and beer and smoke and the *music*...

She's dancing before she knows it, Jesse making her feel even
sexier when he joins her. Making her want to be wearing
something even more revealing than what they'd all stolen for
her from Victoria's Secret.

Something... leather.


She can feel Xander's eyes on them from just off the dance floor,
and it just makes her want to perform even more.

Maybe jump up on stage and... but no.

They have a job to do.

The song ends with Jesse's smile pressed against her throat.
They're body to body and the warmth is amazing, intoxicating.

Teasing. She wants a human. She wants a way to bring Angelus
out of hiding. Two birds...

She waves Jesse off and stalks after someone vaguely familiar.
She thinks he might be in a band. Cute enough. He looks her over
like he's never seen anything like her before and thinks he might
just have died and gone to heaven.

She hasn't even gotten her arms around his neck before there's a
big, pale hand yanking her away. It's a little disconcerting that she
hadn't seen, heard, or even *felt* him coming, but Xander and
Jesse are right behind her. Following them... where?

Of course, outside. Wouldn't want to upset the little humans.

"Angelus --" But she doesn't get any further than that before Angelus
is spinning her off his arm and against a wall.

Xander growls and moves to attack but Willow manages to throw
an arm out to stop him.

"Wait. We need to talk."

Angelus looks at her incredulously for a moment before shaking his
head and pulling a stake from his jacket. "No. We really don't."

Jesse is nowhere in sight, but there's something like certainty that
he's nearby. Waiting. She has to be careful. She can do that.
Doesn't she have a lifetime's training? "You aren't the only one who
wants the Master dead."

Narrowed eyes. "I'm not interested in some fledge's power-play."

Willow grins, but Xander gets there before her: "I think you are.
You can't bring down the Master alone. You can't make the world
safe for humanocracy while he's alive. You need us."

"What makes you think I don't have my own allies?"

A blur, and Jesse lands on Angelus from above, knocking the stake
from his hand and the two of them sprawling. When Angelus regains
his feet he's got his demon face on. He grabs for Jesse and Xander
slips behind him while he's distracted, wrapping the chain around
his throat and yanking him up on his toes.

And there's no time to gloat, because he immediately flips his feet
up and kicks Jesse *hard* in the chest, sending him flying.

*And* nearly wrestles the chain out of Xander's hands before
Willow retrieves the stake and sets it against his chest, bracing a leg
between Angelus' own so he can't repeat the move he did on

Learning from one's mistakes is a necessary part of life. "The Master
didn't say *outright* that you were pretty tough..."

Jesse comes up beside her, brushing boot-prints off his t-shirt. "But
we kinda figured it out. What with him sending all of us."

Angelus continues to struggle, stake against his chest notwithstanding.
She doesn't think Xander will be able to hold him for much longer,
lack of blood reaching the guy's brain or no. She's not going to let that
show on her face.

Abruptly, he stops. Willow nods over his shoulder to Xander, who
loosens the chain with something like relief.

"You've made your point," he says. "So why do you need me?"

"The Master wants you as a trophy, dude. He's going to be psyched
to see us bring you in, and he's *never* gonna expect us to turn
on him then." Jesse grins and makes jabby motions at Angelus'
chest with an imaginary stake.

"You'll be tied, but it won't be anything you can't --"

Angelus reaches up, grabs the chain, kneels, and *throws* Xander
over his head and into Jesse, barely giving Willow enough time to

" -- escape. Hunh," she says. "Case in point."

"Ow, dude."

"Also? Ow."

Angelus dusts himself off ostentatiously. "And the other minions?"

"As close to the Master as *we're* gonna get? Don't worry."

Jesse gets up and pulls Xander with him. "Yeah. Weirdly, we're his
faves. There's irony there."

"Or possibly tragicomedy."

"Dude --"

Angelus blinks at them before focusing on Willow. "Do they ever
shut up?"

"Only when you give them something better to do with their mouths.
Me? I find it oddly soothing. So are you in?"

"How do you know I won't kill you all as soon as the Master's

Xander advances on him. "Because we'll be the ones making sure
you get out of the sewers alive, soulboy."

Humorless snort and Angelus turns to walk away from them. "Only
a fool would take this offer."

"Angelus." Willow makes her voice as low and even as possible.
Signals Jesse and Xander to flank him.

"What now, kid?"

"You either go in as a fake trophy or a real one. Your choice."

Angelus pauses, eyes them, and puts his hands out to be tied.


V. Stand

Walking in with Angelus is like being security for a celebrity.

A slumped over, apparently well-beaten celebrity, true, but a
celebrity just the same. All the other vampires are either silent and
gawking or pointing and whispering. 'Scourge of Europe' gets said
a lot, like it's something she should know.

Well, she already knew she'd be doing some extracurricular

Jesse and Xander look like keyed-up cats, or maybe it's just that
from where she's positioned she can see the tension in their back
muscles, the way they walk like running, leaping, is just a step

She wonders if she looks any different.

She wonders at the smile on her face, and if its glitter feels false to
anyone watching.

The thing is... it isn't.

Willow's genuinely happy about this. About *doing* this, being
something more than the person who reacts, the girl who hides,
the nonentity in the corner.

She's never felt more alive.

Gradually, the crowd thins, and the air gets that museum stink that
she's already getting more accustomed to than she wants to be.
Like stained bone, like dust under a layer of paint.

Angelus tenses hard, then relaxes visibly, hands working back and
forth in the ropes. Willow moves closer, just in case anyone decides
to take a closer look.

They enter the Master's chamber in a rough wedge, Jesse and
Xander flanking Angelus, Willow behind.

One of Darla's arms is hanging out of her cage, swinging in the light,
rank breeze. Spike is nowhere to be seen. The Master is sitting on
his... well, it's a throne. And there's definitely something Kingly
about him in this moment, in the triumph that's written in his very

He's even backlit.

Angelus tenses again, and this time he doesn't relax.

"I see my children didn't mention I had your sire here."

Angelus looks up slowly, very obviously not looking at Darla. Says

"I always knew she'd come back to me *eventually*, but coming
as she did, bearing tales of her boy gone wrong..." The Master
clucks his tongue, a dry, harsh sound. "Such a disappointment."

Willow backs up against the door, shooting the heavy iron latch. He's
expounding loud enough to cover the sound. The door is iron, too. If
the Master eventually screams, it won't matter.

"... didn't expect you three to do *quite* so well."

Jesse grins, slips further to Angelus' right. "I thought you'd be

Xander slips to the left, widening the wedge. "But mostly? We
thought you'd be surprised."

"Well, I have to admit --"

"You always talked too fucking much." And that's all Angelus says
before dropping the rope and leaping for the Master, knocking
over his throne and sending them both to the floor.

A roll and Angelus is briefly on top, punching the Master repeatedly
before being tossed like a rag doll.

And Willow has just enough time to wonder if this was wise before
Angelus is running for the Master again, getting in close enough to

Jesse and Xander are watching her, waiting for a cue and she wants
to tell them to go for it but she knows it's too soon. One mistake and
they're screwed.

She watches the Master and Angelus instead, waiting for the moment,
flinching involuntarily from a brief (and enraged) glance from the

Angelus takes an elbow to the eye and staggers. A kick and he falls,
and she has to grab Xander by the t-shirt to keep him from attacking
right there and then. The Master sees him move, though, and steps
toward them.

Which is just enough of a distraction for Jesse to *throw* Angelus
at the Master.

It's not the most powerful throw, but Willow's pretty sure the Master
didn't see it coming, what with hitting the floor like that. She wouldn't
have seen it coming, either.

Angelus, for his part, gets with the program, beating the Master's
head against the floor and pinning him as best as he can.

Willow doesn't think they're going to get a better chance than this.
Nods to Jesse and Xander and they move in. The broad expanse of
Angelus' back is briefly mesmerizing, muscles shifting and flexing
beneath black silk, male in a way she hasn't considered before.

She thinks as she drives the stake home: there'll be other men.

By the time the dust settles they've positioned themselves over the
master's major arteries, and if they don't bite down in unison, it's

And, oh, so intoxicating. Better than the first time, when it was
Xander and Jesse. She doesn't know if it's because her tongue was
human and stupid then, or if it's because the Master is so old, so
*powerful* --

His blood is electric, slick and sweet-hot, thrumming with power
and memory. He's struggling beneath them, and someone is
moaning, but none of it matters. The only important thing is getting
everything, every drop, glutting herself on the power before her
(brothers) friends can get it all for themselves.

She thinks, maybe, she should be shocked for her greed. But when
the fount finally runs dry, she can only find vague mourning.

They kneel up as one over the Master, who's now semi-conscious
and flailing in slow-motion. A drowner on dry land. Jesse is
swaying, Xander is glassy-eyed.

"You know," he says, "we don't *have* to kill him right away."

"Mm?" It's all she can manage.

"We could put him in that cage..."

Jesse snaps to attention. "Ohh. Feed him just enough so that he

"Feed us whenever we wanted it." Willow smiles, replete and
pleased, and strokes the Master's chest. "I always wanted a

The Master sucks in a rattling, utterly un-Kingly breath. "How...
sharper than a serpent's... tooth..."

"Dude," says Jesse, "shut up."