TITLE: "Dragonkind" (1/1)
AUTHOR: Marie-Claude Danis
EMAIL: mc@verticalcrawl.com
SITE: http://verticalcrawl.com/fic
DISTRIB: My site, or just ask.
NOTE: Not beta-read, and I wrote this a while ago, so my English isn't polished at all.
PAIRING: Originally intended to be Buffy/Willow. But as it is, there's no pairing per se. Just some Buffy, and some Willow.
SUMMARY: Spectacularly AU. I started this with the plan of writing a huge Buffy/Willow fantastic epic, but I don't think that'll happen, so I'm posting what I have as a vignette. Feel free to smack me in the back of the head with a shovel.

* * *

For the first time since she was a child, the Slayer is scared. She can hear her own heartbeat in her chest, in her throat, in her ears. She is panting, her breath condensing as it comes out of her mouth, freezing her cracked lips. The thick foliage overhead shields her from the much-needed moonlight. Now that the storm is over, the full moon rises high above, casting a silvery light upon the trees and across the plain ahead. Rain is dripping from the leaves. With an involuntary shudder, the Slayer curses the unseasonal cold. She can feel it slither down the bare skin of her arms, crawl up her neck, creep down her legs. Her leather-clad feet leave deep impressions in the mud with each step. At times she has to sidestep large roots emerging from the soggy ground, at times standing as high as her. This forest has never before felt uninviting. The Slayer doesn't like it.

Ignoring the deep chills coursing down her neck, she plows through the dense underbrush. She stops to change her grip on the limp form in her arms, the resumes her laboured way. If it weren't for the constant, reassuring warmth against her chest, the Slayer would have stopped long ago and climbed a tree to spent the night. But the smell of blood - not her own, and not demon - drives her forward, unable to rest until she reaches her village.

She finally reaches the edge of the forest, where she can see the small group of stone houses from across the glowing field. It is easier to walk now, and the feeling that she is only moments away from home makes the Slayer finally breathe out her relief. She hesitantly peers down at the young woman in her arms. She's never seen a dragonkind from this close before, let alone touched one.

The female dragonkind has her face nestled against the Slayer's tunic, her breath raspy on the worn fabric. Most of her delicate face is hidden by the wild elfish bob of fiery red hair, the awkwardly cut strands clinging to her damp skin. She is unconscious; her leathery wings are wrapped around her body, instinctively protecting her from the humid cold. One of the wings rests awkwardly on her, broken. The gash across her stomach still bleeds profusely, and her skin feels too warm. The Slayer doesn't know the creature, but she is deadly afraid of losing her.

Never had patrolling gone so wrong.