Angel hated to wake her. She looked as if she’d just dropped off to sleep. Willow was snuggled under the covers; a box of tissues and an old paperback were next to her. Her nose looked particularly raw. For once, Angel was grateful to be a vampire. At least he didn’t have to deal with colds. He reached down and pressed a cool hand to her feverish brow. Her eyes fluttered open, and she smiled.
“Angel. I’m so glad you’re here.” She sat up in bed, smoothing her hair down. <I’m glad he’s here, but I know I must look as bad as I feel. >
He sat down on the bed next to her. “Hey, Little Girl. Feeling any better?”
“Not really, but better now that you’re here.” She turned her cheek to him for a kiss and he gladly obliged.
He held up the bag that he was holding, offering it to her.
“Um, you can put that in the fridge for when you’re hungry.”
“It’s not for me, Willow. It’s for you.”
Willow paled. She didn’t know what kind of medicine vampires practiced, but her stomach was not in the mood to even vaguely contemplate drinking blood.
Angel watched her reaction, realising
what she was thinking. “Oh, no… It’s not that. It’s chicken soup.
Chicken barley soup to be exact. I made it for you myself.”
He spoke the last sentence with
“Angel… That’s so sweet. Hand it over.”
Angel removed the large styrofoam takeaway cup and a spoon from the bag. He removed the lid and handed the spoon and container to Willow. Willow tried to smell it, but she was too stuffed up. She took a tentative spoonful.
“Mmm. It’s good. And warm. And… it’s garlicky? Angel! You didn’t make this yourself. You couldn’t have.”
Angel smiled, “Yes, I did. Those ugly yellow kitchen gloves will protect you from the harmful chemicals of your choosing. Garlic, in my case. You like it?”
“Oh, I like. But, I don’t think I’m going to be up for much, tonight. Damn Xanderflu!”
Angel looked at her, “Xanderflu? What’s Xanderflu?”
“Oh, it’s not actually Xanderflu. Sounds evil, doesn’t it. Xander was sick last week. I think I caught it from him.”
“Oh, okay. So what do you feel like doing?”
Willow thought a moment, and handed him her book. “Here, read to me.”
Angel looked at the book. “You want me to read you this?”
“It makes me feel better. Mom got if for me when I had the chickenpox. Said it would keep me entertained while she was at work. Remind me to tell you who we are all when it’s finished.”
“Do you do that with everything?”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
“Your wish is my command, Mistress. Where do I start?”
Willow pointed at a paragraph near the back of the book, and Angel began to read.
A while later, Angel was still reading, “…None of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It was not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer, Charlotte was both.”
Angel paused, “Willow?” He was answered only by the sound of her gentle breathing. He lay down next to her, covering her with his arm. Willow snuggled close to him, still sleeping.
Angel spoke softly, as he listened
to the beating of her heart; “I’d better not be Templeton.”