Disclaimer on the front page

Part 8

"Willow, what are you talking about?  I don't understand.  Who's a bitch?"  Angel stood and stopped her . Willow began to cry again.

"She really didn't trust you.  I can't believe this.  I understood that she didn't want Giles or Xander to know... but you?  Why wouldn't she tell you?  I can't believe this.  I-I don't know what to say... I. Oh God, you really don't know."  She hugged him so tight he was almost afraid to ask her but figured this had to be of major importance to get her this upset. "That is why she thought... Oh God... She thought we ... had... that we... slept... I mean slept... not sleep together but ... you know ..." she whispered the last part, "Had sex,"  Willow looked up at him.

He pulled her back harder than he had intended to,  "What?  Why would she think that?  And if she did,  why come unarmed. Willow, please tell me?"

"Okay, Angel ... come sit."  She pulled him back to the bed and sat next to him.  "It was two weeks ago and I was going over some of the Romani translations. I translated the curse again with the program that Ms. Calendar
found.  It was different than the one I did.  I didn't curse you, Angel.  The first was a curse.  What I did simply restored your soul.  No curse.  You are not cursed.  I mean... no happiness clause."  Angel was staring at his hands.  Willow put one hand over his and the other on his cheek.  "I thought she told you.  I-I would have told you if I had known."

"Willow... are you sure?  I mean, how can you be sure?"  Angel looked at her, then away.  His eyes welled with blood tinged tears.  One escaped his eye when he blinked and rolled down his cheek almost in slow motion.  "How could she... not tell me?"

"Oh, oh. Angel... don't... I-I'm sorry.  Please believe if I had known... I really... Oh God... don't... cry." The tears were flowing down her face. "Come on." She stood and grabbed her jacket.

"What?  Where are we going?"  Angel grabbed her coat from her and helped her put it on, then grabbed his. "And Willow... I know you would have."

"We are going to see Giles... and then I'm going to think of something really ... really... really mean to say to Buffy... but I may need some help... where is Faith when you need her... she'd know something really nasty to
say."  Angel put his hand on the back of her neck and pulled her in and kissed her forehead.

"First, we stop and grab something for you to eat, okay?"  She nodded and they set out.


The two stopped off at a café and Willow grabbed a small salad and sandwich to go and they made their way to the school.  For the most part, the walk was in silence.  Angel looked like he was in some far off world.  Completely detached.  The look on his face bounced around through several emotions.   Most of them involving pain and confusion from what Willow was seeing.  A few times during the walk she opened her mouth to say something, anything, to help but she knew whatever was going on in that head of his wasn't going to have a quick fix.

As they entered the school and approached the library, Willow put her hand on Angel's arm and he stopped to turn and look at her. "Are you okay?  I mean, I know this is a lot."  She wanted to know what he was feeling and was beginning to worry where this left her.  If it left anywhere for her.

"I'm not sure.  I mean... if you're right and I don't have to spend my life worrying about losing control ..." He trailed off and the saddest expression she had ever seen came over him. "This would change everything. Who I am.
Willow, I-I don't know how to be happy... I've spent over 240 years brooding and wishing I had died that night in the Galway.  How do I change the way I've lived for 100 years?  How do I let myself have a moments pleasure with
out regretting it?"

"Oh... I-I... you regret everything that you do that brings you ... Um, pleasure?"  Half way through the sentence, she had to look away wondering if the events of the past few days were included in that regret.

He nodded,  "After what I have done... I don't deserve to be happy.  I don't deserve to have someone... like you... care about me."

"Angel, I thought we covered this.  That was not you.  You are not a demon.  You... have a demon but you are not a demon... you're ... an... you are Angel.  I'm sorry... I don't... I hope... "  Willow's voice caught in her throat and she decided against bringing them up.  She quickly pushed open the doors and walked into the room.  Angel stood outside the doors briefly, confused further, and then followed her in.

Giles was alone sitting at the table with his head resting in palm and his glasses dangled in his fingers. Angel cleared his throat and the watcher looked up at them moving toward the table.  Willow took a seat across from
Giles and Angel stood with his hands clasped in front of him, index fingers pressed together looking on. "Willow. Angel."  Giles addressed Willow,  "How are you feeling?" then as if it was a second thought,  "Ah ... both of you."

"I'm okay... Well... not really... Okay... but ... we have to tell you something.  A-And... we need you to help us look some ... Stuff up."  Willow knew Giles would be upset that an issue of such importance was kept from him.

"W-What is it that... you feel you have to tell me?  And of course... If you need assistance with something... like what?"  Giles was uneasy with her expression after everything.

Willow took a deep breath and explained what she had found two weeks ago and that Buffy didn't tell Angel.  Giles sat quietly while she filled him in.

When she had finished he rose and began to pace slowly. "This is an interesting turn of events.  I-I understand the need to get all of the facts straight, however, we could all us some rest.  I will bring the necessary
materials home to check into all of this.  I have to say this is quite a ... a shock."  The shock was evident but Willow and Angel both knew that it and his need to do this alone was more out of sorrow. Losing Jenny was something his textbooks never taught him to deal with.  The mere mention of her name usually drove him into his office for several minutes to deal.  The whole gang knew this was going on but Giles wasn't the type to allow them to pry in his personal feelings.  He needed to be alone.

Angel gave Willow a look, nodding toward the doors.  At first she gave him a funny look but when he motioned to Giles who was now holding onto the cage with one hand in what most would figure was deep thought, she clued in and jumped up. "Um... yeah... phew... I'm beat.  Angel, can you walk me home?"  She looked wide-eyed at him and he held back a chuckle at her over reaction.  To Giles, it went unnoticed. He simply nodded and said goodnight.

On their way out, Willow gave Angel a sad look then glanced back at Giles who hadn't moved.  He put his hand out just behind him where she was following, offering it to her.  A bit confused herself with where they stood, she looked hard at his hand then up at the side of his face and back at his hand.  Angel pushed the doors open that led into the hall and slightly wiggled his fingers at her.  She put her tiny hand in his and he led her out into the night.

"Okay... how sure are you about this whole... curse verses restoration thing?"  His mood was lighter. <Hmm... did that sound cryptic? >

"99.9%!  I mean.  I ... didn't just read it and ... 'Hey look... He can get a hap... er be happy'.  I looked over it a lot... I mean a lot.  I... had the guy at the magic shop have a couple of his gypsy friends... or... Eastern European... or... they spoke Romanian ... look it over ... I told them it was for a class on mythological history stuff... and they came up with the same translation.  So... pretty sure." She smiled.

"Hmm... Do you have copies of both somewhere?  I'd like to see them, if you don't mind."  He was keeping a rather neutral tone.  She nodded once.

"Yup... I figured after Buffy... ah... well... after you knew, you would want to see them."  They were now nearly to her house.  As they passed the park Angel stopped and pulled Willow close to his side. "What is it, Angel?"  He
placed his finger to his mouth to quiet her, then peered around turning to check every angle and keeping her in a protected position.

"Who's there?" he asked into the darkness.

"Oh... How soon we forget."  Buffy stepped in their direction.  "Don't you two look cozy."  The smile on her face and in her voice taunting and cruel.
Angel stiffened.  The anger in knowing she held something so dear to him from him all the while claiming undying love and understanding. The few nights he'd seen her in the past couple of weeks she sat by and let him hate
himself.  Offering faux comfort on the anniversary of Jenny's death.  The  way she let him pour his soul out to her days before her birthday.  Letting him spend that night alone knowing there was a good chance he couldn't lose
his soul again.  Knowing he would go over ever second of the day of her birthday, they day he lost his soul, let haunt him knowing he could never feel happy or human again.

"What do you want?"  His tone was very harsh.

"Nothin'.  Just making an observation.  Nothing more... I'm patrolling... You know, looking for a vampire to stake!"  She was cold and callous,  holding up the stake in her hand and jabbing it into empty space. "Hey, Will... know
where I may find one?  Oh... silly me, of course, you wouldn't ... you had to take mine." Buffy glared at her.

"He knows, Buffy.  How could you not tell him?  How could you tell him you love him and then."  <Oh, mean word ... mean word... mean... ah ha > Liar!"  < Okay, so that didn't sound nearly as mean as I thought it would... but that
is what she is >  Angel glanced over at Willow and grinned.

"What do you mean?  You told him!  What right do you have...?" She stopped.  "Willow... Stay away from me... and I hope you can keep a tight leash on your pet... I'd hate to run into to him in the cemetery and mistake him for a 'Demon'"

"Is that a threat... Slayer?"  The words came out cutting over a low growl.  Willow slapped his arm.  His head snapped around to look back at her still wearing the dark expression he aimed at Buffy.  Willow lowered her head
slightly as a huge smile appeared on her face and her eyes widened in innocence.  His expression softened instantly and he shook his head at her with a crooked smile.  "Okay Buffy... You stay out of our way and we'll stay out of yours."   Still smiling, he looked back at Willow and released her hand, draping his arm around her shoulder as he strolled off taking her with him.

Buffy stood in the middle of the street stunned as they walked away seeming to be unaffected by her, "How...?   Screw them!  Saps!"

Part 9

"Willow, are you alright?"  Angel drew her closer to him.  She shrugged.  "Well... once we get you inside, you are going to eat and then we have to talk."  They turned the corner and approached her house.  "That is, if you
don't mind.  If you'd rather be alone or for me to go, it's okay and I understand."  As they walked up to the door Angel released his grip on her.  < She needs time to think. Think clearly and ... >  Willow pulled out her
keys.  She unlocked the door and opened it before she turned.  Angel was backing away slowly ready to do  < that thing > and blend into the shadows.

"Hey!  Don't you dare even think about going poof on me now!!"  Angel froze and tensed. "And while we're on the subject... I hate when I am talking to you or ready to talk to you and you 'poof'!! Get your... <Oooh... Ass?  Butt?  Hind-end? > Ah ... get back here!"  He lowered his head and grinned at her. "WHAT?"

"I was just thinking how odd it is that you have that effect on me."  He almost giggled.

"Effect?  What effect?  What are you talking about?  And, come on, I'm hungry."  Willow motioned for him to follow, adding a look assuring him that she expected an answer to her question.  Angel shook his head and followed her. < Well... Buffy hit one thing pretty close to home. ... Willow's pet vampire... Oh Christ... what is wrong with me? > He found the thought rather funny.

He followed her into the kitchen.  She took a seat down in the breakfast nook.  It had booth style seating of four at the most and it sat in a large bay window.  "Well... are you going to sit down and tell me what this effect
is that I have on you?"  She smiled, then gave him a stern look as she opened her salad.  Angel sat down across from her and slid around the window seat until he was nearly pressed completely against her side.  He lifted his arm and rested it on the sill.  He brushed his fingers back and forth on her back just below her hair.

Then he leaned close to her ear until his lips brushed her lobe and whispered,  "Which one?"

Willow nearly dropped her fork.  She took a deep breath.  Then tried to remember what the question was she had asked him.  She was beginning to lean toward him and her mind was suddenly becoming blank <Oh... Oh... um... which one what??  Yikes... I can't ummm... think, Willow... oh... oh, how does he do this to me when... ah that was it...? > She sat up as straight as she could and attempted to focus.

"Effect!!"  She blurted then realized he knew that part. "Oh ... um... ah... Huh??  Which one?  The one you said I had. on... you.  Is there more than one?"   Angel leaned back away from her ear.  When she turned to look at him
he cocked an eyebrow and grinned.  "Oooooh 'that' one." < God he's a great big old tease... Not fair. >

"You seem to have an almost kind of 'mistress/slave-boy' effect on me."  Her eyes widened and she looked horrified.  "I'm joking.  Well... exaggerating.  A little."  She felt some relief but still was a little nervous.  "I just
mean when you get that stern tone to your voice, I react.  It's like I know I'm in for it if I don't, which I must admit is very... arous... ah, interesting."  Willow gulped as if she had just swallowed a bowling ball. "It's just like when I get worked up, not the ah, well, interested kind of worked up, I meant the demon... If I look at you and see that sweet smile, there is no fight left.  I have to smile back at you.  Oh, and, yes... more."

She looked at him briefly then leaned in and lightly kissed him at the corner of his mouth,  "That is so sweet!  Well not the 'slave-boy' but the smile stuff."   She dug her fork into her salad and took a bite, luckily getting it chewed and down before her over-worked mind caught the last part.  "More?"   Angel removed the hand from her back slipped it around her and scooted closer pressing the length of his torso against hers.  With his other hand on her knee he ran his thumb in circles distracting her further.   She looked back at him.  "Did you say more?  I have more than that effect on you?"

"Yes.  The smile.  That magical smile of yours,"  he lifted the hand from her knee and traced her lips with his finger.  Her head drifted back to lean on his arm.  She stared into his eyes drifting away from the horror of the past
few days as if  her body was suddenly floating on the velvet tone in his voice.  "If ever I have seen,"  he leaned in close to and gave her a look that he might use to stress the clincher of a ghost story,  "Witchcraft, then
your smile surely holds some kind of dark controlling power."  A wicked grin crept over his face.  "Then, there is the one you felt up... close and personal upstairs earlier tonight."  He winked at her and kissed her quickly.
 Her head snapped up and she felt the blood rush into her face as her cheeks flushed.

"Oh... um... I need water.  A < shot > glass of < booze > ... yeah, water."  She tore away from him and went to the fridge.  "Oh darn. With everything... I didn't go to the store and buy any bottled water."  < Tap water. ewww...
hmm. what's this...? >  Willow grabbed a bottle of wine from the fridge.  < This will be more useful anyway. >  She pulled two wineglasses from the rack, opened the bottle, and began to pour.

"Ah, Will..."  Angel wasn't sure if this was such a good idea.  Willow continued to fill both glasses. "Willow!? Will?"  She scooped up the glasses and walked out of the room.  Angel, a bit taken aback, followed to see where
she was going.  He turned the corner to see her sitting on the sofa holding one glass in her hand while the other sat on a coaster on the coffee table.

"Oh, I don't know if you want it, but I poured you some."  Angel sat down next to her.

"Ah, Willow,"  she looked at him blank faced. Calm < a little too calm >  "I didn't know you drank alcohol."

"Oh, I don't,"  She took a big swig and made a strange face.  She licked her lips, shrugged and took another swig.

"Willow?  Are... are you okay?  I'm sorry I was being... well. a guy.  I was playing a bit.  I mean, you can take the soul out of the demon, but  you can't take the demon out of the soul."  < WOW. that was probably the
stupidest thing I have ever...>  Willow burst out in a full fit of laughter, nearly dropping her glass.  Angel looked on while his little witch bent over holding her stomach, laughter shaking her till she was close to falling forward.  She sucked in a big breath and sighed the remaining laugh out, took a sip of her wine and giggled.

"Hee hee, that was funny... corny but funny.  Now pick up that glass before I drink it." Her glass was almost empty and she was already beginning to feel warm and fuzzy.  Angel was a bit shocked.  She emptied her glass and set it down, picking his up on her way into a comfortable sitting position.  "Fine... be that way.  Goodie goodie."  She stuck her tongue out at him.  Angel reached for the glass but she slapped his hand.

"Willow, this is not going to make everything go away, you know?"  Concern filled his voice.

"Yup.  I know it.  But!"  She lifted her finger to pause to take a swig.  "But it sure will make me relax a Hell of a lot better than water."  She nodded and emptied the glass.  Angel reached for the glass and managed to get it back to the table with out getting slapped again.

Willow's demeanor changed in an instant.  Tears sprung to her eyes and she pulled a pillow from behind her wrapping her arms tightly around it.  "I don't think I can take all of this ... it's too much."

Angel swiftly moved to her and pulled the pillow away,  "You don't need that.  If you want something to hold onto..."  He pulled her to him.  Holding her in one arm he pulled her legs off the floor.  "Hold on a second."   Angel set her back down, got up and made sure the window coverings were sufficient to keep out the sun.  < Good... I didn't want to have to yank blankets off the beds to cover them. >  Then he returned to the sofa.  Willow sat up and removed her shoes and socks followed by her jeans.  <Oh ... she is clearly not thinking. Legs... nice... thighs... Okay... control... that's it.  Just a little... okay, a lot of control. >  Angel kicked his shoes off and laid down pulling her with him.  Willow leaned up and unbuttoned his shirt, throwing it open.  She placed her hand on his chest and kissed the spot over his heart and rested her head there.  Angel let her get squirm around  < Stop moving...
stop moving... oh God, she has no idea. > until she was in a good position and settled.  < Oh, thank the Gods...  Another minute of that ... >  He wrapped his arms around her holding her tightly, protectively.

The mere fact that he was on his back and she was laying with her chest pressing on his lap and her  < long bare > legs were between his was driving him crazy.  As she began to doze, she absent-mindedly ran her fingers from
his sides up across his pecks and back down.  Her breath becoming shallow as she drifted was like a warm spring wind that caused goose bumps and the hair on his arms stand on end.   < A few hours. It's just a few hours.  I hope she isn't a rowdy sleeper... I'm going to need a very, very cold shower... Hell, I'll need to stick my sorry ass in a deep freeze. >  Angel tried to keep his mind on her need for comfort and to feel secure.  He reached to the back of the couch and pulled down the throw from the back and, with some struggling, he managed to get her covered.  After a stint of hormonal surges that caused a  tightening his jeans he thought would he would burst or wake up his little hacker, he joined her in sleep.


Willow's eyes popped open.   She lifted her head and looked around the room to do a quick memory check. < Oh... home... >  She laid her head back down.  < Hmm?  Oh yeah, Angel... mmmuumm, Angel >  She made to drag herself to give him a quick kiss but when she began to slide up a whimper escaped from him. "Sorry,"  she whispered,  "Did... did I hurt you?"

"Hurt me?  Um... no.  No pain... But please don't do that."  She could hear the smile in his voice that played on his lips.

"Angel,"  His name coming out more like a whine.  "Smoochies!  I want smoochies.  I can't kiss you from down here... What if I just scoot fast?"

"NO.  Not fast or slow... No scooting!"

"I'm pouting!  I can't see you very well, but I know you can see me and you can see that I'm pouting."  She had her arms crossed over his chest and rested her chin on her hands.  He leaned his head up, straining to reach her
face.  Willow was not helping or even trying to help him reach her.  He strained a bit more and barely caught her lips in a sweet kiss.  "Umm . But I am still pouting."  She arched her back a bit,  pressing into him.  A half
moan, half-low growl rolled in his throat.  < Ah Ha!  Weakness.  I'm getting smoochies. >

"Willow, you are not ready for this... or what ... could happen if you keep that up, so behave."  She could tell his efforts were only half hearted.  She was not ready < so not ready for that, but other stuff might be okay... Okay?
 Great! >

"I heard that, Will,"  Angel held back a laugh knowing it would just cause her to bounce on him thus causing more trouble.

"Grrrr, don't do that!"  With that extra boost of irritation, she reached up and grabbed the end of the sofa and slowly drug herself up to his face.  Angel gripped the cushion under him with one hand and the back of the sofa
with  the other and clenched his teeth together.

"That is not playing fair, Will." She quickly kissed him

"Well, if using my head against me is fair for you then using your, ah, head against you is fair for me." <Oh, God, who said that? >

"Willow!"  This time he couldn't hold back the laugh.  As he expected it just made for a 'harder' situation. She buried her head in his shoulder.  "Okay... you wanted smoochies...  come get them, but, if you have to take me to the kitchen and ice me down later... you have to do it."  She lifted her head.  With the small amount of light streaming in from the kitchen and being at a better angle she could see the huge smile playing across his face.

Angel lifted his hands and cupped her face pulling her down to his lips.  The first kisses were soft, full of emotion and safety.  She held on to his shoulders for dear life when they became more intense.  He slid his hands
into her hair pulling her in to deepen their kiss.  Fire shot through her and, without warning, Angel lifted her and rolled them both.  He adjusted the throw pillows so that they supported her head and took his weight onto his
elbows kissing her with more passion than she'd even known possible.

Willow's head spun as Angel moved his legs and positioned himself between hers.  When he pressed against her she felt faint and ran her hands down his back inside his opened shirt.  He shrugged out of the shirt, dropping it to the floor, but promised himself that was the last article of clothing coming off.  Willow made him break that promise when she suggested he remove his jeans.

"Willow, nothing else comes off.  Nothing ... understand?  We are taking this slowly.  You need to be ready and I need you to be ready.  Alright?"  He bent to kiss her then stood to do as she asked.  He returned to her clad only in black boxers.

< I'm making out... I'm making out with Angel... almost naked Angel... okay, behave... down, girl. >

The two explored each other's bodies with their hands, never breaking the bond of their mouths.  Angel carefully avoided anything more than medium to heavy petting.  His touch was loving and gentle.  He avoided the 'heavy
petting' parts for the majority but enjoyed the innocence in it all.  Willow was amazed at Angel's restraint and willingness to subject himself to this kind of torture for her.  After hours of 'getting to know you' smoochies,
they drifted off to sleep once more after Angel shifted to the outer side of the sofa and slipped under Willow enough for her to rest her head on his chest again.

Part 10

Angel's sleep never reached any depth.  Just when he figured he was safe to relax Willow would squirm or mumble his name in her sleep.  Both actions sent equal distracting sensations shooting though his body.  He was sure his
breaking point was fairly under control until just before dawn.  Willow's head remained on his chest with her arm around his stomach and her body just at his side.  She jumped a little in her sleep. Waking at her slight movement, Angel tightened his grip on her with the arm snaked up around her waist assuming she was having a nightmare.  With his free arm, he reached up and smoothed the hair from her face.  "Ssssshhhh, it's okay.  Sssshhh."

Willow, in an unconscious attempt to get closer to the source of comfort, snuggled closer.  She brought up her leg that rested next to his and slowly drug it up over his.  < Okay... that's far enough, sweetie.  As long as you
don't move another inch . Oh.>  Then she moved the her other leg under his in the same fashion, trying to wrap herself around him. < Christ! >  Angel finished his thought when her last movement not only caused his pelvis to
tilt up but it also slid the leg draped over him up coming in direct contact with the very part doing most of his thinking during the last few hours.  He tried to move her leg but that only caused her to curl tighter around him.
Her leg was moving back and fourth over him. < Oh God... >  The new position of her legs had moved the hem of his boxers further up his thigh and in it's place Angel felt the warmth behind the cotton of her panties as she pressed tighter against him with a sigh.

"Mmm. Angel."  She mumbled still in a deep sleep.  < Oh-Kay... maybe not a nightmare... >  She rocked her hips forward moving her leg the slightest bit with this action.  < Willow ... oh God!  Will, baby, stop. Oh Christ... Stop
that! >  "Mmm."  She was almost moaning,  "I love you, Angel,"  She whispered.

"Willow... sweetheart...?"  No answer came.  She was still asleep.  Her hand was now slowing tracing a figure eight that stretched from his throat to the band of his boxers.  < Sweet, sweet Willow... I wish you knew what you were
doing to. >  He felt a shallow growl rolling in his throat as her hand dipped too low on one of her upswings.  < Oooooh...  Do. mmmm... I ... wake. mmm. her?  Oh God. better. right... wake... mmmmm... her..>  His eyes fluttered
shut and found himself trying to hold still.  Despite his efforts his muscles tightened in his back and stomach pulling his hips forward.  Almost before he knew it was happening, his hand slid from her hair to the upper part of her thigh, rocking his hips again.  Willow kept slow tempered pace as she continued to rub against his thigh.  Her arousal was evident to him as the heat and dampness came in contact with his skin over and over.  Angel was
getting very close to the point of no return.  "Willow!  Mmmm... Willow.  Come on... Wake up.  We can't do this, Willow!"  She stopped suddenly and pulled away from him.

"Oh... um... ah... heh... you didn't seem to, ah... mind a minute ago..."  She looked up at him with a wide grin and kissed his cheek.

" Hey... I thought you were asleep!"  She cocked an eyebrow.

"At first... I mean... I was... for... a bit... Oh, so you'd take advantage of me when I'm sleeping, would you?"  Feeling awkward she tried to turn the tables.

"Who was the instigator?  Hmm?  And what do you mean 'for a bit'?"  He was almost laughing but was  too preoccupied with the ache she had caused.

"Oh... um... ah... me ... but I was asleep... ah... dreaming... about ... stuff...  I woke up when you called me. sweetheart.   I mean I sort of did but then... you were having so much fun... and I liked the noises you were
making so. I . you know... I... you know!"  Her eyes widened and she looked
away from his stare.

"Oh... Oooh so were you. you know... having fun?  Wait... You meant to be... meant to... you were aware of what you... I... we...  were doing?  Wow... that was a pretty big... jump... At that rate, by the end of the week...
ah... ... ah..."  He snapped his mouth shut. < Oh ... that is not slow. Not ... the way to do things. >

Willow laughed and poked him in the chest,  "Maybe you have an effect on me too."  Willow smiled, very proud of herself.

"Well, I guess we both have a weakness."  She slipped her leg quickly over to the floor pulling herself on top of him.  "BUT!"  Angel gave her a stern look narrowing his eyes and lifting an eyebrow.  "Now is not the time!  You are not ready!  We take this slow!"  He wrapped his arms around her waist almost too tightly and prevented her from moving.  She pressed her lips together in a pouty smile and nodded firmly once.  Had she behaved she would have been the total picture of innocence.

Willow supported her weight on her elbows on either side of his torso.  She ran her fingers over his chest while she spoke.  "I'll do my best not to have naughty smoochie dreams whenever you are lying next to me. in .only. your.. underwear."  She trailed off becoming more interested in tracing his muscles than having this conversation.

"Willow!"  Angel swatted her on the bottom.  "Enough."  His tone was very harsh but his face was lit up in a bright smile.  "Where is all this coming from?  I think I'm creating a monster."  She merely looked at him like she
had no idea what on earth he was talking about.  "Don't you have to get ready for school?"

"Oh.  School.  Yeah ... School... SCHOOL!"  She bolted up into a sitting position astride his stomach  <Oh God... School, plus Buffy, plus Giles... and questions... blushing... Eep! >  "Yep.  School.  School that I like.  A
lot.  Really.  I like School."   All of a sudden reality and all the pressing issues came flooding back. "Angel, I don't want to go... face them... her..."  The look she gave him would have easily forced him to do anything in his control to make her smile again.  He patted her hip signaling her to lift up.  When she did he sat up and pulled her on to his lap.

"Willow, look at me."  She tilted her head sideways and tucked her hair behind her ear to meet his eyes. "You know you have to go.  Right?"  She nodded.  His voice was tender, full of support and comfort.  "If I could walk
into the school with you and hold your hand though this you know that I would, but you also know that I can't."  He smiled and lifted his chin motioning to the faintest light filtering thorough the edge of the blinds.  "You can do this.  You are much stronger than you think.  Just don't let anything Buffy says get to you.  She doesn't mean the things she says."  Angel placed his hand on her cheek and turned her head so she faced him and kissed her nose.  < This isn't going to be very nice... okay... guilt guy. >  "Giles needs you there to help with the research.  Xander isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer and he doesn't have anyone else to help him."  He knew that someone needing her or depending on her help was something she could never ignore not to mention that he loved to take any opportunity to take a shot at the kid.  He didn't dislike him as much as he was an easy target.

"Okay... You're right.  If Buffy is still wiggy and Oz... ... he will probably avoid the whole group until his time of the month, of course... Faith... well, she's not big in the help department unless you need tips on prostitution or how to ah... call your ex-best friend names... But Giles!  Giles needs me on the net.  Doing research.  You are very right  I am depended upon to be there to be told what to do."  With that she jumped to her feet and started out of the room.  At the door that led to the hall she stopped and glanced over her shoulder.  "That was evil but ... it worked, so you are forgiven.  I feel much better although I wish I could do that 'poof' thing you do... just in case ... you know, would come in handy..." Willow went to shower and dress for school.

Angel smiled to himself as she padded out of the room and he laid back down hoping for a few minutes of the rest he needed.  Hours of controlling his urges and hunger had him beat.

When Willow returned to the living room Angel was sleeping.  She couldn't help but stare at his beautiful features and the hint of a smirk that still played on his mouth.  < God how can one man be so beautiful? Vampire thing??
Hmm.. oh I could just crawl right back on him and . Stop that ... bad bad... School!! Giles!!  School!!  Oooh. chest. stomach. hips... Oh God... legs... SCHOOL!! >  She set down her knapsack and pulled a note pad and a pen from
it, jotted down a quick note and put her things back together.  Taking in the sight of him from his toes up to  < those dreamy eyes... ACK >  She bent down and lightly kissed his lips.  < Ummm > He purred.  The smirk developed into a sly smile as she pulled back and stood to leave.  Just as before she was out of reach his hand came up and swatted her backside again.

< HEY > Willow spun around,  "What was. oh."  but when she did his hand was laying on his chest just as it was before.  He opened one eye.  "Ah HA I knew you weren't sleeping... Faker!"   He chuckled as she leaned over the side of the couch and placed an upside down kiss on his lips.  "Get some sleep.  Mom won't be home for a day or so."

"Relax and try to have a good day."  His eyes were already closed again and his words were raspy and nearly mumbled.


"Hey, Will!  How ya doin'?"  Willow opened the door to find Xander standing there with his hands in his pockets.  "You okay?  You look well... sleepy... did you sleep... You DID sleep right... like  there wasn't anything ah... else going on that might interfere with... sleep?"  Xander looked almost sorry he asked, squinting his eyes with his last words.

"Um... yeah and well... no... um... kinda...  I mean, no... It wasn't ... heh."  She walked out and pulled the door shut behind her walking past him.

"WHAT?"  Xander jumped in front of her blocking her path.  "He didn't... you didn't... I mean you two didn't..."  He raised his eyebrows and nodded knowing full well that she knew what he was trying not to ask.

"No, Xander we didn't.  I mean...  Not THAT!"  She looked around nervously,  "Angel just kept me company all night and he made me eat. food. and gave me a shoulder to cry on."   < And a chest to kiss and lips to kiss and thighs to cling to and arms to feel around me and ... >  She walked past him.

"Willow, what's with the grinning?"  Xander was now doing his best to be her friend,  "Has someone been naughty??"   He was wearing his signature big cheesy grin and poked her in the sides causing her to jump.

"Well... no... I mean... not really naughty... but he's kinda hard to ignore.  If  you know what I mean... well of course, you don't know what I mean... I mean you don't see Angel like I see Angel.  Or like I saw Angel this
morning... er... not saw Angel. I mean you don't know or... aren't.  Oh darn... I don't know what I mean... Okay, you are a guy!"  Willow's shoulders slumped when she couldn't find a way to explain it with out getting into details about stuff she didn't want to get into detail with him right now.

"Okay, little buddy," Xander put his arm around her.  "It's okay.  I'm not going to bug you about Dead-Boy.  Hey wait... this morning?  He is still at your house?  He stayed the night?  Will, tell me he slept on the couch.
Please!"  Xander was reeling over everything.

"Well... yeah, he. slept on the couch... He's sleeping on the couch now... Still... ah, sleeping on the couch."  < Not a lie... not a lie... I'm not telling a lie!  He is on the couch and was always on the couch! Not a lie. >

"Good!  I'm good with that.  I mean... that's good that he slept or is sleeping on the couch... still."  The rest of the walk to school was filled with conversation concerning the research they needed to do, what they had found, and what they need to look for. The subject of Buffy never came up.

They arrived at the school twenty minutes before their first class.  Xander entered the library first to run interference if Buffy was there.  Willow followed.  Giles looked up from a pile of books scattered about the table.
"Morning... I trust you are feeling better.  Did you sleep well?"

Willow swallowed hard.  < Oh God, not this again... okay... um. um. um. > "Not really... got a bit of sleep."  She tried to avoid his eyes as she and her escort tossed their belongings onto the table. "Where do we start?  I have a few minutes then I have second and third period free."  She looked at Giles in hopes the Angel overnight subject could be avoided.  She was relieved when it was for the moment.

"W-well first we need to see why someone with a great deal of pull in the city would want Angel out of the way."  He looked back at his books.

"Well, we know that the Mayor is not a good guy, but why would anyone want to hurt Angel?" Xander coughed.  She and Giles shot him looks.

"What... I just... I'm coughing... I have something in my throat"  He faked a couple more coughs and held his palm out as if to prove his point.

Just then the doors flew open and Buffy strolled in. "Buffy Summers reporting for duty."  She stopped at the counter leaning on it, glanced at the table then looked back avoiding their eyes.

"Ah, Buffy.  I need you to check in after lunch today.  I am hoping to have a lead by then as to why someone wants, um... Angel ... out of the way."  Giles said the vampire's name quickly and quite a bit quieter than his other words.

"Whatever."  She turned to leave.  "You tell me what I have to do... I'll do my job!  Xan, are you ready to go to class?"  She was short and clearly attempting to make the fact known that she was not over anything.

< She hasn't said anything mean yet... well not directly to me or about me... so... being non-existent I can handle... I hope. >  Willow kept her eyes on Giles.  Giles held a look of concern and compassion for both his slayer and
for the hacker.  Buffy stood with her back to the group waiting for an answer.  Xander looked at Willow unsure of how to deal with his loyalty to either girl.  Willow motioned her head toward Buffy prompting him to go with

He scooted out of his chair standing and leaned down to her ear,  "Willow, you're still the best!  If you need me..."  She patted the hand on her shoulder and motioned again.  With that he left following the slayer.

"Willow,"  Giles called her name as she stared after the two that were both her best friends less than a week ago.  "Willow...  are you sure you are alright?"

"Huh?  Oh... sure... fine. I will ... be... I guess.  Giles... do you think she will ever forgive me?" < Why do I want her to?  She hurt Angel... God... >

"I-I am sure once she lets it all set in and begins to start thinking clearly again, ah... that the two of you will have time to, um... talk." She nodded doubtfully then rose, crossing the room to take her place at the computer.

Willow did some surfing and a bit of hacking into not so public records.  When she returned she found that the only trail indeed led them to the mayor's office.  The New Deputy Mayor had made some calls to the coroner and
the morgue from his office line.  That along with the purchase of a sheet of steal, a report of a missing piece of equipment from a city construction site that was later returned and no record of a burial at the cemetery all pointed in that direction.  By the end of second period, she remembered the note she left Angel. <Oh god I almost forgot completely. >

"Um, Giles... I need a ride somewhere... to the mansion."  She didn't want to tell him why but had no doubt he'd ask.

"Oh, do you need to see Angel?"  He asked as he moved from the table to the counter where she was.

"Well... Um... No... ah... I need to get him some clothes and something to eat."  She blurted it out.

"Oh... Ooh.  Y-yes.  Yes.  Of course.  I could drive you ...  Ah... Willow... do be careful.  We have yet to confirm the theory concerning his soul yet, as-as you know."  He was unsure how to deal with this whole ordeal but new
she didn't need any lectures at the moment.  Willow was the most levelheaded of the gang.

"I know, Giles.  I was a mess last night.  Angel... made sure I had something to eat and stayed to... you know... keep me company... and stuff.  He won't let me not behave."  < Oops...  >  "I meant. um..." <Crap... what did I
mean...?  Oh. Oh.>  Giles was blushing.  "I know!  He knows!  We know!"  <Great save... but as long as he's all red-faced, he probably won't asks too many questions. >  Willow gave him a weak smile and ducked her head.

"Well, let's do this now so that we can get back before the end of period three, shall we?"  Giles grabbed his jacket and Willow followed.  He placed the 'Library closed for filing' sign out and they made their way to the old
import he insists is a car.