I used to watch her as she slept. Hair spread over the pillow like fire was eating it alive, face tranquil and soft-lipped, childlike in the total trust she displayed to the world as she slept. Well, if I’m the world. I have always had sort of a God complex.
She usually has that face put forward, come to think of it. That trusting, innocent look of someone untouched by evil and darkness. And I find that incredibly ironic, because I’ve touched her.
You know, I think it goes to show how utterly vain Buffy is that she thought she was my obsession after I lost my soul. Yes, I loved her; yes, I wanted her dead, but obsession? No one is obsessed with a girl like Buffy. Well, except Xander, but he’s just a kid; someone unable to realize the full potential of any woman. Right now, he just wants the flashy sexiness of the California girls around here. Buffy, Cordelia…they’re beautiful, and they’re strong and aggressive, but they’re not…what is the word I’m searching for? Willow.
Even before I lost my soul, I wanted her. ‘Yearned for’ is the phrase, actually, but I don’t want to get too Interview With the Vampire-poetic, so I’ll stick to the basics. Want, need…a purely gluttonous creature by nature, it was a bitch for me not to succumb to my desires. But I did, because I loved Buffy so very much, and I didn’t want to hurt her.
After I lost my soul, it was a whole ‘nother story. As Angelus, I’ve never been able to ignore my desires for too long. In the hall, right after I turned, I wasn’t going to hurt her. I was going to fuck her. And I’m not talking rape, I’m talking seduction. I have never had to take a woman by force, and I knew that she would be no exception.
But then that damned Xander kid showed up with the techno-pagan, and I had to improvise. I never would have snapped her neck, of course, and I felt Xander coming up behind me with the cross in his hand. But letting them think that they had me caught seemed better than just releasing her and looking weak. Besides, it was best not to let them know the full range of my senses. It would make it a lot easier to pluck them from the world one by one.
Except Willow. I could never kill her, never put out that flame that burns deep within her eyes, never fully expose her hidden darkness. I would find some other way to make her immortal, maybe, or just let her live out her full lifetime with me, growing older as I stayed the same each year.
That never happened, of course. After I took off, after I let her go with a final meaningful glance, I stayed away from her, let them all think that I wanted Buffy. Which is true—I wanted to feel her blood on my hands and in my mouth. I wanted her Slayer strength to disappear as I drained her. But all of them (including my dear little family—Spike and Dru) thought that I wanted to vamp her or something. Please. I think I spent one long weekend thinking about her, and sent her a few notes on Valentines Day, but besides that, I pretty much stayed the hell away from her. She’s a dangerous little bitch.
But Willow…Willow I stalked. I would come into her room at night to watch her sleep and to see her breath move the blankets lying on her chest. I’d follow her to and from the library and protect her from any other vamps or demons as interested in her sweet virginal blood as I was. When I consider something mine, and someone (or something) threatens it, I get violent. More so, anyway.
It’s funny—you’d think that after all that time with the Slayer, Willow’d have picked up a little bit of the ‘spider sense.’ But she never noticed me behind her, trailing her. Savoring every movement.
Sometimes I think, maybe she did know I was there, and she just ignored me. Or knew that I was protecting her.
Like I did before I
lost my soul.
I walked up the street, careful not to stop under any streetlamps, or to even dwell too long beneath one. Sunnydale may not have a good police force, or careful citizens, or even anyone smart enough to figure out what’s happening in the still of the night, but you can say one thing for it: it has a hell of a lot of streetlamps. Well, if someone’s gonna be draining you of your blood, it may as well be in a well-lit area, right?
She didn’t see me, of course. She was just a kid—a genius kid, yeah, but no one with senses strong enough to be able to sense a vampire behind her. Even if he was just there…for no apparent reason.
Why the hell was I stalking her, anyway? That just seemed so…Angelus, somehow. Of course, if I was still Angelus she’d probably be dead now.
I guess…I guess I was stalking her because she represents all the things I want to protect, now that I’m a person again. Well, not a person, exactly, but not exactly a demon either.
She was so pretty, so innocent. I could smell her blood from here, and she was a virgin. Pure.
Her hair sparkled under the light from her porch. It was not quite red, but close, and I found it so intriguing. I wanted to run it through my fingers and let it brush my lips as I kissed her neck.
She had stopped under the light, and was standing there, not opening the door. I realized that I had been so caught up in watching her, that I hadn’t taken care not to walk on the dry leaves under her trees. I quickly jumped over behind the nearest bush. Oh, dear cliché, if it wasn’t for this bush she’d see me. There’s something to be said for movie plot devices that work in real life. I’m just not sure what it is.
She turned to face her now-empty yard. “Whoever you are, I’m safely home. You can go now.” She sounded amused, in her own Willowy way.
I sheepishly made my way out of the bush and walked into her eyeshot. Reaching for my reserves of charm (it sounds narcissistic, but I’m a charming guy, and quite attractive, if the reaction I get from women can be relied on) and smiled at her. Crookedly, I might add. Little boy charm may be useful, but it gets tiring after about a hundred and fifty years. Around Willow, though, it seemed less annoying and more natural. “Good evening.”
She smirked at me, apparently not that surprised that I was her trail. “I think you need a bit more of an accent to pull that one off.”
Wasn’t she supposed to be the shy one? Still, I found it interesting that her fire occasionally came out to play. Hey, little girl, I’m twice the smart-ass you are. Slipping into my native brogue, I grinned. “Good evenin,’ lass.”
Willow raised her eyebrows with a patentedly Willow look. “You’re Irish,” she stated, as if pointing out something I wasn’t aware of. I nodded. “Hm. I was really expecting something a bit more Transylvanian, but hey—whatever floats your boat.”
I nearly choked. “Transylvanian?” I managed to spit out.
She looked pensive. “Well, it is a vampire stereotype…”
Okay, chokin’ on my tongue. “Vampire?! I’m not—”
She interrupted me. “Liar.”
Giving up my admittedly
pitiful charade, I stared at her levelly. “How do you know that I’m a vampire?”
She rolled her eyes, a throughly teenage expression I found completely adorable. “Well, when I saw you at the Bronze, you weren’t breathing. You’re never around during the day; you do that vampy disappearing thing… See, my brain’s a lot like Search on a computer. I put in the information, it finds anything that suits the description. You fit ‘vampire.’ ”
As, well, scary as the situation was to me, I couldn’t help chuckling. “And when have you seen me?”
“At the Bronze. You’re Angel, right? Buffy’s Angel?”
I froze. How to answer that question—there’s a hole with no bottom. I replied carefully. “I’m Angel, but I’m not exactly Buffy’s.”
She smiled down at me from her well-lit porch. Seeing that childlike grin just made me fell so…evil. So dirty, standing there in the darkness. “I just meant, you know her.”
I nodded affirmativly.
“Well, that doesn’t explain why you’re following me.”
I looked at the ground, not quite sure myself why I was following her. “I don’t want anything to hurt you. This town is full of monsters…I’m only one of them.”
She smirked at me, then made some little noise. “You’re not a monster, Angel. If you were, you wouldn’t be telling me all this. I’d be dead right now.”
And with that, she
turned around and walked into her house.
Of course, she obviously didn’t know me, the demon side of me, as well as she thought she did. And neither did I. The same thing that fascinated me as a soulful softie is the same thing that obsesses me without my soul. Innocence. The fire burning beneath her skin. The intelligence gleaming in her eyes, and her wit that surfaced even as she faced a vampire.
Even before I lost my soul, I wanted her. I was just too much of a wimp, too afraid of my own passions to get close to her. Too afraid I’d touch her and never let go.
After I lost my soul…I took every opportunity I could to touch her. When she slept. When I caught her outside of the school.
Whenever I could.
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, baby, this was the night. This was gonna be the night I took her.
In more than one sense.
Newly unsouled, newly reborn to the night. Oh, yeah. This was my time, with all the modern technologies, and no modern myths. No one believed in things like me anymore, but a dedicated few. It was my time to rule.
So, what was I doing standing outside the damned high school, when I had the entire night in front of me? I had no fucking clue. Well, I did, I just didn’t know why I would waste perfectly good hunting time to wait outside a high school for a little girl to walk home.
Willow. Even as that little lapdog I was before, I could see her burning there, in my head. But I fucking hated that I was so goddam fascinated with her. I didn’t even want to kill her. I wanted to protect her. It just seemed so…Angel, you know? Something I’d have done when my boring little soul was in control of my body. Hell, it was something I did do as Angel. I mean, we aren’t that much different, despite how we both hate to admit it. The only problem I have with the poof (thank you Spike, for your way with words—especially insults directed towards me) is that he never lets me succumb to his desires—our desires. I take what I want, as he lets his unlife slip away. What a fucking weakling.
I hate having a weakness.
But this wasn’t even the first night that I, minus soul, had followed her home. It was only going to be the last.
And there she was—a willow standing tall in the night. But unfortunatly for me, the wolf was with her. I’ve always hated those things, the bloody dogs, and I couldn’t stand to think of him slobbering all over my Willow. He was already dead, in my mind. It was gonna be fun.
But, unfortuntely for her, she was walking away from the school (alone) and he was walking towards the parking lot and (I guess) that stupid zebra-striped van of his. She was actually walking home alone, at night, in Sunnydale.
For a genius, she was a complete idiot.
But, all the better for me. I knew the route to her house perfectly, and I stayed in the shadows as she walked in the light. Oh, that’s literal, by the way, although it could be interpreted as figurative. The dark following the light, stalking it. Wanting to overwhelm it.
Oh, but she was delicate. And so very pale—I could see the veins in her neck as she brushed her long hair over her shoulders. She was so pretty. You know, prettiness is something overlooked this day and age. She had that true beauty that wouldn’t fade, no matter how you tried to break her. But I wasn’t going to break her. Not exactly.
Well, now. Home again, home again. I’ll leave out ‘jiggedy-jig,’ just cause I’m a demon. And she was standing under the porchlight, devoid of movement. The flourescent light bleaching her skin of what little color she had. And then she did something totally unexpected.
She turned around.
Her face was completely expressionless, but I could see that her eyes were huge and defiant and her lips were quivering slightly with fear. After two hundred years you get pretty good at reading facial expressions, especially the ‘pain,’ ‘fear,’ and ‘anger’ ones.
“Whoever’s out there,” she said in a quivering, rushing voice, “I’m going inside, so could you please leave? If my parents come home and find you out here, they’ll kill me.”
Chuckling, I stepped out into the light. “Not very smart, Will,” I pointed out. “Telling me your parents weren’t home. What if I was a serial killer?”
To my surprise, she didn’t run inside at the first glimpse of me. She clutched her bag a little closer and stood her ground. “All the serial killers are too smart to come to a town like Sunnydale. Mouth of hell, and all. They could be eaten by some creature of the night.”
Touche. I raised an eyebrow. “Like me?”
She licked her lips nervously, and I drank the movement in. If she knew the effect that had on me… “Well,” she mused, “You also sort of fall into the ‘serial killer’ pile too.” Then she sort of jumped, like she suddenly remembered that hey! She was talking to a serial killer.
“Well, I have to go inside now, so…”
“Invite me in?”
She froze with her back turned to me as I said it. I had deliberately made my voice as low and husky as possible, and it usually served to send a shiver down most women’s spines. This time was, again, no exception.
She turned back to me and sighed, a put out noise if I’ve ever heard one. Her face was equally as annoyed. “Don’t play games with me, Angelus.”
“Angelus?” Okay, my tone was completely mocking, but at least I admit it.
She sighed and rolled her eyes. “Yes, Angelus. I’m not going to kid myself into thinking that you’re still Angel when you’re not.” She cocked her head and narrowed her eyes at me. “Although, you do both seem to have that ‘stalking me’ thing down.”
I growled. “Fine,” I spit out through clenched fangs; “I’ll give you that. But the invite thing? Why won’t you let me in?”
Willow shook her head like a mother disappointed with her child. “C’mon, don’t kid around with me. I’m not in the mood to joke with a killer. You know that I already invited you, when you had your soul. You know that you can come into my room whenever you want.”
I shrugged. “Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. But the thing is, I know now. So, what do you think I should do with this information?”
“You’ve been coming into my room since you lost your soul, Angelus.”
Shit. I stiffened. “What makes you think that?” My voice, although perfectly level, had achieved a state of coldness found only in the center of glaciers. She, to my surprise and annoyance, seemed strangely unaffected by it. Wary, yes, but not broken down into the panicky, stuttering fear I had expected from her.
“You dropped a picture of me. Sleeping.” Damn. I knew bringing that sketchpad into her room was a bad idea. Pages were always falling out, to Spike’s amusement and mockery. Wow, I never really noticed how much I hate that little bastard 'til now. Okay, I’m lying. I’ve always hated the brat.
She cleared her throat and I broke out of my reverie. “Give it to me.”
Willow’s eyes widened,
and she clutched her bag tighter. “Give you what?”
I gritted my teeth. Damned deliberately dim hacker brat… “The picture. Please.” I added the last with a mocking grin, letting her know without words that I didn’t have to ask, didn’t have to be nice. I could just take it.
And I don’t just mean the picture.
She gulped, her big green eyes widening even further. If the lass opened ‘em any more they’d bulge out of her head, like a bloody frog’s. “Oh—okay,” she stuttered. “Just let me—”
“I’ll go in with you, love,” I cut in smoothly. “Just to move things along.”
There. That was definatly mild fear shining in her eyes. Then she set her lips and huffed. “Fine. But…don’t come too close to me.”
I smiled, careful not to make her aware that I had every intention of being right next to her, touching her, skin on skin. Although I think she probably guessed.
She sighed, angrily, I should add, then opened the balcony-type door leading to what I knew was her bedroom. I had gone through those very doors the first time I’d been invited into her house. All the nights I’d snuck in, after I lost my soul.
Before I lost my soul.
Shock of all shocks, huh? That Soul-boy was as obsessed with her as I was. Although, like I pointed out, we are a lot alike—we just have different patterns. Whereas he would stand by her bed for hours stroking her beautiful hair and face, I would…sit by the bed for hours, stroking her beautiful hair and face. Occasionally I would slip into bed next to her and run my eyes over her body, covered in a long baseball shirt.
Anyway, she let me in—or rather, she went in and didn’t shut the door behind her, so I followed her. Although, truth be told I would have followed her in anyway. That’s just the kind of guy that I am.
“So, where is it?” I asked her. “Or was this just a ploy to get me back into your bedroom?”
She snorted, an entirely annoyed outlet of breath, then sunk to her knees in front of her bureau. “It’s in here,” she said softly, then opened the drawer.
How cute. She’d hidden it in her underwear drawer. Completely predictable, yes, but it was worth her lack of ingenuity to see those cute little panties all shoved away in her drawer. She pulled out the picture, in surprisingly pristine condition, then slammed the drawer shut as she realized what I’d been looking at. “Here,” she hissed as she shoved the picture into my hands. Willow hissing, who knew? Although, from her little display in the library with me and Giles I should have realized there was a wildcat in there. “Now will you please leave?”
I grinned, a wolf’s grin, as I nonchalantly threw the picture on the bed. It was a good one, of Willow with her lips open slightly in R.E.M., but at the moment, I really didn’t care. “I’m not leaving, lass. Not 'til I get what I want.”
She tensed, turning her face deliberately up towards mine. “And what’s that?” she asked tightly. The hellion, she knew exactly what I wanted.
I breathed down into her, letting her feel my breath on her face…then I pounced. Captured her lips with mine and took her to the floor with one easy motion.
She fought, of course. I’d expected that she would, so I had her arms pinned above her head almost before she began to use them on me. But oh, her mouth…she was soft and warm and oh so virgin-pure. And eventually, I felt her begin to relax against me, begin to kiss me back. I always thought she had the hots for me. I buried my hands in her flame hair, and as I let go of her arms, I felt her hands stroke the back of my neck very gently. I shuddered.
Then her bedroom door opened.
Rolling off her, I growled, vamp face already on. It’s my true face, actually, but that’s what everyone else calls it, and I’ve always been a trend-follower.
She was shaking, gasping for air. Giles, who by the way had no reason to be in her bedroom, immediately took a cross out of one of the many pockets in his tweed jacket and brandished it at me. I backed away, snarling, as he advanced towards me and Willow, who had by now sat up and was looking at me with wide, wet eyes.
“Angelus!” Library-boy barked.
I grinned through my fangs, enjoying his grimace as I walked backwards to the door as quickly as possible. “Perceptive,” I mocked. Dammit, the only bad thing about having fangs is that little lisp. Makes it a bit hard to be threatening. But only a bit.
So, I took off. I knew that there was no way in hell that Willow was going to cooperate with me after that little incident. Especially if I killed Rupert, which is the only way I would have been able to get him out of the bedroom.
After I had “left” (and by that I mean ‘hid in the bushes 'til I found out why Ripper was in her bedroom’) he knelt on the floor next to her and took her hand. I had to repress a growl there, but I decided to let it go. I could rip his lungs out later.
“Why was he in here, dear girl?” His voice was maddeningly gentle, but I could hear the rage bubbling under that calm and soothing tone. He wanted me dead. Deader, anyway. Oh, well.
She shook her head, tears sputtering from her eyes. Eventually she calmed enough to ask, “What are you doing here, Giles? Uh—not that I’m not grateful,” she added on quickly, to my amusement, “but, uh…why are you here?”
“Oh,” he stuttered, blushing. Damn, can that man not get through an entire word without reverting to being completely British? He handed her a bright pink notebook that he’d dropped on the floor, I’m guessing, when he saw me. “You left your, uh, notebook at the library. I came by to bring it and found your front door unlocked and was worried, so I came in here, and I saw…good lord, what was he doing in here…with…”
She sniffled. “The door was unlocked? Mom and Dad,” she moaned. “They are so…” She sighed. “Thank you.”
“Willow, what happened?”
Ooh, here was the big moment. Would she succumb to her natural honesty, revealing that she knew I had been following her all along? Or would she save her ass and say that I just attacked her? Well, the latter was at least partially true. But still very disappointing.
“I…he’s been following me.” Yes! And the innocent wins through. Just what I loved about her. “I don’t mean like, attacking me, not like tonight, but coming into my room and drawing me, and walking behind me when I walk home. He’s actually…he’s protected me from vampires. And stuff.”
Giles looked absolutely stunned. “Why didn’t you tell us, Willow? This information could be very valuable to us all.”
Ooh, no there was a good question. “I don’t know. At first I wasn’t completely sure it was him, for a while. But then I found this picture…and then tonight…”
“But why didn’t you tell us?! We could have helped, gotten rid of him!” Sure. In your dreams, Rupert.
She laughed, somewhat bitterly. “Tell Buffy? She’s always been crazy when it comes to Angel. And now he’s stalking me? How do you think she’d react to that? And Xander? He’d go out and get his idiot ass killed.”
Giles looked properly chagrined. “I suppose I see your point,” he allowed.
“And he wasn’t…” She searched for the word. “Threatening.”
“Except tonight.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. C’mon, Rupert. I’ll bet you were a charmer in your day. It wasn’t a threat. It was a promise.
“Yeah,” she breathed. “But please…don’t tell them? Buffy’s going through enough right now. Please?”
“I—” He was cut off as a door slammed in the front of the house. Hm, the infamous negligant Rosenburg parents were home.
“Eep!” she shrieked. “You gotta go!” She leaped up, grabbed his arm, and fairly dragged him to the balcony doors.
She stared at him with the ‘hey, duh’ authority only a teenager can muster. “Giles? Me and a middle-aged librarian in my bedroom, and I’m all mussed and flushed?”
He coughed. “I see your point.”
“Right!” She shoved him through the door and nearly slammed it. Rupert headed off into my bushes, already occupied by me. I briefly considered draining him dry right then and there, then disregarded it, fun as the notion sounded.
I began to run, away
from her house, into the black night. By the time Rupert finally turned
towards me, I was already gone.
After that? I pretty much stayed away from her. Didn’t go into her room, didn’t follow her home…as much. A lot happened, a lot. Went to Hell, for one. Got my soul back.
That’s such a laugh. I love Willow, and she’s an amazing little fireball, not to mention a powerful spellcaster, but back then she had nary a broomstick to ride on. I got something back, yeah, but it wasn’t my soul. At least, not my whole soul.
I can’t explain it, really, because I don’t understand it myself. I’m not completely that ensouled wimp, but I’m not quite my usual demonic self either. I’m not as cruel, I feel more guilt for my actions (although it’s still just a minimal amount), and, well, much as I hate to admit it, when I was completely demonic—I was one crazy bastard. I actually think my decisions through now instead of just going off half-cocked.
For instance, I didn’t tell them—any of them, that I didn’t have my soul.
I really am a bastard, aren’t I? Yeah, you probably didn’t think I was so bad before I said that, but now…oh, yes. You hate me. Unlike most—well, I’m not people, so that doesn’t really apply—I love it when people hate me. It fills them with such passion that I shiver to see them, so angry at me, so full of hate. Buffy was the best—she loved me so much that when she began to hate me it was like a storm. A storm of passion burning in her eyes and searing my face when she looked at me.
But I was damned if I was going to let her kill me again. So I stayed, and pretended to be Angel, pretended to have a soul. Pretended to love that Slayer bitch, helped out the Slayerettes and even that bloody Watcher. I fooled all of them, even better than I did last time I was me.
It was a real headache, I’ll tell ya. Having to be a white hat just so that I wouldn’t get my ass dusted? If I had been any kinder and more helpful I would have staked myself. I had some fun though—at least I could get close to Willow without anyone being very worried about it. I mean, Harris got pretty pissy, but he’s always hated me, so no surprise there. And even he got to be less of a prick towards me eventually, because he was no longer competing with me (and oh, what a struggle not to laugh) for his beloved Buffy. Oh, no. He set his sights on my pure little Willow.
But, as ‘Angel,’ I couldn’t do anything about that. So I set my sights on other things, and just laughed to myself when she chose that wolfy guy, Oz, over him. Not that I like Oz any more, cause as I mentioned, I hate those damned puppies (I’d like to nail him to a wall, personally), but he was less grabby with her, and less likely to fuck her before I could get my fangs on her.
Not that I didn’t have my fair share of fun. That bitch Faith rolled into town on a cloud of hellfire, but at least she was good in the sack. And Giles…when he finally figured out that I had been lying about getting my soul back, that I was still Angelus…
He was so angry, it
made me smile for weeks.
I was sitting next to her. Sort of, anyway—there was a seat between us, and she was so involved in her typing that she probably didn’t even know that I was there, but I was still next to her.
Even under the dim lights in that dank library, her hair was still shining. It was really red today—courtesy, I knew, of a new shade of dye that she’d been using, but it was still a pretty color to see, redder than it had been two years ago. I liked it.
Buffy was off in the stacks, blathering to Faith about some movies she’d seen (I swear, sometimes it’s a bitch to have such good hearing), that Xander kid was across the table, throwing occasional glances at the oblivious Willow, the bitch-queen Cordy was examining her nails and yawning near him, and Oz was howling in the library cage. Just another Saturday night in my life, people. And to think, I could have been ripping the throat out of some poor innocent schoolgirl right now. Damned Slayer bitch.
And Giles…Giles was in his office, as usual. Well, actually he was exiting his office, coming in to talk to Willow about something. Now that was a surprise. Most of the time when I was there he stayed holed up in his office reading the few research materials he has in there. He is always here. I swear, the man really needs to get a girlfriend. Another one, anyway. (Smirk, smirk.)
“Willow, can you, uh, take a look at this for me?” Uh, Rupert, can you, uh, get through an entire sentence without stuttering?
She isn’t noticing. All wrapped up in her web page and biting her lip in a way that is so cute to me. I quickly nudge her to get her attention, to the disapproval of our dear Mr. Giles, and she jumps.
“Oh! Angel…what is it?” She raises an eyebrow quizzically and I point towards Rupert.
“I was wondering if you could look over this prophecy for me? Please?” I sigh. Rupert is in such denial about the hots he has for Willow. But she gets up and goes into his office to look at the book with him, and I growl under my breath. I’m really glad that the myths about vampires being able to read minds isn’t true, because I have the feeling that Rupert’s thoughts would force me to tear his throat out about now. I lick my lips at that incredibly tempting thought.
Unfortunatly, Cordelia’s whiny voice cuts through my thoughts. “Should we really be here right now? I mean, Oz is pretty…violent. Are all these people in one tiny little room the greatest idea in the world?” Actually, the bitch is right. All this warm tempting human flesh, and the librarian touching his mate in the other room must be driving him crazy. I’m not worried though—I could take the wolf if he got out of that cage, and he’d get rid of all these blasted humans easily, probably even the Slayers. My job would be done, and Willow, who I know I’d manage to protect, would come running into my arms for help. I briefly entertained the notion of tearing the door off, then dismissed it. Any Slayerettes who survived would try to kill me, and Willow would eventually figure out what happened. Damn. I sighed. Oh, well. The wolf would probably scratch me up pretty bad anyway, and I’m such a narcissist that being scarred would make me incredibly angry. That dream was fun while it lasted.
“And then, Timothy Olyphant made her take her shirt off…oh. Angel. I didn’t know you were here.” Can it, bitch. That saccharine smile doesn’t work on me. But, of course, I get up and kiss her on the cheek, and she flushes.
“Hey Buffy. Hey Faith.” I grin at the second Slayer. Yes, I’m pretty sure that look says that I’m getting laid this weekend.
“Hey Giles! Where’s Giles?” She looks at me (like Giles always tells me where he’s going), and I point to the office. “G-man, we playing with a full deck of cards yet, or can we hold off 'til tomorrow? I’m beat.”
Giles comes out of the office to glower at her. “Yes, I suppose we can go home now. But actually…” He swallows, and I wonder what it is that he’s having so much trouble saying. “Angel, can you translate this bit of Italian for me? I must admit that it’s a language I don’t know, but you’ve been around long enough…”
Oh. No wonder he had to swallow a considerable amount of his pride to say that. “Sure.”
“Well…all right then. Thank you.’ Gulp. And down goes another mouthful of pride. “Everyone else can go, there’s really not much else you can do right now.” Ooh, and he’s going to be alone with me. He must be shaking in his boring, thin-soled shoes.
“So glad we’re needed,” Buffy dryly states. But she’s happy to go and personally, I’m happy to see her go.
“Well, um. Yes,” Giles stutters. The two Slayers leave arm in arm (Buffy with a longing glance in my direction, Faith with a smile that is all promise), Cordy scoots her cute little ass out of there like she’s already in her Porsche, and Xander wanders out on his long legs, promising to call Will later.
Willow herself is still pounding away on the keys, and it’s obvious that she’s not leaving any time soon. Good. Maybe I can walk her home.
Giles spares her a fond glance (to my deep, deep annoyance) and then leads me into his office where I translate the damned passage in the book for him. Really, Italian is a child’s language. Why the hell hasn’t he bothered to learn it yet? There have been quite a few Italian seers.
“Willow? Are you quite done?”
She looks up and grins. “Yeah. I guess I just got sorta…caught up. I should probably go home now. Mom and Dad are going to have a cow as it is…” She picked up her notebook, already looking worried. “See you Giles. See you Angel.”
I grin at her. Yeah, pile on the charm. “Bye Willow.” Ooh, is that innuendo that’s crept into my voice? I certainly hope so.
She blushes and scoots out of there as I shut down her computer for her. She forgot to—I wonder why.
“Well, Angel, I suppose I’ll see you tomorrow night?” Rupert doesn’t look quite like he’s leaving.
“Um, sure. Are you staying here or what?”
He sits up in his chair. “Oh, yes. Oz,” he explains, gesturing to the still-yowling werewolf in the cage. Huh. I forgot about him. I guess growling and howling become just background music after awhile.
I head for the door. “See you, Rupert.”
We both freeze, but he speaks first. “What did you call me?”
Snarling into game face, I run over and have him pinned to the table before he can move to get the cross lying three feet away from us. So sorry, Rupert. Far too late. “Does he remember anything when he wakes up?”
His eyes are wide and very, very angry. “What?”
“The wolf. I wouldn’t want to have to kill him or anything.” I shake him by the neck for emphasis.
He growls back at me. Oh, Ripper, you’re in there somewhere, aren’t you? “No. He doesn’t remember anything.”
I let him loose, but don’t back off enough to give him a route to the cross. He’s too busy glaring at me anyway, the old boy, but I don’t want to take any chances.
“Angelus.” His voice is so full of contempt. I wonder if he can tell that I’m reveling in it. “What…how…”
I cut in smoothly. “I’m a marvelous actor, Rupert. And I don’t particularly want that Slayer bitch to kill me.”
“You’ve been…pretending this whole time?” Giles’ voice absolutely quivers with indignation.
“Yes…and now you’ve found me out.” I bare my fangs at him, slipping partially into game face.
A long silence, and then: “So, are you going to kill me?”
You wish. “No. I mean, I will if you tell them…and they believe you. Look, I’m just killing time here until the right moment…then I’m leaving town.”
“What do you mean?” Nice voice, Ripper. Even, calm, cold. Very angry, though. You should really learn to control that.
“Much as I hate to admit it, I’m not living off people anymore, Rupert. I mean, yeah, I like the taste, but my style is just so unique…the Slayer would recognize it in a second if I started to kill again. So, that’s out. And since I don’t want to get myself killed…again, I’m just pretending to be all soulful. Pretty good at it, aren’t I?”
“What’s your game? Why not just leave now? Why stick around?”
I shrugged. “She’d track me down if I left now. Try and figure out why I left…and eventually, she might figure it out. I mean, I’ve done a pretty good job, but I’ve probably slipped up a few times. Now, for instance. She might figure it out. Besides, I like it here. Nice climate, heavy population…for some reason. I have no idea why the population here is so high. Maybe it’s because some of us vamps are still considered citizens.” I shook my head and lit up a cigarette. “Besides, you people…maybe it’s the Angel part of me, but you fascinate me. And it’s easier to learn your weaknesses if I’m a part of you.”
He glared at me and tried to adjust his tie. “And what about Willow?”
Ooh. Perceptive bastard, aren’t you? “Willow is…well, you understand,” I pointed out, letting him know that I knew exactly what he felt for young Miss Rosenburg. He blushed. “I follow her.”
“Do you intend to change her?”
I so wanted to say ‘yes’ and piss him off, but I figured that’d probably be a bad idea. He’s pissed enough as it is right now. No need to push him over the edge to ‘vampire-homicidal’. “No. I like her flesh the way it is…warm, pale, flushed with her red blood running underneath it…” He flushed himself, although in anger rather than the passion I had been imagining Willow with.
“So, what? I’m just supposed to put up with you now that I know? Let you keep on learning our secrets?”
I shrugged. ‘Sounds good to me.” He scowled. “Or just pretend we never had this talk. Let things go back to the way they were.”
“And let you keep hurting Buffy? Breaking her heart?”
I sighed, letting out a dead lungful of smoke. “You ask too many question, Rupert. And believe me, I intend to let her down easy. ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,’ Rupert, and I have a feeling that Buffy scorned would just be hellfire raining down. And I fully intend to stay away from hell from now on.”
I walked over to the double doors and pushed one open. “Just forget we ever had this little talk, Rupert. What else is there to do?”
“There’s nothing,” I stressed. “And Rupert?”
He looked up, eyes full of hatred and resignation. “Yes.”
“Just in case…keep the puppy quiet? I’ve gotta big bag of nails in my garage.” Turning on my heel, I threw down my lit cigarette and strode out.
I just love a dramatic
Oh, that was the glory of a lifetime. Really. And he kept his promise—he didn’t tell them, any of them. I mean, I think Faith sort of knew—she was screwing me after all. But all the others would have staked me personally. And I’ll be damned if I’ll be killed by some idiot Slayerette mob. Not my style, baby.
I mean, he was different towards me, naturally, and he tried to avoid being alone in a room with me at all fucking cost, but he was pretty much doing that before anyway. So, it was all perfect bloody tension when we were in the same room. Very sweet, I tell you. I loved it.
And Faith…ooh, bad little Slayer killed a man. I’m such a bad influence on the girl.
Not that I had anything to do with it. I only wish I had. Corrupting a Slayer? But no, the full corruption of Faith lies entirely on her own back, and on the Mayor’s.
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen—the Mayor of Sunnydale was a black hat. Who knew?
Well, me for one. Anyone could have guessed it, really. Big town full of monsters, idiot police force, all those grisly murders covered up by insiders? C’mon people, work with me here.
Anyway, Faith killed the guy and went all crazy. We got that part. And Giles came up with his genius plan, an idea I thought was the funniest fucking thing in the world, the most bloody hilarious thing—I would “pretend” to be Angelus, and find out if Faith was working for the opposite side.
Is that the best fucking plan ever, or what? So goddamn hilarious. I mean, I already knew that Faith was playing for both teams—she’s bad at undercover, really bad—but it seemed like a good idea to me. Letting myself go for a night? Torturing Buffy until the rest of the Scooby’s figured out what I was doing? Sleeping with Faith? Okay, I was already doing that one, but still. It’s fun.
It was fun.
Walking down the street with Faith at my side. I’m tough, fucking tough. I mean, I’m always tough—even my damned soul had his moments—but now I could be downright threatening. And with the tough little Slayer bitch at my side…I know that the inhabitants of Sunnydale must have locked their doors that night.
This was fun. Thank you, Ripper, for giving me this night off. I bet you never allow yourself the same luxury, do you? But I must admit, I was getting a little strained around the edges. Buff had noticed that my fighting style had been way more brutal than normal lately. Well, now I got to do what I wanted.
Me and Faith had had a nice little encounter earlier. I’m usually gentler with her—not out of concern for her, mind you, but because I didn’t want her to suspect that I was a true demon. Well, she found out the hard way tonight. She’ll have bruises for weeks.
But oh, here was fun. It was just luck that Xander was there, up the street from us. I have damned good luck.
I mean, what are the odds? We were heading to Buffy’s house to “trick” her (she knew, by the way, about Giles’ plan), and he was going…God knows where. Whatever. The point is, Xander was there, Faith was there, I was there, and I didn’t have to be all nice and friendly. Hell, I could be completely violent and say it was all in the name of helping Buffy.
“Hey, guys, there you are. Buffy’s—”
As we passed him, I swung out my fist and grinned, all fangs, as he ran directly into it, effectively knocking himself out. Faith didn’t even spare him a glance as we passed.
“That guy just bugs me.”
I grinned to myself. Teach the bastard to touch Willow.
She was fucking mine.
Not that she reacted so well to it. I mean, she was his best friend (for some reason that was beyond me) and she was in love with him (again, beyond me). So she was pretty pissed. I saw her giving me dirty looks in the library after that, and she got pretty tense around me.
Dammit. I hate it when things don’t go my way.
So I had to fix it.
In her room again. Huh. I really do have good luck. I mean, Willow has a boyfriend now, a life, and the Scooby Gang to hang out with, and she still spends this Wednesday night screwing around doing who knows what on her computer? Pure dumb luck.
I do happen to know that the rest of the white hats are at the Bronze, having a little post-slayage party. The wolf is playing in his band that is actually pretty okay. Good beat, nice lyrics, ballad-y. Not usually my type of music, but it makes Willow’s eyes light up and her breath come fast, so it’s fine with me.
I don’t actually understand why they’re there. Party time, is what they said. They found the bad guy, and now it’s party time. But they’re disregarding the fact that they just lost a member of their team, their little family. It’s sick.
But, whatever. If they choose to dance and fuck off while I’m alone with Willow in her bedroom, more power to them.
She’s chewing on her hair like a five-year-old. That is so cute.
I knock on the door as lightly as possible, since I don’t know if her parents are home, and call out to her. “Willow! Willow!”
She looks up from her computer with a watchful look, like a caged animal. I didn’t expect that, I’ll admit, but Willow has this endearing little habit of always surprising me. But it’s a good look. Her witchy senses must be crying ‘predator’ all over the place. Good. If anyone but me comes here she’ll be ready for them.
Standing up, Willow comes to the door and, for some reason, opens it. Not a safe thing to do in Sunnydale, little girl, but I let it pass since she is already surprised to see me and talking a mile a minute.
“Angel! What are you doing here? Is it Buffy? No, cause then you wouldn’t be here, you’d go get Giles or Wesley or someone and they’re at the Bronze anyway so what are you doing here—”
I cut into her rambling. It’s very cute, but it’s wasting time. “Willow.”
She stops, breathing hard. “What?”
“Invite me in?” Oh, damn. I messed up again. Those are the exact words I said to her last year, when I was soulless and admitting to it. Damn.
To my surprise and intense relief, however, she gestures me in with only a flashing of her forest colored eyes. “You’re invited in, Angel.”
“You’re inviting me in?” I raised my eyebrows as I slipped past her into her little pink haven, careful to brush my long body against her short one.
She blushes and then closes the door behind me. “Well, I thought that was obvious.”
“I just meant…after everything that’s happened. Especially recently. With Faith?”
She nods and motions for me to sit on her bed. Oh, yes. I like this seating chart. Print me up one. To my disappointment, however, she sits back in the chair by her computer and resumes chewing her hair.
“Okay, you know I have…issues with Faith, and among them is that whole ‘she tried to kill us all and betrayed us’ thing.” I nod. Okay. I have no idea where this is going. “So, yeah, the seeing you as Angelus thing sort of disturbed me. But mostly I was just pissed that you and Buffy and Giles didn’t tell us. You kept it a secret.”
This just gets better and better. “So, what do you mean? You wouldn’t be scared if Angelus came back again? If I lost my soul again?”
She got up from her computer chair and came to sit next to me on her bed. Now, this is an improvement. She bites her lip. “Well…I wouldn’t be happy about it, and I wouldn’t like it, but I wouldn’t be scared.”
She blushes and looks down at her lap. “Well, um, remember how you were sort of, um, stalking me?” I do my best to look all broody and angsty, and she quickly goes on. “Well, I just mean that he…Angelus…he was never threatening, you know? When you didn’t have your soul, you protected me, for some reason. You watched over me, and except for that one time, you never even touched me. You never tried to hurt me.”
My guy senses (which I still have after 243 years, thank you) start shouting ‘Make a move! Make a move!’ at me. I grab her hand, smirking to myself when she doesn’t pull away.
“Willow, I could never hurt you. Not even when I didn’t have my soul.” Which is the truth, actually. See? Me, here, bed—nothing. Not that I wasn’t controlling every base instinct in my body to keep from jumping her again, but still.
She smiles at me, so pure and so very trusting. “I know, Angel. I know.”
And despite all my
desires, I just can’t bring myself to take advantage of her.
Yeah, I know. After my big speech on not denying myself and giving into my desires, I didn’t take her. Dammit. I’m pissed at myself for that, for that weakness. She is my weakness.
Because, when I take a step back and look at myself, I realize things about myself that I don’t usually take the time to see.
Like that I’m in love with Willow Rosenburg.
And I know what you’re already thinking…if you have a brain, anyway. Demons can’t love, especially me cause I’m a soulless killer. Get a clue, buddy. Look at Spike and Dru, my offspring. They are the moon and stars to each other, and Willow, my Willow, is the sun.
I’ve always hated the sun. Even before I was turned, night was my time—time to drink, time to fuck, time to die. And now, my time to kill. But when Willow touched me, it burnt like fire. The sun shines at night—we just can’t see it. And that was her.
I’d seen the vampire version of her, her doppleganger from another world. Beautiful. I knew that if I had touched VampWillow, she’d have burnt me like a tub of ice, and touched me with expertise and demonic passion. But that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted trembling, unsure hands on my cold flesh, fire against my ice. I wanted Willow, alive and breathing against my neck. I wanted Willow.
If seeing VampWillow did anything for me, it convinced me not to turn her. I didn’t want to, exactly, but I wasn’t as adamant about maintaining my self-control as I am now. Even though I would taste her blood on my lips, she would never taste mine.
And I would tell her that I loved her, yes. Yes.
But would that be a loss of self-control? Would I be giving her the keys to my every emotion and opening my demon soul for her? Was it a sign of weakness to love this girl so completely that I couldn’t go a day without wanting to touch her, taste her?
Yes. God, yes, it was a loss of control that I couldn’t stand. If I had been more myself I would have killed her, this little girl with such a powerful hold on me. But I couldn’t kill her. I knew that would be even worse for me, to put out her flame before it extinguished me in a flash of blinding, soothing light. Kiss her. Kill her. The demon side of me was whispering and insisting inside of my head.
So I decided to do what I had told Giles I was going to do—I decided to leave Sunnydale. Yeah, baby, it was time to get the fuck out of Dodge.
And the bonus was that I hurt Buffy in so many ways, her pain echoing deep into my chest and resounding there. But, with the little bit of soul left in me, I went to the dance and comforted her, held her. Brought closure into her heart. And then…
Bitch shot me with an arrow. And I don’t mean Buffy—she could never stand to hurt her poor Angel in any way—I mean Faith. Since her turn to the dark side I’d had to break off our little affair, and she didn’t take it that well. She didn’t tell Buffy, to my intense relief (because seriously, would Buffy have believed her?) but she shot me with an arrow and watched as poison slipped through my veins into my heart.
You know, it’s funny. Everything I saw was so hazy then…like watching through a fog. But some things, my feelings and my thoughts, became clear to me. Willow. Her name had always pounded in my blood like poison, and now she filled my thoughts as I lay there, in her care.
I lost control.
Pain. Aching, sweating, burning pain all through my body and nothing could stop it but the Slayer’s blood. But she wasn’t there and no one was there and then I felt a hand—hand on my forehead, so sweet and soft and warm.
Willow, my Willow, with her hands on my body. Full-body shudder.
“Ssh,” she whispered anxiously into my ear. “It’s okay, Angel, really. She’ll be back soon, with Faith, and, and then you’ll be able to…do whatever it is you’re going to do. You’ll be okay.”
When she smiled at me, I would believe anything she said. “Hi.” God, my voice was shaky. Weak, and dry. Blood, I need blood, the side of me (demon-side) that I was beginning to separate from myself cried out. Oh, so tempting, her.
She looked me in the face, shocked and relieved. “You’re awake.” I thought I heard her mutter a thank you to her goddess, but I ignored it. It was too sweet to have her hovering over me with such a look of tenderness on her face. That was when I knew…knew that I couldn’t leave Sunnydale without telling her that I loved her. I’m too selfish, dammit, and proud of it.
Grabbing her hand, I pulled it close to my bare chest. “You’ve been watching over me?” I asked, raising her hand to my lips. I touched my mouth very lightly against her wrist. Oh, so sweet. Blood coursing, vein underneath my tongue. No longer virgin-pure but still so pure. Doesn’t matter—mine no matter what. Mine.
Willow shivered a little, then pulled her hand away. “Well, we’ve been taking turns,” she stuttered nervously. Her blood was pumping like a river.
I shook my head, not caring. I was too far gone, too afraid that I’d fucking die, the real endless death, before I got to tell her. “I thought I’d never see you again.” God, please touch me again. You heal me, Willow. Yes, I want you more than anything. I don’t care if it’s love or my usual intensity of lust, I want to feel you touch me. “I can’t leave you. I was wrong…I need you.”
Truth. Bitter, hot truth overwhelming the poison in my veins.
Her lips were trembling, and she looked me in the eye, then shook herself a little. “Ohhhh… You mean you need Buffy.”
What? Oh, right. The Slayer. Yeah, whatever. I need her blood, Willow, but only to live. To really be alive I need you.
I shook my head, then blinked rapidly as my vision began to fog over. I swear, if Buffy doesn’t kill Faith, I will. “Willow?” Couldn’t see her. Wanted her.
She nodded rapidly. “Yes! Right. Willow.”
I tried to grab for her hand again, but I could barely lift my head. Dammit, when was the Slayer gonna get here so I could drain her, then grab the witch and take off. Dammit. The bitch was always tardy. And I don’t mean Faith. “Where is she?” Maybe there was time.
“She’ll be back soon.” Then she stared down at me with her forest green eyes and gently touched my chest.
Oh…I’m so heavy now. Pain, pain fills every part of my body—head, arms, legs—and not even the soft touch of Willow’s fingertips against me could stop the pain.
Despite my struggles, I fell into a deep and painful sleep. Dark black pain wrapped around me. God, was this what Rupert had felt when I tortured him? I’m apologizing for that as soon as I wake up.
Sleep. Surrender. Sleep.
I know. Surrender. Weakness. All the words that now describe me.
Sometimes I wonder if I really did get my soul back. Maybe I did—damned if I know. It certainly seems like it, with the weakness I display in the face of hair the color of blood and wise green eyes.
But then…when I had my soul (if I ever truly lost it) I loved Buffy. Truly loved her—deeply, throughly, and completely. But now…I cared about her, yes, enough to not want her completely destroyed by her love for me. Mostly I just brushed her off and didn’t think about her. But Willow was in my thoughts, always, she’s why I left—because I couldn’t stand to be near her and not with her. Couldn’t stand to see her fall for Xander, for Oz, for Giles. It went from want to love before I realized what the hell had happened, and I fucking hated it. Weakness that made me want to give into her smiles.
And escape was not an option.
LA bred darkness in me, more so. I could unleash, open up. Sure, I had Doyle watching my back (and my God, he reminded me of myself at a young age—drunken, gambling fool, but a right fun bastard), and Cordelia somehow managed to worm her way into my life, as my assistant in fighting evil, of all things.
And yes, I still fight evil. Because it is no longer entirely who I am. Willow changed that, made me…care. And the little bit of Angel made me interested in the humans I used to hunt. They fascinated me, as I had explained to Faith—creatures of evil by blood, pure and sweet and innocent by choice. It was a choice, dammit, and they made them. Different ones, all of them. It was interesting.
I didn’t have a choice. Willow changed me. I didn’t change myself, she changed me. Powerful.
And it’s okay. Because Doyle, annoying prick that he is, is a fun little demon (yeah, he’s a demon, big surprise), and Cordelia actually helps me out. Lifts me up when I fall into a Willow-induced brooding spell. Fun little chick, isn’t she?
Whatever. Doesn’t matter, what’s happening now. I still want Willow.
She’s coming to visit next week, and I can feel more of my demon stir to life. Cordelia has pointed out how much more I’ve been smiling nowadays, but I don’t think she’s connected the two yet. Don’t think she will.
Because I didn’t tell them.
As far as Doyle and Cordy are concerned, next week I’m taking a short, but hard-earned vacation. As far as Willow is concerned, she’s going to be hooking up some complicated computer equipment for me, and in the meantime we’ll brush up our friendship. Her friends are very important to her.
Well, the story I gave Willow is partially true. I do need my new computer hooked up. And I need to spend some time with her, close to her pumping blood. Red trickle through her veins.
And, fuck my earlier theory. I’m changing her—gonna get her soul restored as soon as possible. And then we’ll rule.
I can still lie, of course. Some random vamp attacked her, and my only hope of saving her was to turn her. And, hero that I am, I even found a kindly witch to perform the spell for her and give her back her soul. I’m such a nice guy.
A smile stretches my lips at this. She won’t mind that I turned her, not for long. I noticed her furtive, blushing glances at me back in Sunnydale, and noticed the quiver in her voice when she spoke to me on the phone. I’ll be her sire, and I know that she’ll love me as completely as I love her. If she doesn’t already.
She’ll be here in a week. A few days and her blood will touch my lips; my blood will run through her veins.
She’ll be mine completely mine, in every way. I love being selfish. We’re gonna rule the night like the moon and stars.