Disclaimer:  I do not own these characters.  They are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB.

by Lorelei

The bath water was hot, almost too hot, but Willow was enjoying it.  She stared at her toes, which were peeking
out from under the bubbles, wiggled them, and decided that they were pretty cute, as far as toes go.

The black tiled bathroom was Willow's favourite of all rooms in the mansion.  There was just something cozy, yet classic about it.  And the marvellous tub.  Deep and big enough to hold two, maybe even, three people.

The bath was just what she needed.  She'd awakened to find eighteen Fire and Ice roses waiting for her.  They were nice, but she'd been hoping for something...different.  The baby's breath would come in handy, though. The rest of the day was spent running errands. Willow had been to the mall, to Buffy's, then Xander's to drop off cards and small boxes of chocolates.  Well, Buffy's had been little. A small box of Godiva chocolates.  *She * could taste the difference. Xander's had been a generic five pounder.  He appreciated quantity, not quality.

Willow giggled at the last thought.  Definitely quantity and not quality, he *was * screwing around with Faith.

Tupelo Honey walked into the bathroom, sat on the rug and began grooming herself.  Willow said 'Hello' to her, and the kitten cocked her head and gave her an enigmatic stare before continuing her cleaning.  She had just fed on a large can of Albacore tuna that Willow had gotten her for Valentine's Day.  Even kitties deserved a present.

But her parents didn't.  Willow had left them a card on the kitchen counter when she'd ran past the house to pick up Angel's gifts and the dress she wanted for tonight.  They had not been home.  They were in Portland for some
convention or another. Willow wasn't sure whether Ira or Sheila was a guest speaker this time. She didn't know, and told herself she didn't care.  Partly true, anyway.  The cell phone had made things easier for her.  Willow and her parents still rarely spoke, even on the phone, but it was a panacea to her mom, who always tried to convince herself that she was a good mother.

Reaching over, she turned the hot tap, letting the cooling water warm back up. The bubbles were starting to dissipate.   Absentmindedly, Willow began to separate the foam.  When she was little, she'd pretended that the bubbles were a garden, dividing them into plots. Carrots, lettuce, tomatoes and corn, with a huge patch for sunflowers.  Funny, she hadn't thought of that in years.

Rubbing his eyes, Angel walked naked into the bathroom.  He sat on the edge of the tub and kissed the top of her head.

"Hello.  You smell good.  Like lavender...and... fish?"

She smacked his arm, her wet hand making a sharp sound on his flesh. "That's the kitten!  I just gave her some tuna.  Happy Valentine's Day to you, too."

"Just a joke, little girl.  Make some room."

Angel slid down into the other end of the tub.  Willow drew her legs up, giving him some space.

"You're sitting in the sunflowers." She mumbled.

He cocked an eyebrow. She shook her head. "Nothing, it's silly."

Angel stroked her leg, gently pinching her kneecaps. "I'm sure it's not.  Your non-sequiturs are one of the first things I loved about you."

"What was the very first thing?"

"You're capacity for caring.  You have the warmest heart I've ever known." He paused, "Well, that or you're cute little butt."

Willow flicked water into his face. "Nice, very romantic. You know how to treat a girl special on Valentine's Day. I love the roses, by the way."

"No you don't. You wanted something special.  They're getting kind of routine."  He gently nudged her legs apart with his foot and began tickling her pubic hair with his big toe.

"Cut that out. I'm supposed to be making myself lovely for you.  This is a beauty bath. And I did too like the roses.  They're kind of... us."

Angel stopped his tickling. "So, do you want to go out for dinner?  We could go to Teagarden's."  He grinned wickedly.

"We're staying in.  I have other plans for tonight."  Willow tugged gently on each of his toes. "You could go pick me up something, if you want.  Then I could be all ready for you when you get home."

Angel stood, the water coursing off of his body. "Anything you desire."

Staring at his naked body, Willow could only think of one thing she really wanted.  The water made his skin glisten.  She hesitated, but finally answered. "Chicken Caesar Salad.  And dessert.  You pick."

"Oh, you know what I like for dessert."  He stepped out of the tub and began to towel off.  "We still have that whipped cream..."

"Maybe tomorrow night."

Angel winked and walked from the room.  Willow sank back into the tub and closed her eyes.  She wanted tonight to be special, for both of them. A few minutes passed, and Angel came back into the room, dressed this time.

"I'll be back in a few." He kissed her, a long sweet kiss. "There's something outside the door for you.  Get it before you dress." Willow watched as he left the room.

She waited for a count of twenty after she heard the door close, then sprang from the tub, quickly drying off.  She peeked outside the bathroom door and saw a very long rectangular box with a red ribbon on it.  Snatching the ribbon off, she lifted the lid. Willow gasped when she saw the contents.  Inside lay a long gown, made entirely of a silver grey lace. She held it up; admiring the dress, noting the square cut neckline and the mid-thigh slit.  She hugged it to her and carried it back into the bathroom. She slid the dress over her head, struggling to get it zipped. Turning, Willow looked in the mirror.  It was perfect, almost as if he knew what she had in mind for tonight.  She ran a brush through her hair, and humming, began to weave small bits of the baby's breath into her coppery tresses.  Tonight was going to be ideal.


"Willow?"  Angel called her name.  He'd been gone awhile.  Long enough for her to do whatever primping she thought necessary. He noticed she'd also built a fire in the fireplace, something he'd finally taught her
how to do about a week ago.

"Over here."

Angel turned to see her standing in the doorway to their bedroom. The sight of her would have taken his breath away, if he'd had any to take.  Willow was wearing the dress he'd bought her and had some of the small flowers from her bouquet in her hair.  They formed a crown around her head. He drank in her beauty before she finally broke the silence.

"Do I look okay?"

Angel shook his head. "No, not okay.  Indescribable.  You look, well, surreally beautiful."  He was not exaggerating.  Just looking at her was giving him a hard on.

"Good.  That's what I was going for."  She went to him, folding herself into his arms.  The embrace confirmed that he was telling the truth, as she could feel his erection pressing into her stomach.  He turned her face to his, kissing her.   Willow returned the kiss, but controlled it, letting him know that now was not the time for passion.

Pulling away, she spoke, "Let's go to the sofa.  I want to give you your presents."   She led him by the hand, sitting down and pulling him with her. She handed him one of two packages wrapped in red tissue paper. "This one first."

Angel carefully unwrapped the gift.  Inside lay a hardbound book, 'Selected Poems and Three Plays of William Butler Yeats'.  He smiled at her thoughtfulness.

"You can read them aloud to me. I really liked the one poem you recited, and I know how much you like his work."  Willow handed him the other present.

"You know, the book was enough.  You didn't need to get me anything else."

"You're one to talk.  The roses * and* the dress?  This one is sort of for me, too, anyway."

"Just a minute."  Angel rose and walked into the bedroom and returned, handing her a small gift bag. "This is for you, too."

Willow looked in the bag and pulled out a videotape.  It was 'A Room with a View'.

Angel looked at her anxiously. "Have you seen it?"

Willow shook her head. "No, but I've heard of it.  It's a love story, right?"

"Yes.  A beautiful young girl meets her soul mate after she's promised to another.  It's a comedy, too.  It reminds me of us."

"Soul mate, huh?  I can't wait to watch it with you.  Do yours now."

He began to slowly unwrap it, like the other one. He hadn't received any gifts in a long time.  Willow impatiently urged him on. "Hurry up!"

The gift was artist's supplies, a sketchpad and drawing pencils. All of it was good quality.

"Thank you.  But how is this for you, too?"  Angel knew he had a talent for drawing, but wasn't sure how this related to her.  Maybe she wanted more free time and was encouraging him to find other interests.

Willow blushed slightly, "Well... I was kind of hoping that you'd... draw me.  If you wouldn't mind."

Angel looked at her. "Let me get this straight.  You want to spend Valentine's Day posing for me?  Have you been watching 'Titanic', little girl?"

Willow wrinkled her nose. "No.  I've only seen it once.  It was okay, but Leonardo DiCaprio is too feminine for my tastes.  Besides, I don't want to be nude. I'm sorry, we can do something else...watch the movie, if you want."  She was feeling rather foolish for having suggested it now.

"No, I don't think so.  Do you think I'd pass up the chance to spend hours staring at you?"  Angel pulled her forward for a kiss. "You'll be bored, though."

"Nope.  I get to watch you, too, remember?"  She clapped her hands together excitedly.

"Then lets get started."  Angel drew her legs out on the sofa, raising her right knee slightly.  He then took her hands, positioning one on the back of the sofa, the other resting on her abdomen.  He surveyed her, nodded and sat at the other end.

Angel's intent stare was making Willow slightly uncomfortable.  She knew she was being foolish, after all, she'd been sharing a bed with the man for some months now.  But it felt as if his gaze would burn a hole right through her.

"Ready, Willow?"  She nodded and Angel took the pad and began to draw, looking back and forth from her to the paper, his hand moving in small strokes.  Willow wondered what he was thinking as he drew.  Angel was intent in his drawing, but couldn't help musing at the beautiful, complex creature that was his subject.  He loved her immensely and longed for her to commit to him, fully.

What is the name to call
For a different kind of girl
Who knows the feelings
But never the words
To look at you
And never speak
Is so good
For me tonight
Who do you ask when there's no left to turn to
You ask me and I'll always try to hear
Past money and colours and make believe
Good cheap values for a thrifty clown
To look at you
And never speak
Is so good
For me tonight
What do you fear in the simple still of a summer's night
I understand I sympathise for a daydream
Fairytales and I love you
What is the name to call
For a different kind of girl
Who knows the feelings
And never the words
To this real life documentary"

Two hours had passed since they'd begun. Willow was nodding drowsily, the warmth of the fire and the relaxation that had finally stolen over her had made her sleepy.  Angel took his thumb and rubbed it on the paper in a few places.  He stared at the paper, then again at Willow. A small smile played across his face.

"Willow?  It's finished."

Willow reached to take the pad from his hands, wondering what the drawing would look like.

Willow stared at the picture for a moment, then looked at Angel.

"It's... I'm... I don't look like this.  This is... I just don't look like this."

Angel gave her a strange look, "What are you talking about?  That's exactly what you look like."

"I'm not beautiful.  I mean, I know I'm pretty, but you've made me look... is ethereal the right word?"  She handed the pad back to him and he studied it.

"Ethereal is the exact word, Willow.  But this *is * you, this is what I see every time I look at you."

They sat together in silence.  Angel took her hand in his. "You know I love you.  I look at you through eyes of love, and this is what I see."

Willow gazed into his eyes, "I knew you loved me.  I guess I didn't know how much." She paused, looking down at their entwined fingers. "I should have told you before.  I'm sorry I couldn't. It's just that the other two people I care the most about have never given me any reason to believe that they wanted or cared about me."  She met his eyes, "I... I love you."

Angel was shaking, if he'd been standing, his knees would have surely given out.  Tears sprang to his eyes, but for once, they weren't tears of sorrow, guilt, or regret. Her name caught in his throat as he spoke it aloud, "W-Willow." He drew her onto his lap, clutching her as if he were drowning, showering her face with kisses.

Willow caught his face in her hands, stilling him.  She kissed him, drawing his lower lip into her mouth and gently sucking.  Breaking the kiss, she brushed the one tear that had slid from his eye off his cheek. "I love you.  I love you beyond reason and beyond a shadow of a doubt. I want to be with you... only you, forever.  And I'm sorry if my not saying it before now hurt you."

He lifted them both off the sofa, carrying her towards the bedroom. "You didn't hurt me.  It would've hurt if you'd said the words and not meant them.  Loving a vampire will mean giving up a lot of things normal couples have, and I'd have understood if you didn't want that.  But I'm so glad you do." He set her on her feet, next to the bed, and began unzipping her dress.

Willow understood and shared his urgency to consummate physically the emotions they'd expressed.  Each wanted to finally claim the other as theirs alone.  She tugged his shirt out of the pants, unbuttoning it
frantically.  Angel slid her dress off her shoulders and helped her finish removing his clothing.  They lay on the bed, coming together in a tangle of limbs, their mouths seeking one another.  Angel abruptly grabbed her hips and turned her around, positioning her on her knees above his face.  She still smelled of lavender.  He began nibbling at her outer lips, then stroked his tongue between her folds, flicking her clitoris roughly with his tongue.  Willow shuddered, every nerve in her body seemed centered in her groin.  She leaned forward, taking his length into her mouth, swirling the purplish tip with her tongue, then plunged her lips down around him.

Angel pulled his mouth away from her wetness. "Don't.  I want to come inside you.  Relax and let me do this for you."  Willow relented, but only allowed him to pull out of her mouth as she created as much suction as she could.  He moaned, then continued his work.  He replaced his tongue on her sensitive flesh with a finger, stroking her.  She rocked her hips, keeping time with him.  The heat of her body felt as if it was searing his skin. Her small moans and trembling of her body let him know she was close to orgasm.  Angel continued working his fingers, and as he felt her body tense, he thrust his tongue into her opening.  Willow cried out her relief, drenching his face with the fluid that his mouth couldn't catch.

It had been intense, but Willow wasn't satisfied.  She turned herself around, and slid onto him in one quick motion.  Angel grabbed her hips, bruising her with his fingers. They began a slow, steady rhythm. She looked into his eyes, a smile crossing her lips. "I love you, Angel."

The lust, the love, all the emotions were a kaleidoscope in his brain. The demon that usually lay dormant inside of him was fighting to get out, and was winning.  Angel didn't want her to see him like that, didn't want to cheapen this act of love.  He flipped her over onto her back, then continued to thrust, hiding his vampiric visage in her
shoulder and the pillows.

Willow would not have it. She grabbed his face, forcing him to look at her. "The eyes of love, remember?"  They stared at each other as their bodies continued their motions.  Angel looked for some sign of disgust or fear in her eyes, but could see only love.  They moved together, Willow's hips raising off the bed to meet each of his increasingly forceful thrusts.  Her breath was coming in gasps, each one a little whimper of pleasure.  Angel held out, with a strength he wouldn't have thought possible, until he felt her clenching around him.  He plunged
into her, his body convulsing, his seed filling her, as she shouted his name. "Angel!"

He collapsed on top of her, his cock still twitching inside her.  Willow kissed him and whispered, "Bind it."  Angel immediately knew what she meant, and sank his fangs into her neck, feeding from her.  He thought he had never known anything so pure, until a moment later, when she scratched his neck with her thumbnail drawing blood.  She brought her lips to the wound and began to suckle.  Ecstasy, pure joy.  He continued to drink from her for a few seconds, then pulled his mouth away, still enjoying the feel of her tongue lapping at his neck.

He murmured into her shoulder, "That was a dangerous thing to do."

"No.  It wasn't.  You love me and you'd never hurt me.  I trust you."

Angel rolled off of her and cradled her in his arms.  "Can I ask you a question?"

"Well, you just did, but I'll let you ask another one."  She snuggled closer to him.

"When did you first realize that you loved me?"

Willow hesitated before answering. "You probably won't like this, but I think I knew that night at the Bronze when I kissed Oz goodbye.  There was nothing there, and I had a feeling it was because I loved you. I just wasn't sure if it was love, lust, or jealousy.  It's not easy for me to be sure of myself sometimes."

Angel tiptoed his fingers down her spine. "Are you sure now?"

"I'm positive.  I love you, want you, and can't do without you.  Please... trust me. Let me love you."  She kissed him then, deep and sweet.

He squeezed her tightly. "Only if you let me go first."

Willow grinned, "I did.  I thought we settled that a few months ago."

"Hussy.  Speaking of which, you know what tomorrow is don't you?"

"Like I could forget that.  It's President's Day, too, you know.  No school.  We can spend the entire day naked." She hesitated, "Do you think Giles will ever come up with something to break the obsession?"

Angel shrugged. "Don't know, don't care.  I think that point is a dead issue.  I really don't think it's such a bad thing, do you?"

"Nope, not anymore.  Happy Valentines Day, Angel."

"I love you, Willow."

"I know.  I love you, too."