Disclaimer:  Joss Wheldon, Mutant Enemy, and FOX own the rights to BtVS.  No copyright infringement intended.

Happy Again
by Karen

Willow sighed as she walked into her room, then reached for one of her favorite CDs.  She put the disc in her CD player, then set it to the seventh track, her favorite song.  She lay down on her bed and let the music flow through her as she thought about the past few months.

< I just want to feel safe in my own skin >

It had been two months since Angelus had left.  Since she had destroyed him, leaving Angel in his place.  The handsome vampire had been more brooding than ever.  She knew he regretted what Angelus had done.  She also knew he wasn’t Angelus.

< I just want to be happy again >

She missed him.  His smile, his laugh, the way he was so sweet around her.  It had taken her a while to accept the fact that the way Angelus behaved around her hadn’t been an act.  When she’d first seen him in the alley with his kill - a high school sophomore - she’d thought that everything he’d ever claimed to feel for her was nothing more than an elaborate lie.  But Angel
had made her see, made her believe, that it wasn’t so.  Angelus had loved her, and that was why he was different around her.  He wanted so desperately for her to love him back.  And she had.  Which is what made what she had done hurt all the more.

< I just want to feel deep in my own world >

Angel had helped her so much, though.  It was so good to have him back.  He was helping the Scooby Gang once again, but he kept his distance from the others, especially Buffy.  However, he and Willow had become very close.  She knew he loved her; he had told her that a month before.  He had also told her that he would wait for her.

< But I’m so lonely I don’t even want to be with myself anymore >

She couldn’t believe how patient he had been with her.  She knew she must have been a pain at times.  She had been hurting so badly.  But Angel seemed to understand.  He knew when to stay there and listen, and he knew when to leave her alone.  Jenny and Cordelia had been wonderful as well.  Jenny had become like an older sister to her, a friend that she could come to for
advice on anything, including witchcraft, her latest interest.  And Cordelia had always been up for some useless fun when Willow needed it.  Sometimes, they even brought Xander along.  Her friends had been a huge help through those early days.

< On a different day, if I was safe in my own skin, then I wouldn’t feel lost and so frightened >

She no longer felt that desperate ache whenever she thought of Angelus.  The time she had spent with him was beginning to fade into one of those dreamlike memories, and the pain she felt when she thought about him was fading.  She suspected the rose quartz that Jenny had insisted she keep with her had something to do with that; it was said to have healing powers.  Whatever it was that was helping her, she was thankful for it.

< But this is today and I’m lost in my own skin >

Willow sighed and rolled over on her bed.  She felt restless, as if there was something she needed to do.  The tiny redhead snorted softly.  She knew exactly what she needed to do; she was just procrastinating again.  She had to tell Angel that, somewhere along the line, during one of their many talks and outings, she had fallen in love with him.  Really him this time, not

< And I’m so lonely I don’t even want to be with myself anymore >

It had snuck up on her.  One day she was telling Angel her troubles, the next she was fantasizing about kissing him.  She knew she was being a coward by not telling him.  But how could she make him see that it was him she really wanted?  He had said he loved her, that he would wait for her, but that he wouldn’t be a substitute for Angelus.  How could she make him realize that he wasn’t?  What could she do, go up and say ‘hey, Angel, guess what... I love you, too.’  A smile lit up Willow’s face as she tried to picture Angel’s response to that.  He’d probably get flustered.  Then he’d get that serious look on his face as he tried to figure out if she really meant it.  Then... well, how would she ever know what would happen next if she didn’t tell him?  She owed it to him.  She owed it to herself.

< I just want to feel safe in my own skin >

She knew she had done the right thing by recursing Angelus.  She had loved him, yes, but he had been evil.  There was no getting around that.  She couldn’t punish herself for what she had done forever.  She deserved to be happy again.  With a determined look on her face, Willow got up off her bed and headed to Angel’s apartment.

She had something to tell him.

< I just want to be happy again... >

The End