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

Outside Eternity
by T.C.


Glossary of Gaelic

Saileach  -  Willow
Go h-alainn rua cailleach  -  beautiful red haired witch
Ta me thu thine  -  I am on fire
Ma se do thoil e - please
Teastaionn se uaim...Ionat - I need it...inside you
Teara im theannata  -  come with me
Cead  -  permission
Ceadaithe  -  permitted
Mo Ioniun  - my beloved
Tha mi duilich  - I'm sorry

Part One

She sat alone on the hard ground, bathed in cold blue moonlight.  She knew better than to be alone at night in Sunnydale, especially in a
cemetery.  It was obvious that she didn't care.

Angel watched Willow grieve from the safety of the shadows.  He knew that he wouldn't have been an intruder if he joined her at their
grave side, it was his grief as well, but that would have opened a box better left sealed.  He didn't want to grieve for Buffy as a friend and since they had ceased to be lovers a long time ago, long lost or otherwise, he could not grieve for her in that role either.

"Giles shouldn't have called you.  Go back to L. A."  Willow's voice startled Angel.  He was so surprised she had felt his presence that he missed the coldness of her tone.

Angel stepped forward, relinquishing his obviously rusty lurking  skills.  "Giles is worried about you, Willow."  Buffy's headstone was
beautiful.  Pink marble graced with angels and the simple epitaph  "The world is a lesser place now that she's gone."  It stood in marked
contrast to the manly grey plainness of Xander's.

Willow stood up in one fluid motion, but kept her straight back stiffly turned to him.  She set something on each of the headstones and stepped
back for him to see her offering.  Roses.  Black. Brittle.  Dead.

"Why are the roses dead, Willow?" he asked softly and gently, like he used to talk to his youngest sister, Maeve, when prying out a particularly horrible secret.

A sharp bark of laughter.  "You, of all people, should understand that one."  Willow spun around.  Angel was unprepared for the raging hate
that spit from her fiery green eyes.  "Aren't dead roses what you're supposed to bring dead people, Angelus?"

Shock and pain, for a moment that was all Angel could feel, and his body responded to the intensity of the emotions by actually drawing in
breath.  His lungs spasmed from the unaccustomed action and he dropped to the ground, coughing.  Of all the people he had met in his
unnaturally long existence, Willow had been the only one who could distinctly separate Angelus from Angel.  Buffy could never really do
it, hell, even he couldn't look into his soul without seeing the demon lurking behind it.  But Willow had.  The pain, both physical and
emotional, gave the demon power and as he watched Willow's retreating back, Angel growled.

He was halfway back to his car before the cool, logical part of him kicked in.  Willow had told him to leave and when he didn't listen she had given him a good, hard mental shove.  And it had almost worked.  Angel turned on a dime and caught up with Willow in a heartbeat.  A
sharp glare in his direction was the only acknowledgment of his presence.  Angel didn't try to reinitiate conversation, just kept pace
with her all the way to her house.

Willow, Buffy, Xander and Oz had found the perfect old two-story house to rent for their college life.  Now Willow lived there alone and it
posed a big problem for Angel.  He had never been invited in.  Angel grabbed Willow's arm as they reached the top of the steps.  "Willow, invite me in or we have our conversation out here."  He made his tone as unrelenting as hers had been.

"What conversation?  The one where I tell you how much I miss Buffy and Xander and you tell me nothing?"  Willow's harsh laughter was still
an alien sound to his ears.  "Buffy filled me in on your conversation deficiencies, Mr. Cryptic, and I don't need them.  I have a psychiatrist to listen to me babble my pain."

"Well, he's not doing his job," Angel hissed.  He tightened his grip on her arm and felt his face transform.  "Invite me in."

For a brief millisecond, the Willow he knew was back as fear crawled into her eyes.  He recognized the look, it was the same one she had
given him when he had grabbed her and threatened her life as Angelus.  He relaxed his grip and the demon within immediately.  Willow turned
back to the door and fit her key into the lock.  Her elbow smashing  into his ribs caught Angel completely off balance and he tumbled
backwards down the front steps.  "Don't you ever threaten me!" Willow yelled.  She stalked into her house and slammed the door shut.

Angel picked himself up off the sidewalk and sat on the bottom step.  It sagged under his weight.  The sweet, tangy scent of his own blood
assaulted his senses.  He reached back and gently probed the wound at the base of his skull.  "Willow, I'm bleeding!" he yelled.

The front door opened and something soft bounced off his head before it slammed shut again.  Angel stared down at the white roll of gauze
Willow had so generously thrown at him and his lips twitched.  His deep chuckle quickly erupted into full fledged laughter.  As he tried
to control himself, he heard the door slowly creak open.  "How hard did you hit your head?"  Willow asked warily.

Angel turned around and grinned at Willow.  He was glad that he had gotten the chance to turn the tables and catch her off guard with his
behavior.  "Am I invited?"

Willow frowned.  "Come in," she said shortly and disappeared into the house, leaving the door open.

Angel picked up the gauze, still chuckling.  He followed Willow into the house.  He knew immediately that she was the one who had fallen in
love with it and the others had lived there because it made her happy.  Hardwood floors with the occasional floor rug, high ceilings, large
spacious rooms, obviously a house built years ago when comfort and quality meant more than economy.  Angel found Willow in the kitchen
brewing peppermint tea.  He made note of the many large windows in every room he passed and thought that even though he loved the house,
it would be difficult for him to stay here.  He sat down at the butcher block table and waited for Willow to join him.

She set her tea on the table, but didn't sit down.  He felt her fingers brush gently through the hair on the back of his head.  "You're still
bleeding," she informed him.

Angel shrugged.  "It'll heal.  It just takes time."

"When I was little, I scraped my arm on the sidewalk.  Xander was trying to teach me how to skateboard."  Angel closed his eyes, relaxing
under Willow's gentle, stroking touch.  Her voice was soft too and he could hear the affection the memory invoked.  "Xander kissed the
scrape.  He said that he saw on t. v. that kisses made owies better."

Angel's eyes snapped open when he felt the brush of Willow's lips against his healing wound.  He jumped up and faced her.  He saw his dark red blood imprinted on her lips like a macabre shade of lipstick.  It looked good.  It went well with her pale coloring and fiery red hair.  Then he was tasting his blood as Willow pressed her lips against his, slipping her tongue into the mouth he had forgotten to close.  He couldn't control his impulses.  His tongue licked hungrily over her lips, savoring the metallic taste.  He sucked her lower lip into his mouth to make sure he had gotten every drop.

Willow's hands were clasped around his neck, her body pressed against him.  He could feel her desire in the heat of her skin.  He could hear
it in the pounding of her heart.  He could smell it in the wetness he knew he would find if he went looking for it.  But it wasn't enough.  Angel wrenched Willow's lips from his and looked down at her.  Her eyes were dark, the pupils dilated more than they should have been in this
level of light.  "Make it better, Angel," she whispered, too softly for him to tell if it was sarcasm or desperation in her tone.

It didn't matter.  He wanted her.  Angel was loathe to admit it, but the blood had turned him on.  If he had been Angelus, the demon would
have ripped Willow's clothes off and sunk his fangs deep into the soft flesh of her neck while he pounded his way to satisfaction.  It scared the hell out of Angel that he was barely controlling the impulse to do so himself.  "Willow," he protested raggedly and tried to step out of their embrace, but he just succeeded in bumping into the table.

Willow ignored him.  She slid her hands from his neck to his chest, raking her fingernails across the skin of his nape.  The pressure was enough to cause red marks, but taunted him by not breaking the skin.  She added to the sensation, licking the marks on one side of his neck, until finally slowly drawing the skin into her mouth.  Angel groaned when he felt her teeth graze his tender flesh.  He wasn't sure if it was unwitting or not, but she was encouraging the demon with her fierceness.

Angel shrugged out of his leather duster, letting it fall to the floor, all thoughts of backing out of this situation blotted from his mind.
All of his senses were consumed by Willow.  She pushed him against the table and he leaned back onto it.  Neither of them noticed when
Willow's teacup crashed to the floor.  Angel ran his hands down her back and lifted her up against him to get better access to her mouth.

The clothing was becoming a hindrance for both of them, Angel let go of Willow, allowing her to step back.  She tugged his shirt from his
jeans while he quickly undid the buttons of her blouse.  Angel helped her pull his shirt off and then watched while she unhooked her bra.
He had a few moments of clarity then, neither of them were touching each other.  This was Willow.  Buffy's best friend Willow.  He couldn't
believe they had taken things this far.  At that moment, Willow slid her bra off and almost like she had sensed the hesitant direction of
his thoughts, she reached out and ran her hand down his chest.  Her fingers skimmed under the material of his jeans.  Angel grabbed her
hands as they started to dip lower and he forced them to her sides.He looked at her.

Her nipples stood out in rosy contrast with the milky whiteness of the rest of her skin.  Slowly, Angel's hands glided up the sides of
Willow's waist toward the curve of her breasts, his fingertips barely caressing her.  The sight of her naked breasts had inflamed Angel's
passion, as her earlier aggressiveness had his demon lust, and there was no turning back now.  Want and need burned through him.  He would
give her the comfort she seemed to be seeking in sex, but it wouldn't be this animalistic coupling that Willow was initiating.

Unfortunately, Willow seemed to have other ideas and she knew how to get her way.  She reached out and undid the buttons of his fly,
slipping her hand inside his boxers.  Angel let out a long, drawn out moan as she stroked him.  Going slow was fast becoming not an option.
With one last caress, Willow pulled her hand out of Angel's pants.  She moved her attention to his ass, sliding her hands into the back
pockets of his jeans.  She eased the pants down, catching her thumbs in the waistband of his boxers and taking them down too.  Angel watched
Willow's slow, erotic progress to a kneeling position before him.  If he could breathe, he wouldn't be.  Willow looked up at him, the tip of
her pink tongue darted out and wet her lips.  She leaned toward his hard shaft.

And then she stood up and kissed his cheek.  It was more than the demon in Angel could bare.  Willow had been in a blatantly submissive
position and then to declare her power over him!  Angel growled and could feel his face change as he pulled Willow against him.  He reached
up her skirt and roughly pulled her underwear off.  His hands kneaded her thighs, brushing through the damp curls and deliberately staying
away from the place she wanted to feel him caress.  Willow crushed her lips to his, the misshapen features of his face not discouraging her
ardor.  She moved her hips, trying to increase the pressure of his touch.  The rough friction of her skirt on his hardened cock stopped
his teasing.  The button on her skirt flew off as he pulled at it and the zipper ripped when he ignored the fact that it was caught in the material.

With the last of the clothing out of the way, Willow pushed Angel back onto the table and climbed up, straddling him.  Angel's hands held her
hips as Willow positioned herself and sank down onto his throbbing erection.  "Oh, God."  Angel pressed his forehead to Willow's as her
vaginal muscles contracted around him.  Willow tilted her head and captured his mouth once again, her tongue exploring the new contours
of his mouth.  As it slid over the point of his fang, the sharp canine scratched her tongue and drew blood.  Willow started their rhythm,
rocking against him in rapid thrusts.  Angel sucked at the sweet nectar of her blood while meeting her movements.  He was reaching the edge
quickly.  Angel groaned when Willow tore her mouth away and drew in a few ragged breaths.  Angel was transfixed by the sight of a few pieces
of red hair that clung to the sweat on the side of her neck.

Willow leaned forward, nipping his ear lobe.  "Bite me, Angel," she whispered, speaking for the first time since she started this seduction.  She was so close, her neck was right there and the taste of her blood was still on his tongue.  Temptation never looked so good or was so near.  Willow dug her nails into the back of his head, aggravating the tender wound.  The demon snarled through him and before he realized his actions, Angel bit her.  Blood filled his mouth and he couldn't control himself any longer.  Angel orgasmed with one last powerful thrust and he felt Willow's muscles spasm as she found her release as well.  Sanity slowly returned to Angel and he, as gently as
possible, retracted his fangs.  He felt the hot wash of her tears on his neck.

Angel repositioned Willow so that she was cradled in his lap.  "I'm sorry.  Did I hurt you?"  Willow shook her head, but kept her eyes
averted.  Angel pressed her head to his chest and stroked her hair.  "Where's your room, Willow?"

Willow's answer was a sniffly whisper that even with his vampire senses, Angel could barely hear.  "Upstairs, end of the hall.  Left
side."  He knew she had spoken because he could feel her breath on his skin.  Angel stood up and carried Willow to her room.  He laid her on
the bed and found an old quilt folded on top of a trunk.  He covered both of them with it as he lay beside her.  She kept her back to him
and Angel lay on his side, watching, but not touching, her.

"Buffy and Xander are dead."  Willow's voice was loud in the quiet room.

"I know," Angel answered.  He waited for Willow to start sobbing again. It was time for her to finally release these emotions she was keeping
locked inside her.

"I hate them."  The coldness in Willow was back.  Angel sighed and  moved closer to her.  When Giles had called him, pleading for him to
leave Los Angeles and come to Sunnydale to help Willow, Angel had assumed Giles was overreacting about a crying, distraught girl.  He
had come straight to the graveyard expecting to offer a comforting shoulder for her tears.  Not this.  Angel's arm settled around Willow's
waist and he buried his face into the curve of her neck.  He needed to talk to Giles.  He didn't know this woman at all.

Part Two

Willow shivered as her eyes opened drowsily, feeling an unaccustomed chill at her backside.  A smile drifted across her face as a part of
her mind identified it as Angel.  She had often daydreamed about what it would be like to wake up in Angel's arms, mostly because Buffy had
talked about it incessantly.  Willow's eyes snapped open.  Morning.  She jumped up and snapped the dark, heavy shade down on the morning sky that was just beginning to lighten.

That was close.  Willow glanced at Angel who was still deeply asleep on the bed despite her abrupt departure.  So much for vampiric survival
instincts.  Although she had given him quite the workout last night.  A blush flamed across Willow's cheeks as she remembered exactly what she had done to Angel the night before.  It hadn't been her intention to have sex with Angel on her kitchen table, but it wasn't like there had
been a choice.  If only he had stayed in L. A., then the spell wouldn't have been necessary.

Willow moved to her closet and hurriedly got dressed.  She did not want to be here when Angel woke up.  She couldn't face him.  She wrote a
quick note and left it on the pillow beside him.  She couldn't resist.  She ran a hand through his hair and kissed his cheek.  Angel would be
mortified anyway when he woke up in her bed.  Then he would feel guilty for, as he would see it, taking advantage of a distraught young girl.
And then he would leave.  At least last night had accomplished that. Angel wasn't safe in Sunnydale.  No one who knew her was.

* * * * *


Angel woke up to darkness, as usual, although the clock on the night stand told him it was noon.  Willow was gone.  A folded piece of
paper lay on her pillow.  Angel rolled over onto his back to read the note.  "Angel, I'm at the school.  I've closed all of the shades in the
house and they're shift workers' shades, so they're really dark. Living with the slayer meant a lot of late nights and, well, Buffy and
I always thought that you might come and visit sometime.  Anyway, you have the run of the place, except the attic.  Skylight.  Hey, maybe
I'll visit you in L. A. sometime.  Willow."  Angel smiled at the note.  This was written by the Willow he knew, not the stranger he had met
last night. But they obviously had something in common, they both wanted him out of Sunnydale.  Angel sat up and ran a hand through his
hair.  He didn't care what Willow wanted, he was staying.

After showering and realizing that he didn't have any clothes upstairs,  Angel made his way downstairs.  The house was dark and gloomy, as
promised, Willow had made sure that every window had been covered.  The sight of his clothes folded neatly on one of the kitchen chairs would have made Angel blush if he was able.  He couldn't believe that he had allowed the demon that much control over his actions.  He had bitten Willow.  Sucked her blood.  And it had felt good.

Angel sat down at the table with the cordless and dialed Giles' number.  The phone rang three times before the harried watcher answered.

"No, it's Angel.  Were you expecting her to call?"

Giles sighed.  "No, not really.  She keeps our contact minimal.  I  guess I had gotten used to having them around all the time.
Interrupting, noisy, foolish prattle....Adjustment is difficult." Giles sounded old, older than Angel.  He wished that he didn't have to
question Giles about Buffy's death, but it was important for him to know the details.  He had to know what Willow was hiding from him.

"What happened, Rupert?"

"You've seen Willow."

"Yes.  I'm sorry I didn't take you seriously before.  Willow is...different."

"It was bad."  Giles paused and the silence went on for so long that Angel wasn't sure he would continue.  "I didn't find out until the
next morning.  We were supposed to meet, no one showed up.  I didn't suspect a thing, they were rarely punctual, except Willow.  Then I
heard the news reports on the radio.  Two teenagers found murdered.  Willow was missing.  No one knew where she was until she came to their

"Filled with hate."  Angel had the feeling that he had gotten the extremely abbreviated version of the events, but he didn't want to push Giles.

"Yes.  I don't know who or what killed them, Angel.  Willow and  B..Buffy were secretive about something.  I assumed that it was
something that had to do with you since Xander wasn't in on their conversations.  I thought that they might have contacted you about it
and that you might be able to help Willow now."

Angel admired Giles' magnanimity, turning to him for help must have been a struggle for the watcher.  "They never contacted me about
anything, but don't worry, Rupert, I'll take care of Willow."

* * * * *


Willow's heart twisted when she saw her house, a bit because she had once shared it with Buffy and Xander, but more because the lights were
on.  Angel was still there.  Willow stomped up the front steps.  He was the most disagreeable man she had ever met!  When you wanted him to
stay, he left, when you wanted him to leave, he stayed.  What a jerk!

Willow opened the door and stalked into the living room.  Angel sat in the easy chair, his feet up on the coffee table, reading the paper.
The television merrily chirped a commercial for laundry detergent. "What the hell are you still doing here?  The sun went down hours ago!"

Angel folded the newspaper and stood up.  He walked up to Willow and dropped a quick kiss onto her lips.  "Hello to you too.  How was your

The sight of Angel's charmingly innocent smile only furthered Willow's anger.  How dare he Ward Cleaver her when his life was in danger!
Besides, she was in no mood to be June!  "You are supposed to be in Los Angeles."

"After what happened last night?"  Angel placed his hands on her shoulders and bent to nuzzle her ear.  "I'm an old-fashioned guy,
Willow, there's no way I can leave now."  Angel frowned slightly as his thumb brushed lightly across the almost healed bitemark he had
left.  "Of course, we'll have to be much more careful from now on," he added absently.

"I hardly think that your soul is in danger."  Willow pulled away from Angel's gentle grasp.  "Not many people would define fucking your true
love's best friend on the kitchen table as a moment of complete happiness," she bit out.  He had to leave.  He couldn't feel obligated
to her in any way.  It would be best if he would just hate her.  He would anyway if he knew the truth.

"Most people live tedious lives."  Angel looked amused, not an ounce of hate in him.  He took her hand in his and kissed her knuckles.  "Stop
it, Saileach, I'm too old for mean words to chase me away.  Tell me what happened.  Let me help."

Angel's silky voice glided through Willow's consciousness and she so wanted to give in.  It would be easy to tell him about Buffy and
Xander, the spell...everything, but then she would lose him like she had lost Buffy and Xander.  "No!  You can't help, no one can help.
Just go away!"  Willow wrenched her hand away and ran upstairs and into her room, slamming the door and locking it behind her.  She leaned
back against it, breathing heavily.

A soft tap on her door let her know that Angel had followed her upstairs.  "Willow, open the door."

"Stop ordering me around!"

Willow heard Angel sigh.  She knew he could hear the tears that fell down her cheeks in her voice.  "Willow, I need to know what happened
to Buffy.  I need to know why."

"You didn't need to come to her funeral."

"I..I couldn't."  Willow could hear Angel's fingers trace along the door, like he was trying to caress her through the hard wood.  "When I
was a young lad my favorite Uncle, Uncle Angus, died.  Do you know how the Irish deal with death, Willow?"

"They have a wake."

"Right.  We celebrate the life our loved one had instead of mourning their death.  My Da tried to explain it to me, but I was only four and
I didn't understand why everyone was happy that Uncle Angus was dead.  Of course, once I was older, I understood the concept well.  Well
enough that after I was turned I threw a very special wake for my loved ones.  I left my Da for last, tied him up and made him watch
while I celebrated.  Not their lives, but their deaths.  I reveled in it."

"That wasn't you."

"It's nice to know there's someone in this world who believes that.  Xander died trying to protect Buffy, didn't he?"

"Yes," Willow answered Angel's question without thinking.  The abrupt change in topic caught her off guard.  "He pushed Buffy out of its way
and...and it attacked him."  Willow gulped helplessly for air, she could feel the tears sliding down her face.  She sagged against the
door.  "It was horrible...Xander...torn apart...."

"Willow."  Angel rattled the door.  His voice was ragged with desperation.  "Let me in."

"No!  No!  You have to go away," Willow yelled hysterically.  Her words quickly degenerated into panicked sobs.  "Please, Angel, go away."

"Not until you tell me why Buffy is dead."

"Because she loved you."  The moment the words left her lips, Willow regretted them.  She opened the door and flung herself into Angel's
arms.  "I'm sorry.  I'm sorry.  I didn't mean that the way it sounded. I didn't.  It's not your fault that Buffy's dead, it's mine.
All my fault.  Not yours, never yours.  I'm so sorry, Angel."

Angel stroked Willow's hair.  "Buffy was a slayer, her death was inevitable.  It was no one's fault," he whispered softly into Willow's

Willow looked up at Angel, she didn't believe that lie any more than he did.  "This is all my fault.  If I had just done things the way I was
supposed to, then they wouldn't have sent that thing after me and then Buffy wouldn't have went after it and Xander wouldn't have tried to
protect us and they wouldn't be dead."  Willow started to tremble with the force of her grief.  She could hear her teeth chatter against each
other as violent shivers raced up and down her body.

As her knees gave out, Angel swept her up into his arms and carried her to her bed.  He lay down beside her, stroking her hair and her arm.
"Shh," comforted her.  He brushed uselessly at the tears on her cheeks with the pad of his thumb.  He kissed her forehead, gliding his caress
down her neck.  Willow closed her eyes and allowed herself to relax under Angel's attentiveness.  She concentrated on his touch, the feel
of his fingers in her hair, on her throat, the soft comforting kisses he placed on her face.  And finally, after a brief hesitation, her lips.

Nothing else existed.  Willow opened her mouth under the persuasive pressure of Angel's lips.  She threaded her fingers through his hair,
pulling him closer.  But this time, Angel seemed determined to call the shots.  He pulled away from the kiss and looked down at her.  Willow
had never seen him look so warm before.  Usually, his beautiful dark eyes held only quiet agony and even when he had looked at Buffy, the
love reflected had been chilled by that pain.  Willow reached up and traced the planes of his face, fascinated with this new facet of Angel.
Angel captured one of her hands and pressed a kiss into the palm.

"Go h-alainn rua cailleach," he murmured.  Willow had no idea what he was saying, but it sounded nice.

And it felt beyond nice when Angel's tongue slid across her palm,following what fortune tellers call the heart line.  "Angel," Willow
moaned, lifting her hips up to brush against his thigh.  In answer to her plea for more, Angel placed her hand on his shoulder beside the
curve of his neck and reached for her waist.  His hands urged her shirt upwards, caressing the exposed skin of her stomach.  Willow's
abdominal muscles tensed as his thumbs worked their way under the waistband of her pants and traveled along the edge of the elastic of
her underwear.

Willow smoothed the silk of Angel's shirt over his chest and started to undo the buttons.  She recognized it.  It was dark red, so dark that it
looked black, and the buttons were silver Celtic medallions.  Willow had seen it in a thrift shop a couple of months ago and had thought of
Angel.  She had sent it to him with a birthday card even though she had no idea when his birthday was.  The last button came undone and Willow ran her hands back up his chest to his shoulders.  His skin was cool.  It reminded her of chiseled marble, but his resemblance to a statue
ended as Angel's fingers danced across the satin of her bra, tightening her nipples and eliciting a gaspy moan.

It hit her hard and fast.  Willow wanted Angel inside her.  Now.  The need was so consuming that the one part of her brain that could think
wondered if this was a part of the spell, but that idea was lost in the whirling tidepool of emotions and sensations she was feeling.  Willow
raised herself up and took off her shirt.  She reached for Angel's shirt, but he caught her hands before she could remove it.

"Patience, Saileach."  Angel trailed kisses along her collarbone.  He looked up and laughing dark eyes met inquisitive green for a moment.
"It's a virtue you'll learn to enjoy.  I promise."  Angel pulled Willow into a fierce kiss, possessing her mouth with his tongue while pressing
her back onto the bed.  She gasped from surprise and for air when he abruptly broke away from her.  Their gazes locked as Willow tried to
tell from his eyes what Angel's next move would be.

Angel sat up on his knees and moved down Willow's body until he was positioned behind her feet.  He took off her baby blue tennis shoes,
dropping each one onto the floor in slow deliberate actions.  Next his hands slipped up her pant leg, tickling the back of her calf before
removing her sock.  First the right, then the left.  Finally, he reached up and undid her jeans.  Willow lifted her hips as Angel guided
the pants down and off of her.

She couldn't take her eyes off of him.  His hair stuck up at odd angles in that incredibly sexy way it always did and his shirt hung from his
shoulders, allowing tantalizing glimpses of his chest.  Willow ached to touch him, but she was more curious about what Angel wanted to do.

Apparently, he wanted to play with her feet.  Angel picked up her left  foot and fondled the sole.  "Angel?"  Willow frowned at him.  He was
driving her crazy with his damn teasing.  Angel just gave her a wicked grin as an answer and turned his head to nip at her tender instep.
Willow sucked in her breath.  "You're not being nice," she protested and tried to jerk her foot from Angel's grasp.  He let it go and with
a mock growl, he stalked up her body on all fours, pausing to kiss the underside of her bent right knee and to suck at the flesh of her inner
left thigh.  At that point, breathing became difficult.  No matter how much oxygen she got into her lungs, it wasn't enough.  Willow clutched
at the blankets beneath her and managed a half-hearted growl back at him.

Angel ignored her frustration and instead continued his teasing assault by burying his nose into the valley between her breasts, his
tongue flicking at the underside of her breast.  His right hand smoothed over the material of her bra, gently pinching the nipple.
"Oh, God, Angel," Willow whimpered into Angel's ear.  As he worked the clasp of her bra, Willow reached out with her tongue and licked the
rim of his ear.  Angel groaned and lifted his head from Willow's chest.He slid the straps of her bra down her arms and casually tossed the
garment over his shoulder.  His hand hovered over her exposed breast and Willow arched toward it, brushing flesh against flesh.

As Angel lowered his head to take one of her nipples into his mouth, Willow slipped his shirt from his shoulders and discarded it onto the
floor.  She paused in her actions to savor the hot electricity coursing through her that the suckling, nipping, and flickering of
Angel's tongue on her sensitive nipples was causing.  Soon the need to touch him overwhelmed her and her hands wandered down his back and explored the muscles of his abdomen.  Her search was hampered, but not detered, by his pants.  Her fingertips scraped across the rough denim in delicious contrast to the softness of silk and skin.  She moved her hands over his ass, firmly squeezing the cheeks, before gliding her
caress over his thighs towards the front of his jeans.  Her first touch was a feather light brush against the hard bulge.  Angel groaned, but
didn't pause at nibbling the underside of her breast.  Willow increased the pressure.  Angel stopped what he was doing and lifted himself up
higher to give Willow more access.  Willow looked up at Angel.

His eyes were closed and an expression of painful pleasure was on his face.  "Ta me thu thine," he said raggedly.  Willow slowed the caress,
making a pass with the palm of her hand and then turning it and using her knuckles.  "Saileach, ma se do thoil e," Angel gasped.  Willow
could see why Angel liked to tease.  It was fun.  She fluttered kisses across his chest, licking his nipples in slow, sensuous sweeps.

Before Willow could continue her exquisite torture, Angel moved off of the bed.  She watched him take in her nearly naked body and once his
eyes reached hers, Willow began her own visual journey.  She stopped at his hips and watched as Angel undid the button and took down the zipper of his jeans.  Willow squirmed on the bed as Angel pulled his pants and boxers to the floor.  God, she wanted him.  Willow held out her hand.  "Angel, come here."

Angel took Willow's fingers in his hand.  He leaned over and brought them to his lips.  His tongue touched her knuckle before his lips
closed around it.  Willow drew her hand back, bringing Angel with it.  Angel's lips left her hand and she brushed it through his hair.  Their
mouths met in a greedy kiss as passion and need became undeniable.  Angel caressed the curve of her neck with one hand while the other
skimmed over the material of her panties.  Willow lifted her hips and Angel helped her kick the underwear off.  His hand returned to
exploring her damp curls, slipping inside the velvety wet folds to caress the sensitive bundle of nerves that had been waiting for him.

Willow groaned and opened her legs.  She could feel his erection on her thigh, his fingers inside her, his tongue on her neck.  She needed
more.  "Angel, now.  I need you."  Willow gasped as Angel's thumb pressed firmly against her clitoris.  "Oh, God, now.  Please."

"Teastaionn se uaim...Ionat," Angel murmured into her ear as he positioned himself between her legs.  Willow brought Angel's mouth to hers and plunged her tongue in as Angel entered her.  She contracted her muscles, trapping him.  She felt...it was just so incredible being with him like this, she wanted to memorize this moment.  Slowly, she relaxed her muscles, thrilled by the moans coming from Angel.  She wrapped her legs around his hips and moved with his slow, measured thrusts.  The heat welled up inside her and Willow tried to give herself up to it, but something was distracting her.  "Teara im theannata, Saileach," Angel whispered.  His thumb brushed the bitemark that was now just a faint bruise on her pale skin.  She knew hewouldn't do it, wouldn't even ask, but he wanted to.  And she wanted him to as well.

"It's okay, Angel."  Willow tilted her head to offer him her neck. Angel reacted as she expected.  He went still.  Willow held his face in
her hands and tried to convey her total acceptance through her eyes.  "I want you to."

"Cead?" Angel breathed.  He seemed mesmerized by the blue mark.

"Tell me how to say it's okay."


"Ceadaithe," Willow repeated.  Angel resumed moving inside her as he lowered his head to her neck.  He picked a spot just above the previous
bite and sucked a piece of flesh into his mouth.  Willow panted, fear and excitement racing through her.  His fangs pierced her skin, bringing a small stab of pain with the initial suction.  And then her blood flowed toward Angel.  It wasn't frightening or painful, it was the most pleasurable sensation Willow had ever felt.  There was nothing to distract her now.  Willow gave into the pleasure, clutching Angel's shoulders as she came in the most intense orgasm she had ever experienced.

While she was still shuddering, Angel retracted his fangs and licked at the wound.  He pumped faster into her, leading himself to the same
plateau of pleasure Willow had visited.  Willow watched his face.  His vampire ridges were still in place and he growled as he spilled his
seed inside her.  He collapsed on top of her, pressing his forehead to hers.  Willow touched his face, following the abnormal features with
her fingertips.

"Mo Ioniun."  He kissed her softly on the lips.

* * * * *


He couldn't stop touching her hair.  The silken threads slipped through his fingers and fell to the pillow over and over again.  "Angel?"
Willow's whispered voice interrupted his reverie.  "I know this is a moment, but I need oxygen."

Angel rolled off of her and his eye caught the fresh wound on her neck.  He could still taste her blood in his mouth.  "Tha mi duilich."

Willow chuckled softly.  "Are you ever going to speak English again or do I have to learn Gaelic?"

"Sorry.  That's what I said too, I'm sorry.  For that."  Angel reached out to touch his mark, but stopped.  His hand hovered mid-air.

"I'm not."  Willow knitted her fingers into his.  "What else did you say?"

"Well," Angel paused and his gaze fell on her glorious red hair.  "When I kissed the palm of your hand, I called you a beautiful red

"And you kept calling me something, Sa..."

"Saileach.  It means Willow.  When you were touching me, I told you I was on fire.  I begged you with a, 'Willow, please.'  When you were
begging me, I said that I needed to be inside you and before I...before I lost control, I asked you to come with me."  Angel sighed.  He wished
he could avoid the subject of biting.  He regretted doing it.  Willow just seemed to make him lose control, which was a phenomenal feat
considering how long he had honed that part of himself.  "Then I asked for your permission to...well, to..."

"Bite me.  And I granted it.  Ceadaithe.  What was that last thing you called me?  After."

Angel looked at their entwined hands.  He wasn't ready to admit what he had called her, not to himself or to her.  He wasn't sure that she
would want to hear it.  "I don't remember what I said."

Willow frowned at him, but seemed to take him at his word.  She laid her head on his chest and ran her hand up and down his arm.  Angel
closed his eyes and breathed in the apples and cinnamon scent of her hair.  As he was on the edge of sleep, Willow moved from his arms.
He tightened his grip and growled.

"Bathroom," she mumbled and he let go.  He heard her walk out of the room and heard the water in the bathroom running.  Angel tried to stay
awake and wait for her, but sleep already had him in its grip.  Just before he drifted off, he heard a sound that made him frown.  He
thought he heard Buffy laugh.

Part 3

Willow stared at her reflection in the bathroom mirror.  She had avoided mirrors ever since the day Xander and Buffy died, she hadn't wanted to see how that event had changed her.  She hadn't wanted to look in her own eyes and see the proof that they were never coming back.  It wasn't as bad as she thought it would be, but she knew that was because of Angel.  If Angel hadn't come to Sunnydale, her eyes wouldn't be gleaming from excitement and her skin wouldn't be glowing from exertion.  The image in the mirror quirked a small smile at her.  She wouldn't be wearing Angel's shirt.  Angel was in her bed.  Naked.  She wished she could join him.  Fall asleep in his arms.  Willow lost the smile and the light in her eyes died.  This couldn't go on.  Angel wouldn't leave Sunnydale, not until she told him everything, and shecouldn't protect him if she did that.  She would have to be the oneto leave.

"I don't think that's a good idea."  Willow turned her head toward the familiar voice.  Buffy sat perched on the counter.  "Angel needs you
and you need him."

"Buffy?"  Willow's eyes rounded in shock.  Her hand flew to her chest as if that would stop her heart from pounding and it came in contact
with silk.  Heat washed over her as she realized what it looked like happened.  What had happened.  "Oh, God, Buffy.  I was...Angel was...
we...I didn't mean to...to do that...."

Buffy laughed.  "Yes, you did.  Don't worry, Will, I don't mind that you and Angel hooked up.  Being dead brings a lot of accepting."  Buffy
jumped off the counter and faced the mirror.  Nothing looked back at her.  "It also brings no reflecting, images, anyway.  Now I know why
Angel was always so bummed.  Do I look okay?"

Willow nodded dumbly.  She looked exactly like she had before she died, minus the blood and bruising.  "Buffy, I'm sorry.  This is all my

"No, it's not.  Look, I don't have time to go into all the reasons why it's not your fault.  You know whose fault it is and so do I."

"And Xander?"

"Feels the exact same way.  The only reason why he isn't here is... well, it was just too hard for him.  We decided it would be best if I visited you and you know Xander, he's not exactly touchy-feely guy when  it comes to Angel."

Willow nodded slowly.  She couldn't completely forgive herself, but she accepted that Buffy and Xander didn't blame her.  "Why are you
here?  Not that I'm not happy to see you."

"It's great seeing you too."  Buffy smiled and stopped herself before she tried to give Willow a hug.  "I'm here to tell you that you can't leave.  Tell Angel everything, Willow, and let him help."

"They'll kill him."

"Maybe, maybe not.  This is his fight too, Willow.  You can't leave him out of it.  They might come after him anyway."

"They can't.  I did the spell.  Angel's soul is safe."

"Oh, so that's what the Angel-love was all about.  Saving his soul. You're such a trooper."


"You're right.  We'll girl talk later.  I have to go now." Buffy  walked toward the door.  "It was over between me and Angel a long time ago, Willow.  Tell him."

"You'll come back?"

"When you need me."  Buffy and Willow exchanged smiles and then Buffy walked out the door.

Willow looked back at the mirror.  She looked tired and she felt it too.  She didn't know what to do.  Willow walked back to the bedroom.  Tell Angel, not tell Angel?  He was so vulnerable.  Willow climbed  into the bed.  Angel's arm snaked out and he pulled her to him.   Willow rested her head on his chest.  She would decide tomorrow.

* * * * *


Warm breath on his chest was what woke him up.  It was an unfamiliar sensation. Willow was still in bed with him.  In his arms.  He had half expected her to be gone again.  Angel stroked her back, idly tickling her spine.  He hadn't felt this completely....

Angel pushed Willow away from him and rolled off the bed.  The sheets tangled around him as he stumbled toward the window.  This couldn't
be happening...not again.

"Angel?" Willow said sleepily.  She sat up in the bed.

"Willow, get away from me.  Run!" Angel gasped raggedly.  He couldn't hurt her.  He would destroy himself first.  The window. Open the shade
and Willow would be safe from Angelus.  He knew what Angelus would do to her.  He had seen VampWillow.  How she had acted.  How she had killed.  And Angelus would have those memories also.

"Angel!"  Willow tackled him from behind before he reached the window.  "What are you doing?"

"Run!" Angel tried to shake Willow off of him.  "Angelus," he gasped.  He would not turn Willow into a monster.  He would not be responsible
for that.

"Angel, stop!"  Willow pounded on his back.  "Stop and think.  Nothing is happening.  Angelus isn't here.  He's never going to be here."  Willow wrapped her arms around his neck and sobbed.  "Please, just stop for a moment.  You're not Angelus. You never will be again."

She was right.  Angel stopped struggling.  There was no pain.  The searing torment of having his soul ripped from him wasn't happening.  But he had felt completely happy, content, at peace - all the things that should have cost him his soul.  "Willow?"  Her sobs  were  subsiding now that he had stopped trying to incinerate himself.  "How do you know that Angelus is never coming back?"

Willow let go of his neck and climbed off his back.  They sat on the floor, staring at each other.  "I screwed up."  Willow wiped the tears
from her cheeks.  "When I did the spell that restored your soul, I changed it a bit.  I didn't know that it would change the whole spell,
at least not until recently."

"Changed it how?"

Willow looked at her lap.  Her hair hung across her face so Angel couldn't see her expression.  "Well, curse is such a strong word.  I didn't want to curse you, you were my friend, so I changed it to give.  I gave you your soul, Angel."  Willow finally looked up at him.  "And because of that, there was no happiness clause in the spell I  performed.  You and Buffy could have been together.  I'm so sorry."

Angel reached out and cupped her cheek.  "Why?  Thanks to you, I have my soul."  He hugged her to him.  Hard.

"I'm sorry that I didn't know."  Willow disengaged herself.  "I'm sorry that I used to be such an inept witch and play around with spells that
I couldn't control.  You and Buffy could have been so happy and none of this would have happened."

"I don't think so."  Angel leaned forward and kissed her.  It was just like Willow to be thinking of something that he and Buffy had given up
a long time ago.  "Angelus is gone."  He couldn't hold it in any longer, he laughed.  He felt...bubbly.  He picked Willow up and whirled her around.  She screeched and clutched at his neck.  The sheet that had been around his waist, tangled in his feet and he tripped.  Angel turned as they fell onto the bed so that Willow would be on top.  He grinned up at her.  "I have a soul.  It's mine!"

Willow smiled back at him and ruffled his hair.  "Yes.  All yours." She rolled off him and got off the bed.  She walked to the bedroom door talking about food, blood, breakfast - Angel wasn't really listening.  The hem of his shirt reached just past the bottom of her butt and the dark red color lent her pale skin a rosy glow.  The silk flowed with her figure as she moved.  She turned back at the door to find him still laying on the bed, staring at her.  "Angel?"

"Hmm?"  Angel looked up at Willow's face, realizing that she was talking to him.  "Sorry.  I was just enjoying the view."

An eyebrow was raised in his direction as Willow leaned against the door frame and gave him the once over.  "You've got quite the panorama going yourself."

"Why don't you come back here?  We can celebrate by ability to... celebrate."  Angel leered, patting a spot on the bed beside him.

"Sorry, happy-boy, I'm hungry."  Willow held up a hand to forestall Angel's next suggestive comment.  "For food."  Willow disappeared from
the doorway.  "Why don't you put on some pants and join me?" she called back to him.

Angel stood and picked up his pants.  He grinned.  Perfect happiness.  The term didn't even come close to the way he felt.  He was whole again
for the first time in over two hundred years.

* * * * *


She had lied. Willow wasn't really hungry, it had been an excuse.  If she had made love with Angel again she would never be able to tell him
the whole story, well, most of the story.  Her decision had been made for her when Angel had panicked.  She would do as Buffy advised and
tell Angel what was going on, but some details she would keep to  herself.

Willow jumped a bit when Angel's hands slid around her waist and he pressed a kiss on her neck.  "Thank you, Saileach."

"You're welcome."  Willow turned in Angel's arms and rested her hands on his chest.  "But we should sit down, there's more to tell."  She
looked up into Angel's eyes to gauge his reaction to her news of more confession time.  He was staring at her neck.  Willow's hand automatically reached up to cover the spot.  His first bite was  completely healed, not even a scar, and the second was already what looked like an old yellow bruise.

Angel moved her hand away.  "That's not possible.  Vampire bites don't heal that fast...unless...even Buffy had a scar."

"I know.  I'll explain."  Willow took Angel's hand and led him to the kitchen table.  Angel sat down and pulled Willow into his lap before she could take the chair across from him.  Willow settled herself more comfortably on his lap.  She knew how to begin, she had already started
the story when she told Angel about changing the restoration spell, but she needed a bit more time to continue.  "It's only been three weeks since I found out that I had restored your soul permanently.  It seems like longer than that...I guess you've been making quite a name for yourself in L. A., the Kalendash found out that you were no longer in hell and that you had your soul back.  They did some spell that told them it was clause-free."

"They weren't very happy?"

"That's an understatement.  Three of them came here when Buffy and Xander were out.  They demanded to know why I cast the spell, apparently Miss Calendar wrote to her family about me, and they wanted me to uncast it.  I obviously refused and they...they sent that thing after me."  Willow buried her face in Angel's chest.  She felt his arms tighten around her.

"Take your time."  Angel rubbed her back.  "We can step back a bit. Giles told me that you and Buffy were secretive about something.  Did
you tell her about the gypsies?"

Willow nodded against his chest.  "I checked in some of Giles' spell books and confirmed what they told me and then I told Buffy.  I also found out that your soul wasn't as permanent as the gypsies thought."  She felt Angel tense, so she rushed through the next part of her explanation.  "I didn't intentionally change the spell to give you your soul so it wasn't as powerful as it would have been if I had known what I was doing.  The gypsies could have broken the spell themselves and it was only a matter of time until they found out. Luckily, I got a hold of this spell that strengthens weak spells and Buffy was going to go to L. A. and...well, activate it so the gypsies couldn't take your soul away.  But that thing attacked before she could leave...."  Willow finally took a breath and raised her head from Angel's chest.  She could just imagine the shade of red her face was.

"So, you did the spell yourself.  Sex and blood are powerful magical ingredients."  She couldn't tell what Angel was thinking.  He had slipped into his brooding face.

"Actually, the spell only needed blood.  I just...well...I couldn't think of a way to do the...exchange.  It's not like I could just say, 'Hey, Angel, why don't you bite me and suck my blood.  No reason, really, it just would be fun.'  Somehow I doubt you would have co-operated.  Although I am kind of glad you hurt your head.  I wasn't sure if I could bite you back."

Angel smiled and he got a far away look in his eye for a moment.  He returned to the conversation with a slight shake of his head.  "Why didn't you come to L. A. if you decided to perform the spell yourself?"

"I did."  Willow slipped off his lap and stood up.  She faced the shaded window with her back to him.  Dust motes danced in the golden slivers of light that escaped the barrier.  Willow concentrated on them as she tried to distance herself from the memory.  "We were quite the team, you know.  Gave the demons in this town a run for their money.  Of course, once you defeat one demon, another that's bigger and badder takes its place.  I decided to teach Xander a few protection spells to keep him safe.  He was pretty good at it, the only problem was that when he cast a spell it always shielded Buffy or me and never him."  She couldn't stop it and there was no distance.  The memory hit Willow full force and in technicolor.

* * * * *


It was a bright starry night.  The gibbous moon was unusually luminous so the regular creatures of the night were scarce.  Buffy, Xander, and
Willow wandered through the headstones in the cemetery talking and laughing about nothing in particular.

"I'm telling you, that's it!" Xander waved the stake in his hand like a medieval knight declaring war.  "No more demon women for me!  I am now requiring a DNA test.  If it comes back human, we can date."

Buffy slung a comforting arm around his shoulders.  "That still won't save you from the Cordelia's and Faith's of this world." She threw a look in Willow's direction.  "Face it, Xan, with one notable exception, you have terrible taste in women."

"Two notable exceptions," Willow corrected.

Xander pulled Willow to his side, wrapping his arms around the waists of both girls.  "You're right.  I guess my only option is to engage in a threesome with my two notable exceptions."  Xander waggled his eyebrows in an exaggerated leer.  Buffy and Willow burst out laughing and he chuckled along with them.  He let go of them and threw his hands up in mock surrender.  "It's okay, I understand.  You need to discuss the arrangements.  Who does what, and when, and where...."

Buffy and Willow kept walking while Xander stopped and hung back. "Dream on, Xander," Buffy called back to him.

"That's what I'm doing."

The girls continued to giggle.  Buffy glanced back and turned serious. "I'm leaving for L. A. in the morning.  Are you sure this will work?"

"As long as you do it exactly as I said.  You drink the potion and then you and Angel ingest each other's blood."

"Eww."  Buffy rubbed the fading scar on her neck.  "And ow.  Won't this turn me into a vampire.  You know, the sucking thing."

"No.  You only need a little bit and Angel doesn't have to drain you.  It doesn't matter who bites first.  Here's a copy of the spell.  Give it to Angel and let him read it."  Willow handed Buffy a folded piece of paper and she shoved it into her jacket pocket.

"I'm waiting," Xander called to them in a singsong voice.  Willow  turned to yell a sarcastic comment back at him when she was hit from behind.  Buffy shoved her behind a headstone and turned toward the thing that attacked Willow.

A small ball of fur, not the fuzzy bunny kind, but rather dark and  spiky tufts, rolled a few feet away from them.  It started to grow.  Willow crawled from behind the stone and saw Buffy paralyzed by the monster unfurling itself in front of her.  It was seven feet tall and still getting larger, a solid mass of black with no features.  Willow struggled to her feet, ignoring her aching back, and whispered a protection spell.

The thing reached its final size, well over ten feet, and a huge, gaping maw opened in its center mass.  Willow tried to cast a protection spell over Buffy, but the beast had already erected some sort of magic shield between her and Buffy.  Her spells couldn't penetrate it.  The creature reached out with long sinuous tongues studded with small, sharp teeth.  Willow stumbled toward Buffy, but Xander tore past her and pushed her back.  "Willow, stay down!" He ran to Buffy.  "Buffy!"

"Xander, cast a protection spell!" Willow yelled at him, trying to stand again.  Pain radiated down her back from where she had been hit. It felt wet and sticky and Willow was pretty sure she was bleeding profusely.  She collapsed to her knees, the pain too much.  She could hear Xander saying the words she had taught him.

"I ask for protection against my worst fear, please keep safe the life I hold dear."  Xander knocked Buffy down as one of the razor tongues
swiped at her head.  Thwarted in its attempt to kill Buffy, the beast lashed out with all four of its appendages.  One embedded itself into his shoulder while another pierced his side.  His protection spell useless, Xander howled in pain and grabbed at the one in his shoulder to keep the sharp spikes away from his neck.  As he struggled, the third tongue ripped open the back of his knees.  Xander's legs buckled and he would have fallen if not for the beast's spiky grasp.  The fourth tongue raised to deliver a crushing to Xander's head.

"Xander!" Willow screamed.  She crawled toward the bloody scene, frantically conjuring a psychic bolt to send the creature's way.  Buffy
beat her to the punch, using the crossbow to send a stake flying at the fourth tongue.  The wooden missile pinned the deadly appendage to a
nearby tree.  Willow threw the psychic bolt to stun the thing so Buffy could finish it off, but she realized too late what had happened to Xander's protection spell.  The bolt hit the protective barrier of Xander's magic and bounced back onto her.  Willow gave an involuntary cry of pain as white hot lightening flashed through her brain.

Momentarily distracted by the light show of the bolt hitting the barrier and Willow's yell when it rebounded back onto her, Buffy turned away from the beast and Xander.  Willow watched helplessly as the tongue tore itself from Xander's side, creating a huge bloody wound. Xander fell to the ground, his weight wrenching the first tongue from his shoulder.  The last thing Willow saw before the dark curtain of unconsciousness hit was the three remaining deadly tentacles reaching for Buffy.

When she finally awoke, she was laying on her back staring up at the moon.  She concentrated on the bright shiny orb, her mind a complete
blank.  Then a sound infiltrated her numbed senses.  Labored, gurgly breathing.  Willow  rolled over, every muscle in her body tightening
from the pain.  Buffy and Xander were a few feet away, laying motionless on the ground.  The creature that attacked them was gone.

Willow crawled over to them.  Buffy's beautiful blond hair was stained red with the blood that leaked from a caved-in wound on her forehead.
The pretty pink cashmere sweater her father had bought for her was soaked in blood from the many puncture wounds riddling her body.
Willow could feel a faint, thready pulse.  Xander was still alive as well.  It was his breathing she had heard.  Willow couldn't look directly at him.  The rivers of blood winding their way through the grass gave her an indication of the damage he had suffered.  But he and Buffy were still alive, all hope wasn't lost.  Willow closed her eyes and gathered her power.  She ended her protection spell and pulled power from sources she had never dared tap before.  She channeled the power into the healing spell she chanted and reached out to Xander and Buffy.  Once Willow made contact with both of her friends, she unleashed the newly converted healing power.

It raced down her nerve paths like electricity, but once it reached her fingertips instead of coursing into Buffy and Xander as she intended,
the healing power hit the barrier of the protection spell Xander had placed on her.  Like the psychic bolt before it, the healing spell rebounded back onto Willow.  "No!" she screamed, releasing her friends and clutching her head.  The strength of the spell burned through her until, mercifully, she passed out once again.

* * * * *


Willow slowly brought her hands down from her temples.  She was on the kitchen floor, curled up in Angel's arms.  She had no idea how they had gotten this way, but she was glad he was so close.  Willow looked up at Angel.  She had been lost in the memory and didn't know exactly what she had told him. From the look on his face, she must have given pretty graphic descriptions.  Angel was paler than normal and his eyes were dead with shock.  For a second, Willow felt the familiar flash of hate flicker through her.  How could Xander and Buffy leave them like this?  But she soon felt guilty for that thought.  How could she not save them?  "When I regained consciousness again, it was too late.  They were both dead," Willow ended her tale softly.  She lowered her head to Angel's shoulder and closed her eyes.  She wouldn't blame him when he hates her.

Angel stroked her hair.  "The healing spell is still active."

"Yeah. I wanted to heal them.  I used a lot of power in that spell." Willow sniffled.  "I did some tests in the lab.  My cells aren't degenerating, so I guess dying of old age is out of the question.  And with the growing rapidity of my healing rate, I won't be easy to kill either.  I guess I'm going to be around for awhile."

Angel's fingers curved around her jaw and he tipped her chin up to look into her eyes.  "How do you feel about that?"

"At first I was mad, I mean, here I was trying to kill myself and I kept waking up all healed.  Good as new."

Willow winced as Angel's fingers tightened.  "What?"

She shook her head slightly to loosen his grip.  "I was upset.  I was alone.  I wanted to be with Buffy and Xander.  Why did they leave me like that?"

"Kept waking up," Angel repeated her words, not really listening to her last question.  "You tried more than once.  Are you still trying... do you want to die?"

"Not anymore.  It was right after.  When it wouldn't work, I gave up and wandered around.  Then I remembered you and the spell.  I came back here, got the car and headed for L. A.  I made it as far as across the street from your office."

"You didn't come in."

"They wouldn't let me.  The gypsies who confronted me before followed me to L. A.  The old woman, Elena, said that the creature was my curse.  She said I was exiled and that anyone who was in contact with me would die."

"So you pushed everyone away.   Willow, you didn't really think that we would let you, did you?"

"I had hoped so."  Willow lightly traced intricate designs on Angel's chest with her fingertips.  "I should have known you would be stubborn."  She smiled fondly at him and reached up to press her lips against his.

This was their first kiss.  Sure, their mouths had met a lot since Angel's return to Sunnydale, but those kisses were tangled up in deception and grief, desire and need.  This kiss was just them. Willow and Angel.

To be continued...