Disclaimer:  The characters below belong solely to Joss Wheedle, FOX and Mutant Enemy.  Using for entertainment purposes only.

Trials of Love
by Lady Myst

Part 1

Angel was  following her like he had every night for the past three years. There was something about her that drew him to her, not to mention the rest of Sunnydale. vampire community. She was an innocent, she shone with an inner light and beauty, something that vampires craved to destroy. That was why he followed her, he had appointed himself her protector. He had never talked to her, but he knew he would die to keep her safe. He saw her as his salvation, a way to make amends for all the horrible things he had done.

He had hoped by keeping her safe from all the creatures of night, he would also prevent her from learning that they existed, but she had, she was to smart not to have figured it out. She hadn't even told her best friend what she knew, she wanted to spare him the knowledge. She had given him a cross necklace and took every precaution to keep him safe without letting him know
the truth.

He had first seen Willow with her best friend, Xander. It was so obvious that Willow had a thing for him, but he was either stupid, blind, or both not to have noticed her. She was beautiful, enchantingly so, her hair shimmered like red silk in the moonlight, her skin was the color of peaches and cream and looked as soft as satin, but her inner beauty outshone her outer by far.

Angel  snapped back to reality when a vampire attacked him from behind he quickly staked the vamp, but he had lost sight of her.... of Willow.

Willow was walking home without any sign of vampires, which was a very good thing. She knew she shouldn't  have been out alone at night but Xander was out of town and she had stayed late at the library finishing up her term paper. Mr. Giles was the school Liberian, he was a very nice man...and very into tweed. She was grateful that he let her stay late to get her paper done, he had even offered her a ride home, which she declined. She didn't think it would be safe to take a ride home with a
strange man. (Now that I think of it, it's not exactly safe to be walking alone at night when you live on a hellmouth.) It was a year ago that day she had learned of vampires and the hellmouth, it had seemed like a lifetime ago to her. She was rounding the corner to her street when she got grabbed form behind, when she heard the growl she knew it was a vampire, she took her holy
water out and threw it at him. The vampire cursed and threw her to the ground, then lunged for her, she was about to face her fate when out of nowhere a man with a stake in his hand grabbed him and threw him to the ground. Within seconds the vampire was dust.

Angel looked over at Willow who sat stunned on the ground staring at him. He rushed over to her, concern for her well-being clearly written on his face, he knelt by her,  "Are you all right?"?

"Yes.... I-I'm fine thank you."?

He helped her up,  she faltered and hissed in pain, "What's wrong?"?

"My ankle I think I sprained it."? Willow hissed in pain again as she tried putting pressure on it, "Maybe not a sprain but I did something to it. All I need is to get of it and ice it down, I should be fine. Thanks again for saving my life."

"It was no problem, I'll help you get home then I'll be on my way."?

"I- um- you don't need to, I live right around the corner it's- I can get there by myself.... thank you though."? Willow was grateful that he had saved her, but was still wary of him, he could be a rapist or something. ( Right a rapist that saved your life and has been nothing but concerned for you.... and he knows about vampires...... who is this guy?)

"I would feel better knowing you got home safely."? Angel had this desperate need to be accepted by her, even in the smallest way, like her trusting him enough to let him walk her home.

"Well....um....I.. all right I need the help anyway, my ankle is starting to swell."?

Willow knew she probably shouldn't be doing this but she felt safe with him, almost like he had always protected her. ( That's ridiculous.... isn't it?)

Willow was unlocking the door and was trying to decide whether to invite the tall dark and handsome stranger in.

"Well goodbye, take care of that ankle, and try not to go out alone at night anymore, I may not be there next time."? ( That's the biggest lie I've ever told. Where the hell else would I be?)

" Listen, do you want to come in? I've never met anyone else that knew about vampires and I thought it would be neat to compare notes."? ( It would be neat to compare notes?! God could I be a bigger dork?)

Angel thought she was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen, she was so cute when she got nervous. If she had any idea how nervous he was she wouldn't have felt so awkward. "Are you sure it's all right? I wouldn't want to impose."?

"Oh no, it's fine, my parents are out of town so it's really no problem."?

"Then lets get you inside and off that ankle."? Angel had to resist the urge to sweep her up into his arms and carry her inside, he would  love to. He had watched her for so long and now he got to actually talk to her, maybe even get the chance to become friends...maybe more.