DISCLAIMERS: The characters aren't mine. They belong to Joss Whedon, the WB, Mutant Enemy, etc.



 
Untitled
by Julie
 

Part 1

“Come on, Will, just open it already!” Angel was trying quite unsuccessfully to convince Willow to open one of her birthday gifts from him.

Willow giggled. “I don’t wanna, Angel. Not ‘till after dinner! I’m saving it!” They were celebrating her 22nd birthday at an upscale French restaurant she had picked out.

Angel sighed in exasperation. “Will, the idea is I want you to wear it *to* dinner. Come on, open it! And anyways, I’ve got a whole stack more that you can open later, as you please, milady.”

She giggled. “Alright, alright. Here.” She grabbed the box and tore at the silver wrapping, revealing a black clothing box inscribed with the name of a very fancy women’s clothing shop uptown. She turned it around
and around in her hands, admiring it. “Ohh, what did you do, Angel?”

“Oye. Why can’t you just open the damned thing? Here.” He took the box and tore at the tape holding it together, then handed it back to Willow.  She lifted the lid and peered inside. “Oh, Angel, it’s beautiful! Thank you so much!” She gave him a giant hug and a quick peck on the cheek.

“Go try it on. And hurry, or we’ll be late.” Willow quickly excused herself, leaving a very nervous Angel sitting in the living room of their apartment. <I hope she likes it.... I hope it fits... I hope she’ll wear it....I hope we don’t miss our reservation...>

Willow returned in a few minutes, donning the beautiful dress. He gasped in delight. “Oh God Willow, you’re... you’re.... Breath-taking... marvelous... spectacular... delightful... beautiful...  amazing...astounding... wonderous... remarkable....” She giggled at his rambling.  “I get the point, silly.”

From the moment Angel saw it in the store, he knew that he had to buy it for her. It was black and low-cut, something she should wear all the time, in his opinion. The thin straps were made out of black ribbon,
matching the thin black bow that was tied just below her chest. The skirt fell to her ankles, revealing just a bit of her black heels. The entire dress was made out of a very clingy material. “Whoa...”

“Angel,” Willow reprimanded. “Stop salivating. It’s lovely, but I can’t possibly wear it!”

He was taken aback. “Why not?”

“First of all, it’s wayyyy to nice. This must have cost you a fortune!”

“So what?” He countered. “You’re very much worth it, just seeing you in it repays the cost ten times over.”

“--Second of all, it’s way to low cut and way to clingy. Do you know what people are gonna think when they see me in this?”

Angel guessed. “ Maybe, ‘I wonder if she’s single?’ At which point I’ll rip their wandering eyes out of their sockets?”

Willow scrunched up her nose. “Ewww. Points for trying, but, well, ewwww!”

“Willow, you *have* to wear it. I went out and picked it, I even got the right size and all, and you’ll hurt my feelings terribly if you don’t.”

“Look at it, Angel! This dress is made for someone who can pull off a sexy-kinda look. Not me!”

“I *am* looking at it, darling. I’m *definitely* looking at it. And it was made for you, I knew that from the second I saw it. You’re wearing it, end of discussion. Now, come on, we’re gonna be late!” He started to pull Willow towards the door.

“Wait!” He turned to look at her. “What?” “I need... I need a jacket! Because, it’s cold and I’ll catch a cold if I don’t wear a jacket.” He smirked at her obvious attempts to cover herself up. “Alright, Willow.  Grab a jacket.”

She walked to the coat closet and picked out a heavy black jacket. “But don’t think that I won’t find a way to get it off you, my dear.”

“Nyah. Let’s just have a nice dinner, okay?”

“Of course..” He opened the door and ushered her out into the night.

Part 2
 

Angel and Willow walked into the fancy restaurant arm-in-arm. They were quickly seated at a beautifully decorated table. Willow was in awe.  “Wow, Angel, this is wonderful. Thank you so much!”

He chuckled. “Your welcome, Will. You deserve only the best. I want you to order anything you want, and as much of it as you can possible eat, okay? Enjoy this meal, your 22!”

She smirked. “You aren’t trying to fatten me up, are you? Cause I don’t think I’d be able to fit into this beautiful dress.” She was, of course, still wearing the coat, desperatly trying to snuggle into it as far as possible.

“Speaking of which... M’on, Willow, take it off.”

Her eyebrow quirked. “Take *what* off?” She purred.

“Oh, Will. The jacket. Take off the jacket.”

“Yeah, right. Like that’s gonna work.”

“It won’t?” He tried his best to sound confused, but he had a plan. And she could tell by that funky glimmer in his eye. <Uh-oh.>

“No.... what are you planning, Angel?”

“Moi? Planning? I have no idea what you are talking about!”

“Ha-ha. Seriously. What have you got up your sleeve? A scheme of some sort?”

“Actually, a threat.”

“What? How are you going to threaten me?”

“Oh, just that you can either take off the jacket or I’ll take it off for you. Forcefully, if need be.”

She sputtered. “You can’t do that! You wouldn’t do that!”

“Want to see me try?”

“Angel! Public place! Public place with people! You would never do that!”

“Ahem. But yes I would. So, your choice. You take it off or I take it off for you. Wouldn’t that be a funny sight? All these rich people, prim and proper, and wouldn’t they have a heart attack when they see what appears to be me trying to strip you right here and now?”

Willow flushed dark red. “You-you-you.”

“I’m giving you a choice, Red.”

“Ooohh, you, I’m going to get you for this!” She slipped out of her jacket, glaring at him the whole time.

“There now, much better.” He eyed her appreciatively. “Isn’t that better?”

It was at that moment that the waiter came to get their drink orders.

 “Madam, I’d be pleased to take your jacket.” She handed it to him, all the while keeping a steady glare on Angel. The waiter almost gasped at the dress she was wearing. Of course, this was a fancy restaurant and that would have been unnacceptable, so he settled for letting his eyes bulge out of his head. Thankfully, she didn’t notice. Unfortunatly, the man sitting with her did.

He ignored the scathing glance the man gave him and turned his attention back to his job. “Allo, my name is Robert and I’ll be your waiter tonight. Could I interest either of you in a drink?”

Angel answered. “We’d like a bottle of wine, something expensive, please.”

Willow cut in. “Angel, that’s not really necessary. I think you’ve already spent enough money!”

“You know perfectly well that I’ve got the money to spend. It’s your birthday, and I want to get something nice to celebrate. Okay?”

She nodded. “Thank you, Angel.”

“Mm-hmm.” He turned his attention back to Robert. He really did *not* like the way he was looking at Willow- his Willow. “As I was saying, something expensive, please.”

Robert nodded. <Man, what a load of crap. She’s too beautiful to be with a loser like him. I *will* have her.>  “Is this a family dinner?” He asked, even though he knew full well it wasn’t.

Angel snarled at him, causing Robert to take a step back. “Just. Get. The. Wine. Please.”

He nodded and walked off, more determined than ever to catch the beautiful red-head’s attention.

Angel turned back to Willow, and immediatly knew he was in trouble. “Angel! What the hell was that about!! You just snarled at our waiter!  Don’t you think that was a little rude?”

“I’m sorry. But I didn’t like the way that he was looking at you, Willow.”

“Angel, when you bought this dress, you knew that people were gonna look. You convinced me to wear it, you forced me to take my coat off, you can deal with the consequences. Besides, it doesn’t matter how he looks at me. I’m not looking at him, right?”

Angel nodded and sighed. “Of course, you’re right. I’m sorry.”

“That’s alright, let’s just try to finish the evening without anymore trouble, okay?”

Robert came back with the wine and some glasses. “Here you go. Now, could I take your order?”

“We’d like a few more minutes, please,” Willow answered.

“Of course, miss. Take your time. I’ll be back in a bit.” Robert scuttled off, leaving Angel and Willow to look at their menus. “So, Angel, whatcha getting?”

 Angel winced. “Something really rare?”

“Oh. Um. Right. Sorry.”

“Why are you sorry? I’m sorry. Terrible eating habits, you know.”

“Hey, don’t worry about that, right? It’s who you are, you really shouldn’t be so embarrassed about it. You know it doesn’t bother me- it was stupid I asked.”

“No, don’t say that. It wasn’t stupid. You wanted to know, I told you. So, what are you getting?”

“I don’t know. Oh wait, yes I do. Angel, you order for me. Whatever. Surprise me.”

“Really? You’d trust me to order for you?”

“Of course!” She quirked an eyebrow at him. “Why not?”

“Well, I just---”

“Oh, just do it. Kay?”

He smiled. “I love you, Willow.”

“I love you, too.”

“I love you three.”

“I love you four.”

Robert appeared out of nowhere, ready to take their orders. “Are you two ready? Miss? What would you like?”

Willow gestured at Angel. “He’ll be ordering for me.”

“Are you sure, miss? Don’t you think you should order your own food?”

Willow’s face scrunced up. <Boy, rude much?> “No, I’m quite sure he knows my tastes by now. He’ll be ordering for me. Please don’t question me anymore.”

“Of course, miss. Quite sorry about that.”

“Sure.”

“So, sir, what will you two be having?”

“I’ll have a fillet mignon.”

“How do you want that cooked?”

“Rare, please. And without any type of garlic.”

Willow burst into laughter. Angel looked almost pained, but cracked a smile when he saw that Willow was amused. The waiter was confused. <Must be some kind of private joke.....>

“What kind of soup would you like with that?”

“What do you have?”

“Chicken, beef, potato, onion...”

“I’ll take the chicken, please.”

“Right. And what will the lady be having?”

Angel pointed to a spot on the menu.

“Very good, your orders will be ready in about twenty minutes. I’ll be back in a few minutes with some bread and your salads.”

“Thank you.”

“Of course.”

He left, again leaving Angel and Willow to talk. “So, how’s your birthday going? You still have a whole pile of gifts to open when we get home.”

Willow smiled. “You really shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble for me, Angel.”

“Of course I should have. Your worth this much and a hundred times more.”

“Awww.... thank you.”

“Welcome, Will, your welcome. You know, you really don’t have to keep  thanking me!”

“I can’t help it, I can’t get over this. This is really great, it’s my best birthday ever.”

“You kidding? I went to all this trouble to arrange the rest of the night and *already* it’s your best? The night is just beginning, Red.”

She smiled. “Wow, if this is just the beginning, I can’t wait to see what else you have in store!”

“Patience is quite the virtue, miss.” Angel was imitating Robert, and Willow burst into laughter. She quickly toned it down when the other customers began to stare. “Could I *get* any more snobby?” She muttered under her breath, imitating the other customers. Now it was Angel’s turn to burst into laughter. They were quite the couple.

Robert soon returned with the bread and salads, which Willow attacked and Angel politely picked at. “Enjoying yourself?”

“Oh yes, very much!” She replied, mouth full of vegetables. “I can’t wait to see what you ordered me!”

Angel chuckled. “How can you be so sure that you’ll like it?”

“I trust you. I know you wouldn’t get me anything I hate... I just hope you didn’t order it rare!”

“Nah, I figured you’d like it raw. Bleeding. Untouched, uncooked.You know, mooing. Mooing steak.”

“EWWWWW!!!!! I can’t believe you just said that! That’s- that’s” she spluttered, disgusted by the image that popped into her head. “I hope you didn’t order me any type of steak, ‘cause I won’t be able to look at it, much less EAT it!”

He chuckled at her reaction. “Don’t worry, I didn’t order you steak. And I *never* would’ve ordered it raw.”

“Oh.” She calmed down considerably. “Oh ok, good.”

Both sat in companionable silence for a few minutes, studying each other. Angel’s eyes had this quality- like they could see past her skin deep features- that really freaked her out. <How could someone ever do that? Ohh.>

 “I find you so fascinating, you know that, right?”

“Huh?”

“Look at you! You have the ability to act so grown up, all the while keeping such a child-like innocence all around you. I.. you... ugg. I’m having one of those hormonal teenage boy moments. You know, stuttering and such.”

Willow burst into laughter. “Do you realize how much that last sentence sounded Giles-y? Esssh! I’m dating the man who could be Giles’s great great grandfather.”

Angel’s eyes twinkled. “You never know. I mean, I never did keep track of... Oh, err. Never mind.”

Willow knew what he meant. “I thought vampires couldn’t have children?”

“Not that I know of. However, I was mortal, once.”

“Oh. Next subject, please?” Willow didn’t like at all the images of Angel and strange girls floating through her head.

“Yeah. Sounds good.”

The food arrived then. Robert placed a plate in front of both of the diners, ‘accidentaly’ brushing past Willow as he set her plate down.  Angel didn’t miss this and growled. Robert, obviously not afraid, turned to him. “Are you a dog or something? You growl, you order your food rare, do you even chew on the bones?”

Willow looked horrified. Angel looked pissed. “Worse. Much, much worse.”

Robert’s mommy obviously never warned him of the creatures that tended to hang out around the Hellmouth.”I know. Jealous, undeserving boyfriend.”

“Pardon?”

Robert sauntered away, not daunted in the least by the exchange that just went on.

Willow was a shade of tomato red. “Oh. Um.”

Angel’s eyes were flashing. “I’m sorry, Willow. I know I promised. I couldn’t help it, and that wasn’t my fau-”

“I know. I’m sorry. I never meant to cause trouble.”

“What are you talking about? That wasn’t your fault! It was that idiot’s fault! My fault, maybe. But *not* your fault.”

“Yeah, but--”

“No, no buts. I’ll tell you what. We’re gonna have a nice dinner, we aren’t going to let him ruin the evening, alright?”

She nodded. “Sounds good.” She looked down at her plate. “Angel! You ordered me duck!”

He grinned. “Yeah, I heard that it’s really good. Hope you like...”

She took a bite of it and grinned. “I luv. Thank you!”

“Your welcome! Your welcome! Your welcome! You know, if you keep thanking me the whole night, it could get kinda interesting.”

“Alright, but I just can’t tell you how much it means to me! I love you, Angel.”

“There, see, was that so hard? Four simple words expressed your thanks just perfectly. I love you too, Willow.”

They smiled at each other and ate their meals in silence.

Part 3

Willow barely made it into the limo. She was laughing so hard she was walking like she was drunk. Angel was also laughing hysterically.

“Angel!” She managed to gasp out, “I can’t believe you didn’t tip Robert! That was an expensive, upscale restaurant!”

“Yeah, well, he was an asshole. He didn’t deserve a tip.”

“That may be true, but still! It’s common courtesy.”

“Oh well.”

She burst into a fresh round of laughter. “Come on, let’s get home, I wanna open all my gifts!”

“Wooo, impatient are we?”

She giggled. “Yeap, that I am. Common!”

“Alright, alright, I’m coming!”

Outside the Apartment

Angel stopped Willow just outside the door to their apartment. “Willow?”

“Mmm?”

“You look lovely. I love you.”

“I love you too.” They exchanged a sweet, slow kiss that left both of them with weak knees. <I’ve been with him for two years already and he still has that affect on me... wow.>

“Common, we’ve got presents to open!”

Angel unlocked the door and gestured for Willow to go in. “Ladies first.”

She made a face at the old fashioned but wonderful gesture and stepped into the apartment. She flicked on the light and nearly had a heart attack at what she saw.

“SURPRISE!!!”

Gathered in the living room were all of her friends, donning party hats and oddly colored streamers. Buffy, Giles, Xander, Amy, Oz, and even Cordelia and Anya, they were all there. Willow lurched forward, but Angel caught her before she could fall.

“Surprise.” He whispered into her ear, sending shivers running down her spine.

“Oh- you guys- you.....” She gave up and switched topics. “For me?”

They all nodded and she burst into tears. Angel was still holding her, and his grasp over her tightened. “Willow, are you alright? Willow?  Willow?”

She nodded, tears still streaming down her cheeks. “You guys are so wonderful. These are happy tears.” The group sighed in simultaneous relief. “Happy Birthday, Willow!” They yelled out. She smiled and dried
the tears. “Oh.. wow. Oh wow. I’ve never had a surprise party. This is so great” She turned to Angel. “Did you do all this?”

He nodded. “Well, I organized it. See, I told you the evening was just gonna get better.” He pulled her into a hug and whispered in her ear so that no one else could hear, “and it’ll be better still. You haven’t opened my gifts yet.” She kissed him on the lips. “Thank you, Angel.”

He smirked. “I thought you were gonna stop saying that?” he questioned.

“Ahh, I can’t help myself. Wow. So, what do we do?”

“I vote for cake!” Xander yelled, big an appetite as ever.

“I think we should do gifts!” Buffy yelled back. Cordelia, Amy, and Anya nodded in agreement.

Oz looked pretty shell shocked. “Oz?” Willow questioned. “Are you alright?”

He nodded. “I’m fine. But. What are you *wearing?*”

Willow and Angel burst into laughter, leaving the entire group clueless.  Well, with the exception of Cordy, who had helped him pick the dress out, correct size and all. <She sure knows how to run up a credit card bill!>

“Angel bought this for me for my birthday. Like it?” She twirled around, sending the material flipping back and forth. Xander and Oz stared. The girls burst into laughter. Giles tried his best to figure out what was going on.

“Come on, Wills, gifts.” Buffy dragged Willow over to a pile of gifts. “Mine first.”

She handed Willow two packages. “The one wrapped in navy blue is for now, the one in yellow is for later. Don’t open it until we’re all gone,  ok? Angel can see it, though.”

Willow nodded. “Alright.” Weird as it was, she would respect her friend’s wishes. She took the blue box and unwrapped it, careful not to tear the paper. The gang looked on impatiently.  Her opening revealed a black velvet jewelry box that she immediately opened. It was a long silver chain with a small silver heart attached to the center. There was a small ruby in the center of the heart.

“Oh, Buffy, this is absolutely breathtaking! Thank you so much!” Willow pulled Buffy into a giant hug.

“It’ll go well with that dress. I’m glad you like it. Now, your next gift.” She handed Willow a long, thin box wrapped in violet paper. She went through her careful procedure again, trying not to tear the paper.  She opened the box to reveal two beautiful hair pins that matched perfectly with her dress. “Oh, wow.  These go perfectly with the dress.  But they must have cost a fortune!”

Cordy smiled. “Don’t worry about it. I must admit, I did know about the dress. I saw these and knew they would go perfectly. Happy Birthday,  Will.” Willow hugged Cordelia forcefully. “Thank you, Cordy.”

Cordy shrugged. “You’re a friend.” Willow smiled at Cordy.

Buffy took another gift from the pile and handed it to Willow. “This is from Giles.” This one was pretty big, and quite heavy. It was wrapped in brown paper. She took the paper aside, revealing a book of spells. Giles spoke. “It’s pretty beginner, you should be able to do all of them just fine. There are some interesting ones in there.” Willow got up and hugged Giles.

“Thank you, Giles. This is great. I really appreciate it.”

“Of course. Happy 22nd Birthday, Willow.”

“Thank you.”

The next gift was another small one, from Oz. Willow took it an opened it slowly. It was a beautiful silver watch, something she desperately needed. Especially with Angel, her internal clock was all screwed up most of the time. “Thanks, Oz, this is great. I really appreciate it. I needed a watch, ya know!”

“I’m glad you can use it.” They hugged briefly before Willow was handed another gift.

“It’s from Anya.”

<Oooh, this should be interesting.> As much as Anya had changed, the demon was still never far from her surface. She was pleasantly surprised, however, when she found a cute silver anklet. “Wow, thanks
Anya! This is great!”

Anya shrugged her shoulders in that it’s-not-that-much kinda way. “I got it from this girl, her husband was cheating with--”

“Ahem!” Giles interrupted. “Next gift?”

“Yes, right. Here, Will, this is from Amy.”

It was an envelope, which seemed kinda curious to Willow. She opened it slowly to find a gift certificate to the Magick Shop, a place she frequently visited. “I kinda figured that you could use that.” Willow smiled. “You figured right. Thanks, Amy.” “Surely. Happy B-Day, girlfriend.”

Buffy handed her the last gift. “This is from Xander.”

Willow opened the flowered box to find a beautiful picture album.

“Look at it.” Xander said.

She flipped through the pages, a scrapbook of their childhood years. Tears came to her eyes. “Thank you Xander, this is lovely.” She gave him a hug which he gladly returned. “I love you, Willow.” A quick glance at Angel and he quickly amended his statement. “As a really, really, really good friend.” She smiled. “I love you too, Xander, as a really, really, really good friend.”

They separated and looked around the room. Xander was suddenly hit with a thought. “Hey, how come Dead-boy didn’t get you anything?”

Angel hissed at the unappreciated nickname. Willow quickly cut off the fight that was about to start. “He did, idiot. I got this beautiful dress and a dinner at a very expensive restaurant with a very uppity waiter. It was awesome.” Angel and Willow burst into laughter, confusing the others. They let it go, though.

“So, how about cake?”

“Sounds good to me!”

“Come on, let us eat cake!!!” The group of friends burst into laughter.  Certain very off-tune chords of “Happy Birthday to You” could be heard from outside the apartment as the gang celebrated their very best friend
Willow’s marvelous birthday.

Part 4

Angel closed the door and sighed. “Finally, they’re gone!”

Confusion was evident on Willow’s face. “We wanted them to go?”

“Yes! We have to get to *my* gifts!”

“Ohh! Well, I can’t wait. Where are they?”

Angel looked at Willow. “Here, I’ll tell you what. As much as I luv seeing you in that dress, it doesn’t look like it’s very confortable.  Why don’t you go and change into something else and then come to my room?”

Willow smirked. “Ooh, I even get to go into your room. Wow, these must be pretty special!”

“Ha, ha. Just do it?”

“Sure, sure,” she grumbled, “I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

Angel’s room, 10 minutes later.

*Knock, Knock*

“Come in!”

Willow opened the door and entered the room. His entire bed was covered with wrapped presents. “Oh my God Angel, what did you do?!”

“I’m treating my very best friend- and girlfriend- to a wonderful birthday. Do you have a problem with that?”

“Oh, no. Of course not.” She wrapped his arms around him and gave him a kiss. “You’re the best, do you know that?”

He smirked. “Of course I do. Now, this one first.” He handed her a package. “I wanted to get a variety of stuff for you, including clothing. I’m not the best at picking out Women’s clothing, so I will admit Cordy helped me. You aren’t mad, are you?”

“Just tell me one thing. Is everything as low cut as that dress?”

An evil smirk played across his face. “That was the only quality I insisted on.” She swatted him lightly. “You’re terrible. But thanks.”

“Your WELCOME! For the last time!!” “Sorry....”

“S’ok. Go ahead... Oh wait, I have a condition.”

“A condition?”

“Yeah, I’m not gonna wait while you open every single gift without tearing the wrap. Just open them!!!”

She smiled. “Alrighty then. So, can I open this?”

“Of course. Yes. Open it. Now.”

She took the box and tore into the wrapping paper.

An hour and at least two wardrobes later, Willow was down to one final gift. It was a small long box wrapped in silver. “Go on, open it.”

She lifted the top of the box gently to find a diamond bracelet. She gasped. “Oh my God, Angel, this is beautiful.”

He smiled. “I’m glad you like it.”

“-But I can’t possible accept this! This is way to expensive!”

“Willow,” he stroked her face gently, “I want you to have it. It’s wonderfully Willow-y. And I told you before, money’s no object. Here, let me put it on you.” She held out her delicate wrist and he attached the bracelet to it.

“There. It’s marvelous.”

Tears were running down her face. “It’s so beautiful, Angel. Thank you.....”

“I love you, Willow.”

“I love you too, Angel.” They shared a tender kiss before Angel pulled away. He gently wiped the tears from her face. “You can’t cry yet, Red.  There’s still one gift left.”

Her mouth dropped open. “Angel, you’re spoiling me! This really wasn’t necessary!”

“Of course it was. I apologize that this gift isn’t wrapped, I hope you like it all the same.”

He handed her a small black velvet jewelry box. She smiled at him. “More jewelry? Angel!”

He smiled. “I couldn’t help myself on this one. Go on, open it.”

She lifted the lid at peered inside. <OhmyGod> She was looking down at a diamond engagment ring.

“Willow. Would you marry me?”

Part 5 and 6
 

‘ANSWER’

"Oh my God. I...." She launched herself into his arms and kissed him hungrily. When she pulled away, he was smiling.

"Could I take that as a yes?"

"Yes! YES, YES, YES!!!!"

They kissed again. "Oh my God! We're getting married! We're getting married."

Angel laughed. "Yes! I'm so happy, Willow. You make me so happy."

She snuggled into his arms. "You make me happy. I love you so much...."

"I love *you* so much. Thank you for agreeing to marry me."

He took the ring and slid it onto her finger. "I *told* you I had lots of stuff planned."

She giggled. "How could I refuse you? And this has *definitely* been the best birthday I've ever had!"

"I'm glad."

‘LOST AND FOUND’

The Next Morning

Willow was jolted out of the warm confines of a wonderful dream she was having including mooing cows wearing engagment rings by the persistant ringing of the <God-damned> telephone.

She reached over and groggily picked it up. "Hello?" A startlingly awake voice on the other side answered. "Allo, Willow darling."

< What the hell? > "Who is this?"

"Tsk-tsk. You don't remember me. This is Robert, your waiter from last night."

< Oh, hell. A stalker. > "Umm, what are you calling me for?"

He chuckled, sending very bad shivers down her spine. "You left your jacket at the restaurant last night. It had your name on the pocket so I looked you up and called. Would you like to pick it up at the restaurant tonight?"

"Oh. Um. Sure. Thanks for calling. I'll be there later."

"You might not want to bring your jealous boyfriend."

"Oh. Thanks." She hung up the phone and went back to bed, exhausted.

A few hours later

Willow woke up, fresh and ready for the new day. "Angel?"

"Mmm? Is this something important? Cause I really need my beauty sleep."

"Just something about Robert."

Angel shot up in the bed, wide awake. "What about?"

"He called here a while ago."

"He did *WHAT?* I'll kill him, I swear to God I will.."

"Angel, calm down. He just wanted to let me know that I left my jacket at the restaurant and I could come pick it up later. He told me not to bring you. Luckily, I don't have to listen to him."

Angel smirked and kissed her. "We'll go tonight, alright?"

"Sure," she got out between kisses. "Thanks."

"Mmmhmm."

The Restaurant, Nighttime

Angel parked the car and helped Willow out in his gentlemanly-way. They walked through the parking lot and towards the door before the realization hit both of them.

“Holy crap.” Willow looked around. "Angel, something *isn't* right about this."

Angel nodded. "I know. No cars in the parking lot. The restaurant isn't even open. My God, was he trying to *lure* you here or something?"

Willow shuddered. "You know what? Let's just go back. I can replace the jacket. I'd rather not walk straight into a trap."

He nodded. "That sounds good. I'm sorry about this, Willow."

"Why are you sorry? Let's just get the hell out of here, it's giving me the serious wiggins!"

They both turned, not pleased at all by the sight they saw. Robert, surrounded by a whole clan of vampires, sucessfully blocking the path to their car.

"Oh, crap," Willow muttered. "Angel, what now?"

"Run!"

He grabbed her arm and turned to pull her when he was hit over the head and the world went black.

Part 7

Willow turned to see a particularly vicious looking vamp behind her. She pulled out a vial of holy water and quickly doused it, sending it screaming and running away. She fell to her hands and knees by Angel.

“Oh my GOD! Angel, Angel, are you alright? Oh-” She started sobbing. “Please wake up, Angel, please, I need you....” She looked up to see Robert standing in front of her.

 He grabbed her roughly and pulled her up.

“Hello, pretty.”

Angel was swimming in a sea of blackness. He couldn’t move at all. He couldn’t see anything- the only sense he had was sound. He could hear Willow begging him to get up. He tried, but to no avail. He couldn’t move. <Oh my God Willow, I’m sorry, I’m sorry....> He heard Robert talking to his Willow, and another sense immediatly came back to him.  <Vampire. He’s a vampire. Oh, shit.> The next thing he was aware of were hands picking him up roughly and then, complete blackness.

Willow struggled, but to no avail. He was strong, unhumanly strong. And then she realized. He wasn’t human. <Vampire. He’s a vampire. Oh, shit.>

“Stop that struggling, pretty. *If*, and I do emphasize *if*, you could get away from me, one of my minions would catch you. It won’t do you any good.”

Undeterred, she kept kicking and clawing, fairly well pissing him off.  “Noooooo!”

“Shut up, bitch!” He growled, seriously ticked. He quickly changed tactics. “If you don’t shut up and stop struggling, I’ll kill your boyfriend.”

To empasize the point, one of his minions immediatly brought a stake out and held it directly over Angel’s heart. Her struggles died immediatly.

“There now, that’s better. This is going to be fun, isn’t it?”

“Fuck you.”

He threw her violently to the ground, smashing her head on the pavement. She immediatly blacked out.

“Well, at least it’s going to be interesting....”

He picked her up and threw her over his shoulder, commanding one of his minions to do the same with the prone Angel.

Part 8

Angel was swimming in murky blackness. <Have to... get up....> Finally, he suceeded in cracking open one of his eyes. He shook his head, trying frantically to clear the fog residing there. “Ohh..” he moaned. His head was throbbing and covered with something sticky. <Blood. His own, he could smell it.. But God, if they hurt Willow...>

He reached up to touch the lump he was sure had formed there, but was hindered. It was then that he realized he was chained to a wall. The room was dark and dreary, and combined with the darkness floating around in his head, he was finding it hard to focus on anything. <Where’s Willow?!> Finally, he found her.  She was chained up in a similar fashion next to him, unconscious. <Great. The asshole took us hostage.  Just wonderful!> He looked past her around the room, trying to find some kind of clue as to where he was. In addition to the dreariness, the room
was damp and mildewy, leading him to believe that it was a cellar of some sort. <Something underground.> At least he wouldn’t have to worry about windows....

“Willow?” He whispered. “Willow? Come on, wake up.” She didn’t budge. He shifted a little, trying to reach her to shake her, but discovered they were only close enough to lightly brush past each other. <Damn.>

“Willow!” He hissed. “You have to wake up!” She stirred a little and he kept prodding. “Come on, Willow. Dammit! Wake up!”

Her eyes fluttered open. “Angel? Oh God...” Before she even had a chance to process where she was or what she was doing, she began thrashing back and forth frantically. The chains prevented her from getting anywhere, and she suceeded only in cutting up her wrists on the rusty metal.

“Willow! STOP THAT!” She was scaring him. Since she was normally so clear headed and strong, this wasn’t a side of her he’d experienced before.

It was like she didn’t have control over her own body. The fear ran so deep she couldn’t stop her actions. Her instincts took over and al they were telling her were, ‘get away, get away.’ Of course, she got nowhere.  The cuts in her wrists were now deep, sending almost unbearable jolts of pain running up her arms. The pain helped her focus, though, and she immediatly calmed. Dark red rivults of blood ran down her arms and trickled to the floor.

Angel cringed at the feelings her actions were provoking. Her blood was calling to the demon and the demon was using all of it’s power to get free. <So pure and sweet.... innocent blood...> Thank God he was chained in a way that he couldn’t bite her. Not that he would, but....

“Good morning.” The words sent shivers down Willow’s spine. Angel pulled against the chains. <Nothing.> They were strong and wouldn’t yeild.

“So, my guests have awakened. Wonderful. Now we can have a party!”

Angel snarled at the vampire, who snarled right back. “You’re crazy. Completely insane.”

He paid with a fist to the face, which sent his head flying into the wall. The partially-healed wound was re-opened and he could feel the warm blood flowing down his neck. < Ow. > Of course, he wouldn’t give Robert the satisfaction of showing pain. Instead, he bit his lip to keep the grimace back.

“You’d do well to mind your manners, Angel. May I remind you that I’m the one in control, now?”

He walked over to Willow. “You weren’t really trying to escape, were you, darling?”

“Don’t call me that.” She hissed at him.

He smiled, amused. “What are you going to do about it?”

“She *said,* don’t call her that.”

“Shut up! I’m not talking to you!”

He turned back to Willow. He leaned over her, pressing one hand to the wall on either side of her, sucessfully pinning her. “Do you know what I am? What your boyfriend is?” His face shifted and she was suddenly
looking into the face of a monster. He was surprised- she didn’t flinch in the slightest.

“You’re a monster, a demon. And *you* have *no* idea what *he* is. Also, he’s not my boyfriend. Not that it’s any of your business- but we will be married.” Then, she spit at him.

He stumbled away in disgust. “You stupid bitch! You’ll pay for that!!”

But instead of touching her, he walked back to Angel. He spoke facing Angel, but the words were meant for Willow. “Guilt’s a terrible thing, isn’t it? Eats away at your heart, and your soul. Hurts much worse than
physical pain ever could.” He uncapped a vial of holy water and dumped it down Angel’s shirt.

Angel roared in pain. Willow watched in horror and clouds of smoke rose from Angel’s chest. Tears rolled down her face. “I’m sorry Angel I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry...” She was mumbling and sobbing at the same time. Robert watched in digust.

Angel was in immense pain, but it was nothing he hadn’t been through before. He did his best to ignore the pain, and, through clenched teeth, ground out words of comfort to Willow. “Not. Your.. fault. Love...you..”

Unfortunatly, Robert was right in his assment of guilt. His words only made her sob harder. “Yes, my fault. I’m sorry.... I didn’t mean to...”

Robert was getting sick of the lovey-dovey scene, so he decided to do something about it. He grabbed the keys for the chains and quickly unlocked Willow. Unprepared for the action, she slumped to the floor. He quickly grabbed her and pulled her up, making sure the entire time that Angel could see everything.

“She’ll be back...”

He turned and walked away, carrying Willow, grin widening when he saw Angel push aside his own pain and fight against the chains, trying desperatly to get to Willow.

“Sorry, you won’t be able to save her this time....”

And then he was gone, leaving Angel in tears. Tears not for himself but for the girl he loved and cared for so very much
 

Part 9

Angel could feel his face slipping, but he couldn’t do anything to stop it. Between both the mental and physical pain, he wasn’t able to control the demon to the extent that he normally could. The demon, angered at the indignity of being held captive in such a way, tore at the chains desperately. It’s struggles were frantic, and the chains sliced through Angel’s skin. The pain got incredible intense, and then the world went black.
 

******
 

Robert slammed the door shut and deposited Willow in a heap on the floor. She was sobbing hysterically. “Shut up!” He kicked her hard in the side, sending her rolling across the room. The sobbing was quickly replaced by quiet whimpering. “Here.” He threw a black lump at her. “Put this on. I’m going to leave you alone- but don’t get me wrong. I’ll be back in five minutes and if you aren’t wearing it I *will* put it on for you!” She nodded and he left, slamming and locking the door shut behind him. She looked around the room. No possible method of escape- the only exit was the door, which she was sure he was guarding. She looked down at the lump in her hands and a chill ran down her spine. A dress, identical to the one she had worn the previous night. “Oh, God...” If she didn’t know before, she was sure of it now. He was a real sicko, psycho-vamp. Even worse than Dru, if that was at all possible. She didn’t want to put it on, but then again she didn’t want him to put it on her.
 

******
 

The fog quickly cleared and Angel saw Willow. She was in another room, equally as dreary as his and equally as chained up as he was. With his vampiric vision he could see the tear tracks running down her face, even
at the great distance. He watched in horror as Robert picked up a knife and cut through her flesh...
 

******

Willow pulled her shirt over her head and replaced it as quickly as possible with the dress. She grabbed her hair and pulled it from beneath the collar of the dress, when she heard something terrifying.

“WILLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!”

It was Angel, and he sounded terrible.

She ran at the door banging it with her fists and kicking harshly. From the outside of the door she could hear Robert laughing heartlessly. She sank to the floor, sobbing, wondering what was happening to Angel. What
kind of terrible torture was Robert inflicting on him? The door opened suddenly, and she fell backwards without her support. Robert caught her before her head hit the ground and lifted her up roughly. She looked at
him, eyes flashing. “YOU BASTARD! YOU KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OF HIM!!”

He should have slapped her. Instead, he laughed. He grabbed her hair and picked her up. She screamed in pain. “MAKE. ME.” He put her down, still keeping his hold on her hair, and dragged her back through the maze of
hallways. She almost sighed in relief when she saw that they were heading back to Angel. <I’m sorry Angel, please be O.K....>

******
 

One second, he saw Robert cutting into Willow. The next, he heard her scream in pain, and he was jolted from the nightmarish images.  “Willow?!” The door opened and a few slivers of dim light peeked through.

“Angel? Angel! I’m so sor..!” She was cut off when Robert quickly jerked her hair. He watched as Robert dragged her into the room by her hair. A wave of nausea hit him when he saw what she was wearing. “Willow... I’m
sorry.. I’m sorry Willow...”

“Shut UP!! I’ve had enough of the lovey-dovey crap!” Robert let go of her hair without warning, sending her crashing into Angel. He roared in pain as the now closing wound in his chest was opened up again. Willow
sobbed, but hugged him, being careful not to disturb his injury anymore.  Robert grabbed her by the hair again and then sent her flying into the wall. He quickly chained her up. “There now. So, Angel, how does your fiancee look? Lovely, don’t you think?”

“Lovely Always, Robert. Lovely Always. Tell me something... if you were a vampire last night, I would’ve sensed it. What happened?”

An almost pained look crossed Robert’s face. “The human... you-” he snarled at Willow “rejected him. He went out, got drunk. And then...” a small, malicious smile overtook his face- “I took him.” I had his memories, though, and you--- well, you were beautiful. So, I decided that I wanted you. That I *would* have you.”

Willow looked up in horror. Chills ran down her spine. “What-- what are you going to do?”

The grin widened. “Easy. I’m gonna play.”
 
 

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