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

Warming Up
By Karen

Willow saw that it was Angelus looking down at her, but it didn’t really register in her brain.  Maybe it was because he didn’t really < look > like the Angelus that she knew.  The smirk and confident aura that constantly surrounded the soulless vampire were gone, and in their place was nothing but fear.  She had never seen Angelus afraid.  Come to think of it, she didn’t think she’d ever even seen < Angel > afraid.

“You’re awake,” the vampire said, his voice full of relief.

Willow struggled to sit up, and Angelus reached down to help her.  Too weak to even put up a token struggle, the redhead accepted his assistance.

“Here.  Drink this.  It’ll make you feel better.”

Willow sent a skeptical look in the vampire’s direction, but took a swallow of the drink anyway.  The brandy burned its way down her throat, and the sensation made her cough.  Angelus held her up until she was through coughing, then gently eased her back down.


That was the big difference.  Angelus was never gentle.  Angelus was a vampire, a soulless demon.  He shouldn’t be capable of gentleness.  He was evil.

Willow looked around the room she was in.  She was in the factory, in the middle of a bed.  Angelus’ bed, she supposed.  For some reason, that revelation didn’t properly terrify her.  It probably had something to do with the relief that she wasn’t dead.  Well, she wasn’t dead yet, anyway.  The bed had been piled high with blankets, and Willow only felt slight embarrassment at the discovery that someone had changed her clothes.  She was now wearing one of Angelus’ silk shirts.  In all honesty, the redhead was just grateful that she was no longer wet.  She turned her gaze back to the vampire that was perched on the bed beside her.

“You saved me.”  It was a statement rather than a question, but the dark haired vampire nodded in response anyway.  “You would care if I died.”

The vampire flinched slightly at the disbelief in Willow’s voice.  When he spoke, his voice had regained some of its harshness.  “I saved you, didn’t I?”

“But wasn’t the point of that attack for us to die?  Isn’t that part of your master plan?  To kill us all?”  Willow was ashamed to hear the tears in her voice, but it couldn’t be helped.

“Those vamps weren’t mine; I had nothing to do with that attack.  And as for killing the others?  That’s always been part of the plan.  But never you.  I was never going to kill you.”

“What about that time at the school right after you turned?”

The vampire didn’t look at her.  “I wasn’t going to kill you.  I planned to just take you and leave before Xander got back with the others, but that idiot teacher interrupted.  So I had to improvise.  I never intended to kill you.”

Was he telling the truth?  Could she really believe that he meant her no harm?

“Where are the others?”

“They got the hell out of there.  The Slayer kept trying to find you, but the Watcher made her leave.  Said it was too late.”

Willow couldn’t help but burst into tears.  The others were safe.  They were alive.  Thank God.

“Buffy tried to find me?” she managed as she tried to control her sobs.

“So did that moron Xander.  He searched even longer than the Slayer did.”  Angelus returned his gaze to her, concern still evident in his eyes.  “Are you warm enough?”

Willow began to respond to the question, but a familiar voice interrupted her.

“Is the little chit up yet?  Because if she doesn’t wake up soon, I say we should eat her.”

Angelus jumped from the bed, his demon face coming to the fore.  “Get the hell out of here, Spike, before I forget I’m in a good mood and rip out your throat.”

Willow pushed herself up in bed, trying to see around Angelus.  The thought that Spike was in the room with her was terrifying.

And then she saw him.

His face was scarred, and the blonde vampire was in a wheelchair.  Was this what Buffy had done to him?  The Slayer had told them that Spike was injured, but she hadn’t accurately described just how bad it was.  Willow silently cheered for the destruction her friend had wrought.  Somehow Spike’s comment about eating her hadn’t exactly endeared him to her.

Spike saw the redhead peering around his sire and smirked.  So the little chit was awake; no wonder Angelus was so pissed about his comment.

“I said get out, Sit-n-Spin,” Angelus growled.

Because he didn’t particularly care to be tossed across the room with the girl watching, Spike rolled out of the room, a murderous look in his eye.  He consoled himself with the thought that when he got out of that chair, Angelus would pay.

As Spike left the room, the dark haired vampire turned back to Willow.  The girl shrunk away when she saw he was in game face.  With a muttered curse, Angelus returned to his human face, then reached out and took hold of her arm.

“I won’t hurt you.  Be careful, or you’ll fall off the damn bed.”  His voice was harsh, but his touch was gentle as he pulled her back to the middle of the bed.

“I want to go home.”

“You can’t.”

Willow looked up at him fearfully.  Angelus flinched.  For some reason, fear from Willow was less satisfying then fear from others.  He didn’t particularly like seeing Willow afraid.

“It’s morning,” the vampire informed the girl.  “I can’t take you home now, and I’m not letting you go off alone.  You’re weak.”

“But you will let me go home?” the redhead asked timidly.

Angelus looked at the door that Spike had left from.  It wasn’t safe to keep her here where Spike, or Drusilla, or even one of the minions could just walk right in.  Besides, he did still have an invitation into her home.  “Yes, I’ll let you go.  I can’t be with you all the time, so you’re safer at home than you are here.  I’ll take you tonight.  Until then, rest.” He pulled the covers snugly over Willow.  Shocked into submission by the vampire’s comments, as well as his actions, Willow just lay there.  He was going to take her home.  He wasn’t going to kill her; he was going to let her go.

As long as he could keep her safe until nightfall.

The End