Willows Choice by Persephone




Willow Rosenburg tilted her face up to sun and let it warm her down to her bones. Anymore it was rare that she had the chance to enjoy the sun. Even with the first evil out there, waiting to destroy them all, Willow knew she had to make a decision. She knew why the first evil was back in action. She knew that the day was coming that she would have to kill Buffy. The dark voice in her head whispered how great it would be to kill the slayer, after all hadn’t she brought the slayer into this world. Willow blocked out the voice with the ease of long practice. She reached down into herself for the magic that was always there, the magic slightly corrupted with the darkness of the hellmouth. With that source, Willow allowed her consciousness to seep into the earth below her. To anyone who glanced at her, they would see a pretty, young lady enjoying the sun.

Willow took her consciousness deep into the earth, following the flow of energy and the rumbles that spoke of the imbalance. Her red head gleamed in the sun as her head tilted back, allowing the strands to tumble down her back. She wondered how long she would continue to play the bumbling idiot for her friends. How long would she go on pretending that she had allowed the power to go to her head? How long before she finally admitted that there was a reason that the darkness held such sway over her?
Willow decided that she would admit it to Buffy before she killed her. It had been her mistake that had brought Buffy back to life after her death and threw off the balance of the world.

Willow’s mouth tightened with the thought of killing the person she had once considered her best friend. She would do what she had to do though. She could not do any less. After all, in the end Willow was what the First would have to deal with. Beyond all the talk about the slayer line, Buffy was not strong enough to deal with the first evil. It was Willow who would stand before the first evil and face that army.

Willow opened herself more to the hellmouth below her, to tap into that power that so many coveted. And only she controlled. Willow’s mouth relaxed into a smirk as the dark magic washed over her and the voice in the back of her head roared in triumph. She ruled the hellmouth and controlled all activity; there was nothing that she could not do.

A sudden shift in the flow of the earth jolted Willow back to awareness. Her fingers dug into the soil as she tried to ride out the pain that was flowing into her. Her teeth caught her lower lip and she tasted blood as she tried to hold back the moan. It only lasted a moment before it was gone and Willow was able to open her eyes. Time to go back, Willow told herself. The first is ready to make his move.


Part 2

Several hours away in Los Angeles, Angel woke up as pain swept through his entire being. His breath hitched and his undead heart seemed to pound in his chest. Angel’s thoughts were incoherent as he tried to wake up. His dark brown eyes were wide as they searched his room. His chest moved as he gasped for unneeded breaths, his hand rose to push his dark hair off of his forehead. The dark blue sheet bunched around his waist as he slowly calmed down.

He listened to the noises in the hotel. Fred and Gunn were arguing over a reference book, Cordy was on the telephone with a client and his son, Conner, was exercising in the basement. His family was safe and secure and he couldn’t figure out what had caused him the pain. Angel searched his mind and found the demon still chained and silent. A small frown creased his forehead as he realized that it had been some time since his demon had actually made itself known.

Conner and Cordelia’s betrayal had been the last time that his demon had actually demanded death. Even that demand hadn’t lasted long before the demon went completely silent. His feelings for Cordelia were confused now. She was no longer the love that had replaced Buffy in his heart. She was more of someone that you had once shared something that could have been special and now the emotions were dead. This left behind a vague uneasiness that made him unsure of how to react to her.

Angel shrugged his shoulders to rid himself of those thoughts. He wasn’t going to start brooding again. He knew his family was safe and secure, it was time to go back to sleep. Tonight he would try and figure out where the pain came from and what it meant. He lay back down, pulling the sheet higher on his chest and allowing the tension to drain out of his muscles. As he finally drifted off to sleep his last thought was of Willow and how she was.

As for Willow she was currently standing in the kitchen trying to get someone to listen to her about this afternoon. It had been hours since she had transported herself home to find that no one wanted to pay attention to her. Willow’s bright green eyes burned as the entire group ignored her. Her hand’s clinched into fists as she tried to remind herself that the new members of the group did not understand how the original Scooby Gang supported the Slayer. She ignored the dark voice in her head that demanded their blood. The voice whispered how much satisfaction would arise from the blood of slayers spilled on her hands. She shrugged it away as she often did when it was making its demands. For a moment Willow let her thoughts drift back to how this had all started.

Willow’s life had been turned upside down her sophomore year in high school when she had found out that vampires did exist and one of her best friend’s, Jesse, was now one. Buffy Summers had come to Sunnydale, California that year and she was the Vampire Slayer. Willow and Xander, her other best friend, had to grow up quickly that year. A smile touched her lips as she thought about Xander.

For a long time, she had had a crush on him. She used to pray that one day Xander would notice her. Willow had hoped that his dark eyes would be filled with something more than the love of friendship. It had never happened but Willow knew that the love she and Xander shared eclipsed some of the most romantic loves of the world.

Xander was the only one that had reached Willow when Tara had died. He had prevented her from destroying the world. He had stood before her and told her that there was no one else he loved more or wanted to spend his last moments with. Even now that memory was enough to warm her heart and give her strength. Willow knew that no matter what she did or who she was Xander would always love her. Not even her closeness with Buffy Summers was that strong. Oh, Buffy tried and relied on her but Willow knew that when she talked to the principal she was hinting that Willow was no longer pulling her weight. But no matter, let them think what they wanted, Willow decided as gazed around the room, she alone knew the sacrifices she had made.

Willow left the kitchen and headed for the basement. Her long skirt swirled around her ankles and the bright green top warmed up her eyes. She knew that everyone else may ignore her, but Spike would always listen to her. Partly out of respect and partly out of gratitude for how she had treated him when he was first implanted. Spike had been the second vampire that Willow had actually knew and talked to. That first time when he had been in her dorm room and trying to bite her but couldn’t. Even as she was telling him it was her fault, he was striding around with his black leather duster flying around him, assuring her that he had always wanted to bite her.

From that point on a connection had been made that nothing could break. Now he was chipless and with a soul. A soft smile touched Willow’s lips as she pulled open the basement door. Willow descended into the dark basement knowing that Spike would be awake and smoking. As she hit the final step, Spike stepped out of the shadows.
“Hello, Red.”
“William,” Willow replied as she stepped onto the basement floor. She offered him a warm smile. She took in the unbuttoned pants and no shirt. The effect was wasted on her, she decided. With his bleached blonde hair and those bright blue eyes, he could make a woman orgasm with just a look.

“Ya know Red, you’ve never explained why you are always calling me William when we’re alone.” Spike told her as he stepped closer to her and blew smoke out of his mouth.
“Is there a reason I shouldn’t”? Willow asked him as she stepped close enough to lay her head on his chest. Willow let the coolness of his skin cool her flesh and calm the voice inside her head. She knew that he would never admit it, but sometimes he missed the simple things like a touch or a hug.

Spike pulled Willow closer and tried to ignore the feelings of desire and protectiveness he always felt around the witch. As much as he loved the Slayer, the emotions that he felt for Willow somehow surpassed even that. When he actually considered it, the feelings Willow stirred up often reminded him of how he felt for Druscilla and Angelus. He shrugged that thought away and tugged Willow towards the bed. He didn’t want to think of things like that. He knew that Willow would sleep with him and after everything he needed that simple human contact.


Part 3

Willow followed Spike willingly, knowing that he was not offering anything sexual. He just wanted that physical contact from another body. She allowed Spike to settle himself onto the cot and pull her in front of him. As Spike urged her onto her back and rested his head over her heart, Willow let one hand comb through his hair. She felt Spike’s unneeded sigh settle deep into her bones and allowed a smile to touch her lips. How many women would give their right arms to be in this vampire’s arms?

He was very handsome and so sexy. There was something about him that spoke of long, hard, hot, sweaty sex. You just knew by looking at him that sex with him would be earth shaking. Willow allowed herself to snuggle closer to him as he slid one leg over both of hers. Even as he settled himself closer to her, she knew that he was waiting for her to explain. They didn’t do this as often as they used to. Back when he was first chipped they had often did this. When everyone else had been gone and they had left her alone with him, he would relax and let himself be William with her.
“I have a problem, William,” Willow finally admitted after a long moment. Upstairs there was the sound of the possible slayers and the rest of the gang. But down here there was only silence and Spike.
“What problem, Willow?” Spike finally asked, knowing that it would never be easy with Willow. In some ways Willow was the quietest of all the Slayerettes. She would bleed to death before admitting she was injured.
“I think the first is ready for his next move.”
“What gives you that idea?”
“The balance of magic around the hellmouth has shifted and is focusing onto something,” Willow explained as her hands ran up and down Spike’s back.
“Any idea where it’s settled?” Spike asked as he listened to her heart beating against his ear. He almost lost himself in the sound, enjoying the feel of her warmth against his coolness. Her blood was rushing through her veins and her smell was one of deep contentment and relaxation.
“I think there’s something coming this way, and no one upstairs was listening to me,” Willow took a deep breath. “Why won’t they listen to me?”
Spike grip tightened around her, trying to offer whatever comfort he could.
“In the beginning, there was just the three of us Scoobies. We all made a contribution and all concerns were listened to.” Willow sighed and went silent.

Spike said nothing; he knew exactly what the gang had been like. There had been no beating them because they made the use of all of their strengths. Now it was as if Buffy was everything, and the rest of the gang was out in the cold. If the Slayer were defeated this time, it would be on her own head and no one else.
“Now it’s like we are nothing. Buffy is training the possible slayers like the council would.” Willow sighed and closed her eyes. “Perhaps it’s for the best, in the end, to separate the Slayer from those who help her.”

Spike pulled Willow a little closer and allowed his own eyes to close. “The Slayer is alive because of her support system. We’ll figure it out Red.”

Willow said nothing and after awhile Spike fell asleep to the sound of her heartbeat and the feel of her hands soothing his back. Willow pulled Spike closer and felt the dark voice in her begin purring at his nearness. She knew that Spike wondered about the feelings that he had for her. Sooner or later Willow was going to have to explain that feeling. Perhaps she would after everything was said and done. A deep contentment was coming from deep inside her so Willow finally let herself fall asleep in Spike’s arms.

When Angel awoke again, he was aware of a feeling of deep contentment. As if for the first time, he was at peace with himself. He wondered at the feeling, he was so used to being at war with the demon deep inside of himself. The pain that had shocked him awake this afternoon was a dim memory and of no consequence to him now. He rolled out of bed and headed for the shower. Tonight was a new night and he would make a difference in the world again. There was nothing he could not do.
After a quick shower Angel was headed upstairs to see what was brewing tonight. As he hit the last step, Angel was suddenly hit with overwhelming desire. It literally washed over him. In a second, Angel was harder than he had been in years. His dark eyes closed in an effort to control it. After a few seconds it passed and Angel was very confused. It was definitely time to talk to Wesley, Angel determined as he ran a dark hand through his hair.


Part 4

When Willow’s eyes opened she was in the master bedroom in a mansion. In the center of the room was a huge four-poster bed draped in red velvet and black satin. There were hundreds of candles spaced throughout the room. Willow took a step forward and her breath caught when what she was wearing slithered against her skin. A glance down showed she was now wearing a skimpy silk nightgown in green. Two pale hands wrapped around her waist and drew her back against a solid chest.

Willow sighed and tilted her head back against his shoulder. Her hands folded over his as a cool mouth nipped at her throat. Willow tilted her head to the side to allow him better access. A low moan escaped her throat as a cool mouth began to suck lightly on her throat. She took the hands and brought them to her mouth. Her tongue flicked out and traced all the fingers on both hands before gently sucking the fingers into her mouth. Behind her the figure groaned and his mouth closed over her neck and suckled. He pulled his hands out of her grasp and dropped to her hips to pull her closer against him.

After a moment the hands began a gentle foray over the nightgown. Willow’s eyes closed as the hands closed over her breasts and warmth was polling low in her belly. The mouth was moving over her throat and nipping at random intervals. Her right hand raised and pulled the head closer to her as the hands began to gently pluck at her nipples.

A chuckle escaped the man behind her as he gently turned her in his arms. Willow’s eyes opened slowly as her head was tilted up. Her languorous green eyes met warm dark eyes and a smile formed upon her lips. Her arms rose to curl around his neck and she pulled his mouth to hers. Her lips met his and a growl rumbled from the man’s throat. His hands pulled her closer as his tongue swept past her lips.

For long moments their tongues dueled against each other. Willow tilted her head and pulled him closer to her. His tongue dragged against her own and Willow felt her knee’s go weak. Her hands clenched in his hair and her mouth clamped down on his tongue and sucked. The effect was immediate and the man dragged her closer and rubbed his erection against her belly. Willow finally dragged her mouth away from his, gasping for breath and tilted her head back, a low moan escaping her. With a sudden move, the man swept her off her feet and strode to the bed. In seconds Willow was flat on her back with the man hovering over her.

With a smile Willow smoothed a hand against his cheek. “Hello, Angelus.”
“Good Morning Willow,” Angelus greeted her with a warm smile that held a hint of arrogance.

Willow stared up at the man that for almost a year had tormented her and her friends. The face was the same. The cocky grin and dark smoldering eyes were the same to a casual glance. Willow knew all of this and rather than seeing the demon that tormented her she saw the man she had come to love. In his eyes, Willow could see the love and a contentment that went beyond the cockiness and arrogance in those dark eyes. Her hands burrowed through his crisp dark hair.
For a moment she enjoyed that sensation, forgetting the heat that was still pooling in her middle. Willow’s eyes drifted closed as she lost herself in the sensation of his crisp hair tangling in her fingers. She forgot that in the waking world there was danger, she only knew that right now she was safe and loved. When she opened her eyes again, Angelus was looking at her with a peculiar gleam in his.

Angelus stared down at the woman that he had come to love. With her red hair spread over the pillow and her green eyes sparkling up at him, Angelus knew that he would kill for this woman or gladly die for her. He wondered how he could have come to the point in his life, him the Scourge of Europe was in love with a 22-year-old girl. But as Willow wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss, Angelus could not bring himself to care.

With a groan Angelus allowed himself to become lost within Willow. Willow moaned against his mouth as his hands slipped underneath the silk nightgown. Willow’s hands moved down Angelus’ back and clutched at him as his mouth left hers to close around her nipple through the nightgown.
“Please Angelus,” Willow begged as she arched into his mouth.
“Anything, Willow,” Angelus promised as he stripped the nightgown from her body.

Willow hands reached out and began to undo the buttons on Angelus’ satin shirt. As Angelus began to move down her body, Willow was pushing the shirt off of his shoulders and running her hands over his bare chest and back. He nibbled his way down her chest and across her stomach. Angelus groaned with desire when her arousal thickened in the air.

Angelus nudged Willow’s legs apart and nipped at the flesh at her inner thigh. His fangs extended and sank into the quivering flesh. Willow’s moans cascaded over Angelus’ ears and sank deep into his bones. For the first time he felt a warmth that went deep into his heart.

“Angelus,” Willow moaned as she pulled him closer and spread her legs farther apart.
Angelus accepted the invitation and after carefully licking the twin wounds closed settled between her thighs. His tongue gently lapped at her very essence. Willow arched into the caress and dug her nails into his scalp.

For long moments Angelus continued to torment Willow. His lips and tongue teased and soothed at the same time. In moments Willow was screaming in orgasm and writhing against the sheets. Angelus rose over Willow as her body continued to quiver from her orgasm. With a quick thrust he was deep inside Willow.

Willow arched into the thrust. She shook with the force and wrapped her legs around his hips. Her hips tilted further up and Angelus went deeper. He growled low in his throat and her eyes met his. Willow was not surprised to find the demon staring down at her. His ridges pronounced and his fangs extended. With a smile, Willow tilted her head back and exposed her throat to Angelus. With a purr, Angelus slid his fangs deep into her neck. For an instant Willow wondered if it was possible to combust from pure pleasure. The feeling of Angelus slowly drawing blood out of her body was enough to make her climax. Her body shook around Angelus and she clutched him to her.

Angelus purred low in his throat as Willow’s blood washed down his throat and into his veins. The familiar taste of magic and innocence that signified Willow warmed him. Angelus eyes closed and thrust deeply into her warmth one last time as he climaxed.
With the vaguest feeling of regret, Angelus withdrew his fangs from Willow’s neck. Still purring contentedly Angelus licked the puncture marks on her neck. He smiled in satisfaction as Willow sighed with contentment beneath him.

He removed himself from her and rolled to his side. With a swift movement Angelus gathered Willow to him. Her silken limbs tangled with his as she snuggled closer and rested her head over where his heart should be. For a moment he allowed himself to wish he were human. At that moment Angelus would have given anything to give Willow the sun, children and a normal life. A life that didn’t include vampires or the hellmouth. He was interrupted from his thoughts by her voice.

“Angelus, do you ever regret it?” Willow’s voice was small and worried.
“What do you mean, little one?” Angelus tried to meet her eyes but they were closed as her fingers drew circles around his nipples.
“The bargain we made to get Angel out of hell?” Willow refused to look into Angelus’ eyes and find disappointment there.
“What’s this?” Angelus sat up and turned Willow’s face up to his. His dark brown eyes were puzzled. Angelus almost growled when Willow still refused to meet his eyes.
“Willow, look at me.” The order was bitten out between gritted teeth. Immediately her eyes opened and the look in them almost brought him to his knees. Tears were shimmering in their depths and there was such a deep pain in them.
“Ah, baby.” Angelus groaned as he tugged her close and wrapped his arms around her. “There is nothing that I regret about you except that I didn’t notice you sooner.” Angelus rested his cheek on her hair and allowed his eyes to drift close. “You’re the only good thing that has come out of this entire experience, Willow. Never doubt that.” Angelus tilted her face up to his and kissed away her tears. “Never doubt that Willow,” he whispered as he claimed her lips in a deep kiss.

Willow lost herself in Angelus’ kiss. He burned away all thought and fears as he urged her head back farther and tangled his tongue with hers. Her hands slipped through his hair before she pressed him back into the sheets. Her entire body once again began to burn as only Angelus could make it. Warmth was pooling low in her abdomen as she pulled away from his lips. Willow smiled as Angelus groaned in protest and then purred as Willow moved her mouth to his neck. He arched his neck as Willow began to suck and nibble on it.

Angelus clutched at the sheets as Willow began to torment him. He was glad that she was out of that melancholy mood. He hated the fact that he could not save her from everything. A moan was ripped out of him as Willow suddenly bit down hard enough on his neck to draw blood. In an instant, Angelus’ fangs descended and he flipped Willow over onto her back.

Willow smiled up at him. A drop of his blood still glistened on her lips. Her bright green eyes were smiling up at him with that hint of darkness that always surprised him. Her thighs parted more and he found himself pressing deeper into the junction between her thighs. Angelus’ unnecessary breath caught in his throat and he was overwhelmed with the surge of his emotions. Willow reached up a hand and brushed Angelus’ cheek.
“There’s nothing I regret either.” For a moment passion was suspended as Angelus’ pressed his forehead to hers. There were no sounds but the mingling of their breaths and a deep sense of peace.

Willow was surprised when Angelus’ head suddenly jerked up. A threatening growl rumbled deep in his chest and his demon face was in place. She started to reach for him, only to stop when he spoke. “Danger.”

Willow jerked awake in the real world, her eyes as dark as night and her power crackling in the air. With a movement of her hand the shadows standing around her were thrown up against the wall. With a quick movement Willow was on her feet preparing to deal with the interlopers. Willow didn’t fight the dark magic as it rolled through her. She welcomed it and the calmness it brought. Deep within her mind she could still hear Angelus’ growl.

She felt Spike roll to his feet behind her. His growl heightened the feeling of danger that she was struggling with. All of her senses were under full alert and tingling. Spike pressed against her back and she could feel his growl rumbling through her body. His hands clutched at her shoulders as he glared at the people now plastered to the wall in the basement.

Spike almost smiled around his fangs as he stared at the surprised look on all of the slayer wannabes. Willow had never shown any of the new gang her power. And now she was crackling from the power that she was holding at bay. His hands soothed her shoulders as he bent to whisper in her ear.
“Not that I’m not getting a kick out of this luv, but don’t you think you should let them down?”
“Not until they tell me what they are doing down here,” Willow replied coldly as her black eyes took in their expressions. “They weren’t invited and I have no need for children right now.”

Spike actually laughed out loud at the outraged expressions that appeared on all the slayer wannabe’s. For the first time since joining this group he felt like a demon. He wrapped his arms around Willow’s waist and pulled her back against him. His nose buried in her red hair as he breathed in her scent. Willow always smelled like vanilla, innocence and the spicy smell of magic. His amused blue eyes remained locked on the girls plastered against the wall. Spike watched their mouths move and yet no sounds emerged. “Red as much as I’m enjoying the show,” he informed her as he nibbled on her ear. “They can’t explain without being able to speak.” Spike stroked Willow’s ear with his tongue, enjoying the way her head tilted to let him.

Willow trailed her fingers up one of his arms as her head tilted to allow Spike to reach her ear. Her eyes still swirled black and she knew that her hair was starting to tint black. Willow rested her head against Spike shoulder as his chin rested on hers. His cheek pressed against hers and she could feel the ridges. Her black eyes roved over the possible slayers as they struggled against the bonds that held them. She could feel her lips twitching with dark amusement at the terrified expressions on their faces. “Why whatever is wrong girls?” Willow asked. “One would think that you were just taught that might doesn’t always work.” Her voice was dark and sadistic. “After all, the rest of us are nothing but a nuisance right?” Her question hung in the air before she waved her hand.

Spike watched as the possible slayers dropped to the floor. The girls lay on the floor stunned and breathless. His fingers drew designs on Red’s stomach as the girls scrambled to their feet. He couldn’t prevent the laughter that echoed through the room as the possible slayers rushed up the steps in an all out panic. “I suppose they decided that they didn’t want to play with us, eh Red?” His head turned towards her neck and he proceeded to nibble.

“I guess they just couldn’t handle being shown that might doesn’t make right,” Willow told him as she arched her neck into his fangs. Her now black hair swirled around her other shoulder as her hand reached up to press his face into her neck. As he licked slowly at the base of her neck, she couldn’t hold back a moan. Her head tilted even more as he continued to trace her collarbone with his tongue.

Spike growled deep in his throat as Willow continued to offer her throat to him. The scent of her arousal was beginning to permeate the air and Spike wanted to do nothing more than to bury his fangs into her throat. Willow’s magic was still crackling in the air and he turned Willow to face him. His unneeded breath caught in his throat as her black eyes met his. Spike’s face slipped back into the human façade as he met the evil swirling around in her eyes.

When Willow had gone completely evil he hadn’t been here. Spike had never seen this face of the innocent Willow. For the first time, Spike could actually understand why everyone stepped lightly around Willow. With a questioning look in his eyes, he began to lower his head towards her. He almost groaned in satisfaction as her head tilted and her lips parted. Just as their lips were about to meet the basement door was suddenly shoved back and bounced off the wall.

“Willow!” Buffy’s voiced echoed around the basement.
“Yes?” Willow called back unconcernedly as she stepped away from Spike. She turned and faced the blond slayer as she reached the bottom of the stairs. Willow tried to ignore the emptiness that came from inside her at the loss of Spike’s touch.
“What’s going on?” The blond slayer asked suspiciously as her blue eyes went from Willow to Spike.
“The children,” Willow said drolly as she stepped towards Buffy, “surprised me when Spike and I were taking a nap.”
“Yea, Slayer.” Spike stepped around Willow as he lit a cigarette. “Red and I were just trying to take a little nap. Then the kiddies decided they wanted to play pepping tom.” Spike took a deep drag of his cigarette and blew it out. “I should have stayed in my crypt,” Spike mumbled to himself as he reclined against the wall, watching Buffy and Willow face off.

Buffy didn’t take her eyes off of Willow’s black gaze. Her face was firm and without mercy as she slowly moved into a fighting stance. “Still doesn’t explain why you decided to use magic Willow.”
“By the Goddess Buffy,” Willow bit out as she slowly let go of her magic. “I woke up with the sense of lots of eyes watching me.” Willow waved her hand in the air. “We’ve all been very jumpy with the first.”

Buffy sighed and relaxed her stance. With an apologetic smile at Willow and Spike she shrugged her shoulders. The brief smile touched her lips and warmed her bright blue eyes, “I guess the girls were kinda stupid. Nobody should sneak up on a sleeping witch.” “I won’t apologize though,” Willow told Buffy as she looked towards Spike. She fought back the wave of arousal that hit her as her eyes traced Spike’s naked chest. Willow’s eyes half closed as her green gaze met ice blue and heated.

“I wouldn’t expect you too,” Buffy assured Willow as she turned toward the steps. “I’ll tell the girls that they can’t expect to surprise a witch without consequences. It’s about time they learned that being a slayer is not the most powerful being on this planet,” Buffy’s voice was determined as she headed back upstairs.
“Buffy,” Willow called after her friend without turning to watch her leave.
“Yea, Wills?” Buffy paused at the top of the stairs.
“Please stress to the children that next time I won’t be so nice.”
“Oh, I’ll make sure they understand,” Buffy told her with a chuckle. “In fact,” the slayers voice turned slightly thoughtful. “I think that I might have just come up with a new exercise.”

Willow smiled as Buffy left the basement still mumbling about showing the possible slayers that pure strength didn’t always work. You had to hand it to Buffy that she always tried. Perhaps soon Buffy would agree to listen to her again. When the door closed behind the slayer, Willow once again concentrated her attention on the blond vampire lounging against the basement walls. Arousal once again swirled through her as she met that heated blue gaze.

Spike took another drag on the cigarette as Buffy closed the door behind her. Once again he was almost drowning in the emotions that Willow aroused in him. He didn’t know what to make of it anymore. Before today, he would have sworn that there was nothing sexual in his feelings for Willow. And yet, it was all he could do not to throw her on the bed and bury himself deep inside her. The only thing that kept him from doing that was the consequences would be.
“William,” Willow whispered huskily as she stepped towards him.
“Red,” He replied, struggling to keep his voice neutral.

Willow came to a stop at his tone. His voice was empty and withdrawn, enforcing her own inner feeling of emptiness. “I’m sorry, William. Sometimes,” Willow waved her hand in the air, green eyes not looking directly at him. “My dark magic often goes to the extreme. I know that we’ve never crossed the sexual line and your friendship is very important to me. And that is why I am ever so sorry that I have made you uncomfortable and I swear that I will never do something like that again. After all, I’m just Willow and you love Buffy, stupid of me to even think of doing something like this. Trust me, I will never do this again. Word of honor. As long as you still believe in my word. After all I was very, very bad and nobody should trust me.” Willow ran up the stairs as soon as she was finished talking, leaving behind a very confused vampire.

“How exactly would you describe what you happened?” Wesley asked as he reached for another book. When Angel had first burst into his office Wesley had been prepared for everything but what had come tumbling out of his mouth. Even now Wesley was finding it had to imagine what exactly was going on.

“Everything is overwhelmed by the feelings I have. Pain in the middle of the day, then complete contentment upon waking until finally overwhelming desire,” Angel looked up from his contemplation of his hands. His dark eyes troubled and begging for a simple explanation.

“I just don’t know,” Wesley told him. “I’ll research, and maybe I’ll even call Miss Rosenberg. After all, we don’t really know much about your recursing and the effects it will have on you both.”
“You think that Willow might be experiencing something similar?” Angel queried anxiously. He had never really noticed the redhead witch while he was in Sunnydale, it had taken him moving away to appreciate what she had done for him.
“I have no clue Angel,” Wesley replied absentmindedly. “I wasn’t there and I never saw the spell. Not to mention all we know is that it works, no one ever looked into it further.” Wesley reached for another book. “Miss Rosenberg might have suffered effects that she never told anyone.”
“We should call right away then,” Angel sputtered as he reached for the telephone.
“No,” Wesley disagreed and smacked Angels’ hand away from the telephone. “We should get more information about where the emotions are coming from before we upset Miss Rosenberg.” Wesley looked at Angel over his glasses and when Angel nodded his agreement went back to his books.

Angel slowly left Wesley to his books. He had never considered the possibility that Willow could be suffering any effects from the spell. When he had first come back, Angel had even been upset with the red haired witch for cursing him and then sending him to hell. It had taken awhile for him to remember that Willow never did anything that would deliberately harm another person and that Buffy had been the one to send him to hell. The thought that Willow was suffering and had been suffering in silence, afraid to approach him or even warn him, had his gut twisting.

Angel made his way to his office, wanting nothing more than to pick up the telephone and call Willow and make sure she was all right. He didn’t know what was going on in Sunnydale right now. His mind had been so caught up in everything else going on here that he hadn’t spared a thought to the hellmouth. His dark brown eyes hardened and a frown touched his lips, Angel would give Wesley until sundown tomorrow before he called. He agreed that there was no reason to upset Willow but neither was it smart to let it go if something was wrong. Angel felt the relief spread through his body as he resolved to call Willow tomorrow and knew that he had made the right decision.

Willow made it through the rest of the day somehow. She kept up the self-recriminations about Spike. She should have known that Magic and unfinished sex with Angelus and then staying around Spike was a bad idea. After all, Spike was Angelus’ and as such hers. Not to mention, the man just radiated sex and lust. Her green eyes stared unseeingly outside to the yard. She absently noted and dismissed all the possible slayers exercising in the yard. She knew better than to think she could compete with Buffy, Willow reminded herself as she wrapped her arms around her chest. Hadn’t she learned anything from Angel and how he acted to her?

The only thing to do was to pretend it didn’t happen. Willow nodded decisively to herself. No one knew her secret. Angel had never reacted to anything of the things that her and Angelus did, so there was no reason to think he would start now. Spike had never wanted her; she had just been a willing body, so there shouldn’t be any problem from that corner. Yes, Willow decided with a sigh, it was much better to pretend it didn’t happen.

The deepening darkness shocked Willow out of her thoughts. With a glance at the clock, she realized that it had been hours since she had first slipped into her room. It was amazing that she had been left along for as long as she had been. Willow’s lips tightened. They either didn’t notice or are too afraid to bother her now.

The group downstairs was quiet when Willow finally entered the living room. She had changed clothes into a pair of jeans and a comfortable T-shirt. When every eye in the room swung to her and then away, she knew she had been the topic of their conversation. For a second, Willow was tempted to walk away, she really didn’t need everyone nervous simply because she had proven that she was still strong in magic. Instead, she pasted a bright smile on her face and asked, “what’s up guys?”

“Hey, Wills,” Xander called as he entered the living room from the kitchen. He was snacking on a Ho-Ho and Willow had to smile at the image he made. “Want some?” Xander asked as he walked over to her and offered her a bite.

“Thanks Xander,” Willow replied as she took a bite of his Ho-Ho. Her hand remained wrapped around his wrist as his dark eyes smiled down at her. In those dark brown eyes she saw the little boy who had first befriended her, the teenager that had been her crush, and finally the adult that remained her rock. The dancing warmth in his eyes was enough to make her forget, especially when he gently tapped her head with his other hand.

“For you, anything,” Xander assured her. He lost himself in those green eyes. He delighted in seeing the familiar Willow in those emerald green depths. There had been a time when he had been afraid that he never would again see the familiar Willow again. Xander knew he could handle anything but losing Willow. As he had told her when he stopped her from destroying the world, there wasn’t anyone in the world he would rather be with in the end.

Willow had been there for all of his milestones. She had been there for all of his firsts. His first F, his first A and everything in between. When he had killed Jesse, he had snuck up to her room and crawled into her arms. She never mentioned his sobbing and begging for forgiveness the next day. Through everything Willow had been his rock, and he delighted in where they were now.

When he had gotten home, Xander had heard the grumblings of the possible slayers and had wanted to shake them. With everyone so on edge, the girls should be thankful that Willow hadn’t incinerated them. He knew he was quite tempted on occasion, especially since they were all about Buffy. Instead he had held his tongue and waited for Willow to make her appearance and now he would deal with everyone else.

“So Wills, I hear you decided to make wall ornaments of our current slayer squad,” Xander teased as he brushed away a speck of cream off her cheek. “Personally, I think that I would have made them a bonfire for sneaking up on me while I was sleeping.” Xander winked at her and was delighted by the smile that lit up her face. “In fact, as of now I am going to move in with you and you can protect me from teenage girls and things that go bump in the night.” Xander stated dramatically.

Willow had to laugh at Xander’s foolishness. At the same time she could help but warm from his sentiment. He was tactfully announcing that he was on her side and she loved him all the more for it. “Of course Xander. It’ll be just like when we were little kids.” Willow agreed with him and laughed up into his face. Her green eyes twinkling merrily into his as she threw her arms around him. “One thing though,” Willow said as she paused thoughtfully.

“What?” Xander asked as he wrapped his arms around her waist.
“Aren’t you one of those things that go bump in the night?” Willow asked innocently as she stared up at him.

Willow took a deep breath, concentrating harder on the images and feelings that were slowly flooding her senses. She was aware of the cool breeze and the darkness of the night around her. Her brilliant green eyes were open and staring unseeingly into the darkness, her mind linked with Xander, Spike and Giles as they moved silently through the cemetery. Through their eyes she could see the shadows of the tombstones they moved through and feel everything they experienced.

Her head tilted back and her eyes closed, the wind suddenly picked up and her hair rippled like a stream down her back. Slowly her hands rose, drawing energy from the hellmouth, and spread out from her body. Her skin glowed white in the moonlight, made whiter by the tight black blouse and black leather pants and boot she had changed into.
Its high collar was designed to brush against the underside of her chin but remained open until the swell of her breasts, where the blouse tightened before nipping inward to her waist. The leather pants showcased the tiny waist and the gently flaring hips before following the slim legs down the high-heeled boots.

Willow was vaguely aware that Buffy and the girls were following just behind the boys in case they ran into something they couldn’t handle. The scoffing from the girls had stopped after the first cemetery, due to how quickly and easily Willow and the boys had destroyed the vampires. For the first time the girls were shown that the Slayer was not the only weapon against the darkness.

Willow became aware of a trickle of uneasiness from Spike. She spun her awareness out into an ever-widening circle. She dismissed the girls as the source and continued searching. As her mind spun just out of the cemetery she found a rather large group of vampires converging from four different directions. Willow could feel the malice from the group but it did not seem they were out to kill. Her head tilted to one side and she drew more powerfully on the magic of the hellmouth trying to read the vampires purpose. Her hair rippled with black, the veins under her skin began to tint black as she pulled on even more magic.

Angelus delighted chuckle rolled across her mind as he relished the evil suddenly pouring through her. Willow could feel his arousal beginning to grow at the thought of what she could do. With a shuddering breath, Willow pushed her awareness of Angelus to the back of her mind and contacted the rest of the gang.

“Guys, we’ve got a problem,” her voice was barren of all emotion as it sounded through everyone’s head. “There are at least 100 vampires heading this way and they’ve got the cemetery surrounded.”
“Regular vamps or the Uber vamps?” Buffy queried, looking towards the area of the cemetery where Willow was.
“Uber vamps,” Willow replied emotionlessly. “And from the looks on their faces, they are after something specific.”
“Any ideas?” Xander asked as they moved back towards Buffy and the girls.
“I can’t see anyway to escape,” Willow offered as she extended her search.
“Then we take a stand in the center and see what happens,” Buffy decided. “We’ll head your way, Wills. So don’t move.”
“Fine.”

Willow broke off contact with Buffy and opened her eyes. The full moon was shining brightly down on her, seeming to wash everything in a white light. Angelus purred contentedly in the back of her mind, enjoying the darkness that Willow now was. Willow allowed his emotions to wash over her, taking security from the fact that Angelus loved her for all that she was. A shadow of movement caught Willow’s attention and her black gaze narrowed on the figure moving between the headstones.

It wasn’t one of the gang but at the same time the figure seemed familiar. Willow decided that she would check it out before the rest of the crew arrived. Her magic swirled around her and lifted her from the top of the mausoleum to the ground. Her black hair shimmered in the moonlight, swaying in the nonexistent breeze. Her black eyes remained locked on the figure as she moved towards its. As she came closer Willow realized that the figure was a female, darting nervously between the headstones. Willow’s head cocked to one side, considering what she should do now.

Every step took her father and father away from the rest of the gang. But at the same time she knew that she could magic herself back in an instant. With that thought Willow decided to keep following the woman. As the woman darted out into the bright moonlight, her brown hair glimmered in the light. A bolt of recognition shot through Willow but she shoved it aside. There was no way that the woman was who she thought it was.

Buffy caught up with Spike, Xander and Giles. She dodged the blow from the uber vampire. The sword swung easily and the head went flying. Her hair was straggling down into her face as she grabbed Dawn and shoved her to the center of the circle. A glance showed that the possible slayers were holding up well against the attack.

But Buffy couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. The uber vampires weren’t really trying. She knew that they could have overwhelmed them easily and yet they hadn’t. She blocked another attack and ducked under his arm. Her foot kicked upwards, slamming into his breastbone. A loud crack was heard and then the vampire was stumbling back from her.

“Anybody have any clue what’s going on?” Xander yelled as his fist slammed into a vampires face. “Cause I know they aren’t trying.”
“Where’s Willow?” Spike yelled as he fought his way free of several vampires.
“I don’t know!” Buffy called back, her eyes doing a quick scan. The mausoleum that Willow had been was just to their right but she wasn’t there. “She’s not where she’s supposed to be!”
“Do you think they are after her?” Xander asked, chest heaving with exertion as he dodged another attack.
“Could be. They aren’t pushing just keeping us busy,” Giles agreed as he took another head. “Question is why?”

A scream suddenly roared through the cemetery. The sound had the hair on the back of their necks standing upright. Heads whipped to the left, straining to see through the darkness. The scream sounded again, but this time there was a note of pure agony in it.

“Willow!” Xander screamed as he picked up the vampire in front of him and tried to work his way through. “We’ve got to get to her.”
“How?” Spike asked as he tried to fight his way through the vampires in front of him.
“Cause I bloody hell can’t get through over here.”
“There’s got to be some way!” Xander called back as he took a blow to the stomach and went to his knees.
“XANDER!!!” Willow’s voice ripped through their heads. “HELP!”
“WILLOW!” Xander’s yelled in response.
“XANDER!!!!” Her voice was a long shriek of agony.
“We’re surrounded pet,” Spike responded calmly.

The vampires in front of them suddenly caught fire. And the fire spread quickly, jumping from vampire to vampire without mercy. Screams filled the air and then all of the vampires were suddenly gone, leaving nothing but dust. Buffy and Spike were already running towards the sound of the screams. Everyone else followed as quickly as possible.

Buffy and Spike were running full out and then suddenly they slammed into something. They bounced off and lay there for a minute stunned. A scream ripped through the air and they struggled to their feet. In front of them was Willow. She was on her hands and her knees, red hair spilling over onto her face. Her shoulders heaved and trembled as she struggled to get back up.

Blood was beginning to pool under her, steadily dripping from the multiple wounds on her body. Her clothes were singed and torn, her breath coming in pants. In front of her stood Caleb and Amy. Amy was chanting as Caleb rained blows down on Willow. Willow caught Caleb’s leg and tossed him away. She managed to get up and start towards Amy before the chanting forced her to her knees again.

A hand wrapped around her stomach as it twisted in agony. Willow dropped to the ground and panted as she tried to wrap herself in her magic again. By this time Willow had figured out what they wanted and from the way that Angelus was growling in her head he had figured it out.

A figure knelt before her and Willow looked into Tara’s tear stained blue eyes. “Why don’t you just give him up?” She whispered as her hand ghosted over Willow’s face.
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Willow replied as she stared into Tara’s eyes. “And using her against me isn’t going to help you.”
“Willow please?” Tara begged again. “Why would you put him first? This is why you didn’t bring me back to life isn’t it? You were in love with him and I was nothing to you!” Tara continued to cry and rail at Willow.
“You would feel so much better if you would give us what we want,” Caleb told her as his hand tangled in her hair and forced her upright. Amy’s chanting grew louder and the pain became even more intense and Willow screamed out in pain. “You’ll finally have peace,” he whispered in her ear.
“I told you that Angel is in LA. I don’t know what you are trying to prove,” Willow gasped out as tears streamed down her face.
“I asked about Angelus. Not Angel,” Caleb replied and punched her.

Willow went flying and slammed through a tombstone. Amy’s chanting was starting to build to a crescendo and Willow knew that she didn’t have much time. But what could she do. A movement in the corner of her eye showed that the gang had finally made it but they couldn’t get through the barrier that the first and Amy had put up. Willow tried to push herself upright as she gritted out her answer, “I haven’t heard of a demon being able to survive away from the host. Angel is in LA.”
“Wrong answer again,” Caleb chided as he swept her arms out from under her. She slammed back down on the ground and lay there stunned. “We both know that he lives in you. Why don’t you just give up?”
“Go to hell,” Willow hissed out in reply, forcing her arms under her again and starting to get up.

Amy’s chant had finally reached the apex of the spell and Willow knew she didn’t have enough time to stop it. Instead she suddenly struck out and the barrier collapsed. As the gang rushed in, Caleb turned to face them and Willow collapsed. Her body was in agony. The spell was slowly tearing her apart. Angelus was being forcibly removed from her, she could feel him getting further and further away from her. Another scream ripped from her throat as Angelus was finally pulled from her mind and soul and then she succumbed to the darkness.

“NO!” Angelus screamed as Willow collapsed. He paid no attention to the fact that he had his own body or the battle raging behind him. He reached out for his love, blood was spilling from her lips and her body seized. He could hear her heart beat slowing and a scream of pure agony was ripped from his throat. “WILLOW!” He shook her shoulders, pulling her up against him.

Her head flopped onto his chest and her blood began to spill down his shirt. He bent down and pressed a kiss to her lips, tasting only her blood as her heart began to slow even more. “I don’t know what to do.”
“Amy…” Willow’s voice was no more than a mere whisper in his head. “Stop the spell.”
Angelus placed Willow back on the ground and stalked towards Amy. Caleb got in his way and Angelus fist slammed into his face. Amy was still chanting, oblivious to the killer stalking her. Her eyes popped open when a hand wrapped around her head and tilted it. Before she realized what was going on, fangs were buried in her neck and sucking her blood. She struggled for a moment, trying to get away but all of her magic was wrapped up in the spell.

Within seconds Angelus was dropping a dead Amy to the ground and rushing back towards Willow. Xander was doing CPR when Angelus pushed him out of the way. Xander protested but Angelus was already pulling Willow towards him.

“Willow, love, open your eyes,” he whispered as he pressed a kiss to her lips. “Let me back in please?” He begged as tears traced down his cheeks. “Willow…” he moaned and then her lips moved against his and he fell into the kiss.

When Willow opened her eyes, there were as black as night and Angelus was no longer there. She rolled easily to her feet, hair beginning to darken as she stalked towards Caleb, who was slowly beginning to stir.

“Willow what…” Xander called.

Willow didn’t reply as she grabbed Caleb and pulled him to his feet, her hand wrapped securely around his throat. He struggled against her, eyes wide with panic. “So you want to play with Angelus the Scourge of Europe?” Her voice was questioning as she looked at him. “Why don’t we go somewhere we can play?”

A dark hole slowly began to open beneath her feet. Caleb began to scream and tried to twist away. But Willow merely held him tighter around the throat. “You hurt the woman that I love,” Willow hissed. “If you want to play with me than I would be more than glad to play!” She paused and laughed at the fear spreading across his face. “I know the perfect place too. The hell that I haven’t been back to since Willow pulled Angel out of it. I think you’ll like it.” With that both of them sank into the ground.

“What in the bloody hell?” Spike demanded.
“We need to call Angel immediately,” Giles decided. “Obviously something happened when Willow gave Angel back his soul.”
“What about Willow?” Xander asked as he stood up.
“I don’t know Xander. But I’m sure that she’ll be alright.”
Angel was just returning from his patrol when the pain swept over him. It was all consuming and had him dropping to his knees.

“Angel!” Wesley called as he hurried over. “What’s wrong?” His hands were on Angel’s arm, attempting to pull him up.
“I don’t know,” Angel gasped out as his knees buckled again. “It’s like I’m being ripped apart.
“How….” Wesley’s voice faded as Angel fell into the darkness beckoning him.

When he woke up an hour later he discovered he was in a car, propped up between Cordelia and Gunn. He could see Fred, Wesley and Lorne in the front seat. A movement behind him told him that Conner was in the very back of the car. He opened his mouth but the only thing that emerged was a moan.

“Angel you okay?” Cordelia questioned, turning to look at him.
“What’s going on?” Angel managed to get out, his voice thready.
“We’re on our way to Sunnydale,” Cordelia explained as she laid a hand on his cheek and turned his face towards her. Her dark eyes were anxious as they searched his.
“What?”
“Giles called. He said that something happened when Willow gave you back your soul that no one was counting on. He also said that we needed to come right away,” Cordelia continued.
“Willow! Is she….” Angel questioned anxiously as he stared at her. His emotions were in turmoil. There was an emptiness spreading inside of him that hadn’t been there before.
“We don’t know. The crew in Sunnydale said that she disappeared with Caleb.”
“Caleb?”
“It appears that they have been fighting the very First Evil,” Wesley supplied. “Which is quite fascinating. Something about the balance between good and evil being off which in turn released him.”
“Enough Wesley! I really don’t think that Angel cares right now,” Cordelia snapped.
“I suppose you are right,” Wesley agreed and turned to stare out the windshield. “But I thought that it might be good to know what we are heading into.”
“And you’re right,” Angel agreed. “But what does this have to do with Willow?”
“According to Giles, Angelus is a part of Willow. And the First Evil wants him.”
“What?” Angel stared at Cordelia in shock. His thoughts began to whirl. Was it possible? And if it was true what did it mean?

Angel paced restless around the living room, trying to understand everything that Giles was telling him. His mind whirled with the thoughts and emotions that came from all the revelations.

“So you are saying that Willow is currently Angelus’ host?” Wesley asked hesitantly, as if unsure he understood what Giles had told them.
“Yes Wesley,” Giles sighed and took off his glasses, absently rubbing at the lenses.
“That is exactly what I am saying. Willow and Angelus are somehow one and have been for a very long time. Did you notice anything different Angel?”
“Hmm,” Angel looked up and shook his head. “Beyond this morning and then collapsing? Nothing. Willow never even hinted about anything like this when I was in Sunnydale.”
“But would she?” Gunn asked. Everyone turned to look at him.

“If this happened when Willow gave Angel back his soul, would she have mention any type of side effects? Who was going to listen to her?”
“That’s a bloody good question,” Spike tossed in from the stairs where he was sitting.
“Cause I don’t know about you blokes, but I’ve noticed that Willow won’t mention she’s bleeding. Let alone anything that has to do with Angel or Angelus.”
“Quite right Spike,” Giles agreed. “Willow is quite quiet when it comes to things like that. So the question now is what are we going to do about it?”
“Do we have the right to do anything?” Lorne asked casually. “If Angelus was acting the way that you say, then it is possible the two have mated, bonded or consorted. Trying to do anything might cause more harm than good. And right now I don’t think I would want to upset the most powerful witch in the Western Hemisphere.”
“Too right!” Spike agreed. “I don’t want to be a toad ‘cause I upset Red. She has a nasty temper to go with that hair.”
“But we can’t just let it continue,” Buffy protested. “If Will has Angelus in her, he could be the reason she goes all black and stuff! Right?” Her blue eyes met Giles and then Xander.
“Right,” Xander agreed. “But it is Will and I trust her. She’s my best friend,” he told them simply, his dark eyes serious and compelling.
“And you have a point Xander,” Giles admitted. “But we all know that Willow has been slightly off lately. Especially with Tara being dead and almost destroying the world.”
“But she didn’t,” Xander protested. “Because Willow wouldn’t.”
“But Angelus might,” Giles replied calmly.
“Why don’t we wait?” Gunn offered. “None of us knows exactly what happened. Shouldn’t we wait for the girl to explain before we make any real decisions?”
“Good point,” Wesley agreed and looked at Giles. “Don’t you think so Giles?”
“Of course,” Giles agreed and looked over at Buffy. “We can do no less.”
“Then we wait.”

Night lift up the shades
Let in the brilliant light of morning
But steady me now for I am weak
And starving for mercy
Sleep has left me alone to carry
The weight of unraveling where we went wrong
It’s all I can do to hang on
To keep me from falling into old familiar shoes

How stupid could I be?
A simpleton could see
That you’re no good for me
But you’re the only one I see

Love has made me a fool
Set me on fire and watched as I floundered
Unable to speak except to cry out
And wait for your answer
But you come around in your time
Speaking of fabulous places
Create an oasis that dries up
As soon as you’re gone
You leave me here burning
In this desert without you

How stupid could I be?
A simpleton could see
That you’re no good for me
But you’re the only one I see

Everything changes
Everything falls apart
I can’t stand to feel myself losing control
Deep in my senses I know

How stupid could I be?
A simpleton could see
That you’re no good for me
But you’re the only one I see

How stupid could I be?
A simpleton could see
That you’re no good for me
But you’re the only one I see

As Willow stood on the sidewalk in front of the house, that song kept running through her head. She could hear Sara McLachlan’s sorrowful voice echoing through her mind; feel the gut wrenching truth of those words. There was something about that song that suddenly fit her life. And Willow didn’t know what she should do.

She loved Angelus and he loved her, knew that with every breath she took but at the same time there was something that made her wonder about her own stupidity. After all she had believed that Oz loved her, that Tara cared about her and now that Angelus loved her. He was a part of her, tied forever to her soul. And Willow was beginning to understand what that truly meant. Beyond the sharing of her body, her mind and the exceptional sex.

It meant that there are demons out there that would give anything to set Angelus free. It meant that she was going to walk into that house and listen to the screams and demands from her friends. An unfamiliar car sat in the driveway and its plates told her that Angel and his gang was here too. Was it really worth it to walk into that house and listen to them? With the way she was currently feeling?

Hell no.

But she was going to do it. The moment she could convince her feet to move again. Goddess knows that she hurt everywhere. Her clothes were torn and bloody, her muscles ached with every moment and it hurt to breath. She could feel her eye beginning to swell from the last punch that Caleb had managed to connect. And the wound on her side was still open and bleeding.

It amazed her to think that only two days ago she had been worried about Buffy and the First. Now she had to worry about the fact that everyone knew her secret. A wave of dizziness rolled of Willow and took the decision out of her hands. She didn’t have the energy to teleport somewhere else. So that meant she needed to get into the house.

If she could just get her legs working. Willow took a deep breath, wincing as her abdominal muscles and ribs protested. She leaned forward and forced her legs to move. Her bare feet were swollen and bleeding but she ignored that pain and concentrated on getting up the steps and to the porch.

Her breath came in short pants, red hair hanging into her face, face becoming whiter with every step. Her black shirt hung in tatters on her and her hand gripped the railing as she pulled herself up the wooden porch steps. Her green eyes remained locked on the door in front of her. She almost sobbed in relief when her hand closed around the doorknob. A few more steps, she kept telling herself. Upstairs to her room and then maybe she could finally get something to stop the bleeding.

The door swung open and the sounds of an argument in the kitchen reached her ears. Willow ignored everything and kept moving, her feet scooting across the wooden floor to the steps. The warmth in the house seemed comforting and familiar but Willow didn’t stop to appreciate it. Her hand grasped the railing and she began the painstaking process of moving up the stairs. Her free hand wrapped around her stomach, pressing against the wound on her side.

Blood dripped from between her fingers, coating them and dripping to the floor with every step. Willow could feel her lungs burning, muscles straining and dizziness filling her head. Spots began to dance in front of her; everything took on a surreal quality as she kept climbing the stairs. Nothing seemed quite real to her, sort of half out of focus. As she made it to the first landing and shuffled around the corner post to continue climbing someone appeared before her.

Willow raised her head carefully, looking into the unfamiliar face of a woman. Not that that was unusual with all the new possible slayers running around, but this girl didn’t feel like a possible slayer. Startled brown eyes stared into hers, long brown hair streamed past the woman’s shoulders. Her mouth opened but Willow ignored her and continued upstairs to her room. From behind her came the sounds of someone hurrying down the stairs but Willow couldn’t bring herself to care.

All of her attention was focused on making it up the stairs. Willow finally managed to get to the top, blood loss making her woozy as she crossed the floor to her room. She fell against it, too weak to stay up anymore. She took several deep breaths, wincing at the pain and twisted the knob. She stumbled into her room, almost landing on her bed. A hand shot out and she struggled to keep upright, using the bed to keep herself upright.

Slowly Willow made her way around the bed, heading for her hamper and the closet. She needed to find something different to wear and then she could figure out how to stop the bleeding. Her breath was starting to rattle in her chest and Willow could feel her throat beginning to close. Deep inside her Angelus was still rumbling and growling. Fear flooded her being but she couldn’t figure out if it was hers or his.

Downstairs there was a sudden explosion of sound but Willow ignored it as she struggled to get what was left of her shirt off. Wincing as her stomach muscles strained and the shirt caught in the wound. As she was dropping the shirt to the floor, the door suddenly burst in.

Fred was descending the stairs when a woman suddenly shuffled around the post and into her path. She blinked and came to a stop, her brown eyes disbelieving as she stared at the woman. Long red hair was tangled, hanging listlessly in her face. Blood was dripping down her arm to the floor; her breathing was rough and shallow. Her hand where it gripped the banister was bloody, with multiple cuts and ragged nails. Her clothes were torn and hanging on her figure. Bruises were readily apparent beneath the blood.

The woman slowly tilted her head up to meet Fred’s eyes and Fred bit back a gasp of shock. While the eyes were green and slightly dazed, there was a ring of pure black around the rim of her iris. Fred opened her mouth to ask if the woman was all right but the woman’s head went back down and she continued her way up the steps. Fred watched her go, mouth dropping open slightly as she realized that the woman was probably Willow Rosenberg.

Fred hurried down the stairs, determined to find someone to tell. The argument was still going on in the kitchen and Fred hurried in that direction. They had been waiting for over 2 days for Willow Rosenberg to come back and tempers were rather short. As she entered the kitchen she looked around for Angel or Wesley and didn’t find either in the crunch of people. A part of her wondered how this many people could fit comfortably in this small of a room but Fred didn’t let it distract her.

Instead she made her way over to the basement door, which was standing open. The sound of voices made it clear that Angel, Wesley, Spike, Giles and Xander were downstairs. So Fred quickly made her way down the stairs and hurried over to Angel. He was standing by the hot water heater, leaning against the stonewall and arguing with Spike.

“You’ve lost your mind Spike. There is no way that Willow would do anything like that,” Angel was currently protesting. “Obviously this wasn’t a willing choice.”

“And you’re bloody daft!” Spike shot back and took another drag of his cigarette. “Red never mentioned it and keeps it a secret from everybody and you think it wasn’t a willing choice?” Spike exhaled and smoke rose above his head. “You’ve been putting too much gel in your hair again haven’t you?”
“I am just saying that there is no way of knowing until Willow comes back,” Angel tried to reason with Spike.
“And that is looking as bloody likely as me taking a walk in the sunlight,” Spike shot back and put the cigarette out in the ashtray.
“But she is back,” Fred burst out and grabbed Angel’s arm.
“What?” Angel asked in surprise.
“Willow,” Fred told him. Her hands clutched at his arm and her brown eyes stared fearfully into his. “I think she’s back.”
“You think?” Spike scoffed. “That’s bloody useful pet really.”
“NO! I mean,” Fred stopped and took a deep breath. “There is a red headed woman that just stumbled up the steps. Bleeding, looking as if she fought with the hounds of hades.”
“Willow,” Xander whispered and ran up the stairs with everyone else on his heels.

The kitchen fell silent as the boys rushed through the kitchen with Fred on their heels.
“What’s going on?” Buffy asked.
“Willow’s back,” Fred told her and chased after the boys.

Buffy’s mouth dropped open for a moment and then she too rushed after the boys. The kitchen quickly emptied out as they all rushed up the stairs. Xander got to Willow’s room first and threw open the door, only to come to a stunned halt just inside her room. Angel and Spike slammed into his back and the three of them tumbled to the floor. Giles stood in the doorway and stared at the woman he considered one of his children.

Willow was a bloody mess but what held everyone’s attention were the old scars that crisscrossed her back. Obviously old and deep the scars marred the otherwise perfection of her back. As they watched Willow didn’t even turn to look at them, instead her hands moved to her pants and she carefully wiggled them off. More scars crisscrossed down her legs.

Willow paused for a moment, leaning against the wall before turning around slowly. Every movement created a stream of agony and reminded her that she needed to get help soon. She continued to ignore the people in her room and the fact that she was naked save for her panties.

“Wills,” Xanders voice was breath of sound. Willow looked up and met his eyes, hand still wrapped around her stomach. “You’re bleeding,” he announced and moved towards her. Only to stop when she held up her free hand and shook her head.
“I hurt enough right now Xan,” Willow told him weakly. “Don’t touch me.”
“You need help,” Xander protested and took another step.
“What I need is another witch,” Willow told him as she reached her dresser and grabbed the telephone off of its base. She hit the memory dial and moved the telephone up to her ear. “I need you. Can you come?” She paused and then, “thank you.”

Willow hung up the telephone and then let it drop to the floor. Blood was still flowing easily from her wounds and her head was starting to spin. The group at her door was arguing among themselves and the sound was making her head pound even more. Xander was watching her carefully, hovering just out of reach. It took all of her willpower not to collapse against him.

Xander watched as his best friend made her way carefully back towards the bed, blood dripping from between her fingers. His hands clenched when she winced after taking a deep breath. His eyes shimmered with unshed tears as she paused and rubbed at her head, her movement slow and deliberate. Her movement caused her hair to part slightly over her neck and he drew in a shocked breath at the sight of bite marks.

“Wills,” Xander pleaded. “At least let us get some bandages and some water to sponge off the worst of the blood. He thought that she was going to argue but instead she nodded. He looked over his shoulder and Giles nodded at him before leaving the room.
“I’ll get you something to put on,” Xander told her as he moved over to her closet.
“Why?” Willow asked, her tone listless. “It would hurt too much just to put on to take off.”
“Good point,” Xander told her and reached over to brush her hair from her face.
“See I have some uses,” Willow told him weakly. A small smile touched her face for a moment but her eyes refused to meet his.
“I couldn’t live without you,” Xander whispered resting his forehead against hers.
“Oh goddess Xander,” Willow whispered and then started to cry. She stepped closer to him, her arms sliding around his waist.
“Gods Wills I thought that I had lost you,” Xander told her and draped his arms over her shoulders, tucking her against him. “You had me so scared.”
“You’re not mad?” She questioned through the tears.
“I couldn’t be,” Xander assured her. “But I don’t understand exactly what is going on.”
“I know,” Willow replied and burrowed closer to him.
“You’ll explain?” Xander asked, his brown head resting on top of hers as he gently rocked them both back and forth.
“When the bleeding stops,” Willow promised.
“I got the first aid kit,” Giles announced as he rushed back into the room. He stumbled to halt beside Angel and Spike and stared at the two currently hugging at the end of the bed.
“Thanks G-man,” Xander replied and held out a hand for the kit. “Let’s get you onto the bed Wills.”

Willow nodded and let Xander and Giles help her over to the bed. Blood was slowly staining her once white panties pink, the smell of it was heavy in the air and Willow could hear Angelus roaring in her mind. But everything was starting to get really hazy, shadows were beginning to appear at the edge of her vision.

Willow collapsed onto the bed and Xander swung her legs up. She was unable to bite back the scream of pain that was ripped from her throat. Her muscles began to register every ache and twinge as she relaxed into the mattress. She managed to fight back the pain, ignoring the worry that was etched into Xander’s face as he bent over her. Her hands clenched in the bed spread as her back and legs began to spasm. A cool hand wrapped around hers and then pale blue eyes filled her vision. A smile crossed her face and her free hand reached over to stroke across his brow. Willow left a trail of blood down his cheek, enjoying how he turned into her touch.

“Don’t look so scared William,” she whispered.
“You look like a bloody mess pet,” Spike relied. His accent was thicker with emotion and she caught the sheen of moisture in his eyes.
“Then I look better than I feel,” Willow replied lightly, her eyes falling closed.
“Pet?”
“Hmm?” Willow pried her eyes open at the fear in his voice.
“You need to stay awake,” Spike told her.

Willow nodded and tried to ignore the pain that was radiating down her side as Xander and Giles did their best to stop the bleeding and clean her up. She almost told them not to bother, that what had cut her had to be healed by magical means, but she sensed that they needed to be doing something. Instead she concentrated on Spike, ignoring everyone else in the room.

“When did it start pet?” Spike’s question was a surprise and yet not. Willow didn’t answer for a long moment, trying to decide if she should or not.
“Did you know that I met Angel shortly after he came to Sunnydale?” Her voice was only a whisper and yet held a conversational tone. Her strange green/black eyes stared up at Spike noting the surprise in his eyes. “I found him drunk in Bronze once, helped him get home. Listened as he raged and moaned. Found out what he was and what he was doing here.” Willow’s eye drifted closed and she relaxed into the mattress. “I don’t think he ever remembered but I did. I even started to watch him, make sure that he got back to his apartment in the early morning hours. That there was blood available.”

Willow shifted slightly, her awareness of her surrounding dimming with each word spoken. She saw again the actions that had set all of this into motion and lived the emotions all over again. The good and the bad, the scary and the comforting, it was all there as she continued her story. “It didn’t matter once he had met Buffy though. So I figured that there was no point in mentioning that I already knew him. I waited, knowing what was going to happen.” She opened her eyes and smiled up at Spike. “I did research you see. Found the curse and prepared.”

She paused and bit her lip as pain swept over her as Xander and Giles poured alcohol over her wounds. Eyes closed as she fought back the pain, praying that salvation would arrive soon. “Then he lost his soul and Angelus was reborn. Angelus and I came to an agreement and while he killed my fish, other than that I was left unmolested.” She tried to shrug but gave it up when her muscles protested. “Then came the recursing. Doing the impossible, chaining Angelus up again. Not knowing whether I was successful or not, struggling to push past the pain in my head.”

Spike’s hand tightened around hers and everyone had fallen silent, listening as she continued. “Dreams. Nightmares. Burning flesh, strong lashes to the back and unending torment.” Her eyes flickered open again and she met Spike’s gaze. “I tried to convince myself that it was stress, told myself that the mind can do almost anything when its focused. But every morning there was a new pain, a new cut, and a new scar. Still I didn’t let myself believe. I took to wearing long sleeves, high necks and pants during the hottest summer in California history and no one noticed.” She laughed a bit and it turned into a cough that sent spasm through her whole body.

“Then came the turning point. What convinced me that I wasn’t dreaming. I had figured out that I was sharing experiences with Angel. I could see him, tried to comfort him when I could, sheltering him. And he heaped abuses on me, called me everything but a white woman. Still I couldn’t turn my back on him. He was a….friend.” Willow paused before uttering the last word, as if unsure what to call him.
“What made you believe that it wasn’t just dreams, Red?” Spike asked.
“He raped me,” Willow announced. The silence was total and even Spike seemed shocked by her statement. “One night he pushed me to the ground, growling that he would teach me to send him to hell. I protested, couldn’t figure out what he was talking about. Buffy had been the last one with him. I hadn’t even touched him. But he didn’t listen.” One side of Willow’s mouth quirked up into a smile, but her eyes remained cold and locked on Spike’s.

“He ripped my clothes off and raped me. Over and over again. Bite marks on my neck, breasts and thighs. I woke up screaming, trying to convince myself that it was a dream. And then I moved and pain exploded through me. Bite marks were visible all over and blood was between my legs. And suddenly I couldn’t put it down to dreams anymore.”

Willow fell silent again and her eyes closed. She didn’t want to remember what had come afterwards. The tears, throwing up and showering in pure hot water, trying to scrub him away. But she forced herself to continue, “in that instant a new Willow was born. And I started to do more research. Found out everything I could about Acatha. Tried not to sleep, getting raped every time I closed my eyes and then finally finding out what I needed to know.” Spike’s hand tightened on hers and she tried to ignore the new pain. “I knew which dimension Angel was currently in and how to get him out. The spell wasn’t that difficult,” Willow mused and opened her eyes again. She stared up at the ceiling not really seeing anything but the past.

“So I did the spell and the oracles answered. Goddess help me. And they were willing to grant Angel’s freedom as long as I agreed to certain conditions. By that point I was willing to agree to anything. Every night for almost 3 months I put up with rapes, being told how inferior I was to Buffy and how I deserved every thrust. But I waited to hear the conditions. First was that Angel would have to leave Sunnydale. That wasn’t a problem, Angel was going to be leaving. A few words in the right ear and Angel would be gone. Two, Angel and Buffy couldn’t get back together in Sunnydale. Another easy one,” Willow chuckled wryly. “I wasn’t going to just sit back and let them play house again. Three Angelus would become a part of me. Live in my mind just as Angel currently did. This one gave me pause, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that. But at the same time Angelus raping me was 10 times better than having Angel do it. So I agreed. And here I am,” Willow finished up. She suddenly turned her head and looked at the window.
“Hello Dru.”


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