Take Your Time ~ Chapter 10

 
It was close to the time that they thought Darla would be arriving, and Willow knew that soon after they were sure that the female vampire was gone, they too would have to leave. There was no reason to tempt fate by keeping Spike around Angelus for too long. Willow didn't want to leave. Sometimes she wished she could stay here forever, in this beautiful country with this beautiful man, but her life was in the future. She needed to return to her family and friends. And Oz. <And Angelus deserves a chance to live a normal and happy life here, where he belongs.> She studied the man next to her out of the corner of her eye, trying to engrave his image on her mind and on her heart for ever. She wouldn't allow herself to put a label on her feelings for Angelus, but she did know that it went way beyond the boundaries of friendship that she had placed on it in this very spot only weeks earlier.

Angelus stood next to her on the cliffs. He knew something was on her mind because she seemed distracted and sad. She was keeping something from him, and as he watched her stare off into the distance, he felt his heart breaking. He had promised her in the beginning that all he wanted was her friendship, and while at the time what he had wanted was more that friendship and much less honorable, now all he wanted was her. It was ironic. She had been right that morning in the inn when she had accused him of purposely pursuing only married women because he was avoiding commitment. Only two months ago he avoided relationships as a way of avoiding growing up. He and his father had been arguing over the past couple of years about his irresponsibility.

"When are ya goin' ta grow up and start actin' like a man?" his father badgered him constantly. "When are ya goin' ta take responsibility? Ya won't be young forever, ya know!"

And after all their arguments, and after all of his excuses and saying that he wanted to see the world, to have a little adventure and excitement before he died, now all he wanted to do was settle down with this woman and grow old with her. His father had always told him that one day he would meet a woman who would change him in this way, and now he had. <Da, ya never told she would be married!>

Angelus looked at the beautiful lady next to him, and wanted to tell her how he felt, but there were so many things holding him back. She was married, after all, and he was Catholic, and he had promised. He thought she had feelings for him too. After all, she rarely spoke of her husband, but he knew there was more to it than that. The Irishman knew she was holding things back from him. There were so many things that she avoided talking about as much as possible, mainly her family and friends and anything having to do with her marriage. And while that had always given her an air of mystery, today, more so than ever, she seemed like she was a million miles away from him.

"What's wrong, little one?" he asked as he ran a hand down her arm.

Just the tone in his voice caused Willow's very soul to ache. She turned around without looking at him and fell into his arms, resting her head against his chest. He wrapped his arms around her, allowing his cheek to nestle in her hair and deeply breathing in her scent. He had wanted to hold her like this for so long but had always restrained himself.

Willow took comfort in the sound of his heart beating in his chest. <If I have anything to do with it, that heart will remain beating for years. No matter what it takes!> Willow finally pulled out of the sanctuary of his arms and looked into his fathomless eyes.

Angelus brushed a tendril of hair out her face. "Does yer husband tell ya everyday how beautiful ya are?" Not waiting for an answer he continued, "Does yer husband speak of how yer eyes shine like a dew-covered meadow durin' a sunrise?"

The passion in the young man's voice took her by surprise. <Oh, no! Not now!> Willow stepped away from him completely and reluctantly answered his question. "William has called me beautiful, yes."

"No, Rose. Does he tell ya how beautiful ya are every day? That even a moment away from yer loveliness is like an eternity in hell?"

For a moment Willow was lost in this man, lost in his eyes and the warmth of his smile. Slowly his words traveled through the mist that his voice had created. < . . . an eternity in hell.> That brought her back to reality.

She turned away from him and looked back out to sea, searching for something to save them from herself. "Angelus, please don't."

He gently squeezed her shoulders from behind, and spoke softly in her ear. "Ya don't love him, Rose. I can see it in yer eyes." He slowly turned her around and gently forced her to look at him. "Tell me ya love him."

For an instant Willow considered trying to lie to him, but she couldn't do it. "I *don't* love him, Angelus," she confessed, searching deep inside herself to find the strength to continue to face him. "But try to understand. I am doing this for someone else, for some people that are very important to me. Please don't ask me anymore about it."

"But ya deserve to be happy, Rose. Do ya love this other person so much that ya would sacrifice yer own chance for true happiness?"

"Yes, Angelus. I love him, I love *them,* with all my heart. Promise me you won't ask me about my relationship with William again. Please?"

"I promise," he finally whispered, taking her hand in his. His thumb caressed the silver band on her finger. He glanced at the ring on his right hand that could be its twin and hoped that someday it would be his ring that she would be wearing. <I won't push her. We have time.>

They stayed there in their spot until the sun began to set. They didn't speak of the future or the past. They just took comfort in each other's company and enjoyed the time they had together.

~~~~~

End Chapter 10

***

Take Your Time ~ Chapter 11

 

Angelus escorted her home after their emotional day on the cliffs. They barely spoke to each other, but it wasn't an awkward silence. It was just the opposite, the kind of quiet that can happen between people who are totally comfortable with one another. Although, it should also be said that they were both a little preoccupied. Willow wondered when the best time would be to tell him she was leaving. <Like there will ever be a best time!> She decided to wait until tomorrow because Angelus was going out with Colin tonight to celebrate his friend's birthday, and she didn't want to take the chance of ruining his fun. Angelus, on the other hand, wrestled with when to tell her how he really felt about her or if he even should. So they rode most of the way in silence, darkness having fallen when they finally came to her cottage.

Willow was surprised to see the lamps burning inside since Spike rarely bothered with such things." He's home," she said softly, then instantly regretted saying it aloud.

Angelus felt a sharp pang of jealousy, but pushed it aside. <Now is not the time.> "Goodnight, Rose," Angelus said tenderly, keeping one eye on the door.

Willow smiled sweetly at him and when his face broke into the scandalous grin that she was beginning to know very well, she wondered how she was ever going to leave him. "Goodnight," she said finally, almost as a sigh, and walked toward the door. "I will see you tomorrow for dinner, right?"

"Wild horses couldn't keep me away."

Willow walked inside, shut the door behind her, and leaned back against it, her eyes closed.

"So, did you two lovebirds have a nice *ride*?"

Willow was startled by Spike's voice. He usually made himself scarce when she came back from being with Angelus. "Cut it out, Spike. I am *so* not in the mood."

Spike clenched his jaw and looked out the window. Even in the darkness, he could see that Angelus was still standing out by the small stable, watching. "Sorry, love," he said as he approached her. "Didn't mean to strike a nerve."

They were standing close to each other now, directly in front of the window, but Willow barely noticed. She was lost in her own thoughts. It wasn't until his hand touched the side of her face that she looked at him. <What is he doing?> "Spike, I..."

"Just getting some leaves out of your hair, Pet. Sorry, I mean *Willow*." His face was inches from hers as he continued pulling phantom flora from her tresses. When he leaned even closer, Willow could have sworn that she felt his breath on her face, if it weren't for the fact that he hadn't taken one in over a century. She found herself instinctively sucking in air as his hand continued to linger near the side of her face. Their eyes locked for a moment, and Willow started reminding herself that this was just another one of his games. <He just wants to see you blush, Willow! He hasn't done that in at least a week!>

"You may want to change, Red. You look like you went a couple of rounds with a chaos demon." His hand moved to her cheek and jaw, rubbing sensually at some invisible smudge.

Willow was too confused to protest. "Uhm, I'm not surprised. It was pretty windy out there today."

Spike told himself that he knew what he was doing. Nevertheless, as he put his plan into motion, he found himself having doubts. No, not doubts so much as an inner knowledge that maybe this all wasn't necessary. But even as his hand lingered in her hair and on her face longer than he intended, reveling in her warmth and trust, he came to the final conclusion that it *was* necessary. He buried the rest of his feelings deep inside. <Just do it, mate, for Dru. There is no turning back now!> Suddenly, Spike swept her into his arms and headed for her bedroom.

<Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God...> "Spike! What are you doing?" Willow tried not to let the fear show in her voice, but it wasn't easy. Spike had never taken his teasing of her this far before, and her nerves were quickly becoming unraveled.

He waited until they were out of Angelus's range of vision before smiling, trying to break the tension that had rapidly filled their cottage. "Relax, my little virgin. I am just taking you to your room to tidy up, and it occurred to me that I had never carried my bride over the threshold." Seeing her furrowed brow and skeptical look, Spike continued. "Of course, if there is another reason you want me to take you into your room, you can always ask, but I am afraid I am not in the mood tonight, love," he teased. "I have a headache."

With that little joke, Willow felt her tension begin to drain away, and she sighed audibly in relief. <Good, he was only kidding. Everything is back to normal! Right?>

Before she knew it, Spike had set her down on her feet. Then he backed away and stared at her momentarily. She felt the apprehension begin to creep back in as it appeared that he was having some sort of inner struggle with himself.

Finally, he spoke. "Interested in a hand or two of cards before you go to sleep tonight? After you get cleaned up, that is?"

"Sure, Spike. Maybe I can practice that trick of yours where you palm the ace!"

Spike gave her a wicked grin, pleased with his protégé's penchant for the finer points of poker, before leaving her room and closing the door behind him. When he walked back in to the main room, the grin widened. Angelus was still out there and had borne witness to his little display. <So far, so bloody good!>

*****

Angelus tried not to look through the window, but he couldn't help himself. Before he had even got back onto his horse, he saw her husband caressing her face and lovingly playing with her hair. Jealously was slowly starting to brew inside of him, and he tried to push it back down, but it was no use. Instead the envy began to grow and was rapidly setting up a permanent camp in his heart. Then he saw her being swept into her husband's arms and carried to another room. <Their bedroom?> "Damn!" Angelus said loudly, but still he couldn't look away.. He stood there, fighting the need to just barge in and steal her away from a man that he had never met, when the door opened.

Spike silently stood on the porch studying his opponent and one last time trying to remember the lines that he had created for himself earlier that day. <Let the games begin!>

"So, Angelus!" He called to him, making sure that his face would be obscured by the shadows. "Going home, to bed, *alone*, I see?"

Angelus didn't respond to the taunt, knowing that that was what Rose's husband wanted. So, he stood there clenching his fists, wanting nothing more than to pummel the man to with in an inch of his life, but restraining himself for her sake.

"I suppose you have been pretty full of yourself, up until now that is. Thinking that you were going to take my Rose, and without me even putting up a fight!" Spike's voice was cold and boastful. "But, as you can see, she is here, with me, as she was last night, and as she will be tomorrow, in my bed, as my wife, not yours." He said the words slowly, emphasizing each one so it would hurt that much more.

Angelus could feel his ire building and his jealousy turning to hate, just like he had always wanted it to. He could taste it in his mouth as it burned a path up from deep inside him. And although he somehow managed to remain silent, he was not able to move and escape Spike's torment.

The vampire laughed. "Did you really think she would leave me, for you? What do you have to offer her, besides a vast amount of experience with whores, that is? Whereas I, live only for her and our future together. As does she for I." Spike could already see the effect his words were having on his enemy, each one hitting him with the force equivalent to his being stabbed with a dagger. "I am sure she has told you that herself. How important I am to her." Spike was playing all his cards, hoping that Angelus wouldn't call his bluff. He wanted him angry and to feel sorry for himself, but not mad enough that he would challenge Spike at this moment.

"She doesn't love ya. She told me as much herself," Angelus's voice quivered slightly as he struggled to remain in control of his temper. He tried to ignore the other man's taunts, but they had already crept into his mind, planting little seeds of doubt.

"Ah, did she now?" Spike said condescendingly, still smiling. "Did she say that she loved *you*? No, she didn't, did she? Hmm, wonder why that is?" Spike paused for dramatic effect and then went in for the kill. "Oh that's right! Because she is *my* lovely bride, and it is *my* lips that she kisses at night, not yours. *My* eyes see her naked flesh and *my* hands touch her silky skin, not yours. It is my name she calls out in passion, *not yours*! And you best not be forgetting that!"

The Irishman cringed visibly as images of his Rose in this other man's arms held his mind hostage. As his anger, resentment, and jealousy reached a boiling point, he considered for a split second killing the arrogant bastard that stood before him, but thought better of it. Rose would not want it that way, nor would they be together if he had to spend his remaining years in prison. Knowing his restraint would not hold up to anymore of this torture, he jumped on Chance and headed to town to meet Colin and to get very, very drunk.

Spike grinned at his success and slowly walked back inside, whistling happily to himself.

~~~~~

End Chapter 11

***

Take Your Time ~ Chapter 12

 
The following day, Willow was very restless. According to Spike, Darla had arrived in town just before sunrise that day, and would probably attempt to turn Angelus tonight. The plan was simple. Willow would keep Angelus company the next few days, making sure he was never alone on the streets of Galway at night. They figured it wouldn't be too hard, but just in case Willow had decided she was capable of faking a sprained ankle, knowing that Angelus would stay by her side. Meanwhile, Spike would keep tabs on the female vampire, and if necessary befriend her and convince her it was time to head to the next town. That was a last resort though, since they didn't want to take the chance of Darla recognizing him some 50 years later.

"Let's have a toast," Spike said, slamming a bottle of wine on the table and pouring Willow a glass. He smiled as he lifted his goblet. "To the future!"

Willow eyed hers for a moment before picking it up. <Why not, Willow! You're considered adult in this time period anyway!> "To the future," she returned and took a sip, surprised to find she actually liked it. In a few hours she would be meeting Angelus in a pub for dinner, but until then she was quite happy to stay here with Spike. They spent the next hour or so toasting the future and finalizing their plans for the next several decades. They had decided to travel Europe for a while, partly because there were so many places that she wanted to see but also to minimize the chances of running into Darla again or affecting the future lives of William the Bloody or Drusilla. What Willow didn't realize, because she was so caught up in their plans and also because her glass never seemed to be empty, was that she had slowly sipped her way through more than a bottle of wine.

***

Willow rolled over and groaned. Her head was throbbing slightly, and her mouth felt like she had swallowed the pillow. "Ow! So this is what a hangover feels like!" <I am never drinking again!> Abruptly, Willow sat up, "Oh no, I fell asleep!" Looking out the window she could see that it was dark already. She jumped unsteadily out of bed, stumbled to her wash basin, and splashed some cool water on her face, trying to clear away the fog. Suddenly she remembered she was supposed to have met Angelus for an early dinner hours ago, and she quickly ran out of her room to find Spike sitting at the table.

He looked up, shocked to see her awake. <Damn, she should have been asleep for hours! That immortality thing must have made her sober up quickly!> "Willow, you look like shit, love. Why don't you go back to bed? Sleep it off," he said, trying very hard to sound nonchalant.

Willow ignored his attempts to distract her, and she closed in on him. "What have you done?" she yelled at Spike. "Why did you let this happen? If Darla arrived in town this morning I need to be with Angelus, otherwise . . ." Willow's voice faded away as her mind came to a screeching halt. <He did this on purpose! Why?> "Oh my God, Angelus . . ." She cast an accusing glance at Spike before she headed for the door, but Spike rushed to block her path.

"You don't want to go out there, love. It's too late now."

"No, it can't be too late! I won't let it be too late," she spat at him. Willow gathered all of her strength and raised her knee into Spike's groin. Spike's face was able to register shock for only a second before the pain hit him and he fell to the floor. Willow fled out the door and headed for the heart of the town as fast as she could run, not wanting to take the time to saddle a horse.

Willow didn't slow until the pain in her side was like a knife, and then she only let her gait fall to a jog. <Why did I trust him? Why did I trust Spike?> repeatedly echoed in her head. Willow was going to look for Angelus in a rougher area of town that she knew he frequented with some of his other friends. When she reached the part of town that she was looking for, Willow began searching the pubs, dark alleyways, and doorways for any sign of Angelus. It was in a dark side street that Willow caught a glimpse of two figures at the other end.

An exquisitely dressed blonde woman was holding a man close to her, but something about it just didn't seem right. Willow walked slowly towards them, barely able to breathe. Then for a brief moment the moon came out from behind a cloud, and she could easily discern the woman's vampiric face, and the man in her arms was none other than Angelus. "No!" she screamed, trying to warn him away. "Angelus, stay away from her!"

Angelus looked up and saw Willow's distressed face just as Darla's facade returned to human form. He looked pleasantly surprised to see her and stepped out of Darla's deadly embrace. "Rose? What are ya doing here and at this time of night?"

"Stay away from her Angelus. She's evil!"

Angelus walked slowly toward her, a confused look on his handsome face. "Darla? Evil? I don't understand." He held his hand out to her, "Rose, I want ya to meet her. I think ya two could become quite close."

"No, you don't understand," Willow said breathlessly, taking a few steps towards him. She reached for his outstretched hand, hoping to be able to lead him away from the beautiful demon.

"Don't go any closer, love." Spike's familiar voice said from behind her. "Like I told you before, it's too late."

Willow didn't turn to look at Spike, unable to take her eyes off of the scene before her. "It can't be too late," her voice a husky whisper. "Angelus," she said louder, pleading. "Please come with me."

Darla moved toward Angelus, keeping her eyes on Willow. Willow couldn't tell by her frozen expression what she was thinking, but she knew she had only seconds to get Angelus to safety.

Willow was about to grab his outstretched hand when she noticed a strange look cross Angelus's face, and it was this slight hesitation that saved her. Her hand flew back to her side, just as Spike put a protective arm around her chest. Due to his inexperience, Angelus was unable to hold back any longer, and he morphed to his all-to-familiar alter ego.

"No!" Willow cried. She watched in horror as his handsome face distorted to the evil thing she remembered all to well. The frightened girl tried to back away only to run into Spike's unmoving form.

Willow slapped at Spike's hands, wanting nothing to do with the vampire who had betrayed her, but his grip on her tightened. "Do you have any idea what you have done?" she whispered at him through gritted teeth, unable to take her eyes of the newly made vampire.

"Angelus," Darla crooned. "Who do we have here? You never told me there was another woman in your life." She glided over to Angelus, slid her arms around his waist and licked his neck. "You also neglected to mention that she has a *friend.* "

"Husband!" Angelus grunted.

"Really," Darla said, surprised. "She doesn't look the type that would marry a vampire. But, you never know. It's always the quiet ones!"

"Vampire?" he growled, confusion making it difficult for him to follow the conversation. As it was, the fledgling vampire was struggling to keep some semblance of control, but her blood was singing to him. Nothing was making sense at the moment, but he didn't care. He wanted to feed.

"Didn't you know? Interesting!" she said studying the girl's face. "But the real question is, why is she still a virgin? No matter, she will be your first. A virgin's blood is especially potent and delicious. Can't you smell it, lover?" she said in his ear, but loud enough for all to hear.

Willow was confused. <Lover? Already? But if he was just turned tonight...?> Scenarios ran through her brain, and then she came to the conclusion that he was probably turned last night, when he was out with his friend. <And Spike knew it all along!>

While Willow was still reeling from the odd twist of fate, Darla continued talking and the two vampires stalked closer to her. "Your first should be special because you will always remember it! Not that *you* would understand that," she leered at Willow.

"Sorry, love," Spike drawled to Darla. "But she is mine, and I will not let this little pup rip her apart. Look at him! He can barely control himself as it is. Disgusting!"

Angelus growled at Spike but Darla soothed him with a caress. "She *will* be my Angelus's first, and you are the one who is disgusting. So attached to a living girl."

Spike ignored the last comment, knowing that it wasn't unheard of for vampires to take human concubines. With a casual glance at Willow he said, "It's not that I mind sharing. I just want to make sure she is still alive afterward, because I'm not through with her yet! Tell you what!" he said with mock enthusiasm. "Why don't I start and open her up. Then, the rookie can have his fill, and my little virgin won't be disfigured for what's left of her life. It would be a shame to waste such beauty," he stated as he stroked her cheek and neck with a long, cold finger.

Willow started to panic. She couldn't believe that Spike would do this to her. She struggled frantically against his arms, but he held her tightly. She willed her fright and despair at Angelus's being vamped to turn into loathing, and slowly she felt a spark of hatred for all of them ignite inside of her.

Not waiting for the other vamps to answer, Spike grabbed Willow by the back of her head, pulling it back to expose her neck. "Please," was all she managed to mumble. Spike's eyes met hers momentarily. He could see the fear and hatred burning in them, but Willow was unable to read what she saw in his. <Pity?>

"Don't fight it or you could get hurt," he said quietly before he changed and lowered his fangs to her throat.

Willow closed her eyes when she felt his lips touch her neck. Spike, for the first time since his own changing, tried to be gentle when he broke the skin, but he felt her jerk in pain as the blood began to flow into his mouth. He was unable to control himself and took several swallows of her pure blood before ripping his mouth away. "The rest is yours. Just don't kill her." Spike told Angelus pointedly as he wiped his lips. The blonde vampire was still holding Willow by the back of her head, and he handed her off to Angelus who grabbed her in the same fashion.

Willow felt the world begin to spin, but not because of the small amount of blood that Spike had taken. She had done so much, given up so much, over the past weeks just to suffer in the arms of the man she had tried to save. Spike's warning to the other vampires not to kill her floated around in the back of her mind, but even when it combined with the knowledge that she was supposedly temporarily immortal, it gave her little comfort when she saw the wild look in Angelus's eyes. Willow had never seen him like this, not even when he had lost his soul back in Sunnydale. That Angelus had always been in control, completely aware of his actions, even calculating, but this vampire was totally enslaved by his bloodlust and new-found power.

She looked deep into Angelus's eyes, searching for any sign of the man that she knew, but found nothing familiar. They were cold and piercing, like the eyes of a predatory animal. <Don't think about it Willow. It's not Angelus anymore. It's a demon!> She repeated this mantra over and over again in her mind, letting her anger build and hoping that it would be enough not to let her cry.

"Finally, Rose, our first kiss, and with yer husband's blessin' no less!" Angelus managed coherently, as he eyed his prize hungrily.

Willow struggled unsuccessfully to untangle herself from Angelus, but he only tightened his hold on her. As his angry mouth closed in, she put all of her energy into one last desperate attempt to escape. Remembering one of her 'slayer moves' she rammed her elbow back into what she hoped was his stomach while stomping down on his foot with all her strength. His hold on her loosened momentarily as he growled in pain, and Willow was able to twist away from the arm that encircled her chest. Unfortunately, his fingers were still intertwined in her hair, and with a brutal yank she was back against his chest.

"Yer are goin' ta regret that, little one," he said with a cruel sneer, and they were the last words Willow heard before his mouth savagely clamped over her still bleeding wounds. Willow slumped in his arms, eyes squeezed tightly shut, as she felt her life being siphoned out of her. Angelus knelt to the ground with the slight girl's body in his arms, completely enraptured by the feeling of his first feed. Willow opened her eyes long enough to send Spike one last condemning look, but her last thoughts were of the people she had let down before she slipped into unconsciousness. <Buffy, Angel . . . I am so sorry. I really messed this whole thing up. . . .>

***

Spike watched intently as Willow and Angelus sank to the ground. His eyes were locked on Willow's paling face, ready to intervene at the moment it looked like the other vampire was taking too much. There was an aching in his gut that he tried to ignore. It wasn't that he felt bad about lying to Willow because he felt he had no choice, and he definitely didn't have any guilt over Angelus's being vamped, but the scene before him made Spike disgusted with himself. To pass her around like she was the only prostitute at a bachelor party was degrading. But here he was, whoring her out like she was a common blood slut. Of course, it wasn't unknown for vampires to use the same human many times for blood. Usually these women, or men, received some sexual gratification from the act, but to offer her to another vampire against her will? It was disgraceful, and to the victim it was only slightly less degrading than rape. Willow deserved better, and for the first time in over a century, Spike felt guilt. <I should have tied her up and locked her in her room or got her out of town while she was still asleep!> He just hoped that Willow would give him a chance to explain.

When Willow's skin began to take on a bluish caste, Spike leapt at them and delivered a swift kick to Angelus's head, causing him to fall to the ground. Angelus jumped to his feet ready to kill the older vampire only to find that he had already scooped Willow into his arms. "I told you not to kill her, you cocky little wanker." Darla hurried to Angelus's side, ready to restrain him from getting into a fight that he was not yet ready for.

Spike took one last look at the couple. "Darla, you better house train your new pet and teach him some manners, or he is going to end up with my fangs for a collar!" With that he started back toward their house, then he added over his shoulder. "I'm sure we will be seeing each other again."

*****

Willow's eyes fluttered open and she was immediately assaulted by memories of the night before. Tears slowly began sliding down her cheeks as she remembered how he had looked at her last night. He was a cold killer now with no memories of his feelings for her and wanting nothing more than to drain her of her very existence. She reminded herself that it wasn't her Angelus, just as the evil thing that had tried to kill her in Sunnydale was not Buffy's Angel. <Oh God, Buffy. How did you survive this? It hurts so much!> Slowly, she dried away her tears, telling herself that she didn't have time to feel sorry for herself. Not now anyway. There would be plenty of time for that later. And as she thought back again to everything that had happened last night, she forgot about her aching body and her feelings for Angelus and felt her temper begin to rise. How could Spike do that to her? Not only did he betray her, and go back on his word, but to let Angelus feed from her. <Heck! He even helped!>

The young redhead crept silently to the door, trying to figure out where Spike was in the house without letting him know she was awake. She was sure that he would be waiting for her to wake up to offer some sort of explanation, but she did not want to hear it; she did not want to forgive him for this.

Looking out the window at the sun high in the sky, Willow finally decided that she couldn't wait any she longer. She would have to get out now. At first she toyed with the idea of just slipping out the window, but there were things she needed first. So, she quietly grabbed some clothes and things, only taking what she could fit in one bag. Holding it tightly, she peeked out her room and breathed a sigh of relief when she didn't immediately see Spike.

Tiptoeing out of her room, she quickly went to the kitchen and took all the money and jewelry that they had hidden in the flour crock. Willow took one last look around the cottage that had been her home for the past couple of months and was just about to slip out the front door when Spike came charging out of his room.

"You're awake, I see," Spike stated, trying to judge her mood.

"No thanks to you," she said accusingly while sidling towards the door.

Spike suddenly spotted the bag in her hand and realized that she was planning on carrying out her threat to leave. "Willow, where do you think you are going?" he asked as he began moving toward her. His hands were held up in a show of truce, "Come on love, white flag here. Let's talk about it."

Willow cast a wary eye between Spike and the door and wondered if she would be able to beat Spike to it. She bolted for the door just as Spike sprang into action. Willow grabbed the handle as he lunged for her, and she was able to throw it open. Sunlight streamed in, missing the vampire by mere inches and effectively blocking his path to Willow. She took one step through the door and turned back to Spike, safe in the warmth of the sun. She stared at the man, no the vampire, that she had just begun to consider her friend, but now could only think of as the man who had betrayed her.

"Just tell me why, Spike. Why did you pretend that you were going to let him live when the whole time you knew you were going to let Darla have him? That was your plan all along, wasn't it?" the petite redhead said from the doorway, the killing sunlight highlighting her hair to a glowing mass to the vampire.

"Damn it, Willow! Come back in and shut the door. I can explain." Spike tried to remain calm, but it was beginning to dawn on him that Willow might actually leave him.

"Explain what? Explain why you have lied to me for the past two months? Or why...why you not only bit me, but then offered me to the rest of this town's vampire population as if I were some kind of sick hors d'oeuvre?" the girl demanded, with growing fury.

Spike groaned in exasperation. "As far as feeding from you, that is your own fault. Why the hell do you think I got you drunk? I wanted you to stay here. Where it was safe. But, no! You had to go and risk everything for your precious Angel, didn't you? You are damn lucky I was there. Angelus probably would have ripped you to shreds. Remember, we don't have much control in the beginning, so by my feeding from you first, I made sure he didn't hurt you. <And I marked you as my territory as well!>

"Ha! So I should be thanking you then? I'm not thinking so! You betrayed me, you lied to me, and then you used me and passed me around like cheap bottle of wine! As far as I am concerned, what you did to me was worse than anything Angelus could ever have done! "

"Willow, I didn't have a choice! I did not go through all of this, just to take chances in order to save Angelus. I want Drusilla back, and if it means I have to drain this entire town of every last bit of blood, then that is what I will bloody-well do. Angelus is the one that found her, and Angelus is the one that made her the woman I love." Spike was beginning to lose the thin hold he had on his temper as he paced back in forth, just on the edge of the sunlight. "I need that pillock, for now, but I *will* kill him after I am sure that I have the Drusilla that I fell in love with!"

Willow felt herself go cold, as the depths of his deception finally struck home. "God, you're pathetic! I should have killed you when I had the chance. If Drusilla could see you now she would probably kill you herself. Or...or leave you for a real 'demon,' like Angelus."

Spike's face jerked back up to meet hers, and it was obvious to Willow that her last comment had met its mark. "Don't tell me what Drusilla would do! You don't even know her! You couldn't even begin to understand the depths of our love!" He was yelling at her now, and it took every last ounce of control not to put on his game face.

"Love?" Her contempt for the blonde vampire was growing exponentially. "You don't even know what love is." Her anger was giving her courage and an unusual clarity of thought. "You're just scared to be alone, to stand on your own two feet. You are so weak that you would kill yourself rather than be alone. That isn't love, Spike. All that is, is some pitiful obsession!"

Spike was stunned, unable to find the words to defend himself.

Willow turned around and took a few more steps onto the porch before looking over her shoulder one last time. "Stick to the time line and don't look for me. I'll find you when and * if* I'm ready!"

"Willow!" Spike yelled after her, finally finding his voice. She never looked back.

~~~~~

End Chapter 12

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