Take Your Time ~ Chapter 18

Over the next couple of weeks, Spike and Willow saw each other only a few times, usually for just a quick game of cards or to share a beer. They both seemed to want things to return to normal between them, but it was a slow process when they were both still having trust issues. The two time travelers decided, without discussing it with each other, to take it slowly. They would have plenty of time to rebuild their friendship, or so they told themselves.

She was walking home late one afternoon, only minutes before sundown, when he called to her.

"Willow..." The voice was raspy and weak. "Willow...please...." It was coming from deep within the dark alleyway beside her pub.

"Spike? What kind of game are you playing?" she said loudly, peering deep into the shadows.

"Willow, in all the time you have known me, have I ever played a game, outside, during the day? I need your bloody help, don't I?"

She heard it this time. He was definitely in pain. Ignoring the little voice inside her head that was telling her it was just another one of Spike's games, Willow walked guardedly into the shadowy alley. "Spike? Where are you?" she called softly, not finding him anywhere.

"Down here...."

Willow looked down and found Spike partially hidden under some boxes. "What are you doing, Spike?" she sighed in exasperation.

"Willow, I am hurt and I need your help! So, if you don't mind, could you wipe that damned distrustful smirk off your face for one minute and give me a hand?" Spike groaned; uttering those words had caused him a great deal of pain.

Finally realizing that it wasn't a trick, Willow knelt beside the vampire and carefully pushed the boxes away. She didn't see anything wrong at first but refused to let her cynicism rise to the surface again, not yet anyway. "Spike, what's wrong? Why are you lying here in the gutter?"

"Stake," he managed through gritted teeth. "In my back...can't reach it myself." He shifted position slightly, causing a white-hot pain to jolt his entire body.

Willow inhaled sharply when she saw the thick piece of wood deeply embedded beneath his right shoulder blade. His shirt was crusted over with dried blood, but fresh blood was still slowly seeping from the wound. She touched it gingerly, trying to gauge its severity. "Spike, who did this? How long have you been like this?"

"It happened just before sunrise. Some dolt tried to rob me. When I fought back, he grabbed an old whiskey crate and hit me in the back with it. What an embarrassing way for a vampire like me to go-- by accident! I always thought it would be a slayer that would get me. Or you!"

Willow ignored him, but couldn't help wondering if he really thought she could be capable of killing him. "Sshhh...we have to get you out of here, Spike. The sun is almost down. Where do you live, or um, *not* live? Oh, never mind," she groaned in frustration. "Just tell me where you sleep!"

Spike managed a grin when the old Willow resurfaced momentarily. "Just a couple of blocks down the street...attic of an old warehouse."

They waited in silence for a few minutes until the sun's rays were gone, then Willow managed to help him home. 'Home' to Spike was the attic of a rarely used warehouse. He paid a nominal amount of rent for its use, and his only responsibility was to keep the rat infestation down to a minimum. The landlord never asked any questions as to his methods, which was good for all parties concerned, and it gave Spike a handy source for between-meal snacks.

Willow struggled under Spike's weight, but slowly they maneuvered the stairs and opened the door. In the darkness Willow was just able to discern the bed from the moonlight streaming in through one dirty round window on a far wall. Spike fell face first on his bed with a painful moan. After stumbling around in the near darkness for several minutes, Willow finally found some candles and oil lamps and placed them close to the bed so she could take a closer look at his injury.

She sat next to him, carefully removed his shirt, and examined the wound. "It's pretty deep, Spike," she stated matter of factly.

"Just get the damn thing out, would you?" His voice was harsh as he turned his head just enough to glare at her.

"Fine!" Willow forgot about being gentle and tried to grab the stake with her fingers and then her fingernails, digging deeply into the wound. Spike howled in agony and momentarily put on his game face. She pretended not to notice his change as she continued to try and get hold of the stake that was broken off just at skin level. But the large sliver of wood was blood slicked, and it was impossible for her to get a firm grip on it. "Don't suppose you have any tweezers, or pliers, or anything like that?"

The only response he managed was a guttural growl and a rolling of his eyes.

"I'll take that as a no." Willow thought for a moment, trying to think of any way of securely grabbing on to the stake. <What I wouldn't give for a Walmart right now...or any store that stayed open at night!> She mentally reviewed her vampire lore and decided she was safe. "If you can't die...then you can't become a vampire. So...." she mumbled to herself as she lifted the necklace that bore the cross over her head and tossed it onto a pillow behind her.


"Quit whining, Spike." She sounded like a mother chastising an over-tired toddler. "Well," the pretty redhead finally said, returning her attention to the injury. "No tweezers, no salad tongs, can't get it with my fingers, so that leaves only one thing...."

"Just do it! You are bloody killing me here!" He turned to glare at her again. "You know, I am starting to think that you are doing this on purpose!"

"Spike, I'll get it out if you'll just shut up and do what I say! Now stand here next to the bed," she commanded, directing him to face away from her as she knelt on its edge. Her face was directly level with the embedded stake now. "You may want to hold on to the bedpost, husband. This is gonna hurt!" Willow couldn't help smiling briefly at his alarmed and confused look.

<Okay, Willow...you can do this! Just don't think about it!> She slipped one arm around his chest as the other rested next to the wound, stretching the skin tightly and pulling it away from the shard of wood.

Spike stood there, in more pain than he could remember since an entire church fell on him, and wondered what Willow was up to. As her arm coiled around him, he readied himself, but nothing could have prepared him for what he felt next. Suddenly her warm lips were on his back, and his body tried to jerk away in reaction. <Wha...what the bloody hell is that girl doing?>

Willow tentatively put her mouth to the wound, testing to see if she would be able to grab it with her teeth, but the second she made contact with his cool skin, the vampire tried to pull away. The tiny redhead tightened her hold on him, pulling his body to her. She tried again, and this time was successfully able to fasten on to the offending stake with her front teeth. Spike's body shuddered, and he groaned as she attempted to remove it. It had barely budged when her teeth lost their grip. "Almost had it," she muttered, as she lowered her face to try again. Before he could protest, she once more enclosed the stake with her mouth, consciously ignoring the taste of his blood and the feel of his muscular body beneath her hands. Her fingers instinctively dug into Spike's chest as she drew him to her, willing him not to move away. Slowly Willow pulled her head away, and bit-by-bit the stake came with it.

His body was on fire. Never in all of his years had he felt any thing quite so erotic as this innocent woman's lips on his open wound. Her breath on his damaged nerve endings alone was enough to send him over the edge, but when he felt her teeth lightly graze his skin, it sent a shock wave of desire barreling through his whole body. He tried briefly to struggle, to break away from her contact, knowing that the innocent had no idea what it was doing to him, but he was weak and his virgin 'wife' held on to him, pressing him even closer. In the end he threw his head back and moaned, hoping it would sound to Willow like expressions of pain instead of desire.

When the stake was several inches out, Willow took her head away, completely oblivious to what her actions had been doing to Spike. She was now able to grab the stake with her hands, and in a matter of seconds she had gently removed the rest of its length from his back. "There," she said, holding up the blood-soaked stick for him to see. "That wasn't too bad, was it?"

Spike clenched his teeth and took a moment to collect himself, never bothering to look. He could already feel the gaping wound begin to heal and the bleeding slow. He had come so close to changing when Willow's mouth suckled gently on his skin. The vampire couldn't bear to look at her, angry at himself for his intensely passionate yet animalistic urges. He walked to his wardrobe and grabbed the first shirt he saw. For a moment he steadied himself and then quickly pulled the shirt on before heading for the door.

"Spike? Where are you going?" Willow was confused. "You're weak. Shouldn't you try and rest for a few hours first?"

"Rest is not what I need!" he snapped and was out the door before Willow could question him further.

Willow sat there stunned for a few minutes. <I can't believe he just left.> "No 'Thank you for saving my un-life, Red,' or even 'Thanks pet, what the hell took you so bloody long?' "

"You're welcome!" she finally shouted at the door, knowing he was long gone and would never hear her. She cleaned herself, grumbling the entire time about ungrateful men, before heading for home. There was no way she was sticking around Spike's place all night just waiting for him to find some manners.


Willow didn't think twice about cutting through the park on her way home. It was still early in the evening, and she had slowly become less paranoid about running into Darla and Angelus-- it was a big city after all. She was also distracted by the blonde vampire's unusual behavior after she had treated his injury earlier and so was once again lost in her own thoughts. Willow was deep into the park by the time she sensed someone was following her.

Her hand instinctively went to the cross around her neck, but it was gone. Realization hit her with a sense of foreboding when she remembered taking it off before tending to Spike. <Oh, no! Okay, don't panic! Stay calm and think!> she instructed herself, but before she could come up with another plan the vampire was on her. Rough hands grabbed her from behind, and a cockney voice slurred in her ear. "Aren't ya a pretty wee thing?" The vampire twisted her around, waiting for a shocked look to appear on his victim's face when she took in his vampiric appearance.

Willow glanced briefly at the hideous monster before letting her lips curve into a smile. "Sorry, but I can't say the same thing about you!"

Her calm response confused the vampire, giving Willow the opening she needed to try her favorite move. One heel ground down into his foot and was quickly followed by knee to the groin. He released her and fell to his knees, whimpering like a baby. The petite redhead managed to stumble several steps away before being sideswiped by yet another ugly demon, this time a woman. "Come on, luvie. We just wanted to invite ya to dinner!"

The male vampire quickly regained his senses and closed in. Willow was close to panicking as she struggled unsuccessfully to escape the vampire couple. The male was about to pull Willow's head back when he abruptly went flying across the lawn. The female looked over Willow's shoulder and paled visibly.

"Now, what part of my simple directions do ya two not seem to be understandin'? I'm sure I told ya that ya were never ta touch a woman with red hair!"

The ugly vampire quickly loosened her grip, and Willow fell to the ground.

<Oh, God! That voice!> she screamed to herself. The ageless redhead was too shaken to move for a moment and kept her face down, hoping and praying that she was wrong.

"Now, leave us alone," he commanded to the others. "And ya best be rememberin' what I said. *All* the redheads are *mine!*"

The vampire knelt next to the victim and stroked her hair. "My, but ya do have such lovely hair," the voice told her. "And I, myself, always had a soft spot in me soul for beautiful women with red hair, such as yerself." He put a hand under her chin, to pull her head up. "But, since then, I have gotten *rid* of that pesky little soul."

Willow's face was slowly forced up, and she looked into the eyes of Angelus once again. His recognition was instantaneous.

"Rose?" he demanded as he stood and fell back a few paces. "But, how can that be? She's dead, or at least an old woman by now. And yer...."

The frightened redhead was at a loss for what to do since she was nearly as shocked to see the vampire, as Angelus was to see his past love. Her first thought was to look away-- look anywhere but into the face of the man she once loved-- but she couldn't do it. As Willow rose shakily to her feet, she stared in sickly fascination as Angelus's visage changed from shock, to disbelief and wonder, and then to its vampiric form, before once more returning to its handsome yet cruel human facade. Even as she watched, she had to remind herself what Angelus was now, forcing herself to remember that while even if at the moment he looked confused and almost vulnerable, he was a soulless killer...one of the most vicious there ever was.

<What the hell were you thinking, Willow? Walking through the park after dark!> she screamed silently at herself. Still watching him closely, she slowly backed away, but her whole body was shaking so violently that she knew she wouldn't get very far. Running was useless, the only way she was going to get out of this was a miracle.

Angelus regained his composure and sauntered easily back to her, his eyes drinking in every inch of Willow's trembling figure. He slowly ran a cool hand along her cheek and down her neck to her collarbone, not caring how she flinched under his touch. "And yer very much alive and still as beautiful as...." The dark vampire's lips curled into an angry sneer. "What are ya, my love, fer ya are certainly not just any ordinary woman, are ya, Rose?" The hand that had been resting near her throat moved to the back of her head, gripping her by the hair and pulling her to him.

"I don't know who this Rose person is ya keep talkin' about," Willow lied, using an accent that she was able to fall in and out of quite easily now. Nevertheless, the bar maid knew she had already given herself away just by the fact that she didn't appear shocked when his handsome face turned to that of a monster's. "But please don't hurt me. Please?" she begged, not only out of fear but also in hopes of covering up her earlier errors.

"Don't lie ta me, my love," he growled. "I know it is ya. I can smell yer fear, and it's exactly the same as the last time I held ya in me arms. Do ya remember, Rose? The last time we were together," he whispered cruelly in her ear as a finger made slow circles around the area where she had been bitten that night. "Because I remember it very well. Ya were delicious, Rose, and I have never had anyone that was even comparable since." The vampire's mouth moved to her neck, cool lips lightly grazing the skin over her jugular while his hands moved down her shoulders and arms, squeezing and caressing the tender flesh as they went.

Willow was frozen in her spot, petrified and unable to move. His touch, his voice, his face created a myriad of emotions within her and made it impossible to think clearly let alone struggle against his considerable strength. "I don't know what ya are talkin' about. Please let me go, good sir." Her voice quivered, revealing the inner turmoil that she would have preferred to keep secret.

She felt him chuckle slightly, his mouth now over the hollow of her throat. Suddenly his hand grasped hers and roughly pulled it to his mouth. "Really?" Angelus asked, amused at her poor attempt to lie to him. He glanced at her hand and at the silver ring still molded there. He kissed it lightly before turning it over to trace a path from her palm to the ring with his tongue, his eyes never leaving her face. "Now, yer not expectin' me to believe that there are two fiery redheads runnin' loose on this world with silver weddin' rings melted to their tiny little fingers, do ya?" When his mouth returned to the ring, Angelus abruptly bit her just hard enough to break the skin. Ridges and fangs appeared as the vampire slowly licked the few drops that welled to the surface, and Willow could sense that he was fighting the urge to just drain her right then and there. His eyes were dark and wild when they found hers again. "No, that's my Rose," he growled, trying to suck a few more drops from her finger. Finally, he tore himself away from her hand and let his face return to its human form, his lips curving once again into a heartless sneer. "And I can't tell ya how touched I am that ya saved yer most precious gift for me, my love." The look in his eyes made it very obvious to Willow that he referred to her virginity. "But I think ya have waited long enough, don't you?"

Willow didn't have time to consider the weight of his words before Angelus's hand moved to the back of her head. A sudden pain made her brain feel as though a dark blanket had been slipped over it, and she fell into unconsciousness.

End Chapter 18


Take Your Time ~ Chapter 19

Angelus paced the wooden floors of the large house where he and his like had been staying. He could not believe that after all these years he had her again. Angelus remembered vividly how the night he was changed all he could think about was Rose. In fact, he and Darla had been making plans to get Rose the very moment she came running into the street. He had wanted her then-- wanted to drink every bit of the red liquid of life that flowed through her-- but that other vampire had stopped him. Angelus was now glad that he didn't have the chance to finish her that night. It would have been over too soon. The fledging vamp would have just drained her, killed her, and then left her body in the street, but now he had more control. Now he knew how to keep his victims alive for months if he wished-- years possibly.

He looked at her still unconscious form lying on the bed in his room and grew increasingly impatient for answers. Approaching the bedside, Angelus knelt on the floor, resting his head on his hands next to her face. He studied her for a while, still not completely believing that it could be her. Darla had told him that he would always remember his first, and she was right. Although many of his early days as a vampire were blurry to him, passing in a red haze of bloodlust, he did remember in vivid detail the feel of Rose in his arms. Even now he often recalled how her struggles had just made him want her more and how every drop of her crimson essence felt as it surged through his body. She made him feel powerful, invulnerable, and more 'alive' than he ever had when he had walked beneath the sun. The vampire had always hoped to recapture that feeling, and his taste for victims tended to run toward wide-eyed innocent girls, but it was never the same. And now here she was again and still a virgin, of that fact he was sure after sampling only a few drops of her blood earlier. It took every fiber of strength he had not to feed from her while she slept.

Angelus had always assumed that she had died soon after their encounter. The odd blonde vampire she was with, although obviously unusually attached to her, would probably not have kept her alive much longer. Vampires' concubines tended to have short life spans. Yet, here she was. He quickly inspected her neck. His supernaturally sharp eyes were looking for that which living eyes rarely noticed, but they found only the very faint marks of the one bite from almost 60 years ago. That puzzled him. He expected to find others, since bite marks were the main way of marking a vampire's property-- a way of warning other vampires that this particular meal was somebody elseís. The marks also revealed other information, including the nature of the bite. The wounds made during sexual activity looked different from those done in a feeding frenzy, for example, and as he studied the signs left by Spike years earlier, he could now tell that the other vampire had been trying very hard not to hurt her. That observation, when combined with the fact that she had no other apparent markings, only brought up more questions.

As he waited for her to wake up, Angelus allowed himself to briefly remember some of the times they had spent together when he was still a weak, living man. As pictures of them laughing, riding through rain-soaked forests and clambering over crumbled stonework, and even sharing many meals filled his mind one after the other, he abruptly shoved the memories away. It physically sickened him to remember his life and how nice he was-- how human. He now considered his breathing counterpart to have been a fool, one who had never taken what he wanted. He felt that the Irishman had wasted time waiting for things that he should have just taken-- like Rose. As these thoughts occurred to him and before he was aware of his actions, the vampire was once again violently pacing the floor, trying to burn off a sudden burst of excess energy.

Willow started to awaken with a dull throbbing in the back of her head. She groaned and forced herself to a sitting position before opening her eyes. Her surroundings were completely unfamiliar, and the petite redhead was trying to fit the pieces of her night together when she saw him.

"Angelus..." she said in a whisper before she could stop herself. She quickly took in his appearance, so much paler than the man she had ridden with all of those years ago. He was well dressed, and it was obvious, between his fashionable clothing and the rich but sparse furnishings of the room she was in, that he had no shortage of money. Some other obvious differences jumped out at her, ones that she had noticed earlier in the park but hadn't had the time to consider. His hair, for example, while still long, was no longer kept back in a ponytail. Instead, it hung in gentle curves around his face, while a mustache rested above the heartless lips that were already contorting into a dangerous smile.

"So, ya do remember me?" he asked, slowly approaching the bed that she was sitting on. He sat next to her, and Willow instinctively crept to the far edge of the large bed, trying to distance herself from the demon that she knew was capable of snapping her neck in an instant.

"I'm waitin', Rose. I can wait forever if that's what it will take, and judging by yer appearance apparently we have all the time in the world."

Willow didn't respond-- didn't even look at his face as the gravity of her situation became evident.

When Willow remained silent, Angelus shot a hand out and grabbed her by the back of the neck, bringing her to him. "I am waitin' for an explanation as to how ya are here without agin' a day. I also intend to find out who yer husband, the vampire, is, little one." His hungry eyes traveled the length of her body, stopping to rest on her rising breasts and again on her neck, her mouth, and finally boring into her frightened eyes.

The slight redhead still didn't answer him. She had no idea what to say and knew that she couldn't tell him the truth. Before she could find her voice, her body began to betray her and violently shake with fear. Willow began to struggle in his grasp. She had no expectations of actually being able to escape through her use of force but rather used her struggles as a means of camouflaging her small, frightened bodyís response to Angelus. She didnít want to give him the satisfaction of seeing how petrified she actually was, although she knew that this, too, was futile.

Angelus easily diffused her endeavors to free herself by strengthening his hold on her. "I missed ya, Rose. Do ya believe me when I tell ya that I missed ya?" He lowered his mouth to hers, dragging it lightly across her tightly clenched lips. He ignored her unresponsiveness and moved his lips to her cheek and then her ear, trailing his tongue along her hot skin and relishing the taste of her fear.

It was like a nightmare. The few times Willow had allowed herself to imagine what would happen if she were to meet Angelus again, this was the worse possible scenario. The best would be that he would not recognize her and just feed from her again, mistakenly leaving her for dead. Of course, then there was torture. The trembling redhead knew that she wouldn't be able to hold out long against whatever horrors he could dream up. Giles never went into much detail about what Angelus had done while interrogating him on how to wake up Acathla, but the librarian had told them enough, and everything else was apparent in his eyes whenever Angel's name was mentioned. Giles may have been able to withstand him, but the once-hacker strongly doubted her ability to suppress any information for long. However, as bad as that would be, the worst was this-- a more intimate type of torture that used their previous feelings for each other against her.

Angelus could see in her eyes and the set of her jaw, the tension in her muscles as his free hand roamed over her arms and shoulders, that she was determined to remain silent. He had no doubts that eventually he would break her and she would tell him all, but since they apparently had plenty of time, he thought he would like to play a little game first.

His touch softened, and the dark demon released his hold on her as he pulled back to gaze into her frightened emerald eyes. "I'm sorry if I have frightened ya, Rose," he said gently, easily letting his face fall into a mask of regret and caring. "I was just completely taken aback to find ya after all these years. Never in me wildest dreams did I ever imagine that we would be together again, no matter how long I may have wished fer it." The vampire tenderly brushed a few strands of hair back from her face.

Willow flinched under his cold touch and scrambled back to the head of the bed, all the time looking for a way out. The dark room had one heavy door which was closed and no windows, and she saw nothing that looked to be of any help. <Figures,> she groaned inwardly. <Not even a vase or a fire poker to whack him over the head with!>

He smiled as he realized what she was thinking, making sure not to show too many teeth. "I remember so well all of our ridin' lessons. Ya learned so quickly, little one." Forcing air through his long-dead lungs, he continued with a sigh. "Iíve not forgotten how ya felt in me arms." He slowly edged closer to her while succeeding in keeping his voice tender. "Do ya remember the last day we had on the cliffs, Rose? Ya told me that ya didn't love yer husband. I wanted so badly ta just take ya away that day-- ta just take ya in me arms and carry ya away from Galway, and me family, and yer husband. We could have been happy, Rose. I know we could have. And I can tell that ya know it, too."

Willow closed her eyes as he spoke. At first her barriers refused to allow his words through-- refused to let their meaning worm their way into her heart, but eventually they broke through and met their mark. Willow felt the warm tears trickle down her cheeks and was ashamed of herself. She knew what he was doing, had even prepared for this, but in spite of all the plans she had made and shields she had constructed, every word was like a stake in her heart.

When he saw the first tear make a silent trail down her alabaster skin, the demon felt like crowing with victory. Not only was she frightened of the vampire Angelus, but she also still had feelings for that pathetic man he once was. <This is goiní to be so simple. Like pluckiní virgins in a convent.> He slowly reached out and caught a tear with his finger, noting with conceited glee how she hadn't winced at his touch this time. "I often wonder," he continued his torture, "what would have happened if I had done that-- spirited ya away in the middle of the night. I suppose we would have grown old together in some little stone cottage in the country somewhere. Maybe raised a family."

<Don't listen...don't listen...don't listen....> Even as she repeated this mantra to herself, memories that she had kept submerged for years forced their way through-- memories of dead fish, dead slayers, and dead mentors, and it gave her the strength and courage she would need to make her escape. She opened her eyes to gaze into the vampire's dark pools.

"Angelus," she croaked softly. "I-- "

"Sshhh..., little one," the dark one murmured in his most velvety tones. "It's all right. We're together now, and we can make up for all the lost time." Angelus caressed her collarbone without ever losing contact with her eyes, and then he went in for the kill, so to speak. He lowered his lips to hers, brushing them softly, tenderly against her closed mouth. He pulled back when she didn't respond but wasn't worried. After all, she hadn't pushed him away either. "Rose, please. I am so sorry that I scared ya, but ya know that I love ya. I always have."

Willow allowed her hand to drift up and run through his hair for a moment, something that she had always wanted to do back in Ireland, but she had never allowed herself that little indulgence. "Angelus, itís a sin that you died so young," she told him softly, tears still in her eyes. "Depriving the world of such a great actor is truly a crime."

It took a moment for her words to register, and a puzzled, almost comical, look crept onto his face.

She went on, her words now cold and bitter. "I know exactly who and what you are, Angelus, as well as what you are capable of. So save the Shakespearean monologues. I am in no mood to be your Juliet."

Angelus narrowed his eyes. He had to admit that he briefly thought that she had believed him, and now the vampire was disappointed that he wasn't going to get to finish the game. He so loved tormenting the beautiful and innocent, and the fact that his living self had been in love with this woman was going to make the torture even sweeter. Perhaps even rid him of the memories.

Suddenly, Angelus was angry. "Have it yer way, my lady. I was goin' ta try and make it a little fun fer both of us." His once-loving touch quickly became more aggressive and dangerous.

< Come on, Willow...don't back out now. > "I wouldn't call any moment in your presence fun," she mumbled just loud enough so that he could hear her words. < More, Willow. Think...what would Buffy say? >

He easily disregarded her attempt to insult him. "Ya will tell me the truth, little one. One way or another so ya might as well save yerself some pain." His mouth lowered to her throat, his teeth scratching at her delicate skin. "Actually," he continued, moving on to her ear, "I rather hope that ya don't tell me. Not right away, that is. I can only imagine how beautiful ya must be when ya are writhin' in pain."

The trembling woman forced herself to speak, trying to ignore his icy touch on her flushed flesh. "Did I mention how much I hate your mustache? You look like you should be standing around with three other unattractive men wearing red-striped vests and singing "Sweet Adeline" in 4-part harmony! It is not a good look for you." <Lame, Willow. Buffy would have done so much better!> she berated herself.

He stiffened momentarily, but then chuckled and continued his assault on her throat, still not breaking the skin. Willow tried to come up with something else. She wasn't worried that he would bite her. She was more worried that he wouldn't. "I never loved you, Angelus. Not when you were alive and certainly not now." Willow was pleased that her voice didn't crack as the lies continued to pour out of her. "I was bored and you were fun. That is all there was to it. We both know I *wasn't* married. *If* I had wanted you, I could have had you. Point is, I didn't and I don't. You were way too simple and stupid for me then, and now I think that what little brain matter you may have once had stayed dead when Darla killed you!"

When she heard the growl, she knew that she had pushed him far enough, but in the split second before his hand hit her face, she suddenly hoped that she hadn't pushed him too far. Willow's head snapped back from the force of the slap, yet the slight time traveler was actually worried that he hadn't hit her hard enough.

Angelus was on his feet as soon as his fingers made contact with her warm skin. He needed to take a moment to calm down before he got carried away and ruined the fun too quickly, but just as he was about to open the door, he sensed the blood. Spinning around quickly, he saw a fine trickle of crimson liquid trailing from her split lip, down the corner of her mouth to her chin. For a moment he told himself to just walk away, just leave her there, cowering in the dim room, but the demonís need to feed effortlessly overpowered his sadistic urges to prolong the emotional torment. In the blink of an eye, his face turned to that of the vampire's and he was at her side, yanking her to him. "I may not be knowiní how ya managed ta keep yer last vampire companion from doing this, but I promise ya that I will * not* be so gentle with ya!" he growled, angrily sinking his fangs into her graceful neck. As the blood filled his mouth, and Willow went limp in his arms, he marveled at its sweetness and power. The taste of Rose and her bloodís effect on him was exactly like he had remembered. No, in actuality it was far better than he had ever imagined, and he took as much as he dared.


End Chapter 19