The first thing Willow noticed when she woke up was that her whole body hurt.
The second was that she was sprawled on top of a large body.
A large, cold body.
A large, cold, male body.
A large, cold, male body which had a proportionately large, cold male body part pressing
against the side of her leg.
*Oh!* Willow thought, her aching body tensing. She listed to the man under her to see if
he was awake.
No indication of life other than that certain male part that was starting to mess with
Ever so slowly, she began to move her leg off of his body. Once accomplished, Willow
smothered a sigh of relief and looked up at her companion. Angel was asleep.
*Either that or he's doing a great impression of a corpse,* Willow thought to herself
*Wonderful. I'm starting to sound like Xander.* When mother nature refused to wait
another minute, Willow extracted herself from the tangled sheets and left the bed.
Refreshed after washing up, she went back over to the sleeping vampire. Willow sat on
the edge of the bed next to Angel and gazed thoughtfully at his peaceful face. With
another sigh, Willow reached down to pull the sheet back over her friend. As she did this,
she noticed the bandage on his abdomen was soaked with blood.
*Might as well fix him up while he's asleep,* Willow said to herself as she re-gatherd the
First Aid kit from the adventurous night before. Using a trick her mother had taught her,
Willow wet the adhesive with warm water to easily remove the bandage.
She quickly and efficiently cleaned the dried blood off the wound, noting it had already
started to heal. She taped a fresh bandage over the bullet hole, then looked up. *He's still
dead to the world,* Willow thought. She giggled at her own bad pun.
Willow then turned her attention to his boxer shorts and set her resolve face. *I fixed him
last night, I can do it this morning.* Willow grasped the waistband and pulled.
Surprisingly, they came down easily for having someone sleeping in them.
Willow moistened the adhesive on Angel's hip where the bullet had imbedded itself in the
bone. Her eyes strayed to the forbidden. *Eep!* she thought, blushing furiously. She
turned back to her task, but couldn't keep her gaze from him.
*Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god,* Angel thought as he felt Willow's gentle
hands. He had awoken when she first began to change the dressing on his abdomen. Her
fingers touched him lightly and Angel pretended to still be asleep so she would not stop.
When he felt her hands move to the waistband of his boxers, Angel lifted his hips slightly
so as they would slide down easily. Willow had doctored him the night before with
professionalism, so he was only a bit embarrassed. If he acknowledge that he was awake
now, undoubtedly Willow would be mortified.
Angel had felt her remove the second bandage and relaxed. That is, until he felt those
same gentle fingers brush over him! Staying absolutely still, he waited to see what would
happen next. He didn't have to wait long.
*Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god,* Angel thought again when Willow's hands
continued to explore. Any moment he was going to spontaneously combust into a little
pile of ashes from her touch.
Willow suddenly pulled back quickly. Flustered, she grabbed the bandage on his leg, not
realizing she hadn't moistened the adhesive, and yanked. It came off with a patch of skin
If Angel's mind wasn't fully aware before, it was now. His eyes popped open and he
stared at Willow. She was holding one hand over her mouth and held the bandage in the
other. What she did hadn't hurt as much as surprised the vampire.
Willow wanted the floor to open up and swallow her like it did during Sadie Hawkins
week, when the ghosts of James and Grace haunted the high school. Or for the Hellmouth
to open again and reach its tentacles up and snatch her. Instead, Willow did the only thing
she was capable of doing. She babbled.
"I'm so sorry, Angel. I was re-dressing your wounds and I guess I forgot that I hadn't
loosened the adhesive. I can't believe I did that. Me, who spent all that time playing
doctor with Xander, who knows all the intricacies of the human body and how it
"Willow, it's ok," Angel interrupted her monologue. "It didn't hurt."
"It didn't?" Willow asked in a relieved voice.
"No. I was only startled," Angel replied.
"Good. I don't mean good in the way that I ripped half your skin off, but good in the fact
that it didn't hurt," Willow ran on. She stopped talking suddenly and blushed. "I'll
just uh finish up here."
Angel stopped her when she went to touch his leg again. "It'll heal," he told her. He sat
up and pulled the sheet over his lap so as not to embarrass her or himself any further.
Willow looked at him with wide eyes as they sat practically nose to nose.
"I think I'll uh g-get dressed," Willow stammered.
"Willow," Angel whispered. He brought his left hand up and traced the side of her cheek.
Willow closed her eyes as Angel moved his hand behind her head and pulled her in for a
kiss. It was a gentle kiss, two lips pressing together for the first time. Both the vampire
and the hacker blinked behind shut eyes, awareness shooting through their systems. Angel
slowly deepened the kiss, but it was the perpetually shy one who darted her tongue out
The kiss lasted for what seemed like forever. Willow loved it. She lifted her own hands
up, one on his bare chest while the other ran lightly up and down his left arm. Angel's
fingers threaded into her hair as he shifted to bring his other hand to trace lightly along the
pale skin of her collarbone.
There was no getting around the fact that he was a vampire. Wild, intense, untamable.
But he could also be very loving.
Willow slowly became aware of Angel licking her neck, his tongue swirling in the blood
that pooled from the twin holes. They were still joined, and she could feel him purring
against her. She sighed in pleasure, one hand stroking lightly up and down his arm.
She never wanted to move again.
But her own body decided that move she must. "Angel?"
"Hmm?" Angel continued to purr at her throat.
"I need to get up," Willow told her new lover.
"Do you have to?" Angel asked with a small whine.
Willow chuckled. "Yes, I do."
Angel pushed up on his forearms which had moved to each side of Willow's body. He
gazed into her eyes, unknowingly still in game face.
Willow looked into Angel's true face. For some reason, the sight of him like this
encouraged her. It meant that he was truly impassioned by their tryst. She smiled a soft,
knowing, womanly smile.
Angel kissed her lips gently, then moved off of her body. Willow left the bed and went
into the bathroom. Content, he lay back on the bed with his arms behind his head and
smiled at the ceiling.
"You do realize that your boxers are still around your knees?" Willow asked as she
headed to the refrigerator for a drink.
"What?" Angel said, looking down. "Oh," he grinned at her sheepishly, which was a
funny sight with his fangs.
Willow laughed, a melodious twinkle filling the small apartment. She went back over to
him, not embarrassed by her nudity, and sat on the bed. "What would you like to do all
day?" she asked, her eyes alight with mischief as she took a sip of soda.
"I'm sure we can think of something," Angel said with a low, seductive voice.
Willow's comment was interrupted by a knock at the door. "Yikes!" She jumped up,
splashing her soda and bolted for the bathroom.
Angel growled at the intrusion and stood, pulling the boxers up into place. He stomped
over to the door and flung it open. "What?"
Buffy and Xander jumped back away from the vampire standing in the doorway wearing
nothing but his game face and a pair of silk boxers.
"Um hi?" Buffy said tentatively.
"Oh, it's you guys," Angel said. He crossed his arms over his chest. "What do you
"We uh, came to check on you two," Buffy answered. "And I brought some clothes for
Willow." She held up a bag in defense. "See?"
Angel sighed and ran a hand through his tussled hair. He gestured for them to enter and
took the bag from Buffy.
Xander and Buffy exchanged puzzled glances as Angel went to the bathroom door and
knocked. "Red, Buffy brought you some clothing."
Willow cracked open the door, glad she couldn't see around the corner to where her two
best friends were waiting. "Thanks," she whispered, snatching the bag and shutting the
door in his face. Angel growled again in annoyance.
"Uh, Angel?" Xander asked carefully. "What's with all the growling?"
Angel turned to his guests and glared at them, his demonic visage making them cringe.
"Because I want to," Angel replied in a low tone.
"O-k," Buffy drawled out. "I take it we interrupted something."
Angel went over to the refrigerator and opened it. He stared into its crowded depths as if
it had the answers. He sighed again. "No. I'm sorry. Bad night."
Willow emerged from the bathroom fully clothed, a towel draped over her neck. She
smiled overly bright at Buffy and Xander. "Hey, guys!"
"Will! How you holding up?" Buffy asked, hugging her friend.
"I'm fine," Willow told the Slayer. "Just a little sore."
"What's with the towel?" Xander asked. He looked questioningly at her dry head.
"The what?" Willow said. "Oh, the towel. Heh, heh. I was just um washing my face
and I uh draped it over my shoulders unthinkingly" She turned and looked at Angel and
noticed he was still in game face. She started to blush. Heavily.
Xander and Buffy exchanged a glance, then stared at Willow's red face. They both looked
over to the messed up bed, the T-shirt and black underwear on the floor, the vampire in
game face, the blushing girl, the towel around her neck, then back at each other.
"I'm going to kill you," Xander said dangerously. He was staring furiously at the
vampire, hands clenched at his sides.
Angel looked up from the open refrigerator to Xander in surprise. "What?"
"General," Willow said. Angel moved his gaze and Willow rubbed her forehead above her
nose. He brought one of his hands up and felt the ridges. Quickly, he slid the human
mask back into place.
"Don't think that's going to help you," Xander said, taking a step forward. Buffy grabbed
his arm. "Buffy, let go."
"No, Xander. We're leaving," Buffy said.
Xander shook her grip off and marched over to Angel. Without saying another word, he
brought his fist back and rammed it into the vampire's face.
Stunned, Angel stumbled back, hitting the open door. Xander took the advantage and hit
Angel again, this time in the gut.
Angel yelled out in pain as the ring the teen had taken to wearing hit the not quite healed
bullet wound. He put one hand over it protectively and grabbed Xander with the other,
shoving him back forcefully.
Willow came out of her stupor and ran over to Angel. "Xander! What the hell was that
"He touched you," Xander said with venom. He snaked his hand up and snatched the
towel from around Willow's neck. The vampire bite marks were visible on her neck. "He
"Xander, it's none of your business what I do," Willow ground out. "Or who I choose to
do it with. Now, if you can't apologize, leave."
Xander glared at both of them for a moment, then spun on his heel and stormed out the
door. "C'mon, Buffy."
Buffy's face echoed the hurt she felt at the knowledge that Willow and Angel had She
turned and ran out behind Xander. The outer door clanged shut with finality.
"Sometimes, I just don't understand him," Willow told Angel. They were both snuggled
together on the couch, reveling in their new found closeness.
Willow had to re-bandage Angel after Xander's punch had caused him to start bleeding
again. They had a quick bite to eat, then moved to the couch after a very enterprising
"You're his oldest and closest friend, Red," Angel replied. "He doesn't want anything to
hurt to you."
"But you didn't hurt me," Willow said.
"I know," Angel sighed. "But he's afraid I would, seeing as how I did in the past."
"Angel, don't go there," Willow warned. "We've been over this before "
"Ok," Angel answered. "I won't." He kissed the top of her head, then leaned his chin on
The phone rang and Willow answered, depressing the talk button on the portable which
sat on the couch next to the couple. "Hello?"
"Hello? Willow?" Giles voice said on the other end of the line.
"Hi, Giles," Willow greeted cheerfully. "How are things at school?"
"Pretty good, considering the, uh, damages," Giles told her. "How are you a-and Angel?"
"Great!" Willow replied.
"That's, um g-good," Giles stammered.
"Buffy and Xander told you, huh?"
"Er yes," Giles answered. "I take it he's still Angel."
"Yes, Giles, he's still Angel," Willow said.
Angel winced as she said those words. He hugged her closer to him, trying to send away
the chill that infused his body.
"I gather then I'll, er, see you tonight at your house," Giles said.
"Right. As soon as the sun sets," Willow responded. Willow hung up after good-byes
were exchanged. She set the phone back on the couch. "Are you ok?"
Angel shook his head against Willow's hair. "Yeah. I'm ok."
It took Willow the remainder of the day to get Angel out of his somber mood. But
eventually, he was once again purring contentedly at her side.
"What are you laughing at, Red?" Angel asked, snuggling closer to the petite red head.
"You," Willow answered. "You're purring."
"Am I? I hadn't noticed," Angel told her. He frowned, then brought one hand up and
rubbed his forehead. The ridges were back. *Strange. I didn't realize *
"Hey, don't you think we better get going soon?" Willow interrupted his thoughts.
"Yeah," Angel said. He shifted back to his human features and kissed Willow. "I guess
"You don't sound too excited," Willow commented. She stood and began to gather up
"Don't worry about me," Angel said. "I'm fine."
Willow gave him a look that clearly said she didn't believe a word out of his undead
mouth. To disprove her, Angel grabbed her and began to tickle unmercifully.
The walk to Willow's house was uneventful. Buffy, Xander, Cordelia and Giles were all
out front, sitting on Giles' car, waiting.
"Hey, guys," Willow greeted. Angel nodded at the group.
Willow unlocked the front door. "General, will you do a quick search around the house,
then come to the French doors at my room?"
"Ok," Angel said. He turned and disappeared into the darkness.
"C'mon, you four," Willow said. She ushered the small group into her home and to her
bedroom. Giles seemed a tad uncomfortable, but he knew there was no choice. At least
Willow's parents weren't home.
There was a tapping at the French doors and Willow opened them. Angel stood on the
other side of an invisible barrier - the last reminder of Angelus' reign.
"Put on your game face,' Willow told him.
Angel gave her a startled look. "What?"
"Put on your game face. You know, 'grr,'" Willow repeated.
Angel looked at the young woman in front of him, then at the others in the bedroom.
Xander's face held an expression of repressed anger. Buffy's was a contradiction of hurt
and happiness. Cordelia looked bored and Giles, confused.
With a sigh, he did as requested. Willow held her hands out to him over the threshold.
"Angel, this is part of who you are and I want everyone present here to know that I trust
you." Willow smiled sweetly. "Will you please come in?"
Angel blinked in surprise, then allowed her to pull the vampire into the room. He quickly
returned the human mask that normally adorned his features. "Thank you," he whispered.
Willow nodded then purposely moved to her computer. "I now call this meeting of the
Sunnydale crime club to order." She grinned.
"Ok. What do we know?" Buffy said, getting into Slayer mode.
"We know that someone wanted Willow," Angel said.
"We know that whoever it is that wished to take Willow is using non-human allies," Giles
"We know the body of two men, two humans, were found at school. The one on the
second floor had a broken neck and the one in the library was completely drained of
blood," Xander said. He shot Angel a look. "I wonder how that happened?"
"We also know that the sewer stench will never come out of my clothes," Cordelia put her
two cents in. They all rolled their eyes at her.
"Why don't you see what the-the police and, uh, coroner's reports have to-to say in that
dreadful machine," Giles suggested. "Not that I condone anything illegal."
Willow had already begun pulling up the bookmarked sites. She hit the print icon, then
read some of the information off the screen. "It says here two John Doe's were brought
in this morning from Sunnydale High School. No one has claimed the bodies and they
have no fingerprints on record. They're ruling the deaths as gang related."
"Just another typical day in Sunnydale," Buffy said. "Death by gangs."
She left that site and opened the information from her search last night. "On the
government conspiracy side, a sub-section of the FBI were the perps," Willow said.
"Great, now we're being hunted by the X-Files," Xander said.
"Are they going to try again?" Angel asked from the corner of the room. He had blended
into the shadows and the others jumped at his voice, forgetting the vampire was present.
"Don't do that!" Xander snapped.
"Sorry," Angel apologized. He reached under his shirt and pulled out the cord with the
four colored bells. They jingled as he let them fall on his chest. "Better?"
Xander tried to scowl, but couldn't. Instead, a wide grin took its place. "Do the Snoopy
Dance and maybe I'll forgive you."
The corners of Angel's mouth tilted in a small smile. "Would you like to come with me
while I make another sweep around the house?"
"Lead on, Jingle Bells," Xander said, gesturing to the French doors. The two proprietary
males went out into the night.
The printer stopped and Willow handed the police and coroner's reports to Giles. She
began printing up the information from the FBI
"Do you know hwy they wanted you, Will?" Buffy asked.
"Not yet," Willow answered.
"Don't you think you'd better make sure they're not coming back?" Cordelia said. "I
don't want to hang around if they're going to."
"Good idea," Buffy said. "And it wasn't entirely selfish, either."
Willow's fingers flew over the keyboard and she effectively put a 'case terminated' stamp
on the file. "That should do it. I hope." She picked up some of the papers coming from
the printer and divided them between Buffy and Cordelia. "Here. Buffy, you get the
'Rosenberg' file. Cordy, you get the research on the sub-section members."
Willow kept scanning the computer and printing up all the information she could find on
herself, the perpetrators, her friends and Sunnydale in general. Xander and Angel
returned, both a little bruised and sore, and accepted the work Willow gave them.
"What happened to you guys?" Cordelia said, surveying her boyfriend.
"Just making sure Jingle Bells took care of my Willow," Xander said, laying on the bed
next to her. Buffy was sprawled across the bottom and Giles had taken a seat in an extra
Willow raised her face to Angel as he peered over her shoulder. She arched one delicate
eyebrow in question. He shook his head, indicating things were going to be fine between
the men. She smiled and he took a seat on the floor next to her, resting his back against
the desk drawers.
Silently, the six worked well into the night.