The First Time I Loved Forever

by Saber ShadowKitten
Abracadabra 9

Angel lay on his back next to the young redhead, gently stroking her hair with his large hands. The sheet against his bare skin was cool in contrast to the heat of her body. They had spent the night wrapped in each others arms after the gift she bestowed upon him. The gift of day.

He thought back over the past year, from the time she brought him out Hell, to the time she arrived on his doorstep with bottles of Vampireís Delight clinking in her backpack, to the instant he drained someone for the first time when he had his soul. How she could still be with him, love him after that was a mystery.

The first time I loved forever
Was when you whispered my name
And I knew at once you loved me
For the me of who I am.

Sweet, innocent, fiery, passionate, clever Willow. She was the one who persuaded the others to see him no longer as the monster he had been but at the man he was. She was the one to bring him out of his shell of misery and despair, held him when the memories overwhelmed him, smiled at him that small, knowing smile just at the right moment.

The first time I loved forever
I cast all else aside
And I bid my heart to follow
Be there no more need to hide.

He didnít think he would ever allow himself to love again, even after she had told him his soul was permanent. Love with Buffy had been intense, tumultuous, hurtful. But with the young woman beside him it was full of laughter, tenderness, trust. And it was her trust that allowed him to dare love again.

And if wishes and dreams are merely for children
And if loveís a tale for fools
Iíll spin a tale and make a wish
Iíll live the dream with you.

The others didnít realize that it was Willow who held the group together, who was the support and non-judgmental guiding force that helped to get through the tough times. Without her, they would have drifted apart, maybe no longer living, loving, or stopping the darkness that threatened to engulf Sunnydale. It was to her they turned for comfort. It was to her they turned for loyalty. It was to her they turned to make everything better. And she denied no one, for that was her gift to this world - her love.

For all my life and forever
Thereís a truth Iíll always know
When my world divides and shatters
Your love is where Iíll go.

Angel felt truly blessed all due to the woman beside him. She gave him everything and expected nothing in return. And because of this, he would protect her, cherish her, love her until the day he no longer walked on the earth.

"I love you, Willow," he whispered in a rough, emotional voice. Willow smiled her sweet, small smile at him and he knew, without words, she loved him, too.

End 1