The Emperor's New Clothes - Angel's Monday


By Hush
Under My Skin 2



Part One

Monday morning before the sun rose, Cordy and Willow dropped me off at the bus station. Cordy was supportive but bewildered. Once she had gotten over the initial shock of our body swap, Cordelia had rebounded with her usual bluntness and aplomb.

Cordelia could not understand why we were going through with this charade when, obviously, "Messes like this just don't get fixed. You two are dreaming." Still, she hugged me goodbye with enough moisture in her eyes that my heartstrings tugged.

Willow's goodbye was quiet. Her mood had been subdued over the weekend and I was worried about her. I hugged Willow next. "Are you gonna be OK?" I asked, stepping back. I am starting to get used to the differences in our sizes.

"Sure," Willow replied. "I'm great!" Her lower lip quivered bravely and her forced smile could not have convinced a country boob.

I wanted to console her again but my bus was leaving. I could not delay any long. "Be brave," I directed, stepping up into the bus. I spoke to Willow but my words were meant for both of them. Cordy has already lost one good friend recently. We both have. I am not sure that she was ready for my departure, however temporary.

I took a seat in the back of the bus, one that let me see my friends as the Greyhound pulled out. I waved goodbye for as long as they were in sight, and they waved back. Once I could not longer see them, I curled up on the seat and tried not to cry.

I was numb, alone, and afraid. None of those feelings are strangers to me. I have felt them many times in the last two and a half centuries. This time, though, everything has changed. My sense of identity is shattered. I no longer know who I am. Even my body is no longer my own; it is a loaner.

And so, off I go to begin my new life as Willow Anne Rosenberg. Oh, what a shining, bold adventure!

#

Before I had left LA, I had packed a few antiques in case of an emergency. Cordelia complains that she does not understand how anyone my age can be dirt poor. Having seen more than one economy rise and fall, more than one currency devaluate overnight, I actually prefer to keep my assets tied up in antiques and objects d'art.

I have not told her my real value because I am scared she would spend it. Guilt over my deception has cost me the price of a gourmet coffee maker and new--previously mentioned--hardwood floors.

My first real emergency manifested itself in the way of Willow's wardrobe. I had not the heart to tell her that I found her taste in clothes wanting. I had agreed to live her life, but I refused to dress like her. It is a vanity but one I can live with.

I pawned a couple Seth Thomas Sonora chime clocks to a less than reputable dealer near the bus depot. I got only a thousand, half of what the two timepieces were worth, but enough to meet my needs.

Then, I called my "mom". The phone to her office rang twice. "Hello?" Mrs. Rosenberg greeted.

"Mom?" I squeaked. It was not intentional but I ran over a mental mom-stumble. Ironically, I came out sounding just like Willow.

"Willow, honey! How was your tour of the UCLA campus?"

A campus tour was Willow's--my--cover story. "Great!" I replied and cut to the chase before she could grill me for details. "Mom, I'm down at the bus terminal. I need a ride. Could you pick me up?"

I must get a driver's license and a car, ASAP.

Willow's mother exhaled. I sensed annoyance and detachment. "I'm sorry, dear, but you *know* that I'm in conferences all morning long. Why don't you use your ATM card to take out some cash and catch a taxi home?"

"OK," I agreed readily enough. I would have done anything to delay my first mother/daughter 'conference' as long as possible. I patted myself down and located the bankcard. It had a VISA/MasterCard logo on it and barely looked used. "What's my PIN?"

She spat out the number and scolded me for being absent-minded. I apologized and quickly memorized the number. One more test, I decided. "Is it OK if I buy a car?"

No hesitation. "Yes, dear, but make sure you keep your withdrawal to under ten thousand. And make sure it has solid tires."

I attentively promised to kick them hard and hung up. Willow had warned me that her mother would never have time for me and would never hear anything I said. I had thought she was exaggerating until now.

I caught a taxi to the mall.

#

To be a woman, I had to think like a woman.

Think Pink.

No matter how hard I tried, I could not bring myself to do it. From the looks of Willow's bright and myriad colored clothing, she had already thought pink, along with every other loud and noisy primary under the sun.

Screw Pink.

This was not working for me, so I reinvented my thinking. To be a woman, I had to dress like a woman, act like a woman, and think like a woman. Women do not wear pink, girls do.

Think She.

New mantra in mind, I methodically inventoried what I would need for a complete wardrobe and set out to buy one like a man, quickly and efficiently. I started with underwear and Victoria's Secret.

What should have taken ten minutes took an hour. Bras are the twisted invention of a tortured mind. Those that fit comfortably are uglier than sin and the real cock-teasers hurt like a bitch. I settled for maximum sex appeal per square inch possible. Screw comfort. No pain; no gain.

I cannot blame the whole time delay on the bras. To my delight, I discovered that women's dressing rooms are sided with mirrors on all sides.

And I reflected!

My tongue was practically hanging out of my mouth as I pealed off Willow's clothing to reveal pale, beautiful flesh. Bare naked flesh that reflected! Suffice it to say that there had not been any mirrors at my place so this was the first good look I had gotten at myself undressed.

Way distracting to a sex-starved vampire. As previously stated, Willow has great tits. I paused more than once to admire them in the mirror in between bras. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I had decided to examine them more carefully.

Her left breast is microscopically smaller than the right but that is quite common. They are as soft as feather down, pert and perky in personality, and her nipples are pink, almost coral colored. Fabulous.

They felt as wonderful as they looked.

I was soaked through to my panties by the time my hands were done wandering. Willow would have slapped me silly if she could have seen. My only regret was that I could not reach them with my mouth.

Luckily, women have a much easier time concealing arousal than men do. I was a walking orgasm in women's underwear when I left the store and set out for a clothing boutique.

I dressed myself with a critical eye. My detachment from Willow's body allowed me to assess her strengths and weaknesses with an unbiased eye. Overall, she has a killer body. I was amazed what she managed to hide under baggy, obnoxiously bright clothes. She downplays her assets.

Willow's hair is by far her best feature. I have always liked the bold color, and her new, shorter cut is chic enough to satisfy even my demanding tastes. I am pleased to report that I could locate no evidence of dying. Everything appears natural.

My style choices involved clean, classy lines and darker, dramatic colors that invoked a touch of mystery. As I experimented with trying stuff on, I found that I liked short and revealing for skirts, sheer and revealing for blouses.

I especially liked revealing.

Willow looks fabulous in jade, burgundy, brown, and black. The less material the better is a tried and true formula when it comes to playing up a woman's assets, and it was one I stuck to.

Shoes came next. High heels, boots, high heeled boots...you get the picture. I have no idea how to walk in heels but Buffy and Faith manage to fight in them. I can learn.

Accessories, makeup... I went through over seven hundred dollars within three hours and I only bought the basics of a new wardrobe. It is a good thing that stores deliver because I never could have carried all of the packages by myself. It would have been nice to have my body along to carry stuff.

I stopped at a knife store also and purchased a couple fighting knives with six-inch blades. They were honed to razor-sharpness, easily concealed even under scant clothing, and perfectly balanced for throwing.

I mastered knife fighting in France during the Revolution. It was a hobby, one that amused me at the time, but I have had little use for since. Considering Willow's lack of physical prowess, it was a compromise in self-defense until I could train her body into shape.

Laden down with packages, I headed for a phone to call another cab when I walked by a leather store. The heavenly smell of fresh leather was too much. It led me in by my nose.

Part Two

In some ways leather is better than sex. It lasts longer, smells and feels as good, and holds up well against my hard-hitting lifestyle. My demon and I appreciate it with equal fervor, which is one of the reasons I have not worn leather pants--other than during my brief deception with Faith--since I fell out of hell.

Buffy said once that leather pants remind her of my evil alter ego. It temporarily knocked much of leather's appeal for me right out of the ballpark. I would do anything--ANYTHING--to erase those memories if I could.

Standing amidst racks and racks of leather jackets, skirts, pants, tops...my aversion was taking a prolonged hiatus. I stroked my hand over a suede skirt, absently adding the coat hanger to the collection-to-try-on growing in my other hand. After all, what harm was there? Willow in leather should not conjure images of my demon.

"Can I take those for you to a dressing room?" A cute salesgirl smiled at me and extended her hand.

I smiled back. "Thanks," I said, handing her my selections. I chose a few more things to try on, including leather pants, and a tight-fitting halter top with a lace-up bodice, and hurried to the dressing rooms.

A hour later I bought the four items I could afford, a pair of pants, the halter top, a skirt, and a trench--all black--and regretfully handed over my last three hundred dollars to the cashier. I wished that I had brought more and vowed to return again later.

But I had accomplished what I set out to do. I had bought Willow a whole new look and I had done in under four hours. Triumphantly, I set out for home.

#

By now I must be conjuring mental images of Willow the Leather Slut or Willow, Angel with tits. Both are right, with plenty of room for crossover within the wardrobe. I was dressing to please the male eye--in this case my own--and Willow's body was my Barbie doll.

I will admit that maybe I went a little overboard but what can I say? I was rediscovering my sexuality and I was having a blast doing so. I had been handed beautiful breasts, a tight ass, and killer legs, along with everything else in between. It was carte blanche to a sensual orgy and my name was on the invitation.

I mean, look at things from my perspective! I recently endured a few hundred who-knows-how-many years in hell. Add a year of devout celibacy. Yes, I know that I have mentioned whacking off in the shower... The first time I did partake in such shower time activities I was paralyzed that masturbation would cost me my soul. Again.

I did it anyway. I was that horny.

Spike has taken plenty of free hits at my repression, and as much as I would like to beat him senseless with a crowbar, my loudmouth, swaggering little brat of a child has a talent for calling the shots. I *am* repressed but sure as hell not by choice.

That peroxide toothpick is right on at least one count. I *have* worked up a load of sexual tension. Hell, maybe I do "prance like a magnificent poof". The last year has been hell on my libido and I have *lots* of lost time to make up for.

I must sound like a sex-starved maniac, but really, I am not that bad. Really. I just really, really, really like sex a lot. Despite the heartache that followed my lost day with Buffy--and the sensual orgy that it had entailed--it was worth it. It does not take a Rhodes scholar to figure out that sex makes me happy. REALLY HAPPY.

Duh.

It was not like I was planning on *sleeping* with anyone while in Willow's body. I have too much respect for her to do that. BUT... There was nothing in the rulebook about pleasing myself. As the temporary caretaker and custodian of Willow's body, *it* and *I* have certain needs which must be met.

With this whole sad, pathetic rationalization going, I tore a page out of the phone book while I was calling the cab. It came, I hopped in, I gave the driver the address, and off we went.

#

At Atomic Toys I was guaranteed to "Blast myself into ecstasy" or my money back. Considering that I was pretty much ready to "Blast myself into ecstasy" from anticipation and an overactive imagination, I assumed that I would not be returning anything.

I started with sex toys, indecisively eyeing dildos and vibrators of various lengths, thickness, textures, materials, and speeds. I chose a couple, going for a wide range, and then I added a few more to my basket. After all, I was afraid of hurting myself...but I was also worried about being too conservative and not getting my money's worth.

"Can I help you, Miss?" The shady shopkeeper leered at me.

"No thanks." I brushed him off coldly and moved on to other accessories. I wished wistfully that Faith had not gone bad, joined forces with the Mayor, and wound up in a coma. Her assistance would have been useful and welcome.

They had some really neat butt plugs. I chose a couple and optimistically added a strap-on. I know that I swore I would not do anything with a partner...but I could not shake the image of Buffy spread-eagled under me...

Bad Angel bad...

After that I went more than a little overboard again. I chastised myself, swearing that I would take no partners, and added a bunch of toys that were pretty much interactive. Handcuffs, a riding crop, clitoral stimulators, leather straps, a ball gag, massage oil, some lube, and even a polyvinyl outfit that Willow looked fabulous in.

I had to use a credit card because my cash was gone. The bill set me back a pretty penny but then who can put a price tag on happiness?

Not I.

#

Monday classes were over and the sun was setting when I finally made it back to the dorm room, which Willow shared with Buffy. Ready to drop from exhaustion, I hauled my weary carcass--totting all of my purchases--up the stairs and fumbled with the room key, trying to get it out of the tight, tight pocket of my short, revealing skirt.

Without warning, the door yanked open. I squawked and fell in as Spike's peroxide head appeared before me. "Right!" he greeted with his characteristic verbal astuteness. He exclaimed as he caught me and packages flew everywhere.

Spike probably saved me from a black eye or a concussion but I was too furious and off-guard to care. "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?"

He ignored my inquiry. "That's a cheeky outfit, peaches," he complimented, looking me up and down with an appraising leer. He bent to pick up packages at the same time I did and got a look straight down my blouse. His shit-eating grin told me he appreciated my new underwear.

"DON'T TOUCH THAT!" I slapped his hand hard as he reached for one of the Atomic Toy shop packages. Panic suffused me. I could not stand the thought of *Spike* discovering the contents of that bag.

He picked it up anyway despite my attempts to reach it first. Spike is both faster and stronger than Willow. "Gimme that!" I exclaimed, grabbing the bag.

"I'm just trying to help, pet."

"I don't want your help!" I was angry, embarrassed, scared to death of discovery. "What the fuck are doing here?"

"Such language." Spike tisked, refusing to let go of the bag. "Giles is with his orgasm friend, Xander and Anya were feeling pelvic. Again. That stuck me here with the Slayer while you were gone, pet."

"I'M NOT YOUR PEACHES OR YOUR PET!" I screamed at him, hysterical and flustered. Finding Spike here had not been part of my plan. With a mighty effort, I tore the bag from his hands.

Tore. Tore is the right word. The Atomic Toys "Blast yourself into ecstasy" bag BLASTED right open and Atomic Toys flew all over the room. Dildos, vibrators, handcuffs, and my brand spanking new polyvinyl outfit spurted all over in an explosion of licentious lust.

"Bloody Hell!" The look on Spike's face was priceless. I can only imagine the look on my own but it was obvious that Spike could not believe his eyes. With a totally blank expression, he reached down and picked up a dildo.

Then he grinned.

Willow's delicate complexion caught fire. It was the most horrible, embarrassing moment of my entire life. It was worse than being tortured for hours, worse than being run through with a sword by my lover, worse than five hundred years in hell. I had lost face in front of Spike.

It was humiliating.

"Need some help with this, luv?" Wearing a huge grin, Spike waved the dildo under my nose. It was a soft latex one, about seven inches long, with multiple speeds. I could smell it as he tickled the bridge of my nose and brushed my lips. "Cause I'd be happy to oblige!"

I slapped him with an open hand but only succeeded in getting him excited. "Oh baby, foreplay!" he chanted, bouncing with glee. "Hit me harder, give it to me hard you naughty little vixen, you!" He really got into taunting me, taking obvious pleasure, and he was only just getting started.

I lost my temper. I flew from cringing horror to blind rage within the blink of an eye. My hand found and drew the dagger, yanking it free of its sheathe. I stepped up to him and had the blade against his nuts before he finished speaking.

"ERRK!" Spike finished his rant with a strangled gurgle as I shoved a six-inch dagger into his balls.

"If you tell anyone, I mean *anyone* about this," I hissed, "I'm gonna cut your testicles off and feed them to you. Understand?" My hand was steady, my eyes unwavering. If I had still been a vampire, I would have been in game face.

I was more than capable of completing the threat. I have performed this action before in the past and right then would have eagerly gelded my child and force-fed him his balls AND his dick.

Buried rage was surging in my heart. Spike tortured me for HOURS. He and his vicious little minion impaled me, tormented me, and worst of all, almost broke me. I welcomed an opportunity to get even and it shone in my eyes.

Spike is smart. He has good survival instincts and he knows people. The Willow he knew would not--could not-have completed my threat but the person in her body wanted to so desperately that it trembled with eagerness and Spike could see it.

"Easy luv," he said, swallowing nervously. His Adam's apple bobbed convulsively. He dropped the dildo and held up his hands. "I was just fun 'in."

I tightened my hold on the knife and pressed it harder against his groin. The unyielding pressure had already begun to cut through his leather pants. "Let's get one thing straight," I hissed, using the knife to move him further into the room.

He yielded ground and power to me with every step. "I'm not your peaches, your pet, your luv, or your princess. YOU'RE my bitch and if you address me it's as Willow or Mistress. Is that clear?"

The back of his legs hit the bed and he sat. His head nodded. "Yes Mistress," he answered obediently and our relationship righted itself once again. Spike is my child and subordinate to me in all things. I WILL NOT have it any other way.

I realize that he would have fought if he could but the implant had rendered him helpless. Willow had explained all about Spike's trip to the vet. It gave me one hell of an advantage.

Lucky for him, I have a conscience. Besides, I never could have explained the mess it would have made on the carpet to Buffy. I withdrew the knife and stepped back, sheathing it with a clean motion. "Help me clean this mess up," I ordered.

"Yes Mistress." He rushed to obey. The look on his face was submissive...and smitten. Downright goofy. I almost moaned in horror as the full implications of our interaction finally sank in.

Spike had not submitted to Angel, he had submitted to Willow. I have known him for over a hundred years and I know what that expression meant. If anything, I had just made matters worse with my dominatrix behavior.

Spike is in love.

With Willow.

Part Three

Spike and I cleaned up the mess and I got all of my new toys securely stowed away. I hid them in a chest under the bed and rather spitefully dumped most of Willow's Wicca supplies in the trash. Vengeful and petty? Yes. Do I regret it? No.

"Why'er you doing that?" My impudent sub demanded curiously as I emptied the spell components into a dumpster. Spikey-boy had followed at my heels to the trash bin like a good dog.

"None of your friggin' business," I replied. I had kept up the whole dom/sub routine with Spike. Mostly because it was easy, but partially cause I was enjoying the hell out of having Spike licking my boots and kissing my ass. Not literally...yet.

I knew that the dom/sub behavior could not continue around the rest of the Scooby gang without blowing my cover, or at least without raising some serious questions. However, there was no reason that my newly established relationship with Spike had to change while we were alone together though.

If anything, Willow's sweetly innocent fašade made a secret life as a Leather Goddess seem all that much more plausible. I can even envision it: sweetness & light by day, dominatrix by night. Take my word, Willow looks really hot in black leather with her hair tousled and her lips pouting.

I am sick.

Sickness aside, I had no other way of dealing with Spike's smoldering infatuation with my new body. Dom/sub suited me just fine. It kept Spike in line and I got that added thrill of rending his asshole with my three-inch stiletto heels.

I know that in Spike's mind we were playing some sort of game. I had impressed him with the knife-to-balls maneuver and reinforced his fascination. I think he obeyed me partially out of real fear but mostly out of lust. To me, though, all that mattered was that he *did* comply, not why. So long as he obeyed me with alacrity, I was happy.

"Listen up bitch," I said, turning from the dumpster. Spike slapped to alert, overeager attention. He still had a hard on. I could see the bulge in his pants. "Listen up cause this is how it's gonna be. When we're alone together, you respect and obey or I'm gonna beat the living crap out of you. Understand?"

He nodded and I got the sinking feeling that he anticipated disobeying just so he *would* be punished. Spike is like that. I swallowed, feeling my body temperature rising. There was no way I could let bad behavior slip without punishment...or I would lose all control over him.

Some part of me wanted to punish him so badly that I started becoming aroused again. That made me even more uncomfortable. I squirmed in my tight little skirt, rubbing my thighs together in an attempt to find relief. A soft moan escaped Spike's lips. His eyes were glued on my squirming midriff.

"What about when we're not alone?" he asked, almost panting. I could read his mind because his thoughts were transparent. He wanted to be inside me as my hips twisted. Mentally, his cock was already embedded to the hilt in my pussy. He could smell, taste, and feel the juices flowing...

Oh fuck. I jarred myself out of my reverie by forcibly reminding myself that to Spike I was Willow, sweet, innocent little Willow. Willow who had just threatened to cut off his balls and feed them to him...

OK, quick mental revision...to Spike I am now Willow, Leather Goddess.

"When the others are around, act normal."

"An' if I don't?" he tested with a cocky eyebrow.

"Some people find pain...very inspirational," I told him with a significant look, using one of his favorite phrases. I doubt Willow has ever heard him say it but it had the intended effect. It shut him up.

#

For lack of anything better to do, I had Spike do my nails, fingers first, then toes. Spike is great with nails and makeup. He even wrapped my toes up in those dainty little pieces of material first. It was neat.

I was feeling sadistic so I put my feet in his lap, wedged my heel firmly against his rock hard cock, and made sure that he could stare straight up my skirt. Then I leaned back and ignored him with icy indifference. His expression was tortured.

Ain't I a brat?

"Willow, luv?"

I looked up and Spike gave me a shy, bashful smile. He held my left foot clasped between his hands and was rubbing lightly. "Do you suppose later that maybe you and I could..." His head jerked toward Willow's bed.

His thoughts were on my Atomic Toy Box. He wanted to play with my dildos and vibrators, butt plugs and lube. He wanted me to put on my brand spanking new polyvinyl cat suit, handcuff him to the bedpost, and beat him with the riding crop until he begged.

"Not even," I told him coldly.

"I've thought about it," he wheedled.

"Well I haven't."

"Willow..."

"Try www bestiality dot com," I snapped. "Get back to work, bitch." Despite the brush off, Spike cheerfully went to work manicuring my toenails. He whistled a jaunty tune as he worked, clearly undaunted by my rejection.

Spike is an infernal optimist.

Sadly, pathetically, I am attracted to the peroxide twit. This whole twisted charade began as a chance for a little payback but things are starting to get out of my control. My shopping trip to the mall and the toy store had left me primed to play and Spike looked pretty darn good as a potential partner.

I cannot and I will not but I want to. Spike's devotion to Willow is going to make abstinence hard but I held off from making love to Buffy after the second curse. I can certainly keep Spike at arm's length. The only difference was that before I HAD to remain celibate or bye-bye baby. That will not matter. I hope.

I consoled myself with the knowledge that I always had my Atomic Toy Box. Everything about Willow's body is so amazingly new, wondrous and unexplored. I am a woman now, and I cannot wait to explore all that entails. My head spun at the thought. Multiple orgasms, a G-spot, and my own set of tits...

With some effort and imagination, I could easily drag out the discovery process for weeks, maybe even months. That thought helped me perk up. Plus there was the added incentive of being able to torment and tease the living hell out of Spike, my new boy-boy, and slavish devotee of Willow Rosenberg.

He loves me too, you know. Angel.

Spike and I have the most classic love/hate relationship of all time. We love to hate each other and hate to love. Each of us has had plenty of opportunities to kill the other but do we take them? No. We abuse, torture, and torment the hell out of each other but never kill. That would end our love/hate affair forever.

The thought of Spike's death is a cold dagger in my heart. He is so much a part of my life...but that does not mean that I am going to show mercy. If anything, I am going to be harder on him because of it. I am going to make him regret making me feel this way.

I absolutely relish the potential this whole situation has. Spike in love with Willow, who happens to be me. Love is Spike's Achilles Heel, his greatest vulnerability. He gives himself over to it so totally, surrenders his entire being to his beloved.

Spike is love's bitch, as he so eloquently puts it. I have him by the balls...and I have so much to get even for. He is going to crawl, beg, and scream in agony before I am through with him. I am going to reinvent torture and cruelty just for him.

I sighed and Spike smiled at me, puppy love written all over his face. I smiled back with evil anticipation and confusion crossed his face again. Sweet Willow must have seemed to have under gone a Mr. Hyde-like transformation to poor William.

Oh I was having too much fun! These are the moments that confirm what I know deep within my heart. I am sick. I am depraved. My demon gets his best and worst qualities from me and would be just another mediocre, run-of-the-mill bloodsucker without me.

I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I cannot really hurt Spike. I could beat him or whip him, but I cannot hurt him horrifically or brutally, the way I long to, the way he hurt me. I can get off on the fantasy but I do not have the stomach for torture. I lost my taste for it, for the ability to enjoy it, when Willow hijacked my demon, so I will have to settle for the fantasy.

And I love my child too much to do to him what he has done to me. Spike is still a demon, pure blooded, vicious, cruel. I know that he despises me for what I have become. The torture was his way of acting out, of getting even. I cannot turn the other cheek, I can never forgive, but I can show him mercy.

Without warning, I ground my heel into his crotch. He gasped. "Spikey, that feels ssssooooooo good," I purred. "Rub my instep." He complied, grabbing my heel and keeping it tight against his sore, swollen crotch.

I can show him mercy. But not too much.

I was so friggin' horny that my entire lower body ached. The feeling was exquisite and fascinating and NEW. I loved the sexual anticipation almost as much as I savored the fantasy of satisfying that ache with something big and hot and hard...

I imagined a cock plunging into me and arched me hips, shoving my foot even harder against Spike's distended cock. With my big toe, I could feel the hole in his crotch I had cut with my knife, and through it his dick. Its presence under my foot made a great sexual aid, heightening the tension and my arousal. He shuddered with helpless convulsions but I was too wrapped up in the fantasy to notice.

Buffy...her name entered my mind unbidden. My heart wants Buffy to be my first and only lover. There is no one else for me. There never has been. I have had other lovers...dozens, hundreds...but I have never loved another person the way I love her. Every other feeling is a shadow in comparison.

Buffy, Buffy. Oh god, she will be home soon...oh God...I am scared to death. How am I going to share a room with her without her guessing that knowing that I am Angel inside of Willow's body? How am I going to stand being so close to her and not be able to touch her?

Should I tell her? Should I lie? How should I act? I am never going to be able to sleep with her curled up in bed less than six feet from me, with her lips softly parted, her chest gently rising and falling...

I used to sneak into her room to watch her sleep. Soul and soulless, she was my passion and obsession for two years. I have forced myself to walk away for the sake of love, for Buffy's well being. Everything Joyce said to me was true.

As a vampire, I could not offer her a normal life, sunlight and children, someone to grow old with. As a mortal I was a liability to her, unable to even hold my own in a fight. I am mortal now, however temporarily, but all of the old barriers are still in place with an added twist.

Buffy is neither a duck nor a dyke.

Oh, I can give her sunlight now but children would require a quick trip to the sperm bank. Oh, and marriage? Not even in Hawaii. My odds of surviving a fight are worse than ever. And as much as the thought of an illicit exploration of the wondrous world of lesbianism thrilled me, I doubt that Buffy would feel the same.

Then there is always the looming possibility that Willow and I will discover a way to reverse this "situation" and things will be right back to being the way they were to begin with.

Oh yeah! A whole new opportunity to break Buffy's heart! Friggin' wonderful.

I CAN'T.

I love her too much.

The knowledge that I still could not be with Buffy was a wet blanket on my steaming libido. The thoughts sobered me right up and left me wondering how the hell I had managed to turn a sexual fantasy into morose brooding. Only I could ruin a healthy daydream like this. I am the only person capable of such depravity.

Sighing, I opened my eyes and started to tell my jacked up sub to go whack off in the bathroom. Spike was so hard and horny that he looked ready to come in his pants. That, of course, is the precise moments when Buffy walked in.

Envision this: Willow in a short, revealing skirt, perspiring lightly with strands of damp hair curling about her face, reclining with her feet in Spike's lap, big toe burrowing through the hole in this crotch. Now add in Spike staring straight up Willow's skirt at her brand spanking new black thong panties.

Now imagine the look on Buffy's face. "Well, isn't this comfy," she said, looking as nonplused as I felt.

Part Four

I yanked my big toe out of the hole in Spike's crotch--I feel some weird compulsion to mention again that I put that hole there in the first place--and sat up straight. "Buffy!" I squeaked. Miracle of miracles, I sounded just like Willow.

Squeaking == Willow speak.

"Willow," she said, closing the door. "Spike." Her expression was confused and I felt as guilty as if I had been caught cheating on my spouse. It was not reasonable but that was my gut reaction.

"Slayer."

Buffy walked over to her bed and carefully set her backpack down. She crossed her arms and stared at me, doing her best no to look directly at Spike, who for once wisely kept his trap shut. "So what's going on?" she asked. Her eyes flitted nervously between Spike and I.

"To quote a source," Spike piped up, "none of your friggin' biz...WHACK." His face turned with the force of the slap. I did not hurt him but it shut him up.

"Shut up," I told Spike tightly. I would not have the likes of him mouthing off to Buffy, not while I had any control over it. He should be on his knees in her presence, not insulting her with insolence.

Buffy gasped in shock. I *know* slapping him had made things worse. I am a fool, not an imbecile. If I could turn back the clock I would have controlled myself better but the slap was a reflex, not premeditated. Like Buffy said, I had gotten comfy with dominating my sub.

"Buffy, look, I can explain," I began.

"Oh my God, no," Buffy gasped, as her hand sought a stake. Her eyes jumped over my outfit, to the red handprint on Spike's cheek, and then her mind jumped to conclusions. "He's turned you," she whimpered as her eyes brimmed with tears.

I nearly fell over. "NO! YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND!" I rushed forward and Buffy shoved a cross into my face. Spike, finally reacting, fell off the bed howling with laughter.

"STAY BACK!"

I almost flinched from reflex and only barely managed to control the reaction that would have gotten me staked. Instead, I grabbed the cross away from Buffy. "Look! See!" I held the cross up and demonstrated touching it.

Buffy stopped and her shoulders slumped with relief. Then she turned pink with embarrassment. "I was...I mean...I thought...Your outfit..." Spike, still rolling about on the floor, was not helping. A strategically placed kick in his ribcage quieted him down but did not shut him up.

"I did some shopping this weekend. Decided to make a few changes. Do you like?" I posed, dropping the cross on Spike, who yelped and kicked it away. A small amount smoke rose. After that he crawled out of range. Drat.

Buffy uncertainly returned my goofy smile, silently appraising me again. "I do," she said, trying hard to sound sincere. "It's just so...dark." So un-Willowy, she did not say. She stared at my black fingernails with reservations.

"Personally, I like it," Spike offered. We ignored him.

"Angel helped me pick it out," I improvised. I stumbled over the lie. I hate lying to Buffy but it was basically the truth. And it had the intended effect.

"Angel?" Buffy asked with wide eyes and a catch in her voice. Hope surged in my heart. She had to still care for me. "You saw Angel?"

My heart ached. I wanted to take her into my arms and kiss the pain away. I wanted to tell her that I loved her, now and forever. Instead, I nodded.

"How is he?"

"Good," I managed.

"Did he say anything...about me?"

"Yeah, the GREAT POOF said to tell you that he's given up women OOF!" That was Spike's add-lib and my foot again. We ignored him. AGAIN. But he is going to have to re-paint my toenails at this rate.

"He said to say hi," I said softly. I wanted to say more but not within Mighty Mouth's commentary range.

"Oh." Buffy looked so bitterly disappointed that it hurt. She looked away and her puzzled attention returned to Spike. "Willow...I know that you've been going through a lot since Oz left...but SPIKE?" His name was a dirty word on the Slayer's lips.

"Hey!" Spike protested. "I'm a pretty fine catch if I do say so." Ignore, ignore.

I kind of hesitated, trying to decide how to play it. Obviously, I could not deny everything. Buffy had seen too much. Finally, I decided for casual and confident. I shrugged. "I was just amusing myself. Sides." I cast a sideway glance at the principal under discussion. "He's not too bad."

"Willow, he's a vampire," Buffy reminded me delicately. She wanted to say so much more but was at a total loss. Without questioning my sanity outright, the entire situation was complex and baffling. Inexplicable.

I shrugged again. "He's de- fanged."

"Hey!"

"You did it," I reminded her, hoping to divert attention from myself onto Angel again. Yes, yes, I *know* that I am still Angel. It worked though. Buffy's face closed up.

"That's different," she said, turning away. Suddenly uncomfortable, she picked up her bag. "I'm taking Spike back to Giles and then I'm going patrolling," she said, rushing to leave.

My heart fell. She was running away from me. "Oh," I said. "I was hoping that maybe we could spend some time together. You know, catch up..." Lame, lame, lame, Angel... Catch up on old times? I had supposedly only been gone for the weekend.

Buffy brushed me off. "Sorry but I'm meeting Riley tonight," she informed me, heading for the door again. "Come on, Spike," she ordered. Spike, abused floor-dweller, stood.

Riley...that loser she had been speaking to at the coffee shop? She preferred to spend time with *Riley* over me? Terrible disappointment filled me. I had wanted so badly to be with her just for a little while. I had only wanted to spend some time bonding, being friends.

"Spike!" Buffy raised her voice. He was not moving. He was standing in place, looking at me. His expression was transparently hopeful. Someone wanted to be with me.

When I failed to respond, Spike started to trudge reluctantly toward the door. "No!" I spoke impulsively. "You stay!" I ordered, pointing. Spike instantly rushed to obey. He jumped to the place my finger had put him.

Buffy turned in astonishment. "I have plans with Spike tonight," I improvised. "I'll drop him by Giles' myself when I'm through with him."

She stared at me but did not know what to say. "OK," she finally agreed reluctantly.

"Have fun with Riley," I whispered. I tried so hard to be sincere but my spiteful broken heart wished them a terrible time.

Buffy nodded. "Thanks." She left, leaving me alone with my sub. The silence that followed was long.

"So..." Spike finally said. "What *are* we doing tonight...Mistress?" His voice contained layer upon layer of innuendo.

I still had not recovered from my own sense of shock. Had Buffy finally moved on? Already? So soon...? And with such a...a...thinking unkind thoughts about him would not help me.

After all, I had left LA so that she could move on with her life. I had wanted her to find love and happiness with a mortal man. I had just thought that it would take a little bit longer. I had HOPED that it would take longer.

I have been gone from Sunnydale for less than a year...for less than six months.

I thought she loved me.

I must have been wrong.

I wanted to cry but I was not about to show weakness in front of my sub. Instead, I put on a brave face and turned to Spike. It was late enough that the sun had gone down.

"Let's go," I ordered, grabbing my coat. Spike fell into step behind me, automatically helping me into the jacket. I left the dorm behind with swift strides.

Spike followed at my side as naturally as he had in times of old. We moved together as partners, our steps well timed and practiced. We were on the hunt. Spike would have been given pause if he had noticed. For me, the feeling was a security blanket in an uncertain world.

"Where are we going?" he asked. I stopped and thought. Impulsively, I grinned. "Car shopping."

"Right on!" He grinned back.

Continued