Spanking Willow

By Hush Under My Skin 3

Part One

Being in Angel's body leaves me feeling like a critter from "Men In Black".

I am the miniature alien riding around in the big, huge mechanical body.

If you split open Angel's skull there would be a little control room lodging

Willow's soul. The feeling persisted throughout the entire weekend.

Monday morning found Cordy and me standing alone on the deck of the

Greyhound bus terminal, desolate refugees, living and lost in LA. The

mighty silver bus carried Angel off into the sunrise while we shed tears of

sorrow and waved goodbye. (Well I shed, Cordy got misty.)

I wonder if it would sound more pathetic or poetic if I set the scene to a

movie. Envision: Angel, the Desperado, mounted on his silver steed,

galloping off into the sunrise. Or: Angel, the Rocket Man! Or: Angel the

Apeman, swinging off on his silver vine. "Ohohohoh."

The whole point being, Angel took my body with him!

MY body.


I *know* this was all my fault but that still does not change the angst and

despair I feel knowing that I have given my body to a broody, two hundred

and forty three year old vampire who will probably eat a bunch of junk food

and ruin my health.

It does not change the fact that I am now stuck in the body of said

vampire... I am forever doomed to an unlife of perpetually bad hair because

I will NEVER be able to get Angel's riotous locks to behave without a


Angel's hair has some really mean natural curl. Angel demonstrated several

times how to style his hair using a zillion and a half different hair care

products, but it is so totally beyond me...

I can hear Spike chanting about "Nancy-boy" now. Oh Goddess, I pray,

PLEASE do not let me run into Spike while I am in Angel's body. PLEASE. It

would be a fate worse than my current one. Or at least, it would make my

current living-hell of a fate worse.

From the bus depot, Cordy drove us back to Angel's place because the Angel

mobile was still in the shop. I sat in the passenger seat and did not speak

the whole way.

"Well, you've got the whole dark frown and scowling silence act down pat,"

Cordy observed. "Now all you need to learn is how to skulk and lurk and

you're set."

I wanted to snap at her but as much as I dislike Cordy sometimes, she was

my only friend in the whole wide world right then and the only one who could

help me.

"And fight," I added pitifully. She raised a sculpted eyebrow at me. "If

I get into a fight, I'm going to get my undead butt kicked."

Cordy turned into the parking garage and aimed for a spot going faster than

I would have driven. We were literally speeding at a cement wall. She must

have a lot of confidence or really great brakes.

"You'll just need to learn to use brain before brawn, which shouldn't be

hard for you since..." She kept going, enumerating my mental assets. It

was really nice of her and she was obviously trying to bolster my ego. I

began to feel a little bit better.

Maybe I could handle this after all.


Monday afternoon I brooded. Monday evening I sat by the phone pretending

to read and I brooded. Late Monday night, Angel still had not called and I

began to panic.

Oh Goddess! What if something awful had happened to him? And my body! I

dialed the number of my dorm room and it rang and rang. No Buffy, no Angel.

It boded ominously, for the worst. Why was no one picking up the phone?!

Oh Goddess! Something awful had happened! I just knew it! Angel, poor

confused nocturnal hermit that he is had gotten lost or been struck over the

head and developed amnesia! Right now he was lying in a hospital bed

somewhere, on the brink of life and death, all alone...

Finally, I called Giles. I had to. I had no other choice, what with Angel

and Buffy both missing and it was hardly like I could call Xander. "Hi,

this is dead-boy, your BEST EVER buddy! I'm just calling to check up on

your sweet lil' Willow bud 'cause she spent the weekend with me."

Yeah, that would go over just GREAT with Xander.

"Hello," Giles answered. He sounded sleepy.

"Giles, this is W-W-Angel," I stammered.

There was dead silence. I suppose that Angel is not Giles' 'best ever

buddy' either, considering the sordid past. But Giles and Angel do share a

healthy respect for one another and they share common interests in the

occult, old books, and saving the world.

"Angel," Giles finally answered. "What a surprise. How can I help you?

Is this about Buffy?"

"N-n-no," I managed. Goddess, but I was shaken. I am an awful liar under

the best circumstance and this was far from that. I felt immensely guilty

about even THINKING about lying to Giles.

"Angel, you sound distressed," Giles said, concern creeping into his tone.

"I am," I answered, relieved to say something honest. "G-G-Giles, I'm

worried...about Willow," I improvised, thinking fast. I had to come up with

a convincing excuse to explain why I was asking after Angel--Willow--when I

was supposed to be detached LA vampire.

"Ohhh? Why is that?" Giles asked.

A thought popped into my head and out of my mouth. "Cordelia had a vision!

She's the new seer, you know, and she had a bad vision...about, [GULP]..." I stumbled.

"What about Willow?" Giles demanded, growing impatient with my stammering.

"Spit it out! We haven't got all day!"

"Willowgoteatenbyavampire!" I blurted. Then, I blinked. Yeah, it was

stupid but it was convenient and even realistic. And one of my worst

teenage fears growing up on the Hellmouth. While other girls worried about

hair, makeup, and boys, I battled evil and tried to avoid marrying an


"Anything more?" Giles asked nonplused. "What did the vampire look like?"

I stopped. Gulp! What did the vampire look like?! "He was big." Good,

Willow, good. "And he had sharp, pointy teeth..."

Giles exhaled, exasperated. "Angel, are you inebriated?"

"Just a little," I agreed, only cause it would get him off my back if he

thought I had been drinking. I envisioned Angel mooning for Buffy and tried

to sound drunk, slurring my words. "I'm just sitting here...brooding...

thinking about Buffy... with my er um Jack Daniels... I'm just a big ol'

drunken vampire."

Giles snorted and I winced. Goddess, but I had sounded corny! There was

no way that Giles would possibly believe... "Look, Angel," Giles

interrupted my thought. "I'm very sorry about you and Buffy but we've had

this conversation before and agreed that your leaving was for the best."

They had? "We have!" I agreed, "And I'm very sorry!" Unexpectedly, the

dam on my emotions burst and a flood hit me. I had only been gone from them

for four days but it felt like a lifetime. I missed my friends desperately.

"But I miss all of you sssoooooo much!" I sobbed. "B-b-uffy, and Xander,

and you and Oz hichichic..."

"I'm sorry," Giles repeated, sounding thoroughly nonplused. "I had no idea

how attached you felt. I thought...just Buffy..." He came to a confused


Breathe, breathe, breathe... I hyperventilated, trying to regain control

of my wildcatting emotions. "Hichichichichic..."

"T-t-there n-now," Giles stuttered over offering a sobbing Angel comfort.

"Is it really that bad?"

"Yes [sniff]," I managed. "I'm all alone here. Except for Cordelia and

that's almost worse than being alone..." I wanted to tell him. I was on

the verge of telling him about the soul-swap and Angel being MIA in my body

but fear kept me silent. I was scared, scared of Giles' disapproving and

disappointed reaction when he learned what I had done.

"I don't know what to tell you, Angel," a very tired Giles told me. Angel!

The use of his name reminded me who I was supposed to be pretending to be.

I had to get my act together! Somehow I cannot imagine Angel crying into

the phone on Giles' shoulder, no matter how drunk he got.

"I'm sorry," I babbled, "this wasn't why I called. I tried to call Buffy

and my-Willow's dorm room but no one is picking up their phone."

"Well, I'll tell you what," Giles said. "I'll look in on Buffy and Willow

first thing in the morning. Agreed? And I'll warn Willow to be careful

because any one of Sunnydale's generically huge vampires with pointy teeth

might try to eat her."

I started to say something but Giles kept going, leaving no space in his

monologue. "At least we have the considerable comfort of knowing that it

won't be Spike," he said in a snappish tone, "because he's short and pointy.

Now if you haven't noticed, it's one in the morning so good night! Off to

bed now." [CLICK]

"Good night," I said, staring at the phone in astonishment. I have seen

Giles grumpy but this was extreme Oscar-the-Garbage-Can-Grouch grumpiness.

And he had *never* been this rude to me before.

Of course, I had woken him up in the middle of the night... I suppose that

even unemployed Watcher-librarians need to sleep.

I carefully set down the phone and continued staring at it for a long time

afterward. I sat there all night, thinking that Angel still might call.

He did not.


I fell asleep with my cheek on the phone and I slept the sleep of the dead

(bad pun) until strong, slender hands grabbed my shirt, shaking me awake.

"Angel, wake up!" Buffy demanded.

Groggily, I blinked bleary eyes and whispered her name, "Buffy? What-what

are you doing here?"

She did not answer and we were moving. I was not awake yet but Buffy

dragged me across the room using her superior Slayer strength. She tossed

me down onto the bed and leapt at the same time. I landed on my back with

Buffy straddling me.

My lips parted to speak but no words slipped past as Buffy smothered my

mouth with hers. Her tongue invaded, plundering, as she ripped open my

shirt. "Riley was a terrible mistake," she said in between kisses. "You

and I belong together. We're soul mates. We're perfect for each other. I

won't let you deny it anymore."

"Buffy-" I gasped. She shut me up again. This time her hands were ripping

open my fly. I could not think; my head spun. My contrary male body had

already responded to her assault with burgeoning ardor, which Buffy found in

my pants when she yanked them, along with my underwear, down off my hips.

Aggressively, violently, my best friend opened her mouth and practically

swallowed my member whole. The little coordination and direction my limbs

had possessed vanished as they buckled. My eyes rolled back in my skull and

I whimpered as wet heat and punishing suction took over my world.

Her tongue whipped me, stroked me, and abused my sensitive flesh and I

loved it. Only the warm palm cradling my sac was gentle as her fingertips

massaged with an alternating rhythm. Her head bobbed up and down and my

male, manly member glistened like pale marble, shining with her saliva.

MY GODDESS... I swear that I would have stopped her, had I been able. I

am a girl. And Buffy is a girl. And Buffy is my *best friend...* (Maybe

as a vampire I am a *little bit* gay but still!) Buffy was too strong and

my body too foreign. I was a victim to her superior strength and skill.

She stopped before I came. I lay on my back, still gasping like a beached

fish, while she stripped and mounted me. I caught a brief glimpse of

aroused, heavy breasts, lean limber thighs, her concave stomach, and gently

flared hips. My eyes focused obsessively on her belly button (it's a innie)

as my mind tried to deny what was about to happen.

She grabbed my manhood in both hands and lowered her body until just the

fat, throbbing head was engulfed in her body. She deliberately teased me.

Tauntingly, she threw back her head to expose her creamy throat. She kept

up the cock-tease while maintaining a death grip that kept me from coming,

so that I was denied surcease from the torment.

"Beg," she commanded, performing an erotic little ballet on the tip of my

shaft with her hips. Her sex was dancing on top of mine, skidding across

the tip like an ice skater out of control. Her juices were running down my

rigid member.

She made me furious.

"Never, bitch," I hissed. I changed to game face and ripped out her

throat. Then I rolled her over and fucked her to death while her blood ran

down my throat like a delicious elixir. Orgasmic pleasure washed over me as

I drank her life, and I brought her death.

Part Two

I woke up screaming.

The phone rang.

"Hello!" I shouted.

There was a pause and a concerned gasp. "Willow?" It was Angel. My

disoriented gaze flew about the room, searching for Buffy's body while I

jumped to my feet in sheer panic.

Oh Goddess, Oh Goddess, Oh Goddess...

"Angel, I killed Buffy," I sobbed, clutching the phone to my face. It was

a litany in my mind. 'I killed Buffy, killed Buffy, killed Buffy...'

Somewhere in my head, someone was laughing. It was not me.

Angel missed a beat. "I just saw Buffy a few minutes ago," he responded.

"You haven't had time to kill her if you're picking up the phone in LA," he

reasoned with neat logic.

"No, no, no!" I confessed. "My dream, I killed her in my dream! I ripped

out her throat and drained her dry!"


"OH? Is that all you can say? I have sex with your true love, and rip out

her throat and all you can say is 'OH'?!" It was WAY more information than

I needed, or meant to provide. OK, so I was a little bit hysterical, a

little bit unreasonable, and a lot illogical. I had just had the nightmare

of a lifetime.

"Willow," Angel's voice grew soothing. "It was just a nightmare. The

demon is messing with you."

It was? I thought about it and thought about it again. It had seemed so vivid. It was more than a dream. "But!"

"No buts!" Angel forbade. "It was a dream," he reiterated firmly. "You'll

probably experience them periodically." My stomach dropped. Periodically?

Oh joy...

"Did you have them?" I whispered. "N-nightmares?"

"All the time," he replied promptly.

"About killing Buffy?"

Considerable pause. "Sometimes," he answered guardedly. "I really only

had explicit dreams about killing Buffy when the First Evil was after me."

We had just entered The Angel Sensitivity Zone. It is that special place

defined by anything and everything that has to do with Angel's bloody past

or vampire nature. Angel goes there when he feels threatened or vulnerable.

I am going to have to have him make some room for me in his special place.

"Do you think that the First Evil is attacking me?" I asked.

"Maybe," he replied. "Dunno." Dunno?!! My what a font of information he


"Angel, this is no time to be cryptic or taciturn! I need answers! This

isn't easy! Especially since you haven't told me what to expect! You never

said anything about nightmares!" I sounded desperate and panicked but that

was okay, because I was.

"I wasn't sure you would have them," he apologized. "I'm sorry." He

sighed. "Nightmares are one of the ways the demon will torment you. It

inflicted them on me a lot more in the beginning. Sooner or later, you'll

harden to them and it will lighten up."

"How long?" I demanded, gripping the phone like a lifeline. I needed Angel

and his guidance. It was not just want. It was NEED. I had to have his

help through this ordeal or I knew that I would not make it. Goddess only

knows how he did it alone when this happened to him.

He hesitated. "How *long* Angel?" I repeated.

"A couple decades..." His words were barely above a whisper so I almost

did not hear him. They tore another sob of fear and frustration from me.

"Willow, hush, shh... It'll be OK, I promise. It won't be that long for

you. We'll find a cure and I'll take my demon back, I promise..." He was

comfort and succor. I closed my eyes and focused on his gentle voice,

believing everything he told me, because it was that or go insane.

I breathed deeply and tried to find my center. "What else will it do to

me?" I asked. "I'm experiencing fragments of started

yesterday after you left." It was such a relief to finally tell someone. I

had been afraid to tell Cordelia for fear that she would think me nuts.

"What kinds of memories?" he asked curiously.

I stuttered. "Of-of killing people, being places in the past. Foreign

place where people talked and dressed in an old way. I-I even hear

fragments of conversations in my head sometimes in foreign languages. The

weird part is that I can understand what's being said. It's just like the

memories are my own but I know that they're not."

"Amazing!" Angel exclaimed. "You're perceiving the demon's memories. I

always recalled them clearly, as if they were my own."

"These aren't mine," I insisted. My tone was adamant.

"Good," Angel said. "Hold on to that. No matter how nasty they get, just

remember that I'm to blame, not you."

"But you're not," I retorted.

"What?" He sounded puzzled.

"Not to blame. These are the demon's memories," I insisted. "Like you

just said. It has a separate identity, it's just one that you can't

perceive and I can. You're just like me. An innocent by-stander."

Angel swallowed, loud enough to be heard. I also heard his teeth gnash and

an instinctive denial on the tip of his tongue that went unuttered.

Angel changed the subject and I let him. "The demon will want to kill. It

will want to drink blood and will fight you for control, especially when

you're near humans. The easiest thing to do is avoid people."

"Great," I muttered. "How am I supposed to stop it, Angel?" I asked in a

small voice.

"Just say no," he replied flatly. He knowingly--or unknowingly--quoted the

anti-drug slogan. I did not find it any more convincing now then I did the

first time I heard it. How can such a complex and difficult matter be

handled with such a simple-minded solution?

Angel continued, "No matter what it wants, refuse. The more freedom you

give it, the more control it gains over you. You have to deny it." I

performed a quick mental correction. I guess "Just Say No" does work for

some people.

"That can't be as easy as it sounds!" I cried. There is no way it would

work for me. It shames me to admit it, but I am more afraid of the demon

than I am of killing someone. I am terrified of the close mental contact

that controlling it so tightly entails.

I am revolted, horrified, and petrified. What if it drives me insane?

What if I begin to identify with it the way that Angel does? What if I

become convinced that its sins are my own and I wind up bearing a lifetime

of mental scars? I do not want to suffer for something a demon did long

before I was even born.

I am such a chicken... Cluck, cluck, cluck...

"Willow," Angel said sternly. "You can do it. You're strong. I...I was a

weak, weak person and I managed to."

I sniffed and hiccupped. "I wish you were here," I whimpered.

"Do you want me to come home?" he asked. He did not even hesitate to make

the offer. I am strangely proud of Angel for his willingness to take such

an awful burden back upon himself. Being alive and free must have been a

temptation. He shames me with his courage. I feel small and cowardly in


"Nohicno." I shook my head. "I can do this." I could--and would--be

brave for him.

"Good girl," he cajoled. "I know you can."

We made small talk about nothing in particular for a while, and then Angel

hung up because he was late for our programming class. I set down the

phone, feeling lonely and lost again the second he was gone.

"I can do this," I reassured myself.

*No You Can't. You're Too Weak To Control Me.*

I *heard* a voice in my head. The thought was clear and distinct and

definitely not my own. I panicked and knocked the phone off the table,

fleeing across the room in sheer terror, running from the VOICE IN MY HEAD.

There was no escape, no matter how far I ran.

And it was only the beginning.


Over the next several hours it...he...spoke to me often. I heard his voice

in my head, as distinct and clear as a thought. My awareness of his

presence increased along with the soul-chilling certainty that I AM NOT


Angelus was a concept before; now he is a reality. To preserve my sanity,

I am calling the demon 'Angelus'. It is what he calls himself: demon with

the face of an angel. What was only a peripheral awareness of his presence

before is suddenly a full-blown waking nightmare.

To quote Pink Floyd, "There is someone in my head but it is not me..."


I am screaming inside and he is laughing. I am trapped in this head with a

monster. Let me out! Someone please let me out! Oh Goddess, oh God, oh

somebody, anybody, please let me out!

I am Willow. It is Angelus. We are separate.

I have to cling to the difference between 'Willow' and 'Angelus'. If I do

not them I will wind up like Angel--unable to distinguish myself the demon.

I would rather wind up like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, two distinct and

separate personalities sharing one body, than to have our identities merge.

This is sheer terror on a scale previously unknown. I have fought monsters

and demons, and I have never known anything like this before. The demon is

going to take control away from me. I know it. It senses my weakness and

knows that I am not strong like Angel.

For now it is biding its time, feeding on my fear. But the distance

between us is closing and I am losing myself. Two voices in my

own and his... We are merging and we must remain apart.

I am Willow. He is Angelus. We are separate.

Part Three

I hid in a corner of Angel's bedroom for hours, battling my personal demon

for control of the USS Angel. The mutiny raged and the captain--being

me--nearly walked the plank.

Angelus did not stage a direct frontal assault. Instead, he crept in

behind my defenses, stealing into my subconscious and infringing upon the

edges of my mind with diabolical patience and cunning. He wove an intricate

taspestry of suspicion and terror using my deepest fears and insecurities.

He taunted me, whispering that he only had to wait until time did the work

for him. Time would erode the barriers of identity between us until we

merged into one. With his superior strength it was inevitable that he would

take control.

The demon let me do most of his work for him. I wore myself out erecting

artificial barriers. I bristled with vigilance for hours on end while he

lolled about in the back of our head like a fat, lazy cat.

I doubted my own sanity and questioned my own thoughts with energy-eating

paranoia. I considered relaxing once the worst of his assault began to

lighten up. I convinced myself that he had only been testing my defenses

and then I let the paranoia nearly eat me alive again.

Was relaxing his idea or mine? Had he found some way to slip past my

guard? Had he inserted the thought into my mind? Was it a trap? An

ambush? Was he waiting there, just over the wall, killing time until I

lowered my defenses?

The dull hum of the elevator interrupted my paranoid musings. From the

other room, I heard Cordelia's voice call my name. "Willow? Are you okay

down here? I haven't heard from you since yesterday... You know,

pretending to be Angel doesn't mean that you actually *have* to live in

isolation like a hermit. You can come out, make small talk, maybe even help

me with some of the computer work..."

I allowed her familiar voice to lure me from my hiding spot between the bed

and the wall. Right then Cordy was a welcome slice of heaven and home, the

closest thing I had to Sunnydale, family and friends.

"Willow, are you here? Because this lurking silence is really starting to



I rushed out. Cordelia lay curled up on her side on the ground. Painful

spasms convulsed her whole body and her arms were wrapped defensively over

her head. I knelt beside her and lifted her off of the cold, hard floor so

that she rested on my lap.

"Cordy, what's wrong?" I asked in panic but she was in too much pain to

answer. "Are you having a vision?" I babbled. "Because you're supposed to

be Angel's link to the Powers That Be. Hasn't anyone told them that Angel

is on vacation?"

"I guess not," Cordy managed huffily once the vision had passed. She

sounded annoyed with me and I cannot say that I blamed her. After all,

listening to babbling on top of a killer migraine could not have made for a

happy day.

"What did you see?" I asked, changing the subject.

Pushing her dark hair out of her face, Cordy sat up off my lap. "Some

sicko is eviscerating men. I saw leather, and lots of bondage stuff. Oh!

And organs--internal ones--all over the place!"

"I'll call Angel!" I exclaimed, leaping to my feet.

"Not so fast!" Cordy said, standing with my assistance. "This vision had

your name all over it. Care of Willow, City of Angels, U.S.A."

"It did?" I squeaked. All sense and sensibility dropped out of my world

again. How could that be?! Obviously, *I* am not responsible for making

amends for Angel's demon's sins.

"You wear the clothes, drive the car, live in the Vamp Cave," Cordy told me

carelessly. "You pay the bills."


Despite my skepticism, we went upstairs so that Cordy could write down the

address the Powers That Be had sent her, along with everything else she had

seen. While she was writing, Wesley walked in.

"Good morning!" he greeted with a chipper smile. "How is everyone doing

today?" Prim, proper Wesley punched the air in a mock parody of being

primed for a fight. Cordy ignored him, so he turned to me.

"Morning, Wesley," I said, managing my best Angel imitation. Stern,

staunch, and somber... I did a pretty good impersonation, if I do say so


"I was just stopping--"

"Wesley, I had a vision," Cordy interrupted. "We're working here, not just

standing around like a loathsome waste of space." She cast him a

significant look, clearly indicating that Wesley equaled space waste. "So

if you're not helping, you're leaving."

Cordy indicated the door with her head as an attractive professional

looking woman with blond hair and blue eyes walked through it.

"I'm helping!" Wesley protested. He had not noticed the woman. "Give me a

fact, I'll check it! Give me an errand, I'll run it! Wesley Wyndam-Price,

rogue demon hunter ERK!"

ERK again. That last was Cordy's elbow connecting with Wesley

Wyndam-Price's midsection. The woman did not appear to be disturbed by the

monologue of our resident 'rogue demon hunter.'

"Angel, are you busy?" the blond asked. She had a fugitive manner,

suspicious and guarded, as if she did not quite trust me.

I frantically tried to match a name to her face from what Angel had told

me. Seeing my confusion, Cordelia bounded to her feet. "*Kate*!" she

exclaimed, coming around the receptionist's desk with an overly friendly

smile. "How have you been, *Kate*?"

Cordy shot a significant look at the dumb vampire. Gee, thanks for the

vote of confidence in my perceptive abilities, Queen C... I would have

gotten it eventually.

"Kate, how have you been?" I asked, smiling to show that I knew her. I may

have been un-Angel-icily friendly because Kate looked spooked.

"Fine." She faked a smile. "I'm good, and you?" She glanced down at my

gut. My gaze followed hers to my stomach. Huh?

"Angel is fine, healing nicely from that two-by-four you impaled him with,"

Cordelia commented with zeal. Her smile was big and white and scary. Never

mind vampires and crocodile grins. Cordy and enthusiasm are just plain


I blinked and abruptly recalled what Angel had told me about his and Kate's

run-in with Penn, his prodigal childe. Oh! Yikes! This was the woman who

had run Angel through with a board! I stared at her with newfound respect.

"Look, can we talk?" Kate asked. "Alone?"

"Sure!" I squeaked perkily. Then tried to be somber when Kate and

Cordelia's expressions twisted with bewilderment. Even Wesley looked taken

aback by my impersonation of Angel-on-nitrous oxide. Note to self: Angels

do not squeak, nor are they perky.

"I mean, certainly," I boomed, deepening my voice and falling back on my

Superman impression. It may have sounded fake but not as bad as "Perky

Girl" Angel. "Please come this way."

I gestured and she walked. My office! Darn it! I need to get used to

thinking of Angel's possessions as my own. This "temporary" situation may

wind up lasting for a long, long time.

"Give me a sec," I told Kate once she was inside. She nodded and I quickly

stepped out and closed the door behind me. Cordy and Wesley were still

there. They looked up.

"What's the real scoop on Angel and Kate?" I asked Cordy. So much was

obviously up with the significant looks, pregnant pauses, and general

I'm-uncomfortable-and-would-rather-be-anywhere-but-here vibe I was getting

from Kate.

"What?" Wesley squawked. "Are you suffering memory problems?"

"Shut up, Wesley," Cordy told him. She shot him a venomous look that

threatened his genital. Wesley's stiff upper lip quivered before he fell


Cordelia gave me ~that look~ again. "Angel is crazy about her but he

doesn't realize how much he likes her," she explained. Wesley's eyes

widened to pancakes.

"He is?" I asked, feeling like a wrecking ball had floored me. Outrage hit

me next. What had happened to Buffy & Angel?! Soul mates, star-crossed,

and true love forever?!

Men! How could Angel do this to Buffy! First he left her and then he

replaced her with the first trollop with a badge that came along?! Where

was his loyalty?

OK, maybe Oz-fallout has left me a little overly sensitive but still! This

was Buffy and Angel we were talking about! And sure, maybe Buffy had moved

on to Riley but that did not mean that Angel was entitled to do the same!

He was supposed to wallow in a dark gloom of Buffy-less misery for at least

a couple lifetimes!


Purpose and staunch loyalty to my best friend took over next. I marched

into Angel's office, filled with a sense of purpose and resolution. I was

going to nip this blossoming romance in its bud! You just watch!

Kate was standing and looking out the window when I came in. She turned to

face me immediately. "Look, Angel, before we go any further, there are

certain ground rules we need to discuss," she said.

I blinked. "There are?"

She nodded. "Yes, there are." I waited. "We both have access to certain

information and abilities...that are useful in a professional sense...but in

a personal one I think we need to keep things strictly business." Her words

sounded like a rehearsed speech that came out jumbled.

"That's a good idea!" I agreed promptly. "Strictly business!" A vast

feeling of relief overwhelmed me. I was not going to have to be the

axe-wielding heartbreaker! Oh joy!

"That's good!" she said, looking disappointed and forcing a smile. "That

we agree!"

Her disappointment made me panic. I began to feel bad for thinking that

Angel was not entitled to adult friends. After all, he was a very lonely

person and just because he had come to care about someone did not mean that

he had necessarily betrayed Buffy. Did it?

"It's good," she repeated with wide blue eyes.

Guilt and self-recrimination deleted my control of my mouth. I began to

feel as bad as if I were personally rejecting her instead of the other way


"Good," she said again.

"Very good!" I babbled, "Because we would be bad. It would be bad. Not

that I think that you're bad because you're obviously very nice! And

pretty! But you're not really my type at all and it just wouldn't work!

I'm on the rebound! My boyfriend--!!"

I gasped and slapped a hand over my motor mouth. OH GODDESS! What had I

just said?!

Kate gaped at me. "Your boyfriend?" she asked.

"Oz!" I squeaked.

Part Four


I groaned and squeezed my eyes shut. Had I really just said that? What

could I have been thinking? I like to think that I am not stupid, or at

least not completely witless, but sometimes even I have to wonder.

"Excuse me?" Kate said. "Wizard of?"

I hastened to explain. "No-no! Oz my former, ex-boyfriend... He's a lead

guitarist in a band. Have you heard of 'Dingoes Ate My Baby?" My face was

burning hot enough that it is amazing that my vampire body did not burst

into flame.

Kate shook her head no.

"Well, they're a rock band," I squeaked. "A really good one... At least,

I think so." I desperately tried to remember if Oz had mentioned meeting

Kate during his trip to LA months back. I could not recall.

I shoved my hands into my front pockets and wished that the pitch of my

voice would decline a few decibels. Angel-on-nitrous oxide was back in full


"Sorry, haven't heard of them."

"Oh," I said. A dramatic silence descended.

"I might have known," she finally said, sounding resigned. "I mean, all of

Anne Rice's male vampires are gay, right?"

"I'm sorry," I apologized. I considered explaining that Angel was not

really gay, and that I am actually a straight female inhabiting his body. I

considered and then I thought better of it. The conversation was already

both inane and insane. I could only make it worse with an explanation that


"It's okay," Kate excused. "I knew that I was picking up on a West

Hollywood vibe from you since we met. I just chose not to see it." Her

cheeks were pink.

I blinked. "You were?" I blinked. West Hollywood? What was *that*

supposed to mean?! Were we back to that again? Was Spike right? Was

Angel's POOFiness obvious to everyone but me?!

She nodded solemnly. "And you and Penn were obviously very close but I

thought maybe..." She stopped and started again. "I must have

misunderstood. I mean, I knew better."

"I...I...oh Goddess...t-t-that is...t-t-this is so embarrassing..." I

stuttered to a halt.

"Look, now that that is settled, can we just move on to business?" Kate


I nodded sharply. I was so eager to change the subject that I would have

gone along with just about anything she could have suggested. Oh Goodness,

Oh Goddess...what would Angel say when he found out that I had told his lady

friend that he was gay...? I could hear his teeth grinding now! "Grr, grr,


Kate reached into her brief case and pulled out a file folder. She set it

down on A-my desk and opened it.

Inside were pictures of a man. He had been bound S&M style and eviscerated.

His chest had been torn open and his internal organs removed. I studied

the pictures and gagged over the brutality of the act. To my horror, I felt

the demon becoming aroused.

*Nice Work* he observed. I pointedly ignored him.

"The victim's name was Iam A. Perv. He was Caucasian, thirty-two, married,

an accountant, and a regular client in the Korean district 'massage parlors

and showers'..." Kate kept talking about the victim. I nodded and

listened, trying to commit every detail to memory, trying to ignore my

salivating demon.

Then Kate pulled out more photos of another man. These were gorier than

the first. It was as if the killer had been left frustrated by the first


"Pon Farr," Kate began to recite. "Asian, mid-thirties, executive at

FedEx, married, three children..."

"Did they know each other?" I asked.

"No. Same MO but the victims are totally unrelated. The only thing they

shared in common was a secret life of spanking, bondage, and prostitutes.

And both were killed in the Korean district."

"I'll have Cordelia begin researching Asian demons," I volunteered.

"Don't say that word," Kate said sharply.

I looked up in surprise. "What word?"

"Demons. I'm not comfortable with the whole supernatural, demonic thing

yet. Let's just call them 'evil things'," she instructed.

"Oookkkkay," I managed. I stared at her strangely, but I went along with

her request. I could see how accepting demons might be difficult for

someone as Kate. Personally, I had moved on from discovery

to acceptance relatively easily, but hey, I had been fifteen at the time...

We discussed the case further until I was intimately and thoroughly

familiar with every gut-wrenching detail. Kate's murderer and Cordelia's

vision were obviously related. It gave me a lot to consider. Finally, we

were done. "I was already looking into this so I think that we're working

along the same lines..."

Kate nodded with relief. "So you're willing to share information?" she

asked. "You'll tell me if you find the person who did this?"

I exhaled and met her eyes. "This wasn't done by a person," I told her

seriously. Fear flashed across her face and in her eyes. There it was

again, Kate's reluctance to discuss demons. I let it pass. "I'll tell you

if I find anything," I promised.

"Good." She started to leave but stopped and removed a file from her brief

case. She handed it to me and I took it automatically. "This is a copy of

what we've found so far. I don't need to tell you that this is strictly


I nodded obediently.

At the door she paused. "Thank you, Angel," she said over her shoulder. I

nodded again. I received the distinct impression that Kate has something

else to tell me but felt uncomfortable. To my shame, I was glad that she

left without saying anything more.

She left in a hurry, leaving me to wonder, "What next?" I decided to

solicit suggestions from Cordelia... and Wesley Wyndam-Price. At the rate I

was botching things up, I trusted Cordy's objective opinion more than my


It is a cold comfort but I suppose that things could have been worse. I

might have done something dumber than I did and told Kate that Wesley was my

gay-male-lover. At least Oz had the excuse of being a musician, which gave

him room for experimentation and a degree of eccentricity.

And I am still mad at Oz for leaving...

Good Goddess! How am I ever going to explain this misunderstanding to

Angel? He is never going to understand, and will probably never forgive me.

Face it, Angel is still holding a silent grudge about his car. He may

have forgiven the Great Angel-Willow-Soul-Swap-Out but he can be downright

nit-picky when it comes to the little mess-ups.

I stopped at the door. On the other side, I could hear Wesley and Cordy

engaging in a battle of insults through the door. It sounded pretty vicious

and reminded me of how Cordy used to act with Xander. Gathering my courage,

I stepped into the fray.


I explained everything to Wesley, from the botched curse that had resulted

in my soul switch out with Angel, to our decision to temporarily trade

lives. It was easier to tell everything to Wesley than it would have been

to Giles. It was also necessary, considering that I would need Wesley's

help finding a cure and fighting demons deemed dangerous by the PTB.

After my long-winded explanation, Mr. Stiff-Upper-Lip seemed at a loss.

"Hmm, yes, well, very interesting," Wesley repeated again, adjusting his

glasses for the umpteenth time. He was perplexed and I felt my previously

high hopes falling. For some reason, I had naively thought that Wesley

might have some knowledge of an arcane cure for botched gypsy curses.

Guess I was wrong.

Someone tell me something please? Why, oh why, do I always have to be

WRONG in such a BIG way? My mistakes are never minor; they are huge. From

"My will be done" to "Souls exchanged in friendship, made permanent for all

time," I am the Calamity Jane of Wiccan Mystic Spells.

Oh Goddess help me! Who else is left? Amy is a rat, Giles is stern,

Xander and Buffy are action-oriented... There is no one else left who might

be able to help Angel and me.

Vaguely, a thought occurred to me. Maybe Tara could help... I had not

known her for very long but she did say that her mother was a witch. The

idea skittered across the edge of my mind, slipping past mostly unnoticed as

my attention returned to Cordelia and Wesley.

Their World Word War had started again in the intervening minutes. I

listened to them bicker and my head low with, my face in my hands. I did

not want to involve myself in their squabbling. I had enough to deal with

without that too.

It went on and on... I began to wonder how two people could find so many

new and insulting things to say to each other. You would think that they

would run out of material after a while. You would think.

Finally, I interrupted. "Does anyone have any ideas about how I'm supposed

to find this eviscerating demon?" Remarkably enough, my ploy worked. Cordy

and Wesley actually paid attention and cooperated.

I think that it must have been a subconscious response to Angel's

intimidating presence. He may have taken his commanding voice and

authoritative manner with him, but I had inherited the dark scowl, and

sharp, pointy teeth.


We thought for a while.

"I know!" Cordy exclaimed. She sat up in excitement. "Willow should go


"How do I do that?" I asked.

"Get spanked!"

"Spanked?!" I squeaked.

"Good grief!" Wesley echoed. "That's hardly an appropriate suggestion!" he

told Cordy. Mr. Prim-and-Proper frowned fiercely. Sometimes...OK, a lot of

the time...Wesley reminds me of a girl.

Cordelia shrugged. "Hey! We need to locate a spanking serial killer. It

makes sense that the fastest way to find him/her/it is for Willow to become

the bait." Her fingers drew air-quotes. "I.E. the spankee..."

Cordy's eyes sparked and her lips parted viciously. "Or you could become

the spankee, Wesley!" She held up a pointing finger, which Wesley jumped

back from faster than a vampire from the cross.

"No! I don't think so!" Wesley denied. "Absolutely, adamantly not!" He

stomped his foot. (Girl impression again.)

"I agree with Wesley," I inserted. "Spanking's bad!" (Actually, spanking

sounds kind of fun in a harmless and forbidden kind of way. Not that Oz and

I ever did anything so kinky together but...I might have considered it.)

Oz liked to keep me on a pedestal. It was sweet and endearing of him but

his tendency to do so always left me feeling a little bit confined. A

secret part of me has always wanted to cut loose and engage in all manner of

naughtiness. Up until now, I have been too scared to try.

That was entirely beside the point.

Calvin and Hobbs were still at it. Cordy threw up her hands. "Fine! But

how else do you think you're going to find a spanking killer?" she demanded.

"I have no idea," I snapped. "But I refuse to sacrifice my butt even for

the Powers That Be."

Cordy's finger lurched into my face. "But it's not just for the PTB, it's

to save lives. Oh! Kind of like the American Heart Walk! Walking for

life; spanking for life!"

"But!" I protested.

Cordy ignored me. "I mean, these guys that are buying it are sicko

perverts, sure, but they have wives and children too. If there's something

you could have done to prevent it and you don't then are you going to be

able to live with yourself?" She pierced me with her eyes.

I groaned and my stomach sank. As much as I wanted to protest, Cordy had

me between a rock and a hard place. I mean...she was right in a way. What

was more important? My butt or innocent lives?

Cordy saw the break in my resolve and a man-eating-shark-smile appeared on

her face. "Bottom's up!" she cackled gleefully.

And I thought she was my friend.