Belonging


by Jessica Brumley
First in the St. Patrick's Series



Part 1/4

"That's right Puppy, scream for me. Come on, I love it when you scream. It makes me all happy inside." Willow let a drop of holy water slowly fall onto Angel's already scarred chest making him whimper in pain. "Come on Puppy, you can do better than that." With a vicious smile, Willow let the entire bottle spill onto Angel's chest.

His scream reverberated throughout the room

Puppy woke suddenly, the scream dying on his lips. Shaking uncontrollably, he looked around, game face slipping on while he looked for a threat. As he realized where he was, he calmed down. He was in the mansion. In the good reality. He was safe. Sighing, he reached over to the nightstand and pulled out a book, his hand trembling only slightly.

"He's still having the nightmares. Always about the Master rising, Xander, and mainly Willow."

Willow cringed as Angel revealed this little bit of information. "Angel, can't he realize that we're not vampires? That he's safe now?"

Angel turned towards Willow. "He knows that but his past memories return to haunt him. He understands that you and Xander are harmless and friendly humans but every time he sees you, it just brings up bad memories."

Giles pulled his glasses off his face and rubbed his eyes. "Is there any chance he will recover? It would be very advantageous to have another good vampire on our side."

"Yeah, as long as he doesn't go all psycho on us," Xander muttered under his breath.

He was rewarded by a hard smack on the head by Buffy and Willow.

"Xander, shut up for once in your life. He's scared, he's hurt, and chances are, he doesn't even know about the happiness clause," Willow stated forcefully. "he needs our love and friendship now and snide remarks about Angel aren't helping us!"

Rubbing the back of his head Xander glared at Willow. "Sheesh, it was just a joke!"

Giles sighed. "Are you quite through? Good. Angel do you think it would be best for Willow or Xander to go talk to An-, er, Puppy?"

"I don't know Giles. He's still pretty unstable. I'll mention the idea of talking to Xander or Willow and see how he takes it."

"Very good. Buffy? Don't you have patrol tonight?"

"What? Oh yeah, Mr. Perfect Watcher wants to come observe my fighting technique. From a distance of course." Buffy's voice took on a whining tone, "Giles, when can I get rid of him? He's driving me crazy!"



Part 2/4



Angel found Puppy curled up in front of the fire reading another book. < He goes through them faster than I do! > "Uh, Puppy?"

Angel's counterpart jumped slightly at the voice and looked up. Seeing Angel, he relaxed slightly. "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. Just wanted you to know that I re-stocked our blood supply."

"Oh, thanks.'

Angel sat down in a nearby chair. "So," he began awkwardly. "What are you reading?"

"Anne Rice's Interview With A Vampire I've always wanted to read it but never got around to it."

"Oh, you should talk to Willow. She has all the sequels."

At the mention of Willow, Puppy's head snapped up. His eyes grew round with fear.

"Hey, hey, relax Puppy. I'm talking about good Willow here. The nice human one?"

Taking deep breaths, Puppy brought himself under control. "Sorry, it's just hard to keep it all in perspective. I'll think about your suggestion. So, how's Buffy?"

"She's fine. She said to tell you 'hi' and that she might stop by later."

"She's so much like Lise."

Angel drew in a breath of at the mention of Lise. He hadn't even recognized the similarities between Buffy his childhood sweetheart. "By the gods, I had forgotten Lise."

Using his best imitation of Lise's voice, Puppy batted his eyes dramatically, "Oh Angelus, I'll wait for you forever. I'll always love you!" Dropping the voice, he continued, "Yeah, some eternal love. She loved you until the squire offered to marry her."

"Buffy's different. What we have is real."

"Oh, I know. I was just saying she looked like Lise. Buffy is nothing like Lise on the inside." Puppy grew uncomfortable with the conversation and dropped his eyes back to the book.

Angel noticed the shift in moods and tried to bring up his original point. "If you want, I'll ask Willow for the sequels for you."

Muttering calming phrases in Gaelic to himself, Puppy looked up again. "No, bring her here. I have to face her sooner or later. I'll never get over this fear if I keep running from it."



Part 3/4



Willow cautiously approached the front door. Praying to the goddess for courage, she opened the door and walked in the mansion. Calling Puppy's name, she slowly walked into the main room.

Puppy leaped up from the chair he had been sitting in at the sound of Willow's voice. As she came into view, his eyes tracked her every move. Just as his courage failed and he was about to bolt from the room, Willow saw him.

In a soft voice she offered the books to Puppy. "I brought you the books you wanted. Keep them as long as you like."

Bringing his fear under control, Puppy reluctantly accepted the gift and quickly turned away. "I'm sorry. I though I was ready for this but I'm not. I need you to leave." Puppy said in a tight voice."

Willow's smile faded. A looks of self-accusation placed itself on her face. "Yeah, I understand. I'm sorry Puppy. I don't want you to hate me. I promise I won't hurt you but until you can accept that, I'll leave you alone."

Quietly walking out of the room, Willow left the mansion and ran all the way home.

Puppy just sighed


*******


Willow walked into the library with a heavy heart. She hated that someone was scarred of her. Her mothering instinct was very strong and she wanted nothing more than for Puppy to accept her. Walking into Giles' office, she had an idea.

< Let's just hope Giles doesn't mind me sneaking a peek at the Watcher's Diaries >

An hour and a half later Willow finally found what she wanted. Writing down the date, Willow went in search of Angel.

Finding Angel and Buffy patrolling together in the cemetery, Willow walked up to the cautiously, being sure to make plenty of noise so as not to startle them.

Angel heard Willow's approach first and turned to face her. "Willow, what are you doing here?"

"I need to talk to you Angel. Actually, I need to talk to both of you."

Buffy looked intrigued. "Sure Will, what's up?"

"We're going to help Puppy feel accepted here.



Part 4/4



< Gods! What is wrong with you? They are trying to help. This Willow isn't capable of cruelty. Buffy and Angel are their friends. They are good. They are trying to help. They are human. They aren't here to hurt you. > Puppy's self-talk continued until he reached the front door of the mansion.

Walking in, his ears picked up noises. Feet shuffling, a stifled giggle, a whispered "Hush". Cautiously, he rounded the corner. Flipping the light on, he reeled back in surprise.

They were all here. Angel, Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, Oz….all surrounded by green balloons and streamers. Each wearing a party hat. On the table in the center were two cakes with 3 candles in the shapes of a 2, 4, and 3 stuck in them.

"What's going on?" Puppy asked with apprehension in his voice.

Willow stepped forward. "It's March 17th Puppy. It's St. Patrick's Day. Yours and Angel's Saint's day."

Puppy's mind reeled. How did she know? Back in his time, there were no birthdays, there were Saint Days. Each day was a certain Saint's Day and he was born on St. Patrick's day.

"Happy birthday Angelus Patrick Boyle. Both of you. Is it okay if we call you Patrick instead of Puppy? It just seems more fitting."

Patrick nodded his head solemnly before he broke out in a huge grin. No one had done something like this for him in a long time.

"Who did all this?"

Angel pointed to Willow. "She researched it on her own and came to me for the details. Pretty amazing huh?"

Willow blushed, "It's no big de-" Willow broke off with a shriek as she was grabbed in a huge hug by Patrick.

Setting her down, he looked in her eyes. "Thank you" he whispered seriously

Willow's smile lighted up her whole face. "You're welcome" she whispered back.


THE END

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