Author: kallie_kat (a.k.a. KallieRose or just plain Kat)
Summary: Set vaguely in late S1 or early S2, before Buffy and Angel have declared themselves "soulmates," although they're definitely interested in each other.
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters and claim no responsibility for anything other than this story, from which no profit is made.
Author's Notes: Although I am posting this for joss10k, this story is dedicated to Lisa Kelley. Thank you so much for all of your help, beta work, and most of all, your friendship. I hope you like this. Thanks also to dragonydreams for the beta (and all the other stuff, too!).
If you want to refresh your memories, you'll find the rest of the story here.
“You give me a kiss—a real one, mind you—and I’ll tell you how to defeat the demon your Slayer has been having problems with.”
The words had been said so quietly, and so close to her ear, that Willow doubted that the tape recorder would have picked them up. She thought about looking around at her chaperones, but realized that by the time she could explain the situation to them, Angelus would probably be long gone.
With a school-girlish sigh, she thought back to the way he had kissed her the night they met. Pleasure had coursed through her body in a way that it never had before. Sometimes she wondered if she would ever feel that good again, and the thought that she might not left her feeling sad and a little lonely.
What damage could one kiss possibly do? And if it helped them kill the demon that Buffy was having so much trouble with, then it would definitely be worth it.
“Okay,” she agreed breathlessly, looking up into his eyes as she tried to keep the excitement out of her voice. “But—just one.”
Angelus smiled, triumphant, and did not waste any time. Before she knew what was happening, his lips were pressed against hers chastely. But the kiss didn’t stay that way for long. Within seconds her lips opened and his tongue swept into her mouth. One hand tangled in her hair, gently massaging her scalp, while the other caressed her neck. The only thought that Willow had before her brain shut down completely was that this was a really bad idea.
But, on the other hand, how could something that was bad feel so good?
Her body tingled with exhilaration. Her heart pounded in her chest. The excitement that sizzled between them was like a current, making her body feel languid and tense at the same time.
Their tongues met and tangled for what felt like hours, until her tongue accidentally nicked his sharp canine, spilling blood into his mouth. She heard him groan and pulled away instinctively, looking up at him with frightened eyes. When he pressed forward to kiss her again, she pulled back, putting a hand against his chest. “I—you—just one,” she finally said, panting slightly as she regained her breath, along with a modicum of common sense.
His eyes narrowed and she thought he was going to try to push things. Her lips pursed together as she watched him. One word from her and the others would be there in seconds, she reminded herself reassuringly.
He watched as she sat up a bit straighter, her eyes guarded. “I fulfilled my part of the bargain. Now it’s time for you to do the same,” she insisted.
She was right, he supposed. He’d had his kiss, and his taste buds still tingled with the taste of her blood. That had been an unexpected—but welcome—bonus. “Fine,” he agreed reluctantly. “The demon the Slayer is fighting is a V’Rincom. They can turn invisible at will, but other than that, they’re really not all that formidable.”
“How do we fight it?”
“Electricity in the air will put a stop to its natural ability. Have her take a stun gun out the next time around and shoot it into the air when it’s nearby. Then it’s just a matter of ‘slice and dice.’”
“Thanks,” she told him, her lips curving up into a tentative smile. “I—we really appreciate it.”
Angelus shrugged. “Guess I’d better be going. People to turn, minions to train. Unless you’d like me to walk you home?”
Willow’s eyes got wide and she shook her head. “Um, thanks, but no.”
“Never hurts to ask,” he replied with a chuckle, before sliding out of the booth. “Until next time,” he added, giving her one last look before walking away.
It took nearly a full five minutes before Willow could breathe normally again. Angelus was gone, and her friends surrounded her, crowding into the booth and sandwiching her between them. But even so, the memory of Angelus remained with her.
“What did you find out?” Giles asked. He would listen to the tape later, but right now he was hoping for the highlights.
“Vengeance demon,” she told them, staring at Giles and Jenny from across the table. “They were...well, he said they were helping a vengeance demon, but I kind of doubt it.” The others nodded their agreement.
“We should get out of here,” Giles said, glancing uneasily at a couple of girls at the next table who met his gaze briefly, before giggling and looking away. They seemed inordinately interested in what was going on at their table, although that might just have been because of Angel.
“Right. Back to the library?” Xander asked, although there really wasn’t any need to ask the question. Where else could they get any privacy at 10pm on a school night?
Half an hour later they were seated at one of the large tables that dominated the library. Giles paced, and Angel skulked in the corner, but Jenny shared the table with the teenagers, not seeming to feel at all out of place.
They were listening to the tape recording, but when they got towards the end, Giles stopped it to ask Willow a question. “What are you talking about when you tell him ‘just one?’”
Willow blushed bright red and stared at the table, trying to come up with a reply. Nobody had mentioned the kissing, and she wasn’t quite sure why. But as long as nobody else was talking about it, she wasn’t about to start.
“That was when he was kissing you, wasn’t it?” Jenny asked quietly. When her words elicited gasps of shock and surprise from the others, she shook her head at them quickly, and then nodded at an obviously embarrassed Willow.
“He—well, he said he’d tell me how to defeat the demon that Buffy was having problems with, if I gave him a kiss. It...well, it sounded like a fair trade.” She mumbled the words, her eyes staring at a spot on the table that she seemed to find just fascinating. “Actually, I think we got the better part of the deal.”
“We should have changed tables when he sat down next to you, instead of across from you,” Giles apologized. “We just figured that since we could still see if he tried to leave with you, and since Jenny and Angel still had a good vantage point...”
“It’s okay, Giles,” she answered softly, turning and looking up at him. “I mean, we got good information out of it, and he didn’t try anything.”
“Except for that bit where he tried to trick you into following him out into the night, where he would have killed you and then turned you,” Xander reminded her. “I wouldn’t exactly call that ‘not trying anything.’”
Willow thought about that for a moment. “I don’t think he really expected me to agree to that. It was more like, he felt like he was required to try. You know?”
Xander rolled his eyes, and a fair amount of sarcasm slipped into his voice. “Oh yeah. And I’m sure that if you had gone with him, he would have been a perfect gentleman. Get real, Willow.”
She knew he had a point; Angelus certainly couldn’t be trusted. But his ‘holier than thou’ delivery was driving her onto dangerous ground. “Hey! Maybe he would have. How do you know? It’s not like you’re any great judge of character. I mean, remember the teacher you almost let have you for dinner? Ms. Skanky Preying Mantis Substitute Teacher? She wasn’t even a real teacher! And you were all ready to give it up for her. So don’t talk down to me about my choices.”
He stared at her incredulously from across the table. “Hey, I’m just looking out for your best interests. I mean, somebody has to. You haven’t been using your best judgment lately.”
“No,” she argued, “don’t try and make this about you taking care of me. This is you, trying to make me feel like an idiot.” His lack of trust in her hurt, and the pain turned quickly to bitterness.
Anger turned his usually handsome face into something ugly. “Well, if the shoe fits...” he countered.
Jumping to her feet, Willow glowered at him. “Then you know where to stick it,” she replied nastily.
She raced out of the library, ignoring the exclamations of surprise from her friends. How dare Xander talk to her like that? If it wasn’t for her, they wouldn’t know how Angelus had gotten here, or how to kill that demon that Buffy was having problems with. Sure, he wasn’t an altar boy. She knew that. But maybe he wasn’t quite as bad as they were painting him, either. After all, he hadn’t *had* to tell them anything.
Somewhere between the library and the front of the school she had started to cry, and she swiped at the tears angrily with her hands.
“Willow! Wait up.”
Buffy’s voice stopped her in her tracks. Part of it was instinct. But as angry as she was with Xander, she also knew she couldn’t take it out on Buffy.
“Sorry, Buffy,” she said, turning to look at her friend. “It’s just...he makes me so angry sometimes.”
“I know, Willow. But he’s just concerned about you,” Buffy reminded her. “We all are,” she added, her voice softening.
Willow sighed. “I know, I know. But I can take care of myself. Really. I’m not some helpless idiot whose judgment is so flawed that she can’t even cross the street without help. And...well, that’s how he makes me feel. Like he thinks I’m such an idiot that I can’t be trusted to do anything.”
Motioning towards the bathroom door, Buffy ushered Willow inside. They stood in front of the sinks, checking out their reflections in the mirror. Buffy looked perfect, as always, Willow thought, trying not to feel bitter about it. She, on the other hand, looked like a mess. Eyes red, pale skin blotchy, hair mussed from Angelus’ hands; she was the perfect picture of wantonness, she thought uneasily. Part of her was horrified by the realization, but even more concerning was the fact that she wasn’t nearly as horrified as she thought she should be.
“We’re all just worried about you. Angelus is...well, he’s not to be trusted. But he’s attractive, I suppose, in an evil kind of way. And Xander’s just...he’s worried that you’re falling for that false charm. Maybe he’s even a little jealous. I mean, suddenly he’s had to come to terms with the fact that you’re this adult-type woman, when he’s always seen you as the trusty sidekick and best friend. He just doesn’t really have the best communication skills when he’s worried, you know?”
Willow’s fingers ran through her hair, trying to smooth it into something resembling normal, as she thought about Buffy’s words. “It’s just that...I waited so long for him to notice me. In that way, you know? And it takes something like *that* to make it happen? Frankly, his timing sucks.”
There was a bit of righteous anger in Willow’s voice that put a smile on Buffy’s face. The phrase ‘woman scorned’ flashed briefly through her mind. And heaven knows, Willow had a right to be annoyed at Xander. But Buffy also understood that anger and bitterness made her friend do things that the normally level-headed girl wouldn’t usually do. It was in all their best interests to defuse the situation as quickly as possible.
“Okay, I get what you’re saying,” Buffy agreed, a hint of laughter showing in her voice. “But, just remember, he’s a man. So he’s automatically at a disadvantage when it comes to the emotional stuff. And we’re women, which means that our lot in life is to put up with him. So just try to ignore all the crap, and remember that he cares about you. Okay?”
Willow couldn’t help but smile at Buffy’s unique way of looking at the male/female dynamic. She knew that her mother, staunch feminist that she was, would have a fit if she’d heard such a statement. But the fact was, there was a lot of truth to what Buffy had said. Well, the part about Xander, and having to put up with his crap. Because most of the time he was one of the kindest, funniest people she knew, so it really was worth putting up with him when he was a jackass.
“Slumber party at my house,” Buffy declared, pulling Willow away from the mirror and heading for the door. “We’ll watch mindless movies and chow down on chocolate and popcorn. Before long we won’t even remember Xander’s name, much less what an idiot he can be.”
“But, shouldn’t we tell the others where we’re going?” Willow protested, turning around and gazing down the hall towards the library.
Buffy shook her head and grabbed Willow’s arm, linking it with hers. “Let them stew for once. I’ve got my beeper if they need me. Besides, we deserve a night to ourselves, right?”
Willow decided to try to let go of everything else for a while and just enjoy herself. She wasn’t sure if she’d be successful, but it was worth a shot. “You’re right,” she decided, “we really do.”
End of Chapter 12