Under My Thumb Ch. 17bybadgirl298©
Giles stepped back from the chair to view his handiwork. Angel was bound by thick rope to one of his dining room chairs. The vampire’s head was slumped forward and a huge knot was visible on his forehead from where he’d been struck with the side of a crossbow. Xander had launched himself at the dazed vampire and knocked him out before anyone could intervene. They had decided, despite Willow’s weary protests, to take him to Giles’ apartment while they ascertained what was really happening.
The rest of the Scoobies were sitting on Giles’ living room furniture in various states of shock, disgust, horror, and confusion. The Watcher joined the rest of the group. “Well, now he isn’t going anywhere.”
“I don’t see why you had tie him up.” Willow grumbled.
“I don’t let homicidal maniacs roam free in my home as a general rule.” Giles said snidely.
“I think you just wanted an excuse to practice tying knots.” Willow mumbled. Giles glowered at the redhead and Buffy wrinkled her nose up and whispered an ‘eww’.
“What?” Xander asked, dumbfounded. “I don’t get it.”
“Enough.” Giles said, standing up and walking over to tower over the still seated girl. “Explanation time, young lady.”
Willow shot to her feet, causing her mentor to back up. Her eyes were fierce. “Why are you taking that tone with me? All parental and disaprovey.” She put her hands on her hips. “My personal life is none of your business.”
“Is Giles like a boy scout leader or something? Is that why he ties knots?” Xander pondered. “Creepy. Still not funny.”
“I beg to differ. You have no idea who you’re really dealing with, child. Whenever you decided to start dating a demon you lost your rights to privacy.”
“Yeah,” Xander chimed in. “I thought you had better taste, Wills. I mean, the evil undead? What’s up with that?”
“YOU are going to lecture ME on dating a demon?” Willow said incredulously. “The only thing that I can say to that is. . .Mummy Girl.”
“Yeah, and look how well that ended.” Buffy said, wrinkling her brow. “Remember? She tried to eat you, Willow.”
Willow ignored her blond friend.“Or I could bring up Praying Mantis Lady.”
“That didn’t end well either.” The Slayer reminded them. “She tried to uh, mate with Xander. Then, she was going to eat him. Are you seeing the pattern here, Wills? Dating a demon leads to badness.”
“Do you know what this. . .” Giles broke off as he gestured to the darkly handsome vampire. “THING. . . has done? He’s a killer. A pillager. A monster. And worse. He just happens to be wrapped in a pretty package.”
“I know.” She refused to look at him, her conscience warring with her burgeoning love for Angelus and Angel. “Believe me, I have no illusions about what he’s done.”
“Then why?” Giles asked, mystified. Out of all the teenagers, she was the most sensible. The most adult.
“I couldn’t help it.” She said in a small voice. She beseeched Buffy. “I never wanted it to happen. You have to believe me.”
“I do. And I get it. Sometimes, we can’t help who we love.” The Slayer answered. “But how could you act on it?” Buffy asked. She wasn’t still in love with Angel but it hurt to know of Willow’s deep connection with the vampire. Was it wrong to want to remain in his heart? At least for a while.
“I guess I’m weak.”
“Don’t forget stupid.” Xander put in. Her lower lip trembled. “Sorry, Will. You’re the smartest girl I know, but this just plain dumb.”
“I know.” She whispered. Willow took all of their comments to heart. Nothing they said could compare with what her conscience had already told her. Still, she couldn’t seem to stop herself. She was like an addict. She couldn’t get enough of him. Or maybe there was some part of her that wanted to be a little bit bad. An evil thread in an otherwise good person.
“Look, we’re getting nowhere with the guilt and shame routine.” Cordy said. She turned to Willow. “So, you got pelvic with the big guy?” Willow pursed her lips but nodded. “Are you under any sort of spell or whatever?” She shook her head. “Are you doing this because of me and Xander?” Willow rolled her eyes. “Okay then.” She clasped her hands together. “My work here is done. Let’s go home.”
“Not so fast.” Giles broke in. “People operating under the influence of powerful magics rarely admit to it.” He looked pointedly at Cordelia. Then, he turned to Willow. “Perhaps, you’re not aware that you’re under a compulsion or maybe a–“
“I’m not under a spell!” Willow cried. She hated that, the way they assumed ‘mousy Willow’ would need the dark forces to do something like this.
“Alright. Calm down.” The librarian said soothingly. He sat down and motioned for Willow to do so as well. “Why don’t you start at the beginning? Tell us how it started. Help us understand.”
Willow sat down and took a deep breath. She doubted they would appreciate her strange love story. “Well, it started like this. . .” *********
“Do you know the muffin man? The muffin man, the muffin man. Do you know the muffin man?” Drusilla sang as she twisted in circles.
Spike put his pillow over his head. “Dark Lord, make her stop.” He called out to her. “Dru? Pet, could you be quiet, please? I need to sleep.”
“But, there’s dancing and songs, Spike.” She said as she poked her head in their room. “And it’s all being led by a purple demon!” She raced over and plopped down on the mattress beside him.
“Dru, are you watching Barney again?”
“Is that the demon’s name?”
“Yes, but he’s not a demon, he’s a purple dinosaur.” Spike said, yawning. “We’ve been over this.”
“But he’s looks like a demon.” She whined.
“Fine, have it your way pet. Bloody Barney’s a bloody awful demon. Especially when he opens his bloody big gob.” He settled back down. “Run along then.”
But she sat still and tilted her head to one side as if someone was whispering in her ear. “Oh, Daddy’s tied up.” She said with a sly grin like a child telling a particularly juicy secret. “The music’s stopped and he’s the only one in a chair.” She laughed and then listened again. “Before there was two and now there is one. Gypsy magic and moon beams combined.” She nodded. “But the red witch doesn’t know.”
“What?” Spike said, peering at her from under his pillow. “Are you talking about Willow and Angelus?”
Dru nodded. “There’s to be a joining! Maybe a wedding.” She clapped her hands and jumped up from the bed, twirling once more. “Goin’ to the chapel and we’re gonna get–“
“Red’s going to be stuck with our ol’ sire, eh?” Spike grinned. He wouldn’t mind having her in the mix. And Angelus would be occupied too!
She stopped for a moment, eyes hopeful. “Do you think they’ll let me be the flower girl? With a basket of roses?” She sighed. “All those nasty, hooky thorns.”
“Sure, pet. You’ll be the belle of the ball.” He sighed. “Now, can you let me get some sleep?”
“Poor, Spike” She blew him a kiss before running out of the room. “I’m going to go see if that demon eats one of the children. They’re so tasty, you know.”
He could hear her turn up the music as they sang the “I love you” song. “Serve those noisy little buggers right.” Spike said, turning over and burying under the covers. ************
The Scoobies had Miss Calender’s belongings spread out on the coffee table. They were paging through her notebooks, reading the volumes of her gypsy lore books, and pouring over other relevant books Giles’ possessed. The crew had finally believed that Willow was acting on her own free will even if she was showing impaired judgement.
Everyone secretly thought it would blow over anyway. Right now, they were more concerned about Angelus having free reign over Angel’s body. Giles had vowed to keep him here under restraints indefinitely until they found a way to put his soul in charge.
“Ohhhh” Angel moaned as he woke up.
“Angel?” Willow asked, walking over to him. “Are you alright?”
The vampire swallowed. “Under the circumstances? Yes.” He could feel the ropes cutting into his skin but they weren’t very painful. Certainly no worse than anything he’d ever experienced as Angelus. He’d had a fondness for being bound, though that was usually a prelude to darker delights.
“How’s your head?” Willow asked brushing his hair off his forehead.
He blinked. “Oh, my forehead. Fine. Vampires heal quickly.”
Giles approached from behind the redhead and he was brandishing a large cross. It made Angel squint and look away. “How can you be sure that is Angel?”
“I just know.” Willow said. “Can’t you tell? He just looks different.”
“I see.” Giles said, leveling a cold stare at the supernatural being. “And what do you have to say for yourself?”
“Nothing!? You seduce an impressionable young girl and you have nothing to say for yourself?”
“I don’t have to explain myself to you or anyone for that matter, Rupert. And I don’t appreciate being treated like an errant child because I’m old enough to be your great grandfather.”
“Then, you have no business touching Willow!” Giles snarled. Willow wondered if all of this anger was really on her behalf. Perhaps, the Watcher was simply unleashing his rage at Jenny’s untimely death.
“Jealous?” Angel drawled. Which earned him a black eye from Giles before Buffy dragged him away and pushed him into the bathroom so he could cool down.
“Alright.” Willow said, trying to breath evenly. “We just need to calm down. Everyone calm down. Let’s go look at the research again. Okay? No yelling or hitting.” The Scoobies went back to their books and Willow held a ziploc bag of ice cubes to Angel’s eye. Giles eventually joined them once more and the gang finally found the answers they were looking for.
Willow scowled at her legal pad. “I’m an idiot.”
“No, you simply failed to take moon phase into account. It’s a common mistake for a neophyte witch.” Giles placated.
She went to Angel, bending down to look him in the eye. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea what would happen if I did this during the full moon.”
“I know. We’ll just have to fix it.” Angel said. He hoped he sounded confident. He was worried about what damage Angelus would do with his body this time. And also worried about the monster’s affect on Willow. Perhaps she wouldn’t’ want to change him back. Maybe she enjoyed having the demon around.
“Uh, dumb guy here. Need some more info.” Xander interjected. “You guys lost me.”
“Willow performed the spell at the height of the lunar cycle. The moon has always controlled dark and light. Right and wrong. Its no accident that emergency rooms fill up with the insane and more people commit crimes during the full moon. It heightens good and evil.”
“Okay. Got that. But she gave him back his soul. Wouldn’t that put the soul in control of the body again?”
“For a time, yes. However, as a full lunar cycle progressed and gelled the change. His darker self. . .the demon, reasserted itself. Literally, Willow polarized Angel. His demon and his soul are now sharing control of the body equally.” He looked at Angel. “Did you feel different during the night? When the moon was out?”
“Yes,” Angel said thoughtfully. “It was almost as if I could hear him. Like he was sharing my consciousness.”
Giles nodded. “He is. The demon has seized nocturnal control of the body. Just as you have daytime control of the body.”
“How do we undo it?” Buffy asked.
“I’m not certain about that.” Giles admitted “I’m not even sure we can.”
“Back to the books.” Willow ordered.
“Can you at least untie me?” Angel asked. “It really is me. I would never hurt any of you and I’m an experienced researcher.”
“Very well.” Giles grudgingly untied the vampire and handed him a thick volume of lore. *********
“Hey guys.” Oz said, breezing in Giles’ apartment.
“Oz!” Willow stood up. She could feel Angel tense up beside her. She’d forgotten, in all the Angelus drama about the werewolf’s encounter with Spike. “Are you okay?”
“Fine.” He nodded. “My head’s a bit sore.”
“Well, that’s because Spike clocked you one.” Willow admitted. “You escaped last night but don’t worry, no one was hurt. Er, except you.”
“And Spike is. . .?”
“Vampire.” She filled him in. “He actually saved me from you.”
“Oh, Willow I’m so–“
”Forget about it. Not your fault. I’m just sorry he had to hit you.” She winced. “And sorry we left you locked up and naked in school.”
“Good God.” Giles glanced up from his book. “We were so preoccupied with the matter at hand we forgot about–“
”Don’t worry about it, Giles. I’m fine.” He pointed to his orange t-shirt. “And see? Clothes wearing.” He smiled. “Oh, but ,uh, Snyder found me. He wants to talk to you first thing tomorrow morning.”
“Yikes. The mean midget found you naked.” Xander winced in sympathy. “I bet he threw a fit.” He made a face. “And naked in front of Snyder? Nightmares for life.”
“Oddly enough he didn’t seem that surprised to find someone naked in Giles’ library. He just looked disappointed.” He ‘huh’ed about that. “But, he did make me take a drug screen.”
Willow and Buffy pretended to very interested in their books.
“Lookin’ for PCP?” Xander asked.
“The very same.”
“Well, we’re having a research party. Wanna join in?” Willow offered.
“Sure. Why not?” He pulled up a seat.
Oh, joy. Angel thought to himself. *********
Buffy yawned, stretching her arms above her head. “You know, there is something to be said for Slaying. I mean, sure its dangerous. But there’s no reading involved. It’s just about introducing vamps to a pointy wooden object. No big.”
“Yes, well, I think we’ve done all we can for now.” Giles said. “I’m going to have to call the Watcher’s Council and have some of their more arcane texts shipped to us. I fear that my library may not be extensive enough to cover this topic.”
“Sounds like a good idea.” Willow agreed. “And I should probably check the web. There are probably a few underground sites about this stuff. I just need to suss them out.”
“Does this mean we can quit for the night?” Xander asked hopefully. “Because my eyes are swimming.”
“Yeah, and I’m covered in paper cuts.” Cordelia complained.
“You didn’t bleed on any of my books, did you?” Giles asked sharply.
“Gee, thanks. So nice to know that you were worried about your stupid moth- ridden books but not me.”
“You found moths?” He looked alarmed.
“She’s teasing.” Willow said, rubbing her own temples. “No fighting. Not tonight. I’m exhausted.”
“What are we gonna do with Mr. Fangy?” Cordelia queried. “Cuz, I’m all for locking him up.” She thought back to her guard duties with the werewolf. “I say we tranq Oz and Angel and then toss them in the bookcage. That way we don’t have to worry about them busting free. It’ll just be snoring in lockdown.”
“And the rest of us who have human emotions? What do we want to do?” Willow said sarcastically.
“Cordelia does have a point.” Giles said. “We can’t afford a break out. At least when it comes to Angel. I’m not eager to come across Angelus again.”
“I’m not sure its wise to keep Oz and I together.” Angel said, trying not to be hurt over their callous tone. “What if one of us wakes up before dawn? We could damage each other.”
“Agreed.” Giles said, nibbling on the end of his glasses. “What if we restrain Angel in my bathtub and take Oz to the high school?”
“Sounds nice and safe.” The Slayer put in.
Angel leaned down to whisper in Willow’s ear. “Are you sure its okay to leave me tied up and all alone with Rupert?”
“You’re worried he might try to get some payback for Jenny’s death?”
“No, I think he might. . .well, you know. You said he likes things, uh, differently. A vampire tied up and helpless is different alright.”
Willow smirked. “Tell you what, I’ll stay the night too. I’ll make sure and protect your virtue.”
“Thanks.” Angel grinned at her. He leaned closer and pressed a kiss to the area below her earlobe. “You smell delicious, by the way.”
“Oh.” Willow’s face flooded with color and she got a pleasant tingly sensation in the pit of her stomach.
“Do hurry up.” Giles said, green in the gills. “Sundown is rapidly approaching.”
Oz watched the couple carefully, hurt in his eyes. He backed away and went to the door. Buffy called out to him. “Wait up, Oz.” She followed him out the exit. “Hold up, I’m your escort for the evening, remember?” She frowned. “That came out a lot more prostitute-ish than I had intended.”
“No big.” Oz’s back said.
“Hey, what’s the what here?” The Slayer ran up beside him.
“Nothing. I’m fine.”
“Yeah, cuz you look so darn happy.”
“I’m sorry. . its just private.”
“Its about Willow, huh?” Buffy guessed.
“Uh, yeah. That was amazingly accurate.” Oz looked impressed.
“Takes one to know one. I’m feeling kinda green-eyed over Angel.” Buffy managed a smile. “Misery loves miserable company. We don’t have a lot of time until your upcoming ‘grrr’ but you wanna get a soda real quick and compare ouchies before we have to lock you up?”
Oz nodded. “Sounds like a great idea.”
Buffy patted his shoulder. “You really don’t say that much, do you?” He nodded by way of agreement. Her grin got much wider. “I like that in a guy.”