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Under My Thumb 12


Why couldn’t they hold Scooby meetings right after school when it was daylight? No, we want you to go tromping through the neighborhood. In the dark. Alone. All by yourself. With the demons. Willow grumbled to herself as she traversed Sunnydale’s park warily. Her eyes darted around, taking note of her surroundings. There weren’t any other people on the well worn path. She’d been hoping for safety in numbers. Maybe she shouldn’t have taken this shortcut home from Giles’ apartment. They’d decided to avoid the library tonight because Oz would be locked in and their presence would only anger him. Actually, it was bad for both of them, it would only distract the Scoobies and Oz would probably end up injuring himself.

She had convinced her friends that she was safe. The vampire population was quite low since Angelus had taken over. Usually, a master vampire kills off any minions that are in the area because he or she wants loyal followers. The rest of the Scoobies had agreed with her decision to walk by herself because they believed she wouldn’t run in to any trouble. Although, they had asked her to carry a stake in her back pocket and a bottle of holy water in her jacket just in case.

Willow froze. She could hear the sound of an animal snuffling in the undergrowth right off the path. A stray dog? I can only hope. Dammit. She heard it, she had to look. It was the unwritten rule of Sunnydale. She peered into the shadows which were alleviated only by the hazy light of the moon. Suddenly, a creature stood up in the bushes. Its hair was a silvery gray and it was oddly familiar. It’s mouth had a terrifying array of sharp white teeth and it’s lips were curled back. The werewolf sniffed the air and howled. Oz! It was Oz! She recognized his wolf form. No two werewolves looked the same. He must have escaped from his pen at the library. Cordelia had been watching him. God, what if he’d killed Cordelia? Wait! What if he kills me?

Willow screamed. Wolf-Oz snarled. She backed away slowly, trying not to let her fear show. Fear only egged werewolves on. “Easy, Oz. It’s okay.” She held up her hands and made sure her voice was soothing. He proceeded to sniff the air and began to follow her.

Willow continued to back up, hoping that she could stall for time and come up with a plan. Where’s a hefty tree branch when you need one? She was so lost in her own worried inner workings that she stepped on a rock and tripped. Willow grabbed for something to keep her upright and got a hold of the rose bush. It sliced into her palm. Wolf-Oz howled at the scent of her blood, hungry for more. She continued to inch back and bumped into something hard. . . something that smelled like tobacco and leather. “Seems you’ve got a bit of a problem, pet.”

Spike! Great. She could choose how she died. Death by mauling or death by blood loss? I truly hate this place. “You could say that.”

Wolf-Oz growled at Spike, clearly feeling possessive of Willow. Spike chuckled. He walked around Willow and faced the ferocious animal. “Come on then. Let’s have a go, puppy. I’ll teach you some new tricks.” He moved into a fighting stance.

“Don’t hurt him!” Willow cried.

“What?!” Spike said, appalled. His eyes were still fixed on the werewolf. “Just so you know, pet. He wasn’t planning on only playing a game of fetch with you.”

“I know that!” Willow snapped. “But I also know him. His name is Oz, when he isn’t a wolf. He’s my friend.” She was almost tempted to run and let the two of them sort it out, but she couldn’t leave Oz with Spike even if that meant she was leaving herself in a dangerous position.

Spike rolled his eyes. She wanted to protect a werewolf. Probably one of those tree- huggin’ granola types. “Next thing you know, you’ll be buying him a bone, letting him sleep on the end of the bed–“

He didn’t have a chance to finish the conversation. Wolf-Oz attacked. Spike was caught off guard when the creature scraped his cheek with its talon-like nails. It left five bloody gashes on his handsome face. “Bad dog!” Spike yelled, clocking the huge beast in the face with his fist. Wolf-Oz howled. The vampire punched him again and knocked him to the ground. Then he kicked him in the stomach and banged his massive furry head against the ground. Wolf-Oz passed out with a whimper.

Willow ran over to her friend, checking for his pulse. She was relieved to find one. His breathing seemed to be normal, he was just unconscious. She glared up at Spike. She was sick of arrogant male vampires. “You could have killed him!”

“And your point is. . .?”

She stood up to her full height, pressing a slim white finger to Spike’s chest and poking him every once in a while as she spoke to emphasize her points. “I didn’t ask for your help! Who the hell do you think you are? I can do things myself, you know! I’m the best friend of a Slayer! And I’m a witch! ” Well, sort of. . part of the way there anyway. Then she realized that she was poking a master vampire in the middle of nowhere on the Hellmouth. She stopped touching Spike and stepped back. She gulped and her face turned a ghastly white. “I have to go now.” While I still have all my pieces and parts. She turned on her heel and was about to walk away when he grasped her elbow. Knew he wouldn’t fall for that.

“Hold on there, pet.” He spun her around, he was feeling a little thirsty. She was a tasty morsel.

“I thought you left Sunnydale, Spike.”

She knew his name. Didn’t she say something about being a Slayer’s best friend? “Nah, knew it would piss Angel off if I stayed. I never get tired of that. Besides, Dru likes the energy here. Says it makes her visions ‘all swirly’, whatever the hell that means.” He took a good look at her for the first time. Familiar face. He could place her now. Humans sometimes looked all the same to him.“You’re Willow, right?”

“Um. . .yeah.” How did he know her name? She looked at him in askance.

“Angelus told me about you.” He looked her over, considering. A slow smile broke over his face.

“He did?!” Her face flushed with embarrassment.

“Yes.” Spike tilted his head to the side. “By the way, I never did thank you for making him all poofy and soul-having again.”

Whew! He was grateful too. She might be going home with all of her blood. “Does this mean you’re not going to bite me?” Willow asked, rubbing her neck absently.

He looked her up and down. “I am hungry and you look very tasty.” Willow silently cursed herself for bringing it to his attention. He took a hold of her palm which was streaked with crimson and held it to his mouth, inhaling the spicy scent of her magick infused blood. “No bloody wonder Angelus was fascinated with you.” His chilly tongue swept out to lap the blood from her hand, taking care not to hurt her wounds. It was slightly raspy, like that of a cat. After he licked away the last droplet he pressed a kiss to her palm. “Thanks for the snack, pet.”

She sagged in relief. “Oh. You’re welcome. ” She smiled, then frowned. Was it ‘okay’ to thank a vampire for taking her blood? Buffy wouldn’t think so. She shrugged. “So. . .um, Angelus talked about me?” He found her fascinating? He nodded. “What did he say?” He merely rose one black eyebrow. “Okay. You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.” She glanced down at Oz. “I’d better get him back to the library anyway.”

Spike knelt beside the fallen werewolf and thrust it over his shoulder. There was no way she could carry him for that distance. “Lead the way, pet.”

“You’re going to help me?”

“Why not? Dru’s having a tea party for her bleedin’ dolls, nothin’s good on the telly. Might as well.”

“Well, thank you.” She walked beside him as he carried Oz back to Sunnydale High. *********

“Cordelia? Are you here?” Willow called out as she entered the library. Willow began to see red. The brunette was nowhere to be seen. If Oz had almost gotten hurt because she skipped out to party with the twits she called friends, she was going to . . .going to . . .she didn’t know what. But if she was fooling around with Xander when she was supposed to be watching Oz, then she would sic Spike on them both.

All of a sudden, the door to Giles’ office sprang open. Cordelia emerged, a threatening scowl on her face. Her hair was messed up, her dress was ripped, her makeup smudged, and one of her heels was missing. And she was holding the tranquilizer gun. “Get the hell away fro--- Willow?”

“Cordelia? What happened?” Willow blushed. Stupid question. “Are you alright?”

“Do I look alright? Omigod! Willow, duck!” The tranquilizer dart flew through the air before Willow could figure out what was about to happen.

“Ow! Bloody hell! She sh-“ Spike slumped to the floor, Oz rolling out of his grip.

Willow stood in shock staring at the cheerleader. “I didn’t know you had such good aim.” She looked to the two slumbering males on the floor. What now? Too many guys, not enough cages. ********

Angelus hopped up onto the balcony outside of the room of his favorite redhead. He peered into the darkness. No one was home. How’s that for a twist? She was always home. Angelus shook his head. He wasn’t clear on how he had regained control. To be truthful, he could barely remember how he had gotten over here. He could feel the soul in there somewhere. It just didn’t seem to have any influence over his actions. He gazed up at the moon, it seemed to have a strange pull on him. What was going on?

There was a slight noise coming from inside. Angelus listened carefully. Someone was coming down the hall! The wicked vampire grinned as he smelled the faint hint of roses, sage, and magic. Willow. There was another scent too. But who was with her? The scent of bleach filled the air. Buffy? Back up, when did Buffy start smoking? His eyes narrowed as he watched his blonde childe follow Willow into her room. What the hell was Spike doing here?

Angelus stepped back from the French doors before they spotted him. He learned a long time ago that patience brought it’s own rewards. Leaning against the wall, he settled back to listen in. Somebody was going to have a lot of explaining to do.


“The bleedin’ chit didn’t have to shoot me! I was helping.” Spike looked disgusted. With himself or with Cordelia she wasn’t quite clear on.

“Yes. But, for one, that’s a first. You’re usually trying to kill us, not help us. For two, she was just attacked by a werewolf. It would make anyone jumpy.” Willow pointed out. “Also, not the sharpest tool in the shed.”

Spike chuckled. “You’re not as quiet as you pretend to be, are you?”

Willow put a finger to her lips. “Shh! It’ll be our secret.” He gave her a rakish grin. She probably needed to have her head examined. She couldn’t believe that she had just invited him into her house. Somehow she knew that he wouldn’t harm her. He’d had plenty of opportunity but he hadn’t acted on it. Besides, she’d invited his sire in already. . .the more, the merrier. Willow knew that Cordelia wouldn’t keep quiet about Spike. She should probably start working on reasons why she’d been with him. The truth would be unpalatable to the other Scoobies. She needed a hellmouthy excuse. Possession? Coercion? Mysterious memory loss? She’d think of something.

“Excuse me, luv? Am I boring you?”

“What?” Willow blinked. “I mean, no. I mean. . .I’m sorry. I have a lot on my mind. What were you saying?”

“Nothing important.” She was a bewitching creature. No wonder Angelus was so taken with her. It was a shame that he hadn’t gotten to her first. Spike had been searching for the right human to sire for decades. He wanted a real prodigy for his childe and she fit the bill. But Spike had learned long ago that he never wanted to be involved with another woman who’d been with Angelus first. They never appreciated him. It was a pity, really. “I should probably go anyway. I have to get some dinner.”

“Oh?” She said politely, then it struck her that he meant ‘somebody.’ “Oh.”

“Don’t look so glum. I’ll make it quick for the poor sod.”

“Right.” She gulped. He was going off to kill someone.

“Actually. . .I don’t have to go yet.” Spike’s gaze strayed to her throat. He got closer to her, invading her space. He’d never been able to get his hands on a woman that still belonged to Angelus. Drusilla had come to him only after she’d fallen out of favor with ‘Daddy’. He wouldn’t hurt her. Maybe he’d play with her a bit , it might be fun to . . .

“I don’t think you have to go either.” Spike looked up only to see Angelus’ fist connect with his face. The blond vampire fell to the floor and gazed up at him in equal parts dazed disbelief and horror.

“Angel, what are you–“ Willow stared hard at him. He wasn’t the same. ‘Angel’ now walked with that familiar cocky swagger. His eyes roved over her form in a blatantly possessive manner. He’d been acting strange lately but not like this. . .it could only mean one thing. “Angelus?” She asked, her voice squeaking. She was thrilled and terrified at the same time. He must be really angry. Really, really, really angry. Wait a minute! How did this happen? “But. . .but. . .I--”

“You what? Cursed me with my soul again?” Angelus sat down on her bed and schooled his features into Angel’s trademark tortured expression. “You have no idea how that made me feel.” Then he laughed and it wasn’t completely in amusement. Meanwhile, Spike had gotten to his feet and had quietly inched his way to the door. “Sit down, my boy, I’m not done ‘talking’ to you yet.” Spike cursed under his breath but dutifully sat down on the chair by her desk. At least his sire was far more interested in the would be witch than him. He lit a cigarette and watched how this scenario would play out.

Willow still couldn’t wrap her mind around what happened. She’d given him the soul permanently. He couldn’t have come back without some sort of a catalyst. Angel slept with Buffy! It was the only conclusion she could come to. She was about ready to pass out. He looked distinctly unhappy with her. “W-what are you going to do with me?”

“Whatever I please.” Angelus smiled, showing a row of gleaming, white teeth.

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