Under My Thumb Ch. 9bybadgirl298©
"Willow." Oz nodded, hiding a slight smile as she slid into his van. She looked forward to their morning time together. He was soothing, really. He merely talked about something seemingly inconsequential. They would discuss music or school and he would subtly work in some jokes and make her laugh. It was good to have another male friend.
Though, she suspected that Oz might have some feelings for her that went deeper. But he didn't push, so she was free to have fun while she was with him without any strings attached. He probably had no idea that she needed that so much. She'd hate to see something happen to him. "You're sure you want to go to the Slayerettes meeting?"
"Not so sure I wanna be called an 'ette' anything, but yeah I need to go."
"Need to?" She said, turning to him.
He pulled in the school parking lot. "Yeah." He sighed, thinking for a minute. "I know that all these weird things happen here. Now that I do. . .I have to do something. I can't put the blinders back on. I want to help."
"I know exactly what you mean." He grinned at her and she grabbed up her book bag, ready to face another day at Sunnydale High.
"Try it again. Willow, like poetry? I know a place where they've got it. No, no. Casual. Be casual. So, Willow, I was wondering if you'd like to go to a poetry reading. I was just in the neigh- She'll see through that. I just 'happened' to be on your balcony." He ran a hand through his hair. "Would you like to go to a poetry reading? Yeah, that's good. I'll use that one. " Angel dusted off his coat, searching for imaginary lint and walked out the door.
Willow wearily laid down on her bed. She kicked off her shoes and threw an arm over her eyes. There was a new demon in town and she had spent an hour researching with Giles. Willow had been pleased to see that Oz had fit right into their group again. He had performed a metasearch on the web with her for information about the demon. He was proving to be a valuable member of the team.
There was a pecking at the glass again. Angel. She pasted a bright smile on her face, ignoring the faint stab of pain. It was never Angelus. "Hey there. Did you hear about Ziqrux?"
"Huh?" He shook his head. "No. Who's that?"
"Yep. Buffy's looking for him." She smiled. "Actually, she's patrolling in the Sunnydale Cemetery #21 if you want to go with." The cemeteries were so numerous that they had been numbered for easy reference, like streets.
"No. Actually I came here to see you."
"Okay." She moved aside and he sat down on the edge of her bed, looking uneasy. "What's up?"
"I want you to go out with me." Her eyes got big. "To a place! Yes, I want you to go with me to a place."
She relaxed. "What kind of place?"
Angel groaned inwardly. What the hell was it called again? How can I concentrate when she's looking at me like that? Glowing green eyes and that adorable wrinkle of concentration in between her brows. Angel tried to compose himself. He'd had years of practice at this when he was a mortal. There wasn't a woman in the village under a reasonable age that he hadn't 'dated'. And Angelus was always a charming devil. "Uh, it's dark there, people wear black and are depressed."
"A funeral parlor?" He wanted to take her to a funeral home. Ewww. Oh, this was a working visit. Not coffee. It was probably to stake some random vamp. "Staking some vamps, right?" She closed her eyes, getting it. He thinks I'm his girl Friday without the sexual overtones since he's still trying to patch things up with Buffy, he wants a friend to fight demons with. She really didn't need to be Angel's sidekick.
"No! A poetry reading."
"A vampire poetry reading?"
"No, no vampires other than me are involved."
"Um, sure." This sounds like a date. Nah. . .this is Angel. " That sounds...fun."
"You don't have to go if you don't want to." But I really need you right now. Can't be alone. Say yes. Please?
YES! Wait a minute, why am I so worked up about this? "Great. It starts in around an hour. Would you like to go for coffee?"
"Yep. I should warn you, I never turn down a mocha so if you keep asking you're doomed to go with me to the coffee house."
He filed that information away and made a sweeping gesture with his arm to the door. "After you." A voice in his head chuckled. You're 'after her' alright.
She sat next to Angel at a small table in a darkened smoky room. It was cozy, like being curled up in her grandma's attic while reading. Only it was less smoky there. The poets were edgy, talking about social issues. Crime, racism, sexism, and other weighty topics. She noticed that Angel seemed to be considering their words, searching for something in them. Poetry was so personal, maybe he was seeking some answers about life.
When it was finished, he escorted her through the park. Sunnydale's botanical gardens weren't that spectacular but they appeared more beautiful in the darkened shadows of night. Maybe it was being with him. He made her feel so safe, she knew that nothing would hurt her while he was around. Angel kind of had that effect on women, he was a protector.
He took her hand in his and they walked that way for a while. They reached a small courtyard and he stepped into a patch of silvery moonlight. Angel seemed to absorb the light, bask in it. He relinquished her hand and tilted his head back and lifted his arms, like he was offering himself to the moon. There was something about him. . .his stance, the confidence. "I feel different."
Willow's breath caught and her heart speeded up. "In what way?"
Angel rolled his head in her direction, arms still raised. He slid his eyes up and down her body like he knew what she looked like without her clothes. "Released, little one."
That's because he does know what you look like without your clothes! She gulped. Wait a second. . .did he just say. . .? "Little one?" Angelus' name for her.
Angel blinked. He seemed shocked by his own position. The words he had just spoken. He put his arms down and stared at her. "What. . .what just happened?"
"I don't know. Has it ever happened before?"
"No." He shook his head, mentally evaluating his own behavior. "Probably nothing. I've been dealing with some stuff lately. Buffy and I. . .broke up."
"Oh no!" I released you so that you two could be together again and you both keep screwing it up. What do I have to do? Draw the two of you illustrations?
"It's okay. It had to be done, Willow. We couldn't repair the damage."
"I'm so sorry." She squeezed his arm. "It'll blow over. You two have that big, forever kind of soulmate love. I know you can't. . .but there might be a spell to fix that."
"It's alright." Angel sighed, not wanting to drudge up those issues just now. Sooner or later Willow would accept it, he had. He took her hand again. "Let's get you home."
Why isn't he going home? He's sitting on my bed, watching the television. So very unAngelike. He should be in a dark corner somewhere surrounded by candles with his shirt off, reading Dante's Inferno or something. He was freaking her out. First the poetry date thingy, then the moon bath, he'd broken up with Buffy, and he was watching Animal Planet. "Put that rattlesnake down, you nitwit!" Now, he was talking to the television.
"That's Steve Irwin." She sat down beside him at a discrete distance away. "I think he's kinda brave." She offered.
"Brave? He's an idiot." he scoffed. "I'd like to see him face down a cadre of vampires. Or what about a Lunz demon? He'd runaway screaming. . .like Xander."
"Hey! Xander's brave but he's realistic. And no, I think Steve would probably jump on top of them and make them mad." She giggled. "Can you picture him running around the cemeteries with a film crew, picking up some poor demons?" She did her best Aussie accent. "By crikey! He's a grumpy one. What a beauty! Don't try this at home folks, these are man eaters."
Angel laughed despite himself. He schooled his features into their trademark deadpan expression. "We could call him and have a Sunnydale special episode. Live from the Hellmouth."
"You made a funny!" She playfully smacked his arm. "I thought you were too broody to make jokes."
"I have a sense of humor." He sniffed.
"Yes, but I've never heard you be funny. Those are two totally different things."
"You don't know me that well."
"I know. But I'm getting the chance to now, right?"
"That's settled then." She rubbed her stomach. "I'm hungry, I'm gonna get us some popcorn." He raised an eyebrow. "See, that was funny too. It'll be for me, but it makes me feel better to say for we. I'm a good hostess that way."
He laughed again. Then, as soon as she was out the door he dove for the computer. His curiosity had gotten the better of him and he couldn't resist. His mind had been coming up with all sorts of thoughts on a what "A Demon's Touch" could be about. Luckily, it was still open on the desktop, just minimized. If he had to actually had to turn the computer on and find a file he'd be in trouble. Just click the grey box with the rat and voila!
Angel kept one ear on Willow's movements downstairs, he could hear her heartbeat, the beeping of the microwave as it accepted the time she put in. He scanned through the words. She was writing a story. . .for English class? She was writing about a character named Cypress who was having an affair with a demon named Seraph. Or should I say Willow and Angelus? Angel faltered, unsure if he wanted to read more. Did he really want to know what she truly thought of his demon? He knew that she had professed acceptance, but Willow had a way of saying whatever a person wanted to her and thinking what she pleased. He listened carefully to her movements downstairs, he could still here her puttering around in the kitchen. The phone rang and she answered, saying a greeting to Xander. Good, he'd have time. That stupid boy could talk about nothing for hours. At least it wasn't Oz. He steeled himself, put away his regrets about reading her private thoughts, and plunged into the story. From 'A Demon's Touch'. . .
She walked towards him, red hair fanning around her face like a curtain of silk. Seraph pressed a single cool finger to her lips before he captured them with his possessive mouth. "You look beautiful tonight, little one."
Willow should hear that more often. She was a lovely young woman but was yet unaware of her own beauty. Well, at least until Angelus had pointed it out.
He cupped her silky peaks of pleasure and rubbed them gently. Cypress ran her hands down his well sculpted chest, admiring the symmetry of his masculine form. He was a handsome man, so handsome that he almost took her breath at times.
Angel smiled wickedly. Willow thought he was a hottie, well his body at least.
His large hands covered her own and brought them down his abdomen. And then lower. Cypress' eyes widened at sight of Seraph's love stick.
Angel blinked. Love stick? Some sort of a ritual wand? No. . .that didn't fit within the text. Why, she means mine, er, his. . . He heard her footsteps coming up the stairs. Angel lifted his hand from the keyboard, minimized the file, and jumped back on the bed. He tucked his hands behind his head and tried to be appear casual as she appeared in the doorway. "Steve's doing something dangerous. He just picked up a–" He stared a moment at the television. "Actually, he's off the air. It's those animal vets now."
"Uh huh." She had a steaming bowl of popcorn and some cola cans for both of them. "I brought you some pop too. I figured that caffeine was caffeine. Do you drink it?"
"Yeah, I've had Coca-Cola before." He chuckled a little. "Funny story actually. I had my first taste just after it was invented." She looked at him curiously, trying to gauge his erratic mood. He looked shifty. And jumpy . He didn't even have any stimulant laden beverages yet. "But I'll tell you later. Hey, did you know the first Cokes had cocaine in them?"
"Yes." She pursed her lips. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing. Nothing. Not a thing. No. I have to go." He stood up and made a beeline for the door. "Night, Willow." He called.
Willow set down the pops and her corn. "Why is he always running out on me?" She stuck out a hand and breathed, batting the scent back to her nostrils. "My breath doesn't smell."
Angel lay in bed, Willow's words were floating around in his mind. He was trying to identify what he felt. Then it hit him. Jealousy. Plain and simple. He was jealous of, for all intents and purposes, himself. It had been his body that had given Willow her first taste of passion but he hadn't actually been there. God help him, he did wish he had been.
Her 'story' moved him, made him want to fulfill some of those girlish romantic notions and ideals and teach her true desire. Angel realized that she was discovering herself and what she was like a sensual, sexual being. Angelus wanted her and took her, he had awakened her slumbering sexuality. But he wasn't here to deal with consequences, help her handle the experience. She was all alone in this. . .because of him.
Angel rolled over. True, he had taken Buffy's virginity. But she was a strong young woman. A warrior fighting the good fight. She'd been able to deal with Angelus and put the whole ordeal behind her. She didn't need him. Willow did.
This was more fallout from Angelus' 'visit' to the Hellmouth. But this was something he could correct. He told himself that he was only willing to do this because it was right and necessary. It had to be done. He wasn't about to let Willow seek to fulfill these cravings with some untried boy like Oz. No, he was going to be the one who would teach her about making love. Help her appreciate her own body and her mind. Mold her into the amazing young woman she was becoming.
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