Touch of Evil

Part 16

**Silence now the sound my breath the only motion around
Demons cluttering around my face showing no emotion
Shackled by my sentence expecting no return
Here there is no penance my skin begins to burn

So I held my head up high hiding hate that burns inside which
only fuels their selfish pride
We're all held captive out from the sun
A sun that shines on only some
We the meek are all in one**

**"My Own Prison"- Creed**

	Willow struggled against his kiss to no avail.  Her arms were useless,
tied above her head securely, her body effectively held captive by his own.
 She tried to keep her mouth tightly shut so he wouldn't be able to deepen
the kiss but as the seconds turned into minutes, Willow's need to breath
won out against her stubborn pride.  Gasping for breath, Angelus took the
opportunity to move his tongue into her mouth.

	He moved his hands down to fondle her breasts, his fingers forceful and
bruising as he twisted her nipples between his thumb and forefinger.
Willow cried out in pain, but the sound was lost within Angelus's mouth.
Before she knew what was happening, his hands were at the clasp to her
jeans.  He quickly unbuttoned them and somehow managed to yank them down
without pausing in his exploration of her mouth or in removing his body too
much off of hers.  With a quick agility of one who had practice in such
areas, he kicked her jeans off with his feet.  As they fell to the floor,
he broke away to stare into her eyes.  He searched them with his own, which
were darker than usual from his lust.  He drank in the fear reflected from
the green depths, knowing that he could easily banish such emotions,
replacing them with the lust she was keeping hidden from him.  Her body was
a bundle of nerves, which, if played just right, could yield exactly the
response he wanted.  Angelus began to remove her top as he spoke.  "I can
make this nice for you, Willow.  A girl's first time is special, and I can
make sure you enjoy every second of it- minimal pain."

	Willow stared up at the cruel, handsome face above her.  A portion of the
fear inside her began to be replaced by a burning rage.  Snarling, she spat
at him, "I suppose I should be grateful you have so much experience with

	Angelus tilted his head in a sign of acknowledgement to his past, choosing
to ignore the sarcasm in her tone.  "You've been doing your homework,
little girl.  Guess you couldn't keep your mind off me during your stint
with the Watchers, huh.  You should never trust Watcher propaganda,
although in this case it is accurate.  I doubt the Diaries mentioned what a
sensual lover I can be- incredibly considerate of my partner's needs and
desires.  Of course, the opposite is also true.  I can be very cruel and
selfish.  I can make it extremely pleasurable for myself and less so for
you, as I'm sure you remember.  But it's your choice Willow.  If you let me
love you, allow me to possess you the way your body already wants me to,"
with that last comment he moved a hand between her legs, lightly caressing
her through the wet fabric of her panties, "then we'll both be happy."

	Willow shuddered against her own body's betrayal.  Gritting her teeth she
answered him.  "I hate you.  Do you understand me- I will always hate you.
No matter what you do, I'll never be yours.  You may possess my body- I
know I can't stop you from that- but you'll never possess my heart.  You'll
never possess my soul."

	His eyes took on a strange glint, scaring Willow further.  "Oh, don't
worry, little girl.  What I have planned for you, your soul has nothing to
do with."

	As the implication behind his words sunk in, Willow's body grew colder.
The blood churning through her veins felt like ice water.  Angelus just
kept on smiling, drinking in the emotions that played across her face.  He
reached a hand up to caress her cheek.  When he continued, his tone was
reassuring.  "Don't worry, dear.  I don't plan to turn you for a few years.
 I have to admit I'm addicted to the feel of your warm body beneath mine.
And your blood!  I know we can't keep that virgin taint for much longer,
but you still have other innocent, delectable qualities to your mortal
blood that I'd hate to lose so soon."

	Willow stared evenly into Angelus's eyes.  "Do as you wish, but I will
never be yours- not completely.  Not even if you kill me."  Willow bit her
tongue, cursing herself for speaking before she thought.  Angelus seemed to
be considering her suggestion.  Willow held her breath till he spoke again.
 "Of course.  I'm surprised I didn't think of this earlier.  How can you
commit your heart to me when that pretty boy watcher you've been shacking
up with is still alive.  Well, that's an easy enough problem to rid
ourselves of.  Here."  Angelus reached up to untie Willow's bonds, freeing
her hands.  Surprised, Willow moved to massage each wrist, eyeing Angelus
warily from the corner of her eye.

	The dark vampire lifted himself off of Willow and tossed her a robe that
had been draped across an armchair next to the bed.  "Get dressed, we've
got some business to take care of before we can be together."

	Willow stared at the silk robe in her lap as if it were a live snake.
"What do you mean?"  She was relieved Angelus had stopped his twisted
seduction but had a feeling that what was coming wasn't much better.

	Angelus stood by the door, waiting for her to join him before answering.
Cupping her face in his hands, he placed a quick kiss on her lips.  His
voice was thick with desire as he spoke.  "You will love me, Willow.  As
much as I love you.  And if the only way to ensure that is to kill that
would be mortal lover of yours, so be it."

	Too horrified to respond, Willow allowed herself to be pulled out of the
room by Angelus.  She barely noticed the other rooms as Angelus led her to
their destination.  To Willow it was all a maze, her mind and body too numb
to process any external stimulus beyond Angelus's tight grip on her hand.

	Willow collided with the solid wall of muscles of Angelus's back as he
stopped short.  Yanking her by the arm so that she emerged from behind him
to stand at his side, Willow fought to keep her balance.  The room they had
entered was considerably darker than the rest of the house, lit only by a
few sporadic candles, which threw distorted shadows on the walls.  It took
a few moments for Willow's vision to clear.  Once it had, her heart leapt
into her throat, concern and fear for Adrian's safety morphing into shock
and bitter jealousy.

	Less than 5 feet in front of her, Adrian was tied to a plush, queen size
bed.  Willow could barely see him- in addition to the lighting her view was
obstructed by Buffy, who sat straddling his lower body, her chest draped
over his as their lips met in a passionate kiss.  Willow was too enraged to
even notice if Adrian was kissing her back.  As she took in the juncture
where their lips met, her eyes travelling down the smooth planes of
Adrian's bare chest, Buffy's words from earlier came back to Willow,
replaying in her mind like a broken record.  In a moments time, months of
growth and a strengthening of self confidence were laid to waste,
transforming Willow back to the timid girl with zero self esteem she had
been during her early high school years.  As if forgetting who was behind
her, Willow took a step backwards, leaning against Angelus for support and
comfort.  He noted the unconscious movement with satisfaction, pulling her
closer to him as he wrapped his arms around her.  Willow was too caught up
in her own pain to care who was holding her.  All she knew was the arms
around her were strong and kept her otherwise limp body from slumping to
the floor.

	Angelus watched his Childe with pride.  She was playing her part
perfectly.  He'd known that all Willow needed was a voyeuristic glimpse of
her love screwing his Childe to break her will.  Judging by her reaction to
the scene before them, it wouldn't take much more prodding on his part to
truly vanquish his competition.  It was all almost too easy- he couldn't
help but feel disgusted at how weak willed the Watcher was.  The stupid
bastard had made the same mistake Angelus had been smart enough not to- he
chose Buffy over Willow.  He wondered if the fool even realized just what
he had sacrificed in favor of the blonde bimbo.

All it took was one lustful moan of Buffy's name and Willow broke down,
uncontrollable sobs tearing from her throat.  As she buried her face in
Angelus's chest, soaking the silk of his shirt with her tears, Buffy tore
her lips away from Adrian's and glanced over her shoulder at the intruders,
instinctively slipping into her "Game Face."  While she relaxed, dropping
her defenses at the sight of her sire, her lips curled in a self-satisfied
smirk, Adrian had the opposite reaction.  Angelus could see him clearly
now.  He noticed the dilation of his pupils a physical manifestation of the
drugs coursing through his system.  The sound of Willow's crying combined
with the sight of her pressed against Angelus was enough to snap him out of
his drug-induced haze.

Angelus enjoyed watching the shattering in Adrian's eyes as his mind caught
up with the rest of his senses, comprehension dawning within him as he took
in his surroundings and realized what had just happened.  When he moaned,
"Oh God, Willow, no," Angelus felt shivers of delight travel up his spine.
Careful not to let his inner pleasure show, Angelus stroked Willow's hair,
whispering comforting words in an attempt to get her to cease her crying.

Adrian, meanwhile, was forcibly trying to remove Buffy from his lap, a task
made difficult due to the incapacitation of his arms.  He writhed
underneath her hips, managing to knock her over with strength doubled by
his near hysterical will.  Distracted, Buffy fell on her side, shooting
Adrian an annoyed glance before turning her attention back to the
hysterical girl in her sire's arms.  Placing a possessive hand on Adrian's
thigh, which he immediately attempted to shake off to no avail, Buffy
couldn't resist tossing off a verbal taunt.  "I knew it wouldn't take him
long to forget a little nothing like you.  It's like I told you, Will-
you're not half the woman I am."

Adrian attempted a growl at Buffy's words, but the drugs had left him
dehydrated, his throat producing a sound that resembled more of a kitten's
growl, and the effect was lost.  It took all of Angelus' will power not to
laugh at his now vanquished foe.  The scenario before him was causing him
to consider the benefits of keeping the Watcher alive longer than he had
originally planned.  It might be fun to watch the spirit leave this one as
he was forced to watch the woman he loved in the arms of the man he hated.

	Buffy's words seemed to be absorbed by Willow without question.  The two
vampires knew that in her mind she was expanding upon them, creating a
carefully constructed picture of just how worthless she was and how little
the love she and Adrian had shared had meant to him.  Angelus knew Willow
wasn't worthless, that the man who received her love received a gift beyond
measure, but it was necessary she thought she was if he was going to break
the connection between her and the man she thought she loved.  He would
repair her damaged ego when this was all done and he could take her
somewhere more private.  Then he'd show her exactly how beautiful and
precious she was.

	Buffy had played her part, and with no more for her to do, Angelus ordered
his Childe out of the room.  Giving Adrian one final kiss, Buffy complied.
The room was silent for a few moments as Angelus allowed the tension to
build.  Disgusted, he realized Adrian was crying.  "Willow, please listen
to me.  It's not what you think.  Just let me explain."

	Deciding to have some fun with the cliched scene being enacted, Angelus
delivered his lines with enthusiasm.  "Look, don't you think you've hurt
her enough.  Leave her alone."

	Staring at the vampire with unabashed hatred, Adrian struggled against the
rope binding his wrists.  Startled from the noise of the headboard banging
against the wall, Willow let out a whimper and snuggled closer to Angelus.
Realizing he was scaring Willow, Adrian kept still, but not before snarling
at Angelus, "Keep your hands off of her or so help me I'll make you kiss

	Clutching Willow to him, Angelus made a motion as if to leave.  Changing
his mind, he turned back to address Adrian with one last dig.  "You're not
worthy of her."

	Adrian bowed his head in a reflection of Angelus' own earlier motion.
"You're right.  But neither are you."

	"That's where you're wrong.  Me and her, we're perfect for each other.  I
need her in ways you never could.  You know the old saying- light to my
darkness, innocence to my evil.  We were made for each other.  Besides, if
I thought for a second you'd know what to do with her, I might be worried,
but you've already proven to be completely ineffectual in everything you
undertake, especially loving her.  You always did fail at everything you
ever tried."

	Adrian's entire body froze, warning alarms going off in his head.  "What
are you talking about?"

	Angelus laughed, a short bark riddled with disdain.  He was tired of
playing games.  "I mean, you were always weak- flawed; even when you were
mortal.  You had so much potential, but you were too busy pissing it away
on women, card and liquor.  You used your intellect to continue securing
your reputation around town as a typical, worthless, drunken, whoring
nobleman's son.  What's that wonderful modern expression to describe your
type?  Oh that's right- you were a typical trust fund baby.  And the worst
part is, even as you gave in to your baser instincts you did it as an
aristocrat.  You never really let yourself go.  Your existence added
nothing to the world- till I came.  I made you a better person, releasing
all that potential within you, utilizing it as intended.  I fulfilled every
pathetic desire you had ever had but had been too spoiled, too proper, too
drunk to act on.  I'm twice the man you are, Angel, therefore I definitely
deserve her more than you."  Angelus laughed at the utter shock in his
human counterparts face.  The little girl in his arms didn't move or make
any sort of reaction.  He wondered if she even heard his revelation or if
she had retreated too far into her shell.

	"That's right, Angel," he spoke the name as if it wasn't something to be
said in polite company. "I know who you are.  I've known for awhile.  Once
Dru started ranting about how the bad daddy was back and now there was two
it didn't take me long to decipher her vision and find out the information
I needed."  He couldn't help snorting at Angel's total surprise.  "I guess
you're not as smart as you thought you were.  Or perhaps I'm just smarter
than you thought I was.  I know how the Powers That Be gave your soul a
chance to redeem itself for all the crimes I had committed by placing it
within the body of this young Watcher as he was on the verge of death.  I
must admit, I'm a bit iffy on the details, but I imagine it went something
like this: his soul out, your soul in and voila, you're human again.  And
let me guess, the only price you have to pay for the gift you pinned for
these last 90 years is to protect the witch and murder me.  Now, is it just
me or does it sound like the PTB's got the raw end of that deal.  I mean,
I'm only one little old demon- a very destructive one, if I do say so
myself- but in the grand scheme of things, still just one of many.  What is
it I'm doing, or will do, that is so important that the PTB's would grant
you this enormous gift to stop me?  You don't mind my asking do you- cause
quite frankly, I'm immensely curious."

	Angel, furious over having his unmasking occur in this manner, to have
Willow learn of his betrayal of trust from his demon, kept silent.  Angel
refused to give Angelus any information he could end up using to his
advantage, especially when it could end up putting Willow in danger.

	Angelus stared into the eyes that now housed his soul, trying to draw the
information he wanted out of them.  He perceived Angel's protectiveness and
pounced on it.  "Is it the little witch?  Is she the reason the PTB's sent
you on your Holy Grail mission?"  Angelus stared down at the frail, broken
creature in his arms, the enigma of her importance unfathomable to his
mind.  "I will find out, Angel, one way or another.  I'm sure you can
imagine just how much I'll enjoy finding out."

	Angel ignored his demon, his heart twisting as he looked at Willow.  She
had stopped crying and appeared to have gone into shock.  Her left arm hung
limply around Angelus's waist, her right hand balled up into a fist near
her face, the thumb partially encapsulated by her lips.  Her eyes were
unfocused, starring at some point on the far wall.  She made no reaction as
he called her name, desperately pleading for her to look at him.  More than
her hating him, Angel feared he had damaged her with his deception.  Not
even when she had found out about her parent's murder had Willow appeared
like this.  It was almost as if her body was an empty host, her mind and
soul having escaped to some far away place where she could be safe from the
pain of reality.  Turning his attention back to his demon, Angel stated
with deadly calm,  "This isn't over."

	"No, of that you are correct.  This is far from over.  I'll be back to
deal with you later.  Right now I need some time alone with my woman.
Seems I've got some damage control to do.  I'll do my best to help her
forget all about you and your deceptions before the nights over.  Then I'll
be back."  With those parting words, Angelus led the catatonic Willow out
of the room, leaving Adrian alone to mourn the loss of everything he held
dear in the world.

Part 17

**Hey, what's the point of this
Hey, what's your favorite song, 
maybe we could hum along
Well, I think you're smart, 
you sweet thing
Tell me your name
I'm dying here
Got you where I want you
Got you where I want you**

**"Got You Where I Want You"- The Flys**

	Willow remained catatonic for two straight days.  She didn't move, speak,
or eat the entire time.  She merely laid on the bed she shared with
Angelus, her eyes lifeless as they stared at some distant point.  As the
third night dawned with no sign of change, Angelus began to worry.  While
Willow was ill, Angelus was uncharacteristically kind.  He spent great
portions of his time with her, looking after her, waiting for her to
recover.  He wanted to be with her when she revived.  Angelus also refused
to touch Willow, intimately, while she was in this state.  Instead, he
waited out her recovery, relieving his tension and taking out his anger
through torture.  His days and nights were spent alternating between his
time with Willow and his time punishing his human doppelganger.  Angelus
took pleasure in letting his soul think Willow was alive and well, too busy
fucking him to even remember Angel or his deceptions.  The motional death
and physical torture he brought to his soul helped him forget his worries
and take pleasure in the pure release of his demon's ultimate desire to
wound the one that had kept him prisoner for a century.

	It was on that third night that Willow began to show signs of life beyond
her continued breathing.  Returning from a particularly satisfying session
with Angel, Angelus made sure he washed away all traces of the blood he had
helped shed, the expression on his face devoid of the cruelty that had
marred it only a short while ago.  Entering the room, Angelus froze at the
sight of movement.  Willow's head was rolling from side to side, her eyes
closed with the lids fluttering.  Relieved, Angelus moved to the side of
the bed.  Capturing her hand with his, his thumb traced reassuring circles
in her palm as he murmured her name in hopes of fully rousing her.  She
began to mumble softly and he strained his ears in an attempt to make out
her words.  As he reached out a hand to her cheek, stilling her head's
movement, Willow's eyelids flew open.  Her eyes were trained on his face
and for the first time in days she appeared to actually be starring at
rather than through him.

	Not waiting for her to speak, Angelus leaned down to press a rather chaste
kiss to her lips.  "I'm glad to see you're awake.  I was starting to worry,
lover.  I was beginning to wonder if you were ever coming back to me."

	She stared at him, eyes wide, an expression of utter bewilderment and
confusion darkening her features.  She didn't fight his kiss, nor did she
react to his choice of endearments.  There was an internal struggle being
raged in her eyes as she fought for recognition.  Angelus wondered if
perhaps permanent damage had been done to her psyche.  If it turned out to
be a result of the drugs Buffy had given her, he'd stake the bitch without
a second thought.  "Willow, are you alright?  Say something if you
understand me."

	Willow shifted on the bed, lifting her slight body up so she was half
sitting, half lounging against the pillows.  She made a sound with her
throat as if to speak, but all that came out was a strangled croaking.
Handing her a glass of water he'd left on the nightstand earlier, Willow
drank deeply, wincing slightly at the lukewarm temperature.  Once the cup
was drained, she spoke around the soreness of her throat.  "I hear you…"
Willow paused, grappling for a name her mind wasn't supplying.  Puzzled,
she went on, "… but I don't understand."

	Angelus frowned.  "What don't you understand?"

	Willow paused before answering.  "Well, you called me a tree before and
I'm not sure why.  Also, I have no idea who you are or where I am, and to
be quite honest, I'm not sure who I am either.  Then you kissed me and I'm
not even sure if I'm supposed to be kissing you- not that it wasn't nice,
but, I mean, who are you?  How do I know you're not some psychotic killer
who's gonna rape and murder me.  Not that you seem like one, or I think you
are one, cause I don't think you are.  You seem familiar but… I don't know.
 Everything's all fuzzy.  My head, it hurts."  Willow raised a hand to her
temple, massaging the bone beneath her skin.  She realized she was babbling
and wondered if it was something she did often.

	Angelus couldn't help but smile at his good fortune.  He'd never
considered the possibility of Willow repressing the emotional pain she'd
suffered and thus losing her memory.  The possibilities now before him
seemed endless.  She was virtually a blank canvas on which he could paint
whatever picture of the current situation he wanted.

	As Angelus contemplated his course of action, Willow stared at the vampire
with curious eyes.  In her mind, she was seeing him for the first time, and
her appraising gaze quickly turned appreciative as she took in the dark
good looks of the man before her.  Her breath caught in her throat as her
eyes lingered on the sculpted planes of his chest, clearly visible through
the window afforded by his unbuttoned top.  Willow had a sudden urge to run
her hands up the wall of muscles, wondering if they were as hard and solid
as they looked.

	Angelus noticed her noticing him and chuckled darkly.  "You can touch me,
Willow, if you'd like.  Everything I am belongs to you."

	Willow considered his words.  "What do you mean?"

	Angelus smiled a sexy little grin at her.  "What I mean is, you and I are
lovers.  More than that, we're soulmates.  Everything I have, everything I
am is yours, and vice versa.  You're free to explore me any way you desire."

	Willow wondered at this bit of information.  Skepticism colored her
thoughts as her mind processed the idea that this beautiful man was her
lover.  She had no memory of him, and the idea that she could forget what
should be the most important person in her life frightened her.  If he was
her soulmate, how could she forget him so easily, so completely?  Needing
more answers to fill in the holes in her mind, Willow questioned him,  "Is
my name Willow?"

	Angelus nodded.  "Yes.  Do you remember my name?"

	Willow's forehead scrunched up as she ransacked her mind, trying hard to
come up with the right answer.  Failing, Willow shook her head, afraid he
was going to be mad.

	"That's okay.  You have amnesia.  It's not your fault you don't remember.
I'm sure everything will come back to you in time.  But for now, I'm Angelus."

	Willow's eyes lit up as a sense of familiarity swept through her at the
name.  A single memory penetrated the dark fog of her mind, piercing the
veil between the present and the oblivion of her past.  "Angel!"  She burst
out, happy to have remembered something, even if it was only a name.  When
she tried to dig deeper and connect any specific feelings or memories to
the name, she found her memories blocked.

	Angelus's expression darkened at the name that escaped from her lips,
though he fought to keep the smile on his face so he wouldn't alarm her
with his reaction.  "See, you haven't totally forgotten me.  But I don't go
by that nickname anymore.  It's an old one."

	Willow smiled innocently, "Why not.  It's such a pretty name.  I like it."

	Angelus gritted his teeth, fighting for control.  "I just don't.  That
name brings up bad memories."

	Willow was immediately repentant.  "I'm sorry, I'll call you Angelus
then."  The smile faded from her lips as she suddenly grew shy.  "So, um,
we're lovers?"

	Angelus leaned down to kiss her again, a quick peck so he wouldn't
frighten her.  "That's right.  We've been together for a year.  Your best
friend Buffy introduced us.  It was love at first sight.  We're even
engaged."  He lifted her hand up so she could see.  Shrugging at the bare
fingers, he explained.  "You lost the ring the other night during your
accident.  But don't worry- I'll get you another one.  All that matters is
you're safe.  I was afraid I had lost you for good."  Angelus made his
expression one of deep affection and sick fear, trying hard to impersonate
the brooding looks of his souled half.

	Willow melted under his show of concern.  "I'm sorry I scared you."  She
reached out to lay a reassuring hand on his arm.  "I'm okay now.  Nothing
really hurts except my head, and that's only when I try to remember things.
 I don't even think I have any bruises."  Willow glanced down at her body,
blushing as Angelus did the same.  She hadn't realized she was dressed in
nothing but a loose T-shirt that fell only part way down her thighs.  From
what he had told her about their relationship, she was sure he'd seen her
in a lot less, but since she didn't remember, it was a lot easier for her
to get embarrassed now.

	Angelus seemed to take no notice in her discomfort over his gaze, which
was openly lustful.  Lying beside her so he could wrap his arms around her,
Angelus whispered in her ear.  "You can't imagine how much I've missed
holding you like this.  I feared I'd never be able to hold you again, never
get to kiss you or hear your sweet voice again.  The past few days have
been hell on me.  I want to make up for lost time, but I'd understand if
you aren't ready."  He added the last part as he felt her body tense as his
arms tightened their hold on her.  The effect was immediate.  She relaxed,
moving closer to his body.  His arms were strong, making her feel safe and
protected.  The look in his eyes made her feel beautiful and desired, as
well as incredibly loved.  

	Willow tucked her head into the crook of his shoulder.  "It's not that I
don't want to."  It was true, her body was responding to his, tingles of
warmth spreading through her veins.  "It's just that things are so
confusing right now.  There's so much I don't remember- so many blanks I
need you to fill in. I want to reclaim my old life, but I'm afraid of what
I don't remember.  I'm sorry, but would you mind terribly if we waited
awhile.  Just till I know more about what's happened to me?"

	Angelus was the epitome of understanding, kissing Willow gently.  He knew,
if played right, he could press the issue and get her to submit to his
every whim, but something held him back.  The victory would be so much
sweeter if she was the one to come to him.  "Of course I don't mind.  I'd
do anything for you.  I love you."  Relieved, Willow allowed Angelus to cup
her head and kiss her again, this time more passionately.  They stayed that
way for awhile, kissing and taking comfort in the closeness of their
bodies.  Inside, Angelus crowed in triumph.  He was well on his way to
having exactly what he wanted.

Part 18

**So I guess the fortune teller's right
Should have seen just what was there and not some holy light
But you crawled beneath my veins and now
I don't care, I have no luck, I don't miss it all that much
There's just so many things that I can't touch, I'm torn
I'm all out of faith
This is how I feel
I'm cold and I am shamed lying naked on the floor
Illusion never changed into something real
I'm wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn
You're a little late
I'm already torn**

**"Torn"- by Ednaswap**

	It was close to sunrise when Angelus finally emerged from his bedroom with
a very dazed Willow in tow.  It had taken him a couple of hours to recount
their history for her.  Every time he would reveal some other fantastical
tidbit, such as how Buffy was the vampire slayer, now a vampire; that he
too was a vampire and that she was an up and coming witch, he would be
forced to stop and spend 20 minutes assuring her he was not playing a prank
on her.  He'd finally convinced her he was serious, but only after showing
her his fangs, which he allowed her to explore with quivering digits.  In
the end, she'd accepted what he'd told her, figuring it would all make
sense once she got her memory back, which Angelus maintained wouldn't take
long.  He promised her the best medical attention money could buy, since he
was as anxious as she was to recover the lost memories.

	Angelus led Willow through the house, giving her the guided tour she'd
missed out on earlier.  Willow remained silent, absorbing where everything
was located distractedly, wondering where in this labyrinthine house lay
their ultimate destination.  When they stopped in front of a nondescript
wooden door at the end of a long, dark corridor, Willow felt her heart
begin to race.  Angelus paused with his hand on the knob.  "Are you sure
you're ready for this?"

	Willow bit her lip, nodding.  As the door swung open, Willow held her
breath, her eyes moving from the pretty blonde sitting cross-legged on the
bed to settle on the figure she'd come to see.  She entered the room with
slow, deliberate steps, ignoring the girl she assumed was Buffy to stand
before the man in the corner.  His arms were raised above his head, the
metal cuffs digging into his wrists, drawing blood that ran down his arms
in shockingly bright rivulets.  He was naked except for his jeans, which
were caked with both dirt and dried blood, the original blue coloring lost.
 Even his night black hair was matted with his blood, causing the wavy
strands to clump together.  The skin of his chest was torn open, every
available inch of flesh covered with wounds, some fresh and leaking drops
of blood like tears, others older, their lips curling into ugly, dark
scabs.  Something in Willow's chest tightened at the evidence of the
torture this man had endured, but she hardened her face, repeating in her
mind that he deserved it.

	As if sensing he was being watched, Angel pried his eyes open and found
himself staring into two cypress colored pools of hatred.  The eyes bore
into his own, stark accusation and distrust probing his heart.  Angel shut
his eyes, his heart clenching in agonized defeat.  He'd prayed with all his
soul that he'd never have to see that hatred in her eyes, directed towards
him.  He'd screwed up, and now they were both paying for it.  Self-hatred
welled up inside of him over having hurt her.

>From a distance, Angel heard his demon ask, "Do you recognize him, lover?"

	Lover.  The word went through Angel's body like a bolt of lightening.  He
watched as the hatred in her eyes clouded over, replaced by emotions he
couldn't read.  It was almost as if a veil had descended, closing him off
from her.  When she spoke, her voice sounded strange to Angel's ears.  He
wondered if perhaps Angelus had punctured one of his eardrums earlier, and
then realized that it was the tone that was disturbing him.  There was a
detachment he'd never heard from her before.  "No, there's nothing… I… I
can't remember."

	Angel sucked in his breath, wondering what her strange words meant.  He
tried to form words around the pain in his chest but found it too
difficult.  Unable to look away from Willow's eyes, Angel was caught off
guard when strong fingers tangled themselves in his hair, yanking his head
upwards.  The muscles in his neck screamed in agony over the mistreatment.
To his disgrace, he couldn't stop himself from moaning.

	Angelus stared down at him.  "I can see how you might not recognize him.
Adrian hasn't had much beauty sleep these last few days.  He's also picked
up a few scars since you've last seen him.  I assure you though, this is
the same man."

	Angel forced the words out of his throat.  "What kind of game are you

	Angelus looked at him blankly.  "No game.  I'm merely reintroducing Willow
to the man that tried to kill her.  The man that's the cause of all of her
pain, including her current state of memory loss."

	Angel blinked, his body in too much pain to react any other way.  "She's
lost her memory?"

	Angelus nodded, making sure his back was to Willow so she wouldn't see the
self adulation in his gaze or the grin meant for Angel alone.  "That's
right.  I had to explain everything that's happened to her: how you and
your Council have been trying to kill me even though they know I have a
soul; how they risked the life of the slayer to accomplish it, and then,
when that failed and she was turned, how they sent you to get to me through
Willow.  She knows everything, even if she can't remember it right now."
Angelus let go of Angel's hair to take a step backwards, a single arm held
to his lower chest in a mock bow.

	Angel fumbled for words, his mind reeling from the twisted web of lies
Angelus had spun for Willow.  He felt a deep rooted need to scream, as if
then this surreal scene being played out would come to an end and reality
would return.  Desperate to set things right, he pleaded with Willow.
"Will, he's lying.  That's not the way things are at all."

	Angelus answered for her.  "Why would she believe you over her soulmate,
Adrian?"  He took Willow's hand in his, turning it over to place a kiss on
her palm.

	"He's not your soulmate, Willow.  Don't listen to him.  He's twisting
everything around to suit his own purposes, to get you to turn your back on
me and go with him.  Listen to you heart, Willow.  I know it couldn't have
forgotten what we shared, no matter what's happened."

	Willow took a step closer to Angel.  For a second, her eyes seemed on the
verge of recognition, a tiny seed of familiarity that sprang up as she
stared into his face.  But it was gone almost as soon as it came, unable to
plant roots in her memory.  Her expression once again became a mask for her
anger and hatred.  "I am listening to my heart, and it's telling me one of
the only things I remember.  You lied to me.  I don't know about what or
when, but my heart knows you're a liar.  I won't let you lie to me anymore,
and I won't give you the chance to destroy me."

	Having said what she needed to say, Willow walked away.  With one last
grin, Angelus followed, calling to Buffy over his shoulder.  "Make sure you
don't kill him, yet.  I've still got some retribution I need to doll out."

Next Previous Back to Love Is Immortal