Take Your Time
DISCLAIMER: Most of the characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No copyright infringement intended. A few minor characters of my own making will show up now and then. < > indicate thoughts and/or feelings
****** RATING: PG-13. Okay gang...I am going to crank it up on this part a little. I don't think it deserves an 'R', but I should warn you that some may find it rather dark and disturbing. Contains violence, innuendo, sexual situations, you know...all the stuff that we read Buffy fic for! ******
Angelus paced the wooden floors of the large house where he and his like had been staying. He could not believe that after all these years he had her again. Angelus remembered vividly how the night he was changed all he could think about was Rose. In fact, he and Darla had been making plans to get Rose the very moment she came running into the street. He had wanted her then-- wanted to drink every bit of the red liquid of life that flowed through her-- but that other vampire had stopped him. Angelus was now glad that he didn't have the chance to finish her that night. It would have been over too soon. The fledging vamp would have just drained her, killed her, and then left her body in the street, but now he had more control. Now he knew how to keep his victims alive for months if he wished-- years possibly.
He looked at her still unconscious form lying on the bed in his room and grew increasingly impatient for answers. Approaching the bedside, Angelus knelt on the floor, resting his head on his hands next to her face. He studied her for a while, still not completely believing that it could be her. Darla had told him that he would always remember his first, and she was right. Although many of his early days as a vampire were blurry to him, passing in a red haze of bloodlust, he did remember in vivid detail the feel of Rose in his arms. Even now he often recalled how her struggles had just made him want her more and how every drop of her crimson essence felt as it surged through his body. She made him feel powerful, invulnerable, and more 'alive' than he ever had when he had walked beneath the sun. The vampire had always hoped to recapture that feeling, and his taste for victims tended to run toward wide-eyed innocent girls, but it was never the same. And now here she was again and still a virgin, of that fact he was sure after sampling only a few drops of her blood earlier. It took every fiber of strength he had not to feed from her while she slept.
Angelus had always assumed that she had died soon after their encounter. The odd blonde vampire she was with, although obviously unusually attached to her, would probably not have kept her alive much longer. Vampires' concubines tended to have short life spans. Yet, here she was. He quickly inspected her neck. His supernaturally sharp eyes were looking for that which living eyes rarely noticed, but they found only the very faint marks of the one bite from almost 60 years ago. That puzzled him. He expected to find others, since bite marks were the main way of marking a vampire's property-- a way of warning other vampires that this particular meal was somebody else's. The marks also revealed other information, including the nature of the bite. The wounds made during sexual activity looked different from those done in a feeding frenzy, for example, and as he studied the signs left by Spike years earlier, he could now tell that the other vampire had been trying very hard not to hurt her. That observation, when combined with the fact that she had no other apparent markings, only brought up more questions.
As he waited for her to wake up, Angelus allowed himself to briefly remember some of the times they had spent together when he was still a weak, living man. As pictures of them laughing, riding through rain-soaked forests and clambering over crumbled stonework, and even sharing many meals filled his mind one after the other, he abruptly shoved the memories away. It physically sickened him to remember his life and how nice he was-- how human. He now considered his breathing counterpart to have been a fool, one who had never taken what he wanted. He felt that the Irishman had wasted time waiting for things that he should have just taken-- like Rose. As these thoughts occurred to him and before he was aware of his actions, the vampire was once again violently pacing the floor, trying to burn off a sudden burst of excess energy.
Willow started to awaken with a dull throbbing in the back of her head. She groaned and forced herself to a sitting position before opening her eyes. Her surroundings were completely unfamiliar, and the petite redhead was trying to fit the pieces of her night together when she saw him. "Angelus..." she said in a whisper before she could stop herself. She quickly took in his appearance, so much paler than the man she had ridden with all of those years ago. He was well dressed, and it was obvious, between his fashionable clothing and the rich but sparse furnishings of the room she was in, that he had no shortage of money. Some other obvious differences jumped out at her, ones that she had noticed earlier in the park but hadn't had the time to consider. His hair, for example, while still long, was no longer kept back in a ponytail. Instead, it hung in gentle curves around his face, while a mustache rested above the heartless lips that were already contorting into a dangerous smile.
"So, ya do remember me?" he asked, slowly approaching the bed that she was sitting on. He sat next to her, and Willow instinctively crept to the far edge of the large bed, trying to distance herself from the demon that she knew was capable of snapping her neck in an instant.
"I'm waitin', Rose. I can wait forever if that's what it will take, and judging by yer appearance apparently we have all the time in the world."
Willow didn't respond-- didn't even look at his face as the gravity of her situation became evident.
When Willow remained silent, Angelus shot a hand out and grabbed her by the back of the neck, bringing her to him. "I am waitin' for an explanation as to how ya are here without agin' a day. I also intend to find out who yer husband, the vampire, is, little one." His hungry eyes traveled the length of her body, stopping to rest on her rising breasts and again on her neck, her mouth, and finally boring into her frightened eyes.
The slight redhead still didn't answer him. She had no idea what to say and knew that she couldn't tell him the truth. Before she could find her voice, her body began to betray her and violently shake with fear. Willow began to struggle in his grasp. She had no expectations of actually being able to escape through her use of force but rather used her struggles as a means of camouflaging her small, frightened body's response to Angelus. She didn't want to give him the satisfaction of seeing how petrified she actually was, although she knew that this, too, was futile.
Angelus easily diffused her endeavors to free herself by strengthening his hold on her. "I missed ya, Rose. Do ya believe me when I tell ya that I missed ya?" He lowered his mouth to hers, dragging it lightly across her tightly clenched lips. He ignored her unresponsiveness and moved his lips to her cheek and then her ear, trailing his tongue along her hot skin and relishing the taste of her fear.
It was like a nightmare. The few times Willow had allowed herself to imagine what would happen if she were to meet Angelus again, this was the worse possible scenario. The best would be that he would not recognize her and just feed from her again, mistakenly leaving her for dead. Of course, then there was torture. The trembling redhead knew that she wouldn't be able to hold out long against whatever horrors he could dream up. Giles never went into much detail about what Angelus had done while interrogating him on how to wake up Acathla, but the librarian had told them enough, and everything else was apparent in his eyes whenever Angel's name was mentioned. Giles may have been able to withstand him, but the once-hacker strongly doubted her ability to suppress any information for long. However, as bad as that would be, the worst was this-- a more intimate type of torture that used their previous feelings for each other against her.
Angelus could see in her eyes and the set of her jaw, the tension in her muscles as his free hand roamed over her arms and shoulders, that she was determined to remain silent. He had no doubts that eventually he would break her and she would tell him all, but since they apparently had plenty of time, he thought he would like to play a little game first.
His touch softened, and the dark demon released his hold on her as he pulled back to gaze into her frightened emerald eyes. "I'm sorry if I have frightened ya, Rose," he said gently, easily letting his face fall into a mask of regret and caring. "I was just completely taken aback to find ya after all these years. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that we would be together again, no matter how long I may have wished for it." The vampire tenderly brushed a few strands of hair back from her face.
Willow flinched under his cold touch and scrambled back to the head of the bed, all the time looking for a way out. The dark room had one heavy door which was closed and no windows, and she saw nothing that looked to be of any help. < Figures, > she groaned inwardly. < Not even a vase or a fire poker to whack him over the head with! >
He smiled as he realized what she was thinking, making sure not to show too many teeth. "I remember so well all of our ridin' lessons. Ya learned so quickly, little one." Forcing air through his long-dead lungs, he continued with a sigh. "I've not forgotten how ya felt in me arms." He slowly edged closer to her while succeeding in keeping his voice tender. "Do ya remember the last day we had on the cliffs, Rose? Ya told me that ya didn't love yer husband. I wanted so badly to just take you away that day-- to just take ya in me arms and carry ya away from Galway, and me family, and yer husband. We could have been happy, Rose. I know we could have. And I can tell that ya know it, too."
Willow closed her eyes as he spoke. At first her barriers refused to allow his words through-- refused to let their meaning worm their way into her heart, but eventually they broke through and met their mark. Willow felt the warm tears trickle down her cheeks and was ashamed of herself. She knew what he was doing, had even prepared for this, but in spite of all the plans she had made and shields she had constructed, every word was like a stake in her heart.
When he saw the first tear make a silent trail down her alabaster skin, the demon felt like crowing with victory. Not only was she frightened of the vampire Angelus, but she also still had feelings for that pathetic man he once was. < This is goin' to be so simple. Like pluckin' virgins in a convent. > He slowly reached out and caught a tear with his finger, noting with conceited glee how she hadn't winced at his touch this time. "I often wonder," he continued his torture, "what would have happened if I had done that-- spirited ya away in the middle of the night. I suppose we would have grown old together in some little stone cottage in the country somewhere. Maybe raised a family."
< Don't listen...don't listen...don't listen.... > Even as she repeated this mantra to herself, memories that she had kept submerged for years forced their way through-- memories of dead fish, dead slayers, and dead mentors, and it gave her the strength and courage she would need to make her escape. She opened her eyes to gaze into the vampire's dark pools.
"Angelus," she croaked softly. "I-- "
"Sshhh..., little one," the dark one murmured in his most velvety tones. "It's all right. We are together now, and we can make up for all the lost time." Angelus caressed her collarbone without ever losing contact with her eyes, and then he went in for the kill, so to speak. He lowered his lips to hers, brushing them softly, tenderly against her closed mouth. He pulled back when she didn't respond but wasn't worried. After all, she hadn't pushed him away either. "Rose, please. I am so sorry that I scared ya, but ya know that I love ya. I always have."
Willow allowed her hand to drift up and run through his hair for a moment, something that she had always wanted to do back in Ireland, but she had never allowed herself that little indulgence. "Angelus, it's a sin that you died so young," she told him softly, tears still in her eyes. "Depriving the world of such a great actor is truly a crime."
It took a moment for her words to register, and a puzzled, almost comical, look crept onto his face.
She went on, her words now cold and bitter. "I know exactly who and what you are, Angelus, as well as what you are capable of. So save the Shakespearean monologues. I am in no mood to be your Juliet."
Angelus narrowed his eyes. He had to admit to himself that he briefly thought she had believed him, and now the vampire was disappointed that he wasn't going to get to finish the game. He so loved tormenting the beautiful and innocent, and the fact that his living self had been in love with this woman was going to make the torture even sweeter. Perhaps even rid him of the memories. Suddenly, Angelus was angry. "Have it yer way, my lady. I was goin' to try and make it a little fun for both of us." His once-loving touch quickly became more aggressive and dangerous.
< Come on, Willow...don't back out now. > "I wouldn't call any moment in your presence fun," she mumbled just loud enough so that he could hear her words. < More, Willow. Think...what would Buffy say? >
He easily disregarded her attempt to insult him. "Ya will tell me the truth, little one. One way or another so ya might as well save yerself some pain." His mouth lowered to her throat, his teeth scratching at her delicate skin. "Actually," he continued, moving on to her ear, "I rather hope that ya don't tell me. Not right away, that is. I can only imagine how beautiful ya must be when ya are writhin' in pain."
The trembling woman forced herself to speak, trying to ignore his icy touch on her flushed flesh. "Did I mention how much I hate your mustache? You look like you should be standing around with three other unattractive men wearing red-striped vests and singing "Sweet Adeline" in 4-part harmony! It is not a good look for you." < Lame, Willow. Buffy would have done so much better! > she berated herself.
He stiffened momentarily, but then chuckled and continued his assault on her throat, still not breaking the skin. Willow tried to come up with something else. She wasn't worried that he would bite her. She was more worried that he wouldn't. "I never loved you, Angelus. Not when you were alive and certainly not now." Willow was pleased that her voice didn't crack as the lies continued to pour out of her. "I was bored and you were fun. That is all there was to it. We both know I *wasn't* married. *If* I had wanted you, I could have had you. Point is, I didn't and I don't. You were way too simple and stupid for me then, and now I think that what little brain matter you may have once had stayed dead when Darla killed you!"
When she heard the growl she knew her words had had the desired effect, but in the split second before his hand hit her face, the redhead suddenly feared that she may have pushed him too far. Willow's head snapped back from the force of the slap, yet the slight time traveler was actually worried that he hadn't hit her hard enough.
Angelus was on his feet as soon as his fingers made contact with her warm skin. He needed to take a moment to calm down before he got carried away and ruined the fun too quickly, but just as he was about to open the door, he sensed the blood. Spinning around quickly, he saw a fine trickle of crimson liquid trailing from her split lip, down the corner of her mouth to her chin. For a moment he told himself to just walk away, just leave her there, cowering in the dim room, but the demon's need to feed effortlessly overpowered his sadistic urges to prolong the emotional torment. In the blink of an eye, his face turned to that of the vampire's and he was at her side, yanking her to him. "I may not be knowin' how ya managed to keep yer last vampire companion from doing this, but I promise ya that I will * not* be so gentle with ya!" he growled, angrily sinking his fangs into her graceful neck. As the blood filled his mouth, and Willow went limp in his arms, he marveled at its sweetness and power. The taste of Rose and her blood's effect on him was exactly like he had remembered. No, in actuality it was far better than he had ever imagined, and he took as much as he dared.