Take Your Time
Angelus simply glared at him for a moment. Then, as quick as a cat, he delivered a fist to Spike's jaw that sent his childe spinning to the floor. Willow was too confused to do anything but wince at the sound of the impact. She obviously had missed something.
Climbing to his feet, spike rubbed his jaw. "There's the sire I knew," he jeered. "Wondered how long you've been dying to do that!"
Shaking his head in frustration, Angelus brutally shoved Spike to the wall with a forearm to his throat.
"What is goin' on in that mind of yers?" he demanded. He was used to his childe trying to goad him just for their mutual enjoyment, but this was different. Plus, Spike had that look in his eyes again--one that he'd never really seen in William, but it seemed to taint Spike's every move. Hate?
"Tell me what yer thinkin', Spike!"
"Don't you bloody know? I'm your childe...the product of your teachings...you tell me what I'm thinking!" he snarled.
When he didn't reply instantly, Spike used a leg to sweep the dark vampire's feet out from underneath him while pushing him backwards at the same time. Spike followed his tumbling sire to the floor where he swiftly straddled his sire's chest, pinning his wrists to the ground.
"Now, this isn't a position you're used to, is it, sire of mine?" Spike gloated, staring down into Angelus's face as he held him to the floor. "What's it really bloody like to have your own childe as strong as you, if not stronger? To know that I've held your life in my hands for almost as long as you've been on this earth?"
The single word, spoken without hesitation or the slightest hint of sarcasm, echoed in the room, seeming to linger simply to ensure that Spike had understood him correctly.
There was a pause as Spike struggled with this side of Angelus that had died for him a very long time ago. But there it was, stronger than he could remember. Suddenly, Spike threw his head back and laughed, letting go of his sire's arms at the same time.
"This is just too bloody priceless..." he managed through his laughter. "You're proud of me...*now*?!"
"Yes," Angelus conceded, but he knew he still hadn't gotten through to the stubborn vampire, and tonight was too important to let things go unsaid.
Spike was still laughing when his sire bucked his hips with all his might, sending Spike toppling over his head. Angelus quickly spun on his backside and grabbed the no-longer amused Spike from behind, pulling him back against his chest, and trapping his childe's arms to his sides with his own very strong grip. He wanted to make sure that the incredibly headstrong vampire heard every word that he said.
"This is a little more what we're both used ta, isn't it, Spike?" Angelus whispered in his ear. "And I'll tell ya what yer thinkin'...ya blame me fer all the misery in yer life...all these years ya had ta be alone and put yer life on hold just ta keep one little redhead from ruinin' everythin' ya ever had...everythin' *we* ever had...and ya hate me fer it. The last century has made ya independent and ya think ya don't need a sire anymore, especially one that yer *almost* as strong as, but yet yer actually findin' that ya like bein' here with me again. But mostly, ya hate yerself fer hatin' me so, and fer not havin' the damned balls ta just take what ya want, become Drusilla's sire, and ta just say sod the consequences!" He paused just long enough for Spike to get the full effect, then added in a hiss, "How's that fer knowin' my own childe?"
As Angelus spoke, Spike struggled uselessly to escape the degrading position his sire held him in--kneeling on the floor with the dark vampire behind and over him--but he was well and truly trapped. He burned holes in the floor with a malevolent glare as everything his sire said hit home, one way or another. Eventually, Spike's struggles ceased and he let himself listen to his sire. For not knowing the 'real' truth of the situation, Angelus had still managed to deliver a pretty good description of Spike's inner turmoil. That was when the truth finally sank into his obstinate, hatred-fogged mind. This man restraining him wasn't his Angelus, just as he was no longer William. For whatever reason--be it fate, coincidence, or Willow--their lives had been changed so much that Spike's previous future was inconsequential. It no longer held any meaning in the great order of things. As far as everyone but he and Willow were concerned, it may as well never have happened. While it may have seemed like an obvious conclusion, one that he should have reached ages ago, for Spike it was like a slap in the face. Consequently, like a slap in the face, it stung a little and Spike didn't exactly embrace it right away.
Willow, meanwhile, had shrunk into a corner. She didn't totally understand what was going on in front of her. While she did know enough to stay out of it, Willow was too fascinated by the scene in front of her to take advantage of their distraction by trying to escape.
"That about sums it up, Angelus," Spike finally admitted, letting his anger for his sire seep away for the time being. Spike still had to convince Angelus to let them go, and fighting wasn't going to get them anywhere. "Now, are you going to bloody listen to me or do you just want to wrestle all day?"
"It wouldn't be the first time we did that, would it, Spike?" Angelus insinuated with a chuckle before letting him go and rising to his feet. Obviously, he and his future childe still had a lot of problems that needed to be ironed out, but for now, they both realized there was a more dire issue at hand--one that couldn't be solved with violence--Rose and the spell. "Now, explain yourself."
Climbing to his feet, Spike brushed himself off, trying to regain some of his dignity.
"It's simple, really," he finally offered, looking into his sire's chocolate-brown eyes. "Like I said before, you have to let Rose go, so we can end the spell."
"No, I'm not lettin' her go," Angelus concluded aloud, easing himself back onto the desk. He folded his arms across his chest, sending a clear signal that he wasn't going to even entertain the thought.
Spike rolled his eyes heavenward, then realized how silly that was and rolled then hellward instead. At this point, he needed to cover all the bases.
"Come on, Angelus. Think for a bloody moment, would you? We, Rose and I, can't stay here. The longer we do, the more likely we are to muck everything up, and we'll all end up as a notch on some Slayer's belt. This way, you'll still get to have Rose and without the damn spell to ruin all your fun!"
Willow couldn't take anymore. She had no more tears to cry over Spike's betrayal. Besides, little good either her tears or her self-blame had done so far. Instead, she stormed up to him, face darkening in anger.
"What are you doing?" she demanded, her fists tightening into balls at her sides. "Now you're promising me to him in the future as well! You're going to take me home, let me see the life that I miss so much, just so Angelus can take it all away from me again and probably even more? How can you do this to me?"
Spike looked down at Willow, surprised to see the fire back in her eyes. He'd have to do something about that before it was too late.
"Look, Rose. I hate to bust your bubble, but I'm not doing this for you! I couldn't give a flying fig what Angelus does to you. But, since we both know what he is planning on doing, and if I know you both as well as I think I bloody do," he implied, "it'll be more sooner than later. If that happens--if you *sleep* with him, whether by force or choice--chances are you'll either die, or everything will get so screwed up we won't know who we are anymore. This is the way it has to be, Pet. The way it was always meant to be, and I'm not going to let your hormones ruin it!"
Spike's words had the opposite effect on the red-haired time traveler. Instead of hurting her and weakening her resolve as he had desired, it only made her that much angrier. Willow was furious.
Forgetting that they weren't alone, Willow brought her nose to within an inch of Spike's. "My hormones? We both know this has nothing to do with me, Spike! This is all about you. It always was! And when this is over...if this is ever over...you better watch your back!"
<Bloody hell...why isn't anything ever simple when it comes to Willow ?> Spike whined internally. He had to think quickly.
"Is that another threat, love?" he sneered, suddenly remembering a similar threat on one of their first nights in Galway.
"No, Spike. It's not a threat. It's a promise!" she retorted boldly. She wouldn't allow anymore crying, even if the tears were those of anger and hate.
Spike laughed icily, momentarily getting caught up in the argument. "It might be a tad difficult for you to do that if Angelus has you shackled to his bed, dearie."
"You seem to be forgetting something, Spike. I have friends...strong friends...friends that have kicked your ignorant ass before, and they'll do it again," Willow reminded him with a wicked smile. "I actually have people that care about me in the future, and I didn't have to manufacture the past to make that happen, did I? I said it before, Spikie, and I'll say it again, you're pathetic!"
At first, Spike was disappointed to see Willow respond so adamantly to his insulting comments. After all, she was supposed to be wallowing in self-pity, not trading insults again. But then, as Willow practically came to life before him, Spike's face contorted into a manipulative grin of his own. This could work to his advantage if he played his cards right.
Spike's hand shot out yanked her to him so viciously that it threatened to bring more tears to her eyes.
"No, Rose. You just wait, because the second your life isn't necessary anymore...when you quit being useful because the spell is complete...I'll shut your gob for you, permanently, and there is nothing your little Slayer and her sidekicks will be able to do to help you!"
"Oh yeah!" Willow retorted a little childishly, but she felt energized by finally being able to release some of her anger on the vampire that seemed to relish in ruining her life. "It'll be a little hard to do that with a stake sticking out your backside, Spike! In fact, I may miss the first few times on purpose...just so it hurts a little more..."
Damn he loved arguing with Willow. He could in engage in verbal war with her for hours and never grow bored.
"Sounds to me like you are just looking for another excuse to practice your own *special* brand of stake removal, Pet!" he scoffed with an evil and thoroughly lewd grin.
Willow's eyes widened, but she was pleased to note that she didn't blush. At least, she didn't think she was.
"The only stake I'll be removing is the one from your pile of ashes! It will be a nice memento...I might bronze it and make it into a paperweight!"
"You and what army? Those little playmates of yours again? Xapper and the dog-faced boy?"
"It's *Xander* and *Oz*," she said through gritted teeth. "And as a matter of fact, yes! If I--"
"Well, that's all very temptin', I must say," Angelus finally broke in, reminding them that he was still in the room. He'd enjoyed their little show immensely and had once again been mentally taking notes.
"Bloody hell," Spike muttered, quickly letting her go. He knew he'd stepped over his bounds by touching what was no longer his, and now Angelus had every right to 'remind' Spike of his place. Standing up to your sire, even defying him was one thing, but to threaten his property's life? That was just asking for trouble. Spike moved away from the redhead, grabbed a cigar from Angelus's desk and lit it, not wanting to waste time finding his own cigarettes.
"I'm sorry for touching your new little pet, Angelus. I'd forgotten she was no longer mine to punish. Old habits die hard, and sometimes she makes it so bloody difficult not to rip her tongue right out of her mouth," he explained between puffs, surprising himself on how easily the word 'sorry' came from his lips.
Angelus moved so quietly that Spike was a little startled when his sire's hands gripped his shoulders. Once again the blonde vampire found himself nose to nose with his sire.
"As long as ya don't forget again, Spike," he asserted, looking him squarely in the eyes. It'd be my right ta punish ya, then, wouldn't it? And don't think I'm not considerin' it even now. Rose is not yer concern, understand? Fer yer threat ta harm her alone, I could kill ya. So listen closely...ya won't hurt her...not now...not *ever!*" Angelus stressed, the double meaning obvious to the blonde demon. "Unless, of course, ya have me permission," he added with a sly smile.
Spike didn't back down from the eye contact, but he didn't argue with his sire, either. Angelus was right. He deserved a severe bum kicking, if not worse, for this error with Willow. After all, Spike himself would have killed anyone or anything that had dared to touch Dru in that manner back in the 'old' days, and he wasn't even her sire nor did he have any vampiric rights over her. All he had was a lover's claim. <And the old Angelus would have dusted my bloody ass for less than that,> he reminded himself. Or would he? Even Spike wasn't so sure anymore. It was nearly impossible to separate his hatred for his sire from his jealousy because of Dru. <If I hadn't fallen in love with the object of my sire's damned obsession, Drusilla, then maybe...> Spike clenched his jaw at his new thoughts then tucked them away for later. Once again, now was not the time.
"Yes, Angelus," was all he could managed to say.
Angelus walked away from his ever-more confused childe to attend to his Rose. She was still breathing hard from her heated argument with Spike, her eyes dancing with fire and her cheeks flushed with her hatred. She was always beautiful, but this was the way he liked to see her the most...angry, indignant even, and while he enjoyed her tears and self-pity, they didn't hold a candle to what was before him now.
"There's me Rose...there's the fire. Now that ya again have something ta lose--yer future, yer family, and yer friends--ya've come ta life again," he all but murmured, slowly tucking a few strands of hair behind her ears that Spike had pulled astray when he had mishandled her.
Willow shoved his hand away and purposely mussed her hair back up. She felt better than she had in days, despite the fact that Spike had just found an entirely new way to ruin her life.
Grinning at her barely controlled anger, Angelus once again calmly smoothed her hair and caressed her reddened face.
"Maybe that's the problem, Rose. Ya don't stand ta lose anythin' now, not in this lifetime anyway," Angelus surmised. But I'm bettin' that when yer back in yer own time, surrounded by yer family and friends, maybe things will look a little differently to ya. The risk will be back then, won't it; the stakes will be higher? I'd dearly love ta see ya like that again, Rose."
If looks could kill, both Angelus and Spike would have turned to ashes at that moment. She threw not just daggers with her steel-green eyes, but stakes, knives, and double-headed axes as well. Even so, this time she didn't shove his hands away from her face. Instead, she stood still, almost daring him to try more.
Just seeing her once again in all of her furious glory made something inside of Angelus clench and skip. It wasn't his heart, because he no longer had one in either the useful physiologic or romantic sense. Whether it was lust or simply pride from knowing that the fiery nymph before him was now his alone, it was urging him to take her right then and there. However, he couldn't 'take' her...not now, not ever if he wanted to go on seeing her like this, and that's what Spike was telling him. The worst part was that Angelus had known it all along. He'd just refused to admit that he--for lack of a better term--'cared' enough to worry about how long he would have with the virginal redhead. Nevertheless, when he was with her now, not even touching or tasting her, days, weeks, even months would not be long enough for all the he yearned to do to her...an eternity would barely do.
Regaining the control that a master vampire should have, Angelus strolled away from her. "Let me see if I have this straight," he said, more to himself than to the room's other occupants. "I'd be able to see my little Rose and her friends try to defeat us and fail miserably. Also, since our futures will no longer be at risk nor will some ancient magick spell be tryin' to stop all my fun, I'd also be able ta punish her in the manner that she so richly deserves...even kill her or change her if I so desire. Yes, " he said with long look for both Spike and Willow, "that truly is a temptin' offer."
Willow held her breath. She couldn't decide whether this was a good thing or not.
"But I need more than just the promise of some interestin' fights, Rose," Angelus said, his eyes searching out his own bite marks on her neck even from across the room. "I'll let ya go, if ya give me another reason to...somethin' else ta look forward to."
"I don't...I don't understand," Willow admitted, glancing quickly between the two vampires. Things had changed so suddenly that she felt like she'd been left out of some private joke.
He gave her a sadistic smile. "I can have everythin' I want from ya, right now. Why should I wait over a century?"
"Look, mate," Spike interjected. "You can't have everything you want from her now, and we both know it! You can't kill her, you can't take her virginity from her, and at the most you'll be able to drive her insane. But in a little over a century, you can have it all, Angelus. You've practically waited that long already. It'll be here before you know it. You know, time flies when you're having fun, and all that crap."
Angelus took to pacing back and forth in the room as he thought it all through. Spike, having calmed down considerably, continued to puff away on the cigar as he watched his sire decide their futures. Willow was once again frozen in place as she tried to sort things out for herself...especially Spike's new twist to their little soap opera.
Finally, Angelus stopped his pacing directly in front of Willow.
"Kiss me," he said.
"What?" Willow replied, her mouth dropping in surprise.
"Kiss me. Show me what I'm waitin' fer. Give me a taste of what ya promise will be mine when we meet in the future, Rose. Kiss me."
Willow shook her head viciously. "No! I won't...I can't! I mean...Spike--"
"Don't look at me, Pet!" Spike exclaimed adamantly. "You're not mine to worry about anymore, and I could care less who you kiss. I just want to get home so I can have Drusilla and get out of these bloody ridiculous clothes!"
She looked between the two vampires and just knew that somewhere, some great cosmic force was having a good laugh at her expense. However, her desire to go home outweighed her embarrassment, but just barely.
She moved slowly to Angelus, who was once again sitting on the edge of the enormous desk. His face didn't reveal anything of what he was thinking or planning, but it was apparent that he was not going to make it easy for her. The vampire didn't lean forward or bend his head, which forced Willow to stand between his parted legs.
The kiss was a non-event. Willow reached up and pressed her closed mouth against his closed mouth, without even bothering to shut her eyes. It was over in a heartbeat, ending when she stumbled back a few steps, eager to put some distance between herself and the dangerously handsome--and just plain dangerous--vampire.
"There," she said breathlessly. "Was it good for you?"
Spike had to stifle a laugh by covering his face with his hand as if he were ashamed of his former protege. Having been on the receiving end of Willow's ardor before, he knew that if she put any effort into it at all, they'd be out the door before Angelus could utter, "Bob's your uncle."
<Come on, Red,> Spike found himself silently cheering. <You can do it...show him how we do it back home...>
Angelus forced a very loud sigh of disappointment. "Remember how I once told ya that beautiful women were always worth waitin' fer? With a kiss like that, I'm startin' ta think I may have been wrong," he said with a smirk.
Willow added her sigh in response. She couldn't believe this whole situation, let alone that she was supposed to prove to the world's most nefarious vampire that she was worth waiting for...that he should wait another 100 years to torture, maim, and kill her...or worse. And how was she to do this? With a kiss, no less! But, if the only way out was a kiss, then she had to do it, and she had to make it good.
This time as she approached him, she had already determined her course of action. Willow guided herself between his legs, making sure that she brushed repeatedly against his thighs as she settled herself into a 'comfortable' position. Willow received no reaction from the vampire, but then again, she had no false hopes that it would be easy to impress him. She met his eyes and felt her confidence waiver. There was nothing there...not even the poker face that she'd studied for hours across the card table only days before. At least that face held a kind of mocking superiority, but this facade was devoid of all emotions, even pride. She dropped her eyes quickly before she lost her nerve and let them fall on his tightly clenched lips. She brought herself closer, resting one of her trembling hands on his chest before slowly brushing her mouth softly against his. She allowed contact for only a brief moment before moving her mouth away from his lips to travel along his jaw. Willow placed wet kisses from his chin to his ear. Her tongue and teeth tasted his cool skin while one hand explored his chest and the other dug into his hard thigh.
She reenacted everything that she remembered Angelus doing to her on the ride from the country, teasing him, paying particular attention to his Adam's apple and jugular veins, nipping harder there. She felt him stiffen, the muscles in his neck and back constricting, but he still didn't actually move to return her attentions or even utter a sound. The reaction, however slight, boosted her confidence enough to let her continue.
She trailed a path back up his neck. Then, using his long hair for a firm grip, she pulled his head back slightly so she could reach a particular spot under his strong chin before daring to look into his eyes once again. His face was still firm, but for a brief second, she thought maybe his eyes had been closed, only flying open when he'd sensed she was moving back toward his face. She couldn't be sure, though, because his stone features betrayed nothing. Only his blazing eyes sparked the bravado in her to go on. This time, she flicked her tongue along his lower lip before venturing down to his collarbone. Her hands, meanwhile, found their own courage, exploring his chest and back before slowly ascending to trace the contours of his face.
As she shifted her weight once again, not even trying to lessen her body's contact with his, she found the first true sign that she was having some effect on him. She felt him harden against her thigh but still his hands had not moved and his lips did not open beneath hers. Pushing self-doubt to the back of her mind, she moved her assault back to his neck in order to bite just hard enough to gain his attention.
Once she had his notice, Willow brought a single finger to the smooth flesh of one of Angelus' cheeks. With careful deliberation, she flexed the digit, scraping her nail deeply into his skin as she drew her hand downward. Once she reached the line of the vampire's jaw, she retraced her finger's path through the thin line of blood her sharpened nail had purposely drawn. Although she knew that pain was almost an aphrodisiac to vampires, the motivation was actually more of a stall for time than an act of seduction. The truth of the matter was that Willow needed the extra seconds to come to terms with the fact that she was about to break an oath she had previously made, both to herself and to Angelus.
"Please, Angelus," she pleaded in a whispered voice. "Please kiss me."
The sound of her begging, the pain she'd inflicted upon him and the scent of his blood was too much for the master vampire, destroying his legendary level of restraint. He waited until she pulled away from his ear to peer into his eyes, her own hooded with hate, fright, and lust. It was like a siren song to him.
Encouraged by the slight smirk that turned the corners of the vampire's mouth, Willow brought their mouths together again. This time, however, Angelus came to life under her lips. Suddenly his hands were everywhere...in her hair, on her face, and on her neck...in an effort to pull her closer. Willow had passed logical thought the moment she'd opened her lips to his, inviting him to plunder her mouth with his own.
She wasn't thinking about who he is, was, or whom he someday might become. She also wasn't thinking about what he could do to her or what she wanted him to do to her. She was pure need. Willow had let the logical side of her brain have its say for most of her life, save those that were spent in another vampire's arms, and now she was letting her hunger rule her.
It wasn't until Angelus's mouth lowered to her neck that the spell was broken, but not because she had the presence of mind to protest, only because Spike chose that moment to remind them that they had an audience.
Spike cleared this throat loudly. "Um, Angelus...you said you wanted a kiss, not a bloody seven-course meal."
Willow started at the sound of his voice, her face flushing in embarrassment. She tried to step out of Angelus's embrace, but his hand was once again firmly entangled in her hair, preventing her escape. It was at that point that Willow decided that the first thing she was going to do when they got home was cut her hair. She was tired of it being used as a weapon against her.
Angelus snarled at Spike's interruption as he pulled her back against him. "I told ya one day you would plead fer my lips on yers," he murmured in a voice thick with passion, "but I think we both be knowin' that this wasn't quite what I was talkin' about."
Willow's mouth opened but no words came out. Her voice was lost in confusion while her heart, brain, and libido waged a bloody war within. <Oh God...I kissed him...I *really* kissed him!> Not just anyone, but Angelus, the vampire who'd promised her only exquisite pain at his hands. <Angelus...Angel...Buffy...Oz...Oh yeah, I and so going to hell for this...> she told herself.
It was Spike's turn to sigh as he left the wall that he'd been leaning against to watch the floorshow. Because too much was riding on this, the blonde vampire quickly locked his emotions away before they could get the best of him yet again.
"Angelus, I know you have plans for her, and if there were any way for you to do that without risking our lives, mine and yours, I'd be tickled bloody pink to let you have your merry way with the little witch. But I'm not willing to take that chance, mate." Spike put a supportive hand on his sire's shoulder. "What we need now is patience."
Angelus couldn't pry his eyes from Willow's flushed face. In all his years, he had never seen anything so beautiful, nor had he ever experienced anything like what had just happened with his Rose. He wanted more...he *needed* more.
"You expect me to wait longer for somethin' I've been wantin' fer as long as I can remember? Somethin' that my childe has already had a taste of?" Angelus demanded with an unusual combination of bitterness and pain tainting his words. It reminded Spike of his own voice when he used to speak about Drusilla and his sire.
The blonde vampire's hand moved from Angelus's shoulder to his chin, firmly turning his sire's face to him. "You can start by letting her go," he said firmly. "Trust me, Angelus. I've done it before, and I'm doing it again. It's not easy, and it certainly isn't any bloody fun to wait around for a woman, but you're strong. You can do it."
The two vampires' eyes locked, and from Willow's vantage point only inches away from the both of them, she watched spellbound as something passed between the sire and his childe. <How sweet,> she almost found herself thinking. <They're bonding.>
Angelus eventually looked back at Willow. A smile grew on his lips when he noted her frank display of interest at his interaction with his childe. The future did promise so many exciting new possibilities.
He pulled his captive closer one last time to whisper in her ear. "As I said before, Rose. A woman as beautiful as yerself is worth waitin' fer."
Angelus loosened his grasp on her fiery locks to languidly draw his fingers through her long hair until she was free. Then, in a move that caught Willow by surprise, he brought her left hand to his mouth. As he had done two times before, the dark-haired vampire kissed the soft flesh around the silver band on her ring finger and then bit into it just hard enough to bring forth a few drops of blood. He licked them away slowly and sensually, wanting to commit to memory her taste and her scent...everything about her. With a final possessive growl that was wrenched from the very center of his demonic self, he lifted his head to look at his Rose's face one last time.
Willow could only return his somber look with one of utter confusion. Before Willow could form a coherent thought, Angelus broke the spell.
"Lambert!" he called loudly, waiting for the minion guard to enter. "Escort Rose safely to her room. Spike and I have a few things we need ta be discussin'...in private." ~~~~~~~~