Season of Solace. 177

177: Main Hall, The Mansion, Crawford Street, Central Sunnydale

Willow was still deep in thought about her new spell book and the Spell of Truth she had invoked when Angel appeared at the top of the stairs. He was alone. It actually felt weird not seeing him with Cordelia, and that realization seemed weird all on its own. Since Giles had important announcements to make, she hoped that Cordelia wasn’t going to flake on attending just to stay in bed a little longer. It was already noon!

Before she could call out to Angel to ask whether or not Cordelia was coming, he was joined by Spike and Dru who had been in their room on the mansion’s third floor. Moment lost, she leaned back against the ornate post on the bottom step to wait for them to descend into the main hall. Besides, she was curious to find out if her spell was still working.

“You been summoned, too?” Spike asks sounding annoyed.

Angel nodded curtly turning to face them. “Faith woke us.”

“Watch out for that one, Angel. Needs a good hard shag, she does, and seems to have a thing for you.”

Willow was not surprised that Faith might have a little crush on someone like Angel even if he was a vampire. What Angel had to say about it was the shocking part. “Faith knows the score. Besides, she scratched that itch last night . . . with Harris.”

Did everyone know? If Faith hadn’t said so under the compelling power of a truth spell, Willow never would have believed her. Maybe the spell was a total bust after all and Faith was just lying to her face. Yes. That was it. Yup. Definitely.

Angel just got the name wrong. Right? Ferris! Rhymes with Harris. Bueller, anyone? It made much more sense than Faith and Xander scratching anything together.

Oh, denial, thy name is Willow Rosenberg. 

“Nasty slayers!” hissed Dru. Despite being told to stay away from Xander Harris and her tendency to compel him into doing her favors, she still watched out for him. Apparently, being seduced by Faith—because Willow could never see him making the first move—did not please the vampiress. “Always taking things that don’t belong to them.”

Angel looked dangerous when he snapped back, “Like you did last night?”

Curiosity burned in her chest. Ooh! What happened last night? The question was on her lips when she clapped a hand across her mouth to shut herself up. Even if they had seen her sitting there, neither one held bothered to tone it down. Although she wished the truth was a little less cryptic.

Dru went straight into Angel’s arms seeking forgiveness for some wrongdoing. “Tell me you forgive me, my Angel. I meant no harm. Surely you enjoyed my present.”

Remaining quite angry with her despite the gift giving, Angel held her tight against him to snarl, “You’re lucky all you got was a spanking.”

How’s that for clarity? Willow’s jaw drops a little imagining the pain Angel’s big hand might cause when it fell hard against tender bare skin. The idea should make her shudder at the idea of Angel doling out punishment to his progeny, but he had a way of making it sound a lot more inviting than scary. Not that Willow wanted to sign up. Nope.

“Where is our Cordy this morning? Exhausted, I suppose. Poor tired kitten.” Drusilla moved past the men toward the master bedroom. “All of those delicious orgasms.”

The vampires disappeared down the hall telling them she was going to kiss and make up with Cordy for playing too rough. “She looked so pretty when she was all tied up, even if she did not like our game.”

Tied up? Willow blinked at the images forming in her head.

Spike clapped Angel on the shoulder. “No hard feelings about last night just because I’ve seen your pet in the altogether. No harm done.”

“Don’t push your luck. You got off easy, too.”

Another spanking? Willow wondered finding the thought to be intriguing and icky all at the same time.

“Was she as tasty as she looked?”

Was Spike stirring up trouble with a few lies? Not if the Truth Spell was still in effect. If it was that meant that Spike had seen Cordelia’s naked bits and lived to tell. Willow was so glad Buffy was not here to listen to this. Vampire sexcapades were not her favorite topic of discussion these days.

Angel growled that it was none of Spike’s business what Cordelia tasted like, but he was compelled by the force of magic lingering in the air to say, “Tasty doesn’t even cover it. I can’t get enough of her, Spike.” He made it sound like he was fighting a losing battle.

They started down the steps and Angel seemed to notice her presence for the first time, and was none too pleased about her listening in on his conversation. Spike, on the other hand, did not give a rat’s ass if she heard what he had to say. “Fuck it all, Peaches! Tell me you put your mark on the chit. That would be something.”

A dangerous vibe resonated in the air making Willow shudder. Razor sharp fangs biting hard and fast, drawing blood, leaving a permanent scar all meant something more than just a vampire looking for a midnight snack. She had read a lot about vampires and the rituals involved in their relationships with both humans and other vampires. At the time, it was out of concern for her best friend, but Buffy being a slayer put her in a category no one had ever documented. In hindsight, she realized slayers and vampires probably had no business having relationships in the first place being natural enemies and all.

Was Cordelia sporting a bite mark this morning? Willow wondered if that was why she was taking so long to come down. Although, the notes on the subject suggested Angel would not be pleased about an effort to cover the mark up. Displaying it was the whole point.

Overall, Willow was rather surprised that there had been no visible bite marks before now. Angel might have a soul, but he still had a set of fangs, and Cordelia was certainly bite-worthy in her book. She assumed that being bitey was an intricate part of the whole vampire sex thing, although even on that particular night Buffy’s neck had remained bite free.

Angel sounded pissed that Spike brought up the subject. All he would say, with a growl in his voice, was a frustrated, “No.” He moved down a few steps pausing only when the other vampire called him out on it.

“Bloody idiot.”

Grabbing a fistful of the Grateful Dead concert t-shirt Spike was wearing, Angel dragged him down to his level on the stairs. “Stay out of it. Cordy is not your concern.” He thrust him away sending Spike crashing down onto the step just above Willow’s. Angel pressed his mouth into a hard line, warning her, “That goes for you, too. Say anything . . .”

Whoa! Scary mode. The threat was all too clear even if Angel did not bother to fill in the details. His tone suggested any consequences would be swift and painful. Willow mimed zipping her lips and tossing away the key.

She held her breath until Angel had reached the bottom step, releasing it in a whoosh, and collapsing back against a wooden post. “Gosh! Someone’s not a happy camper this morning.”

Spike leaned back on his elbows and stretched his legs out, apparently no longer in a hurry to chase after Angel. “Hello, Red. Don’t mind him. He thinks he’s trying to do the right thing.”

Willow liked the sound of it. “That’s good.”

“Not ruddy likely.”

“M-maybe Cordy doesn’t want to be bitten,” she suggested, which only caused Spike to glare at her as if she was missing the point. “The whole pet thing kind of annoys her. I doubt she wants any scars to—”

Spike rolled toward her interrupting her little theory with a rabid response. “That’s just the way it is.”

A quip, “Ooookay!” was all Willow could manage, not really understanding why Spike was so vehement on the subject. This certainly seemed like something more important than just sexy little nips or kinky blood play that might go along with having a vampire boyfriend.

“Better hope it will be okay,” Spike told her rising to his feet and jerking her to hers in one motion. “Leave it much longer and things could get downright dangerous. Angelus might never be free of the soul again, but he is still a vampire. Don’t you forget it, Red.”

Why did he have to bring up Angel’s alter ego? He was already scary enough right now without the reminder.

“The cheerleader’s fit and flexible enough to keep up with most of their bedroom antics, but she’s still human.”

“H-he wants her to stay that way, right? Human, I mean. The flexible part, um . . . ”

Spike grunted, “Right,” leaving Willow awash with relief that there were no plans to turn Cordelia into a vampire. It might make her unsuitable to sacrifice, but she could not see either Cordelia or Angel wanting that as a viable option to saving her life and preventing her participation in the unfolding events of the prophesy.

No one wanted that. Willow let her thoughts take her to a place where Vampire Cordy existed and found it to be terrifying. A soulless, heartless, emotionless Cordelia Chase with a set of fangs to accompany her killer instinct would not be a good thing for anyone who crossed her path. Definitely not something to encourage even if they could whip up a new version of the gypsy curse designed just for her.

Certain that could not be the decision that tormented Angel, she asked Spike, “What’s so terrible?” Clarifying, she tagged on, “Besides the whole future sacrifice thing.”

Based on her readings, Willow already had an idea what came next. Maybe Angel and Spike were right to be so off kilter about it because it was one thing to mark Cordelia, but it was a far more dangerous—and permanent thing to claim her.

“I-I think I should talk to someone about this,” Willow gulped. “Y’know, before it’s too late to take it back.”

Spike backed her up into the carved wooden post at the bottom of the stairs. “Say one word to anyone, and you’ll regret it. Screw this up and it will be the last thing you do.” 

Willow nearly peed her pants. Not only was it a threat, it was the raw truth. Leaving her standing there shaking in her shoes, Spike stalked off in the direction of the lounge. She hated that vulnerable feeling. Threat or not, it was not going to stop her from doing the right thing, just as soon as she figured out how.

Scene 178

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