Author: Lucinda

story # 1 in Dark Coffee series, which is a sequel to Coffee & Thoughts.

rating: pg/pg13

Willow/Angel friendship, mention of B/A

Disclaimer: I own nobody from BtVS.

Distribution: Bite Me, please?, WillAngel, WWW, WLS, NHA, Soulmates others

please ask

Set season 2, moving into AU IMMEDIATELY after Angel lost his soul.

Angelus ran his hand through his hair, trying to decide if this was actually worth it. Was it worth keeping his - keeping Angel's regular coffee meetings with Willow? Willow was a good friend to Buffy, and the sooner that he could distance himself from that mistake the better. But she didn't know that he wasn't that brooding lump, Angel. Could he go through with it? And why did he want to anyhow?

Because she looked at him as a person, saw both good and bad in him, and accepted that it was how he was. Because she could make him smile, and had felt guilty about wanting to hit Xander with a shovel. Because she'd known that even as Angel, he'd cared about his Childer.

Willow had become Angel's friend. It was the only thing that his souled self had done that he could even remotely consider being jealous over. A friendship with a mortal girl.

Glancing down at himself, he wondered if she'd believe that he was Angel. The deep red velvet shirt, the black jeans... maybe. She's be certain to suspect something if he wore the leather pants. But he just might be able to pull it off, except for all the brooding. He might be able to look suitably miserable if he remembered his soul's obsession with Buffy...

He meandered into the coffee house, ordering two cups of coffee at the counter. One that had a hint of raspberry, and the other a dark Colombian brew. Wrapping one hand around each mug, he smiled a bit as he scanned the room for Willow. The door opened, and she came in, looking slightly windblown, as if she'd been rushing. Smiling, he raised one cup, in hopes that she would see him.

Apparently, she did. With a small wave and a grin, she headed towards the back of the room, for one of the tables in the area that she normally preferred. They were slightly darker, a bit out of the way, and more private. Sliding into one chair, she looked up, just as he was arriving. "Hey Angel. Oh, what coffee do we have tonight?"

"Raspberry, which is one of the flavors of the day. Since you have that raspberry lotion, I thought you might like it. And a basic dark coffee for me." He smiled a little as he slid the cup over to her, watching as she added sugar and cream.

"Thanks." She had a tired look in her eyes, and sighed. "Caffeine is a blessing from heaven."

"I thought you weren't supposed to have too much? Something about getting hyper?" He teased her a little, trying to figure out why she looked so worn down. Had things been that eventful lately?

One hand waved towards the wall. "I doubt I'd make it all the way up to hyper. I'm trying to use this as a sleep substitute." She sipped at the coffee, her eyes half closed as she tested the flavor. "Mmmm. I like the raspberry. What happened with you and Buffy?"

Angelus winced, wondering just what she'd heard. Did she know that something had changed, that his soul was gone? "What do you mean?"

"Oh, you can't fool me, Angel. You couldn't possibly have not noticed that the whatever with you and Buffy changed, and seems to have... well, fallen. Buffy's been all confused and frustrated, and talking to me a lot." Willow blushed a bit, and looked at her cup. "Something about... umm... she said things looked really good after the party, and then you were just... not there."

The tension inside of him eased a little. "Part of that was me trying to take care of the Judge. I got the parts... Sent away from Sunnydale." He remembered that argument with Spike and Dru, about the folly of destroying their meal supply. Spike had been on his side as soon as he'd figured out that their Sire was back, Dru had pouted and whined until he'd mentioned the plan to send an arm to the Watcher's Council and the way it had tried to choke Buffy.

"That's been taken care of? Oh good." Willow smiled a little, resting her chin on her hand. "We've been trying to figure out how to defeat him. The whole 'no weapon forged by man' thing sort of complicates things. Cordy asked if that would include forged by a woman, and Xander had suggested a rocket launcher."

"A rocket launcher?" He sat a bit straighter, wondering how Xander had arrived at such an idea. Then he started to wonder if it would work. Had he underestimated the boy? "That's a disturbing image. But no, the parts have been separated again."

"What about the more personal stuff?" Willow looked at him, sipping from her cup.

Buying a bit of time, he took a drink from his own mug, feeling the warmth flow through him. "Me and Buffy... It wouldn't work. Can't work. I wanted to think that it could, but..."

"But?" Her voice was soft, and she was looking at him with curiosity.

Angelus sighed, not certain how to explain without mentioning the soul's deluded obsession. "I'm a vampire, Willow."

"Yes..." She had a small frown now, and looked at him, one eyebrow raised slightly. "I do know that. But what does that have to do with... I mean, it didn't seem to be stopping things before, so what... I mean, what changed things?"

Pausing to look around to see if anyone else was listening, he decided that he could try to avoid the soul issue if he could embarrass her enough with the sexual aspects. "When vampires are... when vampires have sex, there's biting involved. It's too much of a part of who and what we are to ignore. It doesn't have to be intended to hurt, but... It's part of us. Part of being a vampire. And Buffy... she wouldn't... couldn't let me be that, be what I am. She's unwilling to accept all of me, unwilling to even try to help work out something that will... I wasn't going to hurt her."

Willow's face was almost as red as her hair, and her eyes were incredibly wide. "Ohhh... Um, she didn't... I mean... that's... a lot more than I was expecting you to mention. And very personal. So, umm... if there's biting, does that mean that... does it have to draw blood for it to... umm... be satisfying? oh, I can't believe that I'm even asking that... just ignore me while I die of embarrassment over here..."

Part of him was glad that she seemed willing to let the matter of Angel and Buffy drop. Another part was just fascinated by the fact that she could even blush that much - all that blood rushing to her face. Her curiosity was not quite unexpected, but still interesting and amusing. "That all depends on how things were going before the biting. Sometimes, it's enough to just nibble, others are a bit... more, and only blood will... actually, I don't think I should go on. If you blush any more..."

"uuurrmm." She was staring at her mug. "It's a lot... very personal, and I feel like I'm prying."

"So, what's up with the guy that you were standing with for Buffy's party?" Angelus decided to change the subject.

"That's Oz." Willow had a bit of a smile as she thought about him. "He's in a band, and a senior this year. And he asked me to go out with him. Someone's actually interested in me... for something other than school work."

Chuckling, he sipped again at his coffee. "Just as long as he isn't too pushy. I don't want some guy in a band to think that he can just show a little interest and get... anything and everything from you."

For a moment, Willow just stared at him. "You just... that's a protective friend thing to say."

He tried to figure out how to respond to that as she sat there, a smile spreading over her face as he sputtered. Finally, he managed a very weak sounding response. "Well, you are my friend. Maybe the only one, and I don't... I don't want you hurt."

"Thanks, Angel." Willow smiled at him, her eyes twinkling with amusement.

end Dark Coffee 1.