Title The Deal
Pair Angel & Willow suggested
Warning/Spoiler/Summary None. None. created for the more_doomed (LJ) Colored Egg prompt
Disclaimer All publicly recognizable characters, settings, plot, etc. are the property of the creators of the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Any original characters, settings and plots are the property of devylish. devylish is in no way associated with the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and no copyright infringement is intended. This work is an amateur fan effort and no profit is being made.
AN NOT BETA'd at allllll. Cringes.
Angel understood why they'd sent Willow to him. Logically he understood all the reasons. She'd been using magic too much; she was heartbroken and despondent over a fight with her… girlfriend, Tara. She needed to be in a new space. In a space where she was needed and useful, but where she wasn't as invested in the lives: the hopes, dreams, loves of all of those around her.
Like he said, he understood why they'd sent Willow to him. But, understanding didn't mean he was happy about the situation.
That sounded – mean. Which wasn't how he meant it. He wasn't upset about Willow's presence because he disliked her, or was worried about her behavior. That wasn't the problem at all. She'd been in LA for all of three days, and he felt like his skin was going to crawl off. She was too close, to sweet, too powerful. Angelus and Angel both ached for her.
As Focused and enthralled as he had been with Buffy back in Sunnydale, Angel had always seen Willow. Seen her beauty and her power. And inside of Angel's body, seated next to his soul, Angelus, Angelus was overwhelmed by Willow. He wanted to take her innocence, consume her sweetness, revel in her power.
And now, a few scant years later, she was here. In his home, in his space, her scent everywhere around him. He took an unneeded breath and moved closer to her.
She was silent. She wasn't speaking much to any of them, a combination of frustration, and embarrassment and anger wrapping round her tongue.
He stuck his hands in his pant pockets, shuffling from foot to foot unconsciously. "What're you up to?" He eyed the small bowls that sat on the table in front of her. They were filled with liquids of various colors.
"It's not magic!" She defended quickly.
"I didn't think it was." He crouched next to her at the table. He was too close. Not inappropriately close, just too close for his senses to function properly.
"Yeah, right." She frowned slightly and stirred one of the bowls of liquid.
He didn't think she'd believe him… so he didn't fight that battle, instead he stood up and pulled out a chair so that he was seated next to her. "So, no magic. What is all of this?"
She pursed her lips together slightly. Dropping her head slightly, ostensibly to fcus on what she was doing, she murmured, "I'm going to decorate some Easter eggs."
Angel glanced at the bowls filled with various colours and smiled. Colouring eggs! Wow! He hadn't "coloured Easter eggs since… since I was a child."
She glanced up at him from beneath the fringe of her eyelashes, wondering if he was making fun of her. He was smiling, but he looked… sincere. Nostalgic. "I-I've got more eggs than I know what to do with, if-if you want to help?"
Grinning at Willow he hopped up. "Where are the eggs?"
"Cooling in the kitchen. They should be ready now."
"All right, I'm off to fill a basket with eggs…" he turned back to glance at her. "But the first time you call me the Easter bunny, we're done."
Willow bit back a smile as a picture of Angel in a bunny outfit holding a basket of eggs flashed through her mind. "Deal."
"So just how does a Jewish girl end up decorating Easter eggs?"
"The same way she ends up exchanging Christmas gifts… She's got friends." Willow responded before she remembered why she was in LA. "Or rather, she had friends."
"Willow… you still have friends."
"Right. Close, close friends who love me so much they had to put three hours of distance between themselves and me."
"It's okay Angel. I- I get it. I know Giles and Buffy and Xander don't want me around. And I know I screwed things up with Tara. I get it."
She doesn't think she's loveable. Understanding dawned on Angel. Not looking at her, he wiped at the red stained water that clung to his fingers. "I don't think you do understand Willow. You used too much magic, and your relationship with Tara hit a rough patch –"
She groaned, she realllllly didn't need another accounting of all of her sins. "I know all of that. Thanks for reminding me. I'd forgotten."
Angel puffed out a breath of air. "I wasn't done."
"Great…" Willow mumbled under her breath.
"You made mistakes Willow, but that doesn't make you… it doesn't mean you're not…," I've beaten demons twice my size, and I can't tell a wisp of a girl that she's adorable? "You're also beautiful, and funny, and intelligent, and amazingly gifted, and beautiful."
Willow looked up from the egg she'd just finished. Beautiful? He'd said beautiful twice. Shaking her head slightly she quickly convinced herself that he was just being a good host. A good mentor. Saying what he needed to say to make the depressed wayward child feel better. She glommed on to part of what he'd said. "Amazingly gifted? I made my friends forget who they were…, literally. I blinded Giles. I made Xander a demon magnet." She paused, "more of a demon magnet than he normally is." She peered at Angel. "My 'amazing gift' made me lose… made me hurt those I loved most."
Angel grinned darkly. "Been there, done that. Helping the helpless? Yeah, I've hurt the helpless too, using the same powers and abilities that I've used to help them." He dared to touch her, tilting her chin up so that they were looking into one another's eyes. "But how many people have you saved with your magic.? With you computer skills? With your mind? We have to hang on to that Willow. We have to remember that we've done good."
"Yeah. Good." Her voice was low and despondent.
He dived in. "If Tara and you don't work out, you will love again."
She gave a disbelieving bark of laughter.
"Take it from me Willow, you can love deeply and intensely more than once."
She opened her mouth to refute this, but he beat her to it.
"What about you and Oz. Did you love him less than you love Tara?"
"No!" She responded with shock. "I'll always love Oz. I-I... he was my first true love."
"And you thought you'd never love again after he left, didn't you?"
She was silent.
"But you did."
"You'll find love again Willow. It won't be the same as your love for Oz. And if it isn't Tara, it won't be the same love either. But it will be love. Deep, tear your heart out, make your knees weak, love."
"Have you loved more than once?"
He stared into her eyes. "Yes."
"How do you do it? How do you handle knowing that you fucked up? That you've lost the most important person in your life? That you're alone?"
"Brooding works for me."
Willow grinned. "I'm trying to be serious here."
I got her to smile. That's a good thing. A great thing. How do I do it again?
"Sorry. ' How do you do it?' You realize you're human. Or, in my case, humanesque; and you give yourself a break." Angel looked down at his hands, palms up… the lines, curved and broken. "You forgive yourself and you realize you're no better… and maybe, no worse than the hundreds of thousands of people who walk the earth beside you." He turned his hands over. There were traces of red, and green, and blue in the crevices of his fingers. I've destroyed with these hands. Maimed, and raped, and devastated with these hands.
He lifted his eyes to Willow. Beautiful Willow who stared at him with unshed tears; understanding and sympathy pouring out of her… tangibly flowing out of her.
He finished his thoughts aloud. "But I've also saved lives with these hands. Saved lives and souls…. With these hands." He reached for one of Willow's hands, turning it over in his own, much larger hand. Her fingers, much like his, were marked with greens, and purples, and oranges.
They sat -- hand in hand -- surrounded by quiet and peace; perhaps the first peace either of them had felt in months.
That sat like this for two minutes, four minutes, five minutes; his thumb caressing the line that ran across her palm, tracking the length of her life. He could hear her heartbeat, pumping blood through her delicate veins. Pumping faster and harder – calling to him.
She turned her hand over in his and then she spoke, her voice soft and enchanting. "You and me, we're some great, broken superheroes, aren't we?"
He chuckled and squeezed her hand lightly.
She lifted her eyes to his, the tears finally falling, "If you try and save my soul, I promise to try and save yours."
Angel tugged her hand closer, cupping it in both of his hands. "Deal."