Summary: Set in the summer between S1 & 2. Angel helps cure Willow's Birthday blues

Note:I wrote this in celebration of my own birthday looming round the corner.

Disclaimer: I own nothing, or else this would have really happened.

Please R&R

Willow walked down the darkened street, her arms were clasped about herself, head bent down. Tears blurred in her eyes. All of these things attributed to her not seeing the person in front of her and ramming into him.

Angel had been out as he was most nights trolling the streets of Sunnydale, taking up the brunt of the fighting evil forces while the Slayer was in L.A. visiting her father. He didn't have a lot to do though, it had been a pretty quiet summer. Guess the evildoers were laying low after the master was killed. No one had been elected to take his throne as evil master mind yet.

Thinking about the master's destruction made him think of Buffy. He hadn't seen, or talked to her since that night. The night she killed the master, and briefly died herself. He knew what a bad idea it would be for him to get involved with the girl in any more than a professional way. But it was hard. So, he kept his distance for a couple of weeks. Then school let out and she went to L.A.. He was hoping that the time apart would help him, help both of them forget about the budding affection for each other.

But it wasn't working. At least not on his part anyway.

Just then he looked up to see yet another reminder of Buffy heading his way. It wasn't the first time he had seen Willow that summer. He had occasionally kept an eye on her and Xander. He knew it would kill Buffy if anything were to happen to them in her absence. But, this was the first time he had seen Willow out alone. What was she thinking? All the other times he had been careful not to let himself be known. But this time, he saw her coming blindly toward him and stepped in her path to make sure he got her attention.

It worked.

"Sorry." Willow murmured after plowing into the man. She looked up surprised at the familiar face. "Angel?"

"Willow." He returned stonily. "What do you think you're doing?"

Willow's brow puckered confused. "Uh, walking?" She said. "Although not very well I admit." She tried joking.

Angel was not amused. "Out her alone at night. Do you have any idea how stupid that is? From what Buffy said about you I thought you were supposed to be smart. Obviously that's not the case."

Willow bristled. How dare he talk to her that way. He didn't even know her. "Hey," she objected. "Who do you think you are mister? I've been walking these streets for years and have managed to not get eaten once. I'm perfectly capable of doing so now."

Angel was shocked silent. He had not imagined the timid girl he had met previously to accost him so. Though, he could see how he might deserve it.

Just then he noticed the tell-tell glistening in her eyes and realised she was upset about something other than just his handling of her. "Is something wrong?"

She bit her lip and sniffed, bowing her head down so her hair made a curtain over her face. "It's been a bad day." she remarked quietly.

"I'm sorry to her that." He said, sympathetic. He knew all about bad days. He had a few thousand of them himself. "Would you like to talk about it?"

Willow's head came up at the offer. Her watery eyes wide in surprise. "Really?"

Angel gave her a small smile. "Sure. Tell me what happened."

"Well," she began tentatively. "You'll probably think I'm being silly and over reacting."

"Try me."

She sighed. "Well, you see today's my birthday."

"Oh." was all Angel could say. He had not known this. There was no way he could or should have known.

"Yeah," Willow said bitterly. "No one else knew either."

Understanding hit Angel and he nodded.

"I expect this kind of thing from my parents." Willow went on. "They always forget this kind of stuff. And I understand Buffy not calling like she said she was going to. She's busy spending time with her dad and her old friends, it would be easy for her to forget. But Xander..." she moved her head from side to side as if trying to shake away a fresh batch of tears. "How could he forget? We've spent every birthday together since we turned six! That's why I'm out here walking by myself, Xander and I were supposed to meet at the Bronze to celebrate, it's sort of become tradition the last couple years. I waited for over two hours. He never showed, as you probably guessed."

"I'm sorry, Willow." he offered feeling angry on her behalf. He had never liked Xander Harris, now his opinion was even lower. Something he hadn't thought possible. But he had liked Willow instantly. She was a sweet girl and a good, loyal friend to Buffy, (whose absent-mindedness he could not dismiss so easily). He didn't like seeing her so upset and wished there was something he could do.

Just then an idea struck him like a light going on in his head. "Come on." He said to Willow offering his hand.

Her brow creased. "Come where?"

Angel smiled mischievously "You'll see. It's a surprise."

Feeling a rush of exhilaration Willow put her hand in his and let him lead the way.

"Can I open my eyes now?" Willow asked anxiously. She didn't know where Angel had taken her, just that it was somewhere indoors and had guided her into a chair. She felt around and knew there was a table in front of her. She felt incredibly giddy and silly.

"Not quite yet." Came Angel's voice. There was a soft clunking noise and Angel said. "Okay, open your eyes."

She did. And a huge smile spread over her face seeing the local bakery's(which she noticed they were inside even though it was well passed closing time) signature jumbo peanut butter fudge cupcake (her favorite!) with one solitary candle sticking out of it. The only source of light in the empty place.

She gasped. "How..." her question got lost in her wonder.

Angel shrugged, pleased with her reaction. "I have my ways." he said like the cryptic guy he was. "So," he prompted, "What are you waiting for? Make a wish."

Willow smiled and closed her eyes. She hesitated before blowing out the candle, tilting her head to one side in contemplation. Her usually stand by birthday wish is for Xander to wake up and realise they were made for each other. But right now she was so mad at him she wasn't sure she wanted that anymore. So she had to think of something else.

Only one thing came to mind that she would want to happen. Holding on to it in her mind she squeezed her eyes even tighter, held back her hair, as to not ruin this moment by having catch on fire, and blew out the candle.

Angel smiled watching the girl's process. She looked so charmingly adorable in the candles small, flickering glow. When it extinguished Angel felt a strange urge come over him. She opened her eyes and smiled at him. He walked over to her bent down and kissed her on the lips.

'Holy, cow!' Willow thought. Her wish actually came true. Man, why didn't she wish for a million dollars or something. But on second thought... feeling Angel's soft lips on her's, she thought, 'Nah, this is totally better.'

After breaking the kiss Angel smiled down at her and murmured. "Happy birthday, Willow."

The best one ever.