Title: At home with a Vampire
Summary: Sequel to 'Carry me home'/ third story in my 'finding home' series. While watching movies at the mansion with Angel, Willow has surprising thoughts about him.
Word count: 2668
A/N: Big thanks toiwillnotyield for being my beta. She's great. All mistakes are mine.
Disclaimer: I own no rights to Buffy the vampire Slayer, or the characters therin.
Feedback: Alway greatly appreciated!
“You really didn’t have to do this,” Angel told Willow, not for the first time, as she was setting up a television and VCR in the mansion.
“It’s no problem,” Willow assured, also not for the first time. “We upgraded to DVD over a year ago and got a newer TV; these have just been collecting dust in the garage. Nobody will even realize they’re gone.” She finished hooking everything up and came around to fix the settings. “Besides, you need them so we can watch movies here when my parents aren’t out of town.”
“Well, I guess if you’re sure it’s not a problem.” His tone told Willow he wasn’t entirely convinced, but he was willing to let her have her way.
Willow turned her head his way and smiled. “I’m sure.”
“Okay, so what’s on the bill for tonight?” he asked, watching as Willow made a few last adjustments to the settings.
“The bill?” Willow smiled as she came to sit beside Angel on the sofa. “Well, I figured since you liked ‘Shadows and fog’ so much, that we’d watch one of the other Woody Allen films John Cusack was in.” Ever since finding out that Angel didn’t know who John Cusack was, Willow had made it her mission to introduce the vampire to the actor’s underrated genius.
She had begun with her personal favorite ‘Say Anything’. Angel had told her he enjoyed it, but she had a feeling he was being more polite than anything. So she moved on to pick some films from John’s oeuvre she thought would be more Angel’s speed.
Willow was about to click the play button when Angel’s exclamation stopped her, “Oh, wait. I almost forgot.” Angel jumped up from the sofa and ran out of the room, leaving Willow to look after him in confusion.
He returned a couple moments later with big bowl brimming over with popcorn in his hand. Willow’s eyes lit up. “Popcorn! You made popcorn. But you don’t even eat.”
Angel shrugged, almost sheepishly. “I know. But I remember how you said that watching movies just doesn’t feel right without it, so...”
“That’s so sweet.” Willow accepted the bowl from him and popped a kernel into her mouth. Her mouth closed as the salty, buttery goodness hit her tongue.
Angel’s eyes darkened as he watched her; she closed her eyes and moaned, a look pleasure washing over her face. Angel swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing, as a familiar desire began churning inside him.
I wonder how it would feel to be taken in that hot, moist mouth. The urge to push her down on the couch and slam his mouth over hers; forcing her lips to part, almost overwhelmed him.
“Angel?” Willow’s worried voice broke in. “Are you okay?”
He shook himself. “Fine,” he said, his tone clipped. “Let’s start the movie.” He quickly sat down on the couch, keeping as much distance between himself and Willow as he could manage without being obvious.
Willow regarded him, brow furrowed with worry and confusion, for a moment. She didn’t believe he was really as ‘fine’ as he claimed; something was bothering him. But, she had learned from experience not to press the issue; Angel wasn’t exactly the talk out your feelings type. So, despite her misgivings, Willow kept silent. She picked up the remote and hit play.
Willow had trouble focusing on what was going on on the screen, not that she was missing anything, she’d seen the movie three times already, but her mind kept drifting to the look Angel had been giving her; it wasn’t the first time he had looked at her like that. And like the other times she had seen it, it gave Willow the oddest, unsettled feeling. She couldn’t quite decipher what that look was, but it made her heartbeat quicken and her stomach do flip-flops.
Sometimes she thought he was looking at her like she was lunch.
Willow mentally shook her head at that thought; it was silly. Of course, Angel didn’t want to eat her.
Her cheeks began to flame as she thought about the potential double entendre there.
He most definitely doesn’t want to do that to me.
Willow tried to stop thinking about that, but as often happened, whenever she tried to not think about a thing she didn’t want to think about, that thing was the only thing she could think about. She was beginning to feel all warm and tingly and was on the verge of panting as her mind reeled with dirty pictures.
Oh god, oh god, oh god! Stop it! Stop thinking about Angel doing bad things to you! But it was no use. She couldn’t stop and she was starting to wish Angel had more furniture, because despite the fact that he was as far from her as the couch would allow, Willow wanted more distance between them.
Feeling anxious and uncomfortable, Willow abruptly shot to her feet.
“Salt!” she cried.
Angel’s brow creased as he looked up at her. “Excuse me?”
Willow licked her lips nervously. “I, uh, the popcorn, it uh, needs more salt,” she floundered. “Do you have any?”
Angel, still surprised by her outburst, stammered, “I’m, uh, not sure. There’s some stuff in the kitchen from when Spike lived here; he ate. I can check.” He started to rise, but Willow put up her hands to stop him.
“No, no. I’ll look,” she insisted. “You watch the movie. I’ve seen it already.” Angel opened his mouth, but Willow continued talking, cutting off any objection, “Really. I don’t mind. Be right back.” With that, she whirled around and shot off toward the kitchen. Attempting to put as much distance between herself and Angel as possible in the confines of the mansion.
Angel shook off her odd behavior; that was just Willow, and went back to trying to concentrate on the film.
He scowled looking at the man on the screen. He had figured it out when Willow had showed him ‘Say Anything’ why she had an infatuation with the actor; the boyish looks and goofy charm said it all. He reminded him of Xander. He wondered which one of them she had fallen for first. But, one thing seemed clear, Willow had a type. A type that Angel didn’t fit. He wasn’t sure why, but that knowledge irritated him.
Although, he had to admit, Oz didn’t exactly fit the mold either.
Right, he thought. And why didn’t that work out? Because of Xander.
Angel shook his head in disgust. All those years Willow had pined away for the boy and he barely cast her a glance. Then once she had finally moved on and found someone who could appreciate the special girl she is, he decides he might want her after all. And even though she was happy with someone else, and he was inexplicably in a relationship with Cordelia, he had pursued her.
And where was Xander now? Now that he had succeeded in ruining Willow’s relationship? Nowhere. Now that she wasn’t with somebody else, she wasn’t quite so appealing to the young idiot.
Angel’s hands had subconsciously balled into fist; his jaw was clenched tightly and his eyes narrowed at the man on the screen. He was developing misplaced contempt for John Cusack.
Willow took in deep, calming breaths as she leaned against the kitchen’s center island, trying to bring herself down from the frenzy she was whipping herself up into.
What was that? Why had she just started having fantasies about Angel out of nowhere?
Well, okay, so maybe they weren’t out of nowhere; Angel was a romantic figure in her life, and so sometimes she had imagined him in not so platonic ways. The forbidden love between a vampire and a human; how could any teenage girl resist such prime fantasy material? But never had her adolescent fancies ever been so graphic as they were becoming just now.
It must be because of all the time we’ve been spending together, she reasoned with herself. She didn’t really think of Angel that way. Not that it would matter if she did — which she absolutely didn’t — because there is NO WAY that Angel would ever think of her that way.
Angel was still in love with Buffy.
Just like I’m still in love with Oz; whom I hope I can repair things with someday. And I will not jeopardize my chances of doing so by having any sort of misplaced lusty thoughts about my best friend’s boyfriend — ex- boyfriend — or any other guy who is not Oz.
With that thought securely in place, Willow, wearing her Resolve face, took one last calming breath and headed back out to the living room.
“Did you find any?” Angel enquired when she entered the room.
“Huh?” Willow replied confused.
“The salt,” he prompted.
“Oh!” she exclaimed, remembering her pretense for leaving the room. “Right. You don’t have any.”
“I’ll have to try to remember to add it to my shopping list: blood, salt,” he offered, deadpan.
Willow chuckled at Angel’s attempt at humor and sat back down, feeling more relaxed. She and Angel were friends. And she liked having him as a friend. All the more reason to make herself forget about her more than friendly thoughts, she didn’t want things to become awkward and ruin their new friendship.
“Oh, um, I almost forgot,” Angel said after a few moments. “I saw a flyer the other night for an Ingmar Bergmen retrospective they’re having at the Sun next week.”
“Oh?” Willow responded with interest. “That sounds like fun. I know how much you said you enjoyed his films.”
“Yeah. I do.” Angel said. Suddenly, Angel found that his mouth was dry and his palms were sweating; he was nervous? Why the hell should he be nervous? The vampire was not often prone to anxiety; he was the very essence of cool. Shaking himself, he cleared his throat and ventured, “I thought maybe you would like to come along with me? I mean, you’ve been showing me some of your favorites, it would give me the chance to return the favor.”
There was something about the nervousness in Angel’s eyes, the strain in his voice, that reminded Willow of a guy asking a girl on a date for the first time. She quickly shook off that preposterous idea; of course Angel wasn’t asking her out.
Angel licked his lips, his anxiety spiking at Willow’s hesitance. “Of course, if you don’t want to...”
“Oh!” Willow cried, realising now that her silence might be mistaken for rejection. She shook her head. “No, no. I would. It sounds great. I would love to go with you. It’ll be during winter break, so it works out well. I don’t have any plans.” Or at least I don’t anymore, she added silently.
Relief swelled in Angel, he smiled. “Great.”
Willow beamed back at him. “Great.”
Both feeling somewhat calmer now, they turned back to the television.
“I’ve only ever seen one Ingmar Bergman movie,” Willow remarked after a moment.
“Really? Which one?” Angel asked with interest.
“The Magic Flute,” Willow replied.
“Did you like it?” He was curious to know her thoughts on it.
“I did,” Willow replied, though her brow furrowed in a scowl. “But, I didn’t really get to watch it very well; it was hard to focus with Xander snoring so loudly. He’s not really into the whole subtitles thing; he says if he wants to read, he’ll get a book.”
Angel smirked. “Yeah, Buffy’s the same way; I took her to a showing of ‘Breathless’ last year. Instead of watching the movie, all she wanted to do was...” Angel’s voice trailed off as he remembered the evening.
Willow felt her cheeks heat up; she didn’t have to guess too hard about what Buffy had been more interested in than watching an old french film. The same thing that most young people like to do with their honey’s in darkened movie theatres. Willow was surprised when she thought about Angel making out with Buffy at the movies, she felt a slight pinch of ... jealousy?
She shook the feeling away. She had no reason, or right, whatsoever to be jealous of Buffy making out with Angel. They loved each other; they should make out! Willow had always been a stalwart supporter of the star-crossed lovers and believed they should be together.
So why then, was she wishing she had been the one in the back row of the cinema making with the Angel smoochies?
Her eyes widened. Oh god! she thought in horror. It’s happening again; I am once again having impure thoughts about another girl’s guy. What happened with Xander wasn’t just some kind of a fluke after all. I’m a filthy hussy.
Angel could sense the tumult of Willow’s emotions coming off of her. His brow pulled down in a frown as he looked at her and saw the pain clear on her face. He tried to think if it was something in the movie plot, which he hadn’t been paying attention to, that had bothered her, or if it was something serious.
“Willow?” he ventured gently. “Are you all right?”
“Um... no,” she replied after a pause. “I’m not feeling too well all of a sudden. I think maybe I should head home.” She rose from her seat.
Angel was concerned for Willow’s welfare, but still disappointed that she needed to leave. “Oh,” he remarked, rising himself. “I’m sorry to hear that. Let me walk you.”
“N-no,” Willow objected, a tad too emphatically. “I-I mean, you don’t have to. I’ll be fine. Really.”
“Willow– ,” he began.
“No, Angel, really,” she persisted. “I’ve been walking these streets practically all my life. I can manage.” She mustered up a smile for him to assuage her rejection of his help. “But thank you.”
“Well ...all right,” he relented reluctantly. “Are we still on for next week?”
“Um...” Willow bit her lip. She suddenly wasn’t so sure going to the film festival with Angel was good idea. But she looked up into his eyes and saw an eagerness she’d never seen in the brown tormented depths before, and her need to please won out. “Of course. It’s a date. Well, not a date date of course. You know ‘cause that would be—“ she let out a high nervous laugh, “— you know, ridiculous. Anyway, I really should be going now, Angel. Keep the movie. I’ll see myself out. Bye.”
Angel stood dazed for a moment as the Willow shaped whirlwind flew out of the room. He knew the girl was prone to odd behavior, he had actually always secretly found her quirkiness charming, but she seemed bothered in a different way tonight. He worried that it might be because of him; perhaps he hadn’t been hiding his longing as well as he thought he was and had made her uncomfortable.
Damn, he thought, angry with himself. It was just as he had feared would happen; he was going to lose the best— hell, maybe the only— friend he ever had because he couldn’t keep his libidinous thoughts in check.
He clenched his jaw tightly. No. He wasn’t going to let that happen. He would control himself. He’d do better. He would not lose Willow’s friendship. He could keep boundaries.
He grabbed his jacket and left the mansion. At a discreet distance he followed Willow as she made her way through Sunnydale’s darkened streets. Just to make sure she made it home safely.