Turning - Angel/Willow 6/? - FRAO
Summary: Willow is trying to deal with her recent trek to the dark side of magic and failing miserably.
Disclaimer: Willow is owned by Joss, ME, and all them over there.
Distribution: NHA, writtenbyfates, anyone else just e-mail me.
A/N: This is a re-written version of the original Turning Series which, at one time, was told through Willow and Angel’s POV.
Together, their steps are silent and evenly matched. The night air whips through the alley as they pass it, buffeting against them. Willow can smell the death down there in the darkness, the stench of the diseased and dying. She wants to ask why Angel does not help those they have just passed, why he does not lend a hand to everyone, but cannot find the words to start the conversation. Surely she shouldn't be thinking about them, not like that at least. She should be more intrigued with the young couple walking towards them. However, they are smiling, happy. The couple turns away from her and Angel and cross the street, probably sensing the turmoil and tension between them, the lack of smiles on their faces, and the space stringently kept between them.
”So,” Willow says tentatively, feeling the need to fill the silence with something other than the bustle of the world around them. “What’s new with you?”
Angel turns his head and looks at her with a blank face. He is not sure why she is asking that, and is even more surprised she hasn’t tried to go after the couple that just passed so near to them. Her words, odd though they seem, are starting to make Angel wonder. Is there something wrong with how he had made Willow?
“We don’t have to do the whole small talk, if you don’t want to,” he says finally, looking back out at the night. Truthfully, it is that he doesn’t want the small talk. Or talk period. Silence suits him, but he knows better than to expect that from Willow … in any incarnation he muses.
“I wasn't …,” Willow starts to say, but falls silent because he is right and there really is no point in arguing. She wonders, what had been the point of her question? Did she expect the old friendship? Had they ever had a friendship? She doesn’t know, but had thought so at one point – long ago now. Too much has changed in recent days, and even since he had left Sunnydale, for her to expect much from him in the form of friend-like behavior. She only wants to ease some of the tension surrounding them. Without thinking about it Willow can almost sense that he is upset, but not at her... at himself. The emotion is nearly choking her the more she focuses on it making it feel thick sliding down her throat as she swallows reflexively.
“I was wondering,” Willow tries again. “How long has it been since, well, since you found me?” Back in Sunnydale, before things had gone so horridly wrong for her, Willow had often found herself nose-deep in the pages of one of Giles’ many books. It hadn’t mattered to her what they were about demons, Slayers, vampires, or magic. It had all intrigued her. However, somewhere along the way she had encompassed a broad knowledge for the other side of life most humans knew nothing of. Her question is born from that knowledge and the fear that she is somehow different than what she had thought she would be. She had after all met a vampiric version of herself once upon a time and she is nothing like that Willow had been, hence her curiosity.
“Yesterday,” Angel says sorrow evident in his voice. She is making him think about things he would much prefer to avoid, but he finds he cannot deny her any answers she seeks. After all, she was not the one to choose this lifestyle but rather he had forced it upon her in a time of great weakness.
“That was quick,” Willow says, thinking out loud. The books she has read were never terribly specific about the time frame it took to turn someone from human to vampire. The Watcher’s Council seemed to agree upon a time of three days, while other books tended to be vague saying that it depended on the maker and the potency of the blood used and of the victim, whether they were to be a protégé or simply a minion, someone to serve only.
Angel gives a grunt, but says nothing.
“Look, Angel, we really need to talk, but I don’t know what to say to you,” Willow says finally after a few more minutes of silence. She is becoming exasperated with his stand-off-ish nature. Silence would solve nothing and she refuses to let him dig a hole of misery on her account.
Brown eyes seek her out for a moment before Angel stops and sighs, turning to her. He nods, but nothing more. Willow rolls her eyes and looks around them for a moment. Another couple is walking towards them, hand in hand. It must be the night for them, she thinks. The young woman laughs as the man whispers in her ear. They look happy, peaceful, enjoying the other’s presence. Willow smiles and sighs, catching the couples scent as she inhales again. She can smell the sex that still lingers on them, the heavy floral perfume of the woman and the musky cologne of the man. Under all of that is the unmistakable scent of life, of blood. It is intoxicating and Willow sways as she closes her eyes and inhales deeply, letting the scents linger on the back of her tongue so that she can taste them.
The pretty young blonde woman turns her soft blue eyes towards Willow and her smile falters for a moment. Willow wonders if the woman can sense the other-worldliness of them. It is possible. Many people have that sort of ‘other sense’ that lets their body warn them about unseen dangers, though they can never put their finger on just what has caused that feeling to creep up their spine. The man, however, is too enamored with the woman and seems oblivious to the danger they are headed towards.
“Angel?” Willow asks, turning towards him, her face scrunched in confusion. She feels something stir inside of her and a craving she has never felt before makes itself known in the presence of the humans. Without realizing what she is doing, her eyes turn back to the woman and man, her eyes locking on their throats, on the throbbing piece of meat as they walk closer. Her tongue darts out to lick her lips and she imagines she can taste the sweet coppery blood yet to be spilled. Fear is now rolling off both the humans and it spices the air. Without warning, Willow’s features shift, and the two humans who only moments ago had been blissfully happy, are trapped to the spot, drowning in fear.
Willow takes a step forward before her movement is halted by a strong arm that flings her against a wall; Angel’s face now blocking her view of the humans.
“Willow, no,” he says, his voice soft, but she hears the command behind the words and feels her body instantly react. Her face slips back to human as she hears the hurried footsteps of the couple running in the opposite direction.
“I – I don’t know what ...,” Willow tries to say, panting involuntarily as she tries to get her body and emotions under control. When she suggested the walk, she’d had no intentions of hunting, and honestly had not even thought humans would be out so late. Though, Sunnydale should have taught her otherwise. She hadn’t been thinking. But the scent had caught her and pulled the demon out of its seeming slumber. The spicy fear mixed with the heady scent of their love for each other was intoxicating and is still playing havoc with her mind and body.
“Home. Now,” Angel says gruffly, pushing her ahead of him. He is angry. A little at Willow because he thinks she tricked him into coming out into the night for just a ‘walk’, but he is also angry at himself for not realizing this would happen and for not anticipating better. She is newly turned and he should know better. How long has it been though, since he’s had to consider such things? How many decades have passed since he’s had to care for another of his offspring? Too many, and he silently curses himself for his sheer stupidity.
Realizing he is about to make the same mistake twice, he takes hold of her upper arm and practically escorts her back to the hotel, careful to stay well away from any other wandering humans.
Silently and obediently, Willow lets herself be led not wanting to upset him further. His displeasure is almost palpable and it pains her to feel him angry with her. It wasn’t her fault, not entirely; she just hadn’t anticipated her reaction.
Something is so very wrong with her.
With stiff motions, Angel opens the door and pushes Willow into the lobby, watching as she sulks off to the circular couch in the middle of the room and flops down. He can’t tell if she is upset at him or herself.
“You cannot hunt humans,” Angel says, pacing in front of her. “Not while I’m around. I won’t stand for it.” She doesn’t look up at him and it takes all he has not to grab her chin and force her eyes to meet his eyes.
“I’m sorry, Sire,” she says softly, her toe kicking at the floor while pointedly avoiding looking at him. It is bad enough that she lost control, now she feels the pang of upsetting him on top of the hunger. So many things are running through her that she is having a hard time processing them all. New feelings, new thoughts, new life – or unlife as it were she supposes – nothing is the same anymore, and yet she can't seem to reconcile the differences.
Willow feels the cushion next to her sink as Angel takes a seat next to her. His breath comes out in an audible sigh as he says, “No, I’m sorry Willow. I … should have known better. You’re young, unskilled. I knew better than to take you out tonight. I just … I just thought …” His voice trails off, tears heavy and salty on the air.
“You just thought I was the old Willow,” she says, finishing his sentence for him. He nods.
There is nothing else to say between them, they both know that words are useless at this point, their feelings are evident.
After a few long moments Willow’s hand moves to her stomach and she turns to look at Angel, silently willing him to look at her, to know what she needs so that she won’t have to tell him. She knows that if she enunciates what her body is telling her, it will only upset him further, and she does not want to do that, no matter how frustrating it is for him to be so closed off to her.
Finally, she cannot wait for him to get a clue any longer and speaks up, though her voice is barely above a whisper. “Uh, Angel,” Willow says softly. He turns to her and sees the pain evident in her eyes, understanding dawning on him at long last.
“Oh,” he says, standing up, suddenly looking nervous. “I, uh, have some pig’s blood in the refrigerator in my room. Would you want too…,” he says trailing off. Willow nods and follows him up to his room.
“Thank you,” she says, walking into the room behind him. “I didn’t know how to ask.”
“It’s okay. I haven’t been doing a good job so far. This is hard for me.”
“I know. I feel it.”
“How?” Angel asks, clearly baffled.
“The bond,” she says simply.
The blank look on his face nearly makes Willow laugh, but she holds back. “Uh, yeah,” he says. “It’s been such a long time since I’ve needed … I’ve shut the others off.” He looks away quickly, and Willow feels a pang of sympathy for him. She knows how it feels to be cut off from everything and everyone, from what was once her family – even before her … transformation.
While Angel busies himself with preparing the blood for her, Willow takes a moment to look over his room, remembering everything that has happened in the last five or six hours. She shakes her head, thinking that it has been much longer than that. Walking over to the little kitchenette, she watches as Angel pulls out two large mugs and two bags of blood. After heating them up in the microwave, he hands one to Willow and they sit down in the little sitting area in his room, nice and cozy.
Willow sips at the blood, tasting it for the first time, and makes a face of disgust. Her first taste of blood was Angel’s and what she holds in her hands now is akin to mud.
“Sorry, I know it’s not exactly good. But, it's blood,” Angel says, taking the mug from her after she finishes and rinses it off in the little sink.
“No, it’s okay, Angel, I appreciate it. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he says, awkward once more.
Silence falls quickly and heavy upon them, oppressing. Willow fidgets in her chair, waiting for it to end, realizing finally that it will not unless she ends it.
“So,” she says, her voice nearly echoing, “we have a lot to talk about. Where do you want to start?”
Angel sighs, clearly unhappy with her straight forward question. He would be much happier to hold off this conversation for a little while, but he knows that would be impossible, and gives up trying before he starts. "I don’t know.”
“Well, I’ll start, and you can ask questions along the way.”
“Right, so, where to begin,” Willow says, thinking aloud. Granted, this isn’t the kind of talking she had in mind, but it is better than just sitting there staring at the cracked wall paper and hoping Angel will say something. Granted, she has the time to spare now, she realizes, but that is not the point.
“After I resurrected Buffy, I kind of went overboard on my magic. I started doing spells for everything. Tara got concerned. She said I should stop, and I tried, but I couldn’t. I was addicted…”
The story goes on in an almost detached and clinical way because if Willow stops and tries to analyze everything, she will go mad. Angel does not try to interrupt, does not ask one single question, and never looks directly at her. Willow can’t tell if he is actually paying attention to her or if he is trying to take it all in. She thinks she should be thankful, unsure if she could stop the story now that it is flowing freely. It pours out of her, all the pain, the hurt, and the anger. So much anger. Willow did not know until that moment just how much she has carried with her.
“After Tara died, I went crazy … again. I got deep into black magic. I killed the guy who shot her. I killed my magic supplier and I almost killed Dawn. I even tried to end the world.” A small hiccup, something between a sob and a laugh escapes her. “Xander was able to stop me. I … I stopped practicing after that. Cold turkey. Everyone still thought I was going to go off the deep end one day. I couldn’t take anymore of their looks or whispered remarks behind my back, so I ran away. I don’t know how long I’ve been gone. Days, weeks, months. It’s all a blur to me. Then, I end up here in LA, with a gash on my wrist. I didn’t want to die Angel. I thought I wanted to a few times, but I didn’t, not really.”
The silence comes again, but this time Willow doesn't even notice for long moments, her own mind running through the events that had brought her to this exact place in time and how if she had it to do any different, she isn’t sure what she would change.
Angel sits there, silent and unmoving, not showing any emotion.
“I didn't save you,” he says finally. “I killed you just as much as that cut would have done, only I did one worse. I made you a vampire. Damned.” He stands up suddenly, unblinking as the chair topples over, the sound of it hitting the floor is loud in the silence. He walks over to a window, looking out into the dark night and bright lights of the city. “I’m sorry Willow. I’m sorry for everything you have had to endure. I’m sorry I didn’t save you in time. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you when you needed someone the most. I’m just … sorry.”
Standing up, Willow walks over to him and kneels at his feet, reaching around his legs and rubs her cheek against his thigh. They have both been through so much, and neither fully grasps what the other has had to deal with. But, in time, it is possible they will understand. Right now however, they need the comfort.