Willow sat at the top of the overlook, peering down at the town of Sunnydale. It was dark, not a good time to be out on the Hellmouth.
She didn't really care about that right now. Actually, the idea of a vampire or demon attacking and killing her didn't seem all that horrible. In fact, she thought she probably deserved to be mauled or eaten. She was a horrible person.
She wished Spike would have gone ahead and killed her the other night when he'd been holding her hostage in the factory.
"Oh God!" she wailed, remembering that night. What she and Xander did! The look on Oz and Cordelia's faces when they had walked in; catching her and Xander in the ultimate act of betrayal.
Fresh tears welled in her eyes before the last batch had even abated. She sniffed as she looked at the little pez witch in her hands. The gift Oz had given her. How could she have done such a thing to him? She definitely deserved a mauling.
Angel walked along the empty streets of Sunnydale. He had no particular destination in mind. He was just strolling aimlessly, fighting the urge to go lurking around Buffy's house.
She had made it very clear the day earlier she didn't want them seeing each other any more. Not unless he could tell her he didn't love her any more. Angel smiled sardonically at the thought; like that was ever likely to happen.
Coming closer to the overlook, Angel looked up and saw a figure sitting on top of it. He squinted, and even in the dark and from this distance with his vampire vision, he was able to make out who it was. Willow. What was she doing out here alone at this time of night? What was she thinking? He decided to make it his business to find out.
She yelped at the sound of her name. Her heart pounding, she whipped around. "Angel? W-What're doing here? You scared me.”
"Well, good,” he couldn’t help from pointing out. “You should be scared. What are you thinking being out here all alone? You're lucky it's me that found you and not some other vampire. Why would you-" he abruptly cut off his admonishment of the young girl when he noticed the tears glistening in her eyes and the rednesst surrounding them. "What's wrong?" he asked, voice softening. "You've been crying."
Willow wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand. "I'm fine," she said. "Nothing's wrong except for the fact that I am an awful person and if it had been another vampire that found me up here and decided to make me his dinner, well, it would serve me right."
Angel was genuinely shocked by the girls outburst. And after over 200 years on this earth it took a lot to shock him. What's more, he was also kind of frightened for her. If Willow was looking to get punished for her sins by a big bad, it wouldn't take much for her to get her wish here on the Hellmouth. One thing Angel knew was the world would be a much darker place without the light this little witch brought into it.
Angel was genuinely shocked by Willow’s outburst. And after over 200 years on this earth it took a lot to shock him. What's more, he was also kind of frightened for her. If Willow was looking to get punished for her sins by a big bad, it wouldn't take much for her to get her wish here on the Hellmouth. If there was one thing Angel knew, it was that the world would be a much darker place without the light this little witch brought into it.
Without stopping to consider the implications of that thought, he tried to reason, "You don't really mean that."
"No?" Willow challenged. "How would you know if I mean it or not? You have no idea what kind of person I am. You don't know what I did," she said, her eyes burning, her voice raw.
Angel looked down at his hands and softly said, "Yes, I do." He looked back up at Willow. "Buffy told me about what happened between you and Xander," he revealed.
"Oh great!" Willow remarked throwing up her hands. "Not only is the biggest mistake I ever made gossip for the whole high school, but for the town’s underworld too. Perfect! Well, so you know. You get that I am awful. So just go away and leave me alone!" She pulled her knees up to her chest and bent her head on them to cry.
"I can't do that," Angel said, moving closer to the girl and crouching down next to her. He placed a hand on her shoulder and she shrugged it away. "Willow," he ventured gently, "you made a mistake. And yes, people were hurt by it. But that doesn't make you a bad person. It makes you human. Hell, I make mistakes all the time and I don't even have that excuse," he heard a slight gurgle of laughter come from the girl and he smiled.
"I've made more horrible mistakes than I can count. But you have forgiven me those. You're not an awful person, Willow. I know exactly what kind of person you are. You're the kindest, sweetest, most understanding person I have ever met. And Willow, I've met a lot of people in two centuries, so that's saying something," he ended honestly, hoping his words would make her see herself clearly.
Willow had lifted her head to meet Angel's eyes. She gave him a watery, but grateful smile. "You really think so? You think I'm a good person?"
Angel smiled and wiped a tear from her cheek. "I know so."
"Thank you." She was a little surprised by Angel’s speech. And why wouldn’t she be? She had never realized he thought that much about her at all before tonight.
"You're welcome," he returned, rising to his feet. "Now, how about you do me a favor in return?"
"Uh, sure. Anything," she replied, wondering what favor Angel could need from her.
"Let me walk you home," he held out his hand to help her up. She smiled and took it, distantly registering of the coolness of his skin.
The pair walked silently hand and hand all the way to Willow's house. Neither felt the slightest bit uncomfortable doing so, as might be expected. But there was an understanding between the two they'd never realized before. It was nice.
The pair walked silently hand and hand all the way to Willow's house. Neither felt the slightest bit uncomfortable doing so, as might have normally been expected. There was a camaraderie between the two they'd never realized before. It was nice.
"Angel," Willow began as they came to the french doors of her bedroom. "I just want to thank you again for what you did. It really helped a lot."
Angel smiled and put his hand gently on her cheek. "Any time little one." He leaned down and brushed his lips ever so slightly over hers in a friendly way. "Any time."
"Maybe we can talk again sometime?" Willow suggested.
"I'd like that."
"Good night," Willow beamed at him.
"Good night," he smiled back gently.
Willow went inside and Angel turned to walk back to the mansion. His steps feeling much lighter than they had been in a long time.