Angel didn't have much to do with his nights. Ever since Buffy decided that they shouldn't be around each other anymore he could no longer look forward to her visits. So, he stalked the graveyards. Of course given her occupation there was always the chance of running into the slayer. But given the number of cemeteries in Sunnydale the odds weren't as great as you'd think. Or at least that's what he had thought.
"Look out!" he heard the familiar voice call out from somewhere across the graveyard. He wondered briefly if he should go and offer his aid in whatever battle she was fighting. But he thought better of it. She told him to stay away. Besides, he knew she was more than capable of taking care of herself. She had, after all, killed him hadn't she?
Still he dithered. He just decided to go and turned away when Buffy's voice sounded again. "Willow!" came her panicked cry. Willow? That's all it took. Without another thought Angel barrelled toward the direction of the slayer and her witch friend.
In just seconds flat he found them. Buffy was knelt down beside a fallen Willow who was clutching at her ankle.
"Is it broken?" Buffy inquired, sounding worried.
With a grimace, Willow shook her head. "I don't think so."
Buffy quickly stood and whipped around, stake at the ready. Her hand fell though when she saw who had spoken. "Angel," she all but whispered. It had been over a week since she saw him last. Since she told them they shouldn't see each other anymore. With that reminder she shook herself. "What are you doing here?"
"I was just out for a walk." he answered his voice slightly irritated. Here her best friend was on the ground hurt and Buffy thought it was good time to interrogate him. "I heard you scream. What happened?":he repeated more forcefully. He moved over to Willow's side.
"A vamp." Buffy informed. "Couple of them actually."
"Knocked me down." Willow added, giving Angel a small embarrassed smile.
"Are you okay? Can you walk?" he knelt to help her up.
"I don't know." she said testing the weight on her wounded ankle. "Ow, ow! No, definitely no walking." she concluded leaning on Angel for support.
"Do you need to go to the hospital?" Buffy asked coming to Willow's other side.
She shook her head. "I don't think so. I don't think it's broken, just sprained maybe."
"Don't you think you should get an X-Ray just in case." Buffy pressed.
Willow groaned."I would really rather not spend all night in the ER. There's a chem test tomorrow I need my sleep. Really, I think I'll be okay. But I'm gonna need some help getting home."
"Of course." Buffy gushed, she moved to lope Willow's arm around her neck. "Here I got you."
Just then a low growl sounded from behind them. Buffy turned to see a vamp stalking forward. She groaned, "Oh, not now." She looked at Willow apologetically, "This'll just take a minute, promise."
"Don't worry about it. "Said Willow.
"I can carry her home." Angel offered, surprising both girls.
"Are you sure?" Buffy asked, sparing a glance at the approaching Vamp.
"Yeah, no problem. It looks like you got your hands full."
"Okay." Buffy agreed. "Is that okay with you?" she asked Willow.
"Okay." Buffy said again. "I'll come by and check on you later." With that she charged the vamp.
Angel scooped Willow up in his arms. She let out a little yelp of surprise.
"Uh, you know, you don't have to literally carry me?"
One corner of Angel's mouth quirked. "It'll be faster this way." he replied.
"Are you sure I'm not too heavy?" She asked sheepishly.
Angel was amused again. "Willow, I'm a vampire. Remember? Super strength."
Willow ducked her head down, embarrassed . "Oh right." She giggled lightly.
"And even if I wasn't," Angel went on. "You're light as a feather. Even Xander wouldn't have a problem carrying you."
Willow tried to give him a stern, reproachful look for the jab he made about her best friend, but it was compromised by the struggle she was having suppressing a smile.
"Okay you might want to hold on tight to me." Angel suggested. Willow barely had time to wonder, why, before he zoomed off demonstrating his enhanced vampire speed.
"Whew." Willow breathed as they came to a sudden stop at her front door. "Well, that was an experience." She remarked. "It was more thrilling than the roller coaster at Magic Mountain." Which she, Xander and Jesse had ridden six times in a row when they were twelve. It would have been seven had she not gotten sick. This info she kept to herself.
"Well, were here now you can put me down." She told Angel.
"Isn't your bedroom upstairs?" He countered. "You think you could make it up there on your own?"
Willow bit her lip doubtful, remembering how much it had hurt to just stand on her ankle for a second earlier. "I guess probably not." She admitted. She fished her house key out of her pocket, unlocked and pushed open the door. Angel didn't move.
Brow furrowing Willow prompted. "Um, well?"
Angel looked uncomfortable. "I can't. Not without an invitation. The ritual..."
Willow smacked her hand to her forehead feeling like a dope for forgetting. "Oh, right. Sorry."
Angel offered a small smile. "It's okay."
Willow cleared her throat. "Angel, you may enter my home." She intoned.
"Thank you." He said stifling a smirk at Willow's formality.
He stepped over the threshold and Willow erupted into giggles. "What is it?" He asked smiling.
"Oh, oh, nothing." Said Willow getting control of herself. "It's just, well, of all the times I imagined being carried over the threshold this scenario never really entered rotation." She elaborated cheeks tinting pink.
"Oh." Said Angel, understanding. "Well, I'm crushed I never made the cut."
He didn't sound like he was being completely sarcastic, surprising Willow and her blush deepened.
"So who were the lucky guys or guy that did?" He asked starting up the stairs.
"Oh, well, um first it was Xander." She admitted feeling embarrassed. "And then Oz, of course. Oh, and, um John Cusack."
"Is he a boy from school?"
Willow's eyes popped. "You don't know who John Cusack is?" She blurted. "Say Anything? Better off dead?"
Angel's face remained blank and he said. "He's an actor I presume."
Willow scoffed. "Only one of the most underrated talents of his generation."
Angel smiled at her vehemence. "I take it you're a fan."
Realizing that he was making fun of her she pressed her lips together and glared at him. Angel would have taken the look more seriously if she didn't look so darn adorable, so instead he started laughing.
Willow's mouth dropped open in shock. He's laughing at her? She folded her arms over her chest and glared even harder.
Angel laughed harder.
This was unbelievable! How dare he?
"Angel," Willow said in a cool emotionless voice. "Thank you so much for helping me home, I really appreciate it. But now, if you don't mind, I'd like to get some rest."
Her chin lifted and she looked away from him.
Angel's cheer quickly vanished. He'd upset her. He had not wanted to upset her. Hell, the last thing on earth he would want to do is upset Willow.
"Willow, I'm sorry." He said contritely. He moved over to her bed and sat next to her he put a hand on her shoulder. "Hey, we'll you look at me please." When she didn't Angel crooked a finger under her chin and urged her to face him. "Hey, I wasn't laughing at you."
Willow scoffed. "It sure sounded like laughing to me." She huffed.
"Okay, yes I was laughing." Angel conceded. "But it's just because you look so cute when you're mad"
Willow's head immediately snapped up. "You think I'm cute?"
Angel looked into her big, round, green eyes, so full of innocence and uncertainty. Then his eyes, of their own accord, slid down to her mouth. Her lips parted slightly the lower one was pushed out just a bit. He had the urge to lean over and nip it. Then with the realization that he was in Willow's bed with her made him urge to do a lot more.
He shook himself. He shot up quickly to his feet.
"Angel?" Willow inquired confused, concerned.
"Um, aspirin." He announced. "I should get you some for your ankle."
"Oh." Remarked Willow, a little dazed. "Um, in the bathroom medicine cabinet." She told him.
He nodded, then bolted from the room.
Willow settled back against her bed wondering what had just happened. Angel had been looking at her so strangely and then...
It was like he couldn't get away from her fast enough.
Had she done something wrong?
Angel popped open the aspirin bottle and shook out two tablets into his palm. He found a glass by the sink and filled it with water. He was about to take it back to Willow, but set it down and leaned his hands against the sink, head bent down, trying to collect himself.
What was that?
Why had he suddenly had those thoughts about Willow?
Okay, so it wasn't that sudden. He had on occasion had the passing inappropriate thought about the girl. But, it hadn't really been him, he reasoned. He couldn't help it. Willow was the type that got his demon going. So good and pure as the driven snow.
But that hadn't been his demon entertaining ideas back there. That was all Angel.
'Great.' he thought to himself. 'Way to go. The one person in all of the world you can think of as a friend and you have to go and ruin by thinking...' the images flitted through his mind again. 'That.'
'So what now is this yet another girl you're going to have to keep your distance from?'
The thought of staying away from Willow twisted Angel's gut in an even worse way than it had when Buffy told him they shouldn't see each other anymore.
He wasn't going to lose Willow. He was just going to shove any non-platonic thoughts from his head and if they did creep in he would just ignore him.
With this new found resolve he picked up the glass and trudged back to Willow's room.
As Angel bounded back into her room, Willow opened her mouth to ask if he was okay, but the question died on her lips seeing his bright smile. He seemed just fine now. Perhaps she'd been imaging.
"Here you go." He said offering Willow the tablets in his hand.
"Thank you." she said with a smile taking the pills and popping them into her mouth.
"And here." He gave her water.
Willow swallowed down the pills. "Thanks." She said again, setting the glass down on her night table.
A single, tiny drop of water slipped down from the corner of her mouth and down her chin, her neck.
The impulse to lick it off took Angel.
"Well," He said abruptly. "I guess I should let you get your sleep. Don't want you to be tired for your test tomorrow."
"Oh, right." Willow agreed a little disappointed to see him go.
"Is there anything else you need while I'm here?"
Willow searched her mind for something. "My night shirt." She blurted.
Angel swallowed. "Night shirt?" He echoed.
"Yeah, it's in the laundry room. Would you mind getting it for me? It's white with orange-"
"I remember it." Angel interrupted. And spun around. "I'll be right back."
'Oh, yes.' He thought as he followed the scent of detergent to the laundry room. 'I remember that shirt very well.' It had appeared in a number of fantasies the demon in him had constructed.
Okay, so the man had enjoyed them too.
"Here it is."
"Thanks." Willow said as Angel handed her the balled up cotton shirt.
"Anything else?" Angel offered.
Willow thought again for a reason to prolong Angel's presence. There wasn't anything.
"Um, no. Thank you."
"Okay." Angel said. This was his cue to go. But he lingered.
"Yes?" Her face shot up with a bright expression on it.
"Um," Angel stammered, something he wasn't prone to do. "Uh, good night, sleep well."
"Oh, thank you. You too." She smiled.
Angel smiled back.
"Okay, well, I should go."
"Okay." Said Willow. "Thanks, again, for all your help."
"My pleasure." He assured completely sincere.
He slipped out of her bedroom window. He looked back to see her unbuttoning her shirt to ready herself for bed. He had wanted to stay and keep watching. But the good guy in him took hold and turned him around.
But even good guys could still fantasize.