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A Witch's Mark

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Chapter One

"And now I'm having a wiggins." Willow nodded at Xander's words as her eyes swept around the suddenly blackened hallway.

"What's going on?" She couldn't help sounding nervous, with the prospect of the Judge being close by she dreaded to think who had turned the lights off. Were the under attack? Don't panic, it's probably just a power cut. Not everything which happens here is bad. Just…ninety percent of the stuff.

"Let's get back to the library," she felt Xander's hand touch her arm and felt a small thrill jump through her. She angrily squashed it, she was mad at him. Blackout be damned. She nodded and hurried after him but her footsteps stopped abruptly at the reassuring voice.

"Willow? Xander?"

"Angel!"

"Thank god you're okay!" The relief flooded Willow's voice replacing her fear; at least one good thing had come from the night. "Have you seen Buffy?"

"Yeah. What's up with the lights?" Willow shook her head but Xander spoke first.

"I don't know. Listen, I think I might have an idea –"

"That doesn't matter now. I've got something to show you."

"Show us?" Willow took a step closer and squinted, trying to make out Angel's face in the darkness. Why was he being so mysterious?

"Come here. And Xander, get the others."

"Okay…" Willow looked at Xander suddenly feeling unsure, her stomach was knotting but she put it down to the paranoia of the blackout. Xander shrugged and turned to run off back to the library, the urge to follow him filled Willow but she pushed it away turning to look back at Angel.

"What is it, Angel?" She asked taking a tentative step towards him, all the time trying to seek out his face in the darkness.

"It's amazing." The excitement in his voice spurred her on, her feet picked up the pace. Had he found a way to stop the Judge already? She was only a few feet from him when a voice from behind caught her in surprise.

"Willow, get away from him." The soles of Willow's sneakers squeaked softly as she paused mid-step. She turned to find Jenny Calendar opposite her, a determined look on her features.

"What?"

"Walk to me." Jenny's hands held up a cross, even in the faint glow of moonlight Willow could see that the cross was trembling. She turned completely and took a step towards Jenny, her confusion evident on her face. It was Angel, why was she holding a cross? He would never hurt them! Had he not had more than a hundred chances to kill them all? Willow had even invited him into her bedroom that one night to help him look for something online. He had been nothing but a perfect gentleman.

"Ms. Calendar, what are you doing? It's Angel?" She asked incredulously. A set of doors burst open and Willow flinched as the bang reverberated for the hallway, at the same time someone grabbed her around the neck, pulling her close and holding it tightly. She cried out in sudden pain.

"Don't you do that!" Xander cried angrily joining Jenny at her side and looking angrily at Angel. Willow's hands scratched at the large one encasing her throat but he only squeezed harder, omitting a strangled yelp from her.

"Oh, I think I do that."

"Angel!" Willow gasped still trying to pull at the hand which held her throat. Her back was pinned firmly to his front and he lifted her ever so slightly off the floor so she couldn't balance properly and gain herself the leverage she needed to break free. She almost cried with frustration as Xander, Jenny and Angel argued – was no one going to actually do anything and help free her? Her vision blurred as Angel turned so his back now faced Jenny and Xander, her eyes sought out what had caught his attention and relief flooded through at the sight of Buffy. She opened her mouth to speak but the hand around her throat was too tight, she could feel the pressure darkening her vision and she was terrified she would pass out at any moment.

"Well, it's not really the kind of message you tell. It sort of involves finding the bodies of all your friends." Bodies? Willow's mind squeaked and she suddenly found a surge of energy to kick out at Angel, but his response was as if she were nothing more than a fly irritating him. Keeping his hand on her throat he used his free arm to circle her waist, rendering movement completely useless.

"Just leave Willow alone. Deal with me." Buffy's voice was firm and Willow envied her, how could she keep so cool when she must be going through utter hell at that moment? Her eyes sought out Buffy's; trying to get some contact, but her friend could only fix her eyes on Angel. There was a slight tremor in her posture. She's scared. This did little to reassure Willow, she had rarely seen Buffy so frightened. And for Angel to be the source of her fear…

"But she's so cute and helpless." Willow cried out as Angel's hand left her waist and pinched her cheek, she could feel his fangs grazing her neck and she squeezed her eyes tightly shut bracing herself for the pain she was sure was coming soon. "It's really a turn on." She screamed as fangs tore into her throat, but the sensation went from excruciating pain to almost pleasurable in an instant, the fangs were buried in her throat yet she could feel the tip of Angel's tongue teasingly sliding against the sensitive skin. She felt her body grow heavy, but before she could fully register what was happening she found herself sprawled on her hands and knees, a sharp pain shooting from her kneecaps where they had collided with the floor. It took her a few seconds to regain her composure, when she looked up she saw Buffy staring blankly at a closing door.

The mood of the library was subdued; a thick blanket of despair had enveloped the group. Giles seemed determined to believe that Angel had not reverted to his old self; the tense look around his eyes had Willow feeling on edge. "Giles, it was just – you wouldn't have believed him. He was so…" She trailed off unsure of how to describe Angel's behaviour, "he came here to kill us." Her hand reached up to rub at the wound on her neck, already the blood had dried but she could feel the ridges of broken skin.

"What are we gonna do?" Cordelia asked slumping back in her chair and looking around.

"I'm leaning towards blind panic myself." Giles sighed and Willow looked up at him in shock, she had never heard him so pessimistic before.

"Rupert don't talk like that – the kids." Jenny hushed him, as the two continued to argue softly Willow walked over to Buffy. She caught Buffy's eyes fixating on her neck and she quickly pulled her hair over her shoulder to hide the wound, shrugging lightly to show it was no big deal. He bit me, she couldn't help thinking. She had never thought Angel would bite her. She tried to draw Buffy out from herself, to lure her into conversation. But the blonde slayer was too heartbroken and left the solemn group.

"Are you quite sure you are alright?" Giles asked parking the car in front of Willow's house and looking at her, his face was full of concern and his eyes deep with worry. Willow forced herself to smile and nod.

"H – He didn't get a chance to take much. It was just the shock," she still couldn't believe the turn of events. "Thanks for the lift Giles."

"Of course," he nodded as she clamoured from the car and closed the door. "Willow, do be careful." He called out to her as she stepped onto the pavement. "I know I am not your legal guardian or even a teacher but please, none of you should go out alone at night. Not with Angelus on the loose." Willow smiled and nodded, waving as Giles drove off. She pulled her cardigan tighter around herself and turned to walk up the front path, but it was blocked.

"You think he would be a bit more sensible and wait until you were in the house before he drove off." Angel's voice was cold and mocking. He lunged at her, clapping a hand over her mouth and pulling her into the darkness of a tree. His face had taken on that of a demon's and Willow screamed against his hand. "I wasn't lying you know," he murmured pressing his lips to her forehead. "You really are a turn on Willow; I'm not sure how I missed it before." He lowered his head to her neck and Willow could feel her body grow cold at the prospect of what he was about to do. Without thinking she bit down on the hand over her mouth and pushed Angel aside. "You can run Will," he laughed, "but you're marked. I will come for you." Scrabbling through her bag Willow tried to find the keys to the door, she looked over her shoulder to see how close Angel was, but he had gone.