Willow screamed. The vampire didn’t just lunge; he landed right on top of Angel, stake at the ready. Was she actually going to see Angel die? Was she going to see him come apart and blow away as though he were nothing? How could she possibly tell Buffy that Angel had died for a second time?
As she watched eyes wide and frightened, Angel managed to flip the other vampire onto his back and Angel drove his own stake into the vampires’ heart. Willow’s body sagged with relief, it was the other vampire who fell apart and blew away, leaving Angel kneeling in the grass his arm at an unnatural angle.
Angel shifted, and Willow heard his shoulder pop back into its socket. She made a face, nose wrinkling. “Angel, are you okay?” Willow knelt behind him placing her hands on his shoulders; his sweater the only thing between her fingers and his bare flesh, the only barrier to the sensation of digging into the tight muscle at his shoulder.
Angel start ed with surprise, Willow didn't blame him. She hadn't been invited to touch him and had no idea what had possessed her to do it. Angel said nothing about it, he just bowed his head and let her knead his shoulder, fingers prodding about to ensure it was in fact back in its rightful place. She could easily feel the muscles in his neck and shoulders, they were like rock.
Angel shifted slightly beneath her hands.
"I'm sorry. I don't mean to hurt you."
“You’re not. I’m fine. Are you alright?”
Willow smiled and nodded, even though he wasn’t facing her. “Thanks to you. You saved me, Angel. Thank you.”
“I... um.... it’s....” Angel cleared his throat. “My pleasure. I’ve um... wanted to say, you know, since I came back...” Angel cleared his throat again. “What you did for me, returning my soul. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” It was great that Angel was back and everything, but Willow had to admit, if only to herself, that she had been a little hurt when Angel had not thanked her for re-souling him. She had been glad to do it and would do it again in a heartbeat, but a little acknowledgment would have been nice.
His head turned towards her and their eyes met and suddenly there was that thing passing between them that no man or woman or demon could explain or deny; the moment of connection, the moment when something irrefutably important sparked to life.
Even though she had not felt it before, Willow recognized it instantly; it was unmistakable, irresistible, undeniable; more than attraction, more than a mere understanding. It was bone deep and soul shaking.
Angel recognised it too Willow could tell, in spite of not having much experience with boys. Or men. Or vampires. She knew that he felt it too, this thing she couldn’t quite put a name to. His hand, large and cool touched her cheek. “My soul recognises yours.”
“Oh.” It was a painfully inadequate response, but Willow could think of nothing else to say.
Angel’s face came closer, his eyes fastening on her lips. She could stop this, but Willow did nothing. Even though there was Oz, who she claimed to love and Buffy who Angel claimed to love; Willow still did nothing except close her eyes.
His lips touched hers, lightly, delicately, like the wings of a butterfly. It was almost as though he thought she might shatter into teeny tiny Willow pieces if he exerted any pressure whatsoever. Willow’s hand tightened on his shoulder, her other touched his chest, she felt she needed to hold on to something solid and strong if she was going to survive Angel’s kiss.
Her heart made an erratic thump and her head swam as her skin warmed and her belly flipped over. It didn’t take much coaxing on Angel’s part for her to open up to him, allowing him to deepen his kiss. Willow’s bones softened, heat spread through her veins, permeating her skin.
When his mouth lifted from hers Willow sucked in a deep breath, hoping it might steady the shaking going on inside her. She had not asked to be kissed, but she had done nothing to stop it either. By staying exactly as she was and letting her eyes drift shut Willow knew she had invited the kiss and was in danger of issuing another invitation.
Swallowing, Willow scrambled to her feet. Angel followed suit, towering over her, a hint of sadness in his eyes. “We... we should leave now.” Her voice sounded as if it belonged to someone else. She looked around the cemetery trying to get her bearings. “Which way is out?”
Angel gave a spare shake of his head. “There’s no way out.”
Willow chose to ignore the double meaning of his words. No matter what she felt right now, even if she still felt it tomorrow or the next day or next year, there was Oz and there was Buffy and nothing could ever come of this feeling between her and Angel; whether his soul recognised hers or not. Whatever that was supposed to mean.
In her heart Willow knew what it meant. Angel was the apple and she was Eve; so long as Angel was around he would be the undead embodiment of temptation and it was more than a possibility she would give in once more.